$100 Billion Cryptocurrency Market Showing Signs of Maturity as Mainstream Investment Appeal Grows

$100 Billion Cryptocurrency Market Showing Signs of Maturity as Mainstream Investment Appeal Grows

$100 Billion Cryptocurrency Market Showing Signs of Maturity as Mainstream Investment Appeal Grows

Cryptocurrency has burst onto the financial scene like a blazing comet, offering investors a new asset class to grow their wealth, hedge against instability and escape the grips of central banking. As the market for digital coins crossed the $100 billion mark, hedge funds and major institutions suddenly found themselves scrambling to make sense of the shadowy world of cryptocurrency.

For the most part, investors no longer question the viability of cryptocurrency, but are instead exploring what shape this evolving market will take.
 

Cryptocurrencies Come Into Their Own

Though highly volatile, cryptocurrencies have been on a dramatic upward trajectory for the past year. In the case of bitcoin – the pre-eminent digital coin founded in 2008 by a person or entity called Satoshi Nahamoto – the bull market is at least seven years old. The success of bitcoin has spurred a bevy of other so-called altcoins, many of which have latched on to the success of the flagship digital coin.

Bitcoin’s share of the global cryptocurrency market has quickly diminished as alternative payment systems hit the market. At the time of writing, bitcoin represented roughly 41% of cryptocurrency market capitalization. By May, digital currency alternative Ethereum had surpassed half of bitcoin’s market value.

Several other currencies have also crossed the $1 billion mark this year, including Ripple, Litecoin, Ethereum Classic, Dash, NEM, IOTA and Stratis. Many more are worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
 

Key Investment Drivers

The growth and widespread adoption of cryptocurrency-as-an-asset has dividend analysts and investors seeking to understand the nature of the bull market. The market’s dramatic rise through the first six months of the year has raised fears of an asset bubble with dangerous consequences. But proponents of digital currency say the market has plenty of room for growth as investors seek alternative asset classes. They cite several key investment drivers as proof that cryptocurrencies aren’t overbought, but are instead maturing.

1. Hedge against instability: Despite their volatility, cryptocurrencies are seen as a hedge against central bank intervention and other forms of fiat-currency related instability. China is the most prominent example, as mainland investors have poured into bitcoin to diversify away from yuan devaluation. This compelled the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) to initiate a four-month freeze on bitcoin withdrawals.

2. Increased regulatory certainty: Earlier this year, the Japanese government legalized bitcoin as a form of payment and initiated capital requirements, cyber security laws and annual audits. Japan’s Accounting Standards Board is also in the process of developing a standard government digital currencies.

3. Store of value: Digital payment systems like bitcoin are mined, which makes them scarce digital resources that offer many of the same investment benefits as commodities. Bitcoin has a fixed issuance schedule with a finite supply of 21 million coins.

4. Greater investment appeal: Bitcoin’s success has triggered a fresh wave of buying interest from various segments of the market. Institutional investors and banks have expressed a greater interest in buying bitcoin. Nine of the world’s biggest banks – including Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Credit Suisse – are developing a common standard for blockchain that could also hasten the appeal of cryptocurrency-as-an-asset.

5. Decentralized payment system: Today, more than 100,000 merchants accept bitcoin as a form of payment. As the evolution away from fiat currency continues, demand for distributed digital money that exists beyond the purview of central banks will likely grow.
 

Price Volatility Continues

Despite their widespread appeal and unrelenting gains, cryptocurrencies are prone to dramatic price swings. This trend is expected to continue as the market slowly matures.

Cryptocurrencies sold off again on Friday, with five of the world’s top-ten coins posting weekly losses of 9% or more. Ethereum suffered the largest setback, while bitcoin managed to pare losses. IOTA, BitShares, NEM and IOTA also faced heavy losses.

With more than 700 digital payment systems on the market, analysts caution that not every cryptocurrency offers investment value. Some are clearly riding the coattails of bitcoin, while others are benefiting from speculation.

At the same time, there’s still plenty of room for disruption as alternatives to bitcoin vie for capital. Analysts observe that the the cryptocurrency market will likely see significant diversity for the foreseeable future.

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

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Author: Sam Bourgi

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China and Japan Are Largely Responsible for the Current Success of Cryptocurrency

China and Japan Are Largely Responsible for the Current Success of Cryptocurrency

China and Japan Are Largely Responsible for the Current Success of Cryptocurrency

 

The adoption of digital currencies on both the individual and institutional level in China and Japan is propelling cryptocurrencies to ever greater heights. However, some are still skeptical that they are the finance systems of the future due to their current volatility.

 

CHINA AND JAPAN’S CRYPTO CRAZE
 

The age of cryptocurrencies is upon us, and two countries in particular have been instrumental in their stratospheric rise: China and Japan.
 

Cryptocurrencies have become popular in China due to the government’s stringent control of the yuan — a power they occasionally exercise by artificially devaluing the currency for trading purposes. With private wealth in China growing, affluent individuals have found a more stable and accessible alternative to the yuan in cryptocurrencies.

