Investing 101: Cryptocurrency

The hottest topic in investing news is cryptocurrencies. I previously discussed how to get setup on Coinbase to enable you to start investing in crypto. But many people still aren’t sure what exactly cryptocurrency is. It’s a little complicated and technical but I’m going to break it down so it’s simple and understandable.

Wikipedia defines a cryptocurrency or crypto as, “a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange wherein individual coin ownership records are stored in a ledger existing in a form of a computerized database using strong cryptography to secure transaction records, to control the creation of additional coins, and to verify the transfer of coin ownership.”

Basically all cryptos use blockchain technology, which is essentially lots of computers linked together over a cryptography secured network, to store and verify all transactions involving that particular cryptocurrency or coin. So any transactions involving let’s say Bitcoin, are recorded on the publicly shared Bitcoin ledger, and that ledger is verified to be accurate by all the other computers on that blockchain network. That’s why crypto is considered a decentralized currency because it is regulated by all the computers on the network instead of by a central bank.

The process of verifying transactions is often referred to as “mining”. So when you hear people say things like “Bitcoin mining” or they’re a “crypto miner” they aren’t talking about breaking rocks with pickaxes. People are rewarded and incentivized to verify the transactions on the network, or mining, by receiving small amounts of that cryptocurrency that they are mining. Bitcoin mining for example requires the use of many high-powered computers to secure and verify its network, which also consumes a lot of electricity. Bitcoin mining in particular uses a specific form of mining called proof of work, which is what Elon Musk now infamously tweeted about on 5/12.

Tweet by Elon Musk

There are two different methods used for crypto mining, proof of work (like Bitcoin) and proof of stake (like Cardano). Proof of work involves one party proving to other parties (validators or miners) that the transaction is legitimate through complex mathematical calculations. These complex mathematical calculations require a lot of computational power and energy usage. Proof of stake is similar to the proof of work process but requires much less computer power and energy usage. Instead, the validators must own large quantities of the cryptocurrency in order to validate it. This prevents hackers from attacking the network because the attacker would need to first acquire a large amount of tokens/coins which means they have a large stake in that cryptocurrency and should then want to see it gain value.

Besides the computational power and energy usage required, Bitcoin has also been criticized for having a slow block time (the amount of time to verify transactions). Bitcoin has an average block time of 10 minutes, whereas faster networks like Ethereum have a 14-15 second block time. Bitcoin was the original cryptocurrency, but since it was first created in 2009, many new altcoins have been created and come onto the market. What’s your thoughts on Bitcoin, altcoins, or cryptos in general? Leave me a comment and let me know.

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Weekly Friday Wrap Up 5/14

It’s been a couple weeks since I’ve done a wrap up (blame MBA exams and projects) but I need to talk about some huge news stories that have happened over the past week. The month of May has lived up to the old saying of, “Sell in May and get away” because it has been a bloody red couple of weeks for the stock market. The tech sector has experienced the brunt of the massive sell-off. Even after the biggest companies around, like Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Apple, posted massive record earnings, their stock prices all dipped.

Yesterday and today have started to see a rebound for tech stocks but the markets are down for the week overall, down 1.6% for the S&P 500 and 2.8% for the tech-heavy Nasdaq. The S&P 500 and the Dow started the week by suffering their worst three-day losses in almost seven months. Prices have also been falling over the past couple weeks over increasing fears of inflation, especially in the price of raw materials like metals for microchips, lumber, and crude oil.

As always now days, cryptocurrency has been a main topic in investing news. The biggest news is Elon Musk’s tweet announcing that Tesla has suspended accepting Bitcoin as payment due to “environmental concerns”. I’ve heard rumors that this is actually a deliberate action by Elon Musk to bring the price of Bitcoin down because he’s fighting with a hedge fund that has options on Bitcoin and that same hedge fund was involved in tanking the price of Dogecoin and Tesla stock prices. So the rumor is he deliberately tanked the price of Bitcoin to get revenge on them.

I personally think since the price of Bitcoin has dropped and is still on a declining trend over the past month and week, it makes sense to stop accepting it if it’s quickly losing value. But he took the announcement a step further by saying it was due to the environmental impact of the proof-of-work process used to secure the blockchain network, and that he is, “looking at other cryptocurrencies that use <1% of Bitcoin’s energy/transaction.” Some people are confused because Dogecoin, which he has publicly supported, also uses the proof-of-work process, although they use scrypt-based technology which is slightly different than the SHA-256 based equipment used to mine Bitcoin.

