How to Invest in Bitcoin: A Guide for Beginners

Lines of Navigation | Monthly Portfolio Update - July 202

Our little systems have their day;
They have their day and cease to be
- Tennyson, In Memoriam A.H.H.
This is my forty-fourth portfolio update. I complete this update monthly to check my progress against my goal.
Portfolio goal
My objective is to reach a portfolio of $2 180 000 by 1 July 2021. This would produce a real annual income of about $87 000 (in 2020 dollars).
This portfolio objective is based on an expected average real return of 3.99 per cent, or a nominal return of 6.49 per cent.
Portfolio summary
Total portfolio value: $1 800 119 (+$34 376 or 1.9%)
Asset allocation
Presented visually, below is a high-level view of the current asset allocation of the portfolio.
[Chart]
Comments
The portfolio has substantially increased this month, continuing the recovery in portfolio value since March.
The strong portfolio growth of over $34 000, or 1.9 per cent, returns the value of the portfolio close to that achieved at the end of February this year.
[Chart]
This month there was minimal movement in the value of Australian and global equity holdings, There was, however, a significant lift of around 6 per cent in the value of gold exchange traded fund units, as well as a rise in the value of Bitcoin holdings.
These movements have pushed the value of gold holdings to their highest level so far on the entire journey. Their total value has approximately doubled since the original major purchases across 2009 to 2015.
For most of the past year gold has functioned as a portfolio stabiliser, having a negative correlation to movements in Australian equities (of around -0.3 to -0.4). As low and negative bond rates spread across the world, however, the opportunity cost of holding gold is reduced, and its potential diversification benefits loom larger.
The fixed income holdings of the portfolio also continued to fall beneath the target allocation, making this question of what represents a defensive (or negatively correlated to equity) asset far from academic.
This steady fall is a function of the slow maturing of Ratesetter loans, which were largely made between 2015 and 2017. Ratesetter has recently advised of important changes to its market operation, and placed a fixed maximum cap on new loan rates. By replacing market set rates with maximum rates, the peer-to-peer lending platform appears to be shifting to more of a 'intermediated' role in which higher past returns (of around 8 to 9 per cent) will now no longer be possible.
[Chart]
The expanding value of gold and Bitcoin holdings since January last year have actually had the practical effect of driving new investments into equities, since effectively for each dollar of appreciation, for example, my target allocation to equities rises by seven dollars.
Consistent with this, investments this month have been in the Vanguard international shares exchange-traded fund (VGS) using Selfwealth. This has been directed to bring my actual asset allocation more closely in line with the target split between Australian and global shares.
Fathoming out: franking credits and portfolio distributions
Earlier last month I released a summary of portfolio income over the past half year. This, like all before it, noted that the summary was prepared on a purely 'cash' basis, reflecting dividends actually paid into a bank account, and excluding consideration of franking credits.
Franking credits are credits for company tax paid at the company level, which can be passed to individual shareholders, reducing their personal tax liability. They are not cash, but for a personal investor with tax liabilities they can have equivalent value. This means that comparing equity returns to other investments without factoring these credits can produce a distorted picture of an investor's final after-tax return.
In past portfolio summaries I have noted an estimate for franking credits in footnotes, but updating the value for this recently resulted in a curiosity about the overall significance of this neglected element of my equity returns.
This neglect resulted from my perception earlier in the journey that they represented a marginal and abstract factor, which could effectively be assumed away for the sake of simplicity in reporting.
This is not a wholly unfair view, in the sense that income physically received and able to be spent is something definably different in kind than a notional 'pre-payment' credit for future tax costs. Yet, as the saying goes, because the prospect of personal tax is as certain as extinction from this world, in some senses a credit of this kind can be as valuable as a cash distribution.
Restoring the record: trends and drivers of franking credits
To collect a more accurate picture of the trends and drivers of franking credits I relied on a few sources - tax statements, records and the automatic franking credit estimates that the portfolio tracking site Sharesight generates.
The chart below sets out both the level and major different sources of franking credits received over the past eleven years.
[Chart]
From this chart some observations can be made.
The key reason for the rapid growth over the recent decade has been the increased investment holdings in Australian equities. As part of the deliberate rebalancing towards Australian shares across the past two years, these holdings have expanded.
The chart below sets out the total value of Australian shares held over the comparable period.
[Chart]
As an example, at the beginning of this record Australian equities valued at around $276 000 were held. Three years later, the holding were nearly three times larger.
The phase of consistently increasing the Australian equities holding to meet its allocated weighting is largely complete. This means that the period of rapid growth seen in the past few years is unlikely to repeat. Rather, growth will revert to be in proportion to total portfolio growth.
Close to cross-over: the credit card records
One of the most powerful initial motivators to reach financial independence was the concept of the 'cross over' point in Vicki Robins and Joe Dominguez's Your Money or Your Life. This was the point at which monthly expenses are exceeded by investment income.
One of the metrics I have traced is this 'cross-over' point in relation to recorded credit card expenses. And this point is now close indeed.
Expenditures on the credit card have continued their downward trajectory across the past month. The three year rolling average of monthly credit card spending remains at its lowest point over the period of the journey. Distributions on the same basis now meet over 99 per cent of card expenses - with the gap now the equivalent of less than $50 per month.
[Chart]
The period since April of the achievement of a notional and contingent form of financial independence has continued.
The below chart illustrates this temporary state, setting out the the extent to which to which portfolio distributions (red) cover estimated total expenses (green), measured month to month.
[Chart]
An alternative way to view the same data is to examine the degree to which total expenses (i.e. fixed payments not made on credit card added to monthly credit card expenses) are met by distributions received.
An updated version of this is seen in the chart below.
[Chart]
Interestingly, on a trend basis, this currently identifies a 'crossing over' point of trend distributions fully meeting total expenditure from around November 2019. This is not conclusive, however, as the trend curve is sensitive to the unusual COVID-19 related observations of the first half of this year, and could easily shift further downward if normal expense patterns resume.
One issue this analysis raises is what to do with the 'credit card purchases' measure reported below. This measure is designed to provide a stylised benchmark of how close the current portfolio is to a target of generating the income required to meet an annual average credit card expenditure of $71 000.
The problem with this is that continued falling credit card spending means that average credit card spending is lower than that benchmark for all time horizons - measured as three and four year averages, or in fact taken as a whole since 2013. So the set benchmark may, if anything, be understating actual progress compared the graphs and data above by not reflecting changing spending levels.
In the past I have addressed this trend by reducing the benchmark. Over coming months, or perhaps at the end of the year, I will need to revisit both the meaning, and method, of setting this measure.
Progress
Progress against the objective, and the additional measures I have reached is set out below.
Measure Portfolio All Assets
Portfolio objective – $2 180 000 (or $87 000 pa) 82.6% 111.5%
Credit card purchases – $71 000 pa 100.7% 136.0%
Total expenses – $89 000 pa 80.7% 109.0%
Summary
One of the most challenging aspects of closing in on a fixed numerical target for financial independence with risk assets still in place is that the updrafts and downdrafts of market movements can push the goal further away, or surprisingly close.
There have been long period of the journey where the total value of portfolio has barely grown, despite regular investments being made. As an example, the portfolio ended 2018 lower than it started the year. The past six months have been another such period. This can create a sense of treading water.
Yet amidst the economic devastation affecting real lives and businesses, this is an extremely fortunate position to be in. Australia and the globe are set to experience an economic contraction far more severe than the Global Financial Crisis, with a lesser capacity than previously for interest rates to cushion the impact. Despite similar measures being adopted by governments to address the downturn, it is not clear whether these are fit for purpose.
Asset allocation in this environment - of being almost suspended between two realities - is a difficult problem. The history of markets can tell us that just when assets seem most 'broken', they can produce outsized returns. Yet the problem remains that far from being surrounded by broken markets, the proliferation appears to be in bubble-like conditions.
This recent podcast discussion with the founder of Grant's Interest Rate Observer provided a useful historical context to current financial conditions this month. One of the themes of the conversation was 'thinking the unthinkable', such as a return of inflation. Similar, this Hoover Institute video discussion, with a 'Back from the future' premise, provides some entertaining, informed and insightful views on the surprising and contingent nature of what we know to be true.
Some of our little systems may well have had their day, but what could replace them remains obscured to any observer.
The post, links and full charts can be seen here.
submitted by thefiexpl to fiaustralia [link] [comments]

ETHE & GBTC (Grayscale) Frequently Asked Questions

It is no doubt Grayscale’s booming popularity as a mainstream investment has caused a lot of community hullabaloo lately. As such, I felt it was worth making a FAQ regarding the topic. I’m looking to update this as needed and of course am open to suggestions / adding any questions.
The goal is simply to have a thread we can link to anyone with questions on Grayscale and its products. Instead of explaining the same thing 3 times a day, shoot those posters over to this thread. My hope is that these questions are answered in a fairly simple and easy to understand manner. I think as the sub grows it will be a nice reference point for newcomers.
Disclaimer: I do NOT work for Grayscale and as such am basing all these answers on information that can be found on their website / reports. (Grayscale’s official FAQ can be found here). I also do NOT have a finance degree, I do NOT have a Series 6 / 7 / 140-whatever, and I do NOT work with investment products for my day job. I have an accounting background and work within the finance world so I have the general ‘business’ knowledge to put it all together, but this is all info determined in my best faith effort as a layman. The point being is this --- it is possible I may explain something wrong or missed the technical terms, and if that occurs I am more than happy to update anything that can be proven incorrect
Everything below will be in reference to ETHE but will apply to GBTC as well. If those two segregate in any way, I will note that accordingly.
What is Grayscale? 
Grayscale is the company that created the ETHE product. Their website is https://grayscale.co/
What is ETHE? 
ETHE is essentially a stock that intends to loosely track the price of ETH. It does so by having each ETHE be backed by a specific amount of ETH that is held on chain. Initially, the newly minted ETHE can only be purchased by institutions and accredited investors directly from Grayscale. Once a year has passed (6 months for GBTC) it can then be listed on the OTCQX Best Market exchange for secondary trading. Once listed on OTCQX, anyone investor can purchase at this point. Additional information on ETHE can be found here.
So ETHE is an ETF? 
No. For technical reasons beyond my personal understandings it is not labeled an ETF. I know it all flows back to the “Securities Act Rule 144”, but due to my limited knowledge on SEC regulations I don’t want to misspeak past that. If anyone is more knowledgeable on the subject I am happy to input their answer here.
How long has ETHE existed? 
ETHE was formed 12/14/2017. GBTC was formed 9/25/2013.
How is ETHE created? 
The trust will issue shares to “Authorized Participants” in groups of 100 shares (called baskets). Authorized Participants are the only persons that may place orders to create these baskets and they do it on behalf of the investor.
Source: Creation and Redemption of Shares section on page 39 of the “Grayscale Ethereum Trust Annual Report (2019)” – Located Here
Note – The way their reports word this makes it sound like there is an army of authorizers doing the dirty work, but in reality there is only one Authorized Participant. At this moment the “Genesis” company is the sole Authorized Participant. Genesis is owned by the “Digital Currency Group, Inc.” which is the parent company of Grayscale as well. (And to really go down the rabbit hole it looks like DCG is the parent company of CoinDesk and is “backing 150+ companies across 30 countries, including Coinbase, Ripple, and Chainalysis.”)
Source: Digital Currency Group, Inc. informational section on page 77 of the “Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (BTC) Form 10-K (2019)” – Located Here
Source: Barry E. Silbert informational section on page 75 of the “Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (BTC) Form 10-K (2019)” – Located Here
How does Grayscale acquire the ETH to collateralize the ETHE product? 
An Investor may acquire ETHE by paying in cash or exchanging ETH already owned.
Source: Creation and Redemption of Shares section on page 40 of the “Grayscale Ethereum Trust Annual Report (2019)” – Located Here
Where does Grayscale store their ETH? Does it have a specific wallet address we can follow? 
ETH is stored with Coinbase Custody Trust Company, LLC. I am unaware of any specific address or set of addresses that can be used to verify the ETH is actually there.
As an aside - I would actually love to see if anyone knows more about this as it’s something that’s sort of peaked my interest after being asked about it… I find it doubtful we can find that however.
Source: Part C. Business Information, Item 8, subsection A. on page 16 of the “Grayscale Ethereum Trust Annual Report (2019)” – Located Here
Can ETHE be redeemed for ETH? 
No, currently there is no way to give your shares of ETHE back to Grayscale to receive ETH back. The only method of getting back into ETH would be to sell your ETHE to someone else and then use those proceeds to buy ETH yourself.
Source: Redemption Procedures on page 41 of the “Grayscale Ethereum Trust Annual Report (2019)” – Located Here
Why are they not redeeming shares? 
I think the report summarizes it best:
Redemptions of Shares are currently not permitted and the Trust is unable to redeem Shares. Subject to receipt of regulatory approval from the SEC and approval by the Sponsor in its sole discretion, the Trust may in the future operate a redemption program. Because the Trust does not believe that the SEC would, at this time, entertain an application for the waiver of rules needed in order to operate an ongoing redemption program, the Trust currently has no intention of seeking regulatory approval from the SEC to operate an ongoing redemption program.
Source: Redemption Procedures on page 41 of the “Grayscale Ethereum Trust Annual Report (2019)” – Located Here
What is the fee structure? 
ETHE has an annual fee of 2.5%. GBTC has an annual fee of 2.0%. Fees are paid by selling the underlying ETH / BTC collateralizing the asset.
Source: ETHE’s informational page on Grayscale’s website - Located Here
Source: Description of Trust on page 31 & 32 of the “Grayscale Ethereum Trust Annual Report (2019)” – Located Here
What is the ratio of ETH to ETHE? 
At the time of posting (6/19/2020) each ETHE share is backed by .09391605 ETH. Each share of GBTC is backed by .00096038 BTC.
ETHE & GBTC’s specific information page on Grayscale’s website updates the ratio daily – Located Here
For a full historical look at this ratio, it can be found on the Grayscale home page on the upper right side if you go to Tax Documents > 2019 Tax Documents > Grayscale Ethereum Trust 2019 Tax Letter.
Why is the ratio not 1:1? Why is it always decreasing? 
While I cannot say for certain why the initial distribution was not a 1:1 backing, it is more than likely to keep the price down and allow more investors a chance to purchase ETHE / GBTC.
As noted above, fees are paid by selling off the ETH collateralizing ETHE. So this number will always be trending downward as time goes on.
Source: Description of Trust on page 32 of the “Grayscale Ethereum Trust Annual Report (2019)” – Located Here
I keep hearing about how this is locked supply… explain? 
As noted above, there is currently no redemption program for converting your ETHE back into ETH. This means that once an ETHE is issued, it will remain in circulation until a redemption program is formed --- something that doesn’t seem to be too urgent for the SEC or Grayscale at the moment. Tiny amounts will naturally be removed due to fees, but the bulk of the asset is in there for good.
Knowing that ETHE cannot be taken back and destroyed at this time, the ETH collateralizing it will not be removed from the wallet for the foreseeable future. While it is not fully locked in the sense of say a totally lost key, it is not coming out any time soon.
Per their annual statement:
The Trust’s ETH will be transferred out of the ETH Account only in the following circumstances: (i) transferred to pay the Sponsor’s Fee or any Additional Trust Expenses, (ii) distributed in connection with the redemption of Baskets (subject to the Trust’s obtaining regulatory approval from the SEC to operate an ongoing redemption program and the consent of the Sponsor), (iii) sold on an as-needed basis to pay Additional Trust Expenses or (iv) sold on behalf of the Trust in the event the Trust terminates and liquidates its assets or as otherwise required by law or regulation.
Source: Description of Trust on page 31 of the “Grayscale Ethereum Trust Annual Report (2019)” – Located Here
Grayscale now owns a huge chunk of both ETH and BTC’s supply… should we be worried about manipulation, a sell off to crash the market crash, a staking cartel? 
First, it’s important to remember Grayscale is a lot more akin to an exchange then say an investment firm. Grayscale is working on behalf of its investors to create this product for investor control. Grayscale doesn’t ‘control’ the ETH it holds any more then Coinbase ‘controls’ the ETH in its hot wallet. (Note: There are likely some varying levels of control, but specific to this topic Grayscale cannot simply sell [legally, at least] the ETH by their own decision in the same manner Coinbase wouldn't be able to either.)
That said, there shouldn’t be any worry in the short to medium time-frame. As noted above, Grayscale can’t really remove ETH other than for fees or termination of the product. At 2.5% a year, fees are noise in terms of volume. Grayscale seems to be the fastest growing product in the crypto space at the moment and termination of the product seems unlikely.
IF redemptions were to happen tomorrow, it’s extremely unlikely we would see a mass exodus out of the product to redeem for ETH. And even if there was incentive to get back to ETH, the premium makes it so that it would be much more cost effective to just sell your ETHE on the secondary market and buy ETH yourself. Remember, any redemption is up to the investors and NOT something Grayscale has direct control over.
Yes, but what about [insert criminal act here]… 
Alright, yes. Technically nothing is stopping Grayscale from selling all the ETH / BTC and running off to the Bahamas (Hawaii?). BUT there is no real reason for them to do so. Barry is an extremely public figure and it won’t be easy for him to get away with that. Grayscale’s Bitcoin Trust creates SEC reports weekly / bi-weekly and I’m sure given the sentiment towards crypto is being watched carefully. Plus, Grayscale is making tons of consistent revenue and thus has little to no incentive to give that up for a quick buck.
That’s a lot of ‘happy little feels’ Bob, is there even an independent audit or is this Tether 2.0? 
Actually yes, an independent auditor report can be found in their annual reports. It is clearly aimed more towards the financial side and I doubt the auditors are crypto savants, but it is at least one extra set of eyes. Auditors are Friedman LLP – Auditor since 2015.
Source: Independent Auditor Report starting on page 116 (of the PDF itself) of the “Grayscale Ethereum Trust Annual Report (2019)” – Located Here
As mentioned by user TheCrpytosAndBloods (In Comments Below), a fun fact:
The company’s auditors Friedman LLP were also coincidentally TetheBitfinex’s auditors until They controversially parted ways in 2018 when the Tether controversy was at its height. I am not suggesting for one moment that there is anything shady about DCG - I just find it interesting it’s the same auditor.
“Grayscale sounds kind of lame” / “Not your keys not your crypto!” / “Why is anyone buying this, it sounds like a scam?” 
Welp, for starters this honestly is not really a product aimed at the people likely to be reading this post. To each their own, but do remember just because something provides no value to you doesn’t mean it can’t provide value to someone else. That said some of the advertised benefits are as follows:
So for example, I can set up an IRA at a brokerage account that has $0 trading fees. Then I can trade GBTC and ETHE all day without having to worry about tracking my taxes. All with the relative safety something like E-Trade provides over Binance.
As for how it benefits the everyday ETH holder? I think the supply lock is a positive. I also think this product exposes the Ethereum ecosystem to people who otherwise wouldn’t know about it.
Why is there a premium? Why is ETHE’s premium so insanely high compared to GBTC’s premium? 
There are a handful of theories of why a premium exists at all, some even mentioned in the annual report. The short list is as follows:
Why is ETHE’s so much higher the GBTC’s? Again, a few thoughts:

