The foreign exchange (forex or FX) options market has grown to become the world’s largest and most liquid market. It shares many similarities to other options markets, but with a few key differences that make it enticing to small investors and large companies alike. In the following guide, we’re going to look at what a forex option is, what are the benefits of trading them, and how trading occurs.
A forex option, also referred to as a currency option, is a type of flexible contract that a buyer may enter by paying a premium. The contract gives the buyer the right to trade currencies at a determined rate prior to a determined date. The major advantage is that the buyer has the right to make this exchange, but he is not obligated to do so. This makes options a powerful tool for hedging against uncertain shifts in currency exchange rates.
In traditional options trading, the buyer has the right to purchase or sell a specific commodity before the given date. The same rules and processes apply to FX options trading, except that the asset being purchased or sold is another currency.
As mentioned previously, FX options are often used by large companies to offset potential losses that occur due to fluctuations in used currencies. Options are often used in this regard alongside currency forward contracts. Currency forward contracts guarantee a trade at a specific rate on a specific date. They are used to hedge against certain shifts. Meanwhile, options require no obligation and are thus used to hedge against uncertain shifts in the future.
To know how to trade options you need to first understand each type of option. Some of these terms you may be familiar with if you have traded currencies or options in the past. There are three main types of FX options and they are fairly simple to understand.
The first type of option is a call option. This gives the investor the right to buy a pair of currencies at a determined exchange rate. The right will need to be exercised on or before a specific date.
The second type of option is the put option. This contract gives the investor the right to sell currency pairs at a determined rate before a specific deadline.
The third type of FX option that is frequently used is called Single Payment Options Trading (SPOT). SPOT options are sometimes referred to as binary options because they have two possible outcomes. The investor will provide a scenario and the broker will charge a premium based on the likelihood of that scenario occurring. The SPOT option will then pay out if the determined scenario occurs.
Above is one of the two possible outcomes of a binary forex option. The second outcome is the scenario listed does not occur. In such a case, the investor will lose the premium that was paid for the option. SPOT trading has become extremely common with new investors because it is easy to understand and has a significant potential for profit.
The apparent simplicity of SPOT trading is actually deceptive. It’s true that each option only has two possible outcomes, but the number of potential scenarios is very high. Once traders begin considering all of these scenarios they can easily become overwhelmed. However, there are various tactics for SPOT trading that are meant to make the prediction process easier.
If you are interested in forex SPOT trading, then there are two simple scenarios that you should familiarise yourself with. These scenarios make it easy for newcomers to make predictions and thus make a profit. The first is known as a “one-touch spot” and the second is called a “no-touch spot”. Each strategy reflects a predicted change in an exchange rate.
With a one-touch spot, you are predicting that an exchange rate will reach a specific level before a given date. If the exchange rate does reach that level before the provided date, then you receive payment. The value of the payout is determined by how long the options contract is set for and the difference between the current exchange rate and the predicted exchange rate.
Generally speaking, one-touch spot options do not have very high payouts. They are still an attractive option because of their simplicity. It’s a great way to begin trading forex options if you are a newcomer.
The second option is the no-touch spot. This is simply a prediction that an exchange rate will not reach a specific level prior to an expiration date. Once again, the value of the payout is determined by the length of the contract and the difference in the values of the exchange rate. The payout is not very high for no-touch spot options either.
The one-touch and no-touch spot options are some of the most commonly traded options with newcomers. Not only are they easy to understand, but they serve as powerful learning tools. Many great investors took their first steps into forex options with the one-touch spot. As you spend more time trading you will become more comfortable with forex options and be able to predict more specific scenarios with much higher payouts.
If you are already familiar with traditional forex trading, then stepping into the FX options market may seem like a natural step. It is a great way to diversify and to hedge against specific risks. Your existing knowledge of the currency market will be beneficial when trading options and what you learn while trading options will benefit your traditional forex trading.
And what if you don’t have experience with the forex market? Trading options is actually a great way to introduce yourself to the market. SPOT trading, in particular, is an easy-to-use tool for learning the market while making a small profit. That profit will continue to expand as you learn more about the complexities of trading different types of forex options. In any case, it’s important that you continually strive to learn more so that you can make more accurate predictions in the future.
Always remember: Your capital is at risk because trading of any kind carries a high level of risk, and may not be suitable for all investors.
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The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.
Market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange.
Japan is moving towards regulated crypto exchanges. The Japanese financial regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSA), has recently approved two entities to begin operations in April. Currently, only about 14 percent of the total 216 crypto exchanges around the world are licensed by regulators, according to the latest report by startup firm Coinfirm.
Russian billionaire Vladimir Potanin is looking to create a cryptocurrency token backed by palladium that will improve the ease of transactions. The tokens will be traded through a Switzerland-based palladium fund. Similarly, blockchain-enabled diamond exchange Cedex will start operations by trading about 6,000 diamonds worth over $50 million. Another blockchain trust company Paxos wants to tokenize gold and expects to start operations this year.
Many cryptocurrency investors are first-timers who have no experience with other asset classes. To tap into this set of investors who want to own some equity exposure, decentralized financial contracts platform UMA has partnered with Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) MakerDAO to release USStocks, a token tied to the U.S. stock markets.
Blockchain and cryptocurrencies are attempting to make a difference in the way traditional assets are traded. If successful, it will be a bullish move for the nascent asset class. The recovery in crypto markets continues. Let’s see which major coins look strong.
Bitcoin (BTC) has continued its journey toward of the overhead resistance of $4,255. The bulls have been struggling to scale this level since last December, hence, this is a major hurdle to watch out for.
If the digital currency breaks out and closes (UTC time frame) above $4,255, it will complete a double bottom. This reversal pattern increases the probability of a new uptrend that has a minimum target objective of $5,273.91.
Both the moving averages are sloping up gradually and the RSI is in the positive zone. This shows that the buyers have the upper hand but the current up move lacks momentum.
Contrary to our bullish view, if the BTC/USD pair fails to ascend $4,255, it will remain stuck in the large range of $4,255–$3,236.09 for a few more weeks. After a sharp bear market, the bottoming formation is likely to take a long time. The longer the base, the stronger the eventual breakout from it will be.
However, if the pair breaks down of $3,236.09, it will sour sentiment and can result in a waterfall decline. For now, traders can keep the stop loss on the long positions at $3,500. We shall soon trail the stops higher.
Ethereum (ETH) is attempting to break out above the overhead resistance at $144.78. It has turned down from this level thrice in the past one month. Hence, this level assumes significance.
If the bulls push above the resistance at $144.78, the ETH/USD pair can quickly rally to $167.32. The pair might face a strong resistance at this level. Hence, we might tighten the stops when the price reaches $167.32.
On a breakout and close (UTC time frame) above $167.32, the digital currency will complete an ascending triangle pattern. This bullish set up has a target objective of $251.64.
Our bullish view will be invalidated if the price breaks below the uptrend line. The traders can keep the stops on the remaining long positions at $125
Ripple (XRP) continues to trade near the moving averages. Both the averages are flat and the RSI is just below the midpoint. This points to a balance between the buyers and the sellers.
The balance will tilt in favor of the bulls if the XRP/USD pair breaks out and closes (UTC time frame) above $0.33108. Just above this level is the resistance line of the descending channel. On rising above both these resistances, we expect the trend to change. The ensuing rally can reach $0.60 in the medium-term.
Conversely, if the bears sink the digital currency below $0.27795, it can plummet to the yearly low of $0.24508. We do not find any reliable buy setups at current levels; hence, we are not suggesting any trade in it.
EOS has reached the critical overhead resistance of $4.4930 from where it had reversed direction on Feb. 24. Currently, the bulls are attempting to break out of the resistance. If successful, the digital currency can move up to $5.8370.
Both the moving averages are sloping up and the RSI is close to the overbought zone. This suggests that the bulls are in command and a breakout is likely. Still, as the price has reached a critical level, we suggest traders trail the stops on the remaining long positions to $3.70. We shall raise the stops again in a couple of days.
Contrary to our expectation, if the EOS/USD pair again reverses direction, it can fall to $3.8723, which should act as a strong support. The 20-day EMA is also close to this level, hence, this level assumes significance. The momentum will weaken if the price sustains below the 20-day EMA.
Litecoin (LTC) has been consolidating near the highs for the past 13 days. This is a positive sign as it shows that the bulls are not booking profits yet because they anticipate higher levels. The digital currency will extend the recovery if it breaks out and closes (UTC time frame) above $61.9044. Following the breakout, a quick move to $69.2790 is probable.
The upsloping moving averages indicate that the path of least resistance is to the upside. However, the bearish negative divergence on the RSI can play spoilsport.
A breakdown of the uptrend line of the developing wedge pattern is the first sign that momentum is waning. The first support on the downside is the 50-day SMA, below which the LTC/USD pair can decline to $47.2460. Hence, please keep the stop loss on the remaining long positions at $55.