This past week has seen a lot of ups and downs in both the cryptocurrency and stock markets. What’s your thoughts on “sell in May and get away”? Have we reached the bottom level prices where it’s time to buy the dip? What are your thoughts on Elon Musk’s tweet and the future of cryptocurrencies? Leave me a comment!

Photo by Nick Chong on Unsplash

Elon Musk, A.K.A the Dogefather

Elon Musk was on Saturday Night Live this past weekend and of course he talked about Dogecoin. As you may or may not know, Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, is an avid cryptocurrency fan. And his favorite crypto is of course Dogecoin. I discussed Dogecoin in a previous post. There was such a big buildup whether or not Elon Musk was going to talk about Dogecoin before the show that some casinos in Las Vegas let you bet on if he said it or not.

And of course Elon Musk talked about Dogecoin on SNL. The first mention of it came in his opening monologue where he was talking about getting his mom a birthday present at which time his mother said “I hope it’s not Dogecoin”, and his response was, “It is.” In one skit, Elon was playing a cryptocurrency expert where he tried explaining multiple times was crypto and Dogecoin are, ultimately saying, “it’s a hustle.” All of this was meant as jokes and to be funny, which I personally thought the episode was hilarious, but there were definitely some serious real-world reactions to his appearance.

The price of Dogecoin (DOGE) was steadily climbing all week in anticipation of the SNL episode. The price of Dogecoin started out at $0.39 early Monday morning and reached its peak all-time high of $0.74 on Friday night. The price was expected to reach its peak on Saturday during or after the show. But starting at 11pm on Friday night, the price started dropping.

Dogecoin’s value was fluctuating all day Saturday and finally at the time the SNL episode ended, the price looked like it officially jumped off a cliff. Its price dropped from $0.66 down to $0.46 in just 10 hours. The price has gone up and down since then and is currently trading around $0.45.

The hype around Elon Musk’s SNL appearance was similar to the hype building up to 4/20/21. And like “Doge Day 4/20”, the SNL hype train also culminated in an early fizzle. I personally like the usefulness of Bitcoin and Ethereum, but I struggle to see the value in most altcoins. What are your thoughts on Dogecoin and altcoins in general? Leave me a comment and let me know.

Photo by Vance Alm

Friday’s Weekly Wrap Up 4/30

Friday marked the end of a great month for the stock market. The S&P 500 for example finished the month of April up 5.29%. The S&P 500 experienced its biggest gain this past month since November 2020. This past week however was filled with a mix of ups and downs for the overall market and today ended down for many big names.

Earnings season is in full swing and this past week (4/26-4/30) was full of some of the biggest companies around releasing their earnings statements. I discussed some of the big tech names that beat expectations more in detail in my last post. Some companies like Amazon and Google experienced record gains that immediately had a huge positive impact on their stock price. And there were also some companies like Twitter that didn’t meet analysts’ expectations and have had a sharp drop in their stock price. Twitter went from trading around $66 per share down to $55 overnight.

In IPO news, Endeavor Group Holdings (EDR), the parent company to the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship), PBR (Professional Bull Riders), ELeague, and the Miss Universe pageants among other things, released its IPO on Thursday 4/29. EDR had a target price of $24 and has done well in its first two days of trading. Endeavor’s price ended at $27.56 on Friday evening. This could be a good IPO to jump on early considering the growing popularity of the UFC and ELeague.

In cryptocurrency news, Bitcoin (BTC) had a good rally this week and is up almost 7%. Bitcoin started the week trading around $50,000 and is ending the week finally being priced above $57,000 again. Ethereum (ETH) has had a great week by setting new all-time high prices for itself over the past few days. Ethereum has been consistently trading above $2,700.

It’s been an exciting week in the investment world with a lot going on between the stock market and cryptocurrency market. What do you think was this week’s biggest story? What are your thoughts on this week’s earnings report news? Leave me comment and let me know.

