Putting $400M of Bitcoin on your company balance sheet
Also posted on my blog as usual. Read it there if you can, there are footnotes and inlined plots. A couple of months ago, MicroStrategy (MSTR) had a spare $400M of cash which it decided to shift to Bitcoin (BTC). Today we'll discuss in excrutiating detail why this is not a good idea. When a company has a pile of spare money it doesn't know what to do with, it'll normally do buybacks or start paying dividends. That gives the money back to the shareholders, and from an economic perspective the money can get better invested in other more promising companies. If you have a huge pile of of cash, you probably should be doing other things than leave it in a bank account to gather dust. However, this statement from MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor exists to make it clear he's buying into BTC for all the wrong reasons:
“This is not a speculation, nor is it a hedge. This was a deliberate corporate strategy to adopt a bitcoin standard.”
Let's unpack it and jump into the economics Bitcoin:
Is Bitcoin money?
No. Or rather BTC doesn't act as money and there's no serious future path for BTC to become a form of money. Let's go back to basics. There are 3 main economic problems money solves: 1. Medium of Exchange. Before money we had to barter, which led to the double coincidence of wants problem. When everyone accepts the same money you can buy something from someone even if they don't like the stuff you own. As a medium of exchange, BTC is not good. There are significant transaction fees and transaction waiting times built-in to BTC and these worsen the more popular BTC get. You can test BTC's usefulness as a medium of exchange for yourself right now: try to order a pizza or to buy a random item with BTC. How many additional hurdles do you have to go through? How many fewer options do you have than if you used a regular currency? How much overhead (time, fees) is there? 2. Unit of Account. A unit of account is what you compare the value of objects against. We denominate BTC in terms of how many USD they're worth, so BTC is a unit of account presently. We can say it's because of lack of adoption, but really it's also because the market value of BTC is so volatile. If I buy a $1000 table today or in 2017, it's roughly a $1000 table. We can't say that a 0.4BTC table was a 0.4BTC table in 2017. We'll expand on this in the next point: 3. Store of Value. When you create economic value, you don't want to be forced to use up the value you created right away. For instance, if I fix your washing machine and you pay me in avocados, I'd be annoyed. I'd have to consume my payment before it becomes brown, squishy and disgusting. Avocado fruit is not good money because avocadoes loses value very fast. On the other hand, well-run currencies like the USD, GBP, CAD, EUR, etc. all lose their value at a low and most importantly fairly predictible rate. Let's look at the chart of the USD against BTC While the dollar loses value at a predictible rate, BTC is all over the place, which is bad. One important use money is to write loan contracts. Loans are great. They let people spend now against their future potential earnings, so they can buy houses or start businesses without first saving up for a decade. Loans are good for the economy. If you want to sign something that says "I owe you this much for that much time" then you need to be able to roughly predict the value of the debt in at the point in time where it's due. Otherwise you'll have a hard time pricing the risk of the loan effectively. This means that you need to charge higher interests. The risk of making a loan in BTC needs to be priced into the interest of a BTC-denominated loan, which means much higher interest rates. High interests on loans are bad, because buying houses and starting businesses are good things.
BTC has a fixed supply, so these problems are built in
Some people think that going back to a standard where our money was denominated by a stock of gold (the Gold Standard) would solve economic problems. This is nonsense. Having control over supply of your currency is a good thing, as long as it's well run. See here Remember that what is desirable is low variance in the value, not the value itself. When there are wild fluctuations in value, it's hard for money to do its job well. Since the 1970s, the USD has been a fiat money with no intrinsic value. This means we control the supply of money. Let's look at a classic poorly drawn econ101 graph The market price for USD is where supply meets demand. The problem with a currency based on an item whose supply is fixed is that the price will necessarily fluctuate in response to changes in demand. Imagine, if you will, that a pandemic strikes and that the demand for currency takes a sharp drop. The US imports less, people don't buy anything anymore, etc. If you can't print money, you get deflation, which is worsens everything. On the other hand, if you can make the money printers go brrrr you can stabilize the price Having your currency be based on a fixed supply isn't just bad because in/deflation is hard to control. It's also a national security risk... The story of the guy who crashed gold prices in North Africa In the 1200s, Mansa Munsa, the emperor of the Mali, was rich and a devout Muslim and wanted everyone to know it. So he embarked on a pilgrimage to make it rain all the way to Mecca. He in fact made it rain so hard he increased the overall supply of gold and unintentionally crashed gold prices in Cairo by 20%, wreaking an economic havoc in North Africa that lasted a decade. This story is fun, the larger point that having your inflation be at the mercy of foreign nations is an undesirable attribute in any currency. The US likes to call some countries currency manipulators, but this problem would be serious under a gold standard.
Currencies are based on trust
Since the USD is based on nothing except the US government's word, how can we trust USD not to be mismanaged? The answer is that you can probably trust the fed until political stooges get put in place. Currently, the US's central bank managing the USD, the Federal Reserve (the Fed for friends & family), has administrative authority. The fed can say "no" to dumb requests from the president. People who have no idea what the fed does like to chant "audit the fed", but the fed is already one of the best audited US federal entities. The transcripts of all their meetings are out in the open. As is their balance sheet, what they plan to do and why. If the US should audit anything it's the Department of Defense which operates without any accounting at all. It's easy to see when a central bank will go rogue: it's when political yes-men are elected to the board. For example, before printing themselves into hyperinflation, the Venezuelan president appointed a sociologist who publicly stated “Inflation does not exist in real life” and instead is a made up capitalist lie. Note what happened mere months after his gaining control over the Venezuelan currency This is a key policy. One paper I really like, Sargent (1984) "The end of 4 big inflations" states:
The essential measures that ended hyperinflation in each of Germany,Austria, Hungary, and Poland were, first, the creation of an independentcentral bank that was legally committed to refuse the government'sdemand or additional unsecured credit and, second, a simultaneousalteration in the fiscal policy regime.
