A cryptocurrency is a digital currency that is created and managed through the use of advanced encryption techniques known as cryptography. Cryptocurrency made the leap from being an academic concept to (virtual) reality with the creation of Bitcoin in 2009. While Bitcoin attracted a growing following in subsequent years, it captured significant investor and media attention in April 2013 when it peaked at a record $266 per bitcoin after surging 10-fold in the preceding two months. Bitcoin sported a market value of over $2 billion at its peak, but a 50% plunge shortly thereafter sparked a raging debate about the future of cryptocurrencies in general and Bitcoin in particular. So, will these alternative currencies eventually supplant conventional currencies and become as ubiquitous as dollars and euros someday? Or are cryptocurrencies a passing fad that will flame out before long? The answer lies with Bitcoin.
Last month, Chainalysis published a study revealing that BTC investors and speculators held their positions over the summer, while markets seem to have become more stable overall. The monetary aggregates reportedly were “extremely steady” during the summer, showing that the amount of BTC held for speculation was stable from May to August at around 22 percent of available BTC. The amount of BTC held for investment also showed stability during the same period at around 30 percent.
So, unlike an ETF, the amount of Bitcoin held does not increase or decrease from market activity like people buying in or selling out (with the exception of new entrants who must be accredited investors, and in that case they must wait a full year to trade their shares). This creates a situation where the amount of Bitcoin purchased with a single share of GBTC does not always equate to the fair market value of the underlying asset.
I'd suggest the safest way to play the cryptocurrency market is through the graphic processing unit (GPU) manufacturers, NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA) and Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD). Both NVIDIA and Advanced Micro make GPUs that cryptocurrency miners use to validate transactions. Being the first to solve these complex mathematical equations, which are a product of encryption within a blockchain, entitles crypto miners to a block reward that's paid out in tokens of the virtual currency being mined. Though the margins on cryptocurrency mining have come down significantly from where they were in December 2017, it's still quite profitable for miners to validate transactions and collect their reward. This puts NVIDIA's and AMD's GPUs in high demand.
* Bitcoin Investment Trust does not currently operate a redemption program and may halt creations from time to time. There can be no assurance that the value of the shares will approximate the value of the Bitcoin held by the Trust and the shares may trade at a substantial premium over or discount to the value of the Trust's Bitcoin. The Trust may, but will not be required to, seek regulatory approval to operate a redemption program.

Hey RV, could we maybe do a bit more of a technical/tradable look at crypto next? This along with John Burbank's section was very general discussion with rehashed netscape/internet analogies, removing middle men which offer nothing new. Focus is always on the transaction coins (admittedly there was more on smart contracts here) but what about other industries for blockchain: decentralized data, personal data, computing power, energy, supply chain etc?
For many investors, being able to invest in bitcoin through the Bitcoin Investment Trust is worth paying a fairly expensive fee. The trust sponsor deals with all of the mechanics of investing in bitcoin, including obtaining cryptocurrency tokens, holding them in safekeeping, and then making any future transactions as necessary. Investing in the trust is as easy as buying or selling shares when the stock market is open, and that has real advantages over the lengthening processing times involved in handling actual changes of ownership in bitcoin tokens themselves.
I invest in altcoins to grow my BTC position: as such; my altcoin positions are medium to long-term, which is 2–6 months in crypto. As altcoins are traded on most exchanges using the BTC pair, I trade altcoins with the goal of selling the altcoin for more BTC than I paid. This is a new part of my strategy as I historically always tracked investments against fiat but spending time learning from Luke Martin and crucial other Crypto traders have shifted this for me.
These are tokens built on one of the above mentioned platforms. They give access to a specific blockchain application, and are designed for a specific task. Utility tokens are not really my cup of tea yet, as they’re extremely risky due to two things. It’s still too early for mass adoption of these utilities because the technology is not ready yet (Ethereum’s scalability issues, for example), and because we don’t know what platforms will actually become the blockchain backbone of the digital world.
If people have trusted gold to date as a store of value because of its inherent scarcity and resistance to centralized control and price/supply manipulation, bitcoin does all that and more, and does it all better. Gold’s scarcity, as illustrated above, is anything but constant, and we’ve more than doubled our world’s supply of gold in just the last 50 years. Bitcoin, on the other hand, has a precisely and publicly known proliferation schedule, and will approach the limit of its supply in just a few more decades.
Ethereum – Ethereum is the second most famous name in the virtual currency market. It somewhat similar to the concept of bitcoins however it possesses some additional attributes. It is purely a blockchain based platform. What makes it special is the Ethereum Virtual Machine. The blockcain in ethereum is used not to store the data of the transaction but to make sure smooth run of a decentralized application. Having the second highest market cap after bitcoin, the price of ether has started to rally again. After seeing a major pullback from its all-time high above USD 400, ether has regained its footing and is close to its peak levels.

