Alex Morris

Bitwise Opens Two New Crypto Funds to Capitalize on Current Bear Market

Bitwise is poised to be the main rival of the crypto behemoth Grayscale as crypto-oriented funds are aggressively looking for institutional money
Bitwise Opens Two New Crypto Funds to Capitalize on Current Bear Market
Contents

Bitwise, the very first cryptocurrency index fund, has launched two crypto-oriented funds. The move is rather unexpected given that the whole market remains in the doldrums.

Capitalizing on the crypto rout

The California-based startup, which is considered to be the very first crypto index fund in the world, has made an announcement about rolling out two brand-new funds that are specifically designed for holding Bitcoin and Ethereum. Hunter Horsley, the CEO of Bitwise, claims that it’s a perfect time to seize the opportunity since prices are at their yearly low. That explains a spike in demand among investors who are willing to pour money into crypto despite the prolonging crypto rout. Bitwise’s poll states that 83 percent of financial advisers have clients who are interested in cryptocurrencies.  

The fund strives to tackle the problem of liquidity in the market. However, Bitwise will exclusively focus on accredited investors (high net worth individuals (HNWI) as well as banking institutions and insurance companies).

A brewing battle

Bitwise is poised to face harsh competition from Grayscale Investments, one of the first cryptocurrency funds that appeared on the market back in 2013. On Nov. 1, Grayscale made waves in the crypto space with its digital asset investment report — they managed to raise $329.5 mln this year despite a brutal downfall of Bitcoin and other major altcoins. Obviously, it is a clear indicator of a growing demand among institutional investors. Nevertheless, Coinbase shelved its cryptocurrency index fund in October after ‘assessing demand from investors’.

In the press release, Bitwise emphasizes the fact that there will be no lockups (Grayscale has a mandatory one-year lockup period). On top of that, Bitwise offers lower fees than Grayscale (1.5 percent and 2 percent, respectively). Will it be enough to rival the crypto behemoth?

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Starting a Blockchain Business: DLT 101

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While some bemoan the pains of the bear market, some see it as a big opportunity: here is our short guide on what to consider when starting a Blockchain business
Starting a Blockchain Business: DLT 101
Contents

With the market still down, some less experienced crypto folks may see it as a sign to pack up and head home. We’re done here, they say... In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. To reuse one of John D. Rockefeller’s most famous quotes:

“The way to make money is to buy when blood is running in the streets.”

Now is as good a time as any, or perhaps even better, to invest. And bear in mind (no pun intended) that Blockchain and DLT are not the same as cryptocurrencies. Granted, digital coins are based on the Blockchain technology, but that is not to say you must become a crypto trader in order to become a Blockchain/DLT business owner. One can have a lot to do with the Blockchain and have virtually nothing to do with Bitcoin.

Understand the Technology

The importance of this initial step on one’s journey to success cannot be underestimated. The very first rule of investment is not to invest into anything you don’t know, so before leaping ahead make sure you fully understand what you are getting yourself, your partners, and your customers into.

And remember, just because you happen to own some digital cash, which your friends probably talked you into buying, does not mean you understand the actual technology behind it. One needs to be diligent and do their homework first, only then will there be a feasible chance of success.

Here are some basics to get you started:

Centralized vs. Decentralized network

The image above published in 1964 by American engineer Paul Baran in a research paper which examined distributed communications is probably the first depiction of the decentralized nature of Blockchain/DLT networks. Incidentally, also note that, while some computer scientists may disagree, here we are treating Blockchain and DLT (Distributed Ledger Technology) as being interchangeable terms for simplicity purposes.

In a nutshell, Blockchain/DLT is basically the storing of data in a block which is then linked or “chained” to another block, thereby forming a chain, which becomes almost like a digital conga line. The key feature of this type of technology is that there is no one center as such, and, hence, the network is ”scattered” or “distributed”.

What we have in Blockchain today is the result of three pivotal concepts with their original authors listed in parenthesis:

  1. Public-key, i.e. asymmetric, cryptography (James Ellis, 1970)

  2. Cryptographic hash function, i.e. data mapping (Ralph Merkle, 1979)

  3. Proof-of-work protocol (Cynthia Dwork and Moni Naor, 1993)

All three were synthesized by Satoshi Nakamoto in his groundbreaking 2008 paper, which paved way to Bitcoin. The new payment system proposed to use a digital ledger of records arranged into chunks, i.e. blocks, which would be verified by those involved through proof of work and linked together using crypto validation. And since hash functions are used, any input of data can be represented via an arbitrary 256 character output.

This may be puzzling to a non-computer scientist. But if there is one lesson that should be learnt by everyone here is that Blockchain is not a business model but rather a pioneering method of exchanging and storing data, nothing more.

Recognize What It Can and Cannot Do

What Blockchain/DLT has is this: data are not stored in any one place since there is no network center as such. The whole mechanism thus becomes arguably more transparent and efficient. While some are claiming that Blockchain/DLT is the future of mankind, which in some ways it might be, it is certainly not a universal answer to all of today’s technological obstacles, let alone commercial ones. Nevertheless, surely this technology can be useful in the following ways:

  1. Storage, ease of exchange, and protection of data:

Vast amounts of data can be stored securely, in pretty much any format, and shared only when necessary, only with selected parties, whether a company or individual. Applications can range from filling out and notarizing forms to setting up user accounts. Digital signatures and public/private keys are used to access this information. As a user, you get protection. As a business, you get that, plus you save a great deal of time.

