The Top 3 Coins (How have they been?)

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When I refer to the top 3 coins I am categorizing them by market cap. You can go here and see exactly what I am talking about for those who need a little visual.

First and foremost sorry for the long-awaited article! For me to talk about something when nothing was happening is similar to TMZ always trying to make news out of trash. So after a little hibernation, it seems that something mild happened in the crpytocurrency market and now everybody is back on the train. A sea of green can be seen on coinmarketcap.com, and that in and of itself drives up the hype and ultimately whatever initial spark drove up the price – drives it up even more artificially.

A quick run through the top 3 coins…

Bitcoin (BTC) – $9,164.15

Now shot down by a spokesperson for Barclays, Barclays had catered to the idea of opening up a trading desk for cryptocurrency. Similar to Goldman Sachs, which had stated the same thing a couple of weeks ago, the idea of opening up such a trading desk would be considered too soon in my opinion. With Bitcoin being almost 10 years old and still considered in its early stages – we have a little ways to go until big banks begin to really take crypto serious. Although not too long! With a high demand for cryptocurrency in our daily lives, big institutions have to speed up integration of blockchain if they want to stay in touch with the new reality of life.

On a technical note, Bitcoin has seen a price increase of 34.03% since April 12th. With a circulating supply of 16,995,700 – Bitcoin is nearing its total supply of 21,000,000 which can only mean that the demand should exponentially increase. As the former statement seemed to be more of a blanket statement – it is important to know that once all 21,000,000 coins are mined that the price may or may not increase to the highs that we are all hoping for. Reason being? One thought is that who will continue to keep the miners running if there is no more incentive to waste all that energy? Of course that is just one thought, if anything the price could be so high that miners keep running just so they can trade BTC back and forth keeping the price artificially high.

Ethereum (ETH) – $667.43 

Going back to March, it was announced that Coinbase would begin to support (or soon support) ERC20 tokens on its exchange. Basically any coins such as Tron, EOS, and OmiseGo could possibly be bought and sold on the Coinbase platform. Good news for any token on the Ethereum blockchain, but you would think Coinbase would focus on trying to get specific coins on the platform (like Ripple for example) instead of throwing out a blanket of possible coins that will people trying to guess which coin is next. Overall, Ethereum has seen a rise of about 68.3% since April 9th which would put it a couple of days after the announcement from Coinbase.

Bad news is around the corner though as Gary Gensler, a former head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), stated that he believes Ether and XRP have been issued through unregistered securities offerings and are trading illegally on the hundreds of cryptocurrency exchanges that list them.

Ripple (XRP) $.91

Ripple is the most promising coin out of the three listed in this article. With all the news out about what they plan to do and have done where can I really start? Let’s run through a quick checklist.

  1. Santander One Pay FX employs Ripple’s tool, xCurrent.
  2. Ripple’s Interledger protocol into Apple Pay
  3. MoneyGram, Western Union both have apps that integrate Ripple

Yes, all the points listed above don’t necessarily involve XRP itself, but with XRP of course being related to xCurrent and xVia people will continue to associate the three causing a false rise in price. But why? Why are people causing the price to rise knowing that all the good news coming out of Ripple is not really for XRP? That’s a hard question to answer, but what I can say is that it’s more of a “Ripple effect”… on a serious note – when one company uses xRapid it takes just one more after that to cause more big organizations to follow on and become the possibly new standard for money transfer.  A basic and overheard argument, but one that holds true because it’s most likely to occur!

 

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Today in Crypto News (What is Happening?)

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It’s funny how back in December we all were so optimistic about what the new year would bring us. Evidently, the new year bought out a lot of doubt and anxiety for some people while some went on a multi-month shopping spree. This New Year Bear market was something that I personally saw coming from the moment I looked at a cryptomarket graph. The graph was nearly straight up for a moment and anybody in the finance world knew that a bubble was formed and it was going to take just one thing (sometimes a couple of things) for that bubble to burst. Although from a technical standpoint the market never did crash – instead it looks as though it had a hard correction. A crash would have been more intense and the line would have fallen more than it did as displayed on the graph below.

