Bitcoin Market Cycles and You

anthonypost2Let us analyze the Bitcoin Market Cycles and how the deeper know-how help in building a robust investment portfolio of future.  Market adjustment is inevitable and better not leave any stone untouched!!

The crypto asset market is highly emotional, full of noise and thus incredibly hard to navigate. This has created significant information asymmetry among participants, which can be a boon to investors who can be level headed and get proper signal. We are at an inflection point in a market that shows institutions are coming as critical infrastructure continues to come online. Most notably the launching of CME Futures in 2017, Fidelity Digital Assets in 2018, and now ICE’s BAKKT in 2019.

The crypto asset market has since been primarily dominated by retail investors but certainly has shown niche hedge funds in the mix as well. Interestingly enough, this once in a lifetime market has shown that not only has the average Joe not taken advantage of buying and selling opportunities, but even some of the most prominent hedge funds in the space did not have proper risk management.

If you are reading this article around the date of publishing, it is time you take notice of where we may be in the current market cycle. The chart below shows the past 3 Bitcoin market cycles, which consist of bull markets, bear markets and accumulation phases. Based on this chart, it appears we are entering a final re-accumulation phase before the next large bull market which would likely propel Bitcoin far higher than the previous $20,000 all time high.

It’s important to understand that this chart is not to be taken as gospel but more as a basic education reference point to help you understand market cycles. The re-accumulation phase may very well be shorter (or longer) than shown in the image.

Again, this market is highly emotional and causes most investors to focus on short term price action instead of gathering high quality information and positioning themselves properly for more significant midterm or long-term price action. The crypto asset market and associated high quality assets will continue to appreciate in value; don’t miss out on this once in a lifetime opportunity due to low quality information and short term thinking.

Thoroughly understanding the Bitcoin Market Cycles help you as investor to build a balanced growth portfolio. Learn more on why seasoned investors are including Cryptos like Bitcoin & Ethereum in their portfolios in 2019 & beyond!!

Reaffirming Bitcoins’ Strength for Long Term Investment 💰

bitcoin

A new study indicates that Bitcoin (BTC) holders make a profit after an average of 1,335 days – which equates to roughly three years and eight months. The data was released earlier by Bitcoin maximalists, and the cycle lengths are shown roughly correlate to the various reward halving events.

The chart (shown above) essentially considers the amount of time between different peaks and how long it would take an investor to profit if they bought at the previous cycle’s peak. Refer to the chart above.

This means that a 100% definite profit would have taken a maximum of 1,335 days, which relates to the bull market run that occurred late in 2013 when the Bitcoin price surged to $1,150. If an investor bought at that price, the peak of that cycle, then it would have meant it took until early 2017 before the Bitcoin price finally broke that level again.

Seeing as this chart is looking at the market extremes, missing the peak of that rally would have resulted in a drastically reduced wait for a profit. Holding Bitcoin for 317 days would have given a 75% chance of profit. You’d have a 60% chance of profit if Bitcoin was held for 35 days, and the likelihood that you were up over any single day was 50%.

If that sounds like a long time, comparable data for the stock market is exponentially longer. To contrast, an investor would have needed to hold their position for 23 years to achieve a sure profit on the S&P 500. This makes it clear that not only is Bitcoin safe, long term storage of wealth, but it is a reliable vehicle for your wealth if you are looking to turn a profit quickly.

It’s also notable that the analysis looked purely at the chance of profit and not the scale of that profit. When Bitcoin is on a bull run, the profits there dwarf those achievable on the stock market indices. A real-world example from this year is the Greyscale Bitcoin Investment Trust, which outperformed everything else so far in 2019 with an appreciation of almost 300% to date.

In addition to Bitcoin, Gold has also been an extremely strong performer this year and is presently a hot topic among traders. Bullish signs continue this week and leading investors have been speaking out on the merits of the precious metal. Mark Mobius, the founding partner of Mobius Capital Partners, appeared on CNBC earlier this week and recommended that investors hold 10% of their portfolios in physical gold.