 

Additionally, China has an abundance of cheap energy and hardware, which facilitates crypto mining (the process through which new blocks in the blockchain are created and transactions are verified). Chinese exchanges run mining “pools” to generate these blocks, and these efforts constitute 60 percent of Bitcoin’s total hashrate (the speed at which Bitcoin operations are completed).

 

Japan got its foot in the cryptocurrency door at the beginning of 2017 when the market in China experienced an institutional and systematic crackdown, with the most potent measure being a ban on all cryptocurrency withdrawals. This caused an increase in Japan’s trading volume, which grew from one percent to as high as six percent.

 

Cryptocurrency adoption was further amplified by currency turbulence in the country. Quantitive easing lead to extremely low interest rates, which have occasionally even become negative, meaning that it costs an individual to save money. As in China, cryptocurrencies therefore became viewed as a more stable asset than the native currency, so more people have chosen to invest and store their money in them.

The final piece in the cryptocurrency success puzzle for both countries is increasing institutional acceptance. In China, this takes the form of the country’s Royal Mint, which has invested resources and money into digitizing the yuan and promoting blockchain technology. Japan, meanwhile, began accepting payments in stores using cryptocurrencies earlier this year, and its three largest banks — MUFJ, Mizuho, and SMBC — have all backed the country’s largest Bitcoin exchange, bitFlyer.

 

A WORLDWIDE REVOLUTION

 

The enthusiasm with which China and Japan have embraced cryptocurrency systems has contributed to their worldwide success. Virtual currencies have become more popular and valuable than the vast majority of people could have anticipated upon their inception around a decade ago. The value of a single bitcoin has risen from roughly $0.00075 to $2,500, and the market cap for all cryptocurrencies has exceed $100 billion.

 

The success of cryptocurrencies is also reflected in their increasing adoption by formal institutions. Wall Street is making moves to start using cryptocurrency systems by next year, a Swiss town called Zug has begun to accept payments in bitcoins, and the Gemini Trust in New York has been licensed to trade ether.

However, some worrying news concerning cryptocurrencies has emerged as well. Recently, in spite of claims that the systems are highly secure, hacks have lead to personal information being leaked and exchanges have been robbed, one to the tune of $79 million.
 

In addition, while cryptocurrencies may be more stable assets than the native currency in Japan and China, they are not absolutely stable. In fact, they are currently far from it, and though prices continue to rise, rapid drops are not uncommon, and public opinion can have a major impact on value.

 

Mark Cuban illustrated the issue perfectly — when he took to Twitter to assert that Bitcoin wasn’t a currency, its valuation dropped rapidly. Even more recently, Ethereum lost $4 billion worth of market value when a bogus story that its founder, Vitalik Buterin, had died in a car crash was published on 4chan.
 

Cryptocurrencies are clearly on the rise, and due to their successes, they can no longer be dismissed as a niche monetary system. The pertinent question is will this rise will lead to the worldwide adoption of an entirely new currency and finance system?

 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

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How Balanced Cryptocurrency Portfolio Looks Like: Investment Tips

http://seriouswealth.net/wp/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/How-Balanced-Cryptocurrency-Portfolio-Looks-Like-Investment-Tips

How Balanced Cryptocurrency Portfolio Looks Like: Investment Tips

A large number of investors have started to purchase cryptocurrencies as a short-term and long-term investment, a safe haven asset and an experimental investment to develop a proper understanding of the market and the technology behind cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.

As a result, even the initial coin offering (ICO) market, which is yet to showcase a viable product or a decentralized applications with an actual active user base, have begun to attract hundreds of millions of dollars in the past few months.

In fact, Tezos, Bancor and EOS, the three largest ICOs to date, have raised more than $485 mln, with the ICOs of EOS and Tezos still ongoing. However, none of these three ICOs have completed the testing phase of their software, leading many analysts to describe the ICO market as a bubble.

Still, the vast majority of investors in the cryptocurrency market are purchasing cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Ethereum Classic as long-term investments.

A large portion of investors within the cryptocurrency market wholly support the monetary policy, vision and purpose of popular cryptocurrencies that have evolved into useful alternative financial networks and decentralized infrastructures for decentralized applications.

 

What is a balanced cryptocurrency portfolio?

As mentioned above, the purpose of investing in cryptocurrencies varies greatly for investors. Most Bitcoin investors consider Bitcoin as a safe haven asset and a digital currency and have purchased Bitcoin expecting it to become a major alternative financial network which could compete with global banking systems and reserve currencies such as the US dollar in the far future.

