The Mind of a Market – Part 1

Author: Duane M. Tilden, P.Eng.                      Date: July 2, 2018

The arrow of time points forward; past events are irreversible

Foreword:

This article, has grown and is expanding as I write. Being my own editor I have to make decisions, so that in order to expedite publishing I am breaking the material down into parts. The idea behind this article is to explore what makes the cryptocurrency market move and the psychology behind the market, a collection of minds or “hive-mind“. We will use references from the stock market and investing community, social sciences, finance, engineering and other realms of thought and application.

I would like to postulate that collectively CC markets are populated by a type of person who has a basic understanding of the fundamentals of Bitcoin, blockchain and smart contracts, online interaction and the use of app’s, purchasing and trading, banking, stock markets, economics and other needed basics to make the ecosystem have value and meaning to the user.

Or perhaps, the user is in the process of learning these fundamentals, as such having desire and ability to learn new concepts and be able to employ them digitally is necessary for success. There are learning curves to be surmounted; patience, persistence and diligence are required. In any event I invite seasoned pro, novice or the curious to follow my explorations into the world of crypto.

Image result for whale

Photo #1: National Geographic – Migrating Whales

What is the Cryptocurrency Market?

The cryptocurrency market is dominated by a few major assets, most notably Bitcoin which has a current dominance factor of 42.6%. Reviewing listed CC assets listed on the website coinmarketcap.com we find the use of charts and graphs useful in understanding how values and prices fluctuate over time in these markets. I have used these charts in previous articles, listed below is the current Total Market Cap of $257 Bn, which has recently increased by $21 Bn since Friday, June 29th.

Total Crypto Market Cap Jun 24 to Jul 1 2018 #1

Figure 1: CryptoCurrency Total Market Cap Chart – June 24 to July 1, 2018

For the sake of simplicity, my analyses is generalized in nature. Individual traded assets have their own utility and value based on a multiplicity of factors, some of which may be intangible. When deciding which assets to choose for holding and trading there are many of those factors which become important when considering risking investment over time. We will delve into this issue in another post, all part of the due diligence process.

Over the past decade, blockchain technology has captured the imagination of technologists around the world, and in the past year Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) of cryptocurrency tokens have exploded in popularity. In just the first four months of 2018, ICOs raised $6.3 billion USD in funding, 18% more than in all of 2017. (1)

As we can see from the excerpt taken from the CPA Ontario website ICO’s raised $6.3 Bn in funding for the first quarter of 2018. For argument’s sake we can extrapolate a value of $30 Bn for the year, or even more to $50 Bn if we assume more issues later in the year. However, considering the total trading values in active markets we can by inspection see that the ICO market is small compared to values traded on exchanges. Total Market Cap can increase by over $20 Bn or more in a day (2), and daily volumes also can vary in the same range of about $10 to $20 Bn over 24 hour periods.

As a final note, not all transactions in cryptocurrency need to be done through an exchange, and private transactions are not included in TMC analysis, although it is fair to assume that trade values of these transactions will be made close to current market prices. When trading on exchanges one must always be aware of the market depth compared to order size, which can cause significant run up in price when a large transaction is made on the market. One reason why experienced traders generally make smaller incremental buys or sales to limit market distortion and costs as well as profit from large trade orders which run up the market temporarily.

Modeling Generalizations

For the sake of most of my market reviews there are certain generalizations which I make, first is I exclude ICO’s as a minor influence on the market as a whole. Those who intend to issue ICO’s would be wise to incorporate market analysis and timing as part of their marketing strategy. Starting an ICO in a soft market will be more difficult when money is tight for investors, as an example.

The second generalization I make is to limit reviews generally to the top 25 listed CC’s by market capitalization. From past analysis I have found that over 80% of capital is contained in the top 25 while the remaining 1500+ listed account for the remaining 20% Total Market Cap. Movements of these coins may be important to the individual trader, however as factors that may move the whole market their sphere of influence is generally limited.

Thus, as we can see, the above reductions will simplify future modeling of cryptocurrency markets by eliminating ICO’s and examining global movements of the top 25 listed cryptocurrencies, of which Bitcoin currently dominates with a MC of $108 Bn USD, followed by Tether, Ethereum, EOS, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, etc.

Who are the Players in the CryptoCurrency Markets?

First there are the digital assets or cryptocurrencies, which we already discussed in general and of which there are many. However, we have reduced this population down to a usable quantity for analytical and discussion purposes by reducing the market to the top 25 and ignoring the effects of ICO’s on the market. Next to be discussed is the user base, which is a generalization for investors, holders, developers, traders, speculators and the consumer marketplaces. Some of these markets are more developed than others as more people learn the benefits of cryptocurrency, the blockchain and distributed ledger technology.

As both sides of the markets have grown we will examine the effect of exchanges and how this third component enables the other two components to interact much like how a third leg is necessary to the utility and stability of a stool. These virtual cryptocurrency exchanges have many similarities to the stock market as both represent an asset the basis of which are distinct and separable, frequently representing commodities or utility previously considered intangible.

Demographics of the User

Is it possible to identify the “average” or “normal” user, and thus be able to establish some trends or behaviours that can be predicted? Let us explore this concept further.

One Bloomberg News article found online mentions a survey which found 5% of 5700 adults surveyed owned Bitcoin.

Nearly 60 percent of Americans have heard or read about the world’s largest cryptocurrency, according to a joint SurveyMonkey and Global Blockchain Business Council poll of more than 5,700 adults conducted in January. But only 5 percent of people actually own the digital coin.

Those few Bitcoin investors are of a fairly consistent demographic. An overwhelming 71 percent of them are male. The majority — 58 percent — are young, between the ages of 18 and 34 years old. And unlike the broader U.S. population, nearly half of them are minorities. (3)

Another survey is more thorough providing demographics on users interviewed in their surveys. It also provides interesting feedback as to the nature of existing resistance to adoption as seen below in Figure 2. Something which should be paid particular interest.

