What Markets Do To You, And What You’re Supposed To Do

Facebook advertising can be overwhelming because of how inconsistent it can be. Despite it’s inconsistency, it still is and will continue to be my go to place for marketing. I’ve been busy with the launch of our new store as I mentioned in my last blog yesterday. So I’ll be writing this one in a hurry, so I can head back to work.

Markets. They are a good place for everyone to passively build wealth while you actively work on your business or in a job. But in times like this, markets can get the best of you. Let me tell you a story.

The first time I bought a Bitcoin was for $1000. The first time I sold a Bitcoin was for $200. I think most people are aware that Bitcoin went all the way up to $20,000 and trades today at $6000. I was a newbie in the markets. I continue to be even today, but I wouldn’t make that same mistake again. You shouldn’t either.

If you always wanted to own a certain asset whether it’s Bitcoin or stocks or gold, now and the weeks to come could be the time to do that. 2020 is a better time to buy these assets, as they trade 30% below the price they traded in 2019. 2021 could be an even better time than 2020, but we don’t know that. What we do know is 2020 is a better time to buy than 2019.

As cliche as it may sound, buy when there’s blood in the streets and if you can’t, that’s okay. At the very least though, don’t sell when there’s blood in the streets.

Currency? Store of Value? Uncorrelated? What is Crypto?

During the market meltdown that started about 10 days ago, crypto-assets crashed the most. With Bitcoin going as low as $3500 from the high of $8000 in a single day posting the largest value drop since inception, everyone wondered what is Bitcoin?

People didn’t expect this drop to happen. Here’s Brian, CEO of Coinbase, tweet about this

People wondered if Bitcoin isn’t currency (volatile), or store of value (posting massive losses in value), and it’s also not uncorrelated with stock markets or other assets, then what is it?

Personally, it made me wonder that too. If it can’t even act as an hedge against the other markets, what is it? This drop affected my confidence in this asset-class. However, only a week later, my confidence picked up, at least by a bit.

During the first 3-4 days of the meltdown, I started to see that gold is losing value too. What is often seen as the safe haven during financial turmoil, was losing value too. The oil markets crashed as well, although that likely happened for a different reason, but it did. There was pretty much nothing that didn’t lose value.

What I concluded in the end is that during a financial crisis like that, people sell everything to move to cash. It doesn’t matter what asset class. It doesn’t matter what safe haven. All assets are sold so people can sit on cash and take their time to understand what’s happening before figuring out what to do next.

In the next week, I saw crypto-assets and Bitcoin rebound by a lot. It is trading above $6500 at the time of this writing. It is still below where it dropped from, but has recovered by a lot. Meanwhile, the stock market hasn’t recovered at all. The S&P 500 index for example is still down by 30%. What I’ve concluded from that is while all assets are correlated at the time of turmoil, only 10 days later, I can see crypto-assets moving in a different direction. I feel that in the coming weeks and months this uncorrelation will be very well established.

And that would be the first real world test that this asset-class would pass.

Are Stocks Manipulated?

I wasn’t old enough in 2008 to see, feel or understand what happened to the world, economically. It was only later that I learnt about the financial crisis and recession from the documentaries and movies.

When I started investing a few years ago, I invested in crypto before I invested in stocks. Once I tried to invest in stocks, I was turned off by how far behind the tech was. But I liked stocks for being the real thing. Representing real companies, with real earnings. More substance, and less speculation. Today, however, I’m confused between the two asset classes, and I thought to compare them a bit.

One of my first disappointments with stocks was that the trading hours were restricted to 9-5 / Mon-Fri as opposed to crypto-assets which are traded 24/7.

Another disappointment with stocks was the inability to own and store them the way I can own and store crypto. I had to leave the stocks with the broker account. I couldn’t move my stocks around between brokers and I couldn’t store my stocks in an hardware wallet. This is unthinkable in crypto. Only newbies leave their assets on an exchange or with a broker. Not your keys, not your money.

As for crypto, I hated the fact that markets were manipulated so much. USDT (Tether) faced allegations year after year that they are just printing USDT out of thin air and using them to manipulate crypto and specifically Bitcoin prices. That they don’t have the actual USD in their bank account in the same amounts as the USDT in circulation. Eventually, they were able to prove it time and again that they have the equivalent funds available with them.

What I’m seeing today happen to stocks makes me think that stocks are perhaps manipulated even more than the crypto-assets. For example, how the Fed is cutting interests to put market on steroids. The fact that Fed has injected trillions of dollars created out of thin air to solve what they term as “liquidity crisis”. But the most mind boggling is how these dollars are created, let’s hear that out from the ex-Chairman of Federal Reserve

I want to finish this off with circuit-breakers. What are these circuit breakers? Whenever markets dip more than 7% in a single day, trading is halted for 15 minutes. When markets dip 13%, trading is halted for another 15 minutes and at a 20% dip, trading is halted for the rest of the day.

This is unthinkable in crypto where we’re used to seeing 70% dips in a single day but no circuit-breakers are introduced to manipulate the prices. The amount of effort Fed puts in in keeping the stock prices afloat is nothing short of manipulation as these practices are unthinkable in crypto trading which we see as the free markets.