The latest price targets have the Gold price reaching the $1,600 mark before the end of the year. As global trade policy uncertainty continues, Gold looks a solid bet to keep building on its bullish momentum.

INVESTORS UNNERVED AT MORE WARNING SIGNALS IN STOCK MARKET

Earlier this week, a powerful warning signal revealed itself as the stock market got turned upside down.

Value stocks, or those with low multiples and stable fundamentals, significantly outperformed their growth counterparts. This type of shift is unnerving to investors because “momentum stocks”, or those defined by their large growth expectations relative to the broader market, have outperformed value names in recent years. Rotation away from these stocks could result in a downturn for the broader market.

Over the past 5 years, momentum stocks have blown away their value counterparts. Most of the top-performing S&P 500 stocks this year are growth names. Seven of the 10 best-performing stocks in the benchmark — including Chipotle Mexican Grill, Advanced Micro Devices and MarketAxess Holdings — have a much higher valuation relative to the broader index, FactSet data shows.

Monday’s session was the complete opposite of the year’s trend, however. This, coupled with geopolitical trade uncertainty, casts a dark forecast over the markets for the coming months.

LEADING INVESTOR SAYS ‘GOLD IS THE WAY TO GO’

Mark Mobius, the founding partner of Mobius Capital Partners, appeared on CNBC earlier this week and recommended that investors hold 10% of their portfolios in physical gold.

“Physical gold is the way to go, in my view, because of the incredible increase in money supply,” said Mobius.

“All the central banks are trying to get interest rates down, they are pumping money into the system. Then, you have all of the cryptocurrencies coming in, so nobody really knows how much currency is out there,” he told CNBC’s “Street Signs” on Friday.

Mobius said that investors should place at least 10% of their portfolios in physical gold, with the rest invested in dividend-yielding equities. That’s especially true if the dollar gets weaker.

“People are going to finally realize that you got to have gold because all the currencies will be losing value,” he added.

Gold can retain its value much better than other forms of currency and is traditionally a safe haven during market volatility. A weaker dollar tends to boost the price of gold as global trade in the yellow metal is denominated in U.S. dollars.

“At the end of the day, gold is a means of exchange. It’s a stable currency in some way,” said Mobius.

Now is the time to take advantage of the rising price of gold and protect yourself from stock market volatility. Indicators are showing that these bullish trends will continue in the gold markets, giving you an excellent opportunity for immediate growth and providing protection for your assets against future economic downturns. Don’t miss out on this opportunity. Act now and reap the benefits.

Facebook Coin – A closer look

fbThis is the second initiative from Facebook after they tried to introduce Facebook Credits* (see below for the details) during 2011 and was not successful. This time it may translate into a success due to the following reasons. I am keeping the arguments on the centralization, stable coin and comparison with Bitcoin to a later post.

  1. Feasibility of massive adoption: Facebook, WhatsApp, and Telegram combined user base of over 2.7 billion. WhatsApp alone has more than 1 billion daily active users and crypto transfer can be a click of a button and trust is pre-established. Telegram biggest messaging applications in South Korea and Japan, Kakao & Line.
  2. Similar successful products in the market: Venmo has taken off in the United States by making it easier to send payments by phone. And in China, many consumers use the payment system that operates inside the hugely popular WeChat messaging system.
  3. Ease of opening a Facebook account compared to a bank account. Regulation and compliance is the next big puzzle to solve for Facebook.
  4. Coin backing with fiats making it more versatile: Unlike JPM Coin backed by USD alone, Facebook could guarantee the value of the coin by backing every coin with a set number of dollars, euros, and other national currencies held in Facebook bank accounts.
  5. Coin launch followed by Blockchain adoption making it a robust approach: As Facebook recently revealed their plans to integrate blockchain technology into Facebook Login and betting on blockchain technology by bringing data security aspects, it seems like the next level details on FC will be very interesting.