Bitcoin Cash (BCH) has broken out of $163.89 but might face some resistance at $177.30. If the bulls scale above this resistance, it will complete a rounding bottom pattern that has a target objective of $222.78–$249.60.
Both the moving averages have started to trend up and the RSI is close to the overbought zone. This suggests that the bulls have a slight edge. The BCH/USD pair has a history of vertical rallies, hence, we recommend holding the long positions with the stops at $140. The pair will weaken below $125.88 and will turn negative below $105.
Binance Coin (BNB) is currently consolidating in the $15.63–$18 range for the past four days. This is a positive sign, as this confirms that the bulls are holding on to their long positions even at the critical overhead resistance of $18. Both the moving averages continue to trend up and the RSI is close to overbought territory.
A breakout and close above the overhead resistance of $18 can carry the BNB/USD pair toward lifetime highs. This will be a big sentiment booster, as this will confirm that the recovery is on track and select digital currencies have started a bull market of their own.
But if the pair turns down from $18, it can correct to the 20-day EMA, below which the drop can extend to the 50-day SMA. Therefore, we suggest traders protect their remaining longpositions with the stops at $15.
Though Stellar (XLM) has been trading above the 20-day EMA for the past two days, it is yet to pick up momentum. This shows a lack of demand at higher levels.
If the XLM/USD pair does not move up within the next couple of days, it is likely to break below the 20-day EMA once again and drop to the uptrend line. This is a critical support, below which the trend will turn negative.
Contrary to our assumption, if the pair moves up sharply from the current levels, it can reach $0.13250273. If this level is scaled, the next level to watch is the long-term downtrend line, which is a major resistance. For now, traders can retain the stops on the long positions at $0.08.
Cardano (ADA) has continued to move up towards its second target objective of $0.080. Both the moving averages are sloping up and the RSI is close to the overbought zone. This shows that the bulls are in command.
Traders can book partial profits closer to $0.0750 and trail the stops on the remaining longpositions to break even. It is always a good idea to book partial profits and reduce the risk because many times, the trade can turn around in a jiffy and, turn a profit into a loss.
After booking partial profits, the remaining positions can be trailed with a loose stop loss that will give some wiggle room to the ADA/USD pair. We shall watch the resistance zone of $0.080–$0.094256 closely before deciding the next move.
Our bullish view will be invalidated if the pair reverses direction sharply from the current levels and plunges below $0.051468.
Tron (TRX) has broken out of the 20-day EMA and is currently at the downtrend line. A breakout of this resistance will propel the digital currency to $0.02815521. If the price sustains above $0.02815521, it is likely to start a new uptrend. Therefore, we might suggest long positions on a breakout and close (UTC time frame) above $0.02815521.
On the other hand, if the TRX/USD pair turns down either from the downtrend line or $0.02815521, it will remain range-bound for a few more weeks. The flat moving averages and RSI just above the midpoint suggest an equilibrium between the buyers and sellers. The trend will turn negative on a breakdown and close below $0.01830. Until then, volatile range-bound action will continue.
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I have found putting together this write up very necessary due to the massive feedback I have received since the time I published my first article on cryptocurrencies. It signals that there is a great craving for the right retail investment education on cryptocurrency investment.
Also, the rise in fraudulent cryptocurrency investment schemes has placed undesirable fear and panic in many, preventing them from taking advantage of the superior potential returns associated with cryptocurrency investments. But I trust that this article will wipe away all fears and provide readers with valuable information on cryptocurrency investment.
Most of the people I have received queries from are essentially beginners who know quite little about the financial markets. So if perhaps you are like many others who have been searching for sure-enough knowledge and information about how to invest in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, stay tight with me because I wrote this article for you.
Before we proceed further, I must emphasize that, as a trader, I do not trade cryptocurrencies, but as a market analyst, I watch them like a hawk.
In this article, I have managed to put together a step by step process and in very simple terms such that any new entrant seeking to invest in cryptocurrencies may follow to do so. I will also try to address some of the issues that have come up in my interactions with people about cryptocurrency investment and I trust that individuals who have no clue as to how they can go about investing in cryptocurrencies will find this piece very helpful.
To begin with, let me state that as a newbie, it is highly essential that you have a firm understanding of the nature of the markets. The market is a loosely organized exchange whose members bet that prices will either rise or fall. You are against everyone and everyone else is against you. Every trader wants to take money from the market that the market has no intentions of given it to them stated differently, every dime of profit you make in the markets is coming directly from someone else’s account who had no intentions of given it to you when they placed their trades.
The market is designed to attract more losers because winners walk away with the money of losers. Additionally, the prosperity of winners is reliant on losers and losers keep the markets thriving.
You must, therefore, take aggressive steps to protect your capital. In view of that, you must establish a firm investment objective of what you intend to achieve from your cryptocurrency investment.
Your investment objective must rest on four main pillars, which are – your investment capital, your investment knowledge and experience, level of risk tolerance and your personality.
Having a sincere and firm understanding of your position in these four key areas is essential to your progress and success. Let me go ahead to explain these points into details one after the other.
Investment Capital: your investment capital is essentially the amount of money you have at hand to put to work in the markets. All other things have been equal, the bigger your investment capital, the higher your potential returns will be. Certainly, a trader with a $10,000 investment capital will make more money in the long run than someone having only a $1000 to invest. Essentially, you should not rush to make quick large profits if your investment capital is small. Many beginning traders face the temptation of wanting to make quick large profits even when their capital at hand is very small, this is a gambler’s mentality and should be discarded.
For instance, if you have only $100 of investment capital, you can’t expect to make $50 profit out of that every month, because that would mean you are taking too much risk, and the market can wipe you out at the least instance it goes against you. On the other hand, if you have about a $1000 to trade with, setting a monthly target of $100 profits is reasonable and quite achievable if you work hard. This is much more than what various banks or mutual funds in this country can give you on a $1000 investment and so you must appreciate it.
I must further add that, whether big money or small money, the method and approach of trading Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies do not change.
Investment knowledge and experience: gaining proficiency in investing is the same as in any other profession, it requires experience, and experience takes time. As Michelangelo said, “if people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all”. Every professional was once a dabbler who has spent years practising their craft to achieve mastery.
Sometimes it’s baffling when people come to the markets and they want to make quick money without the appropriate knowledge and experience. In our part of the world, university degree takes four years, but learning to trade is a skill-set that when acquired will enable you to make money with just your laptop and internet connection for the rest of your life and you want to get it all in just a day? That’s absolutely not going to happen.
Failure to realize that trading is a professional endeavour and treating it as such can lead to your ruin. Trading in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is not a get rich quick endeavour and those who fail to understand this fundamental truth do not stand to have a good chance of success.
Take your time to learn and decide that you want to be a trader even twenty years from now. In this manner, you set your mind up for success. As a beginner with very low investment knowledge and experience, if you are able to average between four to six per cent return on capital on a monthly basis, with time you will be in a very good position.
Risk tolerance: your investment objective must also be guided by the level of your risk tolerance. As in every other investment enterprise, cryptocurrencies aren’t different. There exist a positive correlation between risk and rewards when trading cryptocurrencies. The higher your dollar risk per trade, the higher will be your return on investment if the market goes in your favour and the higher will be your loss if events do not conform to your expectations. The risk management rule we apply to trade the markets is that a trader must never risk more than three per cent of their account equity on any single trade.
The way traders measure risk and reward is such that we always make more money when we are right than we lose when we are wrong.
For instance, the standard risk-reward ratio many traders apply in the markets is 1:2.i.e we are looking to make at least two times our risk on every trade we take.
Suppose your dollar risk is $100 per trade, that means, you are looking to make at least, $200 should the market move in your favour, but stand to lose $100 if events do not conform to expectations.
Risk and rewards measured in this manner would imply that you wouldn’t need a 100% win rate to be profitable. On average, a 40% win rate is all you would need to be profitable on a 1:2 risk reward ratio. For instance, if you are to take ten trades, you don’t necessarily need to win all of your trades in order to be positive. On a worst case scenario, if you lose six trades but win four trades, your total loss will amount to $600 while your total gain will be $800 – you end up safely banking $200 as net profit. Risk reward ratios, when effectively applied, yields superior returns on investment.
Personality: at the most fundamental level, we are how we trade and we trade the way we are, the market is the largest mirror to the soul. Ironically, this is the bedrock of trading success. Inscribed upon the ark of Apollo for over two thousand years, is the inscription “know thy self”.
The investment objectives and trading methodology you design or adapt must resonate perfectly with your personality.
By personality, we are looking at the duration of which you wish to hold your trades – whether at the short term micro trading level or long term macro trading level.
There are individuals who like to hold trades from a few seconds to only a few minutes but never beyond an hour, while other individuals prefer to hold trades for several hours but never beyond a day.
More so, other individuals prefer to hold trades for just a day or two, but never beyond a week and finally, we have very long term macro sophisticated investors, who are always looking to hold positions from several weeks to several months and even a year.
