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How Do I Invest in Today’s Market?

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Financial repression; this term has to the defining factor of the last few years in the world of investments. Central banks promoted consumption with all the tools that they have while forcing savers into riskier and riskier assets in search of the non-existent yields. The fight against deflation and a global credit event changed the playing field in financial markets.

Stock markets roared to new all-time highs, while government and corporate yields collapsed to historic lows. But for now, both of those asset classes have been squeezed dry of prospective returns by investors, actually, stocks already had a two year period with no meaningful returns before the Trump-rally started last November.

Today, in the developed world, there is a huge vacuum of reachable yield, and as I concluded in my article on central banks, I think that this creates a dangerous environment for passive investment strategies, and you should be aware of the risks of relying on pension plans and government transfers due to the sorry state of the global financial system.

What is the Answer?

Now you might ask what do I do in this situation. Well, the recipe is one that probably won’t be too popular with most of the people out there: Save more, do your homework, and invest selectively. I believe that passive stock and bond investments, especially in the US and Europe, simply won’t make it if you are counting on double digit annual returns for the next 10-15 years—not even mid-high single digits for that matter.

So what are the alternatives? Real estate, individual stock and bond picks, “exotic” stocks, farmland, commodities, cryptocurrencies, arts, vintage cars… there are a lot of fields of investing that you can venture into, besides running your own business of course. From the above list, I have an interest in almost every segment, with an unwantedly big part in real estate, due to a family bankruptcy event that required my help, and used up virtually all my liquid investments a couple of years ago. Since then, I try to focus on hard and/or naturally yielding assets, while trying to stay independent from the long-term debasement of fiat currencies.

My Savings Rate

I am falling shy of the target of the 33% club when it comes to savings, although it has to be said that my income (part from trading stocks, cryptos, and forex; and part from journalism) is volatile, so sometimes I am even able to save around 40%, but in practice the average for the past two years around 20%. Granted, I spend a lot on traveling and getting to know the world, but I believe that that’s a good way of “wasting” money.

My Portfolio

I, together with my partner, have a real estate investment (Airbnb) in downtown Budapest, yielding a nice 7% after tax and amortization, with some potential for capital appreciation (50% of my savings). I have an interest in a hazelnut-plantation that will hopefully yield 8-10% annually starting in 2018 (10%). I hold a portfolio of government (US, Hungarian, Russian, Mexican) and corporate bonds (10%), with an average duration of 4 years and an intention to hold them until maturity.

I have around 10% each in gold and cryptocurrencies, and I am putting a monthly fix amount into an emerging market fund focused on South-East Asia and Africa where I see the bulk of the growth in the coming decades (5%). I also try to have around 5% in fiat (US Dollars and Euros) for every day and emergency expenses.

The Problems with my Portfolio

I believe that although it’s a relatively balanced portfolio, and it is more or less in line with my view of the world, liquidity is an issue. Right now, I’m trying to put more and more of my active and passive income into liquid, short-dated bonds and cash, to have enough dry gunpowder for a possible major pull-back in stocks that would provide better valuations, and a good environment for stock picking.

Some of you would say that the 10% in cryptos is a small amount, and sure enough I am letting that increase naturally, as my core positions outgrow the rest of my portfolio; but some of my other holdings have great tax-benefits accompanied by very low volatility which make them great choices for the long run.

My stock exposure is laughably low, and I might be proven wrong by another few years of bull-market action, but for now I feel comfortable with this ratio. Also my gold holdings are all paper, and I am only in a planning phase of going physical, but I hope I won’t regret that decision.

What’s your take?

So there it is, you are free to criticize my investments, but don’t get me wrong, I know it’s not optimal as of now. As I started rebuilding my savings in 2015, the composition is what you could call “eclectic”. I will update you as my view of the world changes, and I will share my investment ideas in real-time. Use them at your own risk :).

So, what do you think about my positions? Do you see risks that I don’t? Let me know in the comments below, and of course, I would be happy to discuss Your portfolio as well.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.7 stars on average, based on 413 rated postsTrader and financial analyst, with 10 years of experience in the field. An expert in technical analysis and risk management, but also an avid practitioner of value investment and passive strategies, with a passion towards anything that is connected to the market.




