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DDDD - The Rise of “Buy the Dip” Retail Investors and Why Another Crash Is Imminent
In this week's edition of DDDD (Data-driven DD), I'll be going over the real reason why we have been seeing a rally for the past few weeks, defying all logic and fundamentals - retail investors. We'll look into several data sets to see how retail interest in stock markets have reached record levels in the past few weeks, how this affected stock prices, and why we've most likely seen the top at this point, unless we see one of the "positive catalysts" that I mentioned in my previous post, which is unlikely (except for more news about Remdesivir). Disclaimer - This is not financial advice, and a lot of the content below is my personal opinion. In fact, the numbers, facts, or explanations presented below could be wrong and be made up. Don't buy random options because some person on the internet says so; look at what happened to all the SPY 220p 4/17 bag holders. Do your own research and come to your own conclusions on what you should do with your own money, and how levered you want to be based on your personal risk tolerance. Inspiration Most people who know me personally know that I spend an unhealthy amount of my free time in finance and trading as a hobby, even competing in paper options trading competitions when I was in high school. A few weeks ago, I had a friend ask if he could call me because he just installed Robinhood and wanted to buy SPY puts after seeing everyone on wallstreetbets post gains posts from all the tendies they’ve made from their SPY puts. The problem was, he actually didn’t understand how options worked at all, and needed a thorough explanation about how options are priced, what strike prices and expiration dates mean, and what the right strategy to buying options are. That’s how I knew we were at the euphoria stage of buying SPY puts - it’s when dumb money starts to pour in, and people start buying securities because they see everyone else making money and they want in, even if they have no idea what they’re buying, and price becomes dislocated from fundementals. Sure enough, less than a week later, we started the bull rally that we are currently in. Bubbles are formed when people buy something not because of logic or even gut feeling, but when people who previously weren’t involved see their dumb neighbors make tons of money from it, and they don’t want to miss out. A few days ago, I started getting questions from other friends about what stocks they should buy and if I thought something was a good investment. That inspired me to dig a bit deeper to see how many other people are thinking the same thing. Data Ever since March, we’ve seen an unprecedented amount of money pour into the stock market from retail investors. Google Search Trends \"what stock should I buy\" Google Trends 2004 - 2020 \"what stock should I buy\" Google Trends 12 months \"stocks\" Google Trends 2004 - 2020 \"stocks\" Google Trends 12 months Brokerage data Robinhood SPY holders \"Robinhood\" Google Trends 12 months wallstreetbets' favorite broker Google Trends 12 months Excerpt from E*Trade earnings statement Excerpt from Schwab earnings statement TD Ameritrade Excerpt Media cnbc.com Alexa rank CNBC viewership & rankings wallstreetbets comments / day investing comments / day Analysis What we can see from Reddit numbers, Google Trends, and CNBC stats is that in between the first week of March and first week of April, we see a massive inflow of retail interest in the stock market. Not only that, but this inflow of interest is coming from all age cohorts, from internet-using Zoomers to TV-watching Boomers. Robinhood SPY holdings and earnings reports from E*Trade, TD Ameritrade, and Schwab have also all confirmed record numbers of new clients, number of trades, and assets. There’s something interesting going on if you look closer at the numbers. The numbers growth in brokers for designed for “less sophisticated” investors (i.e. Robinhood and E*Trade) are much larger than for real brokers (i.e. Schwab and Ameritrade). This implies that the record number of new users and trade volume is coming from dumb money. The numbers shown here only really apply to the US and Canada, but there’s also data to suggest that there’s also record numbers of foreign investors pouring money into the US stock market as well. However, after the third week of March, we see the interest start to slowly decline and plateau, indicating that we probably have seen most of those new investors who wanted to have a long position in the market do so. SPX daily Rationale Pretty much everything past this point is purely speculation, and isn’t really backed up by any solid data so take whatever I say here with a cup of salt. We could see from the graph that new investor interest started with the first bull trap we saw in the initial decline from early March, and peaking right after the end of the crash in March. So it would be fair to guess that we’re seeing a record amount of interest in the stock market from a “buy the dip” mentality, especially from Robinhood-using Millennials. Here’s a few points on my rationalization of this behavior, based on very weak anecdotal evidence
They missed out of their chance of getting in the stock market at the start of the bull market that happened at the end of 2009
They’ve all seen the stock market make record gains throughout their adult lives, but believing that the market might be overheated, they were waiting for a crash
Most of them have gotten towards the stage of their lives where they actually have some savings and can finally put some money aside for investments
This stock market crash seems like their once-in-a-decade opportunity that they’ve been waiting for, so everyone jumped in
Everyone’s stuck at their homes with vast amounts of unexpected free time on their hands
Most of these new investors got their first taste in the market near the bottom, and probably made some nice returns. Of course, since they didn’t know what they were doing, they probably put a very small amount of money at first, but after seeing a 10% return over one week, validating that maybe they do know something, they decide to slowly pour in more and more of their life savings. That’s what’s been fueling this bull market. Sentiment & Magic Crayons As I mentioned previously, this bull rally will keep going until enough bears convert to bulls. Markets go up when the amount of new bullish positions outnumber the amount of new bearish positions, and vice versa. Record amounts of new investors, who previously never held a position in the market before, fueled the bullish side of this equation, despite all the negative data that has come out and dislocating the price from fundamentals. All the smart money that was shorting the markets saw this happening, and flipped to become bulls because you don’t fight the trend, even if the trend doesn’t reflect reality. From the data shown above, we can see new investor interest growth has started declining since mid March and started stagnating in early April. The declining volume in SPY since mid-March confirms this. That means, once the sentiment of the new retail investors starts to turn bearish, and everyone figures out how much the stocks they’re holding are really worth, another sell-off will begin. I’ve seen something very similar to this a few years ago with Bitcoin. Near the end of 2017, Bitcoin started to become mainstream and saw a flood of retail investors suddenly signing up for Coinbase (i.e. Robinhood) accounts and buying Bitcoin without actually understanding what it is and how it works. Suddenly everyone, from co-workers to grandparents, starts talking about Bitcoin and might have thrown a few thousand dollars into it. This appears to be a very similar parallel to what’s going on right now. Of course there’s differences here in that equities have an intrinsic value, although many of them have gone way above what they should be intrinsically worth, and the vast majority of retail investors don’t understand how to value companies. Then, during December, when people started thinking that the market was getting a bit overheated, some started taking their profits, and that’s when the prices crashed violently. This flip in sentiment now look like it has started with equities. SPY daily Technical Analysis, or magic crayons, is a discipline in finance that uses statistical analysis to predict market trends based on market sentiment. Of course, a lot of this is hand-wavy and is very subjective; two people doing TA on the same price history can end up getting opposite results, so TA should always be taken with a grain of salt and ideally be backed with underlying justification and not be blindly followed. In fact, I’ve since corrected the ascending wedge I had on SPY since my last post since this new wedge is a better fit for the new trading data. There’s a few things going on in this chart. The entire bull rally we’ve had since the lows can be modelled using a rising wedge. This is a pattern where there is a convergence of a rising support and resistance trendline, along with falling volume. This indicates a slow decline in net bullish sentiment with investors, with smaller and smaller upside after each bounce off the support until it hits a resistance. The smaller the bounces, the less bullish investors are. When the bearish sentiment takes over across investors, the price breaks below this wedge - a breakdown, and indicates a start of another downtrend. This happened when the wedge hit resistance at around 293, which is around the same price as the 200 day moving average, the 62% retracement (considered to be the upper bound of a bull trap), and a price level that acted as a support and resistance throughout 2019. The fact that it gapped down to break this wedge is also a strong signal, indicating a sudden swing in investor sentiment overnight. The volume of the break down also broke the downwards trend of volume we’ve had since the beginning of the bull rally, indicating a sudden surge of people selling their shares. This doesn’t necessarily mean that we will go straight from here, and I personally think that we will see the completion of a heads-and-shoulders pattern complete before SPY goes below 274, which in itself is a strong support level. In other words, SPY might go from 282 -> 274 -> 284 -> 274 before breaking the 274 support level. VIX Daily Doing TA is already sketchy, and doing TA on something like VIX is even more sketchy, but I found this interesting so I’ll mention it. Since the start of the bull rally, we’ve had VIX inside a descending channel. With the breakdown we had in SPY yesterday, VIX has also gapped up to have a breakout from this channel, indicating that we may see future volatility in the next week or so. Putting Everything Together Finally, we get to my thesis. This entire bull rally has been fueled by new retail investors buying the dip, bringing the stock price to euphoric levels. Over the past few weeks, we’ve been seeing the people waiting at the sidelines for years to get into the stock market slowly FOMO into the rally in smaller and smaller volumes, while the smart money have been locking in their profits at an even slower rate - hence an ascending wedge. As the amount of new retail interest in the stock market started slowed down, the amount of new bulls started to decline. It looks like Friday might have been the start of the bearish sentiment taking over, meaning it’s likely that 293 was the top, unless any significant bullish events happen in the next two weeks like a fourth round of stimulus, in which case we might see 300. This doesn’t mean we’ll instantly go back to circuit breakers on Monday, and we might see 282 -> 274 -> 284 -> 274 happen before panic, this time by the first-time investors, eventually bringing us down towards SPY 180. tldr; we've reached the top EDIT - I'll keep a my live thoughts here as we move throughout this week in case anyone's still reading this and interested. 5/4 8PM - /ES was red last night but steadily climbed, which was expected since 1h RSI was borderline oversold, leaving us to a slightly green day. /ES looks like it has momentum going up, but is approaching towards overbought territory now. Expecting it to go towards 284 (possibly where we'll open tomorrow) and bouncing back down from that price level 5/5 Market Open - Well there goes my price target. I guess at this point it might go up to 293 again, but will need a lot of momentum to push back there to 300. Seems like this is being driven by oil prices skyrocketing. 5/5 3:50PM - Volume for the upwards price action had very little volume behind it. Seeing a selloff EOD today, could go either way although I have a bearish bias. Going to hold cash until it goes towards one end of the 274-293 channel (see last week's thesis). Still believe that we will see it drop below 274 next week, but we might be moving sideways in the channel this week and a bit of next week before that happens. Plan for tomorrow is buy short dated puts if open < 285. Otherwise, wait till it goes to 293 before buying those puts 5/5 6PM - What we saw today could be a false breakout above 284. Need tomorrow to open below 285 for that to be confirmed. If so, my original thesis of it going back down to 274 before bouncing back up will still be in play. 5/6 EOD - Wasn't a false breakout. Looks like it's still forming the head-and-shoulders pattern mentioned before, but 288 instead of 284 as the level. Still not sure yet so I'm personally going to be holding cash and waiting this out for the next few days. Will enter into short positions if we either go near 293 again or drop below 270. Might look into VIX calls if VIX goes down near 30. 5/7 Market Open - Still waiting. If we break 289 we're probably heading to 293. I'll make my entry to short positions when we hit that a second time. There's very little bullish momentum left (see MACD 1D), so if we hit 293 and then drop back down, we'll have a MACD crossover event which many traders and algos use as a sell signal. Oil is doing some weird shit. 5/7 Noon - Looks like we're headed to 293. Picked up VIX 32.5c 5/27 since VIX is near 30. 5/7 11PM - /ES is hovering right above 2910, with 4h and 1h charts are bullish from MACD and 1h is almost overbought in RSI. Unless something dramatic happens we'll probably hit near 293 tomorrow, which is where I'll get some SPY puts. We might drop down before ever touching it, or go all the way to 295 (like last time) during the day, but expecting it to close at or below 293. After that I'm expecting a gap down Monday as we start the final leg down next week towards 274. Expecting 1D MACD to crossover in the final leg down, which will be a signal for bears to take over and institutions / day traders will start selling again 5/8 Market Open - Plan is to wait till a good entry today, either when technicals looks good or we hit 293, and then buy some SPY June 285p and July 275p 5/8 Noon - Everything still going according to plan. Most likely going to slowly inch towards 293 by EOD. Will probably pick up SPY puts and more VIX calls at power hour (3 - 4PM). Monday will probably gap down, although there's a small chance of one more green / sideways day before that happens if we have bullish catalysts on the weekend. 5/8 3:55PM - SPY at 292.60. This is probably going to be the closest we get to 293. Bought SPY 290-260 6/19 debit spreads and 292-272 5/15 debit spreads, as well as doubling down on VIX calls from yesterday, decreasing my cost basis. Still looks like there's room for one more green day on Monday, so I left some money on the side to double down if that's the case, although it's more likely than not we won't get there. 5/8 EOD - Looks like we barely touched 293 exactly AH before rebounding down. Too bad you can't buy options AH, but more convinced we'll see a gap down on Monday. Going to work on another post over the weekend and do my updates there. Have a great weekend everyone!