These different groups of traders employ different methods and trading styles to the markets and you must be able to settle on which category you appropriately fall into. No group is better than the other, so long as they all do it right, they will all be profitable over the long run.
There is always the temptation to think that the more one exposes themselves to the markets, the more money they will make. Anytime I am in a conversation with an aspiring trader, and I ask how often they will like to trade the markets and whether for short term or long term – their reply always goes like, “I want to do it every day and for short term profits”. New entrants must understand that the amount of money we make from trading the markets is not a function of how often we trade and that both short term and long term investors make money as long as they do it right.
More so, it is difficult, if not impossible, to become a successful high-frequency trader when you have a day job to keep. Because, the most conducive time for scalpers to trade the markets is in the afternoon, and by that time most people are busy at work.
Studies have revealed that individuals who are very much action oriented, who love to drive fast cars, fast motors and find themselves in lots of action most of the time are predisposed to be scalpers (short term/high-frequency traders).
On the other hand, folks who are more relaxed, calm and cool, and don’t engage themselves often in high adrenaline activities are more suited for long term swing/positional trading.
After establishing a firm investment objective based on the guidelines above, the next and most exciting question new entrants love to ask is, how can I trade Bitcoin live? First of all, to be able to trade cryptocurrencies live, one has to be registered with an online licensed broker – these are financial institutions that provide electronic trading platforms for traders and investors to buy and sell global securities online. Once you successfully register with a broker, they will furnish you with their trading tools to download and install on your computer. The various online brokers that provide Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency trading includes Etoro, Avatrade, Plus500, Bitfinex, Voyager and Coinbase among many others.
It is essential to note that, not all global online brokers operate within Ghana’s jurisdiction, for instance, Coinbase operates only in Canada, Singapore, U.S, U.K and other parts of Europe.
Investing with an online broker implies that you will need a laptop and a stable internet connection. One may also use an iPad or a tablet or any smart mobile device to connect and trade the financial markets live in the pulse of their hands. This is the good news that makes trading really exciting!.
Nevertheless, I personally do not encourage the use of smartphones, iPads and tablets as the primary device for trading, because people turn to overindulge and abuse it.
I will recommend the laptop as the primary device for trading the markets to any new entrant looking to trade cryptocurrencies online.
Bitcoin and all other major cryptocurrencies can be traded on forex, hence many forex brokers have added them to their trading instruments and they are traded as CFDs against major currencies like the U.S Dollar and the Euro. So you will see something like BTCUSD (Bitcoin against U.S Dollar) or BTCEUR (Bitcoin against Euro) when you log unto the trading platform your preferred broker will provide you with.
The cost of trading cryptocurrencies includes commissions, spreads, swaps and slippages, as well as internet data for logging unto the broker’s platform. These charges vary among brokers and it will be your duty as an aspiring trader/investor to shop for the broker with the lowest of these charges.
After you have followed due diligence to select a broker, do well to stick with that broker, there are no universally perfect brokers who can meet your preferences outrightly. Once a broker is able to satisfy your major preferences, you should be able to work with that broker. You would be required to open a trading account with the broker and as you do, they will send you a link to download and install their trading tools on your computer or smartphone, iPad or tablet. Most CFD brokers use the MT4/MT5 trading application unique to them After the platform have been downloaded and installed you will need to know how to operate the functionalities of the MT4/MT5 trading station and customize it to suit you.
Understanding and going through these stages effectively will bring you face-to-face with the global financial markets in the pulse of your palm or on the screen of your computer. You would then need to develop a trading strategy/methodology and a money management plan to trade with.
A trading strategy will signal to you that if “A” happens, then either “B” or “C” is likely to happen and then you enter the markets accordingly. In the heat of the trading day, your money management plan will serve as a defensive mechanism that will protect your capital and keep you in the game long enough to grow your money.
As with every other form of trading, remember that cryptocurrencies are highly volatile financial instruments and so your capital is always at risk and you can be wiped out very quickly if you lack the required skills, experience and psychological resources necessary for trading highly volatile financial instruments.
One good news is that you can practice demo trading first to get familiar with your broker’s platform and also to know and understand market signals and how prices move. Demo trading will also help you to backtest your trading strategy to know its win rate. Should it happen that you are unable to develop a trading strategy all by yourself, you may check online to find one that would suit you. Above all, demo trading will help you to decide whether trading leveraged instruments is really a thing for you or otherwise, without putting your real cash on the line.
After you are successful with practising demo trading and backtesting your trading strategy, start by trading a small amount of money. This will help you build up your level of confidence as you develop a firm understanding of market signals. It will also help you gain more experience and get your feet on the ground without putting too much capital at risk. You can scale up your risk to increase your profit potential as you progress. Because cryptocurrencies are highly volatile financial instruments, be sure not to invest with money you cannot afford to lose, such as your house rent or school fees.
Investing with ‘scared’ money as a beginner positions you at a very discomfort zone, and you will not be in the right frame of mind to interact with the markets properly.
I hope this article has been very helpful to you? Of course, there are more nitty-gritty that any individual or organization considering cryptocurrency investment needs to know and consider but generally, these are the basics. If you’ve found this write up useful, I would love to hear from you, reach out to me with further questions and I would be glad to assist you.
In conclusion, I would like to say that trading CFDs carry a high degree of risk and uncertainty and may not be suitable for everyone. Trading attracts those who love puzzles, risk and brain-teasers and repels those who avoid risk.
Do not venture the markets with money you need for immediate use since it’s not a ‘get rich quick’ endeavour. Many folks who approach the markets with a ‘get rich quick’ mentality lose and wash out of the markets.
It pays to assume a long term approach to trading cryptocurrencies. There are no shortcuts and you need to avail yourself to the learning process. If you do, you will realise that your efforts will greatly payoff – you will change everything in your life without changing nothing.
The author is a Certified Chartered Financial Economist with certification from the Global Academy of Finance and Management (GAFM) and the Association of Certified Chartered Economist (ACCE). He is a Professional Currency Speculator, Economic Columnist and Investment Analyst.
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Bitcoin, trapped in a more than year-long bear market, has lost some 80% in value over the last 15 months and caused many of those in the nascent industry to change or postpone their bitcoin and cryptocurrency plans.
Now, the long-awaited blockbuster initial public offering (IPO) of major bitcoin and cryptocurrency miner Bitmain Technologies appears to have been put on ice, causing consternation amongst the burgeoning cryptocurrency industry.
China’s bitcoin mining giant Bitmain Technologies this week appeared to abandon its IPO ambitions after it allowed its Hong Kong stock market proposal listing to lapse—some six months after Bitmain filed an IPO prospectus.
Bitmain did, however, say it plans to reapply “at an appropriate time in the future.”
“We do recognize that despite the huge potential of the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry, it remains a relatively young industry which is proving its value,” Bitmain said on its website. “We will restart the listing application work at an appropriate time in the future.”
Bitmain, which designs hardware and microchips for artificial intelligence as well as cryptocurrency mining, was aiming to raise some $3 billion in its IPO, according to a Reuters reportrel=nofollow, citing unnamed sources.
Bitmain posted a net loss of $395 million in for the second quarter of 2018, while there were reports the company spent $500 million on failed chips over the past 18 months.
Though the bitcoin price has been trading flat for a number of months now, bold bitcoin bulls have continued to talk up bitcoin and cryptocurrency prospects, with the founder and chief executive of crypto asset manager Galaxy Digital Mike Novogratz saying the next move bitcoin makes will be “higher.”
Novogratz adds his voice to other bitcoin and crypto wealthy, including billionaire Binance chief executive Changpeng Zhao, EOS co-founder and BlockOne CEO Brendan Blumer, and the billionaire Winklevoss twins of Facebook-founding fame, who went on to create the U.S. Gemini crypto exchange, who have said they still have strong faith in bitcoin and crypto despite the downturn—and are betting prices will move higher.
The bitcoin sector is currently trapped in a long-running bear market, with some $400 billion in value wiped from the world’s cryptocurrencies over the past 14 months.
Bitcoin’s epic 2017 bull run was largely put down to expectations institutional investment and big bank support for bitcoin would soon arrive. As 2018 dragged on and that investment failed to appear many investors and traders got cold feet, bailing out of their bitcoin and cryptocurrency positions.
Many bitcoin investors and traders are however looking toward things like the highly-anticipated Bakkt bitcoin platform and a U.S. bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) to boost the price, though those expectations have been somewhat dampened lately as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission frets over potential price manipulation.
BTC had a nice recovery in late December, but technicals say we may see a correction in the coming weeks.
Major support sits around $3,212 and resistance around $4,560 so those are important numbers to look for as either starts to be approached.
If weekly price candle/bar closes below the $3,700 minor support price level, then price action might head toward $3,212.
Last month saw the price of BTC/USD (BTC-USD) drop below its long-standing support price of $5,800, on the back of the Bitcoin Cash (BCH-USD) hard fork which produced just the impetus needed for sellers to push prices below this support level. This price move is not unexpected, as it’s part of the downside resolution of the price move below the descending triangle on the weekly chart.