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2 Comments

  1. embersburnbrightly

    June 28, 2017 at 8:15 am

    Thank you for sharing this. I am in no position to make a judgement call on your portfolio, as someone who is relatively new to investing myself; but even if your portfolio is admittedly not yet perfect, you have provided some very good points to ponder here. As someone who would like to diversify outside of just cryptocurrency investments, I would be very interested to read how one would get involved in trading between fiat currencies in a way that is legal and above reproach here in the U.S. My great fear is that I would take a misstep and end up losing a large amount (or all of it) in penalties and taxes. I know taxes will be involved with any significant profits, I just don’t want to have to pay more than my fair share —
    by doing everything the right way. Any future articles that might be able to focus on the legalities of investments in cryptocurrency and other assets would be wonderfully appreciated. Thank you!

    P.S. I know you and others hers would not be able to give actual specific legal advice, and that each individual portfolio is going to have its own set of legalities around it — but maybe just some general guidelines for investors to follow when first getting into investments in different areas, especially fiat and cryptocurrency? Lastly, I understand if this request is beyond the scope of what is able to be covered on this site, but thank you in advance for any consideration made toward it!)

  2. embersburnbrightly

    June 28, 2017 at 8:20 am

    Just caught a typo in my comment above, sorry — the one line should have read, “I know you and others here would not be able to give actual specific legal advice…”

    (Not “…others hers…”)

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“The Core of Any Blockchain Project is Decentralization” – Jack Zhang, Lightning Bitcoin

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Lightning Bitcoin is a fork of the ‘first-crypto-currency’ Bitcoin about which we decided to take the opportunity recently to speak to advisor Jack Zhang (AKA DianfuDatou / 点付大头 – known best as a Founder of Chainfunder and DAF).

Discussion topics include: what makes this project unique, as well as how you shouldn’t get it confused is not to be confused with the Lightning Network upgrade which is being applied to the original ‘Bitcoin’.

Who is Jack Zhang

Jack Zhang (AKA DianfuDatou / 点付大头) is a Chinese investor, business leader, and entrepreneur whose “portfolio includes XRP, XEM, IOTA, NEO, EOS, TEZOS, VEN”.

Zhang proudly describes himself as “one of the leading advocators of Ripple in China” having “translated Ripple into Chinese as ‘ruibobi’” – as well as the co-founder of NEO. Please note that most sources ascribe this latter achievement regarding NEO to an ‘Erik Zhang’ and so this claim requires further confirmation – however this writer sees no reason for him to lie in this respect.

He claims that his first experience with cryptocurrency was in 2011, when he entered the industry himself having previously worked as an investment banker at companies such as Zhejiang investment bank.

“I bought more than 10 thousand bitcoins at the price of 5 dollars and sold all of them out at the price of 7 dollars. At that time, I remember how I was reading posts on Bitcointalk about blockchain for several months and got fascinated by the genius design of the technology.”

Zhang says that the Lightning Bitcoin team members “come from a diverse cultural background, including China, the United States, Canada, the UK, Russia, Germany, and India.” And that:

“Currently Lightning Bitcoin has four core developers (listed on the website) with a team of 6 specialists. Eason Zhao is a CTO and H.H.Wang is a leading developer.

“Lightning Bitcoin also has an operational team of 8 outstanding and hardworking people managed by Wasley together with a community manager James Vuitton… We have independent leaders for each directions of the business;”

What is Lightning Bitcoin?

According to Zhang, Lightning Bitcoin is “a coin that takes the best from existing blockchain titans and adds advanced consensus mechanism.”

“Lightning Bitcoin forked from Bitcoin blockchain at block height 499,999… Lightning Bitcoin (LBTC) is a fully decentralized Internet-of-value protocol for global payments.

“The specific applications include peer-to-peer transactions and exchange platforms. Any users that operate on the LBTC protocol can enjoy instant, secure and nearly free global financial transactions of any size.”

