Surrounded by the Buzz of Bitcoin.

Bitcoin is the buzzword when it comes to digital assets, and perhaps it deserves to be. It was the first one out of the gate to make huge headway in a new asset class. But just as a copy is a copy and Xerox is a company that makes copy machines, we need to separate Bitcoin from being the all-encompassing digital asset.

Entry into this era of digital assets is a matter of timing, and that timing is left to you, the individual investor. My style of investing prefers to wait until investment vehicles, security, and regulatory actions are in place or close to becoming in place. It is a game of wait and see, hopefully having intelligently deduced what the final result will be that satisfies my objective.

I have been watching the regulatory environment, filed any crypto holdings or trades I had with my tax returns (because the IRS requires it), and heard from my bank that they “do not typically release funds to Coinbase.” Though they do eventually release the funds.

The average investor that wants to get in the digital asset market before the possible onslaught of major banking firms open the doors can look inside the United States.

For starters, Coinbase (San Francisco, CA), Uphold (Headquartered in Charleston, SC), Evercoin (Silicon Valley), and Bittrex (Seattle, WA) are US based firms that provide different investment vehicles and options for the digital asset investor.

Coinbase

A major digital currency exchange that allows for the deposit of $USD (fiat) from your bank account to a USD account within the Coinbase platform, or directly purchase Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH), and Litecoin (LTC). The platform has been in the news recently as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Wall Street have been gearing up for the digital asset revolution.

Uphold (Welcome to Uphold. The Internet of Money)

Feels more like a brick and mortar institution, in my opinion, for the digital currency space. To me, that is comforting. Here, you can buy and sell over 30 different assets that you can hold, exchange, or sell around the world. Currencies available for bank transfers include: US Dollar ($), Euro (€), British Pound (£), and Chinese Yuan (¥).
Uphold has also achieved the distinction of supplying a Cryptionary (like a dictionary) for users to facilitate an understanding of the language and buzzwords in the digital asset environment. This is an excellent tool and I suggest that you look at it to better familiarize yourself with the industry.

Evercoin

An exchange. Here, you can exchange currencies from one to another. For example, you want to exchange Litecoin from your Coinbase account to XRP that you hold in a digital or hard wallet, you can do it through Evercoin. Select the amount of one coin that you want to exchange for another and the application automatically sets the amount of the other coin you will receive. The exchange rate already includes all fees, so what you see is what you get. Very easy to use.

Bittrex

Has the look and feel of a professional trading platform and may be a bit scary for newcomers to the digital asset investment world. They are based in Seattle, WA and was founded by previous Microsoft security professionals. They host a massive number of cryptocurrencies with over 190 available.

Wallets: Hot and Cold

Hot wallets store your crypto on an internet enabled device. You also have the option of storing your assets directly on the exchange you are using, and should research the level of security, past breaches, and insurance coverage provided should a hack occur.
Cold wallets store your crypto offline. Currently, this is arguably the most secure way to store your digital assets. There are different manufactures of these devices and each device may NOT store the different digital assets that you are interested in purchasing. DO YOUR RESEARCH to learn which cold wallet will perform for your investment needs.

Examples:
Think of it like this:

HOT WALLET= connected to the internet (MultiBit, Armory (desktop wallets) MyCelium, CoPay (mobile wallets)
COLD WALLET= NOT connected to the internet (Trezor, Keepkey, Ledger Nano S)

All of the examples above; the exchanges, platforms, apps, and wallets have different user features, fees and account set up requirements. Be prepared to offer your personal identifying information in order the financial and banking regulatory rules be adhered to. These verifications vary from a copy of your driver’s license, to possibly more if you are a big investor. Do your own research and understand the risks associated, the assets you are interested in, and other details such as purchase and withdraw limits.

This post is meant to wrap your head around entering the digital asset investing world. There are many questions and regulations that need to be ironed out, and time will establish the system. My point is this; I believe that the digital asset is here to stay and where it took Amazon 20 years to reach its share price, the digital asset world will move more quickly. Technology and the digital world has become not only comfortable and familiar, but necessary. This is the next extension of the digital evolution.
I am not a financial advisor and you should perform your own research, due diligence, and obey tax and regulatory laws.

 

NOTE: As the domain name of this site suggests, the content my blog posts are opinion and not investment advice of any kind. Do your own research before making any decisions to invest (or not to invest). I am not a financial advisor. I am simply sharing information I gather from across the web, news, and media outlets and drawing my own possible conclusions.

2018 brought digital assets to those who paid attention. 2019 will bring it to the rest.

