A ledger is a database technology used to record transaction histories and ownership; it is a definitive account of who has given what to who, and who owns what. Most ledger technologies are physical and they’re centralized -- they’re controlled by a central bank.  This means that they are subject to the discretion and power of individuals, and are alterable and impermanent. This gives those ledger recording entities a tremendous amount of power over an individual’s financial transactions; it also means the ledger is vulnerable to manipulation.
If someone steals your Trezor, they won’t be able to find your coins either, as they’re protected by a PIN that only you know (plus a password if you want to use that feature I mentioned above). You can also recover the coins yourself with the recovery seed the Trezor will give you the first time you use it, which you should store in a super safe location like a safe deposit box somewhere. If you don’t use utilize the password feature, however, keep in mind that anyone who discovers this recovery seed instantly has access to all your coins, and all your other forms of security are for naught. If you enable the password feature, however, they will need your password as well as the recovery seed in able to access your cryptocurrency, which makes it significantly more secure.
There is no doubt bitcoin still has issues, which is why we continue to see such wild volatility. Bitcoin wants to move higher, but it keeps getting pulled back down by the fraudsters that want to cheat the system. Things are changing quickly, and for the better, it won’t be long before those scammers get stomped out, and when it happens, bitcoin will be left with little to hold it down.

Some futures brokers can have bigger margin requirements, and some require high minimums to open an account, like $25,000 at TD Ameritrade. The futures exchange guarantees traders will get what they are owed but can demand more cash be put into the account if the bet is losing money. That's a serious risk when speculating on a volatile asset like bitcoin, LaPointe says.
IBM (IBM) has developed blockchain technology that they are using with a large variety of partners in a large variety of industries. One example is their partnership with food retailers, most notably Walmart, to help quickly, efficiently, and securely track the supply chain to help ensure ideal food safety. They have also partnered with Maersk to work on a blockchain platform for global trade.
Bitcoin is further ingeniously devised to guarantee that on average, new bitcoins are only found every 10 minutes or so. It guarantees this by ensuring that the code that dictates the new creation of bitcoin automatically increases the difficulty of the proof-of-work system in proportion to the number of computers trying to solve the problem at hand.
Steindorff: We believe that we’re still in the early stages of adoption of decentralized protocols. The technology itself is evolving quickly and most of the technology is aimed at developers, not at end users. However, the run up in prices has attracted more interest in the space. This is a feature, not a bug. It is part of how tokenized protocols bootstrap by levering off of interest from investors, attracting new developers, and ultimately driving more adoption. 
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A question to everybody out there who knows more about cryptos and blockchain than I do (so basically everybody...): is there actually a real life application for cryptos for Joe Sixpack who does not live in a 3rd world country? I owned bitcoin at some point and it was a pain in the a.. to make any use of them. So, is there something nowerdays which would make my life easier if I used cryptos? Answers very much appreciated.

With this strategy, I’ve been trying to build a systematic approach to buying low and selling high that will continuously increase the value of my portfolio. It rides the big waves of the crypto market in a relaxed way. Don’t try to predict anything, but just go with the flow. Also, don’t sweat the small movements. The market is incredibly volatile, and the sooner you accept this and learn to ignore it, the better.


Bitcoin was the investing story of 2017, with prices of the cryptocurrency soaring into the stratosphere. That success lured many bitcoin investors into the market at what proved to be a short-term top, and since the beginning of the year, bitcoin has lost about half its value and is down more than 65% from its highest levels. Some see bitcoin's pullback as proof that the cryptocurrency craze is over, while others think it could represent yet another in a long line of buying opportunities following major pullbacks.