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Okay, maybe it was a crash but I feel as though a cat bounce right after the down fall wouldn’t have happened so quickly. For Bitcoin to rise to $20,000 in under a year is absurd, but to think that the cryptomarket is cooked is speaking too fast. Markets are to be looked at from an annual standpoint not month-to-month. You may have heard Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse say something similar when it came to looking at the digital asset XRP. We are to attempt to gauge the market on an annual basis in order to justify its existence rather than call a 20% decline in price a death warrant for the cryptocurrency market. Remeber Bitcoin itself was selling for a mere $1000 just a year ago and XRP was selling at $.007 around the same time – we are nowhere near the end if gains exceed the 1,000s for some of the big name coins out there. Jumping over to the stock market, your average investor is lucky to make 40% gain on their investment on a annual basis, while some lucky joe was buying XRP at $.007 in January 2017 and selling it for $3.80 in January of 2018.

Will the market go up? Maybe. Will the market go down? Probably not, but that’s not to say we have some work to do with cryptocurrency. We still get scared over the word “regulation” and “banned”. Well gives a damn? It’s apparent that to live in today’s society we definitely need some regulation to keep us in check because let’s face it – do you really want certain people out there running around using crpyto to evade taxes  or lying to the public and selling “shitcoins”? No way, but some will say, “you can do all that with paper money and that’s legal everywhere”. Of course, legal money has been established and has been in use for many years. Bitcoin? about 10 years. People and government need to get a better grip of it and throw in a tiny bit of regulation – tiny bit. We don’t need government limiting the full scope of blockchain, but we also don’t need the wrong people to be taking advantage of the newly formed technology. Will bad people still be using crpyto? Of course, but at the same time do you want more shitcoins in the market? No, so that’s why we need some regulation to help alleviate some of these issues that we are facing.

Investors bullish on bitcoin now that the ‘Tokyo Whale’ has stopped selling

Are whales even a factor anymore in the cryptocurrency world? Apparently so. As stated from the CNBC article linked above, “a trustee of defunct Tokyo bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox sold roughly $400 million worth of the digital currency to pay off creditors, according to documents published last week”. $400 million can move a market for sure, but what’s causing billions to be drained from the market? Market sentiment. People won’t keep money in things that they are not sure about and this is understandable because it happens all the time in the stock market. If the non-farm payroll numbers come out bad or all of the companies earnings are bad then people freak out and leave as soon as they can. When that happens this is where people like Warren Buffett like to shop, but only in companies he’s confident will turn around. The same can be said about crypto, but maybe for a lot less companies. Obviously not all the coins will survive, but the few that will survive will go on strong. It’s unfortunate that a lot of the coins do not serve a real purpose just yet.

My overall sentiment is that the regulation from the government needs to happen. It sucks and I disagree with it too, but things like taxes and fraud is something our loving government can’t possibly let happen without trying to stop it. Give it time, you might not see the days of 1,000% return in a week (you might actually since the market is still volatile), but you will definitely see returns that are justifiable for the work that these companies put in and help create real world application. Like I said in a couple of articles back, real world application is the key to the survival of these companies – no way in hell is a company with no durable competitive advantage going to thrive in a booming economy unless it’s mob owned or something to that nature.

Let’s Get Serious About Ripple (XRP)

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The elephant in the room. SLOW MONEY. Why is that the case in the wonderful year of 2018? We have advanced so far in technology that cars can drive themselves, you can walk into an Amazon Market without having to see a cashier, print houses on giant printers, but we just can’t seem to get sending money to somebody efficiently (and cheaply) just yet.

Here is xRapid (XRP).

