Dec 132017
 

How high can it go?

Back in Sept I blogged about buying some cryptocurrencies, and posted my Ethereum purchase transaction. At that time ETH was trading at $230 US. Today the price is over $700 US. Sweet mother of mammaries! 🙂 And just last month when Bitcoin was trading at $7,300 US I tweeted that the price would climb to $10,000 US, which would be a 37% increase.

Within a month Bitcoin had hit $10,000 US, lol. 😀 Unlike NASA, Bitcoin may not return back to earth once it reaches the moon. 😎 As I’ve written in the past I started to buy Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin earlier this fall and have been regularly accumulating them. My biggest winner appears to be Litecoin. For example I purchased some when it was $80 CAD. And now each Litecoin is worth over $400 CAD.

However, after the dramatic rise of the cryptocurrency market capitalization during the last 30 days I believe this asset class may be overvalued now. So I have decided to lower my financial risk by moving some money from cryptocurrencies to the stock market.

 

Why I’m Taking Some Profits

Since we are nearing the start of a new year, I want to collect some cash to fund my retirement account. When January comes I will have additional contribution room in both my RRSP and TFSA.  This is why I have decided to divest my cryptocurrency investment. Earlier this week I took some profits by selling roughly a third of my digital currency holdings. Doing this has freed up a few thousand dollars of capital. I can use this new cash (minus capital gains tax) to begin funding my registered investment accounts in the new year. 🙂 As far as I know there is no way to hold cryptocurrencies inside an RRSP.

I’ve used this effective investment method before with my marijuana stock, Canopy Growth Corp (WEED), where I bought 300 shares at $2.55 and sold at $12.10.  But instead of selling all my WEED stocks I kept 200 shares and continue to hold them today. A partial sell of a position like this accomplishes 2 things:

  1. First, it reduces the risk of my initial investment. I’ve already recouped all my money back, plus a tidy gain. Thus, it is now impossible to lose money on this investment as a whole, even if the future value of the stock drops to $0.
  2. And second, if the pot stock continues to climb in price then I stand to make additional money due to my continued long exposure to it. 😉

In other words, there are no bad outcomes here. That’s why I have used the same strategy with my cryptocurrency holdings.

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Sep 182017
 

What is a Blockchain?

A blockchain is basically a digital and decentralized ledger that can record virtually any type of transaction between 2 parties in an efficient, verifiable, permanent, and secure way. The first blockchain was conceptualised by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008 and implemented in 2009 as a core component of the digital currency Bitcoin, where it serves as the public ledger for all transactions. 🙂 Since the creation of Bitcoin, the tech community has found other potential uses for blockchain technology. It can also assign title rights by providing a record that compels offer and acceptance.

The Rise of Blockchain Technology

Each of the Big Four accounting firms is testing blockchain technologies in various formats. Ernst & Young has provided cryptocurrency wallets to all (Swiss) employees, installed a Bitcoin ATM in their Switzerland office, and accepts Bitcoin as payment for all its consulting services. The CEO of Ernst & Young Switzerland stated, “We don’t only want to talk about digitalization, but also actively drive this process together with our employees and our clients. It is important to us that everybody gets on board and prepares themselves for the revolution set to take place in the business world through blockchains, [to] smart contracts and digital currencies.” PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Deloitte, and KPMG are all currently testing private blockchains.

Buying Cryptocurrency

One way to ride the blockchain train is to invest in cryptocurrencies that use this technology. There are many to choose from, but the most popular ones are Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, and Dash. They are all a little different. Bitcoin, for instance, is mostly used as a payment platform and may not be particularly scalable beyond being used for payments. However, Ethereum may have considerably larger aspirations because it’s an entire platform that enables savvy developers to build and deploy decentralized applications and smart contracts. With no central point of failure and secured using cryptography, applications are well protected against hacking attacks and fraudulent activities. The digital token used to buy for services on the Ethereum network is called Ether. There’s a saying that Ether is to Bitcoin as silver is to gold.

So last week I decided to buy 4 Ether. 🙂 I think the Ethereum platform has a lot of potential, but speculating in the nascent cryptocurrency market is akin to gambling due to its high risk nature. This is why I didn’t buy much.

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Aug 102017
 

It seems like every month the stock market is reaching new highs. Stock investors like myself have benefited greatly from the second longest bull run in history. 🙂 But it’s becoming very difficult to find value in traditional asset classes such as stocks, bonds, and real estate. So I’ve been looking at cryptocurrencies recently. As with any potential asset class my goal is to measure the future potential benefits of an investment and compare it with the risks.

Anyone can create a cryptocurrency as long as there’s a community backing it. That’s why there are over 1,000 digital currencies in the world today. According to Coin Market Cap, the 3 most popular ones are Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple, in order of market capitalization. There are many smart people supporting these digital currencies built on blockchains, which is essentially a public record of transactions. For example I’ve been following investor Brock Pierce on Twitter. He used to be a child actor in many Disney movies lol, but what Brock Pierce is doing today is very promising for the cryptocurrency market. According to his crunchbase profile, he’s been in the venture capital space for over a decade now and is trying to make Bitcoins more mainstream. In an interview last month with The Guardian, he predicts that the “underlying technology of blockchain is going to impact our world more than the internet has.” And he’s not alone. Patrick Byrne, the CEO of e-commerce giant overstock.com, firmly believes that Wall Street will be forced to accept Bitcoin technology faster than most people think. Byrne’s company was the first major retailer to accept bitcoin as payment starting in 2014, long before competitors like Microsoft and Dell.