In english: *hyperinflation stops when the central bank can say "no" to the government." The US Fed, like other well good central banks, is run by a bunch of nerds. When it prints money, even as aggressively as it has it does so for good reasons. You can see why they started printing on March 15th as the COVID lockdowns started:
The Federal Reserve is prepared to use its full range of tools to support the flow of credit to households and businesses and thereby promote its maximum employment and price stability goals.
In english: We're going to keep printing and lowering rates until jobs are back and inflation is under control. If we print until the sun is blotted out, we'll print in the shade.
BTC is not gold
Gold is a good asset for doomsday-preppers. If society crashes, gold will still have value. How do we know that? Gold has held value throughout multiple historic catastrophes over thousands of years. It had value before and after the Bronze Age Collapse, the Fall of the Western Roman Empire and Gengis Khan being Gengis Khan. Even if you erased humanity and started over, the new humans would still find gold to be economically valuable. When Europeans d̶i̶s̶c̶o̶v̶e̶r̶e̶d̶ c̶o̶n̶q̶u̶e̶r̶e̶d̶ g̶e̶n̶o̶c̶i̶d̶e̶d̶ went to America, they found gold to be an important item over there too. This is about equivalent to finding humans on Alpha-Centauri and learning that they think gold is a good store of value as well. Some people are puzzled at this: we don't even use gold for much! But it has great properties: First, gold is hard to fake and impossible to manufacture. This makes it good to ascertain payment. Second, gold doesnt react to oxygen, so it doesn't rust or tarnish. So it keeps value over time unlike most other materials. Last, gold is pretty. This might sound frivolous, and you may not like it, but jewelry has actual value to humans. It's no coincidence if you look at a list of the wealthiest families, a large number of them trade in luxury goods. To paraphrase Veblen humans have a profound desire to signal social status, for the same reason peacocks have unwieldy tails. Gold is a great way to achieve that. On the other hand, BTC lacks all these attributes. Its value is largely based on common perception of value. There are a few fundamental drivers of demand:
Means of Exchange: if people seriously start using BTC to buy pizzas, then this creates a real demand for the currency to accomplish the short-term exchanges. As we saw previously, I'm not personally sold on this one and it's currently a negligible fraction of overall demand.
Criminal uses: Probably the largest inbuilt advantage of BTC is that it's anonymous, and so a great way to launder money. Hacker gangs use BTC to demand ransom on cryptolocker type attacks because it's a shared way for an honest company to pay and for the criminals to receive money without going to jail.
Apart from these, it's hard to argue that BTC will retain value throughout some sort of economic catastrophe.
BTC is really risky
One last statement from Michael Saylor I take offense to is this:
“We feel pretty confident that Bitcoin is less risky than holding cash, less risky than holding gold,” MicroStrategy CEO said in an interview
"BTC is less risky than holding cash or gold long term" is nonsense. We saw before that BTC is more volatile on face value, and that as long as the Fed isn't run by spider monkeys stacked in a trench coat, the inflation is likely to be within reasonable bounds. But on top of this, BTC has Abrupt downside risks that normal currencies don't. Let's imagine a few:
A critical software vulnerability is found in the BTC codebase, leading to a possible exploitation.
Xi Jinping decides he's had enough of rich people in China hiding their assets from him and bans BTC.
Some form of bank run takes hold for whatever reason. Because BTC wallets are uninsured, unlike regular banks, this compounds into a Black Tuesday style crash.
Blockchain solutions are fundamentally inefficient
Blockchain was a genius idea. I still marvel at the initial white paper which is a great mix of economics and computer science. That said, blockchain solutions make large tradeoffs in design because they assume almost no trust between parties. This leads to intentionally wasteful designs on a massive scale. The main problem is that all transactions have to be validated by expensive computational operations and double checked by multiple parties. This means waste:
BTC was estimated to use as much electricity as Belgium in 2019. It's hard to trace where the BTC mining comes from, but we can assume it has a huge carbon footprint.
A single transactions is necessarily expensive. A single transaction takes as much electricity as 800,000 VISA transactions, or watching 50,000 hours of youtube videos.
There is a large necessary tax on the transaction, since those checking the transaction extract a few BTC from it to be incentivized to do the work of checking it.
Many design problems can be mitigated by various improvements over BTC, but it remains that a simple database always works better than a blockchain if you can trust the parties to the transaction.
What is Bitcoin Cash and some exchanges to try out!
Bitcoin Cash (BCH) came about in August 2017 after a hard fork and a split in the Bitcoin blockchain. Bitcoin Cash is a direct result of the constant debates and many opinions about the future of Bitcoin’s scalability and mass adoption.
Bitcoin vs. Bitcoin Cash
Bitcoin’s blockchain has grown exponentially in recent times. This means that many more users are using the cryptocurrency, which is slowing down the network. The limited Bitcoin block size of 1 MB means that blocks are filling up quickly, resulting in a long queue of unconfirmed transactions. As a result, at peak times, transactions have become slow and expensive. Bitcoin cash, on the other hand, was initially created with an 8MB block, which was later on increased in size to 32MB. This change allows for more transactions to be processed in each block mined. Many see this as a step forward in terms of how best to scale the network. Bitcoin Cash opposers remain adamant that it’s simply a short-term fix that doesn’t solve the problem in the long run. Also, they claim there’s no implementation of ideas such as Segwit to help effectively break transactions down into smaller, more manageable pieces. Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Sometimes referred to as Bcash, is a fork of Bitcoin (BTC). When a fork occurs on a Blockchain, the currency is basically duplicated. This means that anyone with Bitcoins in his possession at the time the fork occurred, got credited with the same amount of Bitcoin Cash.