The question that now confronts traders of Bitcoin is this: Have we hit the bottom, or is worse yet to come? This analysis piece attempts to look at the price action of BTC/USD as it attempts to answer these questions.
Fundamentally speaking, the market has provided a bearish ending for a volatile year in Bitcoin. It looks as though it will end the year below $4,000 — after hitting an all time high near $19,000 in early 2018.
2019 is shaping up to be a year for institutional investment. Bakkt, the crypto company spun out of the Intercontinental Exchange, just announced a $182.5 round of investment capital fundraising. This coming from 12 firms, some major names in venture capital.
2019 also will see BTC continue to challenge national regulatory bodies. If and as countries can provide proper regulatory framework, BTC prices may see stability and potentially rise on growing demand and limited supply. For now, here are the technicals going into 2019 for BTC on its USD trading pair.
The BTC/USD weekly chart is shown below, and we can see that after posting some slight gains in the week leading to Christmas, the weekly candle is trending downward. Most cryptos lost ground in the current week, and Bitcoin is leading the way. The long-term outlook indicates that a further test of the $3,200 support level, which was last seen in October 2017 and the third week of December 2018, is very likely indeed.
We also can see that the 9-EMA line (orange-colored) is located above the price action candles, thus serving as a dynamic resistance to price action. This gives further confirmation that price moves for the rest of the year will most likely be to the downside.
BTC/USD Weekly Chart: December 30, 2018
We then switch focus to the daily chart, where we see a number of things:
There are a number of things that should be noted from this chart.
BTC/USD Daily chart: December 30, 2018
So how does all this play out?
The major support continues to remain at $3,212, while the major resistance continues to be the $4,560 level. In the long term, this looks to be the boundaries of the range of price movements of the BTC/USD, with price oscillating between the $3,212 floor and the $4,560 ceiling. Within this price range, there are several minor support/resistance key levels which will serve up areas where traders can set up short-term entries.
The scenarios for BTC/USD will depend on the behavior of price action at the minor and major levels of support and resistance. One scenario favors downside movement of BTC/USD, which will occur if price action breaks the current minor support levels, best visualized on the four-hour chart below.
BTC/USD Four-Hour Chart
If the weekly price candle/bar closes below the $3,700 minor support price level, then price action will make a dash for the next major support levels of $3,212. This move is going to have contentions along the way, as several minor support levels (such as the $3,400) mark will have to be breached.
The outlook for the long term, mid term and short term is as follows:
It’s expected that BTC/USD will head south in the coming weeks in order to test the long-term floor of $3,212.
Please note: It takes a whole week for a candle to form on the weekly charts, so these moves may take several weeks to play out. Entries should be made on shorter time frame charts such as the daily chart.
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Disclosure: I am/we are long BTC-USD. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.
Red might be associated with the holiday season, but this year it’s looking a bit less festive to investors.
Stock markets are down, the Canadian dollar has dropped against its U.S. counterpart and Canada’s energy sector continues to struggle, pulling down the S&P/TSX Composite Index with it. Even gold, that safe-haven asset, has taken a hit and isn’t expected to bounce back until at least the middle of 2019, according to J.P. Morgan.
Volatility is causing concern among all investors, including Canada’s wealthier, especially for those nearing retirement. Here’s what four wealth advisors are telling their clients. They also offer a few predictions for 2019 and advice for keeping sane in turbulent times.
Mr. De Goey points out that markets have had a strong run until recently, and that managing investors’ expectations is key.
“Before this, there were a couple of dips of extremely modest consequence, but this is really the first time in almost a decade when people have seen their accounts go down. So I keep telling people, ‘You know, you’re going to have a correction every seven or eight years, and you’re going to have a drawdown every three years. You’ve gone a decade without a correction.’
“I would say the majority of my clients are fine and they get it. They understand that it’s been a good run and that things don’t always go well.
“But there will always be a moderate-sized minority – I’m going to say 15 or 20 per cent of my clients – who are saying, ‘Well, don’t just stand there, do something.’ But good financial advising is about, ‘Don’t just do something, stand there!’ You have to resist the temptation to do something just for the sake of doing it because the evidence shows that the more people tinker with their portfolios, the worse they do.
“Portfolios are like a bar of soap. The more you touch them, the smaller they get.”
Mr. Boyd is reminding clients that a good time to buy is when others are selling.
“People look at the headlines. We’ve seen interest rates rising on the U.S. side. We’ve seen the price of crude oil down. We’ve seen the [trade] issue between the U.S. and China. I’d be naive if I said there aren’t people watching the volatility on the news and asking, ‘What’s going on?’
“Do people see this as a buying opportunity? The notion of ‘buy low and sell high’ is easier said than done. If you hear from your financial advisor who is saying, ‘I understand your accounts are down, but I need you to add some more money,’ people aren’t going to answer the phone.
“But it’s one of those things. Would you rather pay retail or wholesale? If you like to buy things on sale – which is one way to build wealth – then keep sending money because at some point in the cycle, like now, you’re going to get volatility. You can buy stuff a bit cheaper than you could in the summer.”
Mr. Clark predicts a multiquarter slowdown in 2019, partly because of the popularity of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in trading software.
“It’s going to be upon us quicker than we anticipated. You can see it in the rest of the world, which is falling apart big time, and the markets are down 25 to 30 per cent. The only ‘best house in the worst neighbourhood’ is the U.S., and it’s only been break-even for the year. So our view is you’re going to have a multiquarter slowdown.”
Two factors at work here will be “this massive trend of exchange-traded funds and quants [quantitative trading that uses computer algorithms], which grew out of the last financial crisis. We’ve never gone into a true bear market with this level of AI and index type of trade. People are so long on indexes they’re not really looking at fundamentals and risk management.
“So you yell, ‘Fire!’ and it’s an instantaneous push-button effect. I worry about the market structure being able to handle a true bear market.
“But if you’re prepared for it, then you get a chance to reload. While everyone’s dying, you’re ready to make hay [by buying distressed investments]. But you’ve got to know your playbook. It’s like a football analogy: The quarterback has got a play for every scenario – and right now the playbook is cash and income [investments such as government bonds, investment grade bonds, utilities and REITs]. It’s the defence.”
We’re definitely due for a haircut, Mr. Dewdney says. But diversification can help control the damage.
“There are all kinds of headwinds south of the border, which is our number one trading partner, and when they sneeze we catch a cold. But in addition to that, you have an unpredictable – and some might say irrational – president. Plus trade wars and terrorist attacks. There is a lot of instability in the market that reflects this.
“Diversification is key right now. I know that sounds like beating a dead horse, but you definitely don’t want to be the guy with all of his eggs in one basket, and then he trips. My clients have faith in the markets and economy. We sleep well at night knowing we are diversified, not just by asset class or sector, but also by geographic location.
“And we know that this too shall pass.”
“My take on the whole dot-com bubble was that a lot of people who wanted to make a lot of money got too excited and hyped up the commercial aspects of the Internet prematurely. I think the vision of the Internet as a democratizing medium – as everyone’s printing press – is real. We got distracted from that by the mass hallucinations of the bubble.” – Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist
For Internet, read blockchain, and you realize how that quote still remarkably rings true almost two decades later. That’s because it’s not so much a quote stating his own opinion on a specific bubble but a pithy, eternally valid observation of the ineluctable socioeconomic effects of revolutionary ideas.
“We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run” – Roy Amara
But why do we keep doing this? It’s a self-feeding cycle. Once a promising new technology, hitherto unimaginable, captures our collective imagination, our immediate response is to theorize, and to some extent hypothesize, various applications for it, even as our understanding and appreciation for practical use of the technology are in infancy.
Thus ensues a heuristic process to unravel realizable applications through trial-and-error. Inevitably, our early endeavors founder, resulting in misplaced cynicism. Maybe this overhyped technology isn’t all that after all?
Amidst widespread disillusionment and derision, some of us persist, wiser for having learned from the early misinterpretations, cognizant of each failure representing a lesson to draw upon, and eventually discover practical applications for the technology.
So failures are not always an indictment of the technology, but perhaps our interpretation of it. This is true of every enduring technology ever conceived and yet, we seem to have a hard time wrapping our heads around it.
(of something unpleasant or unwelcome) beneficial in providing an opportunity for learning from experience
On the face of it, 2018 has been a harrowing year for cryptocurrencies – abortive projects, waning interest, startups struggling to stay afloat.
But it’s in fact been a salutary year – one which, on the back of rampant, unsustainable speculation towards the end of 2017, had to be endured to progress further forward. While the price action has been gloomy throughout the year, functionally, Bitcoin is in a far better place than 12 months ago.
In the 2017 review, we discussed how 2018 could be the year we separate the wheat from the chaff. Given the cooling-off of indiscriminate investment in ill-conceived ICOs and relenting speculation over assorted altcoins, we certainly seem to be on course.