The big question facing Facebook is how much control it would retain over the digital coin. If Facebook is responsible for approving every transaction and keeping track of every user, it is not clear why it would need a blockchain system, rather than a traditional, centralized system like PayPal. Let us follow another interesting development.


* Facebook Credits was a virtual currency that enabled people to purchase items in games and non-gaming applications on the Facebook Platform. One USD was the equivalent of 10 Facebook Credits. Facebook Credits were available in 15 currencies including U.S. dollars, Pound, Euros, and Danish Kroner.  It was expected that Facebook would eventually expand Credits into a micropayments system open to any Facebook application, whether a game or a media company application. While the Facebook Credits website is still active, Facebook has announced that it is doing away with Facebook Credits in favor of local currency

Crypto adoption is next on the radar

Image result for bitcoin adoptionAs progress is made in solving bitcoin trilemma, Decentralization – Security – Scalability, the next focus area is increasing the adoption rate. With a lot of lull in the crypto market until recently, the subject of crypto adoption is being echoed by adversaries and supporters to prove their point of views. In this blog post, I will be taking a closer look at drivers of crypto adoption.

  • Samsung Galaxy S10 is unveiling the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies with future built-in and secure mobile technologies. Galaxy S10 is built with defense-grade Samsung Knox, as well as secure storage backed by hardware, which houses your private keys for blockchain-enabled mobile services. Would this take the crypto to the hands of mass? Here are the details.

    https://news.samsung.com/us/samsung-galaxy-s10-more-screen-cameras-unpacked-2019/

  • tippin.me get tips lightning fast. Twitter with 270million+ users has integrated tipping service on lightening network. Lightning Network is a technology built on top of Bitcoin that provides instant micro-payments almost for free. Tippin.me makes Lightning Network easier, by giving you a simple web custodial wallet to receive and manage Bitcoins through Lightning Network. Join now to start receiving tips and micro-payments right away, just sharing a link. There are a lot of features in the roadmap if this gets traction: integration with merchants, better wallet functionality, etc.
  • Lightning Network, beyond the above use case, is enabling Scalable, instant blockchain transactions for the future. The drawbacks to bitcoin’s decentralized design are that the transactions confirmed on the bitcoin blockchain take up to one hour before they are irreversible. Micropayments, or payments less than a few cents, are inconsistently confirmed, and fees render such transactions unviable on the network today. The Lightning Network solves these problems. Crypto users are soon experiencing scalable ad low-cost instant payments with an ability of cross-chain atomic swaps.
  • Making buying easy: As the avenues to buy Bitcoin gets easy and so the adoption. Since Virwox shut down its PayPal deposits in January 2019 it got really hard to obtain Bitcoins through a PayPal account. The two main methods that still allow you to buy Bitcoins with PayPal are, eToro – for those who only speculate on price and don’t need access to the actual coins and LocalBitcoins – for those who want to actually withdraw their Bitcoin to their own wallet
  • Spontaneous liquidity is becoming reality with Coinbase cash withdrawals to Paypal. Starting in December 2018, U.S. customers can instantly withdraw Coinbase balances to PayPal, providing even faster access to their funds through one of the world’s easiest and most widely-used payment platforms. These withdrawals are not only fast; they’re free and incur no fees.
  • Troubled Economies. One of the Satoshi Nakamoto’s vision for inventing Bitcoin was helping the troubled developing nations to get out of their misery brought upon them by their flawed centralized banking systems. Venezuela is one such country which has seen its financial economy go down the drains, the inflation has made their fiat not even worth the paper they are printed on. When all doors seem closed for Venezuela including petro coin (due to technical weakness), Bitcoin came in as the savior they were looking for. The government legalize the use of Bitcoin in the country and are looking to incorporate it in their financial system so that citizens can use Bitcoin in their day-to-day life.

Alongside all the above parameters, crypto wallets, transaction volumes, computing power, ETFs and Futures, games, arts, web searches for bitcoin terms, and industry hirings, shows bitcoin and crypto adoption is on an upward trajectory.

