Eight Tips Every Cryptocurrency Investor Must Know

The Eightfold Path to Enlightened Crypto Investing

 

As a new cryptocurrency investor, kicking off your shoes and taking your first steps along the Path of The Blockchain, you’ve probably found yourself asking the following questions: did the bitcoin bubble really burst, is it too late to get started, and what are the best tips to be successful in this newly emergent investment space?

While you’ve been asking yourself these questions, along with many others, you’ve probably noticed the prolonged bear market cryptocurrencies have been facing the past year, with just last month being the worst month for Bitcoin since 2011. Taking a more historical view, we see this is only the most recent bear market, of which there have been many before. Likewise, for every bear market, there is a bull market; an endless cycle of perpetual balance, akin to the Taoist yin and yang. Thus, despite the recent significant drops, cryptocurrencies are far from being finished, and the path to cryptocurrency investing nirvana stands stronger than ever.

In fact, the securities platform SharesPost reported that 72 percent of cryptocurrency investors are planning to buy more holdings in the next 12 months. You should therefore expect some traffic on your journey and pack your bags accordingly. As with any successful trip, it’s best to be as prepared as possible. In this article, we’ll give you the necessary eight tips to help reach your desired state of cryptocurrency investing enlightenment.

1. Ignore the “noise”

Many naysayers in the media and financial sectors may preach that cryptocurrency is simply a fad, over-hyped speculation, or even a pyramid scheme. On the other hand, a growing population increasingly embraces the financial prospects and practical applications of cryptocurrency assets. Both sides have loud voices and like to make a lot of noise.

This noise level is only expected to increase, as Satis Group predicted cryptocurrency trading activity for personal investors will increase by 50% in 2019. To be a successful investor in this space, it is best to just buy and hold what you believe in (see tip 4!) while ignoring all the noise around you.

2. Expect the unexpected

However, significant volatility does exist in cryptocurrency markets which cannot be ignored. Experienced cryptocurrency investors are accustomed to huge price swings that you often don’t find in traditional markets. By mentally preparing for these unfavorable, and occasionally terrifying, investment performances, the intelligent crypto investor will be able to act rationally instead of emotionally in times of unexpected price drops.

3. Avoid a bad trade or investment strategy

A common mistake for beginner cryptocurrency investors is joining what is known as a “pump and dump” group. Certain social media communities or ‘gurus’ may even promise investment tips regarding a particular coin. You should avoid these types of places at all costs; when travelers go down these roads, they don’t often come back.

The problem is that since derivatives trading is a zero-sum game, there is always a winner, but more importantly a loser. Unless a solid trading or investment strategy is in place, heedlessly following such advice is the fast track to losing your money to modern-day snake oil salesmen.

4. Perform your due diligence

In this modern digital age, there is even wifi on the path to crypto investing enlightenment, hence there is no excuse to make an investment with little to no understanding of the underlying asset. Almost every single coin has easily accessible whitepapers online. And just like having maps in the car, the savvy traveler must be prepared.

From the heavily traded to the most niche, resources such as the All Crypto Whitepapers will help any individual brush up their knowledge on potential future investments. If it is impossible to tell how the coin operates and more importantly, makes money, then it would be wise to seek another investment opportunity. From the biggest initial coin offerings (ICOs) to the most niche altcoins, this site will have you covered.

5. Don’t place all your crypto-coins in one basket

Common investment wisdom prevails when it comes to cryptocurrency investment: diversification is key. Just as financial advisors recommend taking positions in multiple types of stocks and other investments, diversification is also essential for any healthy cryptocurrency portfolio.

You’ve done your research, so now seize the opportunity to invest in multiple coins. As one example, you can invest across different sectors which serve different use cases. Just like it’s always safer to travel as a group then as a single person when you’re in unfamiliar territory, establishing a diversified portfolio will help you along your path toward realizing potential future cryptocurrency gains.

6. Opt for an alternative personal email

Using a regular email account places an investor at an unnecessary risk of exposure for a data breach. To overcome this risk, it is recommended to create a unique account just for trading, especially with added two-factor authentication password security. No matter what, ensure that two-factor authentication is utilized for every service that offers it (for example both your email account and your exchange account should require two-factor authorization to access). Likewise, make sure to use a dedicated two-factor application (such as Google authenticator, or Authy) as opposed to using text messages for two-factor authorization (these are susceptible to social engineering hacks).

Additionally, when setting up your accounts, be sure to select a unique username and password that has no personally identifiable information that would-be hackers could trace back to you.