Let’s take a glance at the most notable events of this year before discussing what may lie ahead.
January 2nd Bitcoin’s dominance of the cryptocurrency market is at its lowest level ever thanks to rising interest in alternative digital coins. Despite a market cap of $231.8 billion, Bitcoin’s share of the market fell to a new low of 36.1% of the total valuation of all cryptocurrencies. By contrast, at the start of 2017, its market share stood at over 80 percent.
January 10th Warren Buffett is back at it again. The billionaire investor and his longtime manager Charlie Munger, two of the world’s most successful investors, say they’d never invest in Bitcoin and that cryptocurrencies “will come to a bad end”. Munger went on to add, “investors are excited because things are going up at the moment and it sounds vaguely modern. But I’m not excited.”
January 11th South Korea ponders a ban on Bitcoin trading. Justice Minister Park Sang-ki said virtual currencies were “great concerns” and that the ministry was preparing a bill to ban trading. South Korea’s presidential office said later that a ban had not yet been finalized and was one measure being considered. The local Bitcoin price fell by a fifth after the justice minister’s comments.
January 26th Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck says that around 523 million of the exchange’s NEM coins were sent to another account around 3 a.m. local time. The stolen coins were worth about 58 billion yen at the time of detection, or roughly $534.8 million, according to the exchange.
January 30th Social media giant Facebook unveils a new policy to ban advertisements involving Bitcoin, other cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings. Rob Leathern, the company’s product management director, wrote in a Jan. 30 blog post that the new policy targets “ads that promote financial products and services that are frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices, such as binary options, initial coin offerings, and cryptocurrencies.”
February 6th Bitcoin price falls to $5,947, representing a 70% fall from its all-time high only six weeks ago, amidst banks in the US banning purchase with credit cards and governments moving to tighten legislation on cryptocurrencies. Financial regulators across the world warned investors that they could lose all their money if they buy digital currencies issued by companies, known as initial coin offerings.
February 7th At the Senate Banking Committee testimony, the chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), Christopher Giancarlo, made it clear that Bitcoin was here to stay, “We owe it to this new generation to respect their enthusiasm for virtual currencies, with a thoughtful and balanced response, and not a dismissive one.”
February 12th Energy use for Bitcoin mining in Iceland poised to overtake that of all Iceland’s homes, says a spokesman for Icelandic energy firm HS Orka. “If all these projects are realized, we won’t have enough energy for it. What we’re seeing now is… you can almost call it exponential growth, I think, in the [energy] consumption of data centers,” said Mr. Sigurbergsson.
February 20th South Korean government official for cryptocurrency regulation is found dead at his home in Seoul. Police presumed Jung suffered a heart attack while sleeping and were awaiting details from the coroner’s office, reported local news agency Yonhap.
February 21st With its economy ravaged by hyperinflation, Venezuela launches national cryptocurrency named “Petro” backed by its oil reserves, in an attempt to bypass tough economic sanctions imposed by the US government.
March 2nd Bank of England (BOE) Governor Mark Carney calls for greater regulation of cryptocurrencies, calling the huge price moves and volatility “speculative mania.” Carney said, “The time has come to hold the crypto-asset ecosystem to the same standards as the rest of the financial system. The average volatility of the top 10 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization was more than 25 times that of the U.S. equities market in 2017.”
March 8th Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) shuts down two cryptocurrency exchanges, ordering them to suspend operations for a month, as part of a crackdown following the $534 million hack of Coincheck in January. The FSA also issued business improvement orders to five other exchanges, including Coincheck (again), which had already been slapped with a business improvement order in January.
March 14th Bitcoin briefly falls below $8,000 after Google, the world’s largest online ad provider, says it will ban cryptocurrency ads. Tech giant Google announced an update Wednesday to its financial services policy that will restrict advertising for “cryptocurrencies and related content” starting in June.
March 19th US executive branch issues an executive order prohibiting the use or purchase of Venezuela’s Petro cryptocurrency, claiming the currency was issued unlawfully in an effort to circumvent U.S. sanctions against Venezuela, and in particular the President Nicolás Maduro’s regime.
March 20th Bitcoin rallies back above $9,000 following positive G20 cryptocurrency meeting. “It was a very good meeting. The spirit of the discussion was very productive, and I agree that everybody left very pleased,” governor of the Central Bank of Argentina, Federico Sturzenegger, said during a press conference.
March 25th A survey of thousand Americans finds that Bitcoin is the most popular investment option among millennials. Given an investment kitty of $10,000, 9.19% of Millennials (18-34) said they would invest the $10,000 in cryptocurrencies, compared to 4.04% of Generation Xers (35-54) and 3.08% of Baby Boomers (55+). Specifically, 76% of the Millennials in the survey said that they would invest the $10,000 in Bitcoin, 12% in Ethereum and 12% in Litecoin.
April 5th India’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), bans regulated financial institutions in India from dealing with cryptocurrencies. “In view of the associated risks, it has been decided that, with immediate effect, entities regulated by RBI shall not deal with or provide services to any individual or business entities dealing with or settling [virtual currencies],” the bank said in a statement. The RBI was more open to blockchain, the technology that underpins virtual currencies, and says in the statement that it has the potential to improve the financial system.
April 12th The Vietnamese government weighs in on a $658 million alleged cryptocurrency scam in the country resulting from a fraudulent initial coin offerings (ICO) by a company in Ho Chi Minh City. Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue urged six ministries to “quickly consider and tackle” the issue.
April 15th Cryptocurrency evangelist and investor, Ian Balina, is hacked after a compromised college email account. Balina took to Twitter to announce that his cryptocurrency wallet was being hacked while he was hosting an ICO Review Live Stream, acknowledging that he failed to set up robust security measures to prevent the incident.
April 17th Cryptocurrency Exchanges operating in New York receive ‘fact-finding’ letter from New York Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman. The letter asked 13 cryptocurrency exchanges for detailed information about their operations as part of a “fact-finding inquiry to increase transparency and accountability.”
April 18th Suspected mastermind behind the theft of 600 computers used to mine bitcoin in Iceland, Sindri Thor Stefansson, escapes from prison and flees to Sweden on an airplane reportedly carrying the Icelandic prime minister.
April 23rd Iran’s central bank bans the country’s banks from dealing in cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, over money-laundering concerns, the state news agency IRNA reported as the country tries to halt a currency crisis.
May 2nd American Investment bank Goldman Sachs reportedly moving ahead with plans to set up the first Bitcoin trading operation at a Wall Street bank. Rana Yared, one of the Goldman executives overseeing the creation of the trading operation, said the bank was clear-eyed about what it was getting itself into.
May 8th Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, dismisses Bitcoin as nothing more than just a pure ‘greater fool theory’ type of investment. In an interview with CNBC, Gates said, “As an asset class, you’re not producing anything and so you shouldn’t expect it to go up. It’s kind of a pure ‘greater fool theory’ type of investment. I would short it if there was an easy way to do it.”
May 10th Intercontinental Exchange Inc., the owner of New York Stock Exchange, is reported to be working on a trading platform that would let investors bet on Bitcoin. ICE Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Sprecher declined to rule out offering contracts based on digital currencies, “There is a trend here we can’t ignore in my mind, so I don’t discount it.”
May 12th South Korean prosecutors raided the offices of Upbit, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges. “Upbit is currently under investigation by prosecutors and is cooperating,” the exchange said in a notice to clients, adding that services such as transactions and withdrawals were unaffected and that client assets were safe.
May 24th The US Justice Department opens a criminal probe into whether traders are manipulating the price of Bitcoin and other digital currencies. The investigation is focused on illegal practices that can influence prices – such as spoofing or flooding the market with fake orders to trick other traders into buying or selling.
May 30th Brad Garlinghouse, Ripple CEO, likens Bitcoin to Napster, “We may come to find that bitcoin is kind of the Napster of digital assets, an important flop. This is a transformative technology, but Spotify and iTunes and Pandora rule the day because they engaged with regulators to solve a real problem.”
June 10th South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Coinrail is hacked, losing over $30 million according to local news agency Yonhap. Coinrail said in a statement on its website that its system was hit by “cyber intrusion” on Sunday, causing a loss for about 30% of the coins traded on the exchange.
June 12th Apple prohibits cryptocurrency mining on iPhone and iPad. Amending its App Store review guidelines related to cryptocurrency, Apple now states that “apps, including any third party advertisements displayed within them, may not run unrelated background processes, such as cryptocurrency mining.”
June 14th US Securities and Exchange Commission official, William Hinman issues a statement saying Ethereum’s native currency, Ether, is not a security. “We don’t see a lot of value in seeing ether as a security. Ether is a coin that is evolving,” said Hinman at the Yahoo All Markets Summit.
June 17th The Bank for International Settlements says in its annual report that cryptocurrencies are not ready for prime time — and as far as mainstream financial services go, may never be. Citing a range of shortcomings, the BIS dismissed decentralization as “a flaw, not a strength.”