If, for example, some important document gets misplaced along the way, say in an international cargo transportation scenario, it can delay the whole process enormously in a traditional commercial setting. In contrast, this would not pose a problem in a Blockchain setting, as every transaction and contract would have a permanent record, instantly accessible by everyone concerned. Furthermore, because of the aforementioned hashing, the fact that a document has not been tampered with in any way can also be easily verified.  

    2. Payment systems and financial management:

While obviously they have a lot to do with the first notion as well, this is where crypto coins really come in. Paying bills, making exchanges, buying, selling, investing, saving for retirement, you name it, all of that is possible through a tokenized system of altcoins (made by the network itself, with their own value) or stablecoins (which are a pegged in value against fiat currencies, e.g. USD).

Because of the nature of the chain, i.e. each block numerically referencing a previous one, all of the transactions are set in stone with records kept all throughout the network, so the same unit of digital cash can never be spent repeatedly. In other words, you can never send or receive the same digital dollar twice, which makes transactions both fast and secure, and, crucially, without any intermediary looking on, e.g. a bank.

    3. Smart contracts:

These are basically automated business processes, which are currently being developed and fine-tuned. Rather than having to follow through every step by hand, as it were, you let the process run itself completely.

For example, you as a business want to buy 10 tons of blood oranges from Spain. The other party claims that they can find the product and deliver it. You agree on the sum, which has been reserved on the Blockchain, and on the conditions that have to be met in order for them to receive the payment, e.g. exact species of fruit, the weight of each one, form of delivery, due date, etc. The rest is pretty much code. Now the contract does the work. If the conditions are met, the payment is sent; if not, the contract is void.

This is, no doubt, a more efficient way of doing business, which becomes yet more apparent when you consider that many companies have to deal with thousands of such contracts simultaneously.

Find the Right Team

This may come as a surprise to you, but according to one fintech executive:

“The number one issue facing the Blockchain industry today is a lack of talent.”

While salaries offered to developers are going up as these individuals are much sought after, the professionalism of output does not always follow. The reason being is that businesses, especially smaller ones, often hire freelancers or sometimes simply friends of friends to write code for them. So, whereas lucrative offers and individuals willing to take them up are in abundance, at the same time, the number of those who can execute Blockchain type programming truly well is, in fact, comparatively low.

If your business, for example, wants to develop a smart contract to be run on Ethereum or perhaps a dApp (decentralized app), then your programmer must be Solidity literate. While this programming language is syntactically similar to the now ubiquitous JavaScript (i.e. in terms of symbols and commands), it differs from the latter in important ways, in that the architecture of the system itself is different, and the programmers need to be well familiar and experienced with what that difference entails.

According to some experts, in order to get a solid dApp ready―clean, dependable, and fool-proof―a business would need to hire at least two teams (or more) of at least five programmers in each one (or more). That’s already 10 individuals, as an absolute minimum, who must know a whole lot not just about programming but about the Blockchain technology. Finding those can often be a huge challenge, especially on a limited budget.

Take Your Time

If you’ve done a substantial amount of thinking and are now ready to start your Blockchain business, you should not rush. The first thing to do now is to go back and double check that you actually have a clear picture in your mind of what you are going to do, how, and, importantly, why. Another concurrent thing is staying up-to-date: this field is modern and not at all static, so you constantly need to keep your eyes peeled for where the latest developments are being assembled.

At the same time, remember that not everyone in your camp, be they partners or customers, may be on the same page with you, which is especially true of incorporating DLT into existing businesses. What you should absolutely not do is pressurize people. They will come around soon enough, once the picture in their heads is as clear as it is in yours. And if they don’t, perhaps they have their reasons; after all, not every business needs this type of technology. You should be honest with yourself and those around you about your goals and intentions.

Tenacity and patience are also crucial when it comes to executing your goals technologically. Not only should you not trust any third-party software whose origin or indeed true function you can’t distinctly verify, but also, if you are building something of your own, you need to test and retest many a time before proceeding with a launch. And of course, even before that, the team itself has to be put together first, as mentioned earlier, which can take a while. Haste makes waste, no doubt about it. And the repercussions of rushing to drive an underbuilt, three-wheeled car can be very serious.

Conclusion

If you want to start a Blockchain business or re-frame an existing one, you need to understand which processes exactly you want to position onto the Blockchain. This understanding can only come as a result of your understanding of the underlying technology itself. Once you’ve understood what this technology is capable of and which of your business processes can be DLT-based, you need to work out precisely what benefits will be supposedly brought to your business, new or old, in the aftermath of this decision, as opposed to having the whole thing run “traditionally”.

Finally, remember that Blockchain isn't going to solve all your business problems. Some (or even many) issues this technology simply cannot tackle. DLT isn’t some sort of digital magic serum that cures all. At the same time, this technology also has its drawbacks. In certain cases, cyber attacks are actually more likely to penetrate decentralized systems with its smaller digital fortresses compared to one giant fortress of a centralized system with its thicker and taller walls. So, while some types of security are definitely there with the DLT, this technology is not immune to breaches and violations either. Nothing is ever absolute.  