Buying Bitcoin Cash in 3 Simple Steps
Step 1: Get a Bitcoin Cash Wallet
Before you can buy Bitcoin Cash, you’ll need a Bitcoin Cash wallet to store it in. Hardware wallets that support Bitcoin Cash include industry leaders Ledger and TREZOR. Both Ledger and TREZOR provide functions for you to use Bitcoin Cash as you would any other cryptocurrency. Both have also introduced the ability to claim your funds if you already owned Bitcoin at the time of the Bitcoin Cash hard fork. Additionally, there are a variety of software wallets you can use to store Bitcoin Cash as well. Exodus provides a great user experience with a seamless coin exchange service known as Shapeshift built in. Edge is a mobile wallet for iOS and Android that supports multiple cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin Cash. It also has a variety of features allowing you to buy cryptocurrencies and exchange them from within the app. Electron Cash is a clone of the awesome Electrum wallet for Bitcoin. If you’re used to Electrum, then you’ll have no problem jumping on board with its sister technology. Other wallets that support BCH include Keepkey, BTC.com, Bitpay, and Coinomi. You can view all available wallets on the official Bitcoin Cash website. Once you have your wallet, you will need your Bitcoin Cash address. It’s a long string of letters and numbers that start with either a “1” or a “3” — similar to normal Bitcoin addresses. Since many people got confused and started sending Bitcoins to Bitcoin Cash wallets and vice versa, a new format was invented for Bitcoin Cash. The format, called “Cash Address” is 42 characters long and starts with a “p” or a “q”. Here’s an example: qpm2qsznhks23z7629mms6s4cwef74vcwvy22gdx6a Keep in mind that Cash Addresses are just a representation of original Bitcoin Cash addresses. This means that the same address can be represented in two different ways (normal format or Cash Address format). Not all wallets support Cash address format.
Step 2: Find a Bitcoin Cash Exchange
Most Bitcoin exchanges will also allow you to buy Bitcoin Cash, here are top ones around.
Buy Bitcoin Cash Through eToro
eToro allows users from around the world to buy and sell Bitcoin Cash with a variety of payment methods. eToro is more aimed towards investing in BCH for making a profit in fiat currency (i.e. Dollars, Euros, etc.) rather than actually using it. That being said, eToro does give you access to your coins and allows you to send coins from eToro to other people. If you use eToro for investment only, you don’t actually need a Bitcoin Cash wallet as you won’t be withdrawing the coins. *75% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. CFDs are not offered to US users. Cryptoassets are highly volatile unregulated investment products. No EU investor protection.
Buy Bitcoin Cash Through Coinmama
Coinmama, one of the oldest exchanges around, allows you to buy Bitcoin Cash with a credit card, debit card or SEPA transfer. Coinmama accepts users from almost all countries around the world.
Buy Bitcoin Cash Through CEX.io
CEX.IO, based in London, is a trusted, experienced name in the industry, having been around since 2013. You can choose from a selection of cryptocurrencies on the site, including Bitcoin Cash. The exchange has a brokerage service (easier to use, more expensive) and a trading platform (cheaper but more complex).CEX accepts credit cards, debit cards, wire transfers and SEPA.
Buy Bitcoin Cash Through Coinbase
Coinbase is a reputable Bitcoin exchange that supplies a variety of other services including a wallet, a trading platform (Coinbase Pro) and a Bitcoin debit card. If you’re a beginner, it’s probably best to use the brokerage service which is a bit more expensive, but easier to use. Advanced users can use Coinbase Pro to buy Bitcoin Cash with lower fees. Coinbase accepts debit cards and wire transfers.
Buy Bitcoin Cash Through Bitstamp
Bitstamp, the oldest exchange around, supports the trading of BCH to Bitcoin and direct purchases with US dollars or Euros. There’s also an option to buy Bitcoin Cash with your credit card at a higher price. If you know your way around Bitcoin trading platforms it’s best to use that service and not the credit card service since you’ll save substantially on fees. Other options to purchase Bitcoin Cash include Bitfinex, Cryptmixer, Kraken, Poloniex, HitBTC, and more (you can view all available exchanges on Bitcoin Cash’s website).
Step 3: Transfer the BCH to your wallet
As usual, I recommend that you never leave money on an exchange. Once you’ve finished buying your Bitcoin Cash, move it to your own wallet (the one you chose in step 1). You can then follow the status of your transaction using a Bitcoin Cash block explorer. Once you receive three confirmations for your Bitcoin Cash, you can safely say you’ve completed the process.
It’s apparent that Bitcoin Cash has still not gained full acceptance by large parts of the cryptocurrency community. It still sits firmly in second place to its older brother in terms of both price and usage. Bitcoin Cash has the advantage of being the first major split that has garnered acceptance. Most forks after it didn’t receive nearly enough attention from the community or the media. However, with internal conflicts inside its founding team and accelerated Bitcoin development for scalability solutions, I’m not sure if there’s an actual use case for Bitcoin Cash other than price speculation.