XRP can be used by banks to source liquidity on demand in real-time, and by payment providers to expand reach into new markets, provide faster payment settlements, and lower foreign exchange costs. If you have the time to learn about Ripple, make sure you know the difference between the Ripple products. Just as a refresher Ripple provides three products: xCurrent, xVia, and xRapid. All of which help to ease the flow of payments around the system and this article is mainly focused on putting a proper price on XRP, which is the xRapid product. One thing that the Ripple does better than a lot of other digital asset companies is agree that the system in place isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, BUT instead of trying to dethrone the established ways, they instead want to work along side with the status quo and then eventually transition the system. That is what we all deep inside know will happen with these banks, middle men, and other financial service providers.

To get an idea of how much money moves around per day think about how much moves per year. Approximately $155 trillion dollars moves across borders every single year which is $424,657,534,246.57 per day! That is a lot money that has to go through banks, middle men and other financial services all of which are throwing in their little fees and taking their time moving the money to where it’s supposed to go. What a shame that in 2018 fees on the high-end of 2.9% are being added on top of payments being sent to people who already have to wait days to receive money. Let’s try to put a proper price on XRP with the numbers shown above.

Daily movement of money across borders: $424,657,534,246.57

Average RippleNet fees: .04%

How much Ripple charges per day $424,657,534,246.57 x .04% = $169,863,013.70 (This is just for reference in how much more cheaper Ripple is compared to other payment companies).

On an elementary level if $424,657,534,246.57 moves everyday and currently they are 39,094,802,192 that means each XRP token would have to be worth around $10.86. Now hold your horses with this number because you have to realize that 1. Ripple (the company) has more XRP in escrow that releases 1 billion more per month and any left over gets thrown back in the line and waits to be released and 2. XRP has a decay rate that destroys part of a token each transaction. So yes more XRP is on the way every month, but the decay rate will eventually catch up to the supply and cause the price to rise way above $10.86.

Ripple’s success is ultimately tied to the number of partners on RippleNet (which has been growing steadily over the past year), how many people use Ripple’s products, and how effective XRP is. To envision this token as being a success you need to ensure that it has a real world use and while other tokens or coins may seem to have a purpose, until you see progress now like Ripple is doing with its growing list of partners and members, you just have a bunch of hot air going around. Sort of like TRX back in December.

Want my final thoughts on this? I say it’s a keeper. No it’s not centralized, yes it’s cheaper than most other digital assets, and YES it does have a real world application. We as consumers will probably definitely see direct improvement in our lives from xRapid, xVia, and xCurrent (the three products offered by Ripple) because we want to move our money as fast as we can send an e-mail and as cheap as sending a letter (maybe a little bit cheaper than that). The use case is there for Ripple, now all they need to do is convince the old banking system to give up their current comforts in order to catch up with the ever-growing world of technology. We as a planet are evolving VERY fast and if our money can’t keep up with us, then you know we have a problem!

Remember that this is a case situation and no guarantee can be made on the outcome of your investment based on this knowledge. Article written and interpretted by Cole Horton, and influenced by Alex Moskov of Coin Central. 

 

 

 

 

 

The Current Market Situation II

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This has had to have been one of the fastest bubbles I had ever seen in my experience with financial markets. Let’s be honest. Who really thought that Bitcoin could go from around $900 to $19,000 in a year? Yes, you can say that this is new technology and that it’s not like a stock and all that. Although, what really puts a dollar figure on things we view to have value? Us. We as people give value to things and that value can be translated into a dollar amount (or any currency amount depending on where you live). The point is that people fixate cryptocurrency with how much it can rise against the dollar and then make them money. How many times have you heard someone (even the founder of NEO) that their coin can shoot to the moon? What does that mean? It means how much USD can this coin be worth so I can sell it at the peak and make away with the bag.