That’s right everyone. The dots for connecting digital assets with real world use cases are growing in number. It reminds me of when as a child, I would connect dots on paper to get a final picture. Sometimes the dots were so few that you could not really visualize what the image would be, but there were also those pictures with so many dots, you could immediately see what was going to present itself.

The picture has been adding dots and a perfect example is the DTCC partnering with a multitude of tech firms in the distributed ledger technology (DLT) and digital asset sphere.

Look around at the mainstream traction that digital assets have been gaining. Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of Ripple just had an interview on CNN explaining the way their native cryptocurrency XRP functions in the banking world. Watch the interview here.

It is highly likely that the digital asset world will shed many of the participants in the coming months as regulators begin determining how best to allow these technologies to function parallel to the existing currency frameworks of global economies.

France, along with other governments, fear the affect of projects such as Facebook’s Libra. Ultimately, national governments are concerned of the threat to their monetary sovereignty with the creation of digital currencies that are designed to compete with, replace, or even coexist with the fiat of the nation. BBC has an article of interest to explain their stance on the Facebook Libra project.

Words and opinions are my own. This is for entertainment purposes and to share my own opinions. This is not financial advice.

#digitalasset #cryptocurrency #digitalfuture #ripple #monetarysovreignty #futureofmoney

The Noise can be Distracting

Just over ten years since the creation of Bitcoin, we have one of the most controversial presidents of modern times blasting the existence of Bitcoin publicly. Why would the president of the United States take time to cast opinion on something “based on thin air?”

One can only assume that cryptocurrency has been gaining traction behind the scenes and if the general public has just been brought into the loop from a political standpoint, you can be certain that the big players have already made substantial stakes and plans in the future of cryptocurrency. The confusion is being brought to the future retail investors and there is no better way to that than to politicize an effort.

Understand that the value of the US dollar is backed by the full faith and credit of the United States. It is no longer backed by physical gold. It is based on a form of psychological trust. This trust propels the economy and gets the honest person up in the morning to go out and make government backed money to support their living.

Honestly, it shows that if we really understood where the value of a dollar comes from, it should see magnificent swings in its value based on the majority party of any given election cycle, more so when a major change of party or leadership takes place.

Both the dollar and digital assets are based on trust in something. Albeit, one will not be hard pressed to find opposition of either asset class. Imagine the possibility of transferring trust from a politicized government backed currency to a system of checks and balances that resides on a global public ledger tracking all transactions without the ability to tamper. Take this notion even further and visualize a system of digital assets that improve and validate the flow of currency, real estate, contracts, goods and services globally in a regulatory framework that enhances transparency and accountability.

Let us see what October brings with various digital asset opportunities.

Words and opinions are my own. This is for entertainment purposes and to share my own opinions. This is not financial advice.

#digitalasset #cryptocurrency #digitalfuture

 

What if smart contracts become more intelligent when necessary?

Blockchain is undoubtedly a topic worth knowing about. With a seemingly endless number of use cases, it is always good practice to understand where a technology can be applied in a specific use. By narrowing our focus and applying any number of proposed blockchain use cases to an industry, we can begin to imagine how this technology can be used to create certain enhancements and reforms.

Let’s start with the smart contract and the construction industry. Specifically, we will look at where the technology of a smart contract stops and how it can be reinforced to adapt to more fluid transaction environments that do not, or even should not, always follow the same transaction methodology.

It is important to note that a smart contract is not a contract in and of itself, but rather an automated system on the blockchain that performs unalterable functions to execute an agreement. In essence, it forces the agreement to function.

The construction industry has a number of moving parts that impact the bottom line for all parties involved. There are owners, GC’s (general contractors), engineering firms, inspectors, sub-contractors, insurance companies, public agencies, and communities involved in the process. Many, or all, are often external stakeholders to one another. The number of participants and individual interests in a large scale private or public project can often lead to deflection of risk, miscommunication, and substantial extra cost.

As an aside to the focus of this article on blockchain, I recommend reading UK Construction Industry estimates loss of up to £13 billion in construction projects due to poor communication between parties, written by Susan Pettit, Director of Client Management at UK research firm, Client Confident. The article focuses on the cost of miscommunication (as the title suggests).

How might blockchain begin to mitigate and streamline the construction process? A developer or project owner wants to build a project and mitigate all risk, but should the risk associated with the project owner’s ambitions be pushed down the line on smaller and smaller companies? The legal issues, time, and expenses that may come as result of a contract disagreement can cost a small company its existence.