Are there any other differences between ETHE and GBTC? 
I touched on a few of the smaller differences, but one of the more interesting changes is GBTC is now a “SEC reporting company” as of January 2020. Which again goes beyond my scope of knowledge so I won’t comment on it too much… but the net result is GBTC is now putting out weekly / bi-weekly 8-K’s and annual 10-K’s. This means you can track GBTC that much easier at the moment as well as there is an extra layer of validity to the product IMO.
I’m looking for some statistics on ETHE… such as who is buying, how much is bought, etc? 
There is a great Q1 2020 report I recommend you give a read that has a lot of cool graphs and data on the product. It’s a little GBTC centric, but there is some ETHE data as well. It can be found here hidden within the 8-K filings.Q1 2020 is the 4/16/2020 8-K filing.
For those more into a GAAP style report see the 2019 annual 10-K of the same location.
Is Grayscale only just for BTC and ETH? 
No, there are other products as well. In terms of a secondary market product, ETCG is the Ethereum Classic version of ETHE. Fun Fact – ETCG was actually put out to the secondary market first. It also has a 3% fee tied to it where 1% of it goes to some type of ETC development fund.
In terms of institutional and accredited investors, there are a few ‘fan favorites’ such as Bitcoin Cash, Litcoin, Stellar, XRP, and Zcash. Something called Horizion (Backed by ZEN I guess? Idk to be honest what that is…). And a diversified Mutual Fund type fund that has a little bit of all of those. None of these products are available on the secondary market.
Are there alternatives to Grayscale? 
I know they exist, but I don’t follow them. I’ll leave this as a “to be edited” section and will add as others comment on what they know.
Per user Over-analyser (in comments below):
Coinshares (Formerly XBT provider) are the only similar product I know of. BTC, ETH, XRP and LTC as Exchange Traded Notes (ETN).
It looks like they are fully backed with the underlying crypto (no premium).
https://coinshares.com/etps/xbt-provideinvestor-resources/daily-hedging-position
Denominated in SEK and EUR. Certainly available in some UK pensions (SIPP).
As asked by pegcity - Okay so I was under the impression you can just give them your own ETH and get ETHE, but do you get 11 ETHE per ETH or do you get the market value of ETH in USD worth of ETHE? 
I have always understood that the ETHE issued directly through Grayscale is issued without the premium. As in, if I were to trade 1 ETH for ETHE I would get 11, not say only 2 or 3 because the secondary market premium is so high. And if I were paying cash only I would be paying the price to buy 1 ETH to get my 11 ETHE. Per page 39 of their annual statement, it reads as follows:
The Trust will issue Shares to Authorized Participants from time to time, but only in one or more Baskets (with a Basket being a block of 100 Shares). The Trust will not issue fractions of a Basket. The creation (and, should the Trust commence a redemption program, redemption) of Baskets will be made only in exchange for the delivery to the Trust, or the distribution by the Trust, of the number of whole and fractional ETH represented by each Basket being created (or, should the Trust commence a redemption program, redeemed), which is determined by dividing (x) the number of ETH owned by the Trust at 4:00 p.m., New York time, on the trade date of a creation or redemption order, after deducting the number of ETH representing the U.S. dollar value of accrued but unpaid fees and expenses of the Trust (converted using the ETH Index Price at such time, and carried to the eighth decimal place), by (y) the number of Shares outstanding at such time (with the quotient so obtained calculated to one one-hundred-millionth of one ETH (i.e., carried to the eighth decimal place)), and multiplying such quotient by 100 (the “Basket ETH Amount”). All questions as to the calculation of the Basket ETH Amount will be conclusively determined by the Sponsor and will be final and binding on all persons interested in the Trust. The Basket ETH Amount multiplied by the number of Baskets being created or redeemed is the “Total Basket ETH Amount.” The number of ETH represented by a Share will gradually decrease over time as the Trust’s ETH are used to pay the Trust’s expenses. Each Share represented approximately 0.0950 ETH and 0.0974 ETH as of December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively.

submitted by Bob-Rossi to ethfinance [link] [comments]

700K cash. What do I do?

I have 700k cash sitting in my money market account. I have been sitting on cash since 2016 waiting for that recession so I can perfectly time the market. And in the process I have lost ...not sure how much but a LOT.
So I have the following in mind.
  1. 33% - golden butterfly allocation
  2. 33% - dividend growth investing
  3. 33% - high savings account (wealthfront)
Let me know if this would protect me from the downside while giving me a decent amount of returns.
EDIT 02/20
Here is a summary of all the nuggets that came out from this thread. Love it. Will updated when I plan my portfolio.
-VGRO for the win. ( probably VUG)
-three-fund portfolio Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSAX) Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund (VTIAX) Vanguard Total Bond Market Fund (VBTLX)
-I personally like some international exposure so have 20% of my portfolio in VTIAX. Great article in international investing https://www.fidelity.com/viewpoints/investing-ideas/international-investing-myths
-SPCE. Bet it all on $40 June calls.
-You might consider a bogleheads portfolio. Here is my set it and forget it allocation: 70% VTSAX (ETF equivalent is VTI) 20% VTIAX (ETF equivalent is VXUS) 10% VBTLX (ETF equivalent is BND)
-A very general rule of thumb is that your bond allocation should equal your age minus 10 (i.e., a 40-year old investor would own approximately 30% bonds, 70% stocks).
-I plan to dollar cost average into simple investments like the S&P, dividend growth fund DGRO (which I just love), and some bonds for safety. It’s very similar to VIG
-Everything into SPCE calls. Literally no risk ( are you serious?)
-if you want to mess with things, i would say swap the small cap value for dividend growth in the golden butterfly. ( Makes sense) having 33% of your 750k in high savings is DUMB. (thanks)
-Dollar cost average into the market. Select an appropriate asset allocation for your goals. ( Yes!!!)
-Be aware that the average return (say 6-7%) is not the same as as what you can realistically draw as an income.First, for a consistent income stream you need to inflation proof the principle.
-Also the portfolios that have been analyzed to death that can reliably support that are basically 50 to 70 percent broadly diverse equities and the difference in broadly diverse bonds (index funds with essentially no fees or loads of course). 6-12mo DTE AAPL/MSFT CALLS. LEHGO (Nah!)
-I would invest a small PORTION, into a mix of dividend stocks/etf, a mix of growth stocks/etf, and a mix of gold and gold miners. I wouldn’t do bonds personally, but I would consider high yield saving account if it is liquid and they payout interest often (daily) and I can transfer money quickly to take advantage of market opportunities. ( Dividend stocks and Growth stocks makes sense)
-I wouldn’t put everything in the market all at once. Start very small and add to your positions slowly until you get more comfortable and understand the market more. Always have some cash on the sideline to take advantage of potential opportunities. ( Will follow this advice)
-If it were my 700k I would invest in Dividend Kings and Aristocrats and let the yield on cost grow over the next decade or two. ( Thanks for letting me know, i will look into it more)
-My recommendation would be to DCA into a growth fund like VUG over the next 12-24 months. That will protect you from a sudden correction. Personally, I wouldn't invest in dividend/value tickers, especially if you're under 40. (I’d definitely do this, Thanks. I will do Dividend growth for the passive income)
-If I suddenly got $700K, I'd put it all in high-growth tech funds. (If this was 2015 and I were to d it again, I’d do it. FAANGU stocks might be at peak) However, there's still value to be found in this expensive market. For example, the banking sector still looks undervalued relative to the S&P. So you can probably divide your allocation between growth, value, and money market funds.
-bitcoin (Will run away from any crypto)
-Everything else which isn't that defensive cushion is a highly diversified portfolio of stocks which produce an average dividend of 1.7%. Having more cash or bonds than you need is typically going to underperform. VGRO for the win. Set it and forget it! (Probably not, I’d probably do a US growth fund)
-If you were to try to diy look up some ways to invest in non correlated asset classes that offer a higher rate of return while limiting down side. If you want dividends, I'm a fan on the high yield bond fund. Make sure you do your research as to what's actually in it, though, and balance your portfolio accordingly. Understand the risks involved in bonds, and the risks involved in bonds that pay 8%, before investing. ( I think VWINX is a good one)
-I'll throw out the two rock solid fundsI always recommend: Vwelx/vwinx. The divvy alone will at least keep your assets in the game, and if you look at '08 vwinx only took a 27% hit from previous highs. ( I like the VWINX more)
-Simply put your money into VTWAX. total world stock index. Maximum diversification. Low cost. Low risk as possible. (not too optimistic about the emerging market and frontier markets)
-30 houses in a cheap metro. (Too much work, I have a demanding full time job and collecting rents is no fun when you have difficult clients)
submitted by bullet-150 to investing [link] [comments]

The Decade in Blockchain — 2010 to 2020 in Review

2010

February — The first ever cryptocurrency exchange, Bitcoin Market, is established. The first trade takes place a month later.
April — The first public bitcoin trade takes place: 1000BTC traded for $30 at an exchange rate of 0.03USD/1BTC
May — The first real-world bitcoin transaction is undertaken by Laszlo Hanyecz, who paid 10000BTC for two Papa John’s pizzas (Approximately $25 USD)
June — Bitcoin developer Gavin Andreson creates a faucet offering 5 free BTC to the public
July — First notable usage of the word “blockchain” appears on BitcoinTalk forum. Prior to this, it was referred to as ‘Proof-of-Work chain’
July — Bitcoin exchange named Magic The Gathering Online eXchange—also known as Mt. Gox—established
August —Bitcoin protocol bug leads to emergency hard fork
December — Satoshi Nakamoto ceases communication with the world

2011

January — One-quarter of the eventual total of 21M bitcoins have been generated
February — Bitcoin reaches parity for the first time with USD
April — Bitcoin reaches parity with EUR and GBP
June — WikiLeaks begins accepting Bitcoin donations
June — Mt. Gox hacked, resulting in suspension of trading and a precipitous price drop for Bitcoin
August — First Bitcoin Improvement Proposal: BIP Purpose and Guidelines
October — Litecoin released
December — Bitcoin featured as a major plot element in an episode of ‘The Good Wife’ as 9.45 million viewers watch.