Lightning Bitcoin is far from the first (nor will it be the last) fork from Bitcoin. A number of observers have claimed that the correlation between new forks and over inflation of Bitcoin. Jack Zhang however sees it as follows…

“Back in 2017, Bitcoin blockchain started to face network congestions, and a lot of other problems, that is one of the reasons why there were so many hard forks popping up. However, all of them changed either size or difficulty adjustment, what in my opinion did not improve the situation. That is a consensus that makes the difference. Pow and PoS are easily centralized, while DPoS represents true decentralization. Moreover, DPoS has the benefit of high efficiency, with little resource consumption.”

This mechanism utilises the relatively young Distributed Proof of Stake (DPoS) protocol which this writer has written about in a recent article, despite its basis upon the Proof of Work (PoW)-based ‘Bitcoin’.

Zhang states that Distributed Proof of Stake “allows separation of the voting power and block production, with no risks of a hard fork.” In fact, the aftermath of the announcement of DPoS adoption coincided with the company taking on another of its advisors “Stan Larimer a founding partner of Bitshares… we found mutual interests, as a result Stan joined Lightning Bitcoin advisory board.”

“Lightning Bitcoin uses DPoS, with the forging interval of 3 seconds, and the block size of 2M. We have achieved the TPS of thousands of transactions.

“Anyone can use LBTC, without censorship. The transaction fees are charged only for preventing network security issues, like DDoS attacks. It is not an off-chain solution on top of the Bitcoin blockchain as Lightning Network. I personally believe that Lightning Network will face the problem of centralization eventually.”

Furthermore,

“Lightning Bitcoin’s on-chain governance system enables LBTC holders to vote for the blockchain improvement proposals and the delegates who maintain the network as Lightning Nodes. It solves the problems of centralization of bitcoin by incorporating all participants in the Lightning Bitcoin ecosystem into the decision-making process.”

Lightning Bitcoin vs Lightning Network

Due to the similarities in naming, it seems natural that there may be a little confusion on behalf of the public and crypto-investment community with regards to the differences between ‘Lightning Bitcoin’ and ‘Lightning Network’.

“There is some confusion, you are correct.

When Lightning Bitcoin forked in December 2017, for Lightning Network it was still unclear when it is going to be launched, since it was still at the internal testing stage; only after four months later, in March 2018 when Lightning Network released its beta, both projects started to be confused by users in some countries.”

This, according to Zhang, is actually a problem more specific / limited to region,

“In other countries, like China, lightning network is not that well-known, as well as it has different Chinese name, that gives us more room for the development in Asia.”

Present and Future of LBTC

“Currently, Lightning Bitcoin network is stable, we constantly improving its functions and adding more products.

“The next big step for LBTC that we are working on right now is the development of on-chain governance, that will allow the network to self-improve and self-upgrade.

“In the future, stable upgrades of Lightning Bitcoin network in combination with chain governance, and decentralized transactions will allow cross-chain flashovers and smart contracts… the exploration of the on-chain governance model will become one of the most important tasks in the current stage of LBTC.”

Zhang continues to discuss the future for the coin in-detail as well, including that:

“In short, after complete integration of on-chain governance, next milestone is the development of new decentralized exchange. It will be an important component of the LBTC payment function.

“This exchange will have both basic functionality such as flashovers function of the gateway, as well as a system to guarantee the ease of cross-chain operations. Additionally, it will have the function of early crowdfunding of project under the necessary supervision.”

Finally,

“After implementing and perfecting the decentralized exchange, the development of intelligent contracts based on the UTXO model will be carried out, and a high-concurrence-based public chain ecosystem will be established to guide the flow of DAPP traffic.”

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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Trans-Fee Mining: Investigating FCOIN and The Future

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Trans-fee mining’ is a concept utilised by a growing number of projects and exchanges which has not received much in the way of critical attention recently from either mainstream financial or specialist cryptocurrency publications.

The Fall of F-Coin?

Thanks to a company called FCOIN, most of the news which has appeared has been negative. Statistical information regarding the exchange can be found at popular aggregate ranking website CoinMarketCap.

Despite positive coverage earlier this year from the likes of Forbes’ Andrew Rossow, David Hundeyin of our sister site CCN.com wrote more recently that the exchange had been “Accused of Crippling Ethereum Network for Cheap Publicity” with a supposed aim of gaining publicity.