If an investor remains unclear about the structure, purpose and monetary policies of certain cryptocurrencies and is investing in specific cryptocurrencies as an experimental investment to learn more about the market and various cryptocurrencies, it will be smart decision to maintain a diversified portfolio of a few different cryptocurrencies.

http://seriouswealth.net/wp/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/cryptocurrency-portfolio

 

Investment tip from Andreas Antonopoulos

On June 13, Bitcoin and security expert Andreas Antonopoulos revealed his personal investment strategy in establishing a balanced portfolio of crypto assets. Antonopoulos wrote:

“Yes, I own a few different crypto assets as part of a small but diversified portfolio. I only risk as much as I'm willing to lose.”

The latter part of Antonopoulos’ statement is what most investors in the cryptocurrency market fails to consider. The entire cryptocurrency market is still at an early stage, and most cryptocurrencies remain extremely volatile. Hence, investors should not be investing more than they are willing to lose, especially if their investment is experimental and speculative.
 

Also, it will be beneficial and efficient for investors to utilize platforms such as Cyber Fund’s cryptocurrency portfolio builder Satoshi Pie, which allow investors to track their investments in real time in terms of change in value and performance against other assets.

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

Author: Joseph Young

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Bitcoin could nearly double and reach $5,000 soon, says Standpoint Research

Bitcoin could nearly double and reach $5,000 soon, says Standpoint Research

Bitcoin could nearly double and reach $5,000 soon, says Standpoint Research

 

Bitcoin traded near $2,600 Wednesday, according to CoinDesk.

Standpoint Research founder Ronnie Moas said the digital currency could rise to $5,000 "in a few months."

"This is not something I could keep my hands off of," Moas said.

Stock research analyst Ronnie Moas said he bought bitcoin this weekend and thinks it could reach $5,000 within a year.

 

"$5,000 could happen in a few months. It's only starting to gain traction right now," Moas, founder of Standpoint Research, told CNBC in a phone interview Wednesday. "It's starting to spread like wildfire right now."

He pointed out that since only 21 million bitcoin can ever exist, increasing demand for the digital currency will naturally drive its price up.

Bitcoin briefly tripled in value this year, hitting a record $3,025.47 on June 11, according to CoinDesk. The digital currency traded Wednesday near $2,600, still more than double its Dec. 31 price of $968.

"This is not something I could keep my hands off of," Moas said. "What would be more painful than losing [money in cryptocurrencies] is not acting."

The research analyst said he invested a few hundred U.S. dollars each in bitcoin, ethereum and another digital currency called litecoin through Coinbase.com. After he releases a 40-page report on cryptocurrencies in the next few weeks, Moas said he plans to invest more in them.

The research analyst's view on bitcoin joins the optimistic views of others on Wall Street. On Sunday, Goldman Sachs' technical analyst Sheba Jafari said in a note that bitcoin could rise as high as $3,915.

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Bitcoin could nearly double and reach $5,000 soon, says Standpoint Research Bitcoin could nearly double and reach $5,000 soon, says Standpoint Research

Stock research analyst Ronnie Moas said he bought bitcoin this weekend and thinks it could reach $5,000 within a year.

"$5,000 could happen in a few months. It's only starting to gain traction right now," Moas, founder of Standpoint Research, told CNBC in a phone interview Wednesday. "It's starting to spread like wildfire right now."

He pointed out that since only 21 million bitcoin can ever exist, increasing demand for the digital currency will naturally drive its price up.

Bitcoin briefly tripled in value this year, hitting a record $3,025.47 on June 11, according to CoinDesk. The digital currency traded Wednesday near $2,600, still more than double its Dec. 31 price of $968.

"This is not something I could keep my hands off of," Moas said. "What would be more painful than losing [money in cryptocurrencies] is not acting."

The research analyst said he invested a few hundred U.S. dollars each in bitcoin, ethereum and another digital currency called litecoin through Coinbase.com. After he releases a 40-page report on cryptocurrencies in the next few weeks, Moas said he plans to invest more in them.

The research analyst's view on bitcoin joins the optimistic views of others on Wall Street. On Sunday, Goldman Sachs' technical analyst Sheba Jafari said in a note that bitcoin could rise as high as $3,915.

Goldman Sachs says bitcoin could rise another 50% Goldman Sachs says bitcoin could rise another 50%

"In the next 6 to 12 months you're going to have a little bit of a hysteria," Moas said. However, "this has a long, long way to go before it gets to bubble territory."

Moas' reasoning is so little of global capital is in cryptocurrencies right now that the young digital currencies can absorb more of those funds without becoming overvalued.

McKinsey Global Institute estimated that the value of the world's stocks and debt rose to $212 trillion in 2010.

On the other hand, CoinMarketCap data showed the market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies has grown from below $20 billion at the start of this year to about $100 billion, still less than a tenth of a percent of global capital markets. Bitcoin has a market value of about $42 billion, according to CoinMarketCap.

"There will be scams, there will be accounts wiped out, there will be people that get hurt, like every other technology that is going on," Moas said. But "I think the cryptocurrency is here to stay. I think we're in the second inning of a 9-inning ball game."

Many, including some on Wall Street, believe that the blockchain technology behind bitcoin can fundamentally change the way the world operates, just like the internet did.