2012

May — Bitcoin Magazine, founded by Mihai Alisie and Vitalik Buterin, publishes first issue
July — Government of Estonia begins incorporating blockchain into digital ID efforts
September — Bitcoin Foundation created
October — BitPay reports having over 1,000 merchants accepting bitcoin under its payment processing service
November — First Bitcoin halving to 25 BTC per block

2013

February — Reddit begins accepting bitcoins for Gold memberships
March — Cyprus government bailout levies bank accounts with over $100k. Flight to Bitcoin results in major price spike.
May —Total Bitcoin value surpasses 1 billion USD with 11M Bitcoin in circulation
May — The first cryptocurrency market rally and crash takes place. Prices rise from $13 to $220, and then drop to $70
June — First major cryptocurrency theft. 25,000 BTC is stolen from Bitcoin forum founder
July — Mastercoin becomes the first project to conduct an ICO
August — U.S. Federal Court issues opinion that Bitcoin is a currency or form of money
October — The FBI shuts down dark web marketplace Silk Road, confiscating approximately 26,000 bitcoins
November — Vitalik Buterin releases the Ethereum White Paper: “A Next-Generation Smart Contract and Decentralized Application Platform
December — The first commit to the Ethereum codebase takes place

2014

January — Vitalik Buterin announces Ethereum at the North American Bitcoin Conference in Miami
February — HMRC in the UK classifies Bitcoin as private money
March — Newsweek claims Dorian Nakamoto is Bitcoin creator. He is not
April — Gavin Wood releases the Ethereum Yellow Paper: “Ethereum: A Secure Decentralised Generalised Transaction Ledger
June — Ethereum Foundation established in Zug, Switzerland
June — US Marshals Service auctions off 30,000 Bitcoin confiscated from Silk Road. All are purchased by venture capitalist Tim Draper
July — Ethereum token launch raises 31,591 BTC ($18,439,086) over 42 days
September — TeraExchange launches first U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission approved Bitcoin over-the-counter swap
October — ConsenSys is founded by Joe Lubin
December — By year’s end, Paypal, Zynga, u/, Expedia, Newegg, Dell, Dish Network, and Microsoft are all accepting Bitcoin for payments

2015

January — Coinbase opens up the first U.S-based cryptocurrency exchange
February — Stripe initiates bitcoin payment integration for merchants
April — NASDAQ initiates blockchain trial
June — NYDFS releases final version of its BitLicense virtual currency regulations
July — Ethereum’s first live mainnet release—Frontier—launched.
August — Augur, the first token launch on the Ethereum network takes place
September — R3 consortium formed with nine financial institutions, increases to over 40 members within six months
October — Gemini exchange launches, founded by Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss
November — Announcement of first zero knowledge proof, ZK-Snarks
December — Linux Foundation establishes Hyperledger project

2016

January — Zcash announced
February — HyperLedger project announced by Linux Foundation with thirty founding members
March — Second Ethereum mainnet release, Homestead, is rolled out.
April — The DAO (decentralized autonomous organization) launches a 28-day crowdsale. After one month, it raises an Ether value of more than US$150M
May — Chinese Financial Blockchain Shenzhen Consortium launches with 31 members
June — The DAO is attacked with 3.6M of the 11.5M Ether in The DAO redirected to the attacker’s Ethereum account
July — The DAO attack results in a hard fork of the Ethereum Blockchain to recover funds. A minority group rejecting the hard fork continues to use the original blockchain renamed Ethereum Classic
July — Second Bitcoin halving to 12.5BTC per block mined
November — CME Launches Bitcoin Price Index

2017

January — Bitcoin price breaks US$1,000 for the first time in three years
February — Enterprise Ethereum Alliance formed with 30 founding members, over 150 members six months later
March — Multiple applications for Bitcoin ETFs rejected by the SEC
April — Bitcoin is officially recognized as currency by Japan
June — EOS begins its year-long ICO, eventually raising $4 billion
July — Parity hack exposes weaknesses in multisig wallets
August — Bitcoin Cash forks from the Bitcoin Network
October — Ethereum releases Byzantium soft fork network upgrade, part one of Metropolis
September — China bans ICOs
October — Bitcoin price surpasses $5,000 USD for the first time
November — Bitcoin price surpasses $10,000 USD for the first time
December — Ethereum Dapp Cryptokitties goes viral, pushing the Ethereum network to its limits

2018


January — Ethereum price peaks near $1400 USD
March — Google bans all ads pertaining to cryptocurrency
March — Twitter bans all ads pertaining to cryptocurrency
April — 2018 outpaces 2017 with $6.3 billion raised in token launches in the first four months of the year
April — EU government commits $300 million to developing blockchain projects
June — The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission states that Ether is not a security.
July — Over 100,000 ERC20 tokens created
August — New York Stock Exchange owner announces Bakkt, a federally regulated digital asset exchange
October — Bitcoin’s 10th birthday
November — VC investment in blockchain tech surpasses $1 billion
December — 90% of banks in the US and Europe report exploration of blockchain tech

2019

January — Coinstar machines begin selling cryptocurrency at grocery stores across the US
February — Ethereum’s Constantinople hard fork is released, part two of Metropolis
April — Bitcoin surpasses 400 million total transactions
June — Facebook announces Libra
July — United States senate holds hearings titled ‘Examining Regulatory Frameworks for Digital Currencies and Blockchain”
August — Ethereum developer dominance reaches 4x that of any other blockchain
October — Over 80 million distinct Ethereum addresses have been created
September — Santander bank settles both sides of a $20 million bond on Ethereum
November — Over 3000 Dapps created. Of them, 2700 are built on Ethereum
submitted by blockstasy to CryptoTechnology [link] [comments]

European Investors are Renewing Their Interest in Gold

European investors are showing a heightened level of interest in gold. This trend reflects a turnaround in the status of gold as an asset in the world’s economy.
Before the 2008 financial crash, European central banks were net sellers of gold. Gold represented a bygone era: a barbaric relic without periodic yield that was fast falling out of favor with institutional investors.
Europe was undoubtedly the most advanced region in the world between the 11 than 20th centuries. Much of the continent had royal families that donned plenty of gold as a sign of status and wealth. As the continent modernized through the 20th century, the shift to paper money and more equal societies swept this order aside. Gold had the vestiges of this era, and by the 1990s, it seemed to be relegated to a fringe asset.
Fast forward a decade, and gold is once again popular with the high and mighty, as well as individual investors.
A 2019 statement on the website of the Dutch central bank, De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB), best shows the perspective shift in the past two decades. The Netherlands has raised its gold holdings to over 600 tons despite being a pretty modern economy.
The statement in part read:
“Shares, bonds, and other securities are not without risk, and prices can go down. But a bar of gold retains its value, even in times of crisis. That is why central banks, including DNB, have traditionally held considerable amounts of gold. Gold is the perfect piggy bank — it’s the anchor of trust for the financial system. If the system collapses, the gold stock can serve as a basis to build it up again. Gold bolsters confidence in the stability of the central bank’s balance sheet and creates a sense of security.”

A Sense of Realism

Central banks have a track record of cautious, balanced communication meant to prevent overreaction from the public. Therefore, it is somewhat surprising to see some European central banks giving gold a direct endorsement.
Many would associate these institutions with a conservative approach that appraises paper money and the stability of the status quo.
Hungary is another country where monetary policy is shifting toward gold. The country’s central bank (MNB) conducted its first gold purchases since 1986 last year.
To explain this move, MNB described its rationale as follows:
“In normal circumstances, gold has a confidence-building feature, i.e., it may play a stabilizing role and act as a major line of defense under extreme market conditions or in times of structural changes in the international financial system or deep geopolitical crises. In addition, gold continues to be one of the safest assets, which can be related to individual properties such as the limited supply of physical precious metal. This asset does not have a link to credit or counterparty risk, given that gold is not a claim on a specific counterparty or country.”
Interestingly, the features that made gold an old-school, boring asset in the 90s have made it extremely appealing today. European institutional investors are now increasingly appreciating this reality. In hindsight, the decision by the Bank of England to sell off large amounts of gold in the late 90s looks foolish now. A lot of European central banks shared this dismissive sentiment.

Reasons for the Renewed Interest in Gold

As the new millennium started, the European Union couldn’t be stronger. The Euro was a darling for investors, economies like Greece were still decent, and the region generally faced fewer geopolitical crises.
The 2008 financial meltdown was a devastating reality check for the region. Many countries, especially in Southern Europe, have never truly recovered from this crisis. In 2019, the region’s economy was still barely growing. Europe’s largest economy, Germany, just about managed to beat a recession.
This region is not immune to geopolitical crises either. The migrant crisis in the aftermath of the Syrian civil war threatened to tear Europe apart, not only from a political standpoint but also economically.
Individualistic approaches to national economies are back in fashion. Therefore, European central banks are following recent trends from the likes of Russia, Turkey, and Kazakhstan in shoring up their gold reserves.
Moreover, Europe and most of the Western world is in a zero to negative interest era. With such circumstances prevailing, investors are looking to gold as a store of value.
Central banks have pushed low-interest policies for a decade now, flooding the global economy with cheap fiat money. Inevitably, investors’ trust in cash-backed investments dissipates with time because there is no timeline of departure for this policy.
Even ordinary investors seem to be catching on. Germany, for instance, is reportedly looking to lower the anonymous purchase limit for gold, from €10,000 to €2,000. Lowering the limit comes under the guise of anti money-laundering.
Such measures are a response to the increasing appetite for the precious metal, even among regular investors. Gold is an attractive asset to hedge against inflation. This quality is something useful in such uncertain times, hence the higher demand.

A Reflection of Global Trends

Despite the significance of this turnaround, Europe is relatively late to the party. Central banks across the world have been rapidly increasing their gold reserves, especially in the latter part of the previous decade.
In the past couple of years, central banks have bought gold at rates unseen since the end of the US gold standard in 1971. Countries like Russia lead the onslaught, with demand likely to remain solid for the foreseeable future.
Interestingly, Hungary and Poland feature prominently among the largest purchasers. Global data from the World Gold Council spanning the first three quarters of 2019 indicates that last year will likely break records in annual central bank gold purchases.
Gold provides an opportunity for countries with stuttering currencies like Russia to hedge against inflation. The yellow metal has a standard price in international markets and presents an opportunity to shore up against further currency slides. Gold’s standing as a safe-haven asset among central banks has never been higher in recent times. For investors, it is a viable asset for portfolio diversification.
As a regional bloc, European central banks already have the highest amount of gold reserves worldwide, although the USA leads among individual countries by some distance. This positioning puts into perspective the importance of Europe to global gold trading. With the region looking to become one with a robust demand for gold, this could boost prices tremendously.
Investor interest in gold-related products like ETFs is equally strong. Inflows into gold-backed ETFs since the end of 2015 have been on the rise. ETFs are the primary tool for stock market gold exposure, and their popularity is a reflection of investor sentiment.
Even in this asset class, European investors are increasingly active with assets under management in European gold ETFs rising to 1,134 tons by the end of 2018.

The Role of Private Investors

In a zero or negative interest rate regime, and fears of a European recession and weaker European stocks relative to the American market, individual investors are showing high interest in gold. In Switzerland, gold ranks second only to real estate in terms of which asset ordinary people consider purchasing. Gold offers security and stability, which don’t seem so sure in a stuttering Europe.
The behavior of private gold investors points at individuals looking for such stability. Short-term speculation with the bull gold market is not a huge factor, although it may provide an incentive for some. Prominent investors like Ray Dalio suggest that gold may maintain its bull run for the rest of the year.
In summary, Europe is fast catching on to the new gold rush. With a struggling economy and geopolitical crises, gold popularity in this market is a logical result. The yellow metal has proven its mettle many times over during financial turmoil. Gold is making a strong comeback in this region not only among central banks but also private investors.
submitted by y0ujin to NovemGold [link] [comments]

25 Tools and Resources for Crypto Investors: Guide to how to create a winning strategy

Lots of people have PM'd me asking me the same questions on where to find information and how to put together their portfolio so I decided to put a guide for crypto investors, especially those who have only been in a few months and are still confused.
This is going to be Part 1 and will deal with research resources, risk and returns. In Part 2 I'll post a systematic approach to valuation and picking individual assets with derived price targets.

Getting started: Tools and resources

You don't have to be a programmer or techie to invest in crypto, but you should first learn the basics of how it functions. I find that this video by 3Blue1Brown is the best introduction to what a blockchain actually is and how it functions, because it explains it clearly and simply with visuals while not dumbing it down too much. If you want a more ELI5 version with cute cartoons, then Upfolio has a nice beginner's intro to the blockchain concept and quick descriptions of top 100 cryptocurrencies. I also recommend simply going to Wikipedia and reading the blockchain and cryptocurrency page and clicking onto a few links in, read about POS vs POW...etc. Later on you'll need this information to understand why a specific use case may or may not benefit from a blockchain structure. Here is a quick summary of the common terms you should know.
Next you should arm yourself with some informational resources. I compiled a convenient list of useful tools and sites that I've used and find to be worthy of bookmarking:
Market information
Analysis tools
Portfolio Tracking
Youtube
I generally don't follow much on Youtube because it's dominated by idiocy like Trevon James and CryptoNick, but there are some that I think are worthy of following:

Constructing a Investment Strategy

I can't stress enough how important it is to construct an actual investment strategy. Organize what your goals are, what your risk tolerance is and how you plan to construct a portfolio to achieve those goals rather than just chasing the flavor of the week.
Why? Because it will force you to slow down and make decisions based on rational thinking rather than emotion, and will also inevitably lead you to think long term.

Setting ROI targets

Bluntly put, a lot of young investors who are in crypto have really unrealistic expectations about returns and risk.
A lot of them have never invested in any other type of financial asset, and hence many seem to consider a 10% ROI in a month to be unexciting, even though that is roughly what they should be aiming for.
I see a ton of people now on this sub and on other sites making their decisions with the expectation to double their money every month. This has lead a worrying amount of newbies putting in way too much money way too quickly into anything on the front page of CoinMarketCap with a low dollar value per coin hoping that crypto get them out of their debt or a life of drudgery in a cubicle. And all in the next year or two!
But its important to temper your hype about returns and realize why we had this exponential growth in the last year. Its not because we are seeing any mass increase in adoption, if anything adoption among eCommerce sites is decreasing. The only reason we saw so much upward price action is because of fiat monetary base expansion from people FOMO-ing in due to media coverage of previous price action. People are hoping to ride the bubble and sell to a greater fool in a few months, it is classic Greater Fool Theory. That's it. We passed the $1,000 psychological marker again for Bitcoin which we hadn't seen since right before the Mt.Gox disaster, and it just snowballed the positivity as headline after headline came out about the price growth. However those unexciting returns of 10% a month are not only the norm, but much more healthy for an alternative investment class. Here are the annual returns for Bitcoin for the last few years:
Year BTC Return
2017 1,300%
2016 120%
2015 35%
2014 -60%
2013 5300%
2012 150 %
Keep in mind that a 10% monthly increase when compounded equals a 313% annual return, or over 3x your money. That may not sound exciting to those who entered recently and saw their money go 20x in a month on something like Tron before it crashed back down, but that 3X annual return is better than Bitcoin's return every year except the year right before the last market meltdown and 2017. I have been saying for a while now that we are due for a major correction and every investor now should be planning for that possibility through proper allocation and setting return expectations that are reasonable.