7. Understand the uses for both cold and hot wallets

Cryptocurrency can be stored via an offline “cold” wallet or an online “hot” wallet. Ease of access makes hot wallets a more desirable option for the beginner investor. However, as convenient as hot wallets are, they are susceptible to being hacked, whereas cold wallets are not able to be hacked (if prepared properly). Ideally, it’s best to store cryptocurrency you plan on saving for a long time in a cold wallet, and keep only a small amount that you might use on a daily basis in a hot wallet.

Additionally, one common mistake made by many new investors is mistaking exchanges for wallets. Although it might seem convenient keeping everything online at an exchange, a common mantra you might hear others chanting goes like ‘if you don’t own your keys, then you don’t own your bitcoin’. And when you keep your digital assets on exchanges, you don’t own the keys. This can become important when exchanges go down, get hacked, or both (for example, the famous Mt. Gox incident from a few years back). Take the time to research different wallet providers. There are lots of great options available today, and you can start learning more by clicking here.

8. Remain careful around mobile wallets

Trading or storing large sums of any cryptocurrency via mobile phone is simply too great a risk. Mobile phones are more prone to being compromised electronically or physically. Although convenient, convenience should not  surpass the security concerns that abound with executing trades or storing assets on mobile devices.

Hopefully, these eight tips will help give you solid footing on the road toward crypto-investing nirvana. Looking for more tips? For more information about security practices, investment strategies or other best practices in the cryptocurrency trading space, visit Blockforce Capital.


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Author: Eric Ervin
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How To Invest – Basic Investing Strategies

Investors now have a plethora of options to choose from, steering them onto the path of financial freedom

 

As we move towards generational parity, there has been a substantial shift in ideology and perception towards savings and long-term financial planning. The millennials are getting their feet wet, delving into investments for greater financial freedom, while the baby boomers and Generation X target wealth maximization and preservation, thus altering their investment strategies.

Understanding the risks involved before investing, and how to mitigate losses could fast-track the process of achieving your investment goals. This is only possible through a proper investment strategy which guides you through the investment journey. An investment strategy acts as a manual, enabling you to choose and opt for the best investment plan depending on your profit objectives and timeframes, and provides you with the risk-reward potential of your investments.

Author: Anmol Gupta

Don’t Be Your Own Worst Enemy When Investing

Looking for someone to blame for the not-so-stellar performance of your investment portfolio? Try checking the mirror.

 

Decisions about money aren’t always rational, even when we think we’re acting logically. Common tendencies that make us our own worst enemies when investing include: selling winning investments too soon or holding onto losers for too long, loading up on too-similar assets or failing to assess the future implications of today’s decisions.

Researchers have found dozens of unconscious biases that can drive people to make money decisions they later regret. These behavioral economics concepts include things like “anchoring” — when a specific and perhaps arbitrary number you have in mind sways your decision-making, such as selling Apple just because the company’s stock hit a round number, like $200 a share. Or, the “endowment effect” can cause you to overvalue something simply because you own it, leading you to cling to a stock that’s tanking.

Here are some common human errors in investing, with strategies to overcome them.

Pursuing past predilections

Financial institutions remind us that past performance doesn’t guarantee future results. We don’t always listen.

It’s tempting to look at a stock’s (or the broader market’s) recent performance and conclude gains will persist in the near term, says Victor Ricciardi, a finance professor at Goucher College and co-editor of the books “Investor Behavior” and “Financial Behavior.” “People take a very small sample of data and draw a major conclusion, and that’s a pretty bad pitfall,” Ricciardi says.

How to overcome it: Don’t base investing decisions solely on what’s happened in the past; think about what will drive gains in the future. When investing for the long term, prioritize selecting companies with solid long-term potential.

Diversification that’s not diverse

You may interpret diversification to mean more is better. That’s only half the story; what’s important is owning a variety of assets (both stocks and bonds) with exposure to various industries, companies and geographies.

Sometimes investors exhibit “naive diversification” by owning too-similar assets, which does little to reduce risk, says Dan Egan, director of behavioral finance and investments at robo-advisor Betterment: “People will have three or four different S&P 500 funds and think they’re diversified but don’t look at how correlated they all are.”

Similarly, many investors invest only in companies they know, which results in over-concentration in certain industries, Ricciardi says. That may mean underexposure to “the unknown” — like international stocks — which they perceive to be risky, he adds.

How to overcome it: Invest in a wide range of assets. This can easily be accomplished with a simple portfolio constructed of just a few mutual funds or exchange-traded funds.

Making emotional decisions

When money’s on the line, it’s hard not to let emotions creep into your decisions.

Prior to the 2016 presidential election, many professional investors expressed concerns about a market slump if Donald Trump won. Betterment data suggested that investors who supported Hillary Clinton might let politics shape their investment strategy — and cash out following the election, Egan says. So after the election, the robo-advisor messaged investors with information about the importance of staying invested for the long haul, he says.