One of the only reasons for the creation of Bitcoin itself was to break away from the financial institutions and to provide an ecosystem for a decentralized way of life. Bitcoin itself has proved to be a store of value at this point. It paved the way for others to come into the market and improve on the flaws of its predecessor. This coin is digital gold and how often are you going to the store and paying for groceries with gold? Hopefully never. You store value in gold just as you now store value in Bitcoin. Bitcoin itself is inflation proof and with a mere 21 million to ever exist it’s easy to see why people can go out and say that its price can hit $1,000,000. This is extremely limited! You see, the fear and greed cycles can sway heavy especially when the supply is as limited as we see here.

That leads to the next point, the fact that Bitcoin did lead the way and other platforms have been created to improve upon the technology. The birth of the “Altcoin” occurred. Now people can base their software on that of Bitcoin’s and give the technology an even more specified task. For the very few examples that are actually worth talking about, you have something like Ethereum, which can revolutionize the way we conduct business interactions or any sort of interactions. But for a coin like Dogecoin to even be in the top 50 market cap is scary. This hype is fueled even greater by corny YouTuber’s who try to gain publicity for themselves and offer you give ways and “insight” when really it’s someone who has no business in cryptocurrency, let alone stocks! Imagine some teenager on YouTube sitting in a gaming chair talking to you about why you should invest in Apple Inc. Why even give the person your time then go out and buy the coin in question when he explains that he is not giving professional financial advice. First off, he’s right, he’s nowhere near a professional and should stare CLEAR of crypto investing in the first place.

Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt. We really need to stop telling ourselves that every time the market drops and someone in the crowd tries to be reasonable and thoughtful and give an opinion as to why the market is acting the way it is. This FUD is a necessary part of the cycle if you didn’t know already. The market is a game for fear and greed. When you buy a stock (or a coin) somebody else is on the other side selling you that stock (or coin). And during times like this where the market is dropping fast, you’re selling your coin to somebody who knows exactly what the potential value of that coin is. To the “newbies” out there, just remember that they’re people who know A LOT more than you do and by selling off your coins in herds, you’re giving the smart people an advantage to buy in at a cheaper price. Look at 2008-2009, all those people sold all those shares because the belief that the market was in limbo (which it was at the time), but to act like you’ve never seen a crash before shows the lack of experience in some of these people.

In the short-term fear and greed rule the markets, but in the long run, sound fundamentals rule the whole arena.

As with the fear from governments threatening to ban cryptocurrency and to regulate it, people forget that the latter means adoption. When governments start paying attention to cryptocurrency, you damn well know you’re doing something right. It may seem bad at first sight that government is trying to place regulation on crypto but, remember we live in a civilized world where the government will always have a say in what we do. This is not the caveman days, we have organization and hopefully “class”. If you want to go political, I can give you a good example. People are always complaining that the rich don’t pay their fair share – now think about this, if millions of people are buying and selling crypto all day 24/7 we’d have a lot of people not paying their fair share. Not that I agree with taxes on cryptocurrency, but you get the picture that I’m trying to paint with government wanting some oversight as to what is happening in the new markets.

Liquidity and exchanges. People are getting all upset and wanting to act like lead investigators when it comes to potential scams. The headlines in today’s markets: Bitfinex and Tether. First off let’s establish the use of an exchange, a place to which you buy and sell goods and services (or stocks, commodities, and currency etc.). The same rule applies with cryptocurrency, you are there to buy and sell cryptocurrency and hopefully put it away in cold storage (like you’re supposed to). Well, the basic idea for USDT was to have liquidity in the cryptocurrency market and help eliminate the fear protocol from these investors. Instead of having to sell your coins THEN convert them back to fiat (if you could ever figure it out in the first place) you could just sell your coins for USDT and still have the same amount of money in there like you did in the first place. The obvious problem with today’s crypto is that prices aren’t stable enough to consider them good short-term stores of value. Could you imagine being at a coffee shop and paying $5 worth of Bitcoin for a coffee then by the time the transaction clears they make you pay $2.50 more because the price of Bitcoin fell by 50%? This is ridiculous!