Be that as it may, DLT/Blockchain can certainly be a giant game changer for some businesses and even whole industries, so if you are up to the task, find the right people and the right tools, and go for it.

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The 10 Best Places to Learn How to Invest in Cryptocurrency

U.Today has discovered the best ways to learn about cryptocurrency investment, and some of them might be surprising. From blogs to Wikipedia — we've covered it all!
The 10 Best Places to Learn How to Invest in Cryptocurrency
Contents

So, you’ve been hearing about Bitcoin the whole year but you were still reluctant to jump on board. Maybe you found out about the currency last week? In any case, it doesn’t matter. If you weren’t (at least) emotionally invested in this subject before, there is a good chance your knowledge is very superficial, and there are plenty of things that have to be cleared up while you are learning how to invest in cryptocurrency.

Is Bitcoin a Ponzi scheme? Why is Bitcoin so expensive, and does it have any value at all? How do you invest in cryptocurrency? If you ever asked one of these questions, you are already in the ‘intrigue’ phase of cryptocurrency investment, and in order to further success with cryptocurrency investment, you need entry-level guidance.     

By having access to the resources that are mentioned in this list, you will be able to significantly speed up your learning curve.  

Reddit

Reddit has always been a rallying force that unites crypto enthusiasts throughout the world. According to Alexa, it is supposed to be the third biggest website in the world, trumping many social media giants. In order to start investing in cryptocurrency, you might consider checking many crypto-related subreddits. In fact, even some minor coins have their own vibrant communities on Reddit. Case in point: r/dogecoin, which has almost more than 127,000 subscribers.

Reddit

(Source: coindiary.net)

Before divining into any specific coin, you may want to check some general subreddits, with r/CryptoCurrency being the most popular crypto-oriented sub (more than 755,000 subscribers). The community is huge, but it might be overwhelming for new users, and it has many trashy posts. If you couldn’t find your cryptocurrency investment advice here, check out r/CryptoMarkets — a smaller subreddit with a knack for in-depth market analysis.

In order to realize why would you want to invest in a certain coin, you have to do profound research on the technology that underpins a certain coin. /r/CryptoTechnology is a perfect option for those who want to stay away from stale memes, fully focusing on the technical details (this subreddit only allows text posts).

Twitter influencers

Twitter is yet another contender for the top place to learn about cryptocurrency investments. You can get a real sense of the nascent industry by following the accounts of many influential personalities in the crypto space. On top of that, Twitter is generally considered to be the best source of breaking news. Keeping your fingers on the pulse of the constantly developing industry is vital for becoming a successful investor.  

Some of the biggest names that definitely should appear on your Twitter feed include:

Twitter influencers

Of course, while stepping into the wilderness of crypto Twitter, you should keep in mind that there is a lot of FUD and disinformation.  

Telegram channels

Telegram, the ubiquitous encrypted messenger rolled out by Pavel Durov, turned out to a major hub for crypto enthusiasts. Those who want to start investing in cryptocurrencies have to choose their strategy (from long-term holding to day trading). Anyway, it is always worth knowing what is hot in the world of crypto with the help of crypto trading signal channels — they are able to predict the price movements of certain altcoins with different accuracy. Crypto Addict is known to be one the most salient examples of such channels (they offer fairly accurate altcoins signals and even ongoing coin reviews).

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Apart from that, there are communities for all types of holders, traders, investors (whatever your niche in the crypto space is). You can get the freshest news about the coin you are holding as well as engage in discussions with other like-minded individuals. Here are some of the most popular crypto-related Telegram channels:

Name of the channel

Number of subscribers

DeCenter

75,100

Cointelegraph

53,700

ForkLog

44,000

News.Bitcoin.com

33,100

Penthouse

26,900

Cryptocurrency news aggregators and tools for analysis

To keeps tabs on everything that is going on in the world of crypto, consider following some of the most popular crypto-oriented news aggregators (including cryptopanic.com, coinspectator.com, etc.).

There is also a Blockchain calendar for all upcoming events — coinmarketcal.com. All the upcoming initial coin offerings will remain under your radar with icotracker.net.     

CoinMarketCap and TradingView are among the must-have websites every crypto trader should know about. These are perfect places for performing an in-depth analysis of cryptocurrency assets before making an investment decision.

Top crypto channels on YouTube

The world’s leading streaming service offers a lot of content on how to buy and sell cryptocurrencies (these videos even cover such far-fetched topics as building your own Blockchain!). Simply search the respective keyword, and you will find a myriad of related videos — a boon for those who want to learn how to buy cryptocurrency.

At the same time, there are top-quality channels with an already established community of crypto evangelists. Andreas Antonopoulos is one of the most prominent Blockchain experts in the crypto space whose opinion definitely matters to anyone who is making their steps in the world of crypto. In 2014, he rose to prominence after publishing his groundbreaking book ‘Understanding Bitcoin’.

Decentralized TV is a channel where a seasoned crypto expert covers the latest cryptocurrency news. Peter Saddington is the name of its famed host who bought a Lamborghini with crypto and also made numerous appearances on CNBC.  