June 20th In a second South Korean exchange hack in as many weeks, Bithumb claims that hackers stole about 35 billion won ($32 million) worth of digital currencies. The exchange halted cryptocurrency deposits and withdrawals, said it will compensate victims and moved investor assets to a cold wallet.
June 26th Facebook relaxes its ban on cryptocurrency ads but retains a ban on ICOs. Interested advertisers are asked to fill out an application that includes information on licensing and whether their currency is publicly traded to help Facebook determine their eligibility.
June 27th A multimillion-dollar transaction totaling 48,500 BTC ($300 million) is reported on Bitcoin’s Blockchain at the cost of just 675 Satoshis (0.04 USD).
July 3rd Ripple Labs Inc. is hit by a third class action securities fraud lawsuit in California seeking to classify the company’s XRP cryptocurrency as a security subject to California’s Corporations Code. Filed on behalf of a local XRP investor on June 27 in San Mateo County Superior Court, it is the third class action in two months against Ripple.
July 16th New York-based asset management giant BlackRock sets up a working group to look into ways it can “take advantage” of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, the company’s CEO Larry Fink confirmed to Reuters.
July 10th Wall Street cryptocurrency trader, Bart Smith of Susquehanna International Group says Bitcoin is still the best bet among cryptocurrencies. “If you want to own the asset that you can actually use today and that people are functionally using, it’s Bitcoin. The use case for bitcoin is valid today, which is the currency of the internet,” Smith told CNBC.
July 24th San Francisco based asset manager, Bitwise joins the race to launch a cryptocurrency ETF. The company filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for an exchange-traded fund that would track a basket of 10 cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin. “The index’s goal is to capture the most valuable assets that emerge,” Hunter Horsley, co-founder, and CEO of Bitwise Asset Management told CNBC.
July 26th US Securities and Exchange Commission rejected a second attempt by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, founders of crypto exchange Gemini, to list the first-ever cryptocurrency ETF on a regulated exchange. The proposal from BATS BZX Exchange to list and trade the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust’s commodity-based shares was voted down 3-1 by the commission.
July 27th Taking Apple’s lead, Google bans cryptocurrency mining apps from the Play Store. “We don’t allow apps that mine cryptocurrency on devices. We permit apps that remotely manage the mining of cryptocurrency,” read Google’s new policy.
August 3rd Backed by Microsoft and Starbucks, Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) announces Bakkt, a Bitcoin futures market aiming to offer a federally regulated market for Bitcoin. “Bakkt is designed to serve as a scalable on-ramp for institutional, merchant, and consumer participation in digital assets by promoting greater efficiency, security, and utility,” said Kelly Loeffler, ICE’s head of digital assets, who will serve as CEO of Bakkt.
August 6th Amid inevitable rumors of Starbucks accepting Bitcoin, the American coffee company quickly debunks them in a statement, “It is important to clarify that we are not accepting digital assets at Starbucks. Rather the exchange will convert digital assets like Bitcoin into US dollars, which can be used at Starbucks. Customers will not be able to pay for Frappuccinos with Bitcoin.”
August 9th A survey by cryptocurrency app Gem and analytics firm Harris Insights finds that 41% of Americans will never invest in cryptocurrencies. “We find that younger people with less income are more willing to put money in crypto,” said Gem founder and CEO Micah Winkelspecht. “My guess is that crypto is of the digital age. And the younger generation is of the digital age and used to doing everything on the internet.”
August 14th Cryptocurrency markets tumble as altcoins suffer heavy losses. Bitcoin falls below $6,000 and dozens of smaller digital tokens including Ether retreat to yearly lows in widespread sell-off.
August 23rd US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rejects 9 Bitcoin ETF applications from ProShares, Direxion and GraniteShares. The SEC reinforced its qualms over inadequate “resistance to price manipulation” in an insufficiently sized BTC derivatives market.
September 5th Business Insider reports ‘fake news‘ that Goldman Sachs is dropping its plan to open a trading desk for cryptocurrencies. Goldman Sachs Chief Financial Officer Martin Chavez moved quickly to refute the news, “I never thought I would hear myself use this term but I really have to describe that news as fake news.” The CFO said Goldman is working on a type of derivative for bitcoin because “clients want it.”
September 9th US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issues an order seeking to suspend the trading of the Bitcoin Tracker One and Ether Tracker One exchange-traded notes, issued by XBT Provider AB, a Swedish-based subsidiary of the U.K. firm CoinShares Holdings. The SEC cited a “confusion amongst market participants” based in the U.S. as to the nature of the financial instruments as the reason for the move.
September 18th A UK Treasury committee report urges the need for “Wild West industry” of cryptocurrencies to be regulated to protect investors. The committee said there were no well-functioning cryptocurrencies and preferred to call them “crypto assets.” “Crypto-asset investors are currently afforded very little protection from the litany of risks. Namely, there are no formal mechanisms for consumer redress, nor compensation,” said the committee.
September 20th Japan-based licensed cryptocurrency exchange, Zaif is hacked in $60 million Bitcoin theft. The exchange said it first noticed an unusual outflow of funds on the platform around 17:00 Japan time on September 14, after which the company suspended asset deposit and withdrawal services. The exchange further filed the incident as a criminal case to local authorities for further investigation.
September 21st Ripple(XRP) surges nearly 50% within 24 hours to topple Ether as the second largest cryptocurrency by total market capitalization after reports of the impending launch of its new product, xRapid, that could help banks speed up transactions using XRP.
September 25th Google partially reverses its ban on cryptocurrency-related advertising and plans to allow regulated crypto exchanges to buy ads in the United States and Japan with the new policy set to take effect in October.
September 26th Beijing-based cryptocurrency mining giant, Bitmain files an application to go public on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX). Bitmain’s long-awaited initial public offering (IPO) prospectus follows various news reports that the mining giant has been mulling a Hong Kong listing for a multi-billion dollar public fundraising.
October 14th Tether LLC, the issuer of controversial USD pegged cryptocurrency Tether (USDT), pulls $300 million worth of the “stablecoin” out of circulation. A day later, USDT loses its dollar peg, trading as low as $0.85 in some exchanges.
October 15th Financial services giant Fidelity which administer more than $7.2 trillion in client assets, announces a new and separate company called Fidelity Digital Asset Services. The firm will handle custody for cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and will execute trades on multiple exchanges for investors such as hedge funds and family offices.
October 16th Worried about China’s Bitcoin dominance, Donald Trump’s White House is interested in ripple (XRP) adoption, according to Ripple Labs’ chief strategist, Cory Johnson. “The White House, in particular, seems to be thinking about what it means to have 80% of bitcoin mining taking place in China and a majority of ether mining taking place in China. With XRP, there is no mining, so from a foreign-control aspect and environmental aspect, XRP is a very different beast,” said Johnson.
October 23rd HTC launches a blockchain-focused phone, Exodus 1, featuring a secure micro OS, kept separate from the phone’s Android operating system (OS), to hold the user’s private keys. HTC’s decentralized chief officer, Phil Chen, said the significance of integrating blockchain technology in the phone is that it bolsters the security and privacy of a user’s assets, and will in the future help with protecting a customer’s data and identity.
October 31st Ten years ago on this day, Satoshi Nakamoto sent his Bitcoin whitepaper to the Cryptography Mailing List with the message, “I’ve been working on a new electronic cash system that’s fully peer-to-peer, with no trusted third party.” Thus began the journey of Bitcoin.
November 1st American Investment bank, Morgan Stanley publishes report classifying Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies as a “new institutional investment class.” The report stands in stark contrast to an earlier report in January which referred to Bitcoin as a “controversial asset and a speculative fad.”
November 3rd Winklevoss twins accuse Charlie Shrem of stealing Bitcoin worth $32m. According to a lawsuit filed in a US federal court, the twin brothers are accusing Shrem of spending Bitcoin worth $32m (£24.7m) owed to them since 2012 to fund his lavish lifestyle.
November 5th Fake Elon Musk accounts on Twitter promote Bitcoin scams. Multiple verified Twitter accounts are hacked to impersonate Elon Musk with one reportedly collecting almost $170,000. Highlighting Twitter’s incompetence in dealing with the issue, the tweets also bear a ‘promoted’ tag, indicating the scammers paid Twitter to promote the scams.
November 15th Bitcoin Cash blockchain splits following contentious hard fork, resulting in two different cryptocurrencies – Bitcoin Cash ABC and Bitcoin Cash SV. Majority of market participants show support for Bitcoin Cash ABC.
November 18th Switzerland approves first Bitcoin ETP with ticker $HODL. The ETP, offered by Amun Crypto, a U.K. based fintech company, will trade on Switzerland’s Six Swiss Exchange. According to Amun’s executive Hany Rashwan, “The Amun ETP will give institutional investors that are restricted to investing only in securities or do not want to set up custody for digital assets exposure to cryptocurrencies, while also providing access for retail investors that have no access to crypto exchanges due to local regulatory impediments.”