Finder

Figure 2. Table of Reasons – Resistance to CryptoCurrency Adoption

Other interesting demographic information can be examined such as age groups, gender, income level and ethnicity of those surveyed may provide useful information. For example who are those most likely to invest in Bitcoin or other Cryptocurrencies? This survey compares Millennials, Gen X and Babyboomer generations.

Millennials and Generation X

A similarity between the results of the Finder survey and the survey by LENDEDU is that Millennials are the largest group invested in cryptocurrency followed by Generation X.

The survey by Finder found that among those who purchased cryptocurrency there are:

  • 17.21 percent of Millennials surveyed,

  • 8.75 percent of Generation X surveyed.

Finder

Figure 3. Table of Crypto Investors by Age Group (4)

 

Summary Comments – Part 1

In order to make sense of our examination of the cryptocurrency market we have used scientific methods of reduction to group together data in meaningful ways and thereby reducing workloads. The generalizations, rules or assumptions are that the market is fairly well represented by the movements of the top 25 listed cryptocurrencies, and that ICO’s are a separate market which has little effect on the main market.

The current model is a spreadsheet analysis of price and total market capitalization of the top 25 cryptocurrencies as listed on Coinmarketcap.com for a particular time period. Cycles in capitalization may be uncovered through data analysis. Also opportunities in markets and penetration. Current surveys indicate populations which require more attention and information for wider adoption which are useful for marketing campaigns.

 

Part 2 (To be Continued)

  • Trading Exchanges and Price Movements
  • Whales and Institutions
  • Trading Levels, Trust and the Nash Equilibrium
  • Time Frames, Cycles and Risk
  • Geographical and Geopolitical Factors

 

References:

  1. navigating-the-brave-new-world-of-cryptocurrency-and-icos
  2. weekly-market-cap-surges-50-billion-cryptocurrency-prices-continue-to-rise/
  3. a-look-at-who-owns-bitcoin-young-men-and-why-lack-of-trust
  4. how-many-americans-really-own-crypto-skewed-results-of-polls-and-surveys

 

 

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Market Sentiment Analysis of Candlestick Charts

Author: Duane M. Tilden, P.Eng.                       Date: June 23, 2018

To become a successful trader in markets, such as cryptocurrency trading, one has to develop strategies which will give them the greatest probability of success, or for most, a profit.

How much risk and reward is up to every trader, as well as the selection of digital assets held and quantity. There are short, medium and long term goals and various methods of achieving each one of these objectives.

One tool that is very useful for developing short term trading strategies which can return a profit to the trader, is understanding Candlestick charts.

Figure 1: Anatomy of a Candlestick (1)

Anatomy of a candlestick

For reading and developing trading strategies, understanding the mechanics of a candlestick chart can lead to opportunities in trading assets to maximize ROI (return on investment), or to determine when to buy and sell assets.

How to Read a Single Candlestick (2)

Each candlestick represents one day’s worth of price data about a stock through four pieces of information: the opening price, the closing price, the high price, and the low price. The color of the central rectangle (called the real body) tells investors whether the opening price or the closing price was higher. A black or filled candlestick means the closing price for the period was less than the opening price; hence, it is bearish and indicates selling pressure. Meanwhile, a white or hollow candlestick means that the closing price was greater than the opening price. This is bullish and shows buying pressure. The lines at both ends of a candlestick are called shadows, and they show the entire range of price action for the day, from low to high. The upper shadow shows the stock’s highest price for the day and the lower shadow shows the lowest price for the day.

Bearish and Bullish Candlesticks

A candlestick represents the price activity of an asset during a specified timeframe through the use of four main components: the open, close, high and low.

The “open” of a candlestick represents the price of an asset when the trading period begins whereas the “close” represents the price when the period has concluded. The “high” and the “low” represent the highest and lowest prices achieved during the same trading session.

There is much more to reading and understanding candlestick charts than is covered here. This brief has informational links to where more information on patterns and indicators, and advice on how to use these patterns to make decisions in trading.

Bottom Line (2):

Investors should use candlestick charts like any other technical analysis tool (i.e., to study the psychology of market participants in the context of stock trading). They provide an extra layer of analysis on top of the fundamental analysis that forms the basis for trading decisions. We looked at five of the more popular candlestick chart patterns that signal buying opportunities. They can help identify a change in trader sentiment where buyer pressure overcomes seller pressure. Such a downtrend reversal can be accompanied by a potential for long gains. That said, the patterns themselves do not guarantee that the trend will reverse. Investors should always confirm reversal by the subsequent price action before initiating a trade. (Read more in Candlestick Charting: Perfecting The Art)

References:

  1. crypto-trading-101-beginners-guide-candlesticks/
  2. using-bullish-candlestick-patterns-buy-stocks

Weekly Market Cap Surges $50 Billion; Cryptocurrency Prices Continue to Rise

Previously, I reported on Cryptocurrency Market Capitalization and its relevance to understanding movements in the prices of cryptocurrencies. Let’s take a look at the markets one week after the reported $25bn of capital was put into the crypto markets. Refer to Figures 1 and 2 below, where in Fig. 2 we see that the TMC moved from $275 bn to $300 bn in under one hour.

Total Crypto Market Cap April 12 to 19 2018

Figure 1. Total Market Capitalization April 12 to 19th, 2018

 

Total Crypto Market Cap April 5 to 12 2018

Figure 2. TMC April 5 to 12th, 2018 (1)

Inspection of Figure 1. indicates that the TMC demonstrates a weekly upward trend. After the initial spike of $25 bn reported last Thursday, another $25 bn was added to the TMC Friday. For most of the week it hovered at the $325 bn level until Wednesday April 18th. Since then another $25 bn has been added over 24 hours to a new level of $350 billion. This is a total increase in the TMC of the Cryptocurrency market in one week of $75 billiion, or 27.2 %, from $275 to $350 billion.