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Friday’s Market Update

This week was full of ups and downs in the stock market and especially in the cryptocurrency market. This week’s biggest story was Dogecoin. The Dogecoin story started last week on 4/15 when the joke cryptocurrency started rapidly rising in value. I go into detail about Dogecoin’s attempt to shoot for the moon in my previous post, “Dogecoin to the Moon… and Back. Signs of a Crypto Bubble?“.

Dogecoin experienced explosive growth of more than 450% in less than a week, peaking in value around $0.42, with the culmination supposed to happen this past Tuesday, 4/20. The hype train was trying to convince people the price of Dogecoin would go up to $0.69 on 4/20 (clearly a lot of financial analysis went into coming up with that valuation and timeframe…). “Dogeday” as it was being called was an absolute bust and as of 1am on 4/20, the price of Dogecoin (DOGE) was on a downhill rollercoaster and it is currently trading around $0.23.

In other cryptocurrency news prices for almost all cryptos, including Bitcoin and Ethereum, took a plunge in value over the weekend and they still haven’t recovered. Ethereum (ETH) briefly recovered and actually reached a new high when it was trading around $2,600. Bitcoin on the other hand has dropped even more from its weekend dip. Bitcoin slipped under $50,000 for the first time in almost two months, and it’s still hovering around $50,000.

Thursday afternoon, the stock market looked like it jumped off a cliff after news leaked from the White House that President Biden is looking to implement a massive tax hike on companies and wealthy individuals. The leaked report suggested Biden was considering increasing the capital gains tax rate on those earning more than $1 million to 39.6%. The current base capital gains tax rate is 20%. The response on Thursday seems to have been an overreaction because the stock market is doing very well today, Friday.

This has been an exciting week, especially in the cryptocurrency market. Next week should be interesting with mega-cap companies like Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook will be releasing their first quarter earnings statements. The earnings from these giants will surely have an impact on the overall markets so I’ll be sure to keep you up to date. Don’t forget to follow my blog so you can stay informed on everything investment related.

Photo by Vance Alm

Cryptocurrency Crash

At 8:30pm Pacific time on Saturday night, the entire cryptocurrency market crashed. Bitcoin (BTC) for example was trading around $61,000-$63,000 the past week, and it dropped by $10,000 per coin to a price of $51,300. This is the lowest price Bitcoin has been at since February. At the same time, Ethereum (ETH) was trading around $2,400-$2,500 this past week and it dropped down to $2,000 at the same time Bitcoin dipped.

Other cryptocurrencies like Cardano (ADA) and Litecoin (LTC) all experienced the same drop in their prices. This left everyone asking why? What caused the crypto market to crash? There are numerous rumors floating around the internet as to what triggered the price of the entire cryptocurrency market to plummet.

The leading answer to this crypto market dip is reports of the US Treasury cracking down on financial institutions for money laundering involving digital assets and cryptocurrencies. I have not seen any hard facts about this, such as which financial institutions were involved, but if the stories are true, that would be a huge step backwards in the movement trying to establish cryptos like Bitcoin as a legitimate form of currency. The drop in cryptocurrency prices has also been linked to a massive blackout in China’s Xinjiang region, which allegedly powers a lot of Bitcoin mining. Bitcoin mining is how the blockchain network operates and how new Bitcoins are entered into circulation. Another factor causing fears is India’s announcement that they were banning cryptocurrencies.

I personally find it suspicious that the cryptocurrency market simultaneously bottomed out at 8:30pm Saturday night. I personally think some financial institutions or big hedge funds were involved in the massive sell-off, driving the price down. This would make sense if they were under investigation and feared news of that would lower crypto prices. Realistically, it was probably a perfect storm and the combination of all of the above. And on top of that, Bitcoin and Ethereum are both coming off of record setting weeks where they hit their highest prices ever so it’s natural that they experience a dip back down.

That’s my thoughts on what caused the crypto crash. Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Don’t forget to follow my blog to stay up to date on the latest news in the investing world.

Photo by Bermix Studio on Unsplash

Dogecoin to the Moon… and Back. Signs of a Crypto Bubble?