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

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Author: Evelyn Cheng

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Bitcoin and Decentralized Networks are the Future, Says University Professor

Bitcoin and Decentralized Networks are the Future, Says University Professor

Bitcoin and Decentralized Networks are the Future, Says University Professor

 

Lorenzo Fioramonti, Professor of Political Economy at the University of Pretoria (South Africa), who also directs the Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation, recently published a write-up stating that money systems are in the process of transitioning from “centralized authority to decentralized networks.”

Cryptocurrencies represent a significant part of such decentralized networks. According to Fioramonti, there is a growing demand for digital currencies. On one hand, he exemplified with the recent adoption of cryptocurrencies in the world. Japan regulated bitcoin in April 2017, while the Russian government – who threatened virtual currencies last year – made a U-turn and even President Vladimir Putin met with Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin. In addition, China halted its initial freeze on bitcoin exchanges in the country, therefore, the major BTC exchanges in the country resumed trading in June 2017. In the United States and Australia, digital currencies are experiencing higher adoption rates, in addition, the Oceanian country will soon exempt traders and investors from goods and services tax.

The professor stated, in the near future, cryptocurrencies will “become much more common as methods of payment for a wide range of purchases, from online shopping to the local supermarket.” Not just developed, but developing countries are making efforts to implement digital currencies in their economies, Fioramonti wrote.

In Venezuela, where the current economy is facing major problems, bitcoin has become “the leading parallel currency”, the professor wrote. While the official national currency of the South American country is worth almost nothing, bitcoin can be used to perform transactions, buy food along with other basic necessities, and to purchase products from overseas countries bypassing the strict controls on capital.

Local innovators in East Africa implemented the use of cryptocurrencies in cross-border transactions. An example for this is BitPesa. According to the professor, the popularity of cryptocurrencies in South Africa is also on the rise. Since the Nigerian government failed its citizens by conventional money, local traders and activists believe digital currencies has a potential to democratize the economy. Verengai Mabika, founder of BitFinance in Zimbabwe, stated bitcoin is an attractive alternative for conducting online payments and remittances, which “constitute the backbone of the economy.” Verengai told Fioramonti that 37 percent of BitFinance’s customers use cryptocurrencies for savings since the 2008 hyperinflation resulted in the collapse of the Zimbabwe’s financial institutions.

Fioramonti stated that decentralization is the “core of this new trend.” According to the professor, the use of cryptocurrencies “will make economies more resilient against shocks and will support more equitable and sustainable development, by putting users in the driver seat and reinforcing local economic development.”

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

Author: Benjamin Vitáris

 

David

Ethereum Price Drops Below $300 Amid Technical Issues and Cryptocurrency ICO Hype

Ethereum Price Drops Below $300 Amid Technical Issues and Cryptocurrency ICO Hype

Ethereum Price Drops Below $300 Amid Technical Issues and Cryptocurrency ICO Hype

 

 

Things are not looking all that great for Ethereum right now. The popular cryptocurrency suffered a major crash not too long ago and it remains the market is still recovering. The past two days have heralded another downturn for Ether, making it highly doubtful Ethereum will pass Bitcoin in market cap anytime soon. It seems safe to say more volatility is on the horizon for Ethereum holders.

 

WHAT IS GOING ON WITH THE ETHEREUM PRICE?

 

Looking over the Ethereum price charts leaves traders and investors disappointed, as their hopes for challenging Bitcoin’s crown subside. More specifically, the ETH price has taken another beating, as it declined by 7.65% over the past 24 hours. This puts the value of one Ether well below the US$300 mark and it is possible this value will keep heading toward US$270 or lower over the coming days. This momentum is not entirely surprising given Ethereum’s bullish trend throughout the first half of 2017.

 

It is not hard to forget once ETH was worth under US$11 back in early January of this year. Things have certainly picked up over the past few months, culminating in an Ether price peak of nearly US$400, according to Coinmarketcap. Such a spectacular price increase can only be met with future price volatility, which is what we are seeing on a daily basis right now. Even so, the Ether value increase has been nothing short of impressive this year.

 

Ethereum enthusiasts have referred to a phenomenon known as the flippening all year. This trend would occur once Ethereum’s market cap surpasses that of Bitcoin. Although both currencies were only separated by “just” US$8bn, the gap has widened once again. More specifically, Bitcoin’s market cap is close to US$41bn right now, whereas Ethereum’s is only US$26.32bn. The flippening will not be happening anytime soon at this rate.

 

The bigger question is why Ethereum is facing such a setback right now. Shifting market conditions are likely the culprit. Moreover, the Ethereum blockchain and its technology are weighed down by the influx of cryptocurrency ICOs. Transactions are confirmed far slower when a big ICO happens, and smart contracts used by these projects often contain issues which need to be fixed later on. The technology is still premature, yet investors also see this can become a much bigger problem if things aren’t resolved quickly.