The digital assets market will either be 0 or a multi-trillion dollar space. We obviously believe the latter. Highly disruptive technologies have always experienced tremendous challenges early on. Most people are unaware that even technologies such as the automobile and the lightbulb were initially met with massive resistance. Initially, technological breakthroughs do not have the right infrastructure in place to showcase their true potential. This will take time, but if it’s truly transformative the infrastructure will eventually develop, and the new technology will be accepted. We think the truly extraordinary returns will come earlier in the cycle from investors willing to take the extra risk. In my opinion we’ll look back on this day like it was mid-1990’s internet, we had the vision, but the true winners had not distinguished themselves yet. 
There are two fundamental classes of venture methodologies. One is dynamic venture and another is aloof speculation. The previous one includes dynamic administration of speculation portfolios and financial specialists need to alter their positions regularly. The last one stays away from visit tradings and it goes for consistent development in riches after some time.

Crypto tokens are essentially startup companies, therefore when reviewing blockchain infrastructure projects, look for the ones that control their own intellectual property, not the ones which are clones of some other blockchain. When looking at blockchain based projects, look for the ones that are solving a real market problem, have a real business plan, and an experienced team behind them. Avoid tokens which pay people to use them or tokens which look like a marketing operation without substance or tokens which just happen to be listed by some exchange for no reason. And for god sake don’t refresh coinmarketcap.com every few minutes.
What is needed is an electronic payment system based on cryptographic proof instead of trust, allowing any two willing parties to transact directly with each other without the need for a trusted third party. Transactions that are computationally impractical to reverse would protect sellers from fraud, and routine escrow mechanisms could easily be implemented to protect buyers.
The Bank for International Settlements, the central banker for global central banks, has warned that cryptocurrencies in the future could become a "threat to financial stability" if regulators aren't vigilant. U.S. regulators appear to be playing catch-up. As of Feb. 6, the cryptocurrency working group put together by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had held a single meeting.
For successful cryptocurrency projects, it’s ICO is usually the cheapest time to make an investment. This means that we are able to get the maximum multiples on our investment. However, this upside comes with a lot of risks. Unfortunately there are many scam ICOs out there and many projects never really take off. This area of cryptocurrency investment really is high risk/high reward and because of that, we cannot allocate a sizeable portion of our portfolio to it.

This is especially true given the number of new cryptocurrencies that have entered the market. There is no industry that is targeted by only one cryptocurrency, and even if you manage to find such an industry, new players will likely surface. IOTA was the crypto that didn’t use blockchain; now there’s Nano, Circle, and Hashgraph. Ripple was the crypto for banks; now there’s Stellar slowly eating away at Ripple’s first mover advantage.
Even now, as ethereum flirts with a $500 price point and a ~$46B market cap, we believe that if Ethereum becomes the dominant smart contract protocol its market cap will be in excess of a trillion dollars. There are a lot of things that need to take place in the meantime to make this a reality, specifically around scalability but the potential is certainly real given the breadth and scope of its disruptive technology.
When signing up on these exchanges for the first time, do make it a point to verify your account with the required documents early, as you do not want to be caught in the middle of some tedious and slow admin work when the trading opportunity comes. Verification on these exchanges may take days, and purchase/withdraw limits may only increase gradually as you trade.
Numerous banks and other financial institutions failed across the world, and had to be bailed out by governments at the expense of their taxpayers. This underscored the fragility of the modern financial system, where the health of our monetary system is reliant on banks and other financial institutions that we are forced to trust to make wise and prudent decisions with the money we give them. Too often for comfort, they fail to carry out this fiduciary responsibility to an adequate degree.

Steindorff: We launched our first fund, Focus Investments in 2014, so we were one of the first crypto funds in existence. This was a much more challenging time to educate investors on the market opportunity because the asset class hadn’t had enough time to prove itself. Bitcoin had been in the news, but not always for the right reasons. Convincing traditional investors of the value of seeding the next generation of tokenized, open source and decentralized protocols was pretty far out there at the time. But, the exercise of educating traditional investors on this emerging digital asset class helped us refine our thesis and those early investors have become some of our biggest advocates. Things have changed quite a bit since then. There is now quite a strong tailwind for the space, and investors have done much more diligence and reading on the space before we meet. 
NEW YORK, Dec. 29, 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 the rights to Bitcoin Segwit2X tokens currently held by the Trust as a result of the fork in the Bitcoin blockchain on December 28, 2017 to shareholders of record ("Record Date Shareholders") as of the close of business on January 8, 2018 (the "Record Date").
This goes hand in hand with mistake number four I mentioned above: day trading. This is absolutely number one the reason I see people who have gotten into bitcoin and cryptocurrency lose their money. If you at almost any point in the history of bitcoin (earlier than say, this month of June), merely bought bitcoin and held it to the present day, you would have made money. However, countless people have actually lost money in bitcoin, and this is because they ended up trading their bitcoin somewhere along the way.