Here is how to play the altcoin game - for newbies & champs
I have been here for many previous altcoin seasons (2013,2017 etc) and wanted to share knowedle. It's a LOOONG article. The evaluation of altcoins (i.e not Bitcoin) is one of the most difficult and profitable exercises. Here I will outline my methodology and thinking but we have to take some things as a given. The first is that the whole market is going up or down with forces that we can't predict or control. Bitcoin is correlated with economic environments, money supply increases, safe havens such as Gold, hype and country regulations. This is an impossible mix to analyze and almost everyone fails at it. That's why you see people valuing Bitcoin from $100 to $500k frequently. Although I am bullish on the prospects of Bitcoin and decentralization and smart contract platforms, this is not the game I will be describing. I am talking about a game where you try to maximize your BTC holdings by investing in altcoins. We win this game even if we are at a loss in fiat currency value. To put it another way:
If you are not bullish in general on cryptocurrencies you have no place in investing or trading cryptocurrencies since it's always a losing proposition to trade in bubbles, a scientifically proven fact. If on the other hand you are then your goal is to grow your portfolio more than you would if holding BTC/ETH for example.
Bitcoin is the big boy
How the market works is not easily identifiable if you haven't graduated from the 2017 crypto university. When there is a bull market everything seems amazingly profitable and things keep going up outgrowing Bitcoin by orders of magnitude and you are a genius. The problem with this is that it only works while Bitcoin is going up a little bit or trades sideways. When it decides to move big then altcoins lose value both on the way up and on the way down. The second part is obvious and proven since all altcoins from 2017 are at a fraction of their BTC value (usually in the range of 80% or more down). Also, when BTC is making a big move upwards everyone exits altcoins to ride the wave. It is possible that the altcoin market behaves as an inversed leveraged ETF with leakage where in a certain period while Bitcoin starts at 10k and ends at 10k for example, altcoins have lost a lot of value because of the above things happening.
We are doing it anyway champ!
OK so we understand the risks and just wanna gambol with our money right? I get it. Why do that? Because finding the ideal scenario and period can be extremely profitable. In 2017 several altcoins went up 40x more than BTC. But again, if you don't chose wisely many of them have gone back to zero (the author has first hand experience in this!), they have been delisted and nobody remembers them. The actual mentality to have is very important and resembles poker and other speculative games: A certain altcoin can go up in value indefinitely but can only lose it's starting investment. Think about it. You either lose 1 metric or gain many many more. Now that sounds amazing but firstly as we said we have the goal to outperform our benchmark (BTC) and secondly that going up in value a lot means that the probability is quite low. There is this notion of Expected Value (EV) that poker players apply in these kind of situations and it goes like that. If you think that a certain coin has a probability let's say 10% to go up 10X and 90% probability it goes to zero it's an even bet. If you think that probability is 11% then it's a good bet, a profitable bet and you should take it. You get the point right? It's not that it can only go 10X or 0X, there is a whole range of probability outcomes that are too mathematical to explain here and it doesn't help so much because nobody can do such analysis with altcoins. See below on how we can approximate it.
How to evaluate altcoins
A range of different things to take into account outlined below will form our decision making. Not a single one of them should dictate 100% of our strategy.
It's all about market cap. Repeat after me. The price of a coin doesn't mean anything. Say it 10 times until you believe it. I can't remember how many times I had conversations with people that were comparing coins using their coin price instead of their market cap. To make this easy to get.
If I decide because the sky is blue to make my coin supply 100 Trillion FoolCoins with a price of $0.001 and there is another WiseCoin with a supply of 100 Million and price of $1 then FoolCoins are more expensive. - Alex Fin's Cap Law
This is done usually in the stock world and it means that each company has some fundamental value that includes it's assets, customers, growth prospects, sector prospects and leadership competence but mostly centered in financial measures such as P/E ratios etc. Valuation is a proper economic discipline by itself taught in universities. OK, now throw everything out of the window!. This kind of analysis is impossible in vague concepts and innovations that are currently cryptocurrencies. Ethereum was frequently priced at the fictional price of gas when all financial systems on earth run on the platform after decades (a bit of exaggeration here). No project is currently profitable enough to justify a valuation multiple that is usually equal to P/E in the thousands or more. As such we need to take other things into account. What I do is included in the list below:
Check Github. You need to make sure there is active development for the platform and it's a very bad sign if the project is either keeping the code closed source or even worse there is simply no development. No projects are "complete".
Check Website. If the website is written in bad English the Chinese google translate type it means that they are not serious enough to produce an unbreakable decentralized project. If you can't write English you can't change the world, period. That's a deal breaker.
Check Team's Linkedin. Numerous projects have either fake Linkedin accounts or the team is comprised mainly by unexperienced employees that are even shown to be working in other companies currently.
Check backers. Projects that have Binance, Coinbase or Silicon Valley VC funds backing them are way more legit but way more overpriced too!
One of my favorite ways to value altcoins that is based on the same principle in the stock market is to look at peers and decide what is the maximum cap it can grow to. As an example you take a second layer Ethereum solution that has an ICO and you want to decide if you will enter or not. You can take a look at other coins that are in the same business and compare their market caps. Thinking that your coin will outperform by a lot the top coins currently is overly optimistic so I usually take a lower valuation as a target price. If the initial offering is directly implying a valuation that is more than that then there is no room to grow according to my analysis and I skip it. Many times this has proven me wrong because it's a game theory problem where if many people think irrationally in a market it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. But since there is opportunity cost involved, in the long run, getting in initial offerings that have a lot of room to grow will pay off as a strategy.
In 2017 the sexiest sector was platforms and then coins including privacy ones. Platforms are obviously still a highly rated sector because everything is being built on them, but privacy is not as hot as it used to be. In 2018 DEXes were all they hype but still people are massively using centralized exchanges. In 2020 Defi is the hottest sector and it includes platforms, oracles and Defi projects. What I am saying is that a project gets extra points if it's a Defi one in 2020 and minus points if it's a payment system that will conquer the world as it was in 2017 because that's old news. This is closely related to the next section.