NEW YORK, Oct. 25, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Grayscale Investments, LLC, the sponsor (the "Sponsor") of the Bitcoin Investment Trust (OTCQX: GBTC) (the "Trust"), announced that it has today declared a distribution and established a record date for the distribution of all of the Bitcoin Cash currently held by the Trust to shareholders of record ("Record Date Shareholders") as of the close of business on November 6, 2017 (the "Record Date").
Don’t buy in at market prices, though. Even though this is a convenient option, it usually knocks a few percentages off your value. I always set my buy order 3% below the current market price on exchanges. The market price is never the best price you can get at that moment on exchanges such as Binance, Bittrex, Kucoin and Poloniex. It might take a day before your order is filled if you set the limit price 3% below the market price, but in my experience, my orders have always been filled.
For those who are more comfortable with a predictable form of reward, mining is the way. Mining involves setting up of a rig, consisting of GPUs or CPUs and an investment in the electricity. Mining is only possible on cryptocurrencies that follow the Proof of Work protocol. It takes some effort to setup and gets things running, but it is attractive as a long-term passive income as long as you frontload the work.

In 2011, a study of academics by the University of California indicated that most individual investors achieve results that are worse than standard investment benchmarks. One of the main reasons was that people were trading emotionally, rather than following a clear strategy. Simply put, if in the past they entered a trade that “coincided with pleasure” they would try to repeat those actions and avoid those that “generated pain.”
Basecoin is a stable coin (not volatile cryptocurrency) whose money supply algorithmically contracts and expands based on market demand and a decentralized Consumer Price Index.  What this means in english is that this token is effectively managed by a robot central bank free from the political interference that real central banks face.  We still have not come across a stable coin that can act as an everyday usable cryptocurrency, but doesn’t wind up in fiascos involving the legality of the token (see Tether articles).  If the project works as intentioned, it could change modern currency markets.  One could reasonably pay wages in basecoin, or use basecoin to more effectively trade digital assets, but the best use case of the basecoin would be for the digital currency to alleviate the inflation madness occurring in countries like Venezuela or Zimbabwe.  
Cboe’s futures are cash-settled and based on the Gemini auction price for bitcoin in U.S. dollars. The exchange plans to impose trading limits to curb volatility, halting trading for two minutes if prices rise or fall 10 percent, and a five-minute halt kicks in at 20 percent. Margins for Cboe bitcoin futures, which will be cleared by Options Clearing Corp., will be at 40 percent or higher.
I don’t chase the market. I have, and I have been burned. FOMO is not part of my strategy and I covered this in my blog. When a coin is making a parabolic move, and you chase it you can easily be caught as it drops back. If something goes up 20x in a short space of time, it has to do another 20x from the original position for you to achieve a 2x. There are always other trades out there.
Connecting your bank account through an ACH transfer is a versatile option, allowing you to use a checking or savings account to buy Bitcoin or cash out when you want to sell. You’ll also be able to purchase a substantially larger amount of Bitcoin because of their higher buying limits. Just keep in mind that it can take up to 5 days for the transfer to be complete, and the value of Bitcoin can drastically change in that timeframe.
Most altcoins will reach a specific peak during a trading cycle, and the goal is to exit as close to the top as possible, the difficulty is identifying the top. I monitor these positions regularly and try and determine momentum. Depending on the coin and speed of growth, I will look to remove my original BTC investment as quickly as possible, for example, with 3–4x I will take out the initial investment, maintaining my original BTC position but, essentially freerolling the rest. From this point, each 100% move will lead to a 25% reduction in position until I feel that a coin has reached a peak, at which point I will exit the entire trade.
While the number of merchants who accept cryptocurrencies has steadily increased, they are still very much in the minority. For cryptocurrencies to become more widely used, they have to first gain widespread acceptance among consumers. However, their relative complexity compared to conventional currencies will likely deter most people, except for the technologically adept.
Still, Interactive Brokers will offer its customers access to the futures, though with greater restrictions. They won’t be able to go short -- betting that prices will decline -- and Interactive’s margin requirement, or how much investors have to set aside as collateral, will be at least 50 percent. That’s higher than either Cboe’s or CME’s margin requirements.
It is when the next financial crisis happens and people are locked out of their bank accounts that they will see the power of crypto and bitcoin (think Greece and Cyprus). Outside of precious metals there is no other escape from the corrupt debt based fractional reserve monetary system the world is trapped in -- Also, there are like 3 billion people in the world that are unbanked -- that alone should get someone to take 1 percent of their net worth into crypto -- the risk reward is insane. As far as the criminal activity in bitcoin LOL!!! OMG banks have committed more fraud and crimes and nothing happens to them. Under federal and state laws known as civil forfeiture, police can seize cash or property if they suspect it's tied to an illegal activity even if the property owner isn't charged with a crime -- Supreme Court has upheld this. I am sorry I do not trust governments (who in their right mind would) and am glad there is a place I can hold some of my wealth outside of their reach.
Zcash is a crypto that aims to solve the same issues Monero does. Zcash leverages zero-knowledge proof constructions called zk-SNARKs. These constructions allow two users to exchange information without revealing their identities. The bitcoin blockchain contains records of the participants in a transaction, as well as the amount involved. On the other hand, Zcash’s blockchain shows only that a transaction took place, not who was involved or what the amount was.
Most traders use a combination of the two but will tend to give weight towards one over the other. Chris Burniske, author of Cryptoassets: The Innovative Investor’s Guide to Bitcoin and Beyond, covered this recently on Twitter, explaining that it is essential that you understand what kind of strategy is right for you. He shared a link from Investopedia, outlining the difference.
"Virtual currencies might just give existing currencies and monetary policy a run for their money," International Monetary Fund director Christine Lagarde predicted last fall. "Citizens may one day prefer virtual currencies, since they potentially offer the same cost and convenience as cash — no settlement risks, no clearing delays, no central registration, no intermediary to check accounts and identities," she said.