Smart contracts extend the idea of maximizing fair play throughout a project life-cycle. In the current language of many Prime Contracts, any subcontractor can become involved with any number of claims during and after their time on the job. This can range from labor disputes, delay of job clauses, and retainage of payment for issues that arise outside the scope of the subcontractor’s control costing time, legal fees, and productivity. The contract language is written specifically enough to make you a party, but vaguely enough in defining parameters, keeping the specifics of why a clause may be enacted undefined. This may adversely affects a subcontractor that has otherwise performed their work accordingly. Essentially, the contract world is not as fair as it could be.

If industry standards can be formalized, while simultaneously accounting for variables in the process, owners of large and complex projects can issue RFPs to the open market under a standardized smart contract for the particular subcontractor skills or vendors to bid on. Terms are predefined based on necessity of the outcomes and favor both the owner and bidding party accounting for each organization’s needs and understanding of potential variables.

A subcontractor, unless otherwise involved in the construction process, should have access to a contract or agreement that fairly represents their scope of work within the entire project.

The rules written in the smart contract may not contain all possible scenarios that a transaction, or series of transactions may encounter. It is likely that a smart contract be in addition to the actual agreement, more of a system to speed up and execute aspects of the agreement in a timely and trusted manner.

The construction industry is an excellent example of transactional volatility due to the multi-layered construction process in a single project. As mentioned before, there are potential variables with every hired contractor and subcontractor that cannot be taken into account when designing a blanket contract. In this scenario, we would employ off-chain logic that uses third party validation for the variable scenarios that arise outside of the standard permissioned smart contract language (IBM Developer, Desrosiers and Olivieri, 2018). IBM Operational Decision Manager (ODM) is a third party system that engages answers from each party involved in the transaction, specifically applying a determination based on answers provided by the parties involved in the transaction.

The technology and applications for increasing business intelligence, openness, and accountability are quite remarkable. How far can technology propel integrity and omission of human error in enterprise, free market or otherwise? Will smart contracts become legally binding in the court of law?

NOTE: As the domain name of this site suggests, the content my blog posts are opinion and not investment advice of any kind. Do your own research before making any decisions to invest (or not to invest). I am not a financial advisor. I am simply sharing information I gather from across the web, news, and media outlets and drawing my own possible conclusions. 

The bulls have it, the bears want it. Will crypto pull from a market correction?

The general feeling of continued market stability is coming under question. Some have proposed severe market downturns. The inevitable will happen, but when?

Whether you believe that someone has the crystal ball on market forecasting is entirely up to you. I am a student of history and history does repeat itself, though not entirely in the same manner or breadth each time, the overall cycle does come full-circle. I like to be prepared.

Will cryptocurrencies become a new hedge against market corrections? Will they replace, compete, or partner with precious metals and other traditional bear market safe havens?

As we near the decision of whether the SEC will permit Bitcoin ETFs (delayed until September 30, 2018), I believe that we will see a shift into this new asset class by large investors, banks, family trusts, and eventually, the individual investor. VanEck has proposed a $200k minimum to ensure that investors are in fact accredited and fractional shares will not be available.

Volatility will continue due to uncertainty in the news and various other sources about which cryptocurrencies will be the best bet in both the short and long term. For the up-to-date investor, that is anyone’s game. Regulatory frameworks are well under way, though likely out of sight to the average investor. As regulatory frameworks are developed, the landscape will change. Lobbyist groups, such as the Blockchain Association, are currently leading the charge across the political landscape representing companies like Coinbase, Polychain Capital, and others.

The end of Q3 and all of Q4 should have some very interesting action that I believe will give a little more perspective to the digital asset sphere. Particularly, the SEC review for the Blockchain ETFs and certain work in the blockchain/crypto sphere that is expected to go live, affecting the use of particular cryptocurrencies.

NOTE: As the domain name of this site suggests, the content my blog posts are opinion and not investment advice of any kind. Do your own research before making any decisions to invest (or not to invest). I am not a financial advisor. I am simply sharing information I gather from across the web, news, and media outlets and drawing my own possible conclusions.

How XLM fits with IBM.

XLM, Stellar Lumens and IBM:
According to the Stellar website, there have been 8,143,934,276 Lumens (XLM) distributed at the time of writing this article. You say, “great, what the heck does that mean for me?”