On a stock-specific basis, we often let emotions dictate when to sell — not wanting to admit we made a losing bet. “People tend to sell winners too quickly when they go up and, on the downside, they hold on to losing investments too long,” Ricciardi says.

How to overcome it: Think about individual investments in the context of your entire portfolio and craft a plan for when you’ll sell that’s not triggered by short-term factors (like emotions) alone.

Focusing on today

It can be difficult to see the value of saving money for tomorrow when there’s so much to spend it on today. That myopia can make investors either too active or too passive.

If you’re too passive, you may avoid regular check-ins on financial health and stick with a status quo that doesn’t properly prepare for the future, Ricciardi says. Meanwhile, being too active can drive up trading expenses, resulting in lower returns, he adds.

How to overcome it: Let the numbers do the talking. Sit down with a retirement calculator when charting your investing journey. Make sure you fully understand the tax implications and costs associated with selling investments.


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Author: Anna-Louise Jackson
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How Psychology Affects Consumers’ Use of Cryptocurrency

Despite benefits, early consumer adoption is in gambling and other niche areas.

Along with a steep decline in the value of the most popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Litecoin, and ether, the hype surrounding them has died down considerably in recent months. Yet cryptocurrency remains the most innovative and potentially transformative form of digital money. It has the potential to move us towards an entirely cashless existence as consumers in the not-too-distant future.

But what about the present? To what extent have consumers adopted cryptocurrency as money, not as a speculative investment?  What is its value to consumers? And how are the early adopters using it?

The blockchain technology behind cryptocurrency has been widely discussed and explained. So have the various risks associated with owning cryptocurrency.  These topics are beyond the scope of this post. Here, I want to specifically consider the influence of cryptocurrency on consumer behavior as of late 2018.

As a form of money, cryptocurrency has notable benefits for consumers

You may have heard news about cryptocurrency theft, like the bitcoins getting stolen from Apple’s founder Steve Wozniak. But there’s another side to the story. When compared with other forms of money, cryptocurrency has significant advantages. Because it is entirely digital, using it for making purchases incurs dramatically lower transaction costs, than, say, using a credit card or cash. If and when enough shoppers use cryptocurrency regularly, sellers may save 2%, 3%, or even more, and pass some of those cost savings on. What’s more, when using cryptocurrency, financial institutions are usually disintermediated or bypassed, increasing the user’s accountability and privacy, and reducing the likelihood of identity theft. Just consider how many customer data breaches have occurred at major retailers like Target and service providers like British Airways within the past five years. The result is a loss of trust, anxiety, and considerable inconvenience for those affected. (However, the anonymity afforded by cryptocurrency does make it susceptible to illicit uses such as money laundering). Cryptocurrency can be readily used anywhere in the world, reducing the costs and inconveniences associated with exchanging one national currency to another.

Yet the usefulness of cryptocurrency to the average consumer today is minimal

In the mainstream consumer domain, so far cryptocurrency has almost entirely been used for speculative investment purposes, not as currency. A 2016 study found that less than 1 percent of Americans owned or used any cryptocurrency. More recent estimates put the number of adopters at 5-8 percent. However, almost all of these individuals are trading cryptocurrency, not using it as money.

Why is the adoption of cryptocurrency as digital money so low and so slow?

The first reason is the lack of standards. At present, there are dozens of different cryptocurrencies, each with its own protocols and potential market. These currencies compete with each other, and new currencies continue to be launched every month. Furthermore, because of the possibility of “hard forks” or divergent development, there is always the risk that new variants of even established cryptocurrencies may be formed. No one knows which currency will dominate or if all the currencies that exist currently will survive. Consumer psychology research shows that when a market lacks one standard, consumers are slow to adopt the innovation because of the uncertainty.

Just as problematic for consumer adoption is the dramatic fluctuation in its value. In the past one year alone, bitcoin has ranged in value from $5,857 to $18,343. Just imagine, if you used bitcoin as money and wanted to spend one BTC to buy a car, you’d have been able to purchase anything from a Honda hatchback to a BMW sports utility vehicle (both used) depending on when you purchased the vehicle. This degree of variability is not desirable for any form of money that serves as a medium of exchange. It is supposed to maintain its value.

The third significant limitation for consumers is that almost no retailers or service providers accept cryptocurrency at present. Among major retailers, Overstock.com is the only one that has consistently accepted bitcoin. And even in its case, things haven’t always gone smoothly. Earlier this year, it confused bitcoin with bitcoin cash, a much cheaper currency, and ended up selling products to some shoppers for steeply discounted prices.