It is no doubt Grayscale’s booming popularity as a mainstream investment has caused a lot of community hullabaloo lately. As such, I felt it was worth making a FAQ regarding the topic. I’m looking to update this as needed and of course am open to suggestions / adding any questions. The goal is simply to have a thread we can link to anyone with questions on Grayscaleand its products. Instead of explaining the same thing 3 times a day, shoot those posters over to this thread.My hope is that these questions are answered in a fairly simple and easy to understand manner. I think as the sub grows it will be a nice reference point for newcomers. Disclaimer: I do NOT work for Grayscale and as such am basing all these answers on information that can be found on their website / reports. (Grayscale’s official FAQ can be found here). I also do NOT have a finance degree, I do NOT have a Series 6 / 7 / 140-whatever, and I do NOT work with investment products for my day job. I have an accounting background and work within the finance world so I have the general ‘business’ knowledge to put it all together, but this is all info determined in my best faith effort as a layman. The point being is this --- it is possible I may explain something wrong or missed the technical terms, and if that occurs I am more than happy to update anything that can be proven incorrect Everything below will be in reference to ETHE but will apply to GBTC as well.If those two segregate in any way, I will note that accordingly.
ETHE is essentially a stock that intends to loosely track the price of ETH. It does so by having each ETHE be backed by a specific amount of ETH that is held on chain. Initially, the newly minted ETHE can only be purchased by institutions and accredited investors directly from Grayscale. Once a year has passed (6 months for GBTC) it can then be listed on the OTCQX Best Market exchange for secondary trading. Once listed on OTCQX, anyone investor can purchase at this point. Additional information on ETHE can be found here.
So ETHE is an ETF?
No. For technical reasons beyond my personal understandings it is not labeled an ETF. I know it all flows back to the “Securities Act Rule 144”, but due to my limited knowledge on SEC regulations I don’t want to misspeak past that. If anyone is more knowledgeable on the subject I am happy to input their answer here.
How long has ETHE existed?
ETHE was formed 12/14/2017. GBTC was formed 9/25/2013.
How is ETHE created?
The trust will issue shares to “Authorized Participants” in groups of 100 shares (called baskets). Authorized Participants are the only persons that may place orders to create these baskets and they do it on behalf of the investor. Source: Creation and Redemption of Shares section on page 39 of the “Grayscale Ethereum Trust Annual Report (2019)” – Located Here Note – The way their reports word this makes it sound like there is an army of authorizers doing the dirty work, but in reality there is only one Authorized Participant. At this moment the “Genesis” company is the sole Authorized Participant. Genesis is owned by the “Digital Currency Group, Inc.” which is the parent company of Grayscale as well. (And to really go down the rabbit hole it looks like DCG is the parent company of CoinDesk and is “backing 150+ companies across 30 countries, including Coinbase, Ripple, and Chainalysis.”) Source: Digital Currency Group, Inc. informational section on page 77 of the “Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (BTC) Form 10-K (2019)” – Located Here Source: Barry E. Silbert informational section on page 75 of the “Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (BTC) Form 10-K (2019)” – Located Here
How does Grayscale acquire the ETH to collateralize the ETHE product?
An Investor may acquire ETHE by paying in cash or exchanging ETH already owned.
Cash: The investor pays the subscription amount in cash and the Authorized Participant will use that cash to purchase ETH.
ETH: The investor transfers the ETH to the Authorized Participant, which will contribute the ETH in-kind to the Trust.
Source: Creation and Redemption of Shares section on page 40 of the “Grayscale Ethereum Trust Annual Report (2019)” – Located Here
Where does Grayscale store their ETH? Does it have a specific wallet address we can follow?
ETH is stored with Coinbase Custody Trust Company, LLC. I am unaware of any specific address or set of addresses that can be used to verify the ETH is actually there. As an aside - I would actually love to see if anyone knows more about this as it’s something that’s sort of peaked my interest after being asked about it… I find it doubtful we can find that however. Source: Part C. Business Information, Item 8, subsection A. on page 16 of the “Grayscale Ethereum Trust Annual Report (2019)” – Located Here
Can ETHE be redeemed for ETH?
No, currently there is no way to give your shares of ETHE back to Grayscale to receive ETH back. The only method of getting back into ETH would be to sell your ETHE to someone else and then use those proceeds to buy ETH yourself. Source: Redemption Procedures on page 41 of the “Grayscale Ethereum Trust Annual Report (2019)” – Located Here
Why are they not redeeming shares?
I think the report summarizes it best:
Redemptions of Shares are currently not permitted and the Trust is unable to redeem Shares. Subject to receipt of regulatory approval from the SEC and approval by the Sponsor in its sole discretion, the Trust may in the future operate a redemption program. Because the Trust does not believe that the SEC would, at this time, entertain an application for the waiver of rules needed in order to operate an ongoing redemption program, the Trust currently has no intention of seeking regulatory approval from the SEC to operate an ongoing redemption program.
Source: Redemption Procedures on page 41 of the “Grayscale Ethereum Trust Annual Report (2019)” – Located Here
What is the fee structure?
ETHE has an annual fee of 2.5%. GBTC has an annual fee of 2.0%. Fees are paid by selling the underlying ETH / BTC collateralizing the asset. Source: ETHE’s informational page on Grayscale’s website - Located Here Source: Description of Trust on page 31 & 32 of the “Grayscale Ethereum Trust Annual Report (2019)” – Located Here
What is the ratio of ETH to ETHE?
At the time of posting (6/19/2020) each ETHE share is backed by .09391605 ETH. Each share of GBTC is backed by .00096038 BTC. ETHE & GBTC’s specific information page on Grayscale’s website updates the ratio daily – Located Here For a full historical look at this ratio, it can be found on the Grayscale home page on the upper right side if you go to Tax Documents > 2019 Tax Documents > Grayscale Ethereum Trust 2019 Tax Letter.
Why is the ratio not 1:1? Why is it always decreasing?
While I cannot say for certain why the initial distribution was not a 1:1 backing, it is more than likely to keep the price down and allow more investors a chance to purchase ETHE / GBTC. As noted above, fees are paid by selling off the ETH collateralizing ETHE. So this number will always be trending downward as time goes on. Source: Description of Trust on page 32 of the “Grayscale Ethereum Trust Annual Report (2019)” – Located Here
I keep hearing about how this is locked supply… explain?
As noted above, there is currently no redemption program for converting your ETHE back into ETH. This means that once an ETHE is issued, it will remain in circulation until a redemption program is formed --- something that doesn’t seem to be too urgent for the SEC or Grayscale at the moment. Tiny amounts will naturally be removed due to fees, but the bulk of the asset is in there for good. Knowing that ETHE cannot be taken back and destroyed at this time, the ETH collateralizing it will not be removed from the wallet for the foreseeable future. While it is not fully locked in the sense of say a totally lost key, it is not coming out any time soon. Per their annual statement:
The Trust’s ETH will be transferred out of the ETH Account only in the following circumstances: (i) transferred to pay the Sponsor’s Fee or any Additional Trust Expenses, (ii) distributed in connection with the redemption of Baskets (subject to the Trust’s obtaining regulatory approval from the SEC to operate an ongoing redemption program and the consent of the Sponsor), (iii) sold on an as-needed basis to pay Additional Trust Expenses or (iv) sold on behalf of the Trust in the event the Trust terminates and liquidates its assets or as otherwise required by law or regulation.
Source: Description of Trust on page 31 of the “Grayscale Ethereum Trust Annual Report (2019)” – Located Here
Grayscale now owns a huge chunk of both ETH and BTC’s supply… should we be worried about manipulation, a sell off to crash the market crash, a staking cartel?
First, it’s important to remember Grayscale is a lot more akin to an exchange then say an investment firm. Grayscale is working on behalf of its investors to create this product for investor control. Grayscale doesn’t ‘control’ the ETH it holds any more then Coinbase ‘controls’ the ETH in its hot wallet. (Note: There are likely some varying levels of control, but specific to this topic Grayscale cannot simply sell [legally, at least] the ETH by their own decision in the same manner Coinbase wouldn't be able to either.) That said, there shouldn’t be any worry in the short to medium time-frame. As noted above, Grayscale can’t really remove ETH other than for fees or termination of the product. At 2.5% a year, fees are noise in terms of volume. Grayscale seems to be the fastest growing product in the crypto space at the moment and termination of the product seems unlikely. IF redemptions were to happen tomorrow, it’s extremely unlikely we would see a mass exodus out of the product to redeem for ETH. And even if there was incentive to get back to ETH, the premium makes it so that it would be much more cost effective to just sell your ETHE on the secondary market and buy ETH yourself. Remember, any redemption is up to the investors and NOT something Grayscale has direct control over.
Yes, but what about [insert criminal act here]…
Alright, yes. Technically nothing is stopping Grayscale from selling all the ETH / BTC and running off to the Bahamas (Hawaii?). BUT there is no real reason for them to do so. Barry is an extremely public figure and it won’t be easy for him to get away with that. Grayscale’s Bitcoin Trust creates SEC reports weekly / bi-weekly and I’m sure given the sentiment towards crypto is being watched carefully. Plus, Grayscale is making tons of consistent revenue and thus has little to no incentive to give that up for a quick buck.
That’s a lot of ‘happy little feels’ Bob, is there even an independent audit or is this Tether 2.0?
Actually yes, an independent auditor report can be found in their annual reports. It is clearly aimed more towards the financial side and I doubt the auditors are crypto savants, but it is at least one extra set of eyes. Auditors are Friedman LLP – Auditor since 2015. Source: Independent Auditor Report starting on page 116 (of the PDF itself) of the “Grayscale Ethereum Trust Annual Report (2019)” – Located Here As mentioned by user TheCrpytosAndBloods (In Comments Below), a fun fact:
The company’s auditors Friedman LLP were also coincidentally TetheBitfinex’s auditors until They controversially parted ways in 2018 when the Tether controversy was at its height. I am not suggesting for one moment that there is anything shady about DCG - I just find it interesting it’s the same auditor.
“Grayscale sounds kind of lame” / “Not your keys not your crypto!” / “Why is anyone buying this, it sounds like a scam?”
Welp, for starters this honestly is not really a product aimed at the people likely to be reading this post. To each their own, but do remember just because something provides no value to you doesn’t mean it can’t provide value to someone else. That said some of the advertised benefits are as follows:
Access to trading within a tax advantaged retirement account
Institutions can easily and safely get exposure to crypto in a more legal-friendly manner
Ease of use for those who are not very technologically savvy
Ease of access for someone who doesn’t want to set up a Coinbase account
Perceived trust in institutional platforms over something like Coinbase or Kraken
Degen traders who just want access to the volatility ETHE provides that have no interest in crypto beyond that
So for example, I can set up an IRA at a brokerage account that has $0 trading fees. Then I can trade GBTC and ETHE all day without having to worry about tracking my taxes. All with the relative safety something like E-Trade provides over Binance. As for how it benefits the everyday ETH holder? I think the supply lock is a positive. I also think this product exposes the Ethereum ecosystem to people who otherwise wouldn’t know about it.
Why is there a premium? Why is ETHE’s premium so insanely high compared to GBTC’s premium?
There are a handful of theories of why a premium exists at all, some even mentioned in the annual report. The short list is as follows:
ETHE is NOT redeeming shares and as such doesn’t have an effective arbitrage mechanism
ETHE has a 1 year wait to be sold on the secondary market, again negating the ability to effectively arbitrage the premium
People may simply be willing to pay a premium for the benefits stated above.
Why is ETHE’s so much higher the GBTC’s? Again, a few thoughts:
ETHE hasn’t been around as long, so there is less secondary market supply to go around
ETHE was listed at an insanely high premium to begin with
ETHE might simply be more popular at the moment
Could just be sheer stupidity (investors think ETHE is a 1:1 ratio not 1:11)
Are there any other differences between ETHE and GBTC?