These pundits are joined by community members such as Reddit poster u/ltcisking (along with a large amount of other concurring, Google-topping results), who recently wrote a post aimed at proving such allegations, entitled ‘One of the biggest scams to ever hit Crypto’.

Twitter has also seen its fair share of investor complaints as well, including the following…

As well as the replies to this post,

What is Trans-Fee Mining?

Due to the unusual circumstances in which the ‘trans-fee mining’ sits (being supported by a number of independent projects despite the reputation of FCOIN): it is a difficult methodology to describe.

It builds upon the concept of the ‘exchange token’: which is most often associated with coins such as BNB (Binance Coin), which can be used for staking towards a particular crypto in the exchanges ‘community coin of the month’ program.

The original FCOIN implementation appeared to build upon this vision at first. The token’s value is derived from the fact that it has a stable value, and that it can be used on-platform (like BNB) as a means of purchasing other tokens whilst offering regular returns on investment for long-term holders of the token.

What is FCOIN Doing Now?

FCOIN has issued various statements which appear to support the sentiment behind the claims which they have faced. These include a recent August 14th post, with the telling title ‘FCoin community referendum end and recent plan publicity’.

Highlights of the piece include new objectives such as

“1.Complete and publicize the destruction of the remaining unissued FT.
“2. Complete the delivery of all FT warrants and withdraw the FT warrants from the market…
“4. As of the end of the referendum, the previous trans-fee refund will remain unchanged (based on the price of the FT related trading pairs before the suspension), and then, all the trans-fee refund will be stopped (including all return plans based on FT issuance).
“5. We plan to establish an FCoin mechanism and an announcement cleanup team. The team untied and improved the current FCoin mechanisms and standardized the release of various mechanisms in the future, and made a unified interpretation.”

At best, this may be an admission of fault, and at worst: an ambiguous and uninformative piece of messaging which fails to outline the situation with a strong brand or executive voice.

This comes in addition to a couple of announcements regarding ‘compensation planning’ with regards to investors who had “participated” in the fundraising of the ‘GU’ and ‘QOS’ tokens through their service.

The latter included the assurance that this process “compensation plan is an initiative taken by the platform to protect the interests of community user” concluded with the damning statement that:

“The FCoin platform has informed the QOS project parties and urged them to conduct self-examination of market price fluctuations and recent media reports as soon as possible. It is not excluded to take delisting and other related measures. The specific plan will be subject to the subsequent announcement. During this period, QOS will be temporarily suspended.”

Torch-bearers of Trans-Fee Mining?

Various claims of discrepancy against FCOIN’s actions as a company however, have not discouraged many projects which are attempting to build their own version of trans-fee mining. Whether or not they have been inspired by the short-lived success of FCOIN’s implementation is yet to be confirmed!

One of the most recent organisations which has decided to foray into this difficult and all-but-controversial territory is BitMart, an exchange founded by current CEO Sheldon Xia. Their approach is branded ‘Mission X’, and utilises their proprietary ‘BMX’ token.

“All transaction fees from the BMX market will go directly to the users who supported the project. In addition, successful projects will enter BitMart’s main trading markets.

“This program gives users the ability to decide which projects they want to be listed on the exchange, creating a self-regulated market.”

The platform piqued this writer’s attention upon noticing a disparity between public consensus and professional news coverage. Whilst the latter has published next to nothing with regards to the platform, a quick search of social media and communities such as forums seem to illustrate a positive and transparent image.

CoinEx was recently reported to have achieved unprecedented growth following the release of their token – however, like FCOIN have been called out for discrepancies. This time regarding the faking of volume metrics.

Final Thoughts

It appears that trans-fee mining as a concept is a long-way from earning this writer’s confidence, however it must be noted that there are many promising aspects. Time will tell whether talent will shine through or if trans-fee mining will fade out at the hands of opportunists.

What is important to note is that it is not the technology or idea, but the hands that are operating the machine incorporating it.

This writer cannot directly recommend the concept in its current state, but believes that the original idea is solid and if implemented in a viable way: would thoroughly warrant the full attention of any potential investor.