#RegulationOf Cryptocurrencies

Crypto Regulations

Cryptocurrencies are undoubtedly the point of investment contention and hence a lot of attention on regulating them. Top 5 USA regulating bodies – SEC, CFTC, IRS, FinCEN, and OFAC and other bodies around the globe are on the job to define a robust regulatory framework.

Recent Facebook stock dip by ~20% in a day losing $120 billion in a day (close to Bitcoin market cap) making rounds on the subject of volatility. If internet 2.0 stock is that volatile, internet 3.0 cryptos are in infancy and only can grow stable is the argument. Ok, let us say we have to deal with crypto volatility over a period of stability. But.  what about regulating Cryptocurrencies? Defining Crypto regulations is a next big thing to boost confidence.

As a holistic solution, proposing a three-pronged approach to evolve a Cryptocurrencies Regulatory Framework,

I. Key Players / Stakeholders of Crypto Marketplace:

  1. Exchanges: As crypto buy & sell transactions happen here, mandatory KYC/AML is the ideal first step in regulating crypto. Crypto to fiat and vice-versa conversions can be audited. Taxes reconciliation can also start here.
  2. Wallets: All crypto transactions won’t occur on exchanges. Wallets (hardware, web, mobile) plays a role and tracking wallet addresses is a nightmare. Regulators should find a way to get a grip on crypto to crypto transactions and technology should aid them.
  3. Mining: Miners are another key player to touch upon in evolving regulations and the considering following aspects of mining could be a starting point.
    • Resource Usage Regulations: A single country cannot regulate mining and nodes can be shifted across borders (borderless) in a way. While the power consumption rates can be tracked by local regulators, carbon emission controls and ROI targets of natural resources may be logical checks to start implementing. But how is crypto mining different from gold mining if compliant to resource usage guidelines?
    • Mined Coins & Transaction Fees: The other aspect of crypto mining in finding blocks and approving transactions thereby either earn income from trading mined coins or collecting fees for transactions clearance. This would be an area of regulators could focus.
    • Way Forward: As cryptocurrencies mining progress beyond proof-of-work to proof-of-stack and other formats, the legality takes a different path overcoming the current concerns.

Refer to article for a viewpoint on future of mining regulations.

4. ICOs: While SAFT and Howey Test are initial frameworks available, the holistic framework to regulate ICOs is still in work across the globe. While the clarity on utility vs security of a token being issued via ICO is getting clarity, the complete fold of ICOs into the regulatory framework is yet to shape up with broader acceptance. One question the regulatory bodies is, is the regulatory uncertainty is putting brakes on a promising technology innovation?

II. Modes of Use: Fundamentally like fiat, cryptocurrency could be sued for payment & transactions, a store of value, or a trading vehicle. All three have to encompass in finding a solution. Beyond the usage patterns, a holistic solution may need to touch all “modes of usage” of crypto.

III. Blockchain Layers: Lastly, which layers of Blockchain should be targeted to define regulations? Viewing from the foundation layers of Blockchain namely infrastructure, protocol and application/services, regulations apply to the topmost application layer which interfaces with the users/adaptors of the cryptocurrencies for trading products and services.

Crypto communities are eagerly waiting for regulatory framework the tighten the fraudulent activities and scams and at the same time promote the future promise of 21st-century currencies. Establishing legislation that stimulates growth for businesses and protects consumers is no mean feat, but it is certainly a task that regulatory bodies around the globe can’t ignore.

Real Estate Blockchain Ecosystem “ReBe”

ReBe

I was contemplating to title this blog “Enriching real estate buying experience with Blockchain”, but finally chosen the title “Real Estate Blockchain Eco-system” to brand the collation of ideas as “ReBe”. As you got the crux of the topic and let us dive into details.

Investment Opportunity vis-à-vis Technology Advantage of Blockchain is an ongoing debate. My focus on this post is to underpin technology advantage of the blockchain. While in-numerous use cases are popping up on the blockchain, I have been thinking about enriching real estate customer experiences expanding real estate market opportunity with distributed, trustless, auditable, and immutable nature of blockchain technology.