I touched on a few of the smaller differences, but one of the more interesting changes is GBTC is now a “SEC reporting company” as of January 2020. Which again goes beyond my scope of knowledge so I won’t comment on it too much… but the net result is GBTC is now putting out weekly / bi-weekly 8-K’s and annual 10-K’s. This means you can track GBTC that much easier at the moment as well as there is an extra layer of validity to the product IMO.
I’m looking for some statistics on ETHE… such as who is buying, how much is bought, etc?
There is a great Q1 2020 report I recommend you give a read that has a lot of cool graphs and data on the product. It’s a little GBTC centric, but there is some ETHE data as well. It can be found here hidden within the 8-K filings.Q1 2020 is the 4/16/2020 8-K filing. For those more into a GAAP style report see the 2019 annual 10-K of the same location.
Is Grayscale only just for BTC and ETH?
No, there are other products as well. In terms of a secondary market product, ETCG is the Ethereum Classic version of ETHE. Fun Fact – ETCG was actually put out to the secondary market first. It also has a 3% fee tied to it where 1% of it goes to some type of ETC development fund. In terms of institutional and accredited investors, there are a few ‘fan favorites’ such as Bitcoin Cash, Litcoin, Stellar, XRP, and Zcash. Something called Horizion (Backed by ZEN I guess? Idk to be honest what that is…). And a diversified Mutual Fund type fund that has a little bit of all of those. None of these products are available on the secondary market.
Are there alternatives to Grayscale?
I know they exist, but I don’t follow them. I’ll leave this as a “to be edited” section and will add as others comment on what they know. Per user Over-analyser (in comments below):
As asked by pegcity - Okay so I was under the impression you can just give them your own ETH and get ETHE, but do you get 11 ETHE per ETH or do you get the market value of ETH in USD worth of ETHE?
I have always understood that the ETHE issued directly through Grayscale is issued without the premium. As in, if I were to trade 1 ETH for ETHE I would get 11, not say only 2 or 3 because the secondary market premium is so high. And if I were paying cash only I would be paying the price to buy 1 ETH to get my 11 ETHE. Per page 39 of their annual statement, it reads as follows:
The Trust will issue Shares to Authorized Participants from time to time, but only in one or more Baskets (with a Basket being a block of 100 Shares). The Trust will not issue fractions of a Basket. The creation (and, should the Trust commence a redemption program, redemption) of Baskets will be made only in exchange for the delivery to the Trust, or the distribution by the Trust, of the number of whole and fractional ETH represented by each Basket being created (or, should the Trust commence a redemption program, redeemed), which is determined by dividing (x) the number of ETH owned by the Trust at 4:00 p.m., New York time, on the trade date of a creation or redemption order, after deducting the number of ETH representing the U.S. dollar value of accrued but unpaid fees and expenses of the Trust (converted using the ETH Index Price at such time, and carried to the eighth decimal place), by (y) the number of Shares outstanding at such time (with the quotient so obtained calculated to one one-hundred-millionth of one ETH (i.e., carried to the eighth decimal place)), and multiplying such quotient by 100 (the “Basket ETH Amount”). All questions as to the calculation of the Basket ETH Amount will be conclusively determined by the Sponsor and will be final and binding on all persons interested in the Trust. The Basket ETH Amount multiplied by the number of Baskets being created or redeemed is the “Total Basket ETH Amount.” The number of ETH represented by a Share will gradually decrease over time as the Trust’s ETH are used to pay the Trust’s expenses. Each Share represented approximately 0.0950 ETH and 0.0974 ETH as of December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively.
LOEx Market Research Report on August 22: BTC failed to stand firm at 12000, there is a demand for selling in profit market
[Today's Hot Tips] 1.[The SFC has approved OSL to obtain a virtual asset automatic trading and brokerage license in principle] According to Reuters on August 22, the Hong Kong Securities Regulatory Commission (SFC) agreed in principle to issue a license to OSL Digital Securities, a subsidiary of BC Technology Group, a cryptocurrency trading platform. When OSL meets the conditions required for final approval, the license will allow OSL to provide brokerage and automated trading services for digital assets (including security tokens). It is reported that this license is established in accordance with the regulatory framework established by the SFC for digital asset trading platforms in November 2019. It was previously reported that in November 2019, OSL applied for a digital asset exchange license from the SFC. 2. [Data: Open interest in Bitcoin futures reached US$5 billion, a record high] Skew data shows that open interest in bitcoin futures reached $5 billion on August 21, a record high. 3. [Polkadot has completed DOT split] At 00:48 Beijing time, Polkadot reached the block height of 1248328, and the DOT split (1:100) has been completed. The current single new DOT price is about $ 2.97s. [Today's market analysis] Bitcoin (BTC)BTC dropped to 11496 USDT at around 5 am today and then rebounded slightly. It is currently oscillating around 11550 USDT. Most mainstream currencies fell during the day. BTC is currently reporting 11466 USDT on LOEX Global, a drop of 2.22% in 24h. https://preview.redd.it/yb4pazhprhi51.png?width=554&format=png&auto=webp&s=6c643d328a61cb2df3629dfcda5bf309503adb62 It has been 5 months since the market was up in April. Bitcoin has gone from a minimum of 3800 USD to a maximum of 12448 USD. It has been a month since the impact of the 10,000-point mark. The investment market has always been a bull market and a short bear market. There is no currency that has been rising. The ups and downs are the norm in the market. It also depends on what everyone is discussing at the moment, so no matter how hot the discussion is now, the Defi track cannot be bypassed. Specific to the current projects, they are all hyped too hot. In many cases, mining is basically a waste of work and it is very difficult to make money, and new projects are launched too fast. It's basically time for one project per person. The most important thing is the mined tokens. The liquidity is too poor and they cannot be sold at all , unless it is a head star project. Most people who are chasing hot spots have made a lot of profits and have a strong demand for pockets. Although they are optimistic about the market outlook for a long time, they must be cautious at this stage. Especially in the short-term, people who watch a lot of market analysis every day, and many groups of news, stare at the market and watch small or shorter cycles are now anxious. Because the trend of the market has become complicated and difficult to grasp. It is possible to seek a stable point of emotion downward when the emotional instability is high. Operation suggestions: Support level: the first support level is 11000 points, the second support level is 10400 integers; Resistance level: the first resistance level is 11500 points, the second resistance level is 12000 points. LOEx is registered in Seychelles. It is a global one-stop digital asset service platform with business distribution nodes in 20 regions around the world. It has been exempted from Seychelles and Singapore Monetary Authority (MAS) digital currency trading services. Provide services and secure encrypted digital currency trading environment for 2 million community members in 24 hours.
Two Roads Diverge | Monthly FIRE Portfolio Update - May 2020
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken This is my forty-second portfolio update. I complete this update monthly to check my progress against my goal. Portfolio goal My objective is to reach a portfolio of $2 180 000 by 1 July 2021. This would produce a real annual income of about $87 000 (in 2020 dollars). This portfolio objective is based on an expected average real return of 3.99 per cent, or a nominal return of 6.49 per cent. Portfolio summary Vanguard Lifestrategy High Growth Fund – $727 917 Vanguard Lifestrategy Growth Fund – $42 128 Vanguard Lifestrategy Balanced Fund – $78 569 Vanguard Diversified Bonds Fund – $110 009 Vanguard Australian Shares ETF (VAS) – $187 003 Vanguard International Shares ETF (VGS) – $39 987 Betashares Australia 200 ETF (A200) – $225 540 Telstra shares (TLS) – $1 726 Insurance Australia Group shares (IAG) – $7 741 NIB Holdings shares (NHF) – $5 652 Gold ETF (GOLD.ASX) – $117 714 Secured physical gold – $18 982 Ratesetter (P2P lending) – $11 395 Bitcoin – $159 470 Raiz app (Aggressive portfolio) – $16 357 Spaceship Voyager app (Index portfolio) – $2 492 BrickX (P2P rental real estate) – $4 477 Total portfolio value: $1 757 159 (+$62 325 or 3.7%) Asset allocation Australian shares – 41.4% (3.6% under) Global shares – 22.2% Emerging markets shares – 2.3% International small companies – 3.0% Total international shares – 27.4% (2.6% under) Total shares – 68.8% (6.2% under) Total property securities – 0.3% (0.3% over) Australian bonds – 4.4% International bonds – 9.7% Total bonds – 14.1% (0.9% under) Gold – 7.8% Bitcoin – 9.1% Gold and alternatives – 16.9% (6.9% over) Presented visually, below is a high-level view of the current asset allocation of the portfolio. [Chart] Comments This month featured a further recovery in the overall portfolio, continuing to effectively reduce the size of the large losses across the first quarter. The portfolio has increased by around $62 000, leading to a portfolio growth of 3.7 per cent. This means that around half of the large recent falls have been made up, and the portfolio sits around levels last reached in October of last year. [Chart] Leading the portfolio growth has been increases in Australian shares - particularly those held through the Betashares A200 and Vanguard VAS exchange traded funds, with both gaining over four per cent. Most other holdings remained steady, or fell slightly. Markets appear to be almost entirely disconnected from the daily announcements of the sharp effects of the global coronavirus pandemic and the resulting restrictions. Bond and equity markets seem to have different and competing expectations for the future, and equity markets - at best - are apparently intent on looking through the immediate recovery phase to a new period of strong expansion. [Chart] On some metrics, both major global and Australian equity markets can be viewed as quite expensive, especially as reduced dividends announced have largely yet to be delivered. Yet if historically low bond yields are considered, it can be argued that some heightening compared to historical equity market valuations may be sustainable. Reflecting this moment of markets holding their breath before one of two possible futures plays out, gold and Bitcoin remain elevated, and consequently above their target weightings. Perhaps the same contending forces are in evidence in a recent Australian Securities and Investment Commission study (pdf) which has found that average Australian retail investors have reacted to uncertainty by activating old brokerage accounts, trading more frequently, and holding securities for shorter periods. My own market activity has been limited to purchases of Vanguard Australian shares ETF (VAS) and the international share ETF (VGS), to bring the portfolio closer to its target allocations. Will Australia continue to be lucky through global slow downs? Despite this burst of market activity in the retail market, it is unclear how Australian markets and equities will perform against the background of a global economic slowdown. A frequently heard argument is that a small open trade exposed commodities provider such as Australia, with a more narrowly-based economy, may perform poorly in a phase of heightened risk. This recent Bank of England paper (pdf) makes the intriguing suggestion that this argument is not borne out by the historical record. In fact, the paper finds that industrial production in Australia, China and a mere handful of other economies has tended to increase following global risk shocks. A question remaining, however, is whether the recovery from this 'risk shock' may have different characteristics and impacts than similar past events. One key question may be the exact form of government fiscal and monetary responses adopted. Another is whether inflation or deflation is the likely pathway - an unknown which itself may rely on whether long-term trends in the velocity of money supply continue, or are broken. Facing all uncertainties, attention should be on tail risks - and minimising the odds of extreme negative scenarios. The case for this is laid out in this moving reflection by Morgan Housel. For this reason, I am satisfied that my Ratesetter Peer-to-Peer loans have been gradually maturing, reducing some 'tail risk' credit exposures in what could be a testing phase for borrowers through new non-bank lending channels in Australia. With accrued interest of over $13 000, at rates of around 9 per cent on average, over the five years of the investment, the loans have performed relatively well. A temporary sheltering port - spending continues to decline This month spending has continued to fall even as lockdown and other restrictions have slowly begun to ease. These extraordinary events have pushed even the smoothed average of three year expenditure down. [Chart] On a monthly basis credit card spending and total expenses have hit the lowest levels in more than six years. Apparently, average savings rates are up across many economies, though obviously individual experiences and starting points can differ dramatically. Total estimated monthly expenditure has also fallen below current estimates of distributions for the first time since a period of exceptionally high distributions across financial year 2017-18. The result of this is that I am briefly and surprisingly, for this month, notionally financially independent based on assumed distributions from the FIRE portfolio alone - at least until more normal patterns of expenditure are resumed. Following the lines of drift - a longer view on progress made Yet taking a longer view - and accounting for the final portfolio goal set - gives a different perspective. This is of a journey reaching toward, but not at, an end. The chart below traces in purely nominal dollar terms the progress of the total portfolio value as a percentage of the current portfolio goal of $2.18 million over the last 13 years. It also shows three labels, with the percentage progress at the inception of detailed portfolio data in 2007, at the start of this written record in January 2017, and as at January 1 of this year. [Chart] Two trend lines are shown - one a polynomial and the other exponential function - and they are extended to include a projection of future progress out to around 18 months. The line of fit is close for the early part of the journey, but larger divergences from both trend lines are evident in the past two years as the impact of variable investment returns on a larger portfolio takes hold. There are some modest inaccuracies introduced by the nominal methodology adopted - such as somewhat discounting early progress. A 2007 dollar had greater 'real' value and significance than is assigned to it by this representation. The chart does demonstrate, however, the approximate shape and length of the early journey - with it taking around 5 years to reach 20 per cent of the target, and 10 years to reach around half way. Progress Progress against the objective, and the additional measures I have reached is set out below. Measure Portfolio All Assets Portfolio objective – $2 180 000 (or $87 000 pa) 80.6% 108.4% Credit card purchases – $71 000 pa 98.3% 132.3% Total expenses – $89 000 pa 78.8% 106.0% Summary With aspects of daily life slowly and incrementally adjusting to a 'new normal', the longer-term question for the portfolio remains around how markets and government actions interact in a recovery phase. The progress of the portfolio over the past 13 years has seemed, when viewed from afar as in chart above, predictable, and almost inevitable. Through the years it has felt anything but so smoothly linear. Rather, tides and waves have pushed and pulled, in turn stalling progress, or pushing it further ahead than hopes have dared. It is possible that what lays ahead is a simple 'return leg', or more of the same. That through simple extrapolation around 80 per cent of the challenges already lay behind. Yet that is not the set of mind that I approach the remainder of the journey with. Rather, the shortness of the distance to travel has lent an extra focus on those larger, lower probability, events that could delay the journey or push it off-course. Those 'third' risks types of tail risks which Morgan Housel points out. In one sense the portfolio allocation aims to deal - in a probabilistic way - with the multiple futures that could occur. Viewed in this way, a gold allocation (and also Bitcoin) represents a long option on an extreme state of the economic world arising - as it did in the early 1980s. The 75 per cent target allocation to equities can be viewed as a high level of assurance around a 'base case' that human ingenuity and innovation will continue to create value over the long term. The bond portfolio, similarly, can be seen as assigning a 15 per cent probability that both of these hypotheses are incorrect, and that further market falls and possible deflation are ahead. That perhaps even an experience akin to the lengthy, socially dislocating, post-bubble phase in Japan presided over by its central bank lays in store. In other interesting media consumed this month, 'Fire and Chill', the brand new podcast collaboration between Pat the Shuffler and Strong Money Australia got off to an enjoyable start, tackling 'Why Bother with FIRE' and other topics. Additionally, investment company Incrementum has just published the latest In Gold We Trust report, which gives an arrestingly different perspective on potential market and policy directions from traditional financial sources. The detailed report questions the role and effectiveness of traditionally 'risk-free' assets like government bonds in the types of futures that could emerge. On first reading, the scenarios it contains appear atypical and beyond the reasonable contemplation of many investors - until it is recalled that up to a few years ago no mainstream economics textbook would have entertained the potential for persistent negative interest rates. As the paths to different futures diverge, drawing on the wisdom of others to help look as far as possible into the bends in the undergrowth ahead becomes the safest choice. The post, links and full charts can be seen here.