Risk Management

Quanitifying risk in crypto is surprisingly difficult because the historical returns aren't normally distributed, meaning that tools like Sharpe Ratio and other risk metrics can't really be used as intended. Instead you'll have to think of your own risk tolerance and qualitatively evaluate how risky each crypto is based on the team, the use case prospects, the amount of competition and the general market risk.
You can think of each crypto having a risk factor that is the summation of the general crypto market risk (Rm) as ultimately everything is tied to how Bitcoin does, but also its own inherent risk specific to its own goals (Ri).
Rt = Rm +Ri
The market risk is something you cannot avoid, if some China FUD comes out about regulations on Bitcoin then your investment in solid altcoin picks will go down too along with Bitcoin. This (Rm) return is essentially what risk you undertake to have a market ROI of 385% I talked about above. What you can minimize though is the Ri, the aset specific risks with the team, the likelihood they will actually deliver, the likelihood that their solution will be adopted. Unfortunately there is no one way to do this, you simply have to take the time to research and form your own opinion on how risky it really is before allocating a certain percentage to it. Consider the individual risk of each crypto and start looking for red flags:
  • guaranteed promises of large returns (protip: that's a Ponzi)
  • float allocations that give way too much to the founder
  • vague whitepapers
  • vague timelines
  • no clear use case
  • Github with no useful code and sparse activity
  • a team that is difficult to find information on or even worse anonymous
While all cryptocurrencies are a risky investments but generally you can break down cryptos into "low" risk core, medium risk speculative and high risk speculative
  • Low Risk Core - This is the exchange pairing cryptos and those that are well established. These are almost sure to be around in 5 years, and will recover after any bear market. Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum are in this class of risk, and I would also argue Monero.
  • Medium Risk Speculative - These would be cryptos which generally have at least some product and are reasonably established, but higher risk than Core. Things like ZCash, Ripple, NEO..etc.
  • High Risk Speculative - This is anything created within the last few months, low caps, shillcoins, ICOs...etc. Most cryptos are in this category, most of them will be essentially worthless in 5 years.
How much risk should you take on? That depends on your own life situation but also it should be proportional to how much expertise you have in both financial analysis and technology. If you're a newbie who doesn't understand the tech and has no idea how to value assets, your risk tolerance should be lower than a programmer who understand the tech or a financial analyst who is experienced in valuation metrics.
Right now the trio of BTC-ETH-LTC account for 55% of the market cap, so between 50-70% of your portfolio in low Risk Core for newbies is a great starting point. Then you can go down to 25-30% as you gain confidence and experience. But always try to keep about 1/3rd in safe core positions. Don't go all in on speculative picks.
Core principles to minimize risk
  • Have the majority of your holdings in things you feel good holding for at least 2 years. Don't use the majority of your investment for day trading or short term investing.
  • Consider using dollar cost averaging to enter a position. This generally means investing a X amount over several periods, instead of at once. You can also use downward biased dollar cost averaging to mitigate against downward risk. For example instead of investing $1000 at once in a position at market price, you can buy $500 at the market price today then set several limit orders at slightly lower intervals (for example $250 at 5% lower than market price, $250 at 10% lower than market price). This way your average cost of acquisition will be lower if the crypto happens to decline over the short term.
  • Never chase a pump. Its simply too risky as its such an inefficient and unregulated market. If you continue to do it, most of your money losing decisions will be because you emotionally FOMO-ed into gambling on a symbol.
  • Invest what you can afford to lose. Don't have more than 5-10% of your net worth in crypto.
  • Consider what level of loss you can't accept in a position with a high risk factor, and use stop-limit orders to hedge against sudden crashes. Set you stop price at about 5-10% above your lowest limit. Stop-limit orders aren't perfect but they're better than having no hedging strategy for a risky microcap in case of some meltdown. Only you can determine what bags you are unwilling to hold.
  • Diversify across sectors and rebalance your allocations periodically. Keep about 1/3rd in low risk core holdings.
  • Have some fiat in reserve at a FDIC-insured exchange (ex. Gemini), and be ready to add to your winning positions on a pullback.
  • Remember you didn't actually make any money until you take some profits, so take do some profits when everyone else is at peak FOMO-ing bubble mode. You will also sleep much more comfortably once you take out the equivalent of your principal.

Portfolio Allocation

Along with thinking about your portfolio in terms of risk categories described above, I really find it helpful to think about the segments you are in. OnChainFX has some segment categorization to think about:
  • Currency
  • General Purpose Platform
  • Advertising
  • Crowdfunding Platform
  • Lending Platform
  • Privacy
  • Distributed Computing/Storage
  • Prediction Markets
  • IOT (Internet of Things)
  • Asset Management
  • Content Creation
  • Exchange Platform
I generally like to simplify these down to these 7 segments:
  • Core holdings - essentially the Low Risk Core segment
  • Platform segment
  • Privacy segment
  • Finance/Bank settlement segment
  • Enterprise Blockchain solutions segment
  • Promising/Innovative Tech segment
This is merely what I use, but I'm sure you can think of your own. The key point I have is to try to invest your medium and high risk picks in a segment you understand well, and in which you can relatively accurately judge risk. If you don't understand anything about how banking works or SWIFT or international settlement layers, don't invest in Stellar. If you have no idea how a supply chain functions, avoid investing in VeChain (even if it's being shilled to death on Reddit at the moment just like XRB was last month). Buffet calls this "circle of competence", he invests in sectors he understands and avoids those he doesn't like tech. I think doing the same thing in crypto is a wise move.
What's interesting is that often we see like-coin movement, for example when a coin from one segment pumps we will frequently see another similar coin in the same segment go up (think Stellar following after Ripple).
Consider the historic correlations between your holdings. Generally when Bitcoin pumps, altcoins dump but at what rate depends on the coin. When Bitcoin goes sideways we tend to see pumping in altcoins, while when Bitcoin goes down, everything goes down.
You should set price targets for each of your holdings, which is a whole separate discussion I'll go in Part 2 of the guide.

Summing it up

This was meant to get you think about what return targets you should set for your portfolio and how much risk you are willing to take and what strategies you can follow to mitigate that risk.
Returns around 385% (average crypto market CAGR over the last 3 years) would be a good target to aim for while remaining realistic, you can tweak it a bit based on your own risk tolerance. What category of risk your individual crypto picks should be will be determined by how much more greed you have for above average market return. A portfolio of 50% core holdings, 30% medium risk in a sector you understand well and 20% in high risk speculative is probably what the average portfolio should look like, with newbies going more towards 70% core and only 5% high risk speculative.
Just by thinking about these things you'll likely do better than most crypto investors, because most don't think about this stuff, to their own detriment.
submitted by arsonbunny to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

Crypto Investing Guide: Useful resources and tools, and how to create an investment strategy

Lots of people have PM'd me asking me the same questions on where to find information and how to put together their portfolio so I decided to put a guide for crypto investors, especially those who have only been in a few months and are still confused.
Many people entered recently at a time when the market was rewarding the very worst type of investment behavior. Unfortunately there aren't many guides and a lot of people end up looking at things like Twitter or the trending Youtube crypto videos, which is dominated by "How to make $1,00,000 by daytrading crypto" and influencers like CryptoNick.
So I'll try to put together a guide from what I've learned and some tips, on how to invest in this asset class. This is going to be Part 1, in another post later I'll post a systematic approach to valuation and picking individual assets.

Getting started: Tools and resources

You don't have to be a programmer or techie to invest in crypto, but you should first learn the basics of how it functions. I find that this video by 3Blue1Brown is the best introduction to what a blockchain actually is and how it functions, because it explains it clearly and simply with visuals while not dumbing it down too much. If you want a more ELI5 version with cute cartoons, then Upfolio has a nice beginner's intro to the blockchain concept and quick descriptions of top 100 cryptocurrencies. I also recommend simply going to Wikipedia and reading the blockchain and cryptocurrency page and clicking onto a few links in, read about POS vs POW...etc. Later on you'll need this information to understand why a specific use case may or may not benefit from a blockchain structure. Here is a quick summary of the common terms you should know.
Next you should arm yourself with some informational resources. I compiled a convenient list of useful tools and sites that I've used and find to be worthy of bookmarking:
Market information
Analysis tools
Portfolio Tracking
Youtube
I generally don't follow much on Youtube because it's dominated by idiocy like Trevon James and CryptoNick, but there are some that I think are worthy of following:

Constructing a Investment Strategy

I can't stress enough how important it is to construct an actual investment strategy. Organize what your goals are, what your risk tolerance is and how you plan to construct a portfolio to achieve those goals rather than just chasing the flavor of the week.
Why? Because it will force you to slow down and make decisions based on rational thinking rather than emotion, and will also inevitably lead you to think long term.

Setting ROI targets

Bluntly put, a lot of young investors who are in crypto have really unrealistic expectations about returns and risk.
A lot of them have never invested in any other type of financial asset, and hence many seem to consider a 10% ROI in a month to be unexciting, even though that is roughly what they should be aiming for.
I see a ton of people now on this sub and on other sites making their decisions with the expectation to double their money every month. This has lead a worrying amount of newbies putting in way too much money way too quickly into anything on the front page of CoinMarketCap with a low dollar value per coin hoping that crypto get them out of their debt or a life of drudgery in a cubicle. And all in the next year or two!
But its important to temper your hype about returns and realize why we had this exponential growth in the last year. The only reason we saw so much upward price action is because of fiat monetary base expansion from people FOMO-ing in due to media coverage. People are hoping to ride the bubble and sell to a greater fool in a few months, it is classic Greater Fool Theory. That's it. Its not because we are seeing any mass increase in adoption or actual widespread utility with cryptocurrency. We passed the $1,000 psychological marker again for Bitcoin which we hadn't seen since right before the Mt.Gox disaster, and it just snowballed the positivity as headline after headline came out about the price growth. However those unexciting returns of 10% a month are not only the norm, but much more healthy for an alternative investment class. Here are the annual returns for Bitcoin for the last few years:
Year BTC Return
2017 1,300%
2016 120%
2015 35%
2014 -60%
2013 5300%
2012 150 %
Keep in mind that a 10% monthly increase when compounded equals a 313% annual return, or over 3x your money. That may not sound exciting to those who entered recently and saw their money go 20x in a month on something like Tron before it crashed back down, but that 3X annual return is better than Bitcoin's return every year except the year right before the last market meltdown and 2017. I have been saying for a while now that we are due for a major correction and every investor now should be planning for that possibility through proper allocation and setting return expectations that are reasonable.
How to set a realistic ROI target
How do I set my own personal return target?
Basically I aim to achieve a portfolio return of roughly 385% annually (3.85X increase per year) or about 11.89% monthly return when compounded. How did I come up with that target? I base it on the average compounded annual growth return (CAGR) over the last 3 years on the entire market:
Year Total Crypto Market Cap
Jan 1, 2014: $10.73 billion
Jan 1, 2017: $615 billion
Compounded annual growth return (CAGR): (615/10.73)1/3 = 385%
My personal strategy is to sell my portfolio every December then buy back into the market at around the beginning of February and I intend to hold on average for 3 years, so this works for me but you may choose to do it a different way for your own reasons. I think this is a good average to aim for as a general guideline because it includes both the good years (2017) and the bad (2014). Once you have a target you can construct your risk profile (low risk vs. high risk category coins) in your portfolio. If you want to try for a higher CAGR than about 385% then you will likely need to go into more highly speculative picks. I can't tell you what return target you should set for yourself, but just make sure its not depended on you needing to achieve continual near vertical parabolic price action in small cap shillcoins because that isn't sustainable.
As the recent January dip showed while the core cryptos like Bitcoin and Ethereum would dip an X percentage, the altcoins would often drop double or triple that amount. Its a very fragile market, and the type of dumb behavior that people were engaging in that was profitable in a bull market (chasing pumps, going all in on a microcap shillcoin, having an attention span of a squirrel...etc) will lead to consequences. Just like they jumped on the crypto bandwagon without thinking about risk adjusted returns, they will just as quickly jump on whatever bandwagon will be used to blame for the deflation of the bubble, whether the blame is assigned to Wall Steet and Bitcoin futures or Asians or some government.
Nobody who pumped money into garbage without any use case or utility will accept that they themselves and their own unreasonable expectations for returns were the reason for the gross mispricing of most cryptocurrencies.

Risk Management

Quanitifying risk in crypto is surprisingly difficult because the historical returns aren't normally distributed, meaning that tools like Sharpe Ratio and other risk metrics can't really be used as intended. Instead you'll have to think of your own risk tolerance and qualitatively evaluate how risky each crypto is based on the team, the use case prospects, the amount of competition and the general market risk.
You can think of each crypto having a risk factor that is the summation of the general crypto market risk (Rm) as ultimately everything is tied to how Bitcoin does, but also its own inherent risk specific to its own goals (Ri).
Rt = Rm +Ri
The market risk is something you cannot avoid, if some China FUD comes out about regulations on Bitcoin then your investment in solid altcoin picks will go down too along with Bitcoin. This (Rm) return is essentially what risk you undertake to have a market ROI of 385% I talked about above. What you can minimize though is the Ri, the aset specific risks with the team, the likelihood they will actually deliver, the likelihood that their solution will be adopted. Unfortunately there is no one way to do this, you simply have to take the time to research and form your own opinion on how risky it really is before allocating a certain percentage to it. Consider the individual risk of each crypto and start looking for red flags:
  • guaranteed promises of large returns (protip: that's a Ponzi)
  • float allocations that give way too much to the founder
  • vague whitepapers
  • vague timelines
  • no clear use case
  • Github with no useful code and sparse activity
  • a team that is difficult to find information on or even worse anonymous
While all cryptocurrencies are a risky investments but generally you can break down cryptos into "low" risk core, medium risk speculative and high risk speculative
  • Low Risk Core - This is the exchange pairing cryptos and those that are well established. These are almost sure to be around in 5 years, and will recover after any bear market. Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum are in this class of risk, and I would also argue Monero.
  • Medium Risk Speculative - These would be cryptos which generally have at least some product and are reasonably established, but higher risk than Core. Things like ZCash, Ripple, NEO..etc.
  • High Risk Speculative - This is anything created within the last few months, low caps, shillcoins, ICOs...etc. Most cryptos are in this category, most of them will be essentially worthless in 5 years.
How much risk should you take on? That depends on your own life situation but also it should be proportional to how much expertise you have in both financial analysis and technology. If you're a newbie who doesn't understand the tech and has no idea how to value assets, your risk tolerance should be lower than a programmer who understand the tech or a financial analyst who is experienced in valuation metrics.
Right now the trio of BTC-ETH-LTC account for 55% of the market cap, so between 50-70% of your portfolio in low Risk Core for newbies is a great starting point. Then you can go down to 25-30% as you gain confidence and experience. But always try to keep about 1/3rd in safe core positions. Don't go all in on speculative picks.
Core principles to minimize risk
  • Have the majority of your holdings in things you feel good holding for at least 2 years. Don't use the majority of your investment for day trading or short term investing.
  • Consider using dollar cost averaging to enter a position. This generally means investing a X amount over several periods, instead of at once. You can also use downward biased dollar cost averaging to mitigate against downward risk. For example instead of investing $1000 at once in a position at market price, you can buy $500 at the market price today then set several limit orders at slightly lower intervals (for example $250 at 5% lower than market price, $250 at 10% lower than market price). This way your average cost of acquisition will be lower if the crypto happens to decline over the short term.
  • Never chase a pump. Its simply too risky as its such an inefficient and unregulated market. If you continue to do it, most of your money losing decisions will be because you emotionally FOMO-ed into gambling on a symbol.
  • Invest what you can afford to lose. Don't have more than 5-10% of your net worth in crypto.
  • Consider what level of loss you can't accept in a position with a high risk factor, and use stop-limit orders to hedge against sudden crashes. Set you stop price at about 5-10% above your lowest limit. Stop-limit orders aren't perfect but they're better than having no hedging strategy for a risky microcap in case of some meltdown. Only you can determine what bags you are unwilling to hold.
  • Diversify across sectors and rebalance your allocations periodically. Keep about 1/3rd in low risk core holdings.
  • Have some fiat in reserve at a FDIC-insured exchange (ex. Gemini), and be ready to add to your winning positions on a pullback.
  • Remember you didn't actually make any money until you take some profits, so take do some profits when everyone else is at peak FOMO-ing bubble mode. You will also sleep much more comfortably once you take out the equivalent of your principal.