Lastly, David Hay is a good choice if you are looking for a detailed analysis of most popular cryptocurrencies on the market that might end up in your in your investment portfolio.

Top crypto channels on YouTube

Popular cryptocurrency exchanges  

Once you’ve learned the basics of cryptocurrency investment and picked up the coin you want to put your money into, it’s time for some action with actual cryptocurrency investment sites.

Coinbase, an $8 bln exchange, is leading the way as one of the most popular exchanges on the planet. In its FAQ section, you can find the answer to any question pertaining to cryptocurrency investment. It also has top-notch customer support.

Popular cryptocurrency exchanges  

The list of other popular beginner-level exchanges where you can invest in cryptocurrency includes Kraken, Binance, Coinmama and more.

Online courses

Both Udemy and Coursera already have excellent courses for different levels of crypto enthusiasts, but you will have to shell out a dollar or two in order to get access to them.

Those who are already familiar with Coursera (and many similar services) should definitely check out their courses that are specifically devoted to cryptocurrencies. It’s a very convenient and entertaining way to learn more about the nascent asset class. All courses are designed by lecturers from top universities. It's the perfect icebreaker for those who don't know how to invest in cryptocurrencies.

On Udemy, Suppoman teaches more than 29 crypto-related courses for more than 270k of participants (and the price is rather competitive — only $12 per course).     

Bitcoin Wiki

For any kind of crypto-related content, you can also consult Bitcoin Wiki, which contains more than 1,150 pages of crypto-related content that pertain to exchanges, mining, and other issues that might be interesting for a run-of-the-mill cryptocurrency investor. The actual Wikipedia can also be quite informative. Ironically, the creator of the Bitcoin Wikipedia page never himself invested in any cryptocurrencies, but he certainly knows a great deal about how to invest in digital assets.

If you are a complete newbie who feels overwhelmed by a plethora of technical terms, it would be a good option to visit the Simple Wikipedia page. Here, everything is explained in a very straightforward manner, and numerous crypto-related articles are available in several languages.

Crypto-related forums and the blogosphere

Medium and Steemit both have a large crypto community. One can find information on practically any interesting topic here. Medium is a platform that allows startups to engage with their community, making certain official announcements.

Crypto-related forums and the blogosphere

Meanwhile, every Bitcoin investor definitely knows about the existence of bitcointalk.org, the legendary forum that probably represents the biggest community in the world with many members who jumped on the Bitcoin bandwagon early, but it constantly welcomes new investors. As of now, the ‘Bitcoin Discussion’ section alone features more than 2 mln posts, while the ‘Mining’ section also surpassed the 1 mln mark. With such a gargantuan amount of information, it won't be difficult to determine the best way to invest in cryptocurrency.

Mindset Training

While diving deep into the world of crypto, one should remember that the success of your investing (especially when it comes to day traders) largely depends on your ability to pull yourself together and control your emotions. Whether you are a beginner crypto investor or a full-time trader, it’s a good option to program your mind for success. "The Obstacle Is The Way" by Ryan Holiday is a good way to help you help you physiologically prepare for crypto trading. Part of this Udemy course also focuses on developing your trading mindset.

Conclusion  

Becoming a cryptocurrency investor from a scratch may not seem like an easy feat. However, our top 10 places to learn how to trade cryptocurrency, which includes the industry biggest influencers as well as the most vibrant cryptocurrency communities on the web, will certainly alleviate the task.

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5 Reasons Why You Should Invest in Cryptocurrency

📚 Wikicoin
5 reasons for jumping on the bandwagon
5 Reasons Why You Should Invest in Cryptocurrency
Contents

Cryptocurrency continues conquering the world of finances, and the number of cryptocurrency enthusiasts is growing. Should you join them? Consider these 5 reasons for becoming the next cryptocurrency investor.

In 2017, Bitcoin propelled into the spotlight and started growing in price at a remarkable rate. Trading cryptocurrency has become a widespread trend, and the number of people who invest in crypto has exceeded 500 mln. Crypto enthusiasts claim that Blockchain and altcoins are here to shake the modern economy to its core. Are we witnessing a major shift in the global economic system? Definitely. But should you invest in cryptocurrency? Here are at least five reasons for considering it.

1. Your money always stays yours

The lynchpin of Bitcoin success is the technological supremacy of this Blockchain. Thanks to such innovation, electronic transactions can be made much faster and safer. Blockchain encrypts data preventing access to it from all internal sources at every stage of transaction processing. The blocks containing data are stored in a decentralized manner which means the information cannot be deleted or forged.

While banks where we store our funds can be robbed or simply closed after claiming bankruptcy, when you invest in cryptocurrency, your money stays yours forever. Make sure that you work with reliable exchange platforms only and use official crypto wallets with multi-layer protection. Ideally, you should use a hardware wallet to ensure 100% protection of your assets.

Crypto vs fiat: what’s the difference?
The differences between cryptocurrency and fiat currencies

 

2. No government involved

Bitcoin Blockchain offers a revolutionary approach to asset handling: from now on, no middlemen such as banks or governments are required for transactions and exchange. They simply have no control over the circulation of digital assets and cannot access the data related to financial operations done with Bitcoin. Therefore, it disrupts the system that's been around for centuries and brings the power back into the hands of ordinary people.