 

Speaking of cryptocurrency ICOs, they have quickly become the main use case of the Ether currency. That is not necessarily a positive development either. With so many projects raising funds in Ether, the chances of a market “dump” will increase as well. When teams need funding, they will convert ETH to fiat currency, creating negative pressure across the exchanges. When more projects sell off their raised funds, the price per ETH will undoubtedly continue to go down quite quickly. It is unclear if that is part of the ongoing price drop right now, but it is something to keep in mind.

 

It is unclear what the future will hold for Ethereum right now. The Ethereum price is very volatile, which is only to be expected at this point. However, Ethereum is not a store-of-value by any means. With so many “dumb money” flowing into Ethereum to participate in cryptocurrency ICOs, it is virtually impossible to determine the real value of the existing coin supply. Technical issues are becoming a major problem as well. If this trend keeps up, the flippening may never happen at all. These are interesting times for Ethereum to prove its value, but so far, the project leaves quite a bit to be desired.

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

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Author: JP Buntinx

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Market Turns Green

Market turns green

Market Turns Green

The cryptocurrency market takes a turn to the green, led by Ethereum and Bitcoin.

After two days of the so-called ‘crypto correction’ in the final days of June, the wider cryptocurrency market is seemingly back on a comeback trial as all top ten cryptocurrencies by market cap make gains over a 24-hour period.

According to CoinMarketCap, all but two of the top 50 cryptocurrencies have taken a positive turn during Tuesday’s trading period. At press time, only Bytecoin, the original anonymous crypto which made a 250% jump in May and Ardor, a blockchain-as-a-service platform, see their respective tokens fail to make gains at the top half of the table.

 

Ethereum leads the way among the big dogs, with a near 8% gain as Ether prices return to hitting above $275. Bitcoin, up over 2%, is trading just above $2,475. Ripple, Litecoin and Ethereum Classic are following the trend. Dash, at #7 on the crypto-ranks, is up nearly 13% at over $170 per DASH.

 

Today’s upward gains will come as respite during a dramatic few days for the cryptocurrency market. Rewund back to mid-June, the entire cryptocurrency market cap had struck $117 billion. At its lowest point on Tuesday, the combined market cap of all cryptocurrencies in circulation had fallen to $88 billion – a wipeout of $29 billion in two weeks. Monday, in particular, saw 92 of the top 100 cryptos hit red, with the IOTA’s IOT token and Ethereum taking the biggest falls.
 

Tuesday didn’t start off on sound footing either, as Ethereum fell nearly 20% to a low of $227.14 today, a near 4-week low. A mainstream rumor that Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin died in a car crash didn’t help matters.

 

Ultimately, the downturn that began on Sunday evening could have ultimately proven to be the pause the market needed following significant gains in recent months. A breather helps. It never was, nor will ever be a sprint. It’s summer time, after all. Everyday investors, having helped boost entire cryptocurrency market leap from $28 billion in mid-April to a dizzying $117 billion in mid-June, could be closing their positions for profits during summertime.

 

“All that really happened today was some newcomers and bull traders got discount coins,” wrote CCN’s P.H. Madore amid Monday’s gloom. For others, these last few days have merely been an exercise of holding on.

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

Author: Samburaj Das

 

 

David

Traders Plan for Correction as Crypto Market Falls Below $100 Billion

Traders Plan for Correction as Crypto Market Falls Below $100 Billion

Traders Plan for Correction as Crypto Market Falls Below $100 Billion

The total value of all publicly traded cryptocurrencies may be at an all-time high, but trader confidence isn't keeping pace.

After rising more than 1,500% from just over $7bn on 1st January, the market is beginning to show signs that its rapid ascent in 2017 may be slowing.

According data from CoinMarketCap, the cryptocurrency asset class fell from a high of $117bn yesterday to just under $100bn today, a period in which more than 80 of the top 100 cryptocurrencies have seen double-digit declines.

While this decline may just be a speed bump in the world of cryptocurrencies, some analysts report it is sufficient enough that they are beginning to reassess their positions in light of recent activity.

Hedging for a crash?

Indeed, several traders spoke with CoinDesk about the strategies they're currently using to hedge against a potential decline in cryptocurrency prices, with some indicating they're employing simple strategies by reducing their holdings.

For example, Charlie Shrem, a bitcoin entrepreneur and over-the-counter (OTC) trader, is in this camp. He reported he's been buying more bitcoin lately, with "less than 10%" of his portfolio in alternative assets.

Marius Rupsys, a cryptocurrency trader and co-founder of fintech startup InvoicePool, took a bolder approach, telling CoinDesk he liquidated his entire cryptocurrency portfolio and has started shorting bitcoin, actively betting its price will go down.

Rupsys predicted:

"There should be larger correction at some point which will cause altcoins to fall and bitcoin to fall at the same time."

While several traders identified portfolio management and active trading strategies as ways to hedge against a cryptocurrency price crash, cryptocurrency trader Kong Gao offered a different solution.