The classic chicken and egg problem is at play here. Until enough shoppers clamor to spend cryptocurrency, companies won’t accept them. And because few companies accept cryptocurrency, consumers won’t really bother with it. For shoppers, cash, credit cards, and mobile payment services like Paypal and Venmo fueled by dollars are good enough for now.

How are consumers using cryptocurrency?

Despite the fact that cryptocurrency hasn’t yet caught on as digital money, there are some niche consumer areas where it has made some headway within the past year. Not surprisingly, one application is sports gambling. Introduced at this past summer’s (2018) FIFA World Cup tournament, Cryptocup is a way of betting on particular sports outcomes using ether. It has since expanded to NFL football.

Cryptocurrency has also been used in a handful of real-estate transactions in Florida and California, either to generate social media buzz because of the novelty, to target the property to successful cryptocurrency traders looking to diversify their wealth or to attract wealthy foreign buyers. A third interesting application is in art where consumers can buy shares in iconic artworks using cryptocurrency or digital tokens from a blockchain themselves become art (in the artist’s blood, no less).

These exceptions underscore the rule. As consumers, we’re still a ways away from using cryptocurrency to pay for an oil change or buy a gallon of milk.


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Author: Utpal Dholakia
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Insights on the Future of Cryptocurrency as 2018 Draws to an End

The idea of cryptocurrencies (digital currencies that are cryptographically encrypted) has been moving around in the academic circles since the 1970s. The idea, however, took on form and shape with the arrival of Bitcoin in 2009. Over the last 9 years, Bitcoin has grown on to be disruptive in the fields of monetary policy, finance, economics, and e-commerce – and it has spawned an industry of more than 2,000 coins, tokens, and altcoins in what is being generally referred to as the cryptocurrency market.

 

Future of Cryptocurrency

Interestingly, the cryptocurrency market peaked last year when the price of Bitcoin rallied more than 1400% to $19,000 and the market cap of the cryptocurrency market skyrocketed to almost $700B. However, in the year-to-date period, the trading price of Bitcoin has crashed about 53% to about $6,500 and the market cap of the crypto market has declined more than 56% to $209B.

Now, no one knows for sure how cryptocurrencies will fare going forward. There’s an ongoing debate on whether cryptocurrencies will become the future of money or whether the idea will eventually fade into oblivion if it is unable to build up a critical mass. This piece provides insights into how the fate of cryptocurrencies might pan out going forward.

Bitcoin is still the king of crypto

Bitcoin is still the biggest and most popular cryptocurrency in the market; in fact, the first interaction that most people have with cryptocurrency and blockchain technology can be traced to Bitcoin. Bitcoin currently has a dominance of about 53% of the cryptocurrency market; hence, its price often determines how other coins and the general cryptocurrency market will fare. Going forward, the realities of the market suggests that the dominance of Bitcoin might not increase but it will most likely remain unchallenged. Of course, some coins are correlated to Bitcoin and some other coins have inverse relationship with Bitcoin; nonetheless, smart cryptocurrency traders and investors will do well to pay attention to Bitcoin in formulating strategies about how they want to play other coins.

Massive changes are coming to cryptocurrency exchanges

Cryptocurrencies exchanges serve the dual function of facilitating the exchange, buying, selling, and trading of cryptocurrencies – they are a large cog in the wheel of the cryptocurrency industry. Ironically, most of the cryptocurrency exchanges in the market are centralized in nature—in sharp contrast to the decentralized nature of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. The centralized nature of these exchanges has made them prone to data breaches, hacks, and outright heists. Going forward, there will be growing demand for DEX Exchanges, which are decentralized in nature and maintain a public ledger of transactions through consensus.

The volatility of the markets won’t die anytime soon

Cryptocurrencies are inherently volatile, and their volatility is one of the reasons fortunes are made (and lost) in the market. One of the main reasons behind the volatility in cryptocurrencies are that they are still in the early adoption phase and there’s a huge upside potential if they could break out into the mass market. However, every bit of news about cryptocurrencies will either hint at the possibility of stunted growth (and the prices fall) or hint at the possibility of reaching the mass market (and prices rise). The volatility in the crypto markets will continue to be felt since news moves the market and the volatility won’t likely stop until there’s mass-market momentum.

Institutional investors will bring more funds and insist on sanity in the market

In the early day s of cryptocurrency, traditional financial institution and government financial agencies were quick to denounce, criticize, and vilify cryptocurrency enthusiasts. The crypto market has however proven to be incredibly adept and resilient in the face of these attacks. Now, the perception of traditional financial institutions about cryptocurrency is changing. Going forward, stakeholders can expect to see an increasing inflow of funds from Wall Street into the crypto market as crypto funds, ETFs, and other investment vehicles debut. However, the inflow of Wall Street will also require increased transparency, accountability, and regulations.