Needless to say that the crypto market is a worse FOMO type of inexperienced trigger happy yolo investors , much worse than the Robinhood crowd that drove a bankrupt company's stock 1200% after they declared bankruptcy. The result is that there are numerous projects that are basically either vaporware or just so overhyped that their valuation has no connection to reality. Should we avoid those kind of projects? No and I will explain why. There are many very good technically projects that had zero hype potential due to incompetent marketing departments that made them tank. An example (without shilling because I sold out a while back) is Quantum Resistant Ledger. This project has amazing quantum resistant blockchain, the only one running now, has a platform that people can build tokens and messaging systems and other magnificent stuff. Just check how they fared up to now and you will get the point. A project *needs* to have a hype factor because you cannot judge it as normal stocks that you can do value investing like Warren Buffet does where a company will inevitable post sales and profitability numbers and investors will get dividends. Actually the last sentence is the most important: No dividends. Even projects that give you tokens or coins as dividends are not real dividends because if the coin tanks the value of the dividend tanks. This is NOT the case with company stocks where you get dollars even if the company stock tanks. All that being said, I would advice against betting on projects that have a lot of hype but little substance (but that should be obvious!).
How to construct your portfolio
My strategy and philosophy in investing is that risk should be proportional to investment capital. That means that if you are investing 100K in the crypto market your portfolio should be very different than someone investing 1K because 10% annual gains are nothing in the latter while they are very significant in the former. Starting from this principle each individual needs to construct a portfolio according to how much risk he wants to take. I will emphasize two important concepts that play well with what I said. In the first instance of a big portfolio you should concentrate on this mantra: "Diversification is the only free meal in finance". In the case of a small portfolio then this mantra is more important: "Concentrate to create wealth, diversify to maintain wealth". Usually in a big portfolio you would want to hold some big coins such as BTC and ETH to weather the ups and downs explained in previous paragraphs while generating profits and keep progressively smaller parts of your portfolio for riskier investments. Maybe 50% of this portfolio could be big caps and 10% very risky initial offerings. Adapting risk progressively to smaller portfolios makes sense but I think it would be irrational to keep more than 30% of a portfolio no matter what tied to one coin due to the very high risk of bankruptcy.
The altseason is supposedly coming every 3 months. Truth is that nobody can predict it but altcoins can be profitable no matter what. Forget about maximalists who are stuck in their dogmas. Altcoins deliver different value propositions and it makes sense because we are very far from a situation where some project offers everything like Amazon and we wouldn't even want that in the first place since we are talking about decentralization and not a winner takes all and becomes a monster kind of scenario! Some last minute advice:
Stay out of paid telegram/discord pump groups. They are deadly for your wallet.
Avoid jumping on overhyped coins that have pumped massively during the last days without any very important news.
Don't keep coins in obscure exchanges for too long or you will get burned with certainty.
Stop thinking that your coin will 1000x and overtake Bitcoin!
P.S If you find value in reading this and want more weekly consider subscribing to my newsletterhere
Well, February 22nd makes it one whole year. I think that's deserving of a top level post, right? Here are screenshots of the Mint Trends, which has every single expense from the past year categorized. I've added comments on each page. Expenses Overview Auto Expenses Food Expenses Home Expenses Utility Expenses Tax Expenses Healthcare Expenses Entertainment Expenses Main takeaways, my total expenses for the year was $37,700, but I'm going to dismiss about $15,000 of that as "one time" expenses from paying off my car and my furniture loan. A more reasonable number for my annual spend is $22,700. With my car payment gone, my highest expense category is Food, averaging $500 per month. This has room for improvement. Healthcare will look artificially low last year because of taking Tax Credits up front. This year I am not and will be paying $325 per month for health insurance. At ~$4000 per year, this puts healthcare at nearly 20% of my total expenses. Nothing else is particularly interesting. That $22,700 figure is a reasonable real-world number for me, but for future planning I'd still inflate that to $25,000 just to have more wiggle room. I may look into traveling this year, which would add some expense. Investments: Vanguard Investments: (All in VTSAX)
Traditional IRA: $299,000 -> $348,000
Roth IRA: $14,500 -> $18,150
Brokerage: $18,400 -> $22,900
Total Rollup: $331,800 -> $389,100. ~17% return
Other LTCG holdings: $145,000 -> $291,000 (other investment accounts and bitcoin) HSA Investment Account: $6000 -> $7400, with another $1700 in the "cash" holdings of the HSA. $9000 cash in Money Market & Checking Account. Finances Going Forward I had earned income last year so I didn't start my Roth Conversion Ladder last year. This year I decided I will be converting the $12,400 standard deduction + $9600 of the first tax bracket for a nice round $22,000 converted. Yes I'll owe a little bit of taxes, but it sets up my Roth with $22k in 5 years which should cover the majority of my expenses. And with $350k currently in tIRA and converting $22,000 per year, I won't be able to chew through it all before actual retirement age. I have about $20k from an old stock purchase plan that unlocks come April, which I will be selling and likely moving over to my money market account to shore up my "cash" holdings. My plan is to not really tap any of my "normal" investment accounts for as long as possible. I've been deferring to selling Bitcoin if I need to move some cash over. Last year I sold 3 bitcoin, one for $9300 in June, and then two at the end of December (for tax year Capital Gains reasons) for $7300 each. These were all LTCG at 0% taxed. AGI for last year is around $35,000. The Living Part: There's all the boring expenses and financial stuff. Now for the ever painful question that my beloved Grandmother loves to ask, "But gosh, what do you do with all of your time! I can't imagine being retired at your age!" Step 1, restful sleep. During my working career I lived off 6 hours of sleep every day. It made for exhausting weekends trying to "make it up." And luckily I'm not a generally stressful person or else it'd have been worse. But now I go to bed when I'm tired, and whenever I naturally wake up, I get up. This can lead to VERY weird hours since I'm often an extreme night owl. But I generally get 9-10 perfect restful uninterrupted dream-filled hours of sleep. I'm betrayed by my "Food Expense" breakdown, but I really am cooking more and eating better. I drink a lot of coffee and water