One major barrier to entry with bitcoin has been the lack of acceptance among merchants. From a consumer point of view, there’s not much point in holding an asset that hardly anyone recognizes. But if cryptocurrencies really catch on with mainstream consumers then now may be a good time to buy and hold some digital coins for diversification purposes. The price of bitcoin has risen 500% in the last 12 months, according to coindesk. And the price of Ethereum has gone up over 2500%. Wow! 🙂 I don’t have any digital currencies yet but I’m tempted to put a small amount of money into either Bitcoin or Ethereum and hold it for the long term. One problem is that buying cryptocurrency can be difficult for Canadians. Both the established banking system as well as the government really don’t like blockchain technology because it’s decentralized and not easy to tax or control.

For anyone interested to gain exposure to the price of bitcoin without actually buying any, there’s a fund for that. 🙂 Investor Barry Silbert has been one of the most active angel investors in Bitcoin. He has funded over 40 bitcoin-related startups such as BitGo, BitPay, Coinbase, Gyft, Kraken, and TradeBlock. He also launched the Bitcoin Investment Trust, which is publicly traded under the symbol GBTC in the United States. This trust solely invests in and derives value from the price of bitcoin. This gives investors the chance to benefit from bitcoin price movement through a traditional investment vehicle, without the hassle of buying, storing, and safekeeping bitcoins. But personally I would rather own a digital currency directly so not to pay management fees, especially when I plan to hold for a long time.

When it comes to investing in alternative asset classes, it’s worth looking at digital currencies. I don’t intend on investing in Bitcoins right now. I will continue to do more research on it first. Even if I decide to purchase some in the near future I will keep my cryptocurrency exposure to less than 1% of my net worth. Bitcoin may outperform stocks over the next 10 years, but it also carries a lot of liquidity and volatility risk.

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Random Useless Fact

Potato chip bags are not full of air, but of nitrogen gas. This is done to prevent the chips from oxidizing and going stale in the bag.

 

Mar 302017
 

Recent Purchase – Yellow Media Ltd

Although most of my investments are in blue-chip dividend paying companies, it can be fun sometimes to speculate on smaller companies as well. It’s kind of a risky play, but I recently picked up 120 shares of Yellow Media (TSE:Y.) I paid on average $8.14 per share, plus commission.

The stock is trading at 0.61 Price/Book ratio, so its net assets are worth more than the company. The forward P/E ratio of 11.8 is also quite attractive. The phone book industry is dying, but Yellow Media is transitioning into the digital world. The reason I decided to buy now is because the company just hired a new CFO and the stock has started to go up again. 🙂 It has greatly reduced its debt over the past several years. Although its print business is suffering, it plans to organically grow its digital revenue between 5% to 8% a year. Yellow Media already owns a lot of online content and gets tons of internet traffic. 🙂

I first came across Yellow Media when I read Nelson’s post on The Fool last month. He analysis appears to be sound. I believe (Y) has potential to come back from its current lows. But it’s far from a guarantee. The stock currently trades at about $8/share. In 1 year from now, Yellow Media stock will either grow to over $12/share (50% gain) or drop to something like $6/share. I’m investing because the upside potential outweighs the possible downside for me.

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May 192016
 

Triple Digit Returns on Currency Investment

There are lots of ways to make money in the world. It’s up to us investors to find them. 😉 A couple of years ago I blogged about my investment in Zimbabwean dollars. I purchased some uncirculated $100 trillion Zimbabwean banknotes on the internet and paid CAD $5 for each one. 🙂

16-05-bank-notes-purchase

Back then I even made a prediction that these notes would be worth $25 each in 2016. Boy was I wrong, lol. It’s now been about 3 years since I purchased my investment. Here are some recent ones that actually sold on eBay within the last day!

16-05-zimbabwe-banknote-ebay

Holy mackerel! 😀 Each of my Zimbabwean banknotes is worth over CAD $60 today. That’s at least 1,200% return on investment in just 3 short years. Financial independence – here I come! 😀 If the people who read my previous blog post purchased 15 or 20 of these notes, then they could sell their investments today and be thousandaires! 🙂

Due to runaway hyperinflation what you can buy for a Zimbabwean dollar these days is absolute non-cents. Around the year 2000 the government enacted a policy to redistribute land and resources. Foreign capital stopped flowing into the country. As a result the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe printed huge amounts of money to pay for labor and services. The value of the Zimbabwean dollar dropped due to an oversupply of currency and prices began to rise. By 2008 prices of food and other goods were literally doubling every 24 hours! At its highest point the annual inflation rate was 230,000,000%. Savers were wiped out. And businesses didn’t know how much to pay their employees or charge customers because there was no price stability, including for labor. All this turmoil caused the country’s GDP to fall 18% in 2008. By 2011, about 72% of the country’s population lived below the poverty line. If the first president of Zimbabwe, President Banana, was still alive today, he would probably be very upset by all damage his successors have done to the nation’s economy. (yes, that’s his real name)

The Zimbabwe currency was abandoned by most people in 2009. Since then the country has stopped printing the currency, and consumers have been using the U.S. dollar and the South African Rand to conduct financial transactions. Last year the government decommissioned the Zimbabwean dollar completely and anyone who still had some could exchange it for American dollars at the official exchange rate set by the government: $1 USD = $35,000,000,000,000,000 ZWD, lol.

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