Lumens XLM

The principal behind the Stellar network, and the XLM token in particular, is to move money across borders for a fraction of a penny. It costs institutions money to move money. Whether it is USD to GBP, or CDN to YEN, there is a cost to facilitate the exchange of one currency to another.
This is where tokens such as XLM step in. They act as a “bridge currency” to the underlying fiat currencies. Through the Stellar network, the transfer of USD to GBP goes through XLM. USD is first converted to XLM, then converted to GBP in a matter of seconds and at a mere fraction of the current cost to traditional exchange rates.
The Stellar network is decentralized, meaning that it is not controlled by a single entity. The settlement time using XLM is 2 – 5 seconds. Money has not transferred that quickly, ever. There are similar coins in the Stellar Lumens space, specifically, XRP. Both are worth looking at due to their current low cost of ownership and the use case that each provide. XLM is focused on a direct peer-to-peer system that cuts banks and XRP out of the equation. It could be argued that each will have a place in the money transfer sphere as the banking system has a long history of being involved in the economies of the world.
Partnerships that Steller has developed:
IBM, Stripe, Wipro, Deloitte, and Mifos to name a few. The full list can be found on Stellar.org.
Yes, Stellar is a .org as they are a non-profit organization.
You can purchase XLM on a variety of exchanges.

DISCLAIMER: As the domain name of this site suggests, the content of my blog posts are opinion and not investment advice of any kind. Do your own research before making any decisions to invest (or not to invest). I am not a financial advisor. I am simply sharing information I gather from across the web, news, and media outlets and drawing my own possible conclusions. I hold XRP and XLM.

What do a Former US President, Keynote Speech, and Cryptocurrency have in Common? Ripple Labs.

A puzzle involves strategy and seeing a picture of the final result can help you develop that strategy.

In difficult puzzles, there is an indiscernible area of the puzzle that you guess your way through. Maybe a field of grass where the blades are so alike one another that the only way to find the next piece is to find the proper shape of the puzzle piece, rather than looking at the picture.  This is the cryptocurrency world. The picture, however, is not right in front of us, so we are often left to our own reasoning, understanding, and logic.

The players are either known or unknown with a landscape that changes often and internationally. Built on the blockchain, cryptocurrencies are but one use for this technology, and each crypto can have an entirely different use case. Some will rise to the top and be adopted as accepted technology, while others wither away before they even gain a foothold in the international marketplace.

As an investor, researcher, and investigator, you are watching all players, sifting through news, tweets, whitepapers, and the like. Government, bankers, investors, and companies are at the table. Even with the seemingly perfect strategy, you may come up short. For no other reason, researching and connecting dots in this infant asset class and watching new use cases unfold is fascinating. That is why I write about the crypto sphere.

Take for example Ripple Labs. Ripple is a San Francisco based company that has found a very specific niche in the blockchain-cryptocurrency world. They focus on payment remittance and liquidity for cross-border payments. To make the almost instantaneous liquidity possible (i.e. sending USD to Japan for Yen in a matter of seconds), the dollar converts to a cryptocurrency called XRP, then to Yen, almost immediately. This is ground-breaking in the world of finance and money transfer. The other contender in the payment remittance sphere is IBM, which uses the Stellar (XLM) platform.

Using a cryptocurrency to act as a liquidity solution brings some concerns, such as the price stability of that currency. If trading volatility affects prices, how might that affect the cost of the transaction for the transacting parties? The instant in-and-out speed (about 3 seconds) of using the XRP ledger should quell some level of this concern working to provide real-time gross settlement of payment (RTGS).

Banks and money transfer platforms (Western Union, MoneyGram, etc.) must hold reserve funds  (in Nostro/Vostro Accounts) in order to facilitate these cross-border payments and the time can take days to perform the transactions using the existing system.

Ripple asserts that they are not XRP and if Ripple were to shut its doors forever, XRP will still exist. Think of it like this: Ripple is a company that has designed some of its services to use XRP. I suggest gaining greater insight into Ripple as a company due to their fascinating approach to blockchain technology. I am not suggesting an investment into XRP, but an understanding of Ripple. They have surrounded themselves by very influential people and are a company to watch as the cryptocurrency and blockchain revolution progresses.

Former US President, Bill Clinton will be the keynote speaker for a Ripple event called Swell. Ripple invites well-thought  regulation to the cryptocurrency marketplace. As a matter of fact, Ripple has been very vocal about their intentions to work with regulators. Ripple’s business focus is within a very regulated industry and aims to improve the efficiency of certain banking functions.

Ripple Labs promotes that Swell, “connects the world’s leading experts on policy, payments, and technology for the most provocative dialog in global payments today.” Having former President Clinton, Founder and Board Chair of the Clinton Foundation, shows me a strong effort to bring government regulators to the table.

DISCLAIMER: As the domain name of this site suggests, the content of my blog posts are opinion and not investment advice of any kind. Do your own research before making any decisions to invest (or not to invest). I am not a financial advisor. I am simply sharing information I gather from across the web, news, and media outlets and drawing my own possible conclusions. I hold XRP and XLM.