I’ve been writing a lot about cryptocurrency lately because I feel like that is all you hear about in investing news. But Dogecoin showed everyone why when the price of 1 Dogecoin (DOGE) skyrocketed 203% in just 24 hours. Within the past week, Dogecoin has had an insane 452% increase. Its value reached its peak early this morning, and it has been on a downhill slide since then. Besides making people kick themselves for not investing in this earlier, this spike has also raised questions and worries about a potential bubble effect in the crypto market.

Dogecoin was literally created as a joke, and it now has a market value of over $40 billion. This spike has added over $20 billion to Dogecoin’s market value. The fact that Dogecoin doubled in value has people asking why this happened? There are multiple factors that played into this rapid spike in value, but the popularity effect might be one of the biggest reasons.

Cryptocurrency has been all the rage over the past couple weeks with Bitcoin hitting its record of more than $64,000 per coin and Ethereum reaching it new record when it topped $2,500. Part of this crypto craze was Coinbase releasing their DPO on Wednesday. Clearly, there has been a lot of excitement around cryptocurrencies building over the past week. All of this combined with Dogecoin’s biggest supporter, Elon Musk, sending out the tweet pictured below where he said, “Doge Barking at the Moon”, sparked people to go crazy with buying Dogecoin.

Tweet by Elon Musk on Twitter

I unfortunately was jumping on the Dogecoin bandwagon too late and the fact that it had such a dramatic spike which is being immediately followed by a slow crash makes me very wary about buying in at its peak price. In my previous blog post, “How to Buy Bitcoin and Use Coinbase“, I talked about buying Bitcoin (which has been hovering around its peak price) which I view as a more long term investment because it has so much big institutional support, with strong potential to become an actual widely used currency. Dogecoin on the other hand, I view as more of a quick trading asset.

What are your thoughts on Dogecoin? Are you buying some and hoping it keeps shooting to the moon? Leave me a comment with your thoughts on Dogecoin, Bitcoin, and cryptocurrency overall. Is it all a hype bubble that will burst soon?

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

How to Buy Bitcoin and Use Coinbase

In my last blog, “Coinbase, Bitcoin, and Crypto are All Going Crazy“, I discussed Coinbase’s DPO that was released on Wednesday, 4/14, and all the hype around its launch and the cryptocurrency market in general. I mentioned that I’ve been keeping a close eye on the cryptocurrency market but I was still skeptical (mainly for not investing sooner). But I finally jumped on the bandwagon and downloaded Coinbase and bought some Bitcoin. I also bought a share of Coinbase (COIN) while I was caught up in the excitement of finally joining the crypto craze.

I’ve used a few different stock trading apps but this the first time I’ve used a cryptocurrency exchange and the process to get started was super simple. First, download Coinbase from your app store and enter your name, email address, and create a password. Then, you enter your bank information or debit card information, this is different than most brokerage apps that require your bank account and routing number. Although, you’re only allowed to buy cryptocurrency when you enter your debit card. You need to enter your bank account information in order to sell, that way the money can be transferred into your bank account if you choose to cash out.

Once you have a form of payment linked to your account, you’re all ready to join the crypto craze! Coinbase’s homepage shows you your portfolio balance, your watchlist, top movers, and some news articles related to cryptocurrency. The tab to the right of the homepage is the Portfolio page, which shows the number of coins, fractions up to eight decimal points over, of Bitcoin or whichever cryptocurrencies you own. This page also shows a line graph displaying the your portfolios performance. The middle blue button is like a quick buy/sell button. The tab to the right of the middle button is the Prices page and displays prices for a huge variety of different cryptocurrencies. This page has tabs towards the top where you can choose to see the top gainers and losers for the day. The last tab on the bottom right is the Settings page that contains your account information, settings, and a help/support section.

I’ve kept a close eye on Coinbase’s share price all day and it was hovering around $333 this morning but then dipped down to around $324 in the later afternoon. I jumped in and bought the dip, so hopefully the price doesn’t drop anymore. I been hearing analysts talk about this stock price possibly going up to $500 in the future. If people are literally buying into the crypto craze like I am, I’m hopeful Coinbase continues its strong growth which will fuel their stock price’s rise.

What are your thoughts on Bitcoin, Coinbase, and cryptocurrencies? Leave me a comment and let me know. Don’t forget to follow my Twitter where I’m constantly posting about investing, the stock market, and cryptocurrency.

Photo by Pierre Borthiry on Unsplash
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