P.S a subpoena is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it is more or less like a confrontation of a business from law enforcement to see whether or not a rumor is true and give evidence backing why they are in the clear or not. Simplified, but don’t let news tell you something is as bad as they make it seem.

What do I think in general about this market crash (or correction)? Let it have its course on the young market and it’s new-found participants. Just remember, people who didn’t even care to invest in stocks, bonds, or precious metals are here for the first time throwing money into something they thought could get them rich in a hurry. No, that’s not how investing works my friends. In the end, the people who damn well knew about blockchain technology and its potential in the world stuck around, while the hungry soul looking for quick profits ended up flat on their backs when the herd left them in the dust. The people who are buying now, are buying from the people who are taking huge loses because of fear and greed. The people buying aren’t going anywhere and that’s what is going to keep this crpytocurrency market alive for the long-term.  Continue reading “The Current Market Situation II”

The Current Market Situation

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I am writing this article as a financial analyst for H.A.R Group, LLC. This article is strictly a hypothesis and any decision you make based on this information will be at your own risk. I do not give financial advice to outside clients and therefore this should be treated as purely hypothetical.

On December 18th, 2017 when it was announced that Bitcoin futures would be traded, the current price of Bitcoin was roughly $19,500. For those new to the financial markets a future is a contract written between two entities (or people) to transfer goods (or currency) at a specific time in the future (hence future contract). At this moment the price of the future settlement is based on the current price of the good at hand. For Bitcoin, the price when the first futures contract was announced was $19,500 and set to expire January 17th, 2018. Once that contract was produced, Person A (Whale) agreed to sell his or her Bitcoin to Person B (Unlucky Buyer) for $19,500 on January 17th, 2018 regardless of what the current market price will be.

Below here is a chart of the price of Bitcoin From December 1st to present.

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The red circle roughly indicates December 18th, 2017 when it was announced that futures would begin being trading. This was considered an all time high for Bitcoin and naturally some people sold their positions to make a profit. Although for the whales or institutions holding Bitcoin they took advantage of the current situation as well, and besides selling Bitcoin at the price of $19,500 they also engaged in futures contracts to make even more money.

This is not hard to see on the graph above where as soon as the futures contracts began trading, the overall decline of Bitcoin began. Of course part of the reason this occurred is because average people like you and me sold, but a larger portion of this occurred because people holding large amounts of Bitcoin began to sell in sort of a stair-step fashion in order to not crash the market. Remember it was estimated that roughly 1,000 people (or entities) own roughly 40% of the total Bitcoin in circulation. “It’s not necessarily illegal for big holders of some cryptocurrencies to discuss trading with one another. That puts small buyers at a disadvantage.”

Now you ask well why is the market crashing right now in the cyrptocurrency world? Let me give you a basic example of how one whale could take advantage of this situation.

First pretend Person A is a whale. He has 10 Bitcoin in his possession that on December 18th, 2017 were worth $19,500 a piece. His total Bitcoin net worth is $195,000. He decides to take advantage of the current situation involving futures contracts and goes into a deal with Person B. With the futures contract, Person B agrees to buy Person A’s Bitcoin at the price of $19,500. Remember, with futures the good (or currency) in hand rarely if ever changes hands because the contract is settled in cash not Bitcoin. Anyway, as soon as Person A and Person B agree on this contract (agreeing to engage in 10 contracts with Person B at the settlement price of $19,500) Person A turns around and sells his entire position of Bitcoin priced at the current market rate at the time on December 18th, 2017 for $19,500. Naturally as a whale he has power to slightly manipulate the market so as he and other market movers are doing this the price of Bitcoin drops as indicated in the graph above. This along with novice crypto-investors helps drives the price even further. So the futures settlement price is $19,500 and the whale just sold his entire holdings for a gain of $195,000. Fast forward to January 17th, 2018, in the days leading up to this event other whales have slowly sold their positions and people are in panic mode which drives the price to $11,000 (current price as of January 16th, 2018 for sake of example). This is great news for the whales because the current settlement for Bitcoin as stated on the CME website is $11,160 (for the sake of ease pretend each contract is 1 Bitcoin instead of 5 as listed on the website). Now the math here is easy, but please try to understand the method. At a settlement price of $19,500 (agreed on December 18th, 2017) Person B agrees to buy from Person A (the whale) Bitcoin at the settlement price of $19,500. Although the current settlement price is now $11,160 that does not mean Person B can buy Bitcoin at $11,160. Instead he has to pay the price of the December contract settlement price which is $19,500 per Bitcoin contract.