November 21st ICE postpones Bakkt launch. The Atlanta-based company said that its Bakkt trading platform will be postponed, with a target date of 24th January 2019. “Given the volume of interest in Bakkt and work required to get all of the pieces in place, we will now be targeting January 24, 2019, for our launch to ensure that our participants are ready to trade on Day 1,” said Kelly Loeffler, CEO of Bakkt.
November 26th Ohio sets up an official website to allow businesses to pay taxes with Bitcoin. The key to the move is State Treasurer Josh Mandel, who can direct his office to accept Bitcoin without approval from the legislature or governor. The taxes must be filed through OhioCrypto.com. Mandel claimed that the plan for this initiative is for Ohio to be “planting a flag” in Bitcoin’s wider adoption.
December 1st G20, the international forum of the world’s top 20 economies, agrees to introduce regulations on cryptocurrencies in compliance with Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations to counter money laundering and financial terrorism.
December 4th Cryptocurrency exchange ErisX raises $27.5 million from investors including Fidelity Investments and Nasdaq Ventures. ErisX says it will offer investors the ability to trade the cryptocurrencies Bitcoin, litecoin and ether on spot and futures markets starting next year, subject to regulatory approval.
December 6th Bitcoin plummets to its lowest price in 15 months, trading lower than $3,400 in some exchanges. The move marks a continuation of sell-off tracing back to Bitcoin’s breach of yearly support around $6,000 about three weeks ago.
December 13th Basis, a cryptocurrency project by Intangible Labs that in April announced it had raised $133 million from a slew of high profile investors, says that it will be shutting down and returning the funds to its backers because of regulatory concerns. “Unfortunately, having to apply U.S. securities regulation to the system had a serious negative impact on our ability to launch Basis,” Nader Al-Naji, chief executive of Intangible Labs, said in a blog post.
December 14th The U.S. government confirms bomb threat emails that demand Bitcoin from organizations and suggests steps to take. According to the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC), the emails claim that a device will detonate unless a ransom in bitcoin is paid. The NCCIC advised citizens that, if they receive one of the bomb threat emails, they should not try to contact the sender or pay the ransom.
December 21st Bloomberg reports that Facebook is developing a way to use cryptocurrency to transfer money on WhatsApp messenger. Instead of using Bitcoin, Facebook plans to use a self-issued stablecoin pegged to the U.S. dollar.
December 31st Bakkt announces the completion of first round of funding, raising $182.5 million from 12 partners and investors including Microsoft, Galaxy Digital and PayU. Bakkt CEO Kelly Loeffler wrote in a blog post that the startup was closely working with the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission(CFTC) to have its physically settled Bitcoin futures approved in early 2019, “Clearing firms and customers have continued to join us as we work toward CFTC approval. We made great progress in December, and we’ll continue to onboard customers as we await the green light.”
Now I can’t speak for anyone else, especially not the ‘experts’ who’re apt to pontificate their price action prophesies, but I’m not going to pretend that I have a crystal ball.
In any case, it’s time for us to stop asking what could happen and start discussing what should happen and how do we get there? Going forward, the focus should be on utility and unqualified decentralization.
Thomas Edison is perhaps the greatest innovator in history. There’s a lot to learn from him but how about this little anecdote on utility for a start?
Every time the US Congress voted on a proposal, each senator was required to stand and call out his vote. Edison found this inefficient and unnecessarily time-consuming.
He went ahead and invented an automatic tally system. But when he took it to the Congress, to his dismay, his invention was given short shrift. This angered Edison, as he cursed the Senators for failing to understand how much time and effort his system could have spared them.
Edison later realized that he had failed to account for the needs of his target customer. The process of vote calling involved a lot of posturing and filibuster. Senators were never going to entertain time efficiency at the expense of politicking in the Congress.
A lot of the recent interpretations of blockchain are culpable of the same mistake – building something that seems like a great idea on the whitepaper without regard for utility.
Ethereum, often criticized for its bloated blockchain, has more dapps deployed on its blockchain than there are users for all the dapps combined. Ethereum’s hyper-active GitHub repo does not represent value if all the development fails to entail utility.
Work alone never creates value. Value is a consequence of utility. You can work hard on something which ultimately turns out to be inutile.
Ripple is awesome, isn’t it? I mean it’s fast, frictionless and all that jazz, palling up with a lot of banks and stuff.
A friend, who has no more than cursory interest in cryptocurrencies, recently got wind of Ripple, called me up and asked what it was all about. When I explained how Ripple worked and what it was trying to accomplish, he simply quipped quizzically, “How did they even manage to sell this to people as some kind of decentralized revolution like Bitcoin?”
Now that’s a great question. How did we get so lost as to go from wanting to eradicate the flawed, anachronistic and crooked banking system and fiat economy to getting hyped up over a blatantly centralized, humdrum ‘protocol’ with the ultimate goal of perpetuating the banking system based on the sole criteria that it utilizes a blockchain?
It’s staggering how many people who’re invested in cryptocurrencies are unaware that private blockchains are old hat, not immutable or tamper-proof and certainly not trustless. The private blockchain is a 20-year-old idea and even back then, it was dead in the vine as it offered no advantages over extant data ledgers. Ripple protocol itself has been around since 2004. The recent interest in Ripple is simply a consequence of an inconsequential commonality with Bitcoin – use of blockchain.
Decentralization of money is not merely about fast transactions, but primarily about rooting out the moral hazards that inhere within fractional reserve banking and the perpetual cycle of overspending, endless credit, inevitable collapse, followed by continual bailouts for the 1% who continue to screw over the 99% because it’s the latter that bears the brunt.
“I don’t believe we shall ever have a good money again before we take the thing out of the hands of government, that is, we can’t take it violently out of the hands of government, all we can do is by some sly roundabout way introduce something that they can’t stop. I do not think it is an exaggeration to say history is largely a history of inflation, usually inflations engineered by governments for the gain of governments ” – Friedrich Hayek, Austrian Economist
Any compromise on decentralization is not worth wasting our efforts on. This includes delegated protocols like EOS and Tron involving third-party validating nodes, centralized exchanges where assets are traded and wallets where assets are held.
Even trading decentralized currencies and assets against centralized currencies, such as stable coins, is a compromise of decentralization. Absolute decentralization is also the only way to avert market manipulation. If we’re going to delegate trust to third parties, we might as well keep trusting banks and governments.
Cryptocurrency most important areas for improvement over the next few years:
* More secure storage (key management)
* Trust-minimized (decentralized) exchanges
* Make 2nd layers more user-friendly, especially via automated routing, while not overly sacrificing trust minimization
— Nick Szabo (@NickSzabo4) April 24, 2018
As long as we continue to seek unyielding progress on these fronts, 2019 promises to be the year of the great recovery.
The oil industry has many ups and down, but when you strike right, you can make a lot of money. This is why many people look at investing in oil. If you are one of these people, it is important that you know about the different types of oil investments that you can make along with the risks that are involved. There are no risk-free ventures when it comes to oil because the oil market is volatile and could turn at any time.
Buy Stocks In An Oil Company
One of the easiest ways to invest in oil will be to buy stocks in an oil company. This is something that any investor will be able to do because these stocks are publicly traded. This investment option also offers high liquidity because of the active stock market and the active industry you are looking at.
The return on your investment will come in the form of dividends which are paid to you by the company. This will generally be a low dividend yield when compared to some other stocks and will range of 3% to 6% with a nominal growth rate. However, it is important to note that these stocks are not without risk and this will generally be a disaster risk.
Should there be a disaster with the company such as oil spills, the stock price and the dividend value will fall. Of course, with this investment option, all you will have to do is buy the stock and wait to get your return. You will also generally be able to weather any disaster by simply holding onto the stocks.
A Working Interest Partnership
Another way that you could invest in oil is by becoming a working interest partner is a drilling program. When you do this, you will go into partnership with a company that has a group of oil wells. These companies will generally be starting up and will not be making a profit off the oil wells yet.
This is a very risky investment option because you could lose your entire investment or you could strike it rich. As with all highly risky ventures, the rewards could be worth the risk, but only if you have the capacity to handle this. There are many people who do not view this type of investment as an investment at all and more of a gamble and you need to consider this.
If you do partner correctly, you could see a return on your investment of 8% to 12%. This could be a large amount of money if the oil wells hit a large reserve. However, the overall cost of this investment means that it is generally not ideal for the individual and mostly seen as an option for billion dollar companies. There is also no active trading market so you need to be in the oil industry to find this investment opportunity.
Working Interest In A Lease
If you are interested in investing in a company that is already producing oil but want something other than stocks, you can look at a working interest in a lease. This is similar to a working interest partnership, but will come with slightly less risk. The reason for this is the fact that you will be partnering with a producing oil well.
The production of the well will generally stay constant and this means that the cash flow will be easier to evaluate for your investment. The returns on your investment are also better and you could see a 10% to 20% return. Of course, this does not mean that there are no risks when it comes to this investment.