One way to hedge against this decline, he said, is to begin mining on alternative asset protocols, and simply hold the coins they receive instead of selling them.

Irrational exuberance

Elsewhere, Rupsys spoke to how he believes the increasing price has been largely caused by highly optimistic newcomers, a prospect that leads him to believe the bull run could soon fade.

"Many of these new traders are retail traders that have little knowledge of crypto-assets or trading in general," Rupsys told CoinDesk.

He added, many people have contacted him interested in getting rich quick.

Tim Enneking, managing director of cryptocurrency hedger fund, Crypto Asset Management, also spoke to the exuberance in the market.

While cryptocurrencies have been experiencing sharp gains, they will reverse direction at some point, Enneking predicted. Crypto Asset Management has set up stop loss orders to liquidate positions in certain cryptocurrencies should these digital assets suffer an "abrupt crash", he said.

And according to Charles Hayter, co-founder and CEO of cryptocurrency exchange CryptoCompare, a crash is likely. The attention alternative asset protocols have gained lately have highlighted some of this overconfidence, he said.

While there may be no clear signs yet, Hayter is still putting his money where his mouth is, noting CryptoCompare is going so far as to reallocate its active positions in the market.
 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

Author: Charles Bovaird

David

Crypto Asset Fund looks to raise $400 million to buy into blockchain frenzy

Crypto Asset Fund looks to raise $400 million to buy into blockchain frenzy

Crypto Asset Fund looks to raise $400 million to buy into blockchain frenzy

 

Timothy Enneking started a cryptocurrency fund in 2014, when the market was almost exclusively bitcoin. That's no longer the case.

The 58-year-old money manager is now aiming to raise up to $400 million for the Crypto Asset Fund, a diversified pool of digital currencies and assets that he expects to be in the tens of millions of dollars by the end of this year. Enneking filed with the SEC on Monday.

With the soaring value of ethereum, Ripple XRP and NEM, the top 100 cryptocurrencies combined are now worth more than $98 billion, according to CoinMarketCap. Bitcoin accounts for 46 percent of the total. Enneking said just six to eight months ago, the total value was in the low teens and 85 to 95 percent was bitcoin.

"We can actually now apply much more sophisticated tools to a portfolio of investments," said Enneking, who started managing money in Russia in 2002 and is now based in San Diego. "I don't think the world has seen but the pointy end of the spear in terms of what's going to happen in cryptocurrencies."

Crypto Asset is a trading fund, so it's not for the buy-and-hold investor. Enneking said that the minimum investment for the fund is $25,000 and that most of the institutions that are approaching him have between $100 million and $2 billion under management.

What Is Blockchain

The craze around cryptocurrencies stems from growing adoption of blockchain, a distributed electronic ledger that makes all transactions trackable. Banks are using it for payments and back-office functions, while companies in digital music, ride-sharing and cybersecurity are starting to use blockchain for tracking, sharing or protecting assets.

It's still very early and speculators abound. Start-ups built on blockchain are creating their own crypto-tokens and selling them to investors and prospective customers in initial coin offerings (ICOs). Buyers can hold the tokens in the hopes of price appreciation or, in some cases, use them as currency in the company's ecosystem. For example, a cloud storage company called Storj sold tokens that customers can use to buy digital storage space.

Enneking said he participated in an ICO for INTCoin, which calls itself "a next-generation decentralized currency that takes advantage of blockchain capabilities for instant transactions with a minimum fee."

'Less regulation'

As for the Crypto Asset Fund's strategy, Enneking said he's broken the market up into six pieces, ranging from the "blue chips" valued at above $2 billion all the way down to the currencies with so little value that they don't trade. There are currently four cryptocurrencies that fall into the blue chips category — bitcoin, ethereum, XRP and NEM — and another 22 in his large-cap group with coins outstanding valued at $200 million or more, according to CoinMarketCap.

Enneking spends much of his time educating investors about the market and trying to get them comfortable with the idea that crypto is just like any other asset, except it's moving much more quickly and the regulators have yet to become a presence.

That's a big part of the risk.

"It's not nearly as different as the average fiat investor thinks it is," Enneking said. "It's better, faster and with less regulation, which isn't always good."

Ari Levy

Senior Tech Reporter CNBC

 

If you do not have $25,000 to invest, you could go to Trade Coin Club where minimum starting investment is 0.35 Bitcoin

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

David

The new cryptocurrency gold rush: digital tokens that raise millions in minutes

The new cryptocurrency gold rush: digital tokens that raise millions in minutes

The new cryptocurrency gold rush: digital tokens that raise millions in minutes

 

New York City

About a dozen rain-soaked people were crammed between the revolving doors and security barriers in the lobby of New York University’s Stern School of Business as torrents pelted down outside. All desperately wanted in to the hottest ticket in town, one that promised to make some of them overnight millionaires, if not billionaires. Among them was Dan Morehead, a former Wall Street titan turned bitcoin investor, and a dentist working on a blockchain startup who had flown in from Seoul.