The power players of consumer finance in the 21st century will be crypto-native companies who build with blockchain technology at their core.
The crypto landscape is still nascent. We’re still very much in the fragmented, unbundled phase of the industry lifecycle. Beyond what Genesis Block is doing, there are signs of other companies slowly starting to bundle financial services into what could be an all-in-one bank replacement. So the key question that this series hopes to answer:
Which crypto-native company will successfully become the bank of the future?
We obviously think Genesis Block is well-positioned to win. But we certainly aren’t the only game in town. In this series, we’ll be doing an analysis of who is most capable of thwarting our efforts. We’ll look at categories like crypto exchanges, crypto wallets, centralized lending & borrowing services, and crypto debit card companies. Each category will have its own dedicated post. Today we’re analyzing big crypto exchanges. The two companies we’ll focus on today are Coinbase (biggest American exchange) and Binance (biggest global exchange). They are the top two exchanges in terms of Bitcoin trading volume. They are in pole position to winning this market — they have a huge existing userbase and strong financial resources. Will Coinbase or Binance become the bank of the future? Can their early success propel them to winning the broader consumer finance market? Is their growth too far ahead for anyone else to catch up? Let’s dive in. https://preview.redd.it/lau4hevpm7f51.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=2c5de1ba497199f36aa194e5809bd86e5ab533d8
The most formidable exchange on the global stage is Binance (Crunchbase). All signs suggest they have significantly more users and a stronger balance sheet than Coinbase. No other exchange is executing as aggressively and relentlessly as Binance is. The cadence at which they are shipping and launching new products is nothing short of impressive. As Tushar Jain from Multicoin argues, Binance is Blitzscaling. Here are some of the products that they’ve launched in the last 18 months. Only a few are announced but still pre-launch.
Binance is well-positioned to become the crypto-powered, all-in-one, bundled solution for financial services. They already have so many of the pieces. But the key question is:
Can they create a cohesive & united product experience?
Binance is strong, but they do have a few major weaknesses that could slow them down.
Traders & Speculators Binance is currently very geared for speculators, traders, and financial professionals. Their bread-and-butter is trading (spot, margin, options, futures). Their UI is littered with depth charts, order books, candlesticks, and other financial concepts that are beyond the reach of most normal consumers. Their product today is not at all tailored for the broader consumer market. Given Binance’s popularity and strength among the pro audience, it’s unlikely that they will dumb down or simplify their product any time soon. That would jeopardize their core business. Binance will likely need an entirely new product/brand to go beyond the pro user crowd. That will take time (or an acquisition). So the question remains, is Binance even interested in the broader consumer market? Or will they continue to focus on their core product, the one-stop-shop for pro crypto traders?
Controversies & Hot Water Binance has had a number of controversies. No one seems to know where they are based — so what regulatory agencies can hold them accountable? Last year, some sensitive, private user data got leaked. When they announced their debit card program, they had to remove mentions of Visa quickly after. And though the “police raid” story proved to be untrue, there are still a lot of questions about what happened with their Shanghai office shut down (where there is smoke, there is fire). If any company has had a “move fast and break things” attitude, it is Binance. That attitude has served them well so far but as they try to do business in more regulated countries like America, this will make their road much more difficult — especially in the consumer market where trust takes a long time to earn, but can be destroyed in an instant. This is perhaps why the Binance US product is an empty shell when compared to their main global product.
Disjointed Product Experience Because Binance has so many different teams launching so many different services, their core product is increasingly feeling disjointed and disconnected. Many of the new features are sloppily integrated with each other. There’s no cohesive product experience. This is one of the downsides of executing and shipping at their relentless pace. For example, users don’t have a single wallet that shows their balances. Depending on if the user wants to do spot trading, margin, futures, or savings… the user needs to constantly be transferring their assets from one wallet to another. It’s not a unified, frictionless, simple user experience. This is one major downside of the “move fast and break things” approach.
BNB token Binance raised $15M in a 2017 ICO by selling their $BNB token. The current market cap of $BNB is worth more than $2.6B. Financially this token has served them well. However, given how BNB works (for example, their token burn), there are a lot of open questions as to how BNB will be treated with US security laws. Their Binance US product so far is treading very lightly with its use of BNB. Their token could become a liability for Binance as it enters more regulated markets. Whether the crypto community likes it or not, until regulators get caught up and understand the power of decentralized technology, tokens will still be a regulatory burden — especially for anything that touches consumers.
Binance Chain & Smart Contract Platform Binance is launching its own smart contract platform soon. Based on compatibility choices, they have their sights aimed at the Ethereum developer community. It’s unclear how easy it’ll be to convince developers to move to Binance chain. Most of the current developer energy and momentum around smart contracts is with Ethereum. Because Binance now has their own horse in the race, it’s unlikely they will ever decide to leverage Ethereum’s DeFi protocols. This could likely be a major strategic mistake — and hubris that goes a step too far. Binance will be pushing and promoting protocols on their own platform. The major risk of being all-in on their own platform is that they miss having a seat on the Ethereum rocket ship — specifically the growth of DeFi use-cases and the enormous value that can be unlocked. Integrating with Ethereum’s protocols would be either admitting defeat of their own platform or competing directly against themselves.
The crypto-native company that I believe is more likely to become the bank of the future is Coinbase (crunchbase). Their dominance in America could serve as a springboard to winning the West (Binance has a stronger foothold in Asia). Coinbase has more than 30M users. Their exchange business is a money-printing machine. They have a solid reputation as it relates to compliance and working with regulators. Their CEO is a longtime member of the crypto community. They are rumored to be going public soon.
Let’s look at what makes them strong and a likely contender for winning the broader consumer finance market.
Different Audience, Different Experience Coinbase has been smart to create a unique product experience for each audience — the pro speculator crowd and the common retail user. Their simple consumer version is at Coinbase.com. That’s the default. Their product for the more sophisticated traders and speculators is at Coinbase Pro (formerly GDAX). Unlike Binance, Coinbase can slowly build out the bank of the future for the broad consumer market while still having a home for their hardcore crypto traders. They aren’t afraid to have different experiences for different audiences.
Brand & Design Coinbase has a strong product design team. Their brand is capable of going beyond the male-dominated crypto audience. Their product is clean and simple — much more consumer-friendly than Binance. It’s clear they spend a lot of time thinking about their user experience. Interacting directly with crypto can sometimes be rough and raw (especially for n00bs). When I was at Mainframe we hosted a panel about Crypto UX challenges at the DevCon4 Dapp Awards. Connie Yang (Head of Design at Coinbase) was on the panel. She was impressive. Some of their design philosophies will bode well as they push to reach the broader consumer finance market.
Early Signs of Bundling Though Coinbase has nowhere near as many products & services as Binance, they are slowly starting to add more financial services that may appeal to the broader market. They are now letting depositors earn interest on USDC (also DAI & Tezos). In the UK they are piloting a debit card. Users can now invest in crypto with dollar-cost-averaging. It’s not much, but it’s a start. You can start to see hints of a more bundled solution around financial services.
Let’s now look at some things that could hold them back.
Slow Cadence In the fast-paced world of crypto, and especially when compared to Binance, Coinbase does not ship very many new products very often. This is perhaps their greatest weakness. Smaller, more nimble startups may run circles around them. They were smart to launch Coinbase Ventures where tey invest in early-stage startups. They can now keep an ear to the ground on innovation. Perhaps their cadence is normal for a company of their size — but the Binance pace creates quite the contrast.
Institutional Focus As a company, we are a Coinbase client. We love their institutional offering. It’s clear they’ve been investing a lot in this area. A recent Coinbase blog post made it clear that this has been a focus: “Over the past 12 months, Coinbase has been laser-focused on building out the types of features and services that our institutional customers need.” Their Tagomi acquisition only re-enforced this focus. Perhaps this is why their consumer product has felt so neglected. They’ve been heavily investing in their institutional services since May 2018. For a company that’s getting very close to an IPO, it makes sense that they’d focus on areas that present strong revenue opportunities — as they do with institutional clients. Even for big companies like Coinbase, it’s hard to have a split focus. If they are “laser-focused” on the institutional audience, it’s unlikely they’ll be launching any major consumer products anytime soon.
Coinbase Wrap Up
At Genesis Block, we‘re proud to be working with Coinbase. They are a fantastic company. However, I don’t believe that they’ll succeed in building their own product for the broader consumer finance market. While they have incredible design, there are no signs that they are focused on or capable of internally building this type of product. Similar to Binance, I think it’s far more likely that Coinbase acquires a promising young startup with strong growth.
Other US-based exchanges worth mentioning are Kraken, Gemini, and Bittrex. So far we’ve seen very few signs that any of them will aggressively attack broader consumer finance. Most are going in the way of Binance — listing more assets and adding more pro tools like margin and futures trading. And many, like Coinbase, are trying to attract more institutional customers. For example, Gemini with their custody product.