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Author: Guest Author
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Abra Now Lets You Invest in a Cryptocurrency Index Fund Token

Cryptocurrency wallet and exchange Abra have unveiled their collaboration with Bitwise Asset Management, allowing Abra customers to invest in a cryptocurrency token that tracks Bitwise’s large-cap crypto index.

Abra, Asset Manager Collaborate on Cryptocurrency Index Token

Users of the Abra app now have the ability to buy and sell the Bitwise 10 Crypto Index Token (BIT10). BIT10 is a cryptocurrency token based on the Bitwise 10 Large Cap Crypto Index run by Bitwise Asset Management. The BIT10 token enables customers to own tokens whose value tracks an index of 10 different large cap cryptocurrencies. Professionals at Bitwise oversee the index the token is based on, ensuring that the combination of crypto assets is up to specifications.

BIT10 is only available on the Abra app, with each token representing price action based on the above-mentioned index of 10 separate crypto assets. The 10 assets are picked by Bitwise, according to their status as high market cap assets. The chosen assets are managed and adjusted on a monthly basis, so as to provide the most effective combination of criteria.

There is only a $5 minimum investment in the BIT10, with no limitations as far as time periods for buying and selling. The index token provides the public with an accessible way to become involved in cryptocurrency markets, and gain exposure to the price movements of many different significant crypto assets, without the need for time-consuming research and constant portfolio management.

Matched with Simplicity and Accessibility

Source: Abra/Twitter

Pairing BIT10 with the Abra platform may prove to be an optimal combination for gaining further mainstream interest — which the crypto space needs more of at the moment, based on a report showing that only 8% of Americans and 9% of Europeans owned some type of cryptocurrency as of March 2018.

The Abra app is a place where individuals can go to easily buy or trade 28 different cryptocurrencies via 50 different fiat currency options. Abra envisions “an open, global financial system that is easily accessible to everyone.” Abra also utilizes the ability for users to control their own private keys — unlike many cryptocurrency investing apps — giving them added security and control.

Cryptocurrencies are complicated, with much of the public seeing the whole sector as confusing. Abra places importance on simplicity, with a greater likelihood of public involvement if things are clear and straightforward. Abra Founder and CEO Bill Barhydt explained, “We created the BIT10 token to allow greater access to cryptocurrency investing by making the experience simple and accessible.”

If there’s one thing that’s certain, it’s that simplicity helps market growth. Apple, for example, has heartily shown the effectiveness of simplicity time and time again, taking a potentially confusing device like the smartphone, and making it mainstream, achieving a profit share of four times the size of its closest smartphone competitor.


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Google and Goldman Sachs Invest in Blockchain Payment Startup Veem

Veem has raised $25 million from some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley and on Wall Street.

San Francisco-based startup Veem, a blockchain-powered payment service for small businesses, has reportedly raised $25 million in a funding round led by Goldman Sachs, with GV (formally Google Ventures), Kleiner Perkins and Silicon Valley Bank also participating.

According to the announcement, Veem plans to use the funding to further expand its multi-rail platform that leverages blockchain technology to ensure speed, security, and the lowest possible fees by automatically finding the best possible path for each international fund transfer. This technology is a natural progression from the SWIFT payment system.

“We’re thrilled to have Goldman Sachs lead our investment round. This funding will help us expand our footprint, increase our distribution and form new strategic partnerships,” said Marwan Forzley, CEO and Founder of Veem.

Veem notes that its customer base has exploded to over 80,000 small businesses in 96 different countries.

GV general partner Karim Faris, who led the investment in Veem, recently told Forbes that the company could be the first bitcoin startup to go public.

“We’re not a strategic investor. It’s definitely not a strategic thing. It’s an opportunity to create a stand-alone company and in the process make a financial return on a good exit or an IPO down the line,” said Faris, who also sits on Veem’s board of directors.

The latest fundraising round brings Veem’s total amount raised to $69.3 million.


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Author: CRAIG RUSSO
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What Bitcoin’s Dominance Says About The State Of The Crypto Market

If the prolonged bear market that we’re in has shown us one thing, it’s that Bitcoin is still the king of crypto. The market’s continuous, slow bleed throughout the year has on several occasions brought the total market cap below $200 billion in September, and lately it’s been hovering around the same levels as November last year. And we’re not out of the woods yet. However, Bitcoin dominance — the demand for Bitcoin compared to other cryptocurrencies — is growing at a disproportionate rate to the total market cap.