If you care about liberty, the nonaggression principle, or economic freedom in general, you should do everything you can to use Bitcoin as often as possible in your daily life.” – Roger Ver aka “Bitcoin Jesus”

Integrity and safety of virtual money are one of the main reasons to invest in cryptocurrency. No matter what’s the official fiat currency in your country, and which fluctuations it is experiencing – cryptocurrency does not depend on it. While some countries practice fine withdrawal from citizen’s bank accounts, it cannot happen in the virtual environment – no third party can access your crypto wallet.

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3. Blockchain plays a crucial role

Although it allows for anonymous transactions, Bitcoin is built on the principle of transparency. That means that the details of financial operations are stored in the Blockchain and can be viewed when necessary. This feature might be highly valuable for public transactions. The whole community can reap benefits from a crystal clear system of asset allocation. Here we tackle not the financial issue only — Blockchain allows us to handle all the other information as well.

Altcoins being widely adopted in a wide range of spheres: ICOs in different niches are being introduced every day, and usual businesses start implementing Bitcoin payments as well. This is a versatile currency that erases international borders. Thousands of Bitcoin ATMs are already installed in large cities around the world, and it's only the tip of the iceberg. BTC and altcoins provide us with umpteen possibilities replacing all existing fiat currencies both theoretically and practically. It becomes a more convenient, safer and faster way of payment and transfer.

Eric Schmidt’s quote about crypto
Eric Schmidt’s quote about the significance of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies

4. Investment is as simple as never before

Wonder “How do I invest in cryptocurrency?” Everything is easier than you think! Now, every person with access to the Internet and free funds can make an investment. Here’s a short scheme of how it works:

  1. You need to have a plastic card to purchase crypto online.

  2. Create a cryptocurrency wallet. It can be either the wallet for some certain coins or a multicurrency wallet.

  3. Find where to invest in cryptocurrency. As a rule, people make transactions in online exchange platforms.

  4. Create a purchase offer, or find ready requests to answer.

  5. As soon as you make a purchase and pay for the crypto, coins will be transferred to your wallet.

Now you only need to track cryptocurrency fluctuations and purchase and sell coins in a timely manner to make a profit. The golden rule of trading is NOT to invest what you can’t afford to lose. Invest the money that you can live without, and don’t panic after the first currency fall – it’s better to wait over.

“What cryptocurrency should I invest in?” Bitcoin is not the only option – if it was easy to mine a few years ago, now it’s impossible to obtain in any way except for buying. Don’t despair, there are hundreds of altcoins! They aren’t equally reliable, and you need to analyze them carefully. With boatloads of information online, you can make certain conclusions and make the right choice.

5. Forecasts are promising

As a potential or real investor, you focus on long-term viability and profitability. If you analyze every cryptocurrency shift, it can drive you crazy – you can be sure that you’ve made a wrong investment decision. Being in panic, you can sell the coin for a lower price than you purchased it for while holding would be a better idea.

Why invest in cryptocurrency for long terms? Cryptocurrency fluctuations are inevitable. They happen all the time, that’s why making short-term predictions is harder than long-term ones. Despite the major surge of cryptocurrencies which happened in January 2018, Bitcoin and other popular cryptocurrencies are likely to grow within 2-5 years. Most forecasts are optimistic. Therefore, if you’re looking for a serious investment with serious profit, opt for longer terms, at least 1-2 years.

What the major cryptocurrencies will be worth in 5 years? Let’s check the numbers at WalletInvestor:

Cryptocurrency

Current price

5-year Prediction

Bitcoin

$6,503

$24,183

Ethereum

$223

$3,480

Litecoin

$57

$481

Ripple (XRP)

$0.46

$2,57

Monero

$110

$179

EOS

$5,8

$35,7

Zcash

$123

$1925

Bottom line

Cryptocurrency creates a new era for the modern economy, a utopian system where everyone can stay confident in the privacy of their assets by transferring them around the globe without limitations. It provides us with new possibilities, and getting profit is one of them. Being among the first to buy crypto, you create history and help the world economy to make a serious switch.

“Should I invest in cryptocurrency?” The answer is resounding “Yes!” Choosing cryptocurrency as an investment is a wise solution if you place a bid for the right horse. Don’t hesitate to invest in technologically advanced Blockchains and popular coins – most of them will sooner or later gain momentum to grow in price, which can bring you considerable profits.

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By investing in Blockchain stocks, you can sit pretty without directly buying cryptocurrencies. U.Today has picked the top 10 Blockchain stocks to buy in 2019
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While the future of Bitcoin remains debatable given the dramatic drop in price, many big-name companies are diving deep in the technology that underpins it – Blockchain. Juniper Research has concluded that six in ten large-market cap companies are mulling over using Blockchain. U.Today has come up with the list of top 10 Blockchain-related stocks you should keep an eye on in 2019.