Indeed, some market movements are fundamentally unpredictable in their short term timing. Two very vivid examples of this were the collapse of Mt Gox for bitcoin, and the hacking of the DAO for ethereum. Both of these events absolutely cratered the price of bitcoin and ethereum respectively, and both of them were fundamentally unpredictable in their exact timing. These are examples of the black swan events I mentioned that are certain to continue playing a large role in short term price developments for bitcoin and all other cryptocurrencies at large, that make it doubly dangerous for those who day trade.


Investments, under this distinction, would be clarified as things that could generally be safely assured not to suffer from dramatic, catastrophic losses in the absence of dramatic, catastrophic situations. Coca-Cola and Walmart might be considered investments. They’ve been around for well over a century and a half century respectively, are massive, mature companies with a healthy track record of stable, non-volatile growth, and show no general signs of turmoil that might portend a sudden collapse in value.
Similarly, if you were able to bet at 1:2 odds (meaning if you bet $100 and win, you get $200) that a coin would yield heads, this would also be very +EV (positive expected value). The coin would still yield heads half the time, but that half of the time, you would earn $200, and the other half of the time, you would only lose $100. Hence, repeating this bet an infinite number of times would allow you to dramatically earn more money than you lost yet again.
In general, bigger market cap coins are less risky but have a lower chance of phenomenal returns. On the other hand, lower market cap coins generally have much more risk attached, but sometimes have the potential for greater gains. In cryptocurrency you must be aware that a large market cap coin can still potentially lose 70% or even 100% of it’s value.
While the number of merchants who accept cryptocurrencies has steadily increased, they are still very much in the minority. For cryptocurrencies to become more widely used, they have to first gain widespread acceptance among consumers. However, their relative complexity compared to conventional currencies will likely deter most people, except for the technologically adept.
With the advent of smart contracts made possible by the blockchain, however, this is (soon-to-be) a thing of the past. One can create a simple smart contract at effectively almost no cost that specifies in code that each party will send it $100 in bitcoin, and that upon the completion of the election process, it will either send all $200 to the party that bet on Donald Trump winning the election, or send the $200 to the party that bet on him losing the election. No ifs, ands, or buts. The code is clear, objective, and deterministic. Either the contract is fulfilled in one direction, or it is fulfilled in the other. No need to trust the other party in the bet at all, much less a third party to mediate.
Civic is a “secure identity platform” that provides on-demand, secure, and low-cost identity verification on the blockchain.  Civic is trying to eliminate the need for usernames and passwords, so it provides multi-factor authentication without a password, username, physical hardware token, or third party authenticator. All the data is fully encrypted in the app. This means that the creators/owners do not have any access to your personal data, and you only share what YOU want to share about yourself.
However, as I’ve mentioned before, this is far more difficult, if not impossible, to do with cryptocurrency, more than even normal investment vehicles like stocks. I’ve seen people who think that bitcoin has hit a peak and must necessarily stop going up sell, intending to wait until bitcoin falls again to buy in again and make maybe a 20% extra profit, miss out entirely because bitcoin kept going up and never came back down. There are numerous stories of those who bought into bitcoin at $1 or less, but sold well before it ever reached even $10, much less $2500.
For instance, if two parties decide to make a bet on Donald Trump winning the election, historically, this could only be done by either word of honor or by some ad hoc legal contract. For a say, small $100 bet, it would be absolutely a non-starter to pursue legal action in the case that one of the parties decided to renege on the deal in the aftermath of the election. Normally, the reneged-upon party would simply be left in the dust without recourse.
There is also the Bitcoin Investment Trust from Grayscale Investments. We’re mentioning it for the sake of comprehensiveness, but it’s a bit of a different animal. The fund is invested in bitcoin, but keep in mind, you’re actually buying the fund, not bitcoin. You’re a step removed from owning actual bitcoin, even though you are still exposed to its volatility. The pluses, Grayscale says on its site, are that you get the structure and tax benefits you wouldn’t get trading bitcoin directly; on the other hand, fees will eat up a chunk of anything you earn, negating the reason many people are drawn to cryptocurrencies in the first place. All of which is to say, you should really, really know what you’re doing as an investor if you’re going to dive into this pool.
To buy a crypto or multiple cryptos for the best average price, dollar cost averaging is the best way to go. In a previous article, I fully describe this method. Dollar cost averaging is used to gain the average best price for an investment, and it removes all emotions from the equation. You ignore market sentiment, price fluctuations, and your own beliefs by setting up a buying schedule. This schedule comprises two elements: the frequency of buy-ins and the amount you’re investing during each buying round.
The administrator, which is the entity that decides how your personal data will be used, is Pinewood Holdings Limited with its registered office at: 35 Strait Street, Valletta VLT 1434, Malta, entered into the company register under number C 86244. Additionally, access to your personal data will be given to our co-administrators: taXsaprent Sp. z o.o. with its registered office in Katowice at ul. Kępowa 45, registered in the National Court Register maintained by the Katowice-Wschód VIII Commercial department of the Court in Katowice, under KRS number 0000720989. Bitbay Sp. z o.o. with its registered office in Katowice (40-583), ul. Kępowa 45. More information and contact with the inspector.