In fact, Bitcoin dominance has passed 51 percent at the time of writing (down from 55 percent a couple of days ago).

Dominance was at its lowest during the bull run in January when most other cryptocurrencies, also known as altcoins, or just alts, were booming. However, up until the bull run started, dominance was growing, and we see the same thing happening. If we’re following trends, this could be an indication that another run is getting closer.

Bitcoin’s popularity usually rises during bearish times and there are a few explanations for this. It’s obviously the one high-profile currency everyone has heard about and is therefore a natural choice for crypto neophytes. Also worth noting is the high correlation between the price of Bitcoin and altcoins. They have always been strongly coupled. However, with its relatively low volatility compared to other cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin is considered a safe haven in bear markets. After all, it’s only retracted 75 percent from its all-time high, whereas the majority of altcoins are down 80-95 percent from their peaks.

This difference isn’t really surprising, as a coin’s price movements are primarily a function of liquidity. Bitcoin has higher volume and market cap than any other coin and its thicker order books mean smaller movements. This is why traders who employ proper risk management often move funds into Bitcoin when they believe the market is going down and then back into altcoins when arrows point upwards again. Alts rise higher and fall harder.

This also makes Bitcoin a good option for risk averse investors who are uncomfortable holding positions in altcoins but don’t want to exit the markets. Tether (USDT), a stablecoin pegged to the US dollar, obviously offers the strongest store of value proposition when all crypto prices are dropping, and offers an alternative to going fiat, but it’s been struggling to gain trust from the general crypto community due to ongoing controversy and speculation about whether it truly has the dollars in reserve to back its tokens.

Adding to this, Bitcoin is still the only universal on- and off-ramp to the crypto world. Whichever coin or token you want to buy, the first step is usually spending your fiat on some Bitcoin and then trading that for other assets — or, if you’re a more experienced gambler trader, you can long or short it with margin trading. It’s the same procedure the other way around as well: If you want to sell, you likely have to go through Bitcoin before cashing out to fiat.

And although the exchanges have been launching more trading pairs with Ethereum and USDT this year, most traders tend to stick with the Bitcoin pairs as they hold the most volume. Another point is that among most traders, the goal is always to accumulate more BTC, not USD, and the preferred denomination of prices is in Satoshis, or sats for short.

So, with Bitcoin involved in most of the market action, shouldn’t its dominance be even higher? We don’t have to go further back than to March 2017 to find it at 85 percent. Fast forward to June the same year. Everyone now wants in on Ether and the hottest ICOs, and the percentage drops to 40. Back to present-day, the around 2,000 altcoins currently listed on CoinMarketCap is not only a sign of greed among unnecessary ICOs but also of a protocol, dapp, and token race spun out of control. Enabling anyone to create a new cryptocurrency in an hour has heavily diluted Bitcoin’s market share.

More than 1,600 of the altcoins out there have a market cap between $10 million and zero. But they have no liquidity, no trading volumes. Look at Rubycoin or LEOcoin for example. They both rank relatively high on CoinMarketCap with market caps of about $10 million and $13 million, but their daily trading volumes are close to zero. There are hundreds of coins out there like these, taking dominance from Bitcoin just by existing, even though they are in reality dead.

This tells us there are basically too many alts in the market now for Bitcoin’s dominance to rise much further. I’m not saying all of these low volume coins deserve to die, though. Altcoins with good fundamentals are attractive targets for risk-hungry traders and investors scouring the smaller exchanges for the next potential 10, 100, or even 1000x project. These difficult-to-find coins, often referred to as “gems”, are definitely high-risk, high-reward plays for traders who know what to look for.

Some alts disappearing will, however, be good for the market as a whole, and I believe most of the projects listed only on smaller exchanges will. The majority on the likes of Binance, OKEx, and Huobi, will probably survive due to the retail demand there. When BTC inevitably makes its move and ends this bear market, new buyers will enter the market.

Despite new altcoins popping up every week, Bitcoin’s dominance is still increasing. While this does show its strength, a look at history tells us it could also be a sign that a new bull run is in the making. Currently we’re seeing seemingly random alt breakouts, with coins rising 10-20 percent in price over a few hours, only to drop back just as fast to the level they were before. Sudden price jumps and retraces like this aren’t usually organic but rather whales coming out to play, but they could also be a sign of impatience among investors afraid to miss out out on the next alt season.

There are some major events on the horizon for crypto, and the outcomes of these will largely decide which direction the market is going to take. Bitcoin exchange-traded fund proposals, Bakkt launching, major banks introducing crypto trading, and other risk-averse products that will make cryptos more liquid and trusted, are coming into the market. As we reach each of these milestones we’ll see some very bullish headlines, which alone could be enough to trigger the next bull run.