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IBM Stock (NYSE: IBM)

IBM, the well-known old-timer, desperately needed a new technology in order to revive its ‘mojo’. As of now, the tech giant has more than 1,500 employees who are focused on the development of projects that are powered by the Blockchain technology. Hence, it makes IBM one of the most enticing Blockchain stocks to invest in out there.

fortune.com

Many accomplished companies started dipping their toes in Blockchain after the word ‘Bitcoin’ hit the mainstream, but Big Blue has an obvious advantage: they jumped on this bandwagon years ago with about 500 currently active projects in such industries as finance, healthcare, logistics, etc. After investing in this stock, you don’t have to worry about volatility – the tech giant is here to stay.    

IBM keeps bolstering its offerings for the disruptive technology with TradeLens, recently being utilized by the the Port of Montreal (Canada).

Mastercard Stock (NYSE: MA)

Ironically, Mastercard has been bullish on Blockchain for a long time (despite the fact that the much-hyped technology comes from a rivaling industry), and that’s why its stocks are always an option for investors. Back in October 2017, Mastercard threw a spanner in the works by offering banks a Blockchain-based alternative to making payments, ditching traditional credit cards. Remarkably, Mastercard became only the second company on the Fortune 500 list to work on decentralized payments only after (you guessed it) IBM. Obviously, Mastercard’s Blockchain only supports fiat money, so that’s by no means a Bitcoin-related stock.  

wsj.com

Recently, the payment giant has also filed a patent application that is supposed to make their transactions anonymous. Does it sound familiar?

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Hitachi Stock (NYSE: HIT)

Hitachi, the Japanese tech conglomerate with a market cap of around $38.5 billion, also has a few Blockchain-oriented projects up its sleeve. In December, Hitachi teamed up with Mizuho (NYSE: MFG ) in order to develop a decentralized platform for enhancing the efficiency of supply chain management. Later, Hitachi also came up with a project that allows verifying retail payments with fingerprints by recognizing the vein pattern.

ikaas.com

The ‘courting stage’ between the 108-year-old company and the most promising innovation since the Internet started in 2016 when the conglomerate invested top-dollar in a Financial Innovation Laboratory in California. Now, Hitachi is one of the hottest stocks out there.

Microsoft Stock (NYSE: MSFT)

Microsoft, along with IBM, is yet another old-school stock that needs no introduction, and there’s fierce competition between these two in the Blockchain field. Its Azure Blockchain is already being integrated by NASDAQ, AT&T (NYSE: T) and other major players.  

gettyimages.com

Both Microsoft and IBM are working on private applications, and there’s some confusion when it comes to investment choices. The latter places a bigger emphasis on independence with its Hyperledger Fabric Blockchain framework. The thing is, IBM was largely responsible for writing the framework’s codebase. Meanwhile, Microsoft Azure is Ethereum-based, which means that it is dependent on the decisions of the Ethereum Foundation when it comes to making code updates.

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10 Most Influential People in Blockchain- Popular Crypto Names 2018

Broadridge Stock (NYSE: BR)

For sure, Broadridge is a top-of-the-mind option since the company has already cooperated with major banking institutions (Northern Trust (NYSE: NTRS), JPMorgan (NYSE: JPM)) that are utilizing the DLT. Broadridge has developed a couple of DLT use cases like proxy voting, which makes it much easier for shareholders to reach a consensus on certain matters.  

gforcesigns.com

Broadridge’s Horacio Barakat claims that businesses are not denying the disruptive potential of Blockchain, but only few of them have the required resources for its implementation. Still, the fact that Broadridge has the biggest banks among its partners makes it a very reliable stock.  

HIVE Blockchain Technology Stock (CVE: HIVE)

That’s the only stock issuer on the list that is directly connected to cryptocurrencies (cryptocurrency mining, to be precise). The company owns multiple mining facilities that mine Ethereum around the clock (the first one was acquired in Iceland in 2017). After a whopping $100 mln funding round, the company made an announcement about opening more mining farms.

insiderfinancial.com

However, given the current state of cryptocurrency mining, investors should be extra cautious about purchasing their stocks. For instance, Genesis Mining, their largest shareholder, stirred a substantial amount of buzz in August after terminating a slew of unprofitable contracts.
NB! Here are some other stocks with a pure focus on Blockchain:

  • Riot Blockchain, Inc. (NYSE: RIOT);

  • Hashchain Technology Inc. (NYSE: V.KASH);

  • BLOK Technologies (CNSX: BLK).

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Daimler Stock (OTCMKTS: DDAIF)

This Germany-headquartered car manufacturer (mainly known for its Mercedes-Benz) became one of the first auto giants to make a rodeo into Blockchain. With sizeable investments in other state-of-the-art technologies in the likes of AI, Daimler is rightfully considered to be the digital champion of the global car industry.  

bloomberg.com)

In 2017, Daimler introduced its own Blockchain bond dubbed a Schuldschein (becoming one of the first companies to do so). Another reason why Daimler made it to our top 10 Blockchain stocks list is the MobiCoin cryptocurrency that was issued in March 2018.