Portfolio Allocation

Along with thinking about your portfolio in terms of risk categories described above, I really find it helpful to think about the segments you are in. OnChainFX has some segment categorization but I generally like to bring it down to:
  • Core holdings - essentially the Low Risk Core segment
  • Platform segment
  • Privacy segment
  • Finance/Bank settlement segment
  • Enterprise Blockchain solutions segment
  • Promising/Innovative Tech segment
This is merely what I use, but I'm sure you can think of your own. The key point I have is to try to invest your medium and high risk picks in a segment you understand well, and in which you can relatively accurately judge risk. If you don't understand anything about how banking works or SWIFT or international settlement layers, don't invest in Stellar. If you have no idea how a supply chain functions, avoid investing in VeChain (even if it's being shilled to death on Reddit at the moment just like XRB was last month).
What's interesting is that often we see like-coin movement, for example when a coin from one segment pumps we will frequently see another similar coin in the same segment go up (think Stellar following after Ripple).
Consider the historic correlations between your holdings. Generally when Bitcoin pumps, altcoins dump but at what rate depends on the coin. When Bitcoin goes sideways we tend to see pumping in altcoins, while when Bitcoin goes down, everything goes down.
You should set price targets for each of your holdings, which is a whole separate discussion I'll go in Part 2 of the guide.

Summing it up

This was meant to get you think about what return targets you should set for your portfolio and how much risk you are willing to take and what strategies you can follow to mitigate that risk.
Returns around 385% (average crypto market CAGR over the last 3 years) would be a good target to aim for while remaining realistic, you can tweak it a bit based on your own risk tolerance. What category of risk your individual crypto picks should be will be determined by how much more greed you have for above average market return. A portfolio of 50% core holdings, 30% medium risk in a sector you understand well and 20% in high risk speculative is probably what the average portfolio should look like, with newbies going more towards 70% core and only 5% high risk speculative.
Just by thinking about these things you'll likely do better than most crypto investors, because most don't think about this stuff, to their own detriment.
submitted by arsonbunny to CryptoMarkets [link] [comments]