From the latest MSCI report, the size of the professionally managed global real estate investment market grew marginally from $7.1 trillion in 2015 to $7.4 trillion in 2016. Currency movements distorted national changes. Currency movements effectively reduced the size of the global real estate investment market by approximately 2.3% in U.S. dollar (USD) terms. Let us break down real estate opportunities and analyze areas where blockchain can show higher impact. I will start by asking a question, what if blockchain could help taking out currency movements? That itself leads to a potential of addressing $170 Billion opportunity size. How about addressing the following plausible areas with blockchain technology?

Blockchain Relevance to Real Estate

The six core characteristics of blockchain namely “Immutable, Consensus, Encrypted, Transparent, Programmable, and Distributed” positions the technology to handle/transact almost every element of a real estate value chain on a blockchain. In buying a real estate, whether it is commercial or retail, the current inefficiencies along the value chain can be replaced with a blockchain platform that can make it better, faster and cheaper. Here is a peek into details.

1) Property Search and Records: Search can be enabled by peer-to-peer listing platforms that allow buyers and sellers to transact directly with one another and reduce or eliminate commissions. One property is found the property owner has to be confirmed. For any kind of a high-value property (real estate, cars, art) it is important to have accurate records which identify the current owner and provide a proof that he/she is indeed the owner. A blockchain based property ownership recording system described in this article eliminates most potential failures and attacks through transparency and use of cryptographic primitives for authentication. Thus it can be used to eliminate reliance on trusted third parties, reduce costs (through automatization) and avoid number fraud and errors. For example, REX MLS blockchain platform provides an open, decentralized and democratized environment for listing and transaction processes

2) Property financing and lending: Blockchain can facilitate financing, investment, and crowd-ownership in real estate dealings.

  • Blockchain can leverage crypto backed native currencies as a means of payment in real estate transactions, which can involve considerable regulatory issues (e.g. KYC, AML) minimizing transaction fees and potentially eliminating cross-border currency fluctuations in a global marketplace.
  • Blockchain technology can be used as a means of crowd investing/funding in real estate tapping into funds beyond banks and institutional money.
  • Other possibilities include the noteworthy business models that seek to issue a regulated, blockchain-based cryptocurrency secured by shares in Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs).
  • The current owners of real estate can monetize full or partial ownership of these assets creating liquidity with ease of technology. For example, the UK government’s “shared ownership” scheme helps first-time buyers get on the property ladder by purchasing part of a property and paying rent on the remaining value. Renters can buy additional equity in the property as and when they can afford it, a process known as “staircasing” Blockchain enables more efficient processing of financing and payments

3) Lease and Rental Management: Blockchain technology can automate most of rental and lease management processes leveraging “smart contracts” by shortening the cycle time of reconciling rental payment and property expenses cash flows by providing full transparency. This will finally lead to reduced accounting, property management, and compliance costs. Blockchain driven student accommodations is another evolving trend in this space.

4) Titles and closing: Blockchain enables transparent and relatively cheaper property title management. Distributed ledger technology combined with smart contracts can potentially eliminate escrows. This is possible by altering the real estate transactions by combining identity verification with escrow. In place of a title company, buyers could make a purchase in crypto backed native currencies by sending the funds to one party and title to another without the need of escrow. Another advantage is minimizing the wire fraud impacting the real estate industry. In the traditional real estate closing process, numerous intermediaries are utilized and get paid which increases the lead times and associated costs. By assigning each property to a digital address, blockchain can significantly reduce the number of intermediaries by reducing costs and lead times in multifold.

5) Add-on Services: Blockchain can potentially be extended to multiple add-on services enabling end-to-end real estate processes. These services include but not limited to expediting pre-lease due diligence, ease leasing and subsequent property and cash flow management, offering real-time rich data promoting smarter decision-making, blockchain based land ledger etc.