at home and generally try to eat only one meal per day, but sometimes lunch and dinner. I don't normally eat breakfast, just have coffee when I wake up. And did I mention how much less painful it is to go grocery shopping when it's in the middle of the day and everyone's at work. It's so nice. I spend a lot of time on reddit browsing my front page, and I check out the YouTubers I follow that post daily, then check out any of the irregular posters. Depending on how much good stuff there is, this could go on for a few hours. I have a lot of hours playing video games. I tend toward puzzle games or building games (Factorio, Satisfactory) because they scratch that itch in my engineering brain. There are times at night where I'll spend hours on this website: https://www.puzzle-sudoku.com/ and play Sudoku or Nonograms or any of the other puzzle types on the bottom of the page. I'm doing my best to watch every single last show on Netflix. It's a daunting task, though it's surprising how often I drift back toward watching the same smattering of Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes rather than try something new. But I try and take recommendations and work my way through shows. And Podcasts! The joy of joys is when I come across a new-to-me podcast that has a huge backlog. I found a great ST:TNG rewatch podcast that had 108 episodes already done. I spent like 2 months watching the episode of TNG then immediately listening to their podcast about that episode, repeat repeat repeat. I'm currently working my way through The Adventure Zone, I'm on episode 46 of 155 with them. And they keep advertising the other podcasts The McElroys do so I'm sure I'll roll into one of those next. For many people podcasts are background noise, but I'll often just sit on the couch and concentrate on just listening the podcast. Outside of home, I can't wait for the weather to get nicer so I can go on more walks. Being a night owl I like going for walks at night. I live near our city center so I'm within blocks of city hall, the main library branch, and the fountain / park. I jump at any opportunity to hang out with friends. It's just about every weekend that we are getting together to hang out and play board games. Like I mentioned in one of the breakdowns, I've started to play D&D with my buddy and his wife. I'd never played before but he's been DMing for years (but hasn't had a group for 10+ years now). He's glad to be playing again, his wife loves it, and it's super convenient for them to stay home with the 5 month old daughter. (And baby gets to hang out with Uncle Oracle.) I get together with former co-workers every few months to keep in touch with them. One in particular I have a standing every-2-month bar date with. I remind them every so often that if they want to go out to lunch ever to just call me. Personal History Just a quick personal history in closing. I was an automotive engineer working for OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers in the Metro Detroit area. In the 2008 downturn I lost my job and was unemployed for 2 years and ended up getting my house foreclosed in 2010. By the time i got a job in March of 2010 I was basically at $0. I had a tiny amount in an 401k, had about $20,000 in credit card debt from being unemployed. But then I got a very well paying engineering job ($108k annual and eligible for time-and-half overtime). I kept living like I was unemployed, spent as little as possible and saved as much as possible. Through my parents I secured a mortgage on a nice 1 Bed / 1 Bath 900 sq ft condo. I paid off my CC debt in less than a year and kept banking cash and maxing my 401k every year. I heard about bitcoin in early 2013 (from a guildmate in World of Warcraft, believe it or not) and jumped on board. All time bitcoin price chart (log scale) for those unfamiliar with the history. I got in before the first spike to $1000 in December of 2013, and kept buying throughout the downswing in 2014 / 2015. In 2017 I sold 5.6 BTC for a total of $6000 and paid off the last of my student loans and my car, then a few months later I sold 4.25 BTC for $6700 and paid off the last of my condo mortgage. So in May of 2017 I was officially debt free and had a net worth of about $200,000. Then in the fall of 2017 was when bitcoin exploded. I knew I had to take profits here. Every time the price went up 10% I sold another bitcoin. $7500, $9000, $10700, $13000, $15500, $18600. I sold all the way up. I ended up selling about $100,000 in bitcoin that year and I pushed most of it into my Roth IRA and Brokerage accounts. Then I really started thinking about FIRE in early 2018. Started doing the math, tried to see what my expenses would be, and thought I'd give it ago. I've told myself from day 1 that I'd give this trial a solid 2 years. If I don't feel good about it, or the money doesn't seem right, then I'll still only be 40 years old and could (IMO) easily jump right back into an engineering gig. So I targeted early 2019 so I could frontload my 401k for two months, grab the annual bonus, then peace out. TL:DR: 38, FIREd, Money's looking right, Life is feeling right, everything is fine
"I was an automotive engineer working for OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers in the Metro Detroit area. In the 2008 downturn I lost my job and was unemployed for 2 years and ended up getting my house foreclosed in 2010. By the time i got a job in March of 2010 I was basically at $0. I had a tiny amount in an 401k, had about $20,000 in credit card debt from being unemployed. But then I got a very well paying engineering job ($108k annual and eligible for time-and-half overtime). I kept living like I was unemployed, spent as little as possible and saved as much as possible. Through my parents I secured a mortgage on a nice 1 Bed / 1 Bath 900 sq ft condo. I paid off my CC debt in less than a year and kept banking cash and maxing my 401k every year. I heard about bitcoin in early 2013 (from a guildmate in World of Warcraft, believe it or not) and jumped on board. All time bitcoin price chart (log scale) for those unfamiliar with the history. I got in before the first spike to $1000 in December of 2013, and kept buying throughout the downswing in 2014 / 2015. In 2017 I sold 5.6 BTC for a total of $6000 and paid off the last of my student loans and my car, then a few months later I sold 4.25 BTC for $6700 and paid off the last of my condo mortgage. So in May of 2017 I was officially debt free and had a net worth of about $200,000. Then in the fall of 2017 was when bitcoin exploded. I knew I had to take profits here. Every time the price went up 10% I sold another bitcoin. $7500, $9000, $10700, $13000, $15500, $18600. I sold all the way up. I ended up selling about $100,000 in bitcoin that year and I pushed most of it into my Roth IRA and Brokerage accounts. Then I really started thinking about FIRE in early 2018. Started doing the math, tried to see what my expenses would be, and thought I'd give it ago. I've told myself from day 1 that I'd give this trial a solid 2 years. If I don't feel good about it, or the money doesn't seem right, then I'll still only be 40 years old and could (IMO) easily jump right back into an engineering gig. So I targeted early 2019 so I could frontload my 401k for two months, grab the annual bonus, then peace out. TL:DR: 38, FIREd, Money's looking right, Life is feeling right, everything is fine."