Coinbase and Binance have huge war chests and massive reach. For that alone, they should always be considered threats to Genesis Block. However, their products are very, very different than the product we’re building. And their approach is very different as well. They are trying to educate and onboard people into crypto. At Genesis Block, we believe the masses shouldn’t need to know or care about it. We did an entire series about this, Spreading Crypto. Most everyone needs banking — whether it be to borrow, spend, invest, earn interest, etc. Not everyone needs a crypto exchange. For non-crypto consumers (the mass market), the differences between a bank and a crypto exchange are immense. Companies like Binance and Coinbase make a lot of money on their crypto exchange business. It would be really difficult, gutsy, and risky for any of them to completely change their narrative, messaging, and product to focus on the broader consumer market. I don’t believe they would ever risk biting the hand that feeds them. In summary, as it relates to a digital bank aimed at the mass market, I believe both Coinbase and Binance are much more likely to acquire a startup in this space than they are to build it themselves. And I think they would want to keep the brand/product distinct and separate from their core crypto exchange business. So back to the original question, is Coinbase and Binance a threat to Genesis Block? Not really. Not today. But they could be, and for that, we want to stay close to them. ------ Other Ways to Consume Today's Episode:
16 Apps That Will Earn You Passive Cash Back (Best Passive Saving Apps 2020)
This is the updated 2020 Q1/Q2 version of this post. If you remember reading the previous iteration of this post, there are several changes to the list this time around. Some new additions, and some removals. Note: Most of these apps will be US only, with a minimum age requirement of 18. Having said that, let's get right into it.
Pei is an automatic cash back app. When you sign up, you'll link a debit/credit card and you'll then automatically start earning cash back as you shop at certain Pei merchants (listed just below). There are so many merchants with Pei that you'll likely find yourself accidentally earning cash back on the app, without even knowing it. Pei is an app that you can really just link a card and then check back weeks later and surprise yourself with the money you've earned. Pei deserves the top spot in this post because of how consistent it is, and just how many places you can earn cash back with it. You can cash out instantly as soon as you reach $25 in your account. If you sign up with a referral code, you'll get a $2.50 bonus once you spend at a Pei merchant. You can use the referral code found on the most common Beermoney Sites thread here.
Pros of Pei:
Cash Back at a lot of locations, and more are added frequently.
Cash out via PayPal, Bitcoin, or Prepaid Visa.
So with all of that being said, let's talk about the stores you can find on Pei. Just note that these are only stores that are local to me, so if I don't have a certain store near me that Pei offers, I won't have it on this list. Additionally, Pei actually offers so many stores at this point that there's no way for me to actually keep this list up to date at all. There have been countless times where I've shopped somewhere that doesn't even come up as an option to earn with Pei but I'll see cash back listed on the app. It's really quite impressive.
Target - 1%
Uber - 1%
Lyft - 1%
Chipotle - 1.2%
Chick-Fil-A - 1%
Panda Express - 1.5%
Petco - 1%
PetSmart - 1%
Sephora - 1%
Banana Republic - 1%
American Eagle Outfitters - 1%
Gap - 1%
Old Navy - 1%
Taco Bell - 2%
Dominos Pizza - 1.5%
CVS - 1%
Starbucks - 1%
AMC - 2%
GameStop - 1.2%
Subway - 1.5%
7-Eleven - 1%
Dunkin' Donuts - 1.5%
Walgreens - 0.5%
Nordstrom - 1%
Supercuts - 2%
ZARA - 1.2%
Express - 1%
H&M - 1.2%
Urban Outfitters - 1%
+ Local locations - ~5%
In addition to receiving cash back at many locations, Pei also has a 'loyalty bonus' where if you shop at a certain store 5x you'll earn a bonus of up to $100 (but usually way less). Pei Also just released a new feature called "Party Cash". Basically with Party Cash if you ever go shopping somewhere with your friends who also have Pei, you can start a party, and for each friend you shop with, each person will get a +1% bonus. For example, if I go shopping at Target with 2 other friends and we all start a Party Cash on Pei, we'll each get 1% (for usual cash back) plus 2% cash back from Party Cash, for a total of 3% cash back. Most stores do have a $5 daily/weekly earning limit, so do be aware that if you spend more than ~$500, you'll likely reach an earning cap.
Dosh is one fastest growing cash back apps on this list. Similar to Pei, it's a card linked program where you'll automatically earn cash back when you shop at several local and national brands. On average you'll earn 3-5% cash back when you shop at the brands featured on Dosh. As soon as you hit $25 in your balance, you can cash out to PayPal. The biggest downfall of Dosh is that the offers in the app change frequently, and the offers are targeted, meaning that not everyone will see the same offers. Below are some of the current offers for instant cash back that you might find on Dosh. Note that only instant cash back offers found on the app will earn you cash back automatically when you spend with your card.
Sam's Club - 5%
Walmart Grocery - 2%
Dunkin' - 4%
Wendy's - 3%
Uber - ?%
Papa John's 3%
Many local places - 5%
More that I'm not targeted for
Dosh also does have a generous referral program where you'll get $5 when you sign up and link a card, and so will the referrer. If you'd like to, you can enter my code, KJK6 or use my referral link (nonref) BTW, If you've heard of Dosh before, that might make sense. If you use Venmo and have the Venmo debit card, they recently introduced Venmo Rewards, which is powered by Dosh.
HOOCH has earned the number 3 spot on this list this time around because of all the programs on this list, it has remained consistent. HOOCH will automatically earn you cash back when you link a credit/debit card whenever you shop at several national brands. If you understand how Pei or Dosh above works, there's not really much more to say about HOOCH's cash back system. You'll instantly earn 1% cash back at the following national brands:
In addition to 1% cash back at the national brands, here are some other ways you'll earn with HOOCH:
Connecting your first card ($5 bonus)
Drink at a HOOCH Venue (5%)
Book a Hotel (5%)
Dine at a HOOCH Venue (5%)
HOOCH started a long while back as a subscription app where you'll buy a subscription and you'll get a free drink at a HOOCH venue every day. The venues are extremely limited, so a majority of the people reading this won't find any value in that plan. Dining is just as rare. Their referral system appears to be pretty generous. They're currently offering a $5 bonus for signing up, as well as $1 for the referrer, as well as a 20% bonus on their earnings for life.Here's my referral link, and a nonref link :) Here's the downfall of HOOCH: You can only cash out for gift cards, and the minimum is $25. For most people, this is a really big disadvantage of this app. Assuming that most people will only be earning through the 1% cash back brands, the minimum you'll need to spend in order to his the cash out minimum is $2500, which would likely take most people a really long time, since the brand options are not places where you're likely to spend a lot of money frequently...like, for example, a grocery store. But still, you could probably earn yourself a few free gift cards every once in a while for a totally passive app.
Bumped is an investing app, when you really boil it down. When you sign up you'll select one brand in each category (there are a lot of categories, you'll see below), and each time you shop at the selected brand, you'll earn the certain specified purchase back in the form of company stock. This is unique to all of the other apps on this list, because you're actually receiving company stock. Also, because of this, I think it's very important to note that in order to sign up for Bumped you'll need to enter your SSN since you will be opening up a brokerage account. As of posting, the following are the category options that you can choose from: I've bolded the brands I selected. Obviously you should pick a brand that you can find yourself using the most. Do note that if you pick a brand that you might want to change later, you'll get the opportunity to change your brands 3 times a year, at least 30 days in between.
3% at Jack in the Box
3% at McDonald's
3% at Wendy's
2% at Dunkin' Donuts
2% at Starbucks
2% at CVS
1% at Walgreens
2% at Applebees
2% at Chili's
2% at Olive Garden
2% at Red Robin
1% at Kroger Family of Stores
0.5% at The Home Depot
2% at Chipotle Mexican Grill
2% at Taco Bell
1% at Pandora
5% at Spotify
1% at Domino's
5% at Papa John's
2% at Pizza Hut
0.5% at Lyft
0.5% at Uber
1% at Target
1% at Walmart
0.5% at AT&T
0.5% at T-Mobile
0.5% at Verizon Wireless
1% at Netflix
5% at Sling TV
1% at Willamette Valley Vineyards
One thing that is listed on the app is that if you want to move your way up on the waitlist you can refer your friends to join the waitlist as well.
Bits (of stock) is very similar to Bumped. It's better in some ways, but worse in most. Similar to Bumped, there's a waitlist. Note that Bits is currently only available on iOS, but they have teased a version for Android will be coming. So, here's the issue with Bits... There's no brokerage accounts set up. If you're not sure what that means, basically in order for you to actually own and trade stocks, you'll need to do it through a brokerage account. For example, if you use Robinhood, you own a brokerage account at Robinhood. If you use TD Ameritrade, you'll have a brokerage account at TD Ameritrade. So basically the app will say that you're getting stock back as you spend, but there's no way to actually sell your stock. Basically what I'm saying is that until the brokerage account is added, you're really just receiving play money. Bits has been extremely silent about the release of the brokerage accounts... I asked them back in December and they said they were aiming to release it "next month". Three months have passed since then, so I asked last week and they again said the same thing.. the goal is a release next month (April). We'll just have to wait and see. The point here is -- assume you're not earning anything with Bits until they add the brokerage accounts. This post will be updated once the accounts are added. So, as for the actual cash back from Bits, you're able to choose 15 brands (that you can change at any time). I'll list the brands you can choose from below. What's interesting is that when the app first launched, all of the brands offered a 2% CB rate (which is unsustainably high). The rates have since come down to 0.5% for all brands. To save characters, here's a recording of me scrolling through the brands offered. If you don't want to watch that video, just know that there are a lot of brands to choose from.
Ibottais a cash back app that has been around for years, but this is its first time being added to this list. When the app originally launched, you would earn on the app by selecting cash back products that you could purchase and receive a rebate. Once you selected products you wanted to purchase, you would then scan the products after purchasing them to confirm your purchase, and then submit a photo of your receipt. That doesn't sound too passive, now, does it? Well, over the last little while, the app has come a very long way. In most cases you no longer need to select rebates you want to purchase, and in most cases you don't even need to scan a receipt, if you're shopping somewhere where you can link a rewards membership. For example, I shop at Meijer and Target primarily for groceries. Both of these stores allow me to link my accounts with the stores, so for Target any time I shop and spend using a credit card that is linked to my Target account, I'll get cash back automatically. Same thin for Meijer. As soon as I enter my mPerks phone number, I'll get cash back. What's great is that you don't even have to select offers anymore. So this is one of those cases where you might accidentally get cash back. Also, just to clarify, you're getting cash back for the products you purchase, not the place that you're shopping... which is different than most of the other apps featured on this list. Even if you don't purchase a product that qualifies for a rebate, you'll probably find yourself earning cash back almost every time you shop because Ibotta has several "Any" offers, meaning any time you buy "any" kind of a product, say.. blinker fluid, for example, you'll earn cash back for your blinker fluid purchase regardless of the brand. These offers are optimal for cash back. I personally went a whole couple months without opening Ibotta and I showed up to $50 in cash back from purchases I didn't even know I was getting cash back for. Another newer feature of the app (which isn't passive) is Ibotta Pay. Ibotta Pay is basically just a glorified way of purchasing gift cards and receiving cash back for the gift card purchase. In addition to this cash back, you'll also find several bonuses where if you redeem x offers, you'll get a certain $ boost. For example, I currently have an offer for a $10 bonus if I redeem 14 offers before the bonus expires in just a few days. I've redeemed 2 so far, so I'm not sure if I'll be getting there in time. (BTW, if you're ever cutting it close, just note that Ibotta Pay will work where each gift card purchase will qualify for a completed offer ;)) Ibotta also does have a generous referral program. They do referral offers very frequently where you can earn bonuses, but the current offer is $4 for each friend you invite. Please consider using the referral link found in the Most Common Beermoney Sites thread.
Uber Visa Local Offers
Shop or dine out, get Uber credits back.
Use your Visa card next time you dine out or go on a shopping spree at a featured store and earn Uber credits toward future rides. To join, go to settings in your Uber app and tap on Visa Local Offers.
Whenever you shop out at certain places you'll instantly receive uber credits to your account. It's really simple, and yes, this does stack with all of the other cash back apps you might be a part of. The brands they offer do change semi-frequently, so you should check them from time to time. In the past there have been 100% cash back offers for streaming services, and 10-20% cash back at Sam's Club. Considering that these offers do stack, there is some really great potential if you find any value in uber credit. If you're interested in activating the Visa local offers, you'll need to make sure you have a visa card linked to your Uber account first, and then you should see "activate local offers" in the app settings or payment settings of Uber. There's really not much to say about Visa Local Offers, but if you're looking for some FAQ/Terms, feel free to check them all out here.