TMC Top 25 Cryptocurrencies April 19 2018Figure 3. TMC of Top 25 Cryptocurrencies, April 12th to 19th 

Top 25 Cryptocurrencies

Of the listed 1574 cryptocurrencies traded on over 10,000 markets as reported by the website CoinMarketCap we see that Bitcoin represents over 39% of the TMC, and the top 25 altogether account for over 87% of capital in the market.

Of the 25 listed coins/tokens inspected we see that 22 advanced and only 3 retracted on the week, for 88% of the listed cryptocurrencies in the green. Most of these advanced by 25 to 35% over the week, with Stellar advancing the most at 59%. This is an example of a competitive marketplace where various suppliers are in competition for market share.

Note that the TMC increased from $275 to $350 Billion USD or 27%, and by inspection we can see that the average price of the cryptocurrencies listed in the top 25 increased by a rate between 25 to 35%. At present the TMC of $350 bn is 42% of the peak TMC of $829 bn  which occurred earlier this year on January 7, 2018. Since the peak the TMC has been generally trending down to current levels.

We can see from the forgoing that there is a strong correlation between TMC and the price movements of the various cryptocurrencies. This is the market dynamic of supply and demand in action; as the money supply increases in a market of fixed supply such as cryptocurrency, the prices of said commodities in that market must rise.

Is it possible that we have seen the bottom range of current TMC and moving forward we may experience more uptrends.

Happy Trading!

References:

  1. understanding-cryptocurrency-trading-markets-and-total-market-capitalization/

 

 

Understanding Cryptocurrency Trading Markets and Total Market Capitalization

Note: Soon to come is a separate blog for Digital Assets where I will continue to write, curate and publish these types of articles, reports and reviews relating to the Digital Asset Class, FinTech, Blockchain, Smart Contracts, CryptoCurrency and Markets. Duane M. Tilden, P.Eng; April 12, 2018.

Foreword:

Working on technical analysis of cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin, we search for causes and effects to understand what makes markets move or prices to change. This is quite similar to how we may view the stock or commodity markets and a lot can be gained from techniques used by stock analysts and traders. Knowing how much of a commodity one can purchase for a given price is often vital to budgeting, whether it’s for a construction project, a dinner, or some other financial endeavour. If I cannot purchase enough of one product for a particular price then I must either raise more capital, or purchase an inferior product that may meet the specification or recipe, if one is available that can achieve the desired outcome.

Observing trends on charts and graphs is part of the toolbox where changes in pricing, volume or other parameters are graphed over time. We search for short, medium and long term trends. When something happens in a marketplace we assume there is a reason and look for relationships so that we can further understand market influences on pricing. Down to a basic level we seek “if this, then that”. This is the basis of supply demand economics.

Thursday, April 12th 2018 we saw that the price of Bitcoin went from trading at about $6800 to $7800 USD overnight, an increase of about 15%. An excellent opportunity to investigate what is the cause of this change in price and subsequent effects in the cryptocurrency market. How does this event distinguish itself from other price changes we often read or hear about regarding Bitcoin? If you wish to know more, read on.

Market Cap and Total Market Capitalization

Prior to the advent of cryptocurrency markets Market Capitalization is used in the financial world to define the size of a company by multiplying the current stock price by the number of outstanding shares to determine the size of a company. Currently the usage of Market Capitalization and Total Market Capitalization are applied also to the issues of Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple, Tron, Lisk, Minex, Dash, EOS and a multitude more. Every month new coins and tokens are emerging with whitepapers, websites, and ICO offerings.

Simply put, the Total Market Capitalization (TMC) is the sum of all the cryptocurrencies Market Caps (MC) listed and traded on the polled markets. It is important to remember this basic concept regarding markets in that there are events in the world which may cause change in attitudes or availability of capital, and movements of capital in or out of the market are reflected in the Total Market Cap. As this value moves so does money in and out of the markets.

Total Crypto Market Cap 2013 to April 12 2018

Figure 1. Total Market Capitalization of Listed Cryptocurrencies, April 28 2013 to April 12 2018

Total Crypto Market Cap April 5 to 12 2018

Figure 2. Total Market Capitalization of Listed Cryptocurrencies, April 5 2018 to April 12 2018

Bitcoin Price on Coinbase 4122018

Figure 3. Bitcoin $1000 (15%) One Hour Price Increase on Coinbase on April 12th, 2018.

Examining the forgoing graph on Figure 1 we can see how most of the TMC has been raised in the last 12 months. The TMC peaked on Sunday, January 7th 2018 with a value of $813.87 billion, and has a current value (April 13th, 2018) of $301.79 billion. Note that when we examine Figure 2 and the weekly chart of TMC we see a decided jump in value from around $275 billion to the current $300 billion, indicating $25 billion was introduced into the cryptocurrency market in less than a day.

Dominance - Percentage of Total Crypto Market Cap April 2013 to 2018

Figure 4. Historical Dominance Chart – Percentage of TMC by Cryptocurrency 

In Figure 3, this influx of capital into the market was reflected in the rapid increase in the price of Bitcoin, which has the highest trade volume on all markets and is dominant in the cryptocurrency market as seen in Figure 4. Coinbase price for Bitcoin shot up from $6856 to $8011 in about one hour, marking a jump in value of $1155 or 16.8%.

Almost all other cryptocurrencies followed suit and prices increased across the board as the previously tight bear market flooded with new capital. Sell orders were triggered as the prices rose rapidly and traders had new capital to reinvest into the market, resulting in further increases in alt coin prices.

Markets and Events

So we have clear evidence that a surge or influx of capital has entered the market. Now the questions that remain in our analysis of this significant event or change in the market are threefold; 1. What happened?  2. Who is making the trades?  3. On what markets?

1. What Happened?

One potential cause for this change in TMC is the entrance of new money or players in the market. A study released on April 10th regarding the compliance of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies meeting Islamic law relating to money and usury concluded by one Islamic scholar to be halal, or meeting strict Islamic requirements. For cryptocurrency holders this is important news as it opens markets to a significant sized population of potential users and investors.