“I don’t really care that you overbooked, it’s not my problem! I don’t care about a refund,” one agitated man seeking entry barked at two T-shirt clad twentysomethings on the other side, one of them clutching a clipboard.

“You can be upset and raise your voice, but we can’t change anything,” one of the gatekeepers replied.

“We have three clients down there!” another man interjected.

The clipboard holder dutifully scribbled down names. When it was my turn, she said NYU wanted to clear out the huddled mass blocking the building’s entrance: “The auditorium holds like 470 people. We have more than 500 people down there right now. NYU is calling security.”

Inside, a conference called “Token Summit” was in full swing. The event was the first to focus on a rapidly snowballing phenomenon called cryptocurrency token offerings—a new fundraising method that allows companies to raise millions of dollars in mere minutes.

The cryptocurrency world has gone mad for token offerings. These launches, popularly known as ICOs or initial coin offerings, have already raised more than $150 million this year, according to research firm Smith + Crown. They are seen as a disruptive new mechanism that could displace traditional venture capitalists from the fund raising process—a view that’s been endorsed by a coterie of brand name VCs themselves—and remake the internet’s business model with decentralized applications and cryptocurrencies. Take an outfit known as Gnosis, a decentralized prediction market, which raised $12 million in under 15 minutes, valuing it at $300 million. Investors had invested based solely on a PDF prepared by its founders (recently a firm called Brave raised $35 million in 30 seconds).

As cryptocurrency prices exploded, ICO fever gripped the over 2,700 blockchain tech enthusiasts who descended on New York in late May for a series of back-to-back industry conferences. Rumors flew about the fortunes being made, as the cryptocurrency ethereum climbed from $127 per unit of ether at the start of the week to $228 by Thursday. The head of an ethereum app development shop was said to hold 6 million ether, meaning he went from being a mere millionaire on Monday to an ether billionaire, holding $1.4 billion worth of the stuff, three days later. “Out of the 2,700 attendees there were at least 500 millionaires, and between zero to five billionaires,” said one longtime observer of the cryptocurrency scene, who wanted to remain anonymous.

Why are tokens a big deal?

The oracles of Silicon Valley say token offerings could reinvent the “freemium” business model of the internet, upending the huge centralized services—think of Facebook or Google—that have emerged. Instead of enticing users with free services, paid for by venture capital, and then eventually turning a profit by showing ads to those users, tokens offer a direct channel for capital to flow between user and the technologist.

The user would pay for a token upfront, providing funds for coders to develop the promised technology. If the technology works as advertised and gains popularity, it should attract more users, thus increasing demand for the token offered at the start. As the token value increases, those early users who bought tokens will benefit from appreciating token prices. Each token offering has different rules around the total supply of tokens and when they are released.

“This is a ‘better-than-free’ business model, where users make money for being early adopters,” write Balaji Srinivasan and Naval Ravikant, a partner at venture firm Andreessen Horowitz and the founder of investing platform AngelList, respectively. Ravikant has launched a platform called CoinList that will help accredited investors put money into token launches.

Token offerings could also correct an imbalance in the way financial rewards are distributed among technologists. Historically, the people who develop foundational technologies, such as protocols, have watched from the sidelines as others—firms that build the applications running atop those protocols—reap the riches. The Google search engine, for instance, is an application that trawls the world wide web, which is made up of a collection of open-source protocols. Yet it’s Google’s founders who are billionaires and not Tim Berners-Lee, who came up with the protocols that made not just Google, but the entire web, possible.

Cryptotokens could change that because protocol creators now have a way to be rewarded for the success of their technology, without having to create a hit application on top of it. “With tokens … the creators of a protocol can ‘monetize’ it directly and will in fact benefit more as others build businesses on top of that protocol,” writes Albert Wenger, a partner at Union Square Ventures.

This is the argument behind the “fat protocol” investment thesis: the protocols of the past were “thin” and unable to accrue financial value. The application layer resting atop those protocols were the ones to reap the rewards. But cryptotokens could enable the protocols of today to become “fat”—creating more wealth and value than even the enormously successful applications of the past. “These new ‘fat protocols’ may eventually create and capture more value than the last generation of Internet companies,” Srinivasan and Ravikant write.

Venture firms who subscribe to this theory have wasted no time putting their money where their mouths are. This is why firms like Union Square Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz have backed funds like Polychain Capital, which invest exclusively in token offerings. While the tokens are being raised for digital services at the moment—things like storage, identity management, or chat room stickers—one can imagine them being used for offline products and services someday in the future, too.

Nor are tokens limited to new projects. The chat platform Kik, with 15 million monthly active users, launched its own token last week at the conference, in the hopes of seeding an “economy built around chat (pdf).” In practice this means Kik users can earn and spend on special stickers, images, or even entry to celebrity chat rooms using the chat app’s Kin token. Unlike traditional loyalty points issued by a merchant, however, the Kin tokens are decentralized because they are issued on top of ethereum (more on that below). The Kin digital currency could exist even if the chat app vanished after issuance—although it probably wouldn’t be used very much and would be worth little.