For those if you who don't know what Cash App is, Cash App is an app by Square that lets you send and receive payments. They've also expanded their app to support bitcoin purchases, and they'll also let you use the app as a checking account. With the cash app you can also sign up to receive the Cash Card, which is a debit card that is funded with your cash app balance. If you have not used Cash App before, they do have a fancy referral program where when you sign up and send $50 you'll receive $5 and so will I. I do want to make this very clear: Cash App referrals can see the full name of the person who refers you, and the person who refers you will have your full name shown to them. If you're really private about personal information, be careful whose referral link you use. If you trust me, here's my referral link. Please note that if you want to use the cash app boosts that I'm talking about, you'll need to be 18 years old and have the cash card (which is free, don't worry)! Cash App announced that their cash card will be seeing 'boosts'. Boosts are their fancy way of saying that when you use our card at certain locations you'll receive a discount. Once you have the cash card, you'll notice on the app below your card you'll be able to select your boost. The following are my personal boost options, as of posting. The boosts change frequently,
$5 Off One Order on DoorDash
10% Off One Visit at Any Grocery Store
10% Off One Visit at Dollar Tree
10% Off One Visit at Walgreens
10% Off One Visit at Nike
10% Off One Visit at Walmart
$5 Off One Ride at Lyft
10% Off Each Visit at Bath & Body Works
10% Off Each Visit at Playstation Network
10% Off Each Visit at Xbox
10% off Each Visit at Chick-Fil-A
10% Off Each Visit at Taco Bell
10% Off Each Visit at Dominos
10% Off Each Visit at Portillo's.
Boosts tend to change every Friday, but several boosts will remain for a long period of time. The longest lasting boost, which just went away in the last week is the $1 off Any Coffee Shop. It stuck around for almost 2 years, and anyone who had that boost applied would automatically save $1 every time they shop at any coffee shop, without any interaction. So there are quite a few things I want to say & clear up.
You can use a boost every 1 hour.
You must select the boost that you'd like to use prior to the purchase. You're able to swap which boost you want to use as often as you'd like. So when you walk into Chick-Fil-A, just check and make sure your boost is set to CFA. If not, swap it.
In order to apply the boost, you must pay with the Cash Card. It's automatic. If your total is $6 and you're saving 10%, you'll only need a Cash app balance of $5.4 for the transaction. Cash App will cover the other $0.60.
If you link your Cash Card to Apple Pay, you can pay with it that way and the boosts will still be applied.
Do realize that just because you have the Cash Card on the app, you won't see the boosts. You need to have the physical Cash Card in your possession for the boosts to show up. I've been really enjoying using the Cash Card for purchases. Especially at CFA & Chipotle. It's really not a hassle. When I'm standing in line at Chipotle I'll open the app and make sure my cash app balance is enough and if not I'll just add funds right away. The boost is applied immediately which makes you feel good. It's like the guac is free at Chipotle after you use the cash card. The only downside to using the Cash Card is that you won't be able to stack discounts with anything else on this list... Unless you find a way to link the Cash Card to any of the things on this list. Regardless, 10% off at Chipotle is the best I have found.
Venmo recently announced Venmo Rewards. Take what you know about Cash App's boosts and then apply something similar to Venmo's debit card. Venmo Rewards is actually a bit easier than Cash App's boosts because it truly requires no input from you whatsoever. The tradeoff is that the cash back rates are lower. If Cash App's average discount would get you 10% off, Venmo would be about 4%. So here's how Venmo Rewards works:
Simply use your Venmo card at participating merchants—stores you know and love— to earn rewards. Zero setup required. See list of participating merchants in the app.
Get a Venmo card Learn More
Swipe your card at participating merchants
Automatically earn cashback straight to your Venmo balance. (Seriously. That’s it.)
As mentioned above in the section about Dosh, Venmo Rewards is powered by Dosh, and similar to Dosh, the cash back options are targeted. I personally can't use Venmo so I don't have the current list that most people will be seeing as far as opportunities go, but Venmo Rewards originally launched (in November 2019) with the following CB opportunities:
4% Sam’s Club
5% Papa John’s
Evan on DoC commented earlier this month with their updated CB opportunities: Dunkin Donuts 4%, Sephora 5%, Macy’s 4%, JCPenney 5%, Sam’s Club 4%, 1-800-flowers.com 15%, Papa Johns 5%, Forever 21 4%, Frank and Oak 5%)
4% Walmart & Walmart Grocery
4% Sam's Club
5% Papa John's
4% Forever 21
5% Frank and Oak
What I can make from this is that the options have not changed much, and have actually expanded, with a couple exceptions. If you're a Venmo user, I think this is a pretty decent reason to get the debit card. The 4% at Sam's Club and Walmart is a pretty good deal for most people, especially if there are no limits to the cash back you can earn.
I've listed this as "Empyr Apps" because all of these apps are basically just the same thing. I'll take the example of Swagbucks Local since that's what most of you reading this will already be using. If you paid attention in the Visa Local Offers section of this post, you'll find that the Empyr apps are actually very similar to those visa local offers. When you shop at a certain store/restaurant, you'll earn with the empyr app you have linked. It's actually really not that special. Here's a list of some/most of the current Empyr powered apps:
IMPORTANT NOTE: You're only allowed to use one Empyr app at a time! As soon as you link up with another Empyr app, you'll be disqualified from another until you link back up. I do want to go into this list a bit this time around since there seem to be more and more Empyr apps popping up. Swagbucks Local will always be popular among Swagbucks users. What's really nice about Swagbucks Local is that the payouts are always instantly converted to Swagbucks, which can help you cash out sooner. You'll also likely get a slot in the Swago board filled out, which might be beneficial to you. RetailMeNot is a newer one on this list and it's the only one here that I feel like I recommend you go on/off with. RetailMeNot has recently been doing a lot of "Spend $X, get $Y" deals at a lot of the stores they offer. For example, they are currently offering $5 Cash back for in Store purchases of $30+ at Staples. This is a really good deal for an Empyr app, and would probably be my pick for that transaction, but not most of the time since they don't have very many stores as options.
Alright, so Drop has gone through a lot of changes since the last time this post was updated. Drop used to be the best passive cash back app without any debate. It was also one of the first apps to offer a card link cash back program. Over the last several months (and years), their card link program has seen several devaluations. First they removed brands you could pick from to receive cash back (for example, when I first joined, you could choose to earn cash back each time you shopped at Amazon, but new users would later not see Amazon as an option). They later lowered the cash back rate. For example, Target went from 1%, to 0.2%. And finally they limited new users to pick from 5 brands to receive cash back at to just 3. In February 2020 Drop announced a change to the way their card linked cash back would work.. They since have removed their 'power offers' (the offers where you automatically earn cash back at brands), and have replaced it with card link 'Challenges'. These challenges have just recently launched, so it's hard to tell whether or not these will be passive or worthwhile altogether. I currently have one ongoing challenge where if I spend $10+ at Target with a linked card, I'll get 250 points ($0.25), which is pretty insignificant. As far as I can tell, they seem to have ditched all other forms of card linked cash back from their app. If the challenges turn out to have nothing passive about them, or have no proof of being worthwhile, Drop will likely not even be on this list the next time around. So let's talk about some features of Drop since we're on the topic. Drop has clearly moved away from passive cash back, and has focused more on becoming a cash back app in the form of portal earnings and specific offers. Several of these offers are unique to drop, which is good, but when it comes to portal cash back, the rates are often on par or slightly below the offerings you could find on Cashback Monitor. Another thing about Drop that people are (rightfully) upset about is the change that now requires you to save up $25 worth of points (25,000) in order to cash out. The minimum previously was just $5. The only feature about Drop that hasn't been nerfed to the ground is their referral program. When you refer your friends you'll earn $5 once they link a card, and they'll get $5 as well. Overall I'm not too hopeful that Drop will remain passive at all, so this might be the app's last appearance on this list for the foreseeable future.
I've refrained from listing credit cards on this post for a long time. Maybe because I thought it was too obvious, or maybe it was unnecessary, but since the number of younger people using this subreddit has been increasing I feel like I'd be doing a disservice to entirely disclude a blurb about credit cards. If you have a credit card and you don't really care to learn more about credit cards, just skip this section. If you're reading this post and you're 18+ (or if you're about to turn 18) and you don't have a credit card or don't know much about credit cards, I think it's a good idea to look into them. I'm not going to tell you exactly what a credit card is since that's an easy google search, but I will tell you about some benefits, especially about those that pertain to the benefits of this post. Credit cards are great because you can essentially spend money just like you normally would*, but you'll also earn cash back on all/almost all of the purchases you make with them. Additionally, especially if you're young, getting a credit card is a really great because it will start helping you build credit. I'm currently looking into renting a house next year with two housemates and I'm shocked to see that neither of them have any credit. They quite honestly couldn't possibly live in a house without me, since I'm the only one who has credit. *Make sure you're paying off your credit card every month (or however often you need)... Don't let yourself get into debt. I'd argue if you think you're going to get into debt with a credit card, I'd personally suggest you don't get a credit card. While you need to be 18 years old to get your own credit card, if you're under 18, you can still start gaining credit. Most major credit card companies will allow your parents to add you as an authorized signer on their credit card (which basically just means that you'll get permission to use their cards). An effect of this is that you'll start gaining credit. If you're looking to build up credit but you don't think you're ready for a credit card, I'd really recommend you ask your parents about becoming an authorized signer. It's a good conversation to have with your parents. Anyways, let's talk about the cash back benefits, since that's what this post is about, after all. There's a lot of credit cards. This post isn't going to list them all out. This isn't really even the right subreddit for credit card discussion. Nerdwallet has a great list of credit cards, so you might want to check it out here, but I'm going to share my own personal situation and recommend that for anyone who might relate, since the average age on this subreddit is around the 18-25 range. My first credit card was the Chase Freedom Unlimited card. I actually still use this credit card very frequently since it's a pretty balanced card. A couple years back on my 18th birthday I went into my local chase branch and physically had to beg for this card (it's a really beginner card, trust me). After getting denied both in bank and online, I finally found a rep who would give me a calm $500 credit limit for the card. Note: I had no credit before hand. The Chase Freedom Unlimited card offers 1.5% cash back on all purchases with the card... so when you think about it, I'd previously been spending $100 at Chipotle every month with my debit card, but with the Freedom Unlimited card, I would now be getting 1.5% cash back ($1.50) back on those purchases. It's just an easy way to save money on everything. If you use the other apps I suggest in this post, you'll likely earn cash back passively from them on certain brands that are featured, but stacking a credit card cash back on top of all the other bonuses is the absolute best way to earn passive cash back since it's usually 1-5% cash back on your purchases.
ReceiptPal is an app that allows you to upload your receipts from almost anywhere that you go shopping. It's actually a really simple process. When you sign up you'll be presented with almost little scratch cards which contains 4 spaces. Each space is filled with a receipt that you upload. Once you reach 4 receipts, you'll earn 100 points. 300/400 points = $1, so basically every 16 receipts you upload you'll receive ~$1. "So, mr Fishering, how is this passive!?" Unlike most receipt apps, ReceiptPal allows you to link your emails and amazon account and they'll automatically upload receipts for you. I actually let this app alone for several months and came back to thousands of points and cashed out instantly. If you make purchases online, you'll essentially be earning ~$0.07 for every purchase you make if you have your email linked. They'll automatically find receipts and submit them, so it's 100% passive earnings. If you also shop IRL you can submit physical receipts as well. You can cash out instantly for $5 minimum in the form of a gift card. I'd recommend saving up at least 7,500 points for a $25 gift card, since it'll value points at 300/$1.