The Dow fell 256.50, or 0.98%, to 25,864.78 , the Nasdaq lost 162.98, or 1.87%, to 8,575.62 , and the S&P 500 declined 51.57, or 1.71%, to 2,972.37.
The stock market ended a volatile week on a lower note with the S&P 500 (-1.7%) settling just above its low from Monday. The benchmark index gained 0.6% for the week while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (-1.0%) outperformed, gaining 1.8% since last Friday. In the U.S., nonfarm payrolls surged 273,000 in February and the unemployment rate fell back to 3.5%, which matches a five-decade low. Average hourly earnings grew 3.0% year-over-year. While a very strong report, it appears to be discounted because of the coronavirus, though it provides evidence that the U.S. economy was on solid footing before it hit. The trade deficit narrowed 6.7% to $45.3B in January as exports dipped 0.4% to $208.6B and imports dropped 1.6% to $253.9B. Wholesale inventories fell 0.4% in January, but sales jumped 1.6%. In energy news, Reuters reported that OPEC's plans for prolonged oil cuts have been derailed as Russia refused to support the move contending it is too early to predict the effect of coronavirus on global energy demand. WTI crude for April delivery fell $4.62, or 10.1%, to end at $41.28 a barrel following the news of the OPEC blow-up. Also, Baker Hughes reported that the U.S. rig count is up 3 rigs from last week to 793. The final session of the week was marred by a continued deterioration of sentiment due to the ongoing spread of the coronavirus while the pressure on growth expectations intensified. Treasuries essentially never stopped after Thursday's cash close, continuing their forceful charge in the overnight futures market. Treasuries did pull back from their highs in midday trade, but the long bond rallied to a fresh record high in the afternoon while the 10-yr note stopped a bit short of its best level of the day. The 10-yr yield fell 22 basis points to 0.71%, representing a 42-basis point drop for the week. Expectations for another sharp rate cut remain in place with the fed funds futures market pointing to a 56.0% implied likelihood of a 75-basis point rate cut at or before the conclusion of the FOMC meeting on March 18. The S&P 500 staged a 70-point rally during the final hour of trade, which led to a significant improvement in final sector standings, though all eleven sectors finished in the red. Four groups surrendered 2.0% or more. Energy (-5.6%) and financials (-3.3%) were particularly weak throughout the day due to their exposure to growth and concerns about issuers of high-yield debt in the energy sector. Bank stocks suffered from the drop in Treasury yields while energy companies struggled as oil fell $4.57, or 10.0%, to $41.32/bbl. The energy component ended the day at its lowest level since mid-2016 after OPEC+ could not agree to a sharp production cut despite yesterday's reports to the contrary. Russia's Energy Minister, Alexander Novak, said that OPEC+ countries are free to pump at will starting from April 1. Shares of JPM were sharply lower amid the pullback in the market, though the bank's declines may also be made worse by news that CEO Jamie Dimon experienced an acute aortic dissection and underwent successful emergency heart surgery to repair the health issue. Co-Presidents and Chief Operating Officers Daniel Pinto and Gordon Smith will lead the company as Dimon recovers, the bank confirmed. Shares of AAPL were lower after a fourth supplier cut guidance amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. ON cut its first quarter revenue outlook this morning, becoming the fourth Apple supplier to cut guidance this week after QRVO, SWKS and MCHP did so as well. In company-specific news, COST reported better than expected Q2 results, but the stock still finished lower. AMD fared better than the broader market after reaffirming its guidance for FY20. The chipmaker did caution that Q1 results are likely to be on the low end of its guidance. Among the noteworthy gainers were MRNA and OPK, which have each recently reported on efforts linked to combating the coronavirus. Airline stocks like ALK +4.0%, JBLU +0.1%), UAL, +1.0%, and DAL, +2.0% recorded gains on Friday after recovering from fresh multi-year lows. Alaska Air did warn that its guidance for FY20 should no longer be relied upon due to coronavirus-related uncertainty. Among the notable losers was AOBC, which fell 30% after the gunmaker reported fiscal Q3 results below consensus and guidance. SBUX shares slid 1% after the company provided an update on the impact related to COVID-19 in China. Stifel analyst Chris O'Cull said the earnings impact to Starbucks' fiscal Q2 is likely larger than he projected, be he also pointed out that Starbucks noted there has been no perceptible impact from COVID-19 on the U.S. business. Shares of cruise operators started the day in positive territory but retreated as the day went on. NCLH, -5.2% was the weakest performer of the bunch, stopping just above its record low (24.16) that was notched when the company went public in early 2013. European stocks also fell sharply Friday as the coronavirus outbreak continues to impact businesses worldwide.