The primary drawback of this investment will be the risk of regulatory compliance. There is also a chance of lawsuits when there are accidents on the drilling site. You should also have some technical knowledge of the oil and gas industry to ensure that you understand your investment and how the company is performing.
Stocks In Royalty Trusts
Buying stocks in a royalty trust is different from buying stocks in the oil company. Royalty trusts are large assets that work on overriding interests and royalties which means that they do not have any business operations. The trust will not run an oil company and will only receive cash flow from the royalties they have purchased from the oil company.
The primary benefit of buying these stocks is the fact that you do not have any of the legal or political risks of the oil company. They also give a fairly decent return on your investment of between 7% and 9% over time. You will also have to do very little with this investment as you simply need to purchase the stocks. This is easily done because they are traded on a highly liquid market and many find these stocks to be superior to stocks in oil companies.
Buying Royalties From The Oil Owner
If you want to bypass the royalty trust, you could look at buying royalties directly from a private owner. This is not an investment option that everyone should look into because you need to understand how to buy mineral rights. You will also need to be in the oil industry or you will have a hard time finding private owners that are willing to sell.
Another serious issue that you might have with this option is the fact that it requires active participation. If you want an oil investment that you can leave once you have invested, this is not the right option for you. Of course, it is important to note that there are many benefits to this investment as well.
The primary benefit is the fact that the return on your investment can be very high. It is estimated that you could make a return of 12% to 50%. When you buy the royalties, you will also be buying the mineral which means that if another oil zone is discovered you will be entitled to another royalty cash flow.
While researching this article, we came across a very interesting website from Clarke Energy Fund Management http://www.cefmoilandgasinvestments.com/ who provide some very interesting information on oil investment opportunities. On their website they explain how rather than investing through the traditional method of one well at a time, they actually spread your capital investment across nine wells, thereby diversifying the risk. Certainly an intriguing approach.
Just like any investment opportunity, you should carry out your due diligence and research the investment before putting your money into it, but it certainly is fair to say, oil investing is not going away anytime soon.
Personal Finance: Avoid investment scams: simple steps
Another investment scam made the news last week, this time close to home. Tennessee regulators busted a Colorado brew pub owner for selling unregistered investments in a Chattanooga company purporting to operate gas wells in Kentucky and promised excessive returns. On its face, the proposition had “keep away” written all over it. But as happens so often, some trusting souls succumbed to an enticing pitch without making even superficial inquiries into the bona fides of the peddler or the company. It is a cautionary tale that reinforces the need for investors to do their homework.
Investment sales are heavily regulated by both state and federal agencies. For individual investors, the first line of defense is registration of an investment with the Securities and Exchange Commission. While such registration does not imply a judgment on the potential for gain or loss, it does signify that the security has passed legal muster and is required to file public financial statements. Stocks listed for trading on the exchanges as well as many bonds and public partnerships are registered with the SEC and are readily available for purchase by any individual investor. You might still lose your shirt, but you will know that some level of due diligence has been conducted to ensure that the entity actually exists.
Securities that are not registered with the SEC have not undergone the same diligence process and should be accorded “caveat emptor” status: buyer beware. Purchase of unregistered securities (sometimes called private placements) is limited to so-called “accredited investors”, assumed to be sufficiently sophisticated to conduct reasonable vetting and whose net worth is adequate to withstand a significant loss on the investment. Accredited investors must have a consistent income in excess of $200,000 or a net worth in excess of $1 million. Most individuals do not qualify, and in general should stay far away from unregistered securities. Still, the siren song of plethoric profits is enchanting, so the next step is to verify the credentials of the seductress.
Without exception, anyone involved in the sale of securities must themselves be registered with the requisite agencies. Brokers, dealers and investment advisors and their sales representatives must have appropriate professional qualifications and be licensed by state or federal regulators in order to offer investments for sale. Many of the common instances of fraud are perpetrated by unregistered salespeople. Ironically, this is the easiest aspect of investing to research and verify, yet all too often this step is overlooked.
Before investing with anyone, make your first stop the BrokerCheck website at BrokerCheck.FINRA.org. This website is your gateway to the official record of investment firms and their personnel, including the states in which they are licensed as well as a history of any disciplinary actions to which they have been subject. A five minute visit to BrokerCheck would have saved several investors many thousands of dollars in the recent Chattanooga scam wreaked by the Colorado bartender-cum-broker.
Special diligence is warranted if you are pondering an unregistered investment. Even if a salesperson checks out with the Feds at BrokerCheck, it’s a good idea to touch base with your state’s securities regulators as well to see if there are any pending claims against the individual or the firm that may not have shown up in the FINRA database.
Finally, ask lots of questions. What licenses do you hold? Where are you registered? How are you being paid and how much? What is your background (and your favorite seasonal ale)? All fair game when it’s your money. Simple steps can help you avoid becoming a victim.
Christopher A. Hopkins, CFA, is a vice president and portfolio manager for Barnett & Co. in Chattanooga
4 personal finance tips for financially fragile women
Small business expert Susan Solovic and Wall Street Journal editorial page writer Jillian Melchior on the new study that shows married women leave major financial decisions to their husbands.
They’re the most financially vulnerable demographic in America: Women with credit scores below 700. Elevate’s Center for the New Middle Class says a majority of non-prime women live paycheck to paycheck and run out of money more often. They also aren’t financially prepared for a $1,200 emergency. While ongoing research shows women are often the financial stewards in their families, the survey found that only 39% of non-prime women believe they have the skills to manage their finances. Jonathan Walker, executive director of the Center for the New Middle Class shares four tips on what financially fragile women can do to boost their financial confidence.
Tap into apps
The financial situation for non-prime women is precarious. They are three times as likely as prime women to have lost a job in the prior 12 months; they’re more than twice as likely to have had their work hours reduced, and they are much less likely to have a safety net to save them from emergency expenses. Walker says leveraging apps is one of the most effective ways for non-prime women to manage their situation. Savings apps can help them build emergency savings accounts without forcing them to feel the burn of setting aside a chunk of their monthly income. Apps can also help alleviate stress, by moving money management concerns to the back their minds. Non-prime women typically have a lot on their plates. They are often juggling responsibilities such as children and elderly parents living with them.
Tap into apps
The financial situation for non-prime women is precarious. They are three times as likely as prime women to have lost a job in the prior 12 months; they’re more than twice as likely to have had their work hours reduced, and they are much less likely to have a safety net to save them from emergency expenses. Walker says leveraging apps is one of the most effective ways for non-prime women to manage their situation. Savings apps can help them build emergency savings accounts without forcing them to feel the burn of setting aside a chunk of their monthly income. Apps can also help alleviate stress, by moving money management concerns to the back their minds. Non-prime women typically have a lot on their plates. They are often juggling responsibilities such as children and elderly parents living with them.
Don’t be content with what you don’t know
Walker says non-prime women are the group least likely to say they have the skills and knowledge to manage their finances well.
“Sometimes I joke that you need an undergraduate degree in personal finance these days just to understand how to optimally manage your own personal finances,” he says. “Women need to feel comfortable knowing that this is complicated, but it’s not out of their reach.”
Walker says if you don’t understand something, chances are that others don’t either. He says non-prime women should speak up about their needs with those creating personal finance content, including personal finance publications and websites, bloggers, authors and even financial services providers.
Get nerdy about personal finance
Prime women are twice as likely as their non-prime counterparts to have learned how to manage finances from their parents. Non-prime women most commonly learn from trial and error. If you have daughters, Walker says it’s important to teach them about personal finance and how to manage their money day-to-day. If you’re one of those women who did not learn financial management skills from your parents, he says you should take matters into your own hands. Take advantage of the plethora of personal finance management resources online, especially the ones tailored to women.
Walker says personal finance blogs are great places to start, and it is worth checking out what is available on social media. Many people in precarious financial situations are able to find community, support and creative ideas via social media groups. He says improving your knowledge is never outside of your reach.
Know your options
While it may seem counterintuitive to plan for problems, Walker says it’s important to look ahead and know what your options are. Ask yourself: how would I pay for an emergency $1,200 expense? If you plan for the unexpected, you will be in much better shape if the worst happens. Figure out which one of your family members or friends you can turn to in a pinch. Know how much money you need to put away in an emergency fund. Make sure you have room in your credit to borrow in case an emergency. He says if you do the research ahead of time, you can avoid walking through a payday lender’s door.
Financial fragility can cause an enormous amount of stress. Walker says women can benefit from knowing what they can do to relieve that stress. Find an outlet that will allow you to disengage from your finances. He says your escape will be even more constructive if it has a positive influence on your life.
“Take up a hobby that can earn a little extra money on the side, but take it up as a hobby,” Walker says. “Do more exercise to strengthen your health. Find an existence that is outside of our finances so that you can better approach the challenges that you face.”
Linda Bell joined FOX Business Network (FBN) in 2014 as an assignment editor. She is an award-winning writer of business and financial content. You can follow her on Twitter @lindanbell.