JAKARTA, Indonesia. – April 10, 2018 – As fluctuations and volatility continue to rock the cryptocurrency world, Blossom Finance has commissioned and released a working paper exploring the Islamic permissibility of bitcoin, cryptocurrency, and blockchain. The paper concludes that Bitcoin fully meets the definition of Islamic money under certain conditions and is generally permissible under Shariah. Blossom’s research also includes analysis of various legal opinions (fatawah) issued by prominent Islamic scholars on the topic. The research and development of the working paper was led by Mufti Muhammad Abu Bakar – Blossom’s internal Shariah advisor and Shariah compliance officer.

2. Who is Trading and Why?

Let’s examine another report on this recent price spike to see if there is a correlation on what occurred on April 12th.

Bitcoin, the most dominant cryptocurrency in the global market, recorded a 15.94 percent increase in value, from $6,900 to $8,000. The price of the cryptocurrency rose by $1,100 within a 30-minute window, as massive buy volumes emerged. […]

To influence the price of bitcoin, which has a daily trading volume of above $9 billion, billions of dollars would have to be traded. More importantly, billions of dollars worth of new capital have to flow into the cryptocurrency market in order for the price of bitcoin to spike up, and bring the entire market with it.

The April 12 surge in the price of bitcoin was not caused by investors cashing out from alternative cryptocurrencies (altcoins) to bitcoin or reallocating their funds from other major cryptocurrencies to bitcoin, because the valuation of the cryptocurrency market increased by more than $20 billion.

A wave of new investors or potentially a few institutional investors likely allocated billions of dollars into the market in a short period of time, causing a short-term pump and leading the price of the cryptocurrency to surge.

It is virtually impossible to pinpoint a single factor to justify the price trend of any cryptocurrency, because a variety of factors can contribute to the momentum of a cryptocurrency.

https://www.ccn.com/bitcoin-price

As we see from this article on CCN they report on the price surge however dismiss the ability to determine the cause of this price movement as “virtually impossible”. While this may be the case when examining the price movement of individual coins, it is different when the whole market moves in unison. When this occurs we seek further explanation to determine whether this movement is a short term spike, or if the market has moved up to another level. For hodlers an increase in TMC to a higher level is good news, although it depends if investment is of a centralized holder or a widely dispersed or decentralized population.

There is a potential of overlooking causes in the market or performing a superficial analysis if we do not include the TMC in our study. One market analyst attributes to the surge in Bitcoin price to other factors such as short positions as follows;

Brian Kelly, CNBC contributor and head of BKCM, which runs a digital assets strategy for clients said: ”Once bitcoin broke higher, shorts were squeezed and forced to cover.”

“The ratio of short margin trades versus longs has been increasing recently,” said Nick Kirk, quantitative developer and data scientist at Cypher Capital, a cryptocurrency trading firm. “Buying volume ticked up today and a lot of these short trades got liquidated, helping fuel the rally.”

https://www.express.co.uk//-news-update-cryptocurrency-latest-surge

Others relate the price surge to relief of upcoming tax filing deadlines compounded by short positions;

Some market participants believe that Thursday’s sudden upward price move “could be an unwinding of that (tax-related) pressure,” and the spike had a compounding effect as it “forced traders who had bet against the cryptocurrency to buy back into the market,” reports CNBC.

why-did-bitcoin-jump-1k-april-12

These analysis overlooks the overall increase of $25 billion to the TMC or the rally in the rest of the market. If the connection between the price rises and increase in TMC is being caused by a new population of investors representing 1.6 billion people, then this is a likely indication of more to come in the future and we are seeing the first wave of new capital enter markets.

3. On What Markets are They Trading?

Where these trades are being made is a more difficult task requiring some deeper digging into available data. If we find that all of the capital is coming into the market on only a few or one exchange then that would be indicative of a centralized actor in the market, while if we see more evenly traded entry across a number of markets this may indicate a wider dispersed population. At this time we have no information if any abnormal trading occurred on any market on April 12th except for an overall increase in volume. Deeper analysis is beyond the scope of this report, and I will leave it as an exercise for the interested reader.

Exploring the historical data records on CoinMarketCap it is revealed that the 24 hour trading volume went from $4,641,890,000 on April 11th to $8,906,250,000 on April 12th. Clearly the increase in trading volume of $4.3 billion is not the TMC of $25 billion, and we look also at the price increase to get an indication of the increase in MC. From the same data chart we read that MC increased from $118,048,000,000 to $134,114,000,000 for a total of $16.1 billion which would be a dominance factor of 0.64 on the increase of $25 billion TMC. Currently the Bitcoin dominance factor is at about 0.40 and has been rising.

Final Remarks

The forgoing analysis is not an exact science and as we can see relationships are not always inelastic. For example the increase in the TMC of $25 billion cannot be accounted for by the increase in Bitcoin trading volume of $4.3 billion divided by the Dominance Factor of 0.4 which would predict an increase in Total Trading Volume of $10.75 billion. This would indicate that there is a multiplier effect on invested capital to TMC. Also, capital is constantly flowing in and out of the markets and may change hands many times in one day. All of these and others unexamined factors may affect the TMC.

Events in this world form links in a causal chain, and often to manage best our resources information on relationships between various factors are important to understand when forming investing strategies or making budget decisions. Analysts provide qualified opinions on trends, and predictive market analysis is an important and valuable tool in decision making. Understanding fundamental market economics is essential to understanding cryptocurrency markets.

 

 

 

How to Invest in CryptoCurrency – A Guide for Everyone

Of the many and diverse interests of mine, I include the emerging technology and upcoming revolution in finance, the CryptoCurrency [CC], Smart Contracts [SC] and the BlockChain [BC]. This makes sense as it fits in well with my technological background and interest in all things internet and information technology.