WSB101 - THE BOOK OF YOLO: BEGINNERS GUIDE TO TRADING LIKE A DEGENERATE AND EVERYTHING WSB

The Book of Yolo: COMPLETE GUIDE TO WSB
The goal of this is to actually create something that all of you WSB newbies can read - because we’re all tired of seeing the endless wave of uninformed and unavoidable stupidity from those who have never touched the stock market. CALLING ALL NEWFAGS AND NORMIES.
If you can’t read, GFY now.
Now that we will be on the popular section of reddit, this has become pertinent. WSB can't avoid newcomers, so we might as well explain how the clock ticks here. This one is for you all.
This is to serve as a reference what values we hold, what instruments we use, and as a general place to educated the uneducated.
First off, this is the LEAST helpful stock market-based community for newcomers. Sarcastic answers are the only thing of true value here. It isn't a place to learn, but a place to plan out where you will dock your yacht. Newcomers are usually berated upon asking the inevitable stupid questions that they could learn slowly from reading here, or just using a damn search engine. Instead of embarrassing yourself here, you now have the opportunity to read this and get what we’re all rambling about.
This will help you understand what to expect if you make the decision to undertake a WSB style trading career, so you can stay here and contribute to the yolo lifestyle or otherwise GFY.
I will edit in any suggestions that our frequenting users or mods want to add to this as well.
To begin: Here are our topics for WSB101
-Basics (Equities/Stocks)
;
-ETF's
;
-Options
;
-Futures Trading
;
-SubCulture
;
BASICS/EQUTIES Skip if you understand basic stock stuff
Okay, so what is an equity/stock? An equity is essentially what you’d think of as your “vanilla” trading tool. They move up or down depending on market forces, and can range from pennies to thousands of dollars per share. To explain how stocks work, let's define a few terms.
Volume: The number of shares of stock traded during a particular time period, normally measured in average daily trading volume.
Spread: The difference between the bid and the ask price
Bid Price: The current price in which someone wants to buy at
Ask Price:The current price in which someone wants to sell at
Volatility: The WSB favorite. Volatility is referring to the price movements of a stock as a whole. The higher the volatility, the more the stock is moving up or down. Highly volatile stocks are ones with extreme daily up and down movements and wide intraday trading ranges.
Margin: A margin account lets a person borrow money (take out a loan essentially) from a broker to purchase an investment. The difference between the amount of the loan, and the price of the securities, is called the margin. Margin is one of WSB’s popular instruments of wealth and destruction.
Dividend: This is a portion of a company’s earnings that is paid to shareholders, or people that own hat company’s stock, on a quarterly or annual basis. Not all companies do this.
PPS: Acronym for “Price per Share”
Moving Average: A stock’s average price-per-share during a specific period of time.
Bullish: Expecting the stock to go up
Bearish: Expecting the stock to go down
Any raised hands can redirect themselves to here:
http://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/082614/how-stock-market-works.asp?ad=dirN&qo=investopediaSiteSearch&qsrc=0&o=40186
Now that these terms are defined, let's move into the details of why this is even useful. Most people know what a stock is, but how and why stocks move is a different story. The stock market is essentially a big virtualization of supply and demand - meaning that usually high positive volume creates upwards movement in the PPS, where high negative volume does the opposite. This creates a trader’s opportunity; Generally, the most effective time to buy or sell is where the candlesticks (volume data) are thinning out. When you are ready to take an entry point or execute an exit point, waiting till the volatility (candlesticks) thin out is one method to give you best trade possible.
WSB FAVORITE EQUITIES: Of many equities, WSB favors the riskier ones - but avoiding penny stocks is a policy.
AMD - CEO Lisa Su, Next Gen Processors, chips, graphics. It’s the gamers gambit. Up roughly 1400% as of 2/7/2017 since WSB first mentioned it
NVDA - AMD’s sister? Mother? Daddy? Who knows. NVDA has been a sexy semiconductor leader. Is up 400% since gaining traction on WSB.
FNMA / pfds - Mnunchin, Trump, Big fat fannies. Get your self deep in the fannie. We all want it. WSB 10 bagger candidate for reforming the housing market. WSB holds a large cumulative position that can be seen below. Also a good read is the beginners guide to FNMA. Any post by u/NOVACPA is very often VERY informative on FMNA/pfds.
https://www.reddit.com/wallstreetbets/comments/5oissp/results_wsb_fnmafmcc_holdings
https://www.reddit.com/wallstreetbets/comments/5t7gba/beginngers_guide_to_fnma_fmcc_read_this_before/
ARRY - A biotech champion that prevailed after a lot of failures and huge losses in the biotech sector. Dark times for WSB. Up ~300% since getting traction on the subreddit.
TWTR - WSB likes to buy put option contracts on her. Exemplary of a social media platform that is unable to monetize itself.
TSLA - Maybe not unanimously a favorite, but loved for it’s sexy volatility, Elon Musk, and ridiculously expensive options.
GILD - A Shkreli pump and dump? The greatest large cap pharma recovery of all time? Who knows. Martin took the time to make a post on this reddit and it is up $5 dollars since.
ETF'S
Welcome to the world of investing made easy. Exchange traded funds (etfs) are devices that can be traded like stocks, but often track the value of many companies by investing in their listed assets accordingly. Specifically, An ETF, or exchange traded fund, is a marketable security that tracks an index, a commodity, bonds, or a basket of assets like an index fund. Unlike mutual funds, an ETF trades like a common stock on a stock exchange. ETFs experience price changes throughout the day as they are bought and sold. ETFs typically have higher daily liquidity and lower fees than mutual fund shares, making them an attractive alternative for individual investors.
ETF’s come in beautiful and delicious varieties, often with a BEAR form and a BULL form of each; but the most delicious to WSB are the 3x etf’s. A 3x ETF is one in which the underlying movement of the ETF is leveraged 3:1. Meaning for every movement within the underlying index or stocks, the 3x ETF moves well.... 3x as much..
WSB FAVORITE AND USEFUL ETF’S:
JNUG - 3x Gold Miner Bull - A hit or miss, has extreme intraday movements and essentially tracks GDX (gold miner’s index). Jnug will usually move with a pretty strong correlation to gold, which is affected by the mentioning of rate hikes (negatively), movement of the US dollar (inversely), uncertainty (positively), and supply and demand.
NUGT - Jnug with a different price tag
JDST - The inverse 3x etf of JNUG - or the bear etf. It does almost exactly the opposite movements of JNUG by the tick. Moves for the same reasons, but obviously opposite directions.
DUST - Jdst with a different price tag.
UGAZ - Natural Gas 3x Bull ETF - essentially tracks the price value of the commodity Natural Gas, but more specifically the S&P GSCI Natural Gas Index ER. The index comprises futures contracts on a single commodity and is calculated according to the methodology of the S&P GSCI Index. Natural gas is most affected by Weather temperature conditions (use your brain), petroleum prices, and broader economic conditions.
DGAZ - Inverse of UGAZ
UWT - Crude Oil Bull 3x ETF - extreme intraday movements, closely follows the price of oil. More specifically, it tracks futures. UWT seeks to replicate, net of expenses, three times of the S&P GSCI® Crude Oil Index ER. The index tracks a hypothetical position in the nearest-to-expiration NYMEX light sweet crude oil futures contract, which is rolled each month into the futures contract expiring in the next month. The value of the index fluctuates with changes in the price of the relevant NYMEX light sweet crude oil futures contracts.
DWT - Inverse of UWT
FAS - Financial Bull, specifically FAS seeks daily investment results, before fees and expenses, of 300% of the performance of the Russell 1000 ® Financial Services Index. The fund creates long positions by investing at least 80% of its assets in the securities that comprise the Russell 1000 ® Financial Services Index and/or financial instruments that provide leveraged and unleveraged exposure to the index. Can be used when bullish on US financial services - so banks, lenders, etc.
FAZ - Inverse of FAS
UPRO - S&P500 Bull 3x ETF, essentially tracks the S&P500 and multiplies it’s returns by 3x.
BRZU - Tracks Brazil (in its most basic form). It creates long positions in the MSCI Brazil 25/50 Index.
LABU - Tracks the Biotech sector, or specifically 300% of the performance of the S&P Biotechnology Select Industry Index ("index"). It should be noted that LABU has doubled since just before the election of Donald Trump.
LABD - Inverse of LABU
RUSL - roughly creates 300% of the performance of the MVIS Russia Index.
RUSS - Inverse of RUSL
SPY - Tracks the S&P500, but is not 3x.
OPTIONS:
Alright, so half you are going to understand this, and half of you are not. Pull up an options chain now on any stock (penny stocks and specific stocks do not have chains because of their market cap). Options are truly the ultimate way to achieve maximum risk/reward.
An option is a contract that gives the buyer the right to buy or sell 100 shares of a stock at a certain price, on a certain date. This concept makes options a commodity themselves.
KEY TERMS:
A CALL - is the right to buy. Buying calls is taking a bullish position in its most extreme form.
A PUT - is the right to sell.
The underlying - is the stock that the option is covering i.e. AAPL, GOOG, AMZN
Strike Price - the price at which a put or call option can be exercised.
ITM, In the money - In the money means that a call option's strike price is below the market price of the underlying asset or that the strike price of a put option is above the market price of the underlying asset. Being in the money does not mean you will profit, it just means the option is worth exercising.
OTM, Out of the money - a call option with a strike price that is higher than the market price of the underlying asset, or a put option with a strike price that is lower than the market price of the underlying asset.
ATM - At the money - Strike price at the same price as the underlying
Expiration - Expiries for options are every friday of every week usually, with exceptions such as every month, or every other day - depending on the underlying. SPY and SPX are great examples of very active option chains with expiries every other day. On the expiry date or any time before (with american options), an option can be, but doesn’t have to be exercised, meaning the holder of the option can use it to buy or sell shares of the underlying stock at the strike price. Most people on WSB do not exercise the contracts, but merely flip them for increases in value as the underlying moves.
For example, when AAPL was at 120 before its earnings report, Joe Shmoe Yolo buys 10 FEB 17th CALLS at strike 127 for .60 , each. Now .60 cents is really 60 dollars each, because the contract is multiplied by 100 (the right to 100 shares). In total, Joe Shmoe Yolo spends $600 dollars + commision on this trade. The next day, AAPL leaps to 130 upon great news. These same option contracts are now worth 3.50 each. $350 dollars per contract, times ten contracts is $3500 dollars. Joe Shmoe Yolo just turned $600 into $3500 dollars. MAGIC. Spoiler alert: Joe Shmoe Yolo was me.
That same Joe Shmoe later buys FEB 17th XOM calls at 90, hoping for similar results. However, XOM ends up never reaching anywhere close to the strike price, and the options expire worthless. Get it?
Now what determines the pricing of options?
OPTION PRICING:
Below is sourced from investopedia
Intrinsic Value: The intrinsic value is the actual value of a company or an asset based on an underlying perception of its true value including all aspects of the business, in terms of both tangible and intangible factors. This value may or may not be the same as the current market value. Additionally, intrinsic value is primarily used in options pricing to indicate the amount an option is in the money.
Time Value: Time Value = Option Price - Intrinsic Value. The more time an option has until it expires, the greater the chance it will end up in the money. The time component of an option decays exponentially. The actual derivation of the time value of an option is a fairly complex equation. As a general rule, an option will lose one-third of its value during the first half of its life and two-thirds during the second half of its life. This is an important concept for securities investors because the closer you get to expiration, the more of a move in the underlying security is needed to impact the price of the option. Time value is basically the risk premium that the option seller requires to provide the option buyer the right to buy/sell the stock up to the date the option expires. It is like an insurance premium of the option; the higher the risk, the higher the cost to buy the option. Makes sense, right?
Time value is determined by the expiration date. An expiration date in derivatives is the last day that an options contract is valid. When investors buy options, the contracts gives them the right but not the obligation, to buy or sell the assets at a predetermined price, called a strike price, within a given time period, which is on or before the expiration date. If an investor chooses not to exercise that right, the option expires and becomes worthless, and the investor loses the money paid to buy it.
Volatility:
In an options pricing, you see IV. This stands for implied volatility. The higher that is, the higher the options will be priced Volatility is the extent to which the return of the underlying asset will fluctuate between now and the option's expiration. Volatility, as expressed as a percentage coefficient within option-pricing formulas, arises from daily trading activities. How volatility is measured will affect the value of the coefficient used.
Decaying Nature of Options:
Decay refers to derivative trading (i.e. options). When you sell or buy a call/put (using those two for simplicity purposes) you don't get an infinite time frame to make your dreams come true. Time is your enemy; the further out the expiration date, the less time decay there is. Time decay really hits the worst the week of expiration. Sound confusing? Say you're buying options of the stock WSB (I hope you're seeing what I did there) - and the option costs $1, the expiration is this Friday. Say today is Monday. You buy a call expecting WSB to take you to the moon and beyond. Each day the stock doesn't move closer to your strike price or remains stagnant/drops, you lose value on your option + the time decay. Meaning if it finishes closer to your strike price, your option could be worthless because of that time decay. Questions? Ask away.
A great example of these factors in action is TSLA.
TSLA’s options are among the most expensive for companies in its price range, why?
An in the money TSLA call expiring this week is worth around $1100 per contract. Insanely expensive. But for a reason. TSLA has extreme intraday movements and calls have an implied volatility of 40.92%. Which is fairly high. In addition to that, it holds high intrinsic value / price per share, and a week of time value.
-Futures 101 - The Ultimate YOLO Guide (thanks to u/IncendiaryGames)
Okay, a lot of you have been YOLOing on faggot delights on SPY options. How would you like to trade something with the same or more leverage, 1.0 delta, and no time premium costs? Have you considered futures? What are futures? Unlike options, futures is a contract where both the buyer and seller is obligated to perform the transaction by the expiration. Conversely, in options, only the seller is obligated to perform. That means you can lose more than your investment. Originally they were used by farmers to sell future crops early and guarantee some amount of sales. Since then futures have expanded not just to commodities but currency and equity indices like the S&P 500. Why the heck would I want to trade futures? Here are the advantages: Leverage $5k is the margin requirement for most contracts. For example with the E-mini S&P 500 with 5k you're trading $120k worth of stuff. 1 contract = 500 spy shares. Some brokers offer intraday daytrading margin rates too - TD Ameritrade is 25% of the overnight margin rate($1,250.) Some brokers go as low as $500 an /ES future. SPAN Margin If 24x overnight leverage and 240x day trade leverage didn't give you a hard on there is also SPAN margin, which is like portfolio margin on steroids. The beauty of SPAN margin is you don't need a $125k+ account to be eligible. SPAN will greatly reduce your margin requirements if you hold uncorrelated or inversely correlated positions (up to an 80% discount, here is a list of groups that give discounts) and if you hedge with options. Hedge with the right option or asset and now you have up to 500x day trading margin. 23/7 and day trading Ever get in and out of an equity only to have your broker yell at you to stop doing that or deposit $25k? There is no pattern day trading restrictions on futures. Feel free to day trade and blow up your account as often as you want! You can also trade 23 hours a day. Get trading on how the S&P 500 index will react to news from China right away. Taxes No matter how long or how short you hold you always get taxed under the 60/40 rule. 60% of your profit from futures will be taxed as a long term gain and 40% will be taxed as short term gain. No wash sales. Trade your hearts out. Just remember holding past Dec 31st will treat you as if you closed all your positions that day and you'll be taxed on unrealized gains. Long/Short No need to pay interest or borrow shares as being short a future contract is being a writer, just like an options writer. Options Of course there are options. What fun would it be without options? Unlike stock options each contract gives different number of future contracts. Research what you're trading.
Ok. I'm convinced. I want to strat trading futures! What are some good strategies?
YOLO Strategies
Swing trading Trying to guess/predict/ride sudden market momentum. A low volume average day in the S&P 500 (/ES) for one contract can swing +- $500. Get it right and you can see a huge appreciation of value. /ES is usually highly liquid during regular hours with average volume of 1 million trades and usually bid-ask spreads of one tick. One approach is to buy or short in your direction and put in a stop loss to an amount you're comfortable to lose (say $200.) Since it's so liquid you'll likely be filled at or near your stop loss during the day if your trade goes against you. If you can guess the direction 50% of the time and have trades like this: trade 1 - gain $800 trade 2 - lose $200 Then you may profit over the time period. If you have a 50% chance of being wrong and losing $200 or 50% chance of being right and gaining $800 then over time you'll gain more than you lose. Also, since the present value of your futures contract is included in your margin calculation then if it goes strongly in your favor your position can quickly grow to cover its own margin and you can let it ride for a while. You'll want to be sure you enter a combo buy/short order along with a stop loss order simultaneously, like this for Thinkorswim. Futures can move suddenly and a sudden movement can make you lose a ton of money. Exploiting outdated SPAN margin guidelines There are several out of date correlations between popular futures like oil and say things like wheat that SPAN gives you margin credits on. Take whatever position you want in oil (/cl) then take the opposite in something that doesn't move much day to day with less volatility such as /w (wheat)) and your /cl and /w positions will get a 75% credit, giving you 50% more buying power on crude oil. (2 positions * .25 = 0.5). Trade your heart out on the more volatile future then when you're done close your safer future pair. SPAN is constantly changing but such a complex system definitely has its exploits. Automated/algorithmic trading For you programmer geeks out there it's really hard to algorithmic trade on small accounts due to pattern day trading rules and economies of scale with broker fees. Futures is probably the best way to get your feet wet. Join us on /algotrading if you want to explore more!
Boring safer strategies
I'm including these for completeness but these belong on /investing. Scalping With high frequency trading scalping is less guaranteed. Basically scalping is using tiny momentum as usually there are small micro patterns in futures buying and selling activity where it will rise or fall a couple of ticks. Since the notional value of each tick is $12.5 it's profitable for retail investors and small accounts to act as a market maker after fees at the smallest bid-ask spread possible. Spreads Just like you can trade spreads in options, you can trade calendar spreads in futures. Futures have contracts with different expiration dates and the prices are different for each month of expiration based on the market's expectations. You can go long or short the near month expiration and the opposite for the far month. This will hedge out any sudden market moves as that would likely affect both months. Bull markets in general tend to increase the price of the near month faster than the far month. Basically with a spread trade you're making a long term bet on bull or bear for the underlying future. Pairs trading You can go long in one future say the dow jones (/ym) and short the S&P 500 index and profit off the relative growth. This is a hedged trade as any market ups or downs will likely affect both positions with the same % value. For the past 180 days /ym - /es has been really profitable. Even if you don't do a full perfect pairs trade it is still a great option to reduce the leverage too on whatever index future you're trading so you can stay in longer or overnight. Interest rate and optimal leverage plays Since the $5k investment is equal to $120k of the S&P 500 index currently then you'll likely beat out the market by buying one future contract and putting $115k in safe treasuries or bonds or uncorrelated assets. Some people choose to leverage their stock portfolio and you can get the exact leverage ratio of liquid investments to future ratios. In probability theory the max leverage you can gain is determined by the Kelly Criterion which modeling shows indicates the S&P 500 index to be leveraged to 1.40x. Yes, you could do the same with options but even on SPY deep in the money call leaps are illiquid and have a time premium. Even today they are so deep ITM that the options you would need to use have 0 open interest and a bid-ask spread of $5 per share (so $500 per contract.) You'd need ~5 contracts per 120k so you're already eating $2.5k/$120k - 2% interest rate a year for that leverage. SPX isn't better, it's bid ask is 22 so you'd be eating $2.2k/$120k - 1.83% interest rate. It's doubtful you won't get much past the ask as its only market makers providing liquidity and guess what the market maker will do if you buy/sell the option? They will hedge with the underlying futures until their minimum profit is the risk free interest rate. Hedging Going long and short in various non correlated or negatively correlated assets to seek out a high sharpe ratio and have a higher risk free return that is market neutral. Basic hedge fund stuff. The variety and price efficiency of futures makes things pretty attractive in this area.
SUBCULTURE
Wallstreetbets is a community that has become infamous for the most wild west, moon or cardboard box trades on the planet earth. WSB is a place where you can take out thousand dollar loans, refinance your homes, cash advance all of your credit cards only to put it all on JNUG, and we will still love you. Your mother won't. Your father will never understand your spectrum of autism, but we will always love you. It is a uniquely beautiful community focused on praising its biggest losers as much as its biggest winners. To begin on the subculture, we should define some key moments in the sub's history.
HISTORY: (As made by u/digadiga) + my additions
2012: Jartek [+1] creates /wallstreetbets, and word slowly starts to ooze out. 2013: americanpegasus discovers pennies. AP has seen the light, and is a penny stock evangelist. Jartek & AP have an epic options vs pennies battle - they both lose a couple of hundred bucks, but we are entertained, and WSB is officially born. AP blows up his retirement, swears off pennies and moves onto bitcoins. 2014: fscomeau [+3] discovers options. He repeatedly bets five figures on AAPL calls before earnings. FS claims a supernatural clairvoyance of AAPL. FS then posts about his chest pains and ER visits. He finally suffers an epic loss. Is he dead? Is he alive? Is he is mother? Is he banned? Who cares? 2015: Photos from the 3rd annual meetup are posted. Where a bunch of dudes hang out on the romantic beaches of Guerrero Mexico. In a completely unrelated event, the wsb banner is changed to thousands of ejaculating dicks. Modpocalypse occurs. Hundreds of random users are added as moderators for a few months. None of the new mods can change the CSS. The constant whining about how "wsb isn't what it used to be" continues. Someone attempts to show how selling covered calls is idiot proof, but gets lazy, bets all six figures on Apple, and suffers significant losses. Robinhood gets popular. Should you buy one share of AMZN or one share of GOOGL? Who gives a fuck. 2016: Everyone starts saying "go fuck yourself." Except me. Because I am what I am. And if you don't like it, you can all go fuck yourselves. u/World_Chaos performs one of the more impressive yolo's of the sub, starting with 900 dollars, and turning it into 55k. https://www.reddit.com/wallstreetbets/comments/414blh/yofuckinglo_900_to_55k_in_12_days/?ref=share&ref_source=link 2017: u/fscomeau preforms what he calls "The Final Yolo", a 300k trade against AAPL before earnings (that I, u/thor303456 inversed), supposedly supposed to net fscomeau 2.5 million or so, in which he will finally stop trading. FSC is featured on several market related articles and newspapers, showing up on yahoo, etc. Later we find proof during his livestream of AAPL earnings that he was paper trading. Even later, FSC writes a near 200 page book called "Wolfie Has Fallen" describing how he trolled the entire internet, some following him into that AAPL trade. Martin Shkreli visits the sub and proclaims that GILD pharma is worth over $100 a share and is deeply undervalued.
KEY FIGURES:
Donald J Trump - He is the Marmalade Manchurian, the Tangerine Tycoon, and our spray tan Stalin. Unbelievable night of election. WSB demographics show a primarily capitalist and right wing (or at least joking to be so) point of view, and thus we are generally pro trump. In actuality though, WSB is focused on pro-market, which Trump happens to be.
u/Jartek - Founder of the sub, original yoloer. Believe he has retired from reddit for the most part. Mostly inactive.
u/Fscomeau - The Canadian as some call him, and perhaps one of the most profound internet trolls of 2016-2017. A French-Canadian trader who deals with mostly options. The man has been called "The Great Inverse", and for a good reason. Nearly all of the trades or statements he made on WSB were completely wrong or mostly wrong. Truly the strongest technical indicator.
Martin Shkreli - An idol to many WSBers, Martin stands as the master of the biotech sector. A very debated character for very stupid reasons. Martin regularly tweets about the stock market, occasionally does a youtube channel, and livestreams fairly regularly.
u/theycallme1 - Educated trader, and mod of WSB. Roasts people often and roasts them good. Ask him the questions that aren't stupid. One of the most active mods.
u/world_chaos - some fucking college student with some real net worth. Sits on 100k or so (needs verification), and was an inspiring yoloer to all, with his 900 to 55k yolo with options.
Lingo, Terminology, and Nomenclature:
The Faggots Delights - Truly the most suicidal, yet clearest shot to the moon. This term is usually used to define either weekly, or daily option plays on the SPY/SPX. Some users trade them very profitably, such as u/MRPguy and many in the past.
Cuck - Truly the worst thing you could be. A cuck is a man who likes watching his wife/girlfriend fuck other guys. Weak, spineless, and a term often throw around here.
The YOLO - You only live once. This is something that is, and should be realized as undeniably true. Why are you sitting on a 5k emergency fund that is making you less interest in a year than what I just made in 10 minutes? Why haven't you used all of the credit on your 5 credit cards or used your testicles as collateral for a loan yet? YOLO or YOLOING is as much a psychological decision to embrace absurdism, and win with everything you have while risking it all. Yolo is what it means to be a WSB trader.
Bagholding or a Bagholder - When you're stuck with the most ass trade of your life, because you know it'll go back up. A bagholder is the 59 year old guy at the grocery store who won't quit his Job because he knows he only has to wait another year until he gets a return on his investment (of his life). Anyone holding SUNEQ is the definition of a bagholder.
Autists - Something we embrace, something we call each other, something we all are. Autism isn't used in an offensive way as much as it is a generally accepted term that defines us. The best traders have autism because of their distance from emotion. I bet you never made it to this part of the reading because you're such a damn autist.
Tendies - Tendies are what you get after you make a small amount of money. "I SOLD AMD TODAY FOR A $13 DOLLAR PROFIT, GOING TO MCD's TO GET MY TENDIES". Tendie money is usually shameful and insignificant, but at least it got you tendies. Chicken tenders at McDonalds are the least expensive for the most cholesterol.
I know some of the writing was half ass, full of errors, or otherwise not the best explanation. But I believe this will serve its purpose, and maybe help to promote new ideas from moderately educated traders. WSB has very strong traders, and the most uniquely risky trading styles on the planet. Hopefully this can serve to better the overall community.
You guys are all faggots, upvote this so we can get the noobs to stop trying to bite on our cocks.
Also I'd really appreciate input on anything to add to this overall. It took my over 3 hours to write up, so I eventually grew tired and probably have missing spots.
Enjoy your time here at WSB.
EDIT: Added a shit ton of stuff, fixed errors. THANKS FOR ALL OF YOUR INPUT, ACTUALLY MAKING WSB GREAT AGAIN
MODS: Can we make this editable by others mods or something? My fingers aren't enough. Seems like this could serve as a good "official" thing. Paging u/theycallme1 u/CHAINSAW_VASECTOMY etc
submitted by Thor303456 to wallstreetbets [link] [comments]

First million at 27!