The U.S. Dollar Index dropped 0.9% to 95.98 and was down 2.2% for the week as rate-cut expectations boiled over. According to the CME FedWatch Tool, there is a 100% probability of another 50 basis points cut at the March 17-18 FOMC meeting and a 63% probability of a 75 basis points cut.
EUUSD: +0.7% to 1.1317
GBP/USD: +0.3% to 1.2993
USD/CNH: -0.2% to 6.9260
USD/JPY: -0.9% to 106.90
U.S. Treasuries had another huge day as the stock market racked up another day of huge losses amid ongoing concerns about the spread of the coronavirus and budding credit worries. The 10-yr yield, which settled Thursday at 0.93%, went as low as 0.66% in today's curve-flattening trade before losing some steam.
2-yr: -9 bps to 0.49% (-39 bps for the week)
3-yr: -11 bps to 0.51% (-38 bps for the week)
5-yr: -11 bps to 0.56% (-36 bps for the week)
10-yr: -22 bps to 0.71% (-43 bps for the week)
30-yr: -35 bps to 1.22% (-45 bps for the week)
Oil prices plunged more than 8% to multi-year lows on Friday as OPEC’s allies rejected additional production cuts that the organization proposed Thursday. The meeting between OPEC and its allies, known as OPEC+, concluded with no deal on additional production cuts.
WTI crude: -8.2% to $42.15/bbl
Gold: +0.3% to $1673.50/ozt
Copper: -0.6% to $2.56/lb
Lean Hogs +0.84
Live Cattle -2.67
As global equity markets continue to get pummeled, bitcoin’s return to the $9,000 level may have been driven by some of the same forces causing a rally in bonds – a desire for respite from a coronavirus-plagued markets.
Bitcoin: $9,112.70.19 (24hr: -0.09%)
Ethereum: $240.04 (24hr: +3.72%)
Ripple: $0.24 (24hr: 1.03%)
Bonds, Virus and Valuation
The move in Treasuries has been precipitated by flight-safety flows that have been fueled by economic growth concerns stemming from the spread of the coronavirus. It has also been stoked by momentum, interest rate differentials, and policy stimulus expectations, the latter of which have also been nothing short of stunning. The CME FedWatch Tool is showing a 100% probability of another 50 basis points cut at the March 17-18 FOMC meeting and a 64% probability of a 75 basis points cut. Those expectations capture the view that the coronavirus isn't "just another flu." It might have similar characteristics, but when was the last time entire cities were quarantined, professional sporting events were canceled, travel restrictions were imposed, orchestrated efforts to force employees to work from home, states of emergency were declared, U.S. schools were closed, and the Federal Reserve ushered in an emergency 50 basis points rate cut because of the flu? Coronavirus is quite different from the flu because the reaction to it has been universally different -- and that reaction is what gets lost in the debate as to whether the coronavirus is "just another flu." Rightly or wrongly, the coronavirus is creating an economic disruption in a manner no normal flu has in our modern age and that is the important distinction for the capital markets and policymakers. It's another reason why the strong employment report for February has been glossed over for the most part by the market. At any other time, the Treasury market would be selling off on today's report, and, arguably, the futures market would be moving sharply higher -- but this isn't any other time. The key takeaway from the report isn't what was in the report, it was the lackluster response to it, which is a function of expecting employment reports in coming months not to look as good because of the coronavirus impact. The market multiple has contracted to 16.7x, which is now in-line with the five-year average -- only it isn't because earnings estimates are going to fall further.
Bitcoin's dramatic price surge in 2017 that saw it reach record highs was caused by a single cryptocurrency trader, according to a new study. Percentage-wise, this is the biggest price surge the cryptocurrency has experienced since its enormous jump in 2013, when the price increased from under $100 to $1,000 in a matter of months. Bitcoin history for 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019. Bitcoin price chart since 2009 to 2019. The historical data and rates of BTC ... The first price hike occurred during 2013 when one bitcoin was trading at around 1,124 U.S. dollars in November. Four years later, bitcoin experienced a meteoric rise and reached record highs ... Bitcoin price and market cap (log scale) through November 2019. Early Trading: Bitcoin History . Bitcoin really started to take off in 2013. The digital currency began the year trading at around ...
Time Traveller's Prediction for Bitcoin Price 2019
After a year where the Bitcoin price declined dramatically from its end of 2013 highs, I'm often asked what my Bitcoin price prediction is for 2015. I have to admit that back in November 2013 I ... BITCOIN PRICE COULD JUMP TO $200K IN 2 YEARS BTC Breaking This Key Level Could Send It to The Moon - Duration: 18:09. Crypto News Alerts 1,529 views. 18:09. Back in 2013, an anonymous figure posted on the r/Bitcoin subreddit claiming to be a time traveller from the year 2025. He made a series of predictions for the price of Bitcoin in future years ... Incredible BITCOIN Price Movement 2009 to 2017 ..what will be his next step...? More Information https://www.cryptooos.com/ Buy Bitcoin(Lambo) here https://c... Bitcoin Price Jumps, Massive Power Grab, Binance In China, Ripple + Santander & Games On Tezos The Modern Investor. Loading... Unsubscribe from The Modern Investor? Cancel Unsubscribe. Working ...