My first experiences with CC’s go back to 2012 when I was first looking at Bitcoin. I was interested in mining and how the various video cards of the day would perform to mine the BTC. Unfortunately, beyond doing some initial research and some trials with faucets in 2014, I did not invest early in Crypto. Some of the early amounts were still in present in my wallet and the small amount had grown considerably even left alone, from about $1 to $20 in a couple of years. This is shown in my current balance below.

Yesterday, January 13th 2018 marks a first. The day I spent my money on cryptocurrencies online and put myself at risk, and this is after much careful deliberation. I am starting with $200 (Canadian Dollars) with a plan of  investing $100 weekly in strategic ways to build my nest-egg. This will require some amount of discipline to maintain this schedule however I believe is doable and easy to duplicate.

Blueprints for Success – A New Blog

When someone finds a way to produce a product or service better than other’s they create an opportunity to profit from their advantage. My past experience working as a professional engineer in a number of consulting and design firms, including my own company, have proven that these methods work. It takes time, research, trial and error, and finally reporting.

Accumulating knowledge in a book is an evolving task and takes time. As I move forward, I plan to divest to you, the reader, my methods. What I did, how it is working, and other related concerns, opportunities or just prognostications. For this I will be creating a separate yet to be named and soon to be launched blog.

The First Steps – Make a Budget

Making the decision to start investing took some time on my part. Of course budgeting was crucial and ensuring that I had a stable source of income to commence a savings and investing program. I will be able to establish more detailed plans as my investment grows.

Wallets and Exchanges

This alone is a seemingly large and complicated topic. At present I will leave out most details and explanations for later posts, focus being on getting started.

At this time I am using Coinbase as both my on-line wallet and exchange.  Eventually I will have more wallets, some online, others on my digital devices. The wallet is where individual CC’s are digitally stored. These include online wallets, wallets stored on devices such as computers and phones, and hardware wallets. More later.

I created an account and linked my bank account via a Visa/debit Card which I already obtained from my bank for online purchases. I had done this a couple of weeks prior to making my first transaction.

Transaction Details

The first transactions were two purchases where I bought $100 of Bitcoin and $100 of Ethereum. The amounts include transaction fees and worked out to purchase 0.00538 BTC and 0.05557 ETH and have been detailed as seen in the screenshot.

ScreenShot - Coinbase - 01#1141018

Figure 1. Screenshot of Coinbase Cryptocurrency Transactions 

Also shown in the activity which is a third transaction I made to acquire some mining power, where some of the recently acquired BTC were forwarded to the provider from the Coinbase wallet.

Transaction Fees

To Be Discussed (TBD).

Mining

I decided to experiment with hiring some computing power online from the cloud using the provider FFLAK. Upon registration you receive a 14 day trial and 100 Gh/s mining power to mine Bitcoin. I upgraded to add mining of Ethereum at a rate of 2 Mh/s in one transaction using $40USD of BTC, and upgraded another 2 Mh/s with $40USD of LTC. See Transaction Fees.

On the calculator provided the projected return from my initial $80 investment annually is $348 after service fees deducted which is 435%. A pretty good rate of return, worth making an initial trial investment.

ScreenShot - FFLAK ETH Calculator- 03#1141018

 

Figure 2. FFLAK Mining CC Calculator

Prior to investing, I have been experimenting with mining and faucets. Since October of last year I have been mining a pre-ICO CC using my browser. This currency uses a novel approach to mining and I have accrued over 60 tokens over the past 4 months. Visit JSECoin to learn more.

ScreenShot - JSECoin - 02#1141018

Figure 3. JSE Coin Browser Mining Program

Faucets and Games

TBD.

ICO’s – Initial Coin Offerings and Airdrops

TBD.

Cryptocurrency and Value Propositions

TBD.

Disclaimer

No guarantees or warranties are implied or expressed by the author. Risks are inherent when investing in speculative ventures, and not all information may be included when opinion based statements and projections are made. The reader is advised to perform independent due diligence.

All readers and investors are assumed to be self-governing and able to formulate their own opinions and make independent decisions. No liability will be assumed by the author, his assigns, or the corporate entities mentioned in these published articles, for any losses.

Any payments made to the author are generated by referral links. These generate a small return and is the only financial reward provided to the author. This is in return for his time and expertise spent in sharing this valuable information to you the reader. Please follow the provided links as a small, no obligation courtesy.

Referral Links:

  1. Wallet and Exchange:  Coinbase 
  2. Mining Contract:  FFLAK
  3. Browser Mining: JSECoin

 

Are Cryptocurrencies a Fad or a Revolution in Finance?

Duane M. Tilden, P.Eng
November 5, 2017

As I was walking to my weekly bridge game at the local club, I was pondering my newfound interest in cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin, Ethereum, the block chain, and related topics such as mining, smart contracts, ICO’s; the list goes on. I also thought about the value of things from my childhood, like marbles, hockey and baseball trading cards, comic books, coins, stamps, post cards, and other things that I have collected. All which created markets and gained extrinsic value over time, and could be held speculatively. I then asked myself, “Are cryptocurrencies a passing  fad or here to stay?”

What Makes a Currency Valuable?

Some things, such as coins may be made of a valuable base metal alloy, like gold, silver, nickel and copper. Coins are currency, and as such a perfect example to assessing intrinsic value and extrinsic value. In the past coins were minted with higher contents of the base metal alloys.  The metal content gave them an intrinsic value due to the metals rarity and utility. In time, these metals gained value, to the point where it cost more to mint a coin than it was worth.  People would then begin to horde or “mine” the coin for its intrinsic value which was greater than it’s face value as a currency.

metcalfe_curve

Figure 1. The Metcalfe Curve (1)

Extrinsic value, however, could be likened to what we would consider the “fiat” aspect of a currency. As currencies have moved away from a gold or silver standard, the value of money is largely based on consensus. Markets are also consensus driven, without a universal agreement or set of rules, there could not be trade. This is the reason for the development for money or currency. I work and get paid in the common unit of currency, which I can then use to buy and rent goods and services.