Real Estate Blockchain Ecosystem (ReBe)

Each of the above real estate services can be a blockchain offering in itself. But what I am trying to project in this post is a Real Estate Blockchain Ecosystem (ReBe), a portfolio of services to offer an enriched and optimal end-to-end real estate solutions. As depicted in the diagram above, ReBe ecosystem constitutes multiple layers.

  • First Layer – Blockchain Core: The center layer with a ReBe Token, crypto exchange, smart contracts, and a distributed ledger based financial system creating ReBe technology platform. ReBe token is envisioned as a hybrid token with a utility service to pay network fees and a security that backed by a real estate asset offering collateral and a possible monetization of assets.
  • Second Layer – Blockchain Services: A portfolio of services can be built around the core layer that forms the “Blockchain Services Layer”. Here a catalog of services either building a partner ecosystem of existing platform players or pay-per-use platform services for participating service providers.
  • Third Layer – Marketplace: The third layer is the marketplace of buyers, sellers, crowdfunding, banks, institutions and legal entities that leverage blockchain services. An example of a marketplace transaction could be Peer-to-peer property transfer or rent.

Blockchain technology is fast changing the property buying experiences and I foresee an existing opportunity in reshaping the real estate industry with ReBe. You can reach me @ kishor.akshinthala@gmail.com for a deeper mindshare on this topic.

Enhancing Gift Cards Value Proposition (Blockchain for Gift Cards – Part II)

Last week, I published a blog post titled “Blockchain Boosting Customer Loyalty Programmes”. In continuation of views on Blockchain relevance, highlighting the following 4 aspects of gift cards industry that encompasses open & closed loop cards, new age innovative cards such as gift cards for stock, lottery retail gift card, donation gift cards etc.

1) Transaction fees

2) Seamless redemption

3) Consumer wallet spends

4) Fraudulence

1) Transaction fees: Gift cards market in the USA alone is estimated >$170 billion and growing at ~20% CAGR internationally across channels of stores, web, mobile, incentives, employee engagement etc. As per GiftCardsdotcom, processing fees on various types of gift cards range from 1.4% to 3.94% and lower the value of card higher the fees even touching double digits. This as a result of cumulative effect of various stakeholders in the value chain including the issuer, distributor, reseller, buyer, & receiver. Can we bring them on DLT to checkout fees?

2) Seamless redemption: Gift card industry is set up to hide identities of unspent balances on gift cards called “breakage”, which accounts to ~20% total spend i.e. $34 billion. Combining gifts, rewards, loyalty and coupon credits in one place/platform, making them available for immediate use can be one solution to this. Such platform as well can enable auctioning, trading, regifting and donating to charity features creating value for unwanted cards that expire. Can blockchain technology be leveraged for generating net new revenues from seamless card redemption?

3) Consumer wallet spends: Lack of single source of truth and shopping data has been limiting the scope of consumer wallet spend expansion. Overspend dynamic is really an upside, and analysis shows that when consumers shop using gift cards they spend an average of 30% to 40% more than the face value of the card credit. How about combining AI+Blockchain+Cryptocurrency (ABC) to increase the effectiveness of advertising by retailers to increase consumer wallet spend?

4) Fraudulence: “Return fraud – thieves simply walk into Walmart, Target, Home Depot, Lowe’s or another big-name retailer, steal an item, return it at a different store without a receipt and receive a gift card in return, which they can then turn around and sell to a pawn shop or secondary store for a lower price” (dangerous than cyber fund) is a new form of fraud in Gift Cards environment. Retail return losses total of $9 to $15 billion per year, 2017 survey by the National Retail Federation. >50% of companies reported fraudulent gift cards or store credit in one or more locations. How about applying blockchain technology enabling people who don’t trust one another share valuable gift card data in a secure, tamperproof way making it extremely difficult for attackers to manipulate?

Blockchain technology precisely addresses these factors and fuels the growth of gift cards industry leapfrogging customer loyalty experience and enhancing gift cards value proposition.

Refer to Part I @

https://akshinthalakk.com/2018/06/23/blockchain-boosting-customer-loyalty-programmes/