This, too, is not merely a theoretical matter. Ethereum did indeed hard fork after the DAO hack, and split off into ETH (the current dominant blockchain for ethereum) and ETC (the ‘classic’, or original blockchain for ethereum). As of this time, ETC is worth over $20 a coin — more, in fact, than all of ethereum was worth before the hack. Had I kept my ethereum on Coinbase or another exchange like it at the time of the hard fork, I personally would have lost 5 figures in ETC (at present values) merely because the exchanges wouldn’t give me access to these coins that I rightfully owned.

This has been the traditional method of earning bitcoin however, the rise of bitcoin mining farms has made it difficult to compete with for the average person. Not to mention the cost and maintenance of the hardware. Cloud Mining is an alternative that let’s you essentially rent hardware that’s already been setup for mining remotely. Saving you the hassle and setup costs.
I hope that this elucidation provides some insight into why I personally see it as suspect to invest in something based on price alone, and why I urge extreme caution particularly if one is exploring whether or not to invest in an altcoin, especially if one is at least partially motivated to do so because of the feeling that the ship has already sailed for bitcoin, and that there might be better potential for outsized gains with a smaller altcoin. Again, this certainly may be true, and often is true even for altcoins destined for eventual failure in the short term while a bubble/bull market continues, but risks are amplified just as much as the opportunity itself when it comes to altcoins, and oftentimes moreso in a bubble than otherwise.

The simplest example is flipping a coin. This will yield heads 50% of the time, and tails 50% of the time. Expected value of betting on the coin yielding heads, hence, is 0. This is because in any one given flip, the coin has exactly a 50% chance of coming up heads. Hence, if you bet $100 on the coin coming up heads an infinite number of times, your expected gain, or value, from such an action, is to be $0.
There isn't much liquidity in the bitcoin marketplace, relatively speaking, meaning that the volume of trading activity is relatively low. When liquidity is low, volatility is high. Some of the giants in the bitcoin world also own significant amounts of the cryptocurrency, meaning that they can move the price relatively easily by trading large amounts in a short period.
While futures products still carry unique and often significant risks, they can potentially provide a more regulated and stable environment to provide some exposure to bitcoin as a commodity as well. You should carefully consider whether trading in bitcoin futures is appropriate for you in light of your experience, objectives, financial resources, and other relevant circumstances.
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