Currency and Security

Until recent developments, Governments and their agencies in partnership with banking institutions have generally controlled currency and financial markets. The operation of the economy is the basis upon which society functions. Money exchanges hands for goods and services, including wages. One currency usually denominates value in a physical market. However, these markets can be subject to various forms of attack or manipulation. Physical money could be counterfeited, transfer of money and assets could be lost or stolen, other forms of fraud could occur where one loses their assets.

Another form of attack is personal, or on the individual. Local regulations and taxation laws require valuation of assets and income which are held by the individual to be known to the public agency and could be subject to economic deprivation and restrictions. This is an instance where individual privacy is violated in built-in, systemic and semi-transparent.

Examples of this are everywhere, such as income tax, sales tax, medical tax, alimony and child-support, retirement and pension plans, insurance. If you owe the government money in a disputed case, they often will violate an individuals rights to deprive them of assets, such as money in bank accounts, garnishee of wages directly from the employer, denial of services, loss of principal residence and other such actions.

Most of the money that we earn, own, or spend is being tracked by the government. There are lots of taxes and lots of “rules” made by the big boys. Unfortunately, the present financial system is often disadvantaging us. Why? Because it often collects more than it provides. (2)

Consensus and Fiat Money

Since a currency in today’s world generally consists of a consensus agreeing in a trading market place, then the truth is anything can have value. As the internet has opened up trading across international borders, and companies have sprung up in the financial market place to provide services beyond their physical location, often catering to the world. I can purchase electronics from China and have them delivered to Canada on eBay, using PayPal or a credit card to exchange in their accepted currency. Buy and sell ads have sprung up, such as Craigslist and Kijiji , allowing wider ranging access to markets at a greatly reduced costs as compared to paper advertising in magazines.

Computer users over time had an edge over non-users, as information became available in a vast manner over greater areas. Shopping for the best price of a desired item, good or service can be searched for on my laptop and obtained at a fair cost. No longer does one have to go out and purchase a paper magazine or ad book, in their search. We now can now open a browser on our computer, or digital device, ask a question on a search engine and sort through a selection of answers. Phone numbers, addresses, reviews, prices, hours of operation, names of staff, job openings and more information is all available quickly and efficiently.

Enter the Bitcoin, blockchains and crypto-currencies. In one report recently obtained, sourced from the international Engineering Firm ARUP (2) it has been stated about Bitcoin, a technology introduced by Satoshi Nakomoto.

At the start of 2009,when the world was in the middle of a major financial crisis, a paradigm shift in technology quietly made its debut. That technology is called Bitcoin, and it’s the biggest innovation in finance in 500 years, and certainly the greatest invention of the 21st century so far. (3)

Cryptocurrencies Create Markets

Beyond creating an anonymous system of financial transactions and storage, crypto-currencies are creating new markets of value and trade. There has been a recent wave of new crypto-currencies coming on the market, most of which have issued whitepapers, and have sales landing pages which outline the details about structure, their markets or business plan, how to participate, and their projected timeline.

In my opinion, issuing tokens for sale is very similar to crowd-funding, which may also be likened to buying or selling shares on the stock market, without the restrictions or regulations necessarily placed on participants. Whether or not these activities are legal may depend on local jurisdictions. However, as long as no laws are broken for the purposes of making transactions in a business manner, or the proposed ecosystem,  then personal privacy of participants and security should be secured to all qualified participants, which are traits of a crypto-currency like the original Bitcoin.

The tokens offered in the pre-ICO sales are generally intended to fund the business operations, which, if all goes well, will turn a profit and be able to provide token based services. Details of the venture and how proceeds from projected profits are to be distributed are usually outlined in the white paper. Tokens may be able to be openly traded as a currency, depending on various applicable rules and regulations which may apply and being able to be listed on the various exchanges.

For example a current energy token on the market, PowerLedger.io (4) –  is a blockchain-based peer-to-peer energy trading platform enabling consumers and businesses to sell their surplus solar power to their neighbours without a middleman.

<From a Media Press Release>  Power Ledger is based in Perth and uses blockchain technology to allow households to trade excess solar power over the electricity network.

Major Australian power retailer Origin Energy recently announced a three-month trial with Power Ledger to explore the benefits and challenges of peer-to-peer energy trading across a regulated network.

“Blockchain technology and cryptocurrency underpins our business offering and we are excited to be working with Perth-based DigitalX” said Power Ledger Chair Dr Jemma Green.

POWR tokens will be offered via the Ethereum cryptocurrency network in an uncapped price offer, meaning the tokens’ final price will be determined by the market demand.

“POWR will be the Ethereum blockchain protocol token required throughout the Power Ledger eco-system that can be converted to ‘Sparkz’, which is the crypto-currency we have set up for users to trade electricity using the platform,” said Dr Green.

As part of the engagement,DigitalX will introduce cryptocurrency investors to Power Ledger in exchange for a fee which consists of a mix of Ether (ETH) and POWR tokens.

“Blockchain-enabled innovation is disrupting traditional industries and digital currency is changing the way companies access capital. DigitalX is pleased to be able to facilitate this quantum shift in traditional mechanisms for accessing funding,” said Mr Travers.  (5)

Generally speaking, however, most crypto-currencies will have many advantages over fiat currency or stock markets. For one, their trade is not restricted to one market, or country to operate. Beyond anonymity one can store value in one token, exchange it for another, buy services on a network, or hold it speculatively. There are the other aspects related to smart contracts and the block-chain where physical assets or other attributes, such as counting operations of a machine or device can be linked to a token. In fact the possibilities seem endless, only bounded by the limits of imagination.

Cryptocurrency Offerings and Exchanges

Every day I receive more notifications regarding new offerings on a multiple of news feeds. Many of these offerings look good and viable. There are many new white-papers to read, and some are quite technically advanced and detailed in outlook and projections. As more cryptocurrencies are introduced into markets and traded on platforms investments will be expected to continue.