Look for Bitcoin dominance to rise first, then drop again as altcoins start going off one after the other. Still, regardless of upcoming news, we’ll continue to see huge corrections and gains, and until the infrastructure and ecosystem is ready for altcoins to decouple from Bitcoin, the king continues to lead the rallies.


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Author: Trond Vidar Bjorøy
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Regulators Land Punches, But There’s a Long Fight Over Crypto Ahead

There are shifts at ShapeShift and not everyone’s happy with them.

When the token exchange recently announced a new “membership” model with mandatory account identification, there was outrage from certain members of the cryptocurrency community who felt it was abandoning its pledge to privacy and destroying its core value proposition.

Bitcoin developer Peter Todd, for one, was brutal:

ShapeShift described the move as a way to provide added perks to loyal customers and to explore approaches to tokenizing that loyalty. But it was clear that the threat of action by regulators played a big hand in the move.

In a blog post announcing the move, CEO Erik Voorhees, a prominent crypto libertarian and vocal proponent of individuals’ rights’ to private value exchange, acknowledged to his customers that the mandatory aspect of the new model “sucks.” And in a reply to crypto developer Greg Slepak’s suggestion on Twitter that he write an “honest blog” about what happened, Voorhees responded by saying “What I write is being watched very closely. Please give us time.”

But in a statement provided to CoinDesk, Voorhees offered further explanation for ShapeShift’s policy shift. He said an official know-your-customer (KYC) identification system “was not added a result of any enforcement action, but rather a proactive step we took to derisk the company amid uncertain and changing global regulations.”

“We remain committed to the struggle for financial privacy and sovereignty for all humans,” he said, but added,

“Ultimately, ShapeShift is a corporate entity, and we have to abide by laws around the world. “

New York’s AG Office Enters the Fight

Now, with the New York Attorney General’s office releasing a report accusing various crypto exchanges of doing too little to prevent market manipulation, one could conclude that regulators are gaining the upper hand in their ongoing battle with the crypto industry’s more anarchic elements.

Along with the capitulation at ShapeShift, long viewed as a model for those wanting to conduct exchanges outside of the state surveillance ingrained in KYC identification regimes, it does look as if officialdom is striking some heavy blows right now.

But this will be a long struggle, a boxing match, if you will, that still has many rounds to go. New technologies, the dynamic development of token-based business models and an evolving regulatory landscape will continue to create avenues for blockchain and cryptocurrency developers to protect privacy and challenge government intervention.

That, in turn, will spur regulators to pursue new enforcement approaches to maintain their power, which will be followed by new solutions from the crypto side to deal with those efforts. It’s hard to say who will win in the end. Perhaps it will never be resolved.

Some of the battle comes down to defining and managing jurisdictional boundaries — and that doesn’t necessarily go in favor of the regulators.

Crypto technology is, for example, ensuring that the New York Department of Financial Services no longer has the de facto global reach it wielded under the previous assumption that any decent financial entity had to operate in the New York market. The reason old-style financial companies felt compelled to submit to NYDFS rules was that the most important financial intermediaries — the investment banks, the correspondent banks, the custodians and so forth — were based in the state. But crypto technology is explicitly intended to bypass those intermediaries and create peer-to-peer exchange.

This is why exchanges like ShapeShift and Kraken felt comfortable opting out of the New York market when they decided that NYDFS’s BitLicense was too onerous. They could simply choose not to deal with residents of the state — much to the chagrin of the New York Attorney General’s office, which called the exchange’s refusal to cooperate with its request for information “alarming.”

We’ll have to see if there’s any negative fallout for Kraken CEO Jesse Powell, who mockingly responded to the NYAG’s report by comparing the state to “that abusive, controlling ex you broke up with 3 years ago but they keep stalking you, throwing shade on your new relationships, unable to accept that you have happily moved on and are better off without them.” However, Powell’s bravado suggests Kraken is confident it has successfully shut itself off from New York residents and so can, effectively, tell the state’s officers to take a flying leap.

Ironically, Kraken is able to derive that confidence because of sophisticated technological new tools for managing customer accounts that KYC compliance officers call for — such as monitoring IP addresses, which can indicate if someone trying to trade on the exchange’s site is in New York.

New Pro-Privacy Tools

Meanwhile, advances in cryptographic privacy are coming thick and fast, with blockchain developers making strides with tools such as zero-knowledge proofs. Cryptocurrencies such as zcash, monero and dash all enjoy these qualities.

And within Bitcoin Core, work is being done to make it near impossible to trace transactions — a goal that’s critical, not so that criminals can exploit cryptocurrencies, but so that enterprises that might want to use these technologies don’t expose corporate secrets to their competitors.