What are tokens, exactly?

At this stage, an explainer on what tokens are, exactly, is helpful. You can think of a token offering as a hybrid between a Kickstarter campaign and a stock market flotation. On one hand, the launch lets customers reserve a product or service before it’s completed and ready for the market—that’s the Kickstarter part. On the other hand, it also gives those customers a stake in the future of that product or service; if the service gains in popularity, the token should rise in price, enriching the original users, making it a lot like getting in on a hot IPO. However, one of those analogies puts token issuers squarely in the sights of securities regulators, so the distinction is crucial. More on that later when we discuss the legal gray area that tokens occupy.

Like the rest of the cryptocurrency industry, token offerings rely on a basic circular logic: A token has as much value as its users bestow on it, just as bitcoin rises in price so long as demand outstrips supply. But token boosters say their units of digital currency are different from bitcoin in one critical respect: they are programmable, and have been coded to perform various useful functions.

Tokens issued today are built atop ethereum, the second most valuable cryptocurrency on the market. Ethereum is like bitcoin because it is a tradable digital currency, which is called ether. It’s unlike bitcoin because it was designed with its own programming language—a significant departure from, and its creators say, an upgrade over, bitcoin. This language allows people to write “smart contracts” or automatically executed agreements on ethereum. A bond, for instance, might automatically pay out its coupon, without the need for an intermediary or paperwork.

It turns out that ethereum’s programming language is powerful enough that coders can write smart contracts that issue new units of digital currency, bound by their own rules. This is what the tokens offered today are: a series of complicated ethereum smart contracts. The ethereum network itself is being used as a giant token-issuing machine. “Right now ethereum is a token factory,” says Muneeb Ali, co-founder of Blockstack, a startup working on building tools for a decentralized internet.

The circularity of cryptocurrency economics is at play again here: Ethereum itself raised capital from its users by offering ether tokens in 2014, raising $18 million. The ethereum protocol then became a staging ground for experiments in token funding: A vehicle called the Decentralized Autonomous Organization managed to raise $150 million on the promise that it would be a new form of business structure, one that automated away managers using a combination of smart contracts and tokens. It was promptly hacked for millions and flamed out spectacularly.

An ethereum-based token is to ether as a concert ticket is to a US dollar, Peter Van Valkenburgh, director of research at the Coin Center think tank, suggests. “In the real world we often use all sorts of items rather like we use cash,” he writes. “We use tickets, coupons … and a variety of bearer instruments because they entitle the holder to different things.” These customized tokens can be traded on secondary markets, like exchanges, and have their own value, independent of the price of ether.

Orange groves and securities law

While the potential of token launches remains vague, though powerful, almost everyone I spoke to at the New York conferences agreed on one thing: The US government would crack down on the offerings eventually. No one seems to think the good times for ICOs will last.

The legality of tokens hinges on something called the “Howey test,” named after a Florida company in the 1940s that tried to raise capital by selling contracts against its citrus groves—a practice that the US Supreme Court ruled was similar to a stock offering. At the Consensus conference, the debate about whether or not ICOs were like citrus grove contracts was captured by an exchange between Van Valkenburg, who argued that tokens are like products and not securities, and Preston Bryne, a lawyer and founder of a blockchain company called Monax.

“It’s like buying gold … it’s not like buying a security in a gold mine,” said Van Valkenburg. Responded Bryne, “This is complete nonsense. Everybody knows what this is. It’s, in substance and form, the sale of investments that people are purchasing with expectation of profit at a later date.”

Of course, what really matters is the regulator’s opinion. The US Securities and Exchange Commission hasn’t weighed in on the matter yet. But an SEC official who spoke at the Consensus conference, Valerie Szczepanik, who heads its unit looking at blockchain tech, sounded a note of caution, according to Reuters: “Whether or not you are regulated by the SEC, you still have fiduciary duties to your investors. If you want this industry to flourish, protection of investors should be at the forefront.”

Token boosters await official intervention with a mixture of trepidation and relief. Take Stan Miroshnik, who was a veteran investment banker with Morgan Stanley in London. He now runs a firm called Argon that corrals big investors—like cryptocurrency “whales,” adventurous family offices, and hedge funds—into token launches to ensure they’re sold out.

When a group of coders wants to raise money for their project, Miroshnik hits Slack teams, Telegram groups, and gets press in the cryptocurrency trade media to rustle up business. “Having seen the technology boom in the 90s, this is just another emerging capital market,” he says. “It needs institutional grade providers like ourselves who come out of traditional investment banks. One day Fidelity is going to show up and say, ‘I want $4 billion of that token, help me buy it.’ You need someone who can, frankly, speak their language.”

For Miroshnik, the sooner the SEC steps in, the better. “I welcome it,” he says. “It would be helpful to figure out where the boundaries are.”

WRITTEN BY
Joon Ian Wong

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

David