As cryptocurrencies are rapidly gaining acceptance and appeal, the task of evaluating all emerging offerings would be odious without methods of categorization, comparison and establishing legitimacy. At this time, according to the coinmarketcap.com, there are 1257 Cryptocurrencies with a total market cap of $199 Billion USD currently listed on exchanges. Currently there are 121 active exchanges trading cryptocurrencies (5) and in the last 24 hours there was a “volume of 614,489 BTC and $4,396,051,516 on 5915 trading pairs” (6).

Other resources of current token or coin offerings and other related information can be found on various websites, including tokenmarket.net and coinranking.com.

The Future of Cryptocurrency

At the current pace of innovation, new offerings, and investment as determined by market capitalization, it does not appear that current rapid growth in cryptocurrencies  slow down. Rather, examining current trends in cryptocurrency and comparing to models, it appears that we are in the innovation and early adoption phases of a technological innovation, as seen in figure 2. (7)

TechAdoptCurve2

Figure 2. Technological Adoption Curve (7)

In addition to the known bell curve of adoption, the value of the networks being formed on the internet, obeys Metcalfe’s law, see figure 1.

Metcalfe’s law states that the value of a telecommunications network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users of the system (n2).

As we can surmise from the effect of Metcalfe’s law as it applies to the development of cryptocurrencies is that we are currently in the earlier phases of value development, which will be expected to grow at an exponential rate associated with a nodal peer to peer model.

220px-Metcalfe-Network-Effect.svg

Two telephones can make only one connection, five can make 10 connections, and twelve can make 66 connections.

For innovators and early adopters these are exciting times as the number of participants continue to grow, and more capital continues to be invested in fledgling commercial enterprises. New business plans for ICO and Token issues are being issued every day. There are technical developments coming, apps, games, lenders and financial instruments, as well as new types of Tokens being issued with a variety of proof’s or calculation methods. Blockchains technology is changing to become increasingly efficient to handle ever increasing numbers of transactions. At this time there appears to be no limit to the possible applications of blockchain technology.

combined_curve

Figure 3. Combined Curve – Crossing the Chasm (1)

[…] The combination of Moore’s and Metcalfe’s laws explains the rise of information technology and the growth of the Internet as we know it today. […] And finally, in an unprecedented apotheosis, by combining the three preceding charts and by ― I have to admit ― visually cheating with axes, scales, and representations I came to the observation that the chasm is actually the point where the transition from a technology driven business to a value driven business needs to take place ― and if this doesn’t happen, that any new product or technology introduction is doomed to fail.

Disclaimers:

Expect that there are traps and pitfalls, some ventures may be fraudulent or simply fail. No guarantees on individual outcomes of ICO’s or other value propositions, and, as in all markets expect that there will be both successes and failures.

Expect, in various regions, government control and regulation, which may attempt to prevent or limit participation by populations or otherwise affect and manipulate markets.

Every participant in any new market, such as a cryptocurrency,  is advised to perform their own due diligence and research before investing capital.

No guarantees or warrantees are implied or expressed by the author, who, may at any time, hold vested interests in a variety of cryptocurrency tokens for speculation or other purposes.

End

References

  1. The Metcalfe Curve
  2. 7 Trends in Cryptocurrency Entrepreneurs Should Know
  3. Blockchain-Technology (for the Built Environment)
  4. How PowerLedger Works -Snapshot
  5. PowerLedger.io Home Page
  6. cryptocoincharts.info
  7. The Early Days of Cryptocurrency

 

Microgrid as a Service (MaaS) and the Blockchain

It is a splendid event to observe when two new technologies combine to create a new marketplace. In recent years as new sources of distributed energy have been entering the electrical grid to provide power they are necessitating a change to the existing large-scale infrastructure model of power supply.

Classic Electric Power Grid Model

Figure 1. Classic electric power grid model with bulk generators transferring power long distances to reach the consumer.  Image courtesy of NetGain Energy Advisors. (1)

The old model utility was large and centralized and tracking transactions was simple as consumers were on one side of the ledger, while the provider as on the other. And whereby currency and energy flowed only in opposite directions between two identified parties, consumer and provider.

In the emerging markets of small-scale independent energy providers, we can see buildings, communities and even individual residences having built capacity to provide intermittently or on demand power at times, and consume or store power from the grid at other times. Solar power is only available during the day, and will require new commercial methods of energy storage.

How-Microgrids-Work

Figure 2. An example Microgrid (2)

In the transition from decentralized utility is the development of the Micro-grid.  The Micro-grid offers many benefits to society, including; (a) use of renewable energy sources that reduce or eliminate the production of GHG’s, (b) increases in energy efficiency of energy transmission due to shortening of transmission distances and infrastructure, (c) improved municipal resilience against disaster and power reductions, and finally, (d) promotion of economic activity that improves universal standard of living.

As buildings and communities evolve they are moving toward renewable energy sources to supplement their energy requirements and reduce operating costs. Even the building codes are getting into the act, requiring buildings be constructed to new energy efficiency standards. Also, we are seeing the development of new technologies and business methods, such as solar powered charging stations for electric vehicles.

The existing electrical grid and utility model has to develop and adapt to these new technologies and means of locally generating power. The future will include the development and incorporation of peer to peer networks and alternative energy supply methods. Consumers may purchase power from multiple sources, and produce power and supply it to other users via the electrical grid.

Micro-grid and the Blockchain

As new energy sources/providers emerge there is added complexity to the network. Consumers of power can also be an energy providers, as well as having different energy sources available. This increased functionality raises the complexity of possible transactions in the network.

Imagine a financial ledger, where each user in the system is no longer constrained to be a consumer, but also a supplier to other users in the system. In order to track both the credits and debits it has been proposed that the exchange of blockchain tokens be utilized to sort out complicated energy transfer transactions in a distributed P2P network.