Proof (If you believe that everything on the internet must be true. :P)
Hey guys!
I've been lurking here for about a year after realizing there is an actual community for folks with my mindset.
I unfortunately don't have too much of a rags to riches story. My journey started when I joined the workforce in 2013 with a net worth of about -55k from grad school debt. Aside from maxing out a Roth 401k and basic expenses, all my money went into paying down my student loans, which I accomplished early 2015 and at that point had a net worth of about 50k. Since then, the vast majority of my savings has gone into a diversified portfolio of index ETFs and mutual funds managed by robo-advisors (I still max out my 401k but now do 50% traditional and 50% roth to hedge the uncertainty in my future tax rate). Here's the kicker: between late 2015 and mid 2016, I invested $27k in Bitcoin and Ethereum. Those investments have grown from 10% of my net worth to about 55% even after I took ~$74k worth off the table a couple weeks ago to lock in a gain. Without that investment, my net worth would probably be closer to $450k today.
In terms of jobs, I have worked as either a software engineer or a data and analytics engineer here in Silicon Valley. I currently work at a startup where I am definitely earning below market in terms of cash comp so am hoping the equity works out (but really I joined out of a love for the product - it is one of the robo advisors I use - and out of realizing how much I could grow as an engineer in their organization).
I try to keep my expenses fairly minimal. I probably spend $50 a month eating out since my work now provides free lunch every day. I live at home with my parents but spend about $1200 a month paying them rent and covering all the groceries for the household. My "splurges" this year have been $600 for a Switch and 3 games + pro controller, $300 for a new phone (the phone itself was $650 but I had a special pool of $ to use on it from my previous job), and $290 for a 1TB SSD I got for myself on black friday to make more room for stuff on my 4yo custom built PC.
My FIRE amount is currently $3M but hoping to get to around $5M to feel really secure. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments. :)
submitted by htrajan to financialindependence [link] [comments]

Investors' trust in the US dollar is down as the trust in gold keeps growing

Investors' trust in the US dollar is down as the trust in gold keeps growing
In the last couple of years, central banks in many countries have been actively buying gold. This increased demand served as a key factor in driving up the price for the precious metal. Recently, the price even exceeded $1,500 for a troy ounce. Even though it's still far from the historical high of $1770 (reached in 2011), the current price dynamics points towards a new cycle of growth.
The 2008-2011 price rally started at the $750 mark and was a result of the global financial crisis. Fortunately, developed economies managed to halt the downturn quite quickly, and the price of gold underwent a correction. However, after a fall to $1,070 for a troy oz. at the end of 2015, a new uptrend began. It was hardly noticeable at first, but by spring-2019, with the escalating US-China trade war and increasing tensions in the Middle East, gold prices started to grow rapidly.

https://preview.redd.it/nd521570t9b41.png?width=640&format=png&auto=webp&s=d64acfdd43963aaec55cb39da74abf345783cf40
It's worth noting that for the past few decades, the United States has held more gold in reserve than any other country in the world. In the last 15 years, the US gold reserves have stayed virtually unchanged, at 8,100 tons. By comparison, Germany — which holds the second place - has circa 3,400 tons of gold, or more than twice when compared to the US. Numerous international experts claim that the money and credit policy of the United States has a decisive impact on the price of gold. This theory does a great job at explaining the current situation: as the Federal Reserve takes steps to devalue the dollar, the gold prices keep growing.
In particular, in June, Bank of America experts Michelle Meyer and Ben Randall, issued a warning saying that the US government is considering an intervention to weaken the dollar.
In this context, more and more countries, central banks, and corporations realize that the value of the US dollar is based on the trust conferred to it by the global community. If this trust evaporates, a crash will become inevitable. The USD exchange rate may not fall so much relative to the euro or Japanese yen. However, the change relative to the price of gold will be dramatic. The exchange rates of all other fiat currencies to gold will decrease proportionately.
Gold is a safe investment asset, since US authorities cannot subject it to any sanctions. Besides, it has value in its own right, which is a statement that does not apply to US dollars or the euro. Thus, it's not surprising that the demand for physical gold continues to grow.
According to the latest report issued by the World Gold Council, the demand for the yellow metal reached a 3-year high in the first half of 2019. In Q2 2019 alone, global demand grew to 1,123 tons, which is 8% higher than in the second quarter of 2018.
The demand was spurred mostly by the ongoing purchases of central banks and by the steady growth of the gold-backed ETF market. The overall demand for gold in the first 6 months of 2019 grew to 2,181.7 tons.
During the same period, central banks across the globe bought a total of 374.1 tons – the largest six-month net increase in global gold reserves for the whole 19-year history of quarterly records. The report states that the most active buyers were central banks in developing countries.
The growth of state gold reserves around the world hints at intensifying disagreements among countries. This can be a sign that countries want to abandon the traditional reserve currencies of the old global economic leaders. As a result, the growing demand for gold is threatening the positions of the US, UK, and the European Union.
However, there is a key difference between the 2008 crisis (which led to a sharp increase in the gold prices) and the current situation. The market now has a new alternative to fiat money: cryptocurrencies. In the next ten years, global market players will have three basic instruments at their disposal: fiat money (mostly the US dollar as the main reserve currency), gold, and crypto (first and foremost Bitcoin).
Out of the three, fiat money is considered ever less reliable. There is already a tremendous amount of paper money that is not backed by anything – and more is being printed every day. The alternatives are the tried-and-true gold, on the one hand, or the new cryptocurrency ecosystem, on the other. While gold is the money of the past, fiat currencies (USD) are the money of the present, and crypto is the future of money.
A good example of a breakthrough solution for the problem of money is the new GOLD stablecoin. It combines the features of traditional currencies, while also leveraging the power of cryptocurrency, thus bypassing the unreliable fiat systems entirely.
In order to understand why it's such a disruptive solution, we should compare it to the most popular fiat-backed stablecoin on the market – USDT. Tether receives fiat dollars, stores them in a bank as a reserve fund, and issues tokens whose number should theoretically equal the amount of US dollars present in the reserve.
As shown by the recent incident with Bitfinex, this is not exactly true – but that issue goes beyond the scope of this article. Here, we must only mention that the market cap of Tether exceeds $4 billion – even though Tether investors don't receive any reward for holding their tokens.
The situation is almost absurd: with the current sanctions and repeated personal data leaks, many individuals and companies find that it's safer to store their funds in a stable cryptocoin than in US dollars – the most secure fiat currency. Unlike Tether and other fiat-pegged stablecoins, GOLD is pegged to the price of gold at the rate of 1 GOLD = 1 gram of 99.99% gold. Just like Tether stores US dollars in its reserve accounts, Digital Gold (the issuer of GOLD) keeps its physical gold reserves in a specialized vault.
The vault belongs to BullionStar – a global leader in the precious metals market. The gold is audited round the clock by BullionStar itself, providing a much stronger guarantee of security than any bank account statement. As investors keep buying more GOLD stablecoins, the company will keep purchasing new batches of physical gold, depositing it in the vault, and issuing new tokens.
The total amount of gold held by individuals, central banks, stores, and private vaults across the globe is valued at $8 trillion. Some experts believe that Bitcoin is the only crypto that can reach the same market capitalization and become a digital alternative to gold.
However, Bitcoin, like all other cryptocurrencies, is highly volatile. Besides, transaction fees in the Bitcoin network are high, so it can't be used for micropayments. And as the BTC price keeps growing, increasing fees can become a problem for larger transfers, too.
In this context, GOLD tokens feature three serious advantages. First of all, they are not volatile. Of course, the token's price does change as the underlying price of gold changes. But for those investors who are used to buying physical gold or ETFs, these fluctuations won't constitute a problem.
Secondly, the fact that GOLD is an ERC-20 token means that it can be successfully used for any payments, including microtransactions. In the absence of excess volatility, the average fee will range from $0.01 to $0.02. Lastly, since physical gold will always grow relative to all fiat currencies, GOLD will keep growing relative to all fiat stablecoins. Of course, this is only valid over long periods of time, since in the short term, gold prices can both rise and fall. The key point is that gold has been growing in value over the course of millennia. Thus, long-term investors will find GOLD far more attractive than any fiat-based stablecoins. What's more, they might soon lose their interest in fiat-pegged crypto altogether.
Website : https://gold.storage/ Whitepaper: https://gold.storage/wp.pdf Follow us on social media: Twitter: https://twitter.com/gold_erc20 Telegram: https://t.me/digitalgoldcoin Steemit: https://steemit.com/@digitalgoldcoin Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/golderc20/ Bitcointalk: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=5161544
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Consensus Network EP36: Buy, Borrow and Die: Bitcoin Style