Paribus is not your typical cash back site. Once you sign up you can link your different accounts (such as your amazon account) and it will automatically track your shopping. Paribus doesn't directly earn you cash back... it acts more like Walmart's saving catcher if you've ever heard of that. If an item you buy somewhere goes on sale shortly after or if there's any other discounts/promotions you may have missed when you originally bought something, they'll quietly get you a rebate on whatever you purchased. It can be very hit or miss. The catch is that they do take a cut of your savings. I believe it is 30% for all new users, but for each member you refer you can cut the cut by 5%. If you save $10, they'll charge you $3 to whatever card you have linked. Personally I've found it to be really hit or miss, but I've found some incredible savings. I bought a gopro and I got $15 saved with Paribus, and I also got $50 back from some really nice headphones I picked up on amazon from Amazon. What's weird is I bought the headphones like 6 months prior to the rebate. Was shocking to see it, but I've really had some good luck with Paribus.
After the last post, I noticed a lot of people enjoyed Paribus, so I figured it'd be good to add some alternatives in this post. So, here's Sift. Sift is a similar site to Paribus, and its key focus is on enforcing credit card benefits that many people don't know about. It's actually pretty nice. It'll let you pick your credit card and it'll tell you pretty much everything about your card. I have the Chase Freedom Unlimited card, and I was actually shocked to hear some of the benefits my card has that I have never been taking advantage of. From Sift's site:
We automatically comb through your credit card policies to show you all your benefits in one place. For every purchase we let you know what benefits you are eligible for. We streamline the claim process to make it as simple as possible to get your money back.
You can link your emails as well as your amazon account as well and they'll make it really easy for you. I have not actually used Sift much myself, so I cannot attest to how well it works, but the app store reviews are generally positive for Sift.
Trim is similar to Paribus and Sift, but there's a certain void that it's trying to fill that the other two don't really seem to be filling. Trim's main selling point is its bill negotiations. Instead of trying to save you money when a price drops, they're going to try and just nip it right in the bud and try to get your bills lower. Right now they're mainly trying to negotiate with cell providers, internet providers, and cable providers. Here's how the process goes:
Submit Your Bill: Submit your most recent cell phone, cable or internet bill to get started.
Trim Negotiates: Trim negotiates with your provider to get you discounts on your bill.
You Save Money: Trim takes 25% of annualized savings, but only on success—otherwise, it's free!
So, similar to Paribus, Trim does charge a fee. In a sense, I guess that's a good thing because it gives them an incentive to make sure to get some sort of bill decrease for you so they'll make some money too. Their rate is currently 25% of your bill negotiation. Of course, if they're not able to negotiate your bill for you, you won't pay them anything. Trim does also monitor your bank account for you and they'll notify you of account changes (that you can set). For example, if they see a transaction worth $xxx, they'll notify me that I've made a large transaction. If there weren't already so many other sites/apps that could do that, I'd say that's a great feature that Trim offers.
Hopefully there's some new apps/sites you found out about in this post. If you sign up for some/all of these programs listed, you should probably find yourself earning some pretty decent cash back, depending on where/how much you spend. These apps are very satisfying to watch your balances build up on, and after a while it's very rewarding to cash out and treat yourself. In this update I added some really great additions like Ibotta, Venmo Rewards, and Bits, but I am very sad to see the turn that Drop has taken. I have been tipped off to some upcoming passive cash back opportunities that will be coming very soon, and I can't wait to share those and hopefully add them to this list in the near future. As always if you have any questions please do leave a comment or send me a PM! Thanks for reading!
You made it! :) First up, SORRY! This has been a late post, I have my reasons don't question them (if you must know I'll be posting in the discord - one time only haha). Secondly, I am sure you can agree with me when I say "Wow!" What an incredible week it has been. Last week I thought it was going to take a couple more weeks for more moving price action when it had only taken a few days which has seen Bitcoin reach and pass the $10,000 region. We have also seen the total Market cap for cryptocurrencies increase from about 280B to over 300B (308B at time of writing) within just a few days. A huge injection of liquidity, about 40B, into the market and just to name a few of the best rises in the top 20 (on Coinmarketcap.com), the price of ETH BTC ADA have given good performances/positive responses (With this I will start adding screenshots at the end of each week for timestamp purposes). This may be a combination from Binance, Mastercard, Paypal, Grayscale investments, VISA AND the DEFI sector. Let me explain... Last week we read about Binance integrating with the company Swipe (SXP) to issue there own debit card expanding the use and reach of cryptocurrency to 31 countries within Europe. Binance's Q2 scheduled token burn of $60.5 Million, this figure correlates with its exchange, margin and futures trading platforms where approximately 20% of profits get burned to increase the price of BNB token (careful as the price has been steady after the burn). This week we find out Mastercard's expansion into the Cryptosphere as they expand and integrate with the Wirex team to issue a Mastercard-backed Bitcoin debit card, thus further extending the reach of cryptocurrency availability internationally. "The cryptocurrency market continues to mature and Mastercard is driving it forward, creating safe and secure experiences for consumers and businesses in today’s digital economy " "...Our work with Wirex and the wider crypto ecosystem is accelerating innovation and empowering consumers with more choice in the way they pay" Mastercard is also reaching out to other emerging cryptocurrency firms to apply to become principal members [Partners] with Mastercard as they have relaxed their digital assets program and look to expand into the Digital Assets and Blockchain environment. Paypals expression of interest in cryptocurrency facilitiation may bear fruits as it is said Paypal has partnered up with stablecoin operator Paxos (who is already in partnership with Revolut in the US) to facilitate trading through a cryptocurrency brokerage which will enable other firms to integrate cryptocurrency trading functionalities with them. In my opinion this looks much more promising than the Libra association they pulled out from last October as regulations. Grayscale Investments clears regulatory hurdle as they have been given the green light for its Bitcoin Cash Trust (BCHG) and Litecoin Trust (LTCN) to be quoted in over-the-counter (OTC) markets by US Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). “The Trusts are open-ended trusts sponsored by Grayscale and are intended to enable exposure to the price movement of the Trusts’ underlying assets through a traditional investment vehicle, avoiding the challenges of buying, storing, and safekeeping digital Bitcoin Cash or Litecoin directly.” More green lights for Cryptocurrency in the US as regulators allow banks to provide cryptocurrency custody services (which may go further than just custody services). A little bit strange as it seems unnecessary and undermines one of the key factors and uses of cryptocurrency which is to be in complete control of your own finances... On another outlook this may be bullish as it allows US banks to provide banking services directly to lawful cryptocurrency businesses and show support for Bitcoin. Visa shows support stating they have a roadmap for their further expansion into the Crypto sphere. Already working with Crypto platform Coinbase and Fold they have stated they recognise the role of digital assets in the future of money. To be frank, it appears to be focused on stable coins, cost effectiveness and transaction speeds. However they are expanding their support for crypto assets. AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, DeFI! Our very own growing section in crypto. Just like the 2017 ICO boom we are seeing exorbitant growth and FOMO into the Decentralised Finance sector (WBTC, Stablecoins, Yield farming, DEXs etc). The amount of active addresses on Ethereum has doubled but with the FOMO on their network have sky rocketed their fees! Large use-cases of stable coins such as USDT ($6B in circulation using ERC-20 standard), DAI, TUSD, and PAX. $114M Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC) on their network acts as a fluid side chain for Bitcoin and DEX trade volume has touched $1.6B this month. With all this action happening on Ethereum I saw the 24HR volume surpass BTC briefly on Worldcoinindex.com In other news, Bitcoin has been set as a new precedent in a US federal court in a case against Larry Dean Harmon, the operator of an underground trading platform Helix. Bitcoin has now legally been ruled as a form of money. “After examination of the relevant statutes, case law, and other sources, the Court concludes that bitcoin is money under the MTA and that Helix, as described in the indictment, was an `unlicensed money transmitting business´ under applicable federal law.” Quick news in China/Asia as floods threaten miners and the most dominant ASIC Bitcoin mining rig manufacturer Bitmain loses 10,000 Antminers worth millions alledgedly goes missing or "illegally transfered" with ongoing leadership dispute between cofounders. Last but not least, Cardano (ADA) upgrade Shelley is ready to launch! Hardfork is initiated as final countdown clock is switched on. At time of writing the point of no return has been reached, stress tests done and confirmation Hardfork is coming 29/07 The Shelley Mainnet upgrade is a step toward fast, capable and decentralised crypto that can serve billions of people. With the Shelley Mainnet is ADA staking rewards and pools! Here is a chance for us Gravychainers to set up a small pool of our own. Small percentage of profits going into the development of the community, and you keep the rest! If you read all of my ramblings thanks heaps! I appreciate it! I have added an extra piece of reading called speculation. Most you can speculate on by just reading the headline some others have more depth to them. Another post next week for a weekly round up! Where do you think the market is going? What is in your portfolio? Let us know in the Gravychain Discord Channel See you soon!
🍕 Bring some virtual pizza to share 🍕 Come have a chat, stimulate a discussion, ask a question or share some knowledge. We are all friendly crypto enthusiasts up for a chat, supportive and want to help each other with knowledge and investments! Big thanks to our Telegram and My Crypto HQ for the constant news updates!
P.S. Dr Seuss collectables on the blockchain HECK YEAH! and Bitcoin enters NASCAR, remember when Doge did this? it was like when Doge was trending on TikTok. ... Oh yeah did I also mention Steve Wozniak is suing Youtube, Google over rampant Bitcoin scams. Wait, what? Sydney based law firm JPB Liberty is suing Google, Facebook and Twitter for up to $300B. Just another day in the Cryptosphere.
12 years of disciplined boring investing almost all in SPY and later VOO and I am a millionaire in my late thirties. 900k from index funds and 200k from real estate. Started with zero. No inheritance. Separate money from my wife (not counting her assets or contributions). Made mid five to low six figures income the whole time. One kid... now two. edit 1 I actually did not thing anyone would respond to this but a lot of people did. Some asked for proof. Here it is. Omitting real estate holdings. https://imgur.com/a/zI9UWJa Also including credit report - no debt outside a used car loan because I will not pay cash when I get money at 3.49%. Edit 2 People asked for more details. At a high level I have been investing / studying markets since I was very young. I tried everything (internet stocks, FOREX, Options, Futures, small caps etc) coupled with fundamental and technical analysis. Did OK, even won second place in a trading contest but never got what I wanted. Like many people I made bad decisions and had divorce, job loss, etc. Even had to close out an IRA in my twenties. Ended up turning to a disciplined index fund strategy about 12 years ago. Strategy was to max out 401k and live below my means (old car, no cable tv, make my own food, etc). At the end of each month swept all my pennies into an after tax fund since my 401k was maxed. That is it. Make your own coffee and buy VOO or SPY ideally in a tax advantaged account. I road this through the 2008/2009 crash - kept my investments and bought more. I also have small (like 5% of my money) in Bitcoin, Tesla and Pot stocks. This is purely for fun. A couple people mentioned this was just luck. I think it is important to understand the market will move up, retrace, consolidate and then move higher. The timing of this is somewhat luck. The strategy part is live below your means, buy and accumulate positions for years so when a bull market hits you are in. I guess you can call each runup "luck" except people keep living in debt no matter what their income. I would much prefer people take away an investment strategy that does work if you are a disciplined from someone not born rich and who tried a lot of different strategies. The takeaway really is with education and discipline you can reach a level of financial independence even after many screwups. I can publish this simple system and honestly few will follow it... There are no ads, systems to buy or affiliate links. I make zero dollars sharing this. I make my own coffee and watch netflix. I invest the rest in index funds. Take a trip or buy something if it really is important to me. That is it. Edit 3 People asked what is next. Teach my six year old and newborn savings and investing. Opening a ROTH* for the 6 year old and custodial brokerage account for the new addition. They will have millions as a safety net at retirement. They will now know about this money and will need to find their own path in life. Staying in the market, if it crashes I will buy more. Stating in until I reach 5-10 million. Don't need the money for a long time...
A ROTH requires earned income, they need to be hired in a family business, mow the lawn, model, deliver papers, etc. Google and your accountant has more legal ways to do this and interesting discussion. You can google "roth ira for newborn". I did not point this out early on. Sorry.
Industry Insight shared by WaykiChain CEO, Gordon Gao
The opening of 2020 is very chaotic considering coronavirus broke out globally, all kinds of assets experienced significant shocks, oil price plummeted, gold prices suffered volatility, and US stocks experienced several trading curbs, etc and different kinds of epic Black swan event happened. What do you think about the influence of these unusual events towards DeFi?