P2P TRADING

This class of Platform Application gives retailers the ability to empower consumers (or in an unregulated environment, the consumers themselves) to simply trade electricity with one another and receive payment in real-time from an automated and trustless reconciliation and settlement system. There are many other immediate benefits such as being able to select a clean energy source, trade with neighbors, receive more money for excess power, benefit from transparency of all your trades on a blockchain and very low-cost settlement costs all leading to lower power bills and improved returns for investments in distributed renewables. (3)

One blockchain based energy token that has caught my attention is called POWR and is currently in pre-ICO sales of the tokens by the Australian platform Power Ledger. One of the uses of the platform that is being suggested is peer to peer trading.

 “We are absolutely thrilled with the results of the public presale,” says Dr Jemma Green, co-founder and chair of Power Ledger. “Selling out in just over 3 days is a very strong performance in line with global ICO standards, which speaks to the strong levels of interest from consumer and institutional buyers.”

The proceeds from the total pre sale were AU$17 million and the main sale on Friday offers approximately 150 million POWR tokens (subject to final confirmation before the sale opens) in an uncapped sale, meaning that the level of market demand will have set the final token price at the end of the sale. (4)

 

References

  1. The Changing Power Landscape
  2. Siemens – Microgrid Solutions
  3. Power Ledger Applications
  4. PRESS RELEASE Having Closed $17M In Their Presale ICO, Power Ledger Confirm Their Public Sale Will Commence on 8th September 2017

An Engineering Blockchain Cryptocurrency

The revolutionary aspect of the blockchain is starting serious discussions in the Professional Engineering community. Indications are that there are some fundamental problems in Engineering may be solved by the issuance of a token, in this case called Quant (1) and is currently in the “sand-box” phase of development.

The plan, in part, involves mining Quant to create a public key, or data-base called Engipedia.  There is also a “proof-of-stake” (2) aspect, which forms an engineer’s private key summarizing by algorithm the engineer’s personal data such as education, qualifications, projects, and other contributions or related works.

The Quant token, which is proposed to have inherent smart contract capabilities will be mined by engineers in a variety of ways, most of which are intended to establish an expanding  knowledge base, one such enterprise is called Engipedia. This is a knowledge base which has a formidable upside for democratic technological advancement and dissemination of workable knowledge worldwide.

As a virtual currency, the Quant token may provide a necessary bridge to financing that was previously inaccessible to engineers. Often pools of capital are controlled by vested interests or politically minded parties. Economic opportunities, which previously were unavailable due to lack of funding, may now have a financial vehicle for entrepreneurial Engineers.

The Design is the Contract

Engineering is different than finance and insurance. Finance and Insurance merely need to represent a physical object in a party / counter-party transaction script.  There is no design involved. Engineering represents a physical object – the engineering design and specification IS the smart contract. Then, what happens in construction, operations, maintenance, renovation, and replacement is far too complex to be scripted in a single smart contract. Engineering outcomes involve enormous mass, forces, and real-life consequences. (3)

References:

  1. The Market for QUANT
  2. QUANT Proof of Stake
  3. A Warning to Engineering Firms Concerning Blockchain Technology

Energy Certificates and the Blockchain Protocol

In the world of energy production, renewable energy sources, micro grids, large scale users, and other forms of electric power schemes there is a concentrated effort being placed on utilizing the Blockchain protocol.  This is because of the unique way in which a unit may be defined and tracked, similarly, can be associated to tracking quantities of value created and utilized in a complex trading scheme.

In a recent article (1) it has been reported that Jesse Morris, principal for electricity and transportation practices at RMI and co-founder of the Energy Web Foundation (EWF) received $2.5 million to develop the Blockchain protocol for energy purposes.

“We have a strong hypothesis that blockchain will solve a lot of long-running problems in the energy sector,” said Morris. “Overcoming these challenges could make small, incremental changes to energy infrastructure and markets in the near term, while others would be more far-reaching and disruptive.”

Certificates (also known as guarantees) of origin would assure the user that a particular megawatt-hour of electricity was produced from renewables. According to Morris, the U.S. alone has 10 different tracking systems, Asia-Pacific has several more, and each European country has its own system of certification. Blockchain could be used to transparently guarantee the origin of the electrons.

Longer-term, and more radically, RMI sees the future of electricity networks being driven by the billions of energy storage and HVAC units, EVs, solar roof panels and other devices and appliances at the grid edge.

Blockchains can allow any of them to set their own level of participation on the grid, without the need for an intermediary. And crucially, they can be configured so that if a grid operator needs guaranteed capacity, the grid-edge unit can communicate back to the grid whether or not it’s up to the task.

This is an example of what Morris described as blockchain’s ability to “fuse the physical with the virtual” via machine-to-machine communication.  (1)

Another example of the emergence of the usefulness and interest in the Blockchain protocol is in crowdsourcing and distributed ledger applications.

Illustration by Dan Page (2)

At its heart, blockchain is a self-sustaining, peer-to-peer database technology for managing and recording transactions with no central bank or clearinghouse involvement. Because blockchain verification is handled through algorithms and consensus among multiple computers, the system is presumed immune to tampering, fraud, or political control. It is designed to protect against domination of the network by any single computer or group of computers. Participants are relatively anonymous, identified only by pseudonyms, and every transaction can be relied upon. Moreover, because every core transaction is processed just once, in one shared electronic ledger, blockchain reduces the redundancy and delays that exist in today’s banking system.

Companies expressing interest in blockchain include HP, Microsoft, IBM, and Intel. In the financial-services sector, some large firms are forging partnerships with technology-focused startups to explore possibilities. For example, R3, a financial technology firm, announced in October 2015 that 25 banks had joined its consortium, which is attempting to develop a common crypto-technology-based platform. Participants include such influential banks as Citi, Bank of America, HSBC, Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley, UniCredit, Société Générale, Mitsubishi UFG Financial Group, National Australia Bank, and the Royal Bank of Canada. Another early experimenter is Nasdaq, whose CEO, Robert Greifeld, introduced Nasdaq Linq, a blockchain-based digital ledger for transferring shares of privately held companies, also in October 2015. (2)

 

References:

  1. Energy Companies look to Blockchain
  2. A Strategist’s Guide to the Blockchain