Catch the full episode: https://www.consensusnetwork.io/podcastepisodes/2019/10/5/ep36-buy-borrow-and-die-bitcoin-style-1
Buck: Welcome back to the show everyone. Today my guest on Wealth Formula Podcast is Zack Prince. He's Founder and CEO of BlockFi. BlockFi bridges the gap between blockchain and the basic financial products that you're used to including interest-bearing accounts and loans. Zack, welcome to Wealth Formula Podcast. I think you we might have had you on before as a Consensus Network replay but first time on Wealth Formula Podcast specifically, so welcome.
Zac: Yeah, excited to be here, Buck. Thanks for having me. And it's good to chat with you again
Buck: Yeah so remind me how you got into this you know Bitcoin stuff in the first place, I mean you were as I understand you were a traditional finance guy right so where did the blockchain part come in?
Zac: Sure so I was I was working at a company in the FinTech world that provided data and technology solutions to institutional investors that wanted to participate in some of the new online lending platforms, whether they were real estate platforms or consumer lending platforms, and I kind of became the FinTech guy amongst my friend group and people would ask me you know should I invest in these real estate deals on fund rise or buy loans from Lending Club and I started writing a blog to share the information more efficiently with my friends basically and I started expanding a little bit writing about Robo advisory and some other things that were going on in the FinTech space and that's what led me to Bitcoin, and this is back in early 2015. I didn't start BlockFi until 2017 because I started following the market in the background, still working in traditional financial services in FinTech and then in early 2017 it started to feel like mainstream adoption was starting to happen in the crypto ecosystem. I'm started going to some meetups in New York City because at a certain point my wife said Zac, you're talking about crypto all the time and you're talking to me about it and I don't want to talk about it so you should find some other people to talk about this with. And the meetup composition started to change and in 2016 when I started going to these meetups it was the early crypto adopters you know libertarians, computer scientists and then in early 2017 I started to see some venture capitalists, some guys who had just left their job at Wall Street still wearing a suit, some more entrepreneurs and it was a really exciting time in the ecosystem, things like the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance were getting announced which had participation microsoft and a lot of other you know fortune 500 companies and I had started to believe in it. I was drinking the kool-aid a little bit so I decided to find a way to get involved in the space full-time and that's what led me to start BlockFi.
Buck: So I have to imagine that the response you got from the traditional finance people around that time when you started talking about the blockchain space and when you started being more and more involved with that was probably not a very positive response initially or did you did you experience some of that sort of you know rejection initially to what you were doing?
Zac: Yeah absolutely. But you know throughout my career this is now kind of the third emerging technology industry that I've worked in. I was originally an advertising technology starting like you know 15 years ago and I was in FinTech specifically the online lending side of FinTech which in its early days was called peer-to-peer lending and now in crypto. So having to do a lot of education explain it you know why something isn't crazy and it might work and here's why and here's the value proposition and here's what it is, I've gotten very used to that and comfortable with it. But yeah there were a lot of people who are like you know I've heard Bitcoin is only used by drug dealers and money launderers. I've heard that I'm supposed to care about blockchain and not Bitcoin. And you know at BlockFi we’re providing financial products into the market so it's a heavily regulated business so we also had to communicate with regulators. We had to explain to state regulators, federal regulators why what we were doing with Bitcoin and other cryptos than when you're doing these same types of things with assets that they're more familiar with.
Buck: So when you were talking to people back in, I don't know I guess 2016/17 and it's not a long time ago, it's only two years ago, but I have to imagine that the response or the you know the approach that people take to you when you speak to investors is very different. Has it become more mainstream in that regard for you know for big money investors?
Zac: It's absolutely become more mainstream you know the end of 2017 Q3/Q4. Point was going on that parabolic run it started to get covered everywhere, I mean it was on CNBC every day it was in Bloomberg New York Times Wall Street Journal. If you were paying attention to the financial industry and markets you heard about Bitcoin at that time if you hadn't heard about it before. So from a baseline of awareness perspective it got a lot better and then in 2018 you had a number of positive developments for the sector including one that I think is probably the most noteworthy which is that Bitcoin futures were listed on the CME the institutional investor perspective that's massive. You now have a well regulated well known super trustworthy venue where you can get exposure to this asset class, you also had companies like Grayscale bringing products to the market which are accessible to certain types of investors and their low bridge accounts and you started to see some adoption from companies like FinTech companies like Robin Hood and Square making Bitcoin available on their platforms. So the conversation has absolutely changed a lot and it's become less about whether or not this is something that's going to continue to exist whether or not it's something that was just a bubble and is going to die and now it's more about ok how is it going to get used how big could it get what are the interesting applications of it and what could have potentially disrupt in the traditional financial ecosystem.
Buck: So you know we had obviously following this you know pop in 2017, you know I actually like you kind of really got into this early 2017 so timing was pretty good I guess now regards. Good or bad depending how you look at it but I was there before before the parabolic move. And then we have you know then we followed this up with a crypto winter and and you know who knows if we're done with it, I guess we certainly are much better off than we were. You know a unit buddy it's funny Zac I don’t know if you remember this but I was about to, we'll talk about BlockFi specifically in a minute but, I was about to use BlockFi for borrowing because I like this idea of borrowing you know collateralized debt and collateralized debt on assets and buying something else. So I was about to do it and then Bitcoin lost a clip and I was like literally and I remember I was just emailing with somebody somebody over there and I was like sorry dude I guess I just sold it, I just sold all that Bitcoin I had and you sent one email back to me and it said “capitulation” but it you know and so now we're looking back at these we go down from 3,000 back up you know been sort of flirting around this 10,000 and it seems like we're kind of maybe that we're stuck there, maybe we're kind of out of winter, maybe we're in a holding pattern but it seems like to me that since that two years not only is the awareness increase but the development of the ecosystem itself is so much further advanced than it was in 2017. Is this an unusual case where the technology and maybe even the infrastructure is actually outpacing the price?
Zac: You know it's really hard to say. I would argue that in some ways it's typical. In other industries that showed a lot of promise where investors could you know participate maybe a little bit ahead of the adoption curve you saw crazy price run ups with the tech bubble and you know ‘99-2000 being the one that's kind of top of mind in recent memory and then on the other side of things, are we behind where the price should be now? It's really hard to say because this is kind of like a commodity type asset built on a payment network and valuing that is challenging and there's not a perfect model for for doing it today. It's not as easy as something that's cashflow producing but I'm incredibly bullish. I'm on record as saying at the beginning of this year that Bitcoin has only had one year in its 10-year existence where it had a lower low than the year before and parted this year around the low price for 2018 and I predicted that we would in the year had a higher price than where we started the year pretty soon and now we're up and you know around 300 percent from where we started the year. As that happens in investing is people frequently look at things on a year-to-year performance basis and when people are looking at Bitcoin even if all we do is stay around 10 K from here when they're looking at how Bitcoin performed rather than other relative to other assets at the end of 2019 it's probably going to look fantastic. And you also have an event coming up and in the summer of next year called The Halvening where basically the supply that's produced by miners is going to get cut in half and so if you believe in the stock the flow type models of valuation for Bitcoin that is usually a very big driver of price appreciation.
Buck: I believe May of 2020, right?
Zac: That's right.
Buck: In May of 2020. Can you just talked a little bit about that just so people know because people hear about it, I've been talking about it but I don't think that it really explained it.
Zac: Yeah and you know I'm not I'm not a computer scientist so I can explain it in a you know in a very simple…
Buck: No one else here is either.
Zac: So basically the way that new Bitcoin is created is through this process called mining. And it's analogous to mining gold except instead of finding a place in the earth where gold exists and then getting your trucks and mining equipment and digging it out of the ground, the way bitcoin is mined is using this computer program and there is now specialized computer hardware that's built specifically and optimized for mining Bitcoin. And you have this network of machines around the world where the input is energy into the mining hardware and the output is new Bitcoin and those miners are what provides the power for the payment network a Bitcoin to run and when we say that there is this event called The Halvening, what that basically means is that the output that's built into the Bitcoin program that the miners are receiving as their payment for contributing energy to the network, is going to get cut in half. So the miners are going to have the same you know relative input but the amount that they're receiving is going to get cut in half for that input. This should, if the demand side for Bitcoin remains equal, it should drive up the price and historically Bitcoin has had three of these Halvening events in its lifetime so far I believe and around each Halvening you have seen you know six months before or six months after a pretty material run up in price.
Buck: Yeah so it also goes along with that sort of that the entire idea that Bitcoin unlike you know other assets including gold is it's a deflationary asset ultimately and and that's one of the things that makes that happening really significant. Apart from and I have one more question before we get to block five which is apart from the Halvening, you know thing that's happening, what is maybe the biggest development or upcoming thing that's coming up that makes you the most bullish on the future of Bitcoin or blockchain in general?
Zac: Sure so I think I wouldn't actually point to any one specific thing, I would point to two broad trends. So one is institutional adoption and participation in the asset class and the other is better ramps for retail participation into the asset class and just focusing here you know on the US market because it really is an international story but just in the US market. In September we should have Bakkt launching their futures platform. Bakkt is owned by ICE, the Intercontinental Exchange, and there's a big core difference between their futures and the current futures that are available on the CME in that futures on Bakkt platform are going to be physically settled so that means that actual Bitcoin is going to be needed to facilitate the trading on Bakkt’s platform which does not happen on CMEs exchange so that's that should be a very positive catalyst in terms of demand for physical Bitcoin that could have an impact on the price. Also on the institutional side this year I believe earlier this year, the first pension fund made an investment into an asset management vehicle that was focused on investing in Bitcoin and private equity opportunities in the Bitcoin and blockchain sector. So that will be a trend.
Buck: Which pension fund was it?
Zac: It was in North Carolina so I think it was like the North Carolina Firefighters and the group that raised the money from them was Morgan Creek Digital it’s actually invested in BlockFi by Anthony Pompliano Twitter and Mark Yusko so that's on the institutional side. And then on the retail side you've seen FinTech companies like Square and Robin Hood offer Bitcoin trading to their users. But soon you will also have companies like TD Ameritrade E-Trade and others offer Bitcoin to their users sometimes be a partnership sometimes because they've built it directly. You also at some point might see progress made in terms of an ETF getting approved that would give retail investors in the US market exposure to Bitcoin in a really easy and familiar way. All of those things are tremendously positive catalysts and the caliber of people working on them only continues to increase. Talent was attracted into the sector very, very rapidly these days.
Buck: You know one question that leads me to is that all of this is happening with Bitcoin for the most part. Are alt coins in your opinion is that market coming back or is that something that we're gonna see probably select you know group of tokens projects emerge and then the rest will kind of just get left in the dust, what do you think?
Zac: I mean I'll tell you exactly what I'm doing with my portfolio and then I'll provide a bit more color. So my asset allocation in the crypto side of my investing is I'm like 90% Bitcoin 5% Ethereum and 5% B&B; which is the Binance right. So I'm super bullish on Bitcoin. I think that you know there's a chance that Ether makes a comeback specifically I think that a lot of the stable coins that have been launched have been built on Ethereum if you're not familiar with stable coins it's basically the concept of a dollar but on a blockchain which could be really really powerful because it creates the opportunity for the delivery of US dollar denominated financial services at a global scale not using the traditional banking rails. And then B&B; I mean Binance is the biggest and most successful exchange they have a history of innovating, creating new products, going fast and so I'm taking a bit of a flyer with them but I'm 90% Bitcoin. I don't think that I'm not bullish on any of the other all coins frankly I struggle to see you know the big upside I have heard whispers in the community that there's kind of like a new wave of altcoins 3.0 might emerge, you know could see some some good returns similar to what some of the ICOs did in 2017 but it's not an area of focus for me. So that's my view.
Buck: Yeah let's talk about BlockFi. Remind us exactly what BlockFi is.
Zac: Sure so we're a wealth management platform for crypto investors. Today we have two products that we offer. One product is analogous to a savings account from a traditional bank where you're able to earn interest on your holdings except on BlockFi, the assets instead of being dollars are bitcoin and Ether and we don't have FDIC insurance so it's not exactly the same risk profile as a savings account at a bank, but conceptually you're able to hold Bitcoin and an account with BlockFi and earn interest on it paid in Bitcoin every month. That's one product that we have. The second product that we have which you are alluding to earlier offers our clients the ability to borrow dollars secured by the value of their cryptocurrency and it's analogous to a securities backed loan or a liquidity access line in the traditional world except instead of securities we're taking Bitcoin or other digital assets as collateral and lending it rates as low as four point five lending USD that rates as low as four point five percent a year.
Buck: I wanna pick these apart a little bit if you don't mind. In terms of this savings account first of all is it just bitcoin or is it bitcoin, Ethereum?
Zac: We actually support three assets in the interest account currently Bitcoin, Ether and GUSD which is the stable coin from Gemini.
Buck: Got it. And talk about the interest because it's not one flat interest rate right it's different depending on how much cryptocurrency actually is held?
Zac: Correct so there's a tiered interest rate structure. Currently on Bitcoin for balances up to ten Bitcoin, we offer a six point two percent annual yield and for balances above ten Bitcoin it's a 2.2 percent annual yield. On Ether, for balances up to two hundred Ether it's a 3.3 percent annual yield and balances above two hundred Ether is 0.5% annual yield and for GUSD the stable coin it's an eight point six percent interest rate with no tier so yeah those are the different rates.
Buck: Why did, I mean was it just a matter of like an issue with people dumping like a thousand Bitcoin and trying to get six you know 6% of that, was it just too hard to you know make that a long-term part of the business model or why did the higher levels end up changing to a lower rate?
Zac: Sure so I wanted to function of market conditions and to it's a function of supply and demand. So we launched the interest account in March of this year. We were just starting to come out of the bear market and one of the things that happened as we switched from being in a bear market to being in a bull market is the futures switched from being in backwardation to contango which basically means that our institutional borrowers the groups that we lend to that enable us to pay the rate to depositors had less of a need they had less demand to borrow and they were willing to pay lower rates to borrow crypto than they were when we were building and planning to launch this product. The second thing that happened is we were surprised to the upside in terms of the level of interest that we received from depositors and especially depositors with very large sums of cryptocurrency. So to give you an example you know within a day or two of making the product available publicly, we had a number of groups that were depositing 5, 10, 15, 20 million dollars worth of Bitcoin and so the supply-demand that we have to manage is, the amount that we have on deposit relative to the size of this market that will borrow Bitcoin size of the market that will borrow Bitcoin is partially a function of market sentiments partially a function of number of trading venues and the liquidity profile and it's partially a function of you know BlockFi’s efforts in terms of sales and client development relationship management. So the supply side got a little bit ahead of the demand side on deposit and how much there was available to borrow so we made a few tweaks. We want to keep the 6%, 6.2% rate on Bitcoin available to as many people as possible for as long as possible so that's why we went with the tiered structure where we made it available on balances up to 10 and reduced it for balances above that.
Buck: Got it and the interest on that, when you say 6.2 percent that six point like it's all denominated in Bitcoin, you're not paying cash out right?
Zac: Correct so to use round numbers to provide an easy example you start on January first with a hundred Bitcoin in an account, by the subsequent January first you will have 106 point 2 Bitcoin in your account.
Buck: Yeah and that that's kind of neat too because then you're you know you're also getting potentially the upside of that you know I mean they made 6% but if you if you're really bullish on the market you could be potentially looking at a lot more than 6% on your money. How about in terms of the, is there like a you know do you do it sort of a month-to-month or six month or month you know year-long contracts for these things?
Zac: It's month-to-month. So the rates are subject to change on a monthly basis. We provide notifications at least a week in advance before the end of one month on what the rates will be for the subsequent month and people are able to you know withdraw any time without penalty. We reserve up to 7 days to process withdrawals but we've never taken more than one business day to process a withdrawal so they're pretty quick but not instant for security reasons and yeah it's pretty flexible.
Buck: How about the lump in the lending side how does how does that work? So now I've got like 10 Bitcoin and so I would deposit that I guess and you guys I understand that maybe that that goes into like a Gemini account or something, is that still how it works?
Zac: Correct so we have a partnership with Gemini for custody. So when you log into a BlockFi account you'll have a deposit address. When you send Bitcoin to that deposit address it actually goes directly into storage with Gemini. Gemini was the first custodian in the crypto sector to receive insurance against cyber hacks on their platform. They were also the first custodian to get to complete a SOC 2 compliance audit and they have a really long track record of custody billions of dollars worth of crypto without ever having any issues. So it goes directly to Gemini and then you're able to interact with block-wise platform to take any actions that you might deem necessary. So you can view your interest payments you can withdraw you can deposit more you can also take out a loan. So in terms of taking out a loan, if you have ten Bitcoin that's worth roughly a hundred thousand US dollars at this point in time, you can borrow up to fifty percent of that value in a US dollar loan which can be funded be a wire or stable coin and then the structure of those loans is that you make interest-only payments on the amount that you borrowed throughout the duration and you can prepay at any time without penalty.
Buck: And what's the typical you said it was four point six.
Zac: We have interest rates as low as four point five. The interest rates on borrowing USD vary according to your initial loan to value ratio. So if you have a hundred thousand dollars worth of Bitcoin we actually have three loan-to-value ratio options. You can borrow at a 50 percent initial loan-to-value ratio which would mean you're borrowing 50k, the interest rate on that will be eleven point two five, if you borrow thirty five percent of the value so 35k the interest rate is seven point nine, and if you borrow twenty five percent of the value of the interest rate is four point five percent per year.
Buck: Got it. In terms of you know the technical, so you basically pay that on a month-to-month basis and then in terms of contracts, are those also month-to-month loans or how does that work?
Zac: Those are one-year term loans well now it's the ability to renew without repaying the principal at the end of the term at current rates and our rates for those loans have always come down so far. So it's a one-year term loan BlockFi committed for a year at that rate your payments stay the same but you can prepay at any time without penalty.
Buck: Right. When do you do when would you do an actual sort of I guess a cap will call like what loan-to-value because you can go up to say you're borrowing at you know you're borrowing at the lowest rate you know you're at 4.5% you're borrowing see you know just for round numbers 100 Bitcoin you borrowed or you said 10 Bitcoin hundred thousand dollars but you only borrowed twenty-five thousand dollars at four point five percent, what if Bitcoin you know loses 50 percent of its value then what happens?
Zac: Well you wouldn't have a margin call based on on that example. If your loan to value ratio hits 70 percent that's when we have a margin call and the way the margin call works is our clients have the option to either post more collateral, pay down the loan using USD or some of the collateral that's posted for the loan or take no action. If they take no action there's a 72-hour window where we'll wait to see if the price recovers, if it does then no action is required, if the price keeps going down further then we will initiate a partial collateral sale to rebalance that LTV to a healthy level at the end of that window.
Buck: So in terms of the clients that you see doing this kind of stuff, I mean who are you seeing borrowing because you don't have a cap I mean you can on the borrow side, I mean and the rates don't really change like if you're depositing a hundred Bitcoin you're getting the same rate differences as somebody who's depositing ten for borrowing right?
Zac: That's right.
Buck: So who are the people who are putting I mean what are these businesses that are putting are using these loans who are the typical clients?
Zac: Sure so it's a mix of retail and corporate. On the retail side we actually did a survey recently on use cases and the number one use case about a third of our borrowers expressed is that they were using the funds that they borrowed to start a business, which we were really excited about. So the other popular use cases were investing in real estate, investing in other types of traditional assets like stocks and bonds, home improvement, larger purchases, vacations were all used cases, paying down higher cost debt was another use case, and then on the corporate side the loans are used for operating capital. So we have some mining companies that borrow from BlockFi. Other types of companies who you know maybe have crypto denominated inventory like exchanges or crypto ATM businesses our frequent borrowers from BlockFi and our loan sizes rearranged from you know as low as five thousand dollars all the way up to seven figures. So it's a pretty diverse group of borrowers.
Buck: So recently it sounds like you guys partnered with another company called Casa. What is Casa and I guess how does that benefit both companies?
Zac: Sure. So Casa is a leader in fighting self sovereign storage solutions for cryptocurrency owners so if you're alone that owns Bitcoin and to use a gold analogy. If you want to own gold but you keep it in your vault or in your backyard you want to have physical possession of it yourself if you want to do that same type of custody with Bitcoin. Casa has a solution that makes that really easy. Our partnership with Casa provides mutual benefits to clients on either side. So Casa clients are able to receive some discounts in terms of accessing BlockFi products and vice-versa BlockFi clients are able to receive discounts in terms of accessing kasam products and over time we'll build some things in to the user experience specifically on Casa’s platform that will make it you know a bit more seamless to interact with BlockFi products while you're on their platform. In general that partnership strategy is something that you'll see more of we think there are in the ecosystem that are specializing in areas that BlockFi's not focused on and doing things where we can provide benefits to clients on both sides is a win-win for us then and our clients.
Buck: Last thing I want to ask you about, last time I spoke to you, you had talked about the idea of potentially Bitcoin backed credit cards meaning like you know getting Bitcoin back instead of miles or dollars back. You guys any closer to that, because I definitely want one of those cards.
Zac: I'm so glad you brought it up. We're definitely closer, but we're not you're not going to have the card until like Q3 of next year probably. It's getting worked on, these things you know for better or worse they take a long time launching a credit program is no small feat you know we're working on it. We've identified some of the key partners that we'll be working with to bring that product to market it is going to happen and I share your sentiment like I wish I had it now.
Buck: Yeah seriously that'd be great. Well listen it was great talking you. So it's BlockFi.com and it's spelled like block and then fi and tell us you know tell us the process of doing is pretty simple okay how long does it take to apply for these things…
Zac: Yeah I mean nothing takes any time really. So you could come in and start earning interest and get a loan from us all in under five minutes. And we also have a client service team that's super responsive in in terms of communication however you want to communicate with them, over email, over the phone, over text message so you know don't don't hesitate to reach out to us. We're also on twitter. My twitter handle is BlockFiZac and our company twitter handle is @therealBlockFi so we're very active on those platforms and happy to chat with you there as well.
Buck: Zac Prince, thank you very much for being on Wealth Formula Podcast today.
Zac: Thanks for having me, Buck, I appreciate it.
Buck: We’ll be right back.
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Bitcoin: Winklevoss ETF Files in New York

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