Bank of America Stock (NYSE: BAC)

If you are a firm believer that Blockchain will eventually turn out to be bigger than the Internet in the nearest future, the stocks of Bank of America (BofA) are your safe bet. The second largest banking institution in the US only trails IBM by the number of Blockchain-related patents. Its patents pertain to storing private keys and data authentication. Notably, the first Blockchain-oriented patent was filed by BofA in 2014, which means that they were one of the early adopters of the emerging technology along with IBM.

reuters.com

However, the fact that BofA remains in first place in the ‘patent race’ doesn’t necessarily mean that all these patents will have real-life commercial application. On the flip side, there is a good possibility that BofA stock could potentially shoot up once decentralization becomes more widespread.   

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Overstock Stock (NASDAQ: OSTK)

Overstock.com became the first US retailer to accept Bitcoin, hoping to revitalize its business with the help of the nascent technology. One of the major US retailers turned crypto giant has a subsidiary, Medici Ventures, that specifically invests in promising Blockchain startups that cover such emerging areas as finance, digital identity, voting, etc.   

abcnews.com

Still, there are caveats. Since the former Amazon competitor is now heavily invested in cryptocurrencies, its stocks have been riding waves together with Bitcoin. The stocks soared by a staggering 130 percent in 2017 but then took a rapid 30 percent nosedive the following year.

Walmart Stock (NYSE: WMT)

We are wrapping up our top 10 with another retail behemoth – Walmart. Just like other companies on the list, Walmart was among the early adopters of DLT, filing numerous related patents for improving deliveries and buying smart appliance management systems. Walmart made plenty of headlines after announcing its cooperation with IBM for increasing food safety in the wake of the E.coli and salmonella outbreak. Notably, IBM’s Food Trust product was also integrated by Carrefour, the biggest French supermarket chain.

shorebeat.com

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Has your favorite Blockchain-related stock made our list? Subscribe to U.Today to learn more about the burgeoning industry in order to make the right investment choices.

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Wikicoin Alex Morris

What Are Masternodes? Is It Still Profitable to Run One?

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Masternodes explained: what is a masternode, and why is there so much fuss about it? Is running a masternode a good source of passive income?
What Are Masternodes? Is It Still Profitable to Run One?
Contents

A quick take

What is a masternode? Masternodes represent big servers that run on the decentralized network of the currency of your choice. Together with nodes, masternodes create a two-tier system. The modus operandi of masternodes is similar to that of Bitcoin full nodes, but they come with additional features that make them more powerful. Masternode cryptocurrencies represent a good way to earn a passive income while you sleep, but there are caveats.

A history throwback: getting started with Dash  

Initially, there were no masternodes in the Blockchain consensus mechanism. Darkcoin, which was later rebranded to Dash, became the very first cryptocurrency that adopted the masternode model. The full masternode implementation took place in May 2015, resulting in a big price spike. With Dash, masternodes started being utilized for such features as DirectSend and InstaSend.

Source: coinsauce.com

Generally, masternodes fulfill two functions: they help to accelerate the transaction verification and also help to vote on a certain project. Masternodes essentially help tackle on the problem that has been plaguing the Bitcoin network ever since it dipped its toes into the mainstream. Masternodes with higher hardware requirements are able to process more transactions, and it prompted the appearance of the aforementioned InstaSend feature. Bitcoin naysayers are quick to shred the flagship currencies because of its slow transactions (compared to VISA and other established decentralized payment services).

At the same time, the fact that you have to own a sizeable amount of coins proves that you have skin in the game (thus, you are able to have a say in the development of a certain project). That by no means results in a greater centralization - Dash, for instance, has a huge masternode ecosystem (more than 5,000). Subsequently, all these masternodes are able to vote on important matters. However, after cryptocurrencies started gaining popularity, it became much harder for newbies to get involved in that ecosystem.

Lastly, another advantage of masternode coins consists in their ability to be sent anonymously. This pertains to Dash with its ‘PrivateSent’ feature that uses coin mixing. There is a common belief that masternodes are typical coins that are based on the Proof-of-Stake consensus algorithm, but there are also mineable coins.

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Going back to Bitcoin’s early days

Crypto influencer Brian Colwell, who was behind the #MasternodeMeBro18 tournament, claims than running a masternode is reminiscent of Bitcoin’s pre-peak days when individuals would still be able to profit off Bitcoin mining without being displaced by monopolistic mining companies.  

“I feel like it gives me more control on a daily basis to decide what I want to do with my coins.”

How much does it cost to obtain a masternode?

There is a widespread misconception that masternodes tend to be pricey. It’s true for such major coins as Dash. At the time of writing this article, you have to pay $95,890 in order to obtain a Dash masternode. Moreover, the annual return on investment (ROI) is sitting at 6.94 percent, which is definitely underwhelming. The price of one Dash masternode stands at 1,000 DASH, which means that it would set you back more than $1 mln at the peak of the cryptocurrency space (Dash masternode payouts, however, would still be huge). If you had invested in one particular masternode that was worth around $20,000 back in January 2017, you would get a six-figure yearly income.

Obviously, running your own masternode can be extremely profitable if you choose the right coin. Many coins offer a higher return with significantly less expensive nodes. Take a look at the 5 biggest coins by annual ROI. Numus (NMS) is in first place with an eye-popping 13,101 percent increase!