“Layer 2” solutions such as the Lightning Network, which allow for transactions to occur “off chain” will also enhance the privacy of cryptocurrency users. Meanwhile, related solutions such as discreet log contracts, which essentially blind information oracles from information about the contracting parties they serve, will create extremely private smart contracts and could encourage crypto “dark pools” whose transactions are invisible.

And of course, there’s a big push toward decentralized exchanges. Lawyers often point out that these models are still vulnerable to regulatory oversight, since the developers of the software can be held accountable. But once powerful price discovery systems, atomic swap mechanisms and safe custody models are built so that buyers and sellers can find each other without intermediaries, what’s to stop a new “Satoshi Nakamoto” from anonymously bequeathing such a system to the world and avoiding the clutches of the law?

The Law Is the Law, Though

Still, it’s naïve to suggest that government doesn’t have powerful weapons. If activities that take place on these systems are deemed illegal, then participants must engage them in full knowledge that they are breaking the law. And if they’re caught doing so, prison is always a possibility. That threat can be a strong, moderating force on behavior.

The powers of the state are far-reaching. With the implicit threat of jail time or fines, it can force businesses to spend heavily on legal fees and compliance costs without even taken any action. Voorhees told CoinDesk that ShapeShift spent “over a million dollars of legal expenses on this topic” before making the decision to change policy.

So, in reality, we don’t know who the ultimate winner is in this crypto-versus-regulators fight.

But perhaps this back and forth can have a positive outcome if it sparks a dialogue around the best way to permit innovation and the degree to which privacy needs to be protected. As I’ve argued elsewhere, privacy should be viewed as a key element of an effective system of exchange, without which money can cease to fungible.

That’s why it’s encouraging to see policy makers in various jurisdictions try to give more leeway to innovators in this industry.

On Friday, Rep. Tom Emmer of Illinois, a new co-chair of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, announced he would introduce three new bills providing safe harbor protections with lightweight regulatory models for blockchain startups. And we’re seeing jurisdictions like Singapore open up a constructive global dialogue on how to encourage innovation in areas such as utility tokens without leaving developers to fall afoul of securities laws.

Such frameworks can give a lease of life to those building a more frictionless, liberal system of value exchange. It could even provide opportunities for ShapeShift, whose new accounts model includes some interesting opportunities in tokenized membership, which could facilitate experiments in disintermediated and decentralized exchange, even within the confines of a KYC regime.

So, grab yourself some popcorn. This is going to be a long one.


Source
Author: Michael J. Casey
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1 in 3 Londoners Plan to Invest in Crypto, Twice the National Average

A recent survey reveals that 30% of Londoners plan to invest in cryptocurrencies, over twice as much as the national average of 13%.

The survey was carried out by Atomik on behalf of Rathbone Investment Management and had a sample size of 1503 adults throughout the UK.

Rathbone IM investment director Robert Hughes-Penney attributed the increased public awareness and the 2017 bull run to the sudden interest:

“Lucrative returns made by the early adopters of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been widely publicized. These early investors have been followed by others looking to make similar gains.”

The survey found that 37% of adults under 35 were interested in investing in digital assets, while only 4% of people over 45 would consider making an investment. While digital assets are obviously very popular among London investors, more people had money saved in traditional investments like savings accounts or stocks and shares. It also found that one in eight cryptocurrency investors in London in the capital attribute their current wealth to digital currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum compared to just four percent in other parts of the UK.

He added:

“These figures suggest there are a number of investors in London with shorter investment goals who have been more susceptible to the so-called bitcoin craze, while outside of the capital investors have mostly stayed clear of what is a high-risk asset class.”

A June survey also revealed that a quarter of UK millennials prefer Bitcoin to real estate investment, viewing the digital asset as a more promising opportunity than purchasing physical property, with a clear preference for Bitcoin over stocks, government bonds, and gold demonstrated in a separate survey by Blockchain Capital this year as well.

As citizens of an international hub of fintech and finance, it’s promising to see Londoners show such firm support for cryptocurrency investment. The city itself is home to many crypto projects and firms, with TransferGo remittance service recently opening crypto trading in response to strong demand for digital assets and East London launching its own cryptocurrency called the Local Pound to encourage spending in local businesses – meanwhile, CoinBase recently enabling British Pounds as a payment option on the platform to make the purchase of cryptocurrencies easier and cheaper for UK customers.

A July survey by securities trading platform SharesPost found that 72% of cryptocurrency investors plan to buy more cryptocurrency this year with the majority expecting mass adoption by 2025. 66% of investors also expect prices to rise in the coming year.


Source
Author: Conor Maloney
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