EDIT: In an earlier version of this article I did the average of the spot price and settlement price of BTC. The number of $153,300 would have been the total price of the 10 BTC contracts adjusted for a 20% margin on the balance. When dealing with futures contracts you, in most cases, have to pay something similar to a down payment that depending on the price is due everyday on the difference of the daily spot and settlement price. I have since removed that equation to simplify the scenario and assume that the margin was included in the total cost of the contract pay out.

So once January 17th, 2018 rolls by, Person B has to pay a total of $19,500 x 10 = $195,000 to Person A (the whale) and no actual Bitcoins exchanges hands. This is perfectly legal and is allowed to happen on a daily basis. The whale in this simplified example made $195,000 from selling his Bitcoin at a peak PLUS made money from the natural effects of his power to manipulate the market with other whales and weak hands selling at the first sign of danger. In total this whale made $195,000 + $195,000 = $390,000 from 10 Bitcoin worth a total of $195,00 from the time he engaged in a futures contract. This is just one example, a simple example, of what many of the big players are doing and you can see how the market can fluctuate so much within a short period of time.

Why is this good and bad?

It is good because it gives us (the little guy) an opportunity to profit from wild price swings once the market realizes the massive discount presented to us by the way of the whale. Reason is first, the whale have even more buying power and can buy even more Bitcoin at the deeply discounted prices that he in the beginning caused. On top of cheap Bitcoin prices he essentially can buy back his 10 Bitcoins plus have a pile of cash sitting on the side from a mixture of him selling his coins at an all time high and getting paid from a contract that he won. We as little investors, we have the ability to go into the market of Bitcoin or Altcoins (Bitcoin and Altcoins are highly correlated in the overall market cap) and buy cheap coins and ride the price wave as everyone goes in and buys coins at a deep discount.

The bad part? Now that futures are trading for Bitcoin, what’s stopping from this happening all over again once the next futures contract expires in a couple weeks? Could this be the mirco-cycle of the cryptocurrency market that swings heavily from a month to month basis? There’s no telling what could happen because of all this and the only thing we can do is wait and see what tomorrow will bring us once these contracts expire and people have to pay up. The bottom of the market is hard to guess and no matter how good we think we are anything could happen in the market. People like to be optimistic and say that it will moon soon, that’s a nice thought, but we need to take out emotions and be realists here for a moment. Is it really decentralized when just 1,000 people have the power to fluctuate a market this much?

Not to deter the cryptocurrency world, the idea behind blockchain is revolutionary and I hope to see it prevail like never before. In my opinion, it’s best to watch closely today and tomorrow to see what these new markets have in store and be ready to buy coins you believe are at a deep discount while you can. Surely, in a couple days we’ll be sitting back wishing we didn’t stay out of the market during the market decline and instead jumped in at the right time and rode the price wave back up.

Speaking as a Financial Analyst looking into the cryptocurrency world, be careful, do your research, and never use emotion when investing in anything. Facts are facts and feelings are feelings. Your circle of competence is how you’ll make the most money in life. You wouldn’t let a truck driver teach you how to do open heart surgery, so why would you let an average Joe person (YouTuber, Reddit User, etc) tell you how to invest in cryptocurrency? Be smart and be aware, and always take what I or others say with a grain of salt.