Coin

Annual ROI

NUMUS (NMS)

13,101.91%

ZIJACOIN (ZIJA)

7,231.46%

MAGNET (MAG)

4,820.43%

KICKSOCCER COIN (KSOC)

3,805.29%

BEACON (BECN)

1,743.81%

GOLD POKER (GPKR)

1,660.11%

Pay attention to the fact that the numbers that are shown on masternode.pro are not necessarily indicative of what coin deserves your investment. You have to perform an in-depth analysis of the whole project in order (the team behind it, its price history, etc.). If the price chart of a given coin reminds a roller coaster, you might not want to invest in this particular coin since even a 100 percent ROI won’t cover the losses. As a rule of thumb, new coins from the bottom of the barrel tend to have a much higher ROI but it will be dwarfed when the price goes up and the risk that is associated with a certain coin goes down – it’s very risky to invest in a coin that started less than a year ago. Other growing pains connected to the number of supported coins include tiny communities and poor technical support.  
  
What to do if you can’t afford a masternode? Despite the crypto rout, not every beginner-level investor is able to shell out $95k for a Dash masternode. Hence, you can purchase masternode shares but it comes with a big downside: you have to give your coins to a third party.

A brief overview of popular masternode coins

Name of coin

CMC rank

Price (at press time)

Number of coins required for running a masternode

DASH (DASH)  

14

$90.26

1000   

NEUTRON (NTRN)

911

$0.01

25,000

PIVX (PIVX)

91

$0.72

10,000

VITAE (VITAE)

198

$1.26

20,000

DIAMOND (DMD)

427

$1.34

10,000.

Should you invest in masternode coins?
U.Today is not here to give you investment advice, but you should be extra cautious when pouring money into master nodes. The truth is, the lion’s share of masternode coins are nothing more than Dash copycats with little to no utility (they are not being adopted in e-commerce, etc.).

Of course, these coins are not outright scams, and the concept of masternode remains promising, but they showed disastrous results during last year’s crypto winter with even the third best-performing currency appearing in the bloodbath. On the flip side, you can still earn top-dollar regardless of what specific coin you chose in case Bitcoin price shoots up, and the whole market appears in the green. Also, different altcoins are pumping from time to time, and you could take advantage of this volatility. To remain profitable, your masternode has to cover the computation expenses and the inflation rate.   

Generally, the yield from the masternode depends on the following factors:

  • the price of a specific coin when the exchange took place;

  • the frequency of payouts;

  • the cost of running a node (computational expenses and so on);

  • the cost of coins in the long run.  

How to run a DASH masternode?

Disclaimer! These steps presuppose that you’ve already installed Dash Core wallet and bought the required amount of Dash on a cryptocurrency exchange.

Source: docs.dash.org

  1. How to set up a masternode? The first thing that you have to do is to send exactly 1,000 DASH, subtracting the fee (such a hefty transaction may take up to a day in order to be confirmed, but you can speed up this process by using the InstaSend feature).

  2. Once your transaction has been confirmed, you are to grab your public key in order to locate your collateral ID and index.  
    NB! Make sure to use the ‘Coin Control’ option that gives you the ability to choose what input you can choose as your output.

  3. The most challenging thing about configuring your own masternode is getting it hosted. A masternode needs a server to process your transactions (having the required amount of DASH in your wallet is not enough). You can literally use your own server that will run 24/7 in your room, or you can set up a VPS, which requires time and some programming skills. Alternatively, you can use any service (for instance, Node40) for managing your own masternode, but it comes at a big price. For instance, Node40 has an annual fee of 19.2 Dash Digital Price is another service that will help you to set up a masternode in a snap.    

  4. When using Node40, all you have to do is to go through a quick registration process, and then you can use the Node40 setup wizard (it takes only several minutes in order to get your masternode running).

In case you deal with any other masternode coins (ION (ION), ChainCoin (CHC), etc.), the modus operandi will be pretty much the same if you do not want to get your hands dirty while setting up a server by yourself. Those who want to save money can install a VPS themselves. Here’s a detailed guide on Ubuntu VPS Setup. Before that, you have to choose a VPS provider such as Vultr or Digital Ocean.

Pros and cons of running a cryptocurrency masternode

Pros:

  1. The ability to earn passive income.

  2. You get regular payouts (the number of payouts depends on the coin of your choice);

  3. You improve the scalability of the network.

  4. Masternodes able to have a say in the future development of the network.

So, you set up a server and get paid. Sounds like a nice concept, right? However, everything has its ups-and-downs.

Cons:

  1. The sizeable amount of initial investment.

  2. Setting up your own VPS server can be tricky.

  3. Cryptocurrencies prices are rather volatile, and you may end up losing the majority of your investment.    

What the future holds for cryptocurrency masternodes?

Not being deterred by the bear market, masternodes are gradually becoming a new trend in the cryptocurrency world.   

It is quite possible that the current definition of masternodes will completely change by 2020. A startup called Eximchain has raised the bar for potential masternodes, requiring them to complete know-your-customer (KYC) and go through a voting process. Basically, this resembles full-fledged elections where members choose among eligible representatives.  

Source: financeandmarkets.com

Meanwhile, a new startup called Kalkulus actually lets users run a masternode without using computation power (Kalkulus will do the job by itself). Colwell explains that a bigger number of nodes translated into a bigger social following.

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