Until then, watch the community and keep an eye on the media – as well as word-of-mouth as this flawed-yet-promising idea is if nothing else, highly interesting!

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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My CFD Journey: 72,000 USD Up Today

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Wow the indexes are falling globally now. Dax is down with 1% today – same as Dow Jones. I would love to do a short call on these indexes, but that have seriously hurt my financial standings previously since we still are in a “bull” market with earnings reports beating forecasts and macroeconomic numbers excelling analysts viewpoints. I only want to trade by using trend following, so even if the markets are down, I love to do short buy calls as they most likely will rebound to new ATH (all time highs). The reason for just doing short buy calls is that we might be on the tipping point to a bearish market, but that’s something I would like confirmation on from e.g. macro numbers, earning reports and such. Until then, I’m quick in and out.

Here is my results

Order Entry Price Take Profit Stop Loss USD Bank Roll USD % Change
Start 258 064,52
Day 1 25.01.2018 Dax Buy 13268 13274 13262 6 472,52 264 537,03 2,51
Day 2 26.01.2018 Dax Sell 13342 13318 13392 7 642,84 272 179,87 5,47
Day 3 29.01.2018 Dax Buy 13331 13336 13313 12 508,39 284 688,26 10,32
Day 4 30.01.2018 Dax Buy 13226 13233 13176 6 625,94 291 314,19 12,88
Day 5 31.01.2018 Dax Buy 13217 13230 13187 26 474,06 317 788,26 23,14
Day 5 01.02.2018 Dax Sell 13291 13265 13327 10 834,58 328 622,84 27,34
Day 6 02.02.2018 Dax Buy 12797 12825 12772 72 314,97 400 937,81 55,36

Using ProRealTime

As I wrote yesterday, I’m using IG.com to trade CFDs. They got a tool called ProRealTime that I started to use yesterday. It’s a great tool with many more indicators and tools, and best of all, you get a good look at your stats. Here is my stats so far on ProRealTime in NOK (1 USD = 7.65 NOK – click on the images to get a larger view):

As you can see from the image above, I got 8 winning trades and 1 losing trade. I tried to buy the dip on Dax but managed to enter a bit too early. The Dax index fell quite rapidly after I initiated this trade and I wanted to keep it open as long as possible as I knew a rebound would happen. But I was not comfortable enough to sit it through so I closed it. Still feeling certain that the price would rebound I entered a buy position yet again at what I thought would be the lowest low. And thankfully, that worked and it rebounded above my initial entry point for the first trade. To ensure that I got the profits I wanted, I did a third trade buying Dax when RSI showed a trend reversal (rose above 50). I closed the trades once I was happy with the profits and because I became nervous that the price would turn back down. Then I initiated the last trade of the day going long on Dax yet again.

Here is the total overview of my trades today:

I would again like to highlight that trading CFD is very risky, and I’m still significantly down in total these last 3 years.

My trading rules

  1. Only risk max 2% of my bank roll per trade.
  2. Have 0 active positions during the night (first of all, I lose sleep, second; you are charged an interest fee for leaving a leveraged product overnight.)
  3. Always trade on last month’s trend including the previous day(s). If they do not correlate, I will not trade.
  4. If one position is lost, I’ll double the amount (martingale) and do a second trade. I’ll only stop doubling after 3 consecutive losses.
  5. Do not think about lost trade opportunities.
  6. Markets to trade: Dax & Dow (minimum spread).
  7. Stay updated on economic releases prior to entering a trade.
  8. Do not have emotional ties to the money. I like to call them “points”.
  9. Only enter a position when an asset is overbought or oversold shown by both RSI & Stoch at the same time.
  10. Always write down your trades and elaborate what went right or wrong.

What is the meaning of this?

Why I’m I writing all these posts? My main goal is to find a working strategy trading CFDs and be able to mentor Hacked.com members and do live sessions together. However, I would like to keep going for at least one month until I feel comfortable that the strategy I have, actually works. I would rather lose my own money, than lose any of yours.

I wish you all a great weekend. We are going to visit our family this weekend and have a nice time.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.2 stars on average, based on 56 rated postsFounder of Hacked.com and CryptoCoinsNews




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