If you’re interested in learning more about value investing at large, I’d highly recommend The Intelligent Investor, by Benjamin Graham, who again was Warren Buffett’s personal mentor and a professor of economics at Columbia University. He pioneered a lot of the foundational concepts around value investing, and can give you much better and more nuanced advice than I ever could.

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The book’s General Kutosov perfectly encapsulates this. The Commander-in-Chief of the Russian army, Tolstoy’s Kutosov does not see the struggle as a personal one between himself and the French Emperor, but rather an event influenced by a plenitude of known and unknown factors – morale, the weather, the temperature of the stew –  which can only be observed and reacted to.
I strongly disagree with what Robert & Brian posted. I have been following the crypto / blockchain space for 4 years and investing in it for nearly 3 years. I am seeing enormous amounts of financial & human capital, investor interest and passion flood this industry. Unless you are seeing the amount of work going on behind the scenes, it is easy to dismiss this stuff as frivolous or even "rat poison". However, Jamie Dimon just said that technology is the #1 threat to JP Morgan. The technology he is thinking about is blockchain / crypto. To borrow a quote from twitter, crypto is rat poison and the banks are the rats. Ignore this space at your own peril.

This ability to transact more anonymously in a digital, global fashion than ever before has indeed opened the gateway to some of bitcoin’s more infamous use cases. Much illicit activity has been enabled by this pseudonymity of bitcoin, including the sale of drugs and other illegal goods online. A more recent development has also been ransomware, whereby malware can now cut straight to the chase and lock up your computer and demand straight up money in the form of bitcoin in exchange for the release of your computer’s data.
Johnny Steindorff  launched Focus Investments in 2014.  Focus was one of the first pure play crypto funds to launch, and was a first mover in what is now a burgeoning sector of active management.  Being such an early adopter, Focus faced significant headwinds launching and managing a fund based on an emergent asset class with no institutional backing.  However, their strategy proved extremely prescient, and Focus aggressively took advantage of the several thousand percent growth of the crypto sector into a ~$300B+ asset class.

Bitcoin fundamentally changes this equation. Unlike even gold, bitcoin is nigh impossible, when stored correctly, for anyone to confiscate without consent. The addresses at which bitcoin values are stored are protected by ‘private keys’, which can be thought of as a password or a key to a lockbox. Without this private key, it is generally impossible to steal the bitcoins held at the public address to which the private key corresponds. So long as you keep this private key secure, your bitcoins are secure.
Unfortunately, the gold standard collapsed multiple times during the 20th century and was ultimately abandoned altogether by almost every nation in the world, because governments effectively played fractional reserve banking with their gold reserves. Who could blame them? It must be irresistibly tempting, knowing that in all likelihood, the vast majority of the time, only a fraction of people will ever want to trade in their dollars for gold. Why hold all that gold when you could hold just a fraction of it and get to spend the rest with no consequences in the short term?
Bitcoin still is the king of crypto. It drags altcoins down hard when it drops, but, conversely, doesn’t necessarily cause altcoins to spike when it rises. Ultimately, you will have to decide whether your end game is to build as much Bitcoin holdings is possible by exchanging your altcoins, or whether you believe altcoins have a sustainable, profitable future too.
If you have an account with us but are not approved to trade futures, you first need to request futures trading privileges. Be sure to check that you have the right permissions and meet funding requirements on your account before you apply. Please note that the approval process may take 1-2 business days. Once you have been granted futures approval, contact the Futures Desk at 866-839-1100 or email us to request access to /XBT.
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