I think it’s the best thing that can happen to DeFi. Because all these things help expose underlying problems, such as economic bubble, indiscriminate leverage, credit crisis, which can cause people to distrust the financial system. And DeFi is the revolution against the traditional financial system, it is a complete subversion. Paul Jones thinks that the government over issued currencies, so he needs to transit his assert to Bitcoin. Crisis means opportunity. The traditional financial system has long-existing problems. Most of the assets were made by capitalists, some in reasonable ways, while the others are simply robbery. But most of the people didn’t realize it. Henry Ford says, people don’t even know how our currencies and bank system works, which is good, since if they know, there will be a revolution before the next morning. Now all kinds of black swan events can make people aware of risks, and before the final risk comes, choose a more transparent and fair way to participate in finance.
Since this year, more and more public chains have begun to deploy the DeFi ecosystem. DeFi ecosystem has become an important direction for public chains to explore the landing of the blockchain this year. Can you analyze why the public chain has gathered to develop the DeFi ecosystem this year?
Most public chains have explored for a long time. Last year, many people said that the public chain industry was dead, but I feel that they just didn’t find the rigid demand for landing applications. Now everyone has begun to understand that DeFi is the best way out of the public chain. WaykiChain started to develop the first product of DeFi in March last year-The stablecoin and collateral loan agreement (WaykiCDP). However, it was not popularly called as DeFi at that time. Now, what we start with is to find a rigid-demanded scenario for the blockchain landing, and shorten the user’s path to enter into ecology. In this circle, most of the people are speculators and investors who hold two big needs of borrowing and making money, and DeFi is doing this business. From another perspective, the emergence of Bitcoin has created a new currency, and the role of public chains and smart contracts is to allow the currency to circulate under certain rules. Isn’t this just finance? In other words, if blockchain can’t even do finance, then it is just a scam.
can you explain to us the status and scale of the DeFi market nowadays?
The size of the DeFi industry can be roughly measured by the value of lock-up. Ethereum, as the largest DeFi platform at present, occupies most of the market share. Now the lock-up value on Ethereum is around USD 1 billion. Since last year, other public chains have started to have DeFi applications, including WaykiChain, cosmos, Polkadot, TRON, etc. The current DeFi scale on WaykiChain is not as good as Ethereum in terms of absolute volume, but in terms of the proportion of DeFi locks, WaykiChain definitely has the highest proportion so far, reaching the total of 17%. In terms of absolute volume, only niche players in the currency circle participate in DeFi, but DeFi has maintained market growth in the past two years, and the amount of lock-up positions has risen sharply, so the entire market still has a lot of room for each project party to explore.
compared to Bitcoin mining, DeFi is obviously more decentralized and suitable to the public. From a broad aspect, what advantage do you think DeFi has when compared to traditional finance, and what is the meaning of it towards the finance industry?
I like this question, so I will spend more time explaining it. I think the difference of DeFi can be shown in 3 points: DeFi can change the role people play in the financial system. In traditional finance, as an ordinary user, your role and participation process are very limited. However, this limitation is determined by all aspects, such as the credit problem, the threshold of the number of funds, as well as the license and the threshold of power, and so on. Such limitations often make ordinary users vulnerable groups in the financial system. And under the rules of the top class, wealth will always flow to the top. For example, global currencies have been issued continuously, have we participated in the decision? No. Has it been issued to individuals? No. We can only see that the world keeps issuing money, and the money in our hands is depreciating, while there is nothing we can do. But DeFi is different. Let me give an example. WaykiChain DeFi's governance coin WGRT, the holder has both the power of governance parameters and the benefits of the interest and penalty of the entire system. This is a role you cannot play in traditional finance. In DeFi system, it is full of fairness. DeFi can reduce financial costs. Since the beginning of the industrial era, the global financial structure has remained unchanged, relying heavily on various intermediate institutions. Central banks, investment banks, commercial banks, securities companies, etc. It can be said that any financial activity needs to have more than one intermediary profit from it. For example, in addition to the loss of the price difference of a transaction, a transaction also includes brokerage commissions, exchange transaction fees, stamp duties of regulatory authorities, etc. The price difference earned by these so-called "middlemen" makes them the richest class in the world. However, DeFi adopts an open protocol and provides low-cost financial services for everyone at low cost, which greatly reduces the cost of transactions. DeFi can improve the efficiency of finance. Blockchain enables financial transactions to achieve transaction settlement. It has gone beyond the traditional settlement system of financial institutions. When it comes to cross-border transactions. In terms of the transfer, a cross-border transfer can sometimes take several days, but in the blockchain system or DeFi system, the actual ownership of assets has changed when the transaction occurs. There’s one more point that I want to mention that is DeFi can derive something that traditional finance doesn’t have. For example, the constant product market maker is an innovative product in the field of DeFi. We believe that DeFi can not only improve and improve the original traditional finance but also have more innovations to be discovered. The CTO of our team wrote such a sentence in the introduction of WaykiChain code: “the only limitation of the blockchain is our imagination.”
At present, there is a strange situation in the industry. When asked DeFi, many people said they know it. But when it comes to the question of who invest it, everyone said they didn’t. What do you think is the reason for this situation? Where are the potential users of DeFi?
There should still be some people who have invested in the DeFi project. This year's link, knc, and mkr are all DeFi concepts, and they all have good market performance, including WaykiChain is also a DeFi concept, and our community is not small. It's just that few people are using DeFi products. In fact, not only a few people use DeFi products, but also fewer people who put coins in wallets to play any application in addition to the use of exchanges to speculate coins in the currency circle. For example, I got data before that showed only 14,000 people on Ethereum participate in DeFi. DeFi currently lacks a popular hit, like Dapp's ethernet cat, fomo3D, which can mobilize the market's passion at once. WaykiChain will release a DeFi product called Wayki-X in the second half of this year. Concerning synthetic asset transactions, we are confident that this product will become a hot issue. The first-level potential users of DeFi are users of public chain tokens, especially for collateral-type DeFi applications. For example, users who hold ETH are potential users of DeFi on Ethereum. Only if I look high on ETH, I will collateral ETH for various other financial activities. The same is true for WaykiChain. So if most of the non-DeFi public chains are removed, and most Bitcoin holders, this first-level potential user is still very limited. The second-level potential users are DeFi participants, such as participating in DEX transactions, or using other assets to purchase DeFi stable coins for investment and so on. The third-level potential users are some users outside the circle. They will take advantage of income opportunities, such as wealth management and other applications to come in contact with DeFi. This most extensive market has not been well developed. Ethereum already has an integrated DeFi ecosystem, and there are plenty of branches on it, plus a lot of public chains have poured into the DeFi track this year. However, the current scale of DeFi users is still small, and many people are worried that so many public chains are pouring into the DeFi track, but the market can’t digest so many DeFi products, thus they may finally be of varying quality. Are you worried about this problem? I am not worried. First of all, the advantage of Ethereum is not that great. The DeFi ecosystem on Ethereum can be said to be in full bloom, but it is not integrated. In addition, Ethereum now establishes DeFi in a savage way of development. I feel that it is just a child who plays on the beach and cannot build a skyscraper. The financial system needs to be framed, at least the asset standards should be unified, the pricing unit should be unified, and the liquidity measurement standards should be unified. DeFi on Ethereum does not have all these uniformities above, so many problems have arisen this year. Although the single-module product looks fine, once it comes to the “interoperability” that DeFi on Ethereum is proud of, three particularly serious security incidents occurred. Another thing is that if users want to use DeFi on Ethereum completely, they have to cross many products, and each time they exchange currency, they must bear the loss of the price difference, which will disperse the liquidity of DeFi. WaykiChain’s thinking is different from that of Ethereum. What WaykiChain wants to do is an integrated DeFi public chain, which means that we will unify the currency, unify the standard of asset release, unify the valuation unit, and unify the liquidity. Based on those preconditions, then smart contracts use imagination to build more products, and ultimately provide users with a one-stop DeFi experience. The market covered by DeFi is huge, so we don’t worry about competition. If you introduce 1% of Bitcoin’s market value to any public chain, it is enough to support a very large DeFi project, not to mention the introduction of traditional assets in the future.
How do you view DeFi’s development prospects and future market scale? Where do you think the ceiling for DeFi development is?
In the near term, although DeFi’s volume has developed rapidly, it is still very small. The current market value of the digital currency is about more than 270 billion US dollars, but the collateral in the DeFi agreement is only 1 billion US dollars. I think it will reach 20 billion US dollars in two years. It can be seen that the future market is still very broad. In addition to the need to compete for the Bitcoin market, mature public chains are also a development idea for DeFi empowerment of other public chains. For the ceiling of DeFi development, it is not yet seen now, but the first bottleneck that may be encountered is how to release off-chain assets to the blockchain to expand the overall DeFi market cap.
WGRT has set a strict risk control mechanism in terms of safety, convenience, and risk reserve. Such a professional and rigorous team believes that in the near future, it will present a different DeFi ecosystem to everyone. According to some latest data, there are more than 4,000 bitcoins locked in the DeFi ecosystem. What do you think is the reason that BTC has poured into the DeFi battlefield in large numbers? Will this set off a new round of DeFi boom?
The BTC market is the most attractive part of DeFi. Let me explain a few things. 1.For BTC currency holders, these people are optimistic about BTC for a long time, but when they lack liquidity at hand, they need a loan agreement to help them get some cash. However, the centralized financial platform has various security risks, such as asset theft, asset misappropriation, or platform running. Some money holders who pay special attention to security will choose the DeFi protocol.
In terms of DeFi projects, the market value and volume of BTC is the largest, so whoever can occupy the BTC market will become a giant.
For the DeFi market, BTC itself does not have programmability, so any other public chain needs to do a cross-chain protocol to introduce BTC, so the largest market provides the most fair competition environment. WaykiChain introduced a decentralized cross-chain mechanism in the upcoming public chain version 3.0. After going online, users can collateral BTC or ETH to generate stablecoin. At the same time, the interest paid by users, as well as the penalties that are cleared in the middle, are also to be repurchased for the destruction of WGRT.
WaykiChain's DeFi lockup volume actually reached 17% of the total, and it is expected to break new highs next. Gordon, what form and changes do you think the DeFi market will develop in the future? How should WaykiChain seize market opportunities?
First, the form of products will be more diversified, and many innovative products will appear. Second, the product will be more professional and have a better experience, while providing one-stop financial services. This is the direction that WaykiChain is currently doing. Third, the DeFi on the public chain will expand through cross-chain. For example, as mentioned earlier, the DeFi on the public chain will compete for the Bitcoin market. However, in addition to competing for the Bitcoin market, the market for more small currencies cannot be ignored. We will also try to use the WaykiChain DeFi system to empower other small currencies or public chains. So that their currency users can also enjoy the financial services brought by DeFi. This market has not yet been explored.
What plans does WGRT follow?
We want to build the world's first integrated DeFi public chain. The development of WGRT is inseparable from the promotion and use of stablecoin WUSD. Therefore, our follow-up plan is mainly to build more products around the stable currency system to empower WUSD. At the end of July this year and early August, we will launch a new product called WaykiX, which is a synthetic asset trading platform that can trade almost all types of assets in the world. After that, we will also launch WUSD financial management, so that the currency holders can enjoy a fixed income. At the same time, we will also develop asset securitization business, and publish some high-quality asset targets on WaykiChain, such as Vietnam real estate, European and American government bonds, etc., while expanding the volume of DeFi assets on WaykiChain, to the community more Investment opportunities.
Is there any plan after WGRT listed on OKEx?
Yes, I will answer in terms of two levels, the first level is the ecological level, and the second level is the level of the entire coin itself. From an ecological perspective, the quality of WGRT depends on the entire stablecoin system, and whether more people can use it. The stablecoin WUSD develops well, so the whole WGRT becomes the biggest beneficiary. In fact, the series of DeFi products we created later are all based on the stablecoin WUSD, such as the Wayki-X synthetic asset trading platform. After the Wayki-X synthetic asset trading platform is launched at the end of July and early August, the market will have a lot of demand for WICC. We will also use this platform as a fist product of this year to promote, so as to ensure the benefit of the entire WGRT. In addition, the real estate in Vietnam and the national debt in Europe are based on financial products issued by WUSD, and they will also promote the development of WGRT. The WGRT coin will be launched on OKEx, and then some high-quality second-tier exchanges will be listed to enhance its liquidity. When the liquidity is sufficient, we will also impact other first-tier exchanges, including domestic first-tier and international first-tier exchanges.
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