Asset Allocation of Your Investments

As you start to build some wealth, you’re presented with a new set of challenges. You’d ideally want your money to work for you and make money in return and you’d at the very least like to preserve your wealth with respect to purchasing power i-e fighting inflation.

Asset allocation is a strange topic for me because I’ve received all sorts of advice here. The advice, however, varied the most depending on the wealth of the person giving the advice.

As a general rule, the richer you are, the more conservative you’re with your allocation. Really wealthy people put a large amount of money at work, for low-risk returns, generating a decent chunk of cash. While up and coming investors and younger folks are aggressive and put a large portion of their wealth to generate high-risk above average returns.

I’m not going to give specific wealth advice, but personally I design my allocation such that 10% of my investments can make up to a maximum of 90% of my returns and 90% of my investments can potentially make 10% of the returns for me.

It is also why I really like crypto class of assets and I think every person should experiment with 5-10% of their wealth for trying to achieve really parabolic results. While the rest of the wealth should be allocated in safer assets such as equities, bonds, real-estate etc.

For equities, I like to build lazy portfolios with 70% sub-allocation for US indexes, 20% for other developed-world indexes, and 10% for the emerging economies.

And like everyone else, a major chunk has to get into real-estate which is not only safe in the most cases, but helps with both capital gains and recurring income.

The Invisible Indexes Everyone Should Be Paying Attention To

A few weeks ago, I spoke of the benefits of building lazy portfolios that you can do so by buying certain indexes. That seems to be a good strategy at least while the over-all market is growing and not going through the bearish sentiment.

There are other types of indexes that we often can’t see. They are hidden in plain-sight and I think we all should be paying attention to them.

Yesterday, Saad RT’d this. And I couldn’t agree more. Both with the original tweet and Saad’s comments.

Stripe is a really great company and despite being a fintech company, it’s really open and inclusive. Fintech companies are driven by mega regulations and can struggle with innovation. And considering that, Stripe’s openness is a surprise for me.

Off to the original tweet, Stripe is not just innovative and inclusive, it’s also an index. It’s an index of all internet commerce companies collectively powered by Stripe. Have a look at how Stripe has grown over time

Shopify could also be an index like that. And as investors we should be paying attention to these indexes.

In the crypto sphere, Coinbase could be an index. However, since only private investors could participate in Coinbase’s growth and the IPO hasn’t happened yet, the retail investors can not buy that index yet. But there’s 1 crypto index, that you could still be buying, at your own risk of course. A few years ago I tweeted about it

$BNB is a native token of Binance which is one of the largest crypto exchanges in the world. And despite what direction crypto markets move in, Binance always makes a profit. And as $BNB holder, you can be party to that.

At the time of my tweet, the total market capitalization of all crypto assets collectively valued at $381 billion dollars. Today the collective market cap is $216 billion dollars which is almost 45% lower.

Combined market-cap of all crypto-assets on 13th March 2018.

BNB’s market cap at the time of my tweet was $814 million dollars. Today the market-cap stands at $2.2 billion dollars. BNB has posted growth of 2.7x despite the over-all performance of the crypto-market.

$BNB’s market-cap on 13th March 2018.

So watching out for these proxy indexes can be a relatively safer way to grow your investments.

Disclaimer: The information provided is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered legal or financial advice. To the maximum extent permitted by law, I disclaim any and all liability in the event any information, commentary, analysis, opinions, advice and/or recommendations prove to be inaccurate, incomplete or unreliable, or result in any investment or other losses.

How Crypto-Assets Will Play Out In The Long Term

Idea of the internet and the TCP/IP protocol was formally adopted in the 80s. In the 90s we started to see some of the companies reflecting some of the things that can be done on the internet. Amazon was founded in 1994 and Google was founded in 1998. But the internet bubble called the “dot com bubble” burst in 2000. It is when we saw the stock market crash, and most internet companies from the era simply failed and disappeared.

The bubble was real. A lot of companies with bad business models raised wild amount of money and created no value. A few companies survived. At the peak of bubble, Amazon’s stock was worth nearly a $100. At the bottom of the crash, it was nearly $5. Today, it stands at a whooping $1870. So in hindsight, Amazon and companies like Amazon weren’t the problem. Internet wasn’t the problem either. The internet created real value as we all can see today. The problem was excessive speculation and get-rich quick sentiments and since it wasn’t sustainable the market crashed.

I feel crypto-assets are a lot like that. The idea of decentralized crypto assets was first properly proposed in the 90s by Nick Szabo. By 2009, Bitcoin, the first crypto asset of it’s kind was released. By 2013, we had many more crypto-assets including Namecoin, Litecoin & Ethereum. But I’d say the crypto bubble burst in 2017.

I think the crypto-winter might last as late as 2027. During the crypto-winter, most crypto-assets that exist today will have disappeared forever. But there will be Amazons and eBays of crypto-assets, the ones that will survive. By 2037, they will value collectively in trillions of dollars.

2037 will be a great time for crypto-assets, just like 2019 is a great time for tech industry in general.

All of this is speculation, of course. I don’t have the crystal ball. But it is what I believe in. What I also believe in is that the history never repeats itself, but it often rhymes.

Disclaimer: The information provided is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered legal or financial advice. To the maximum extent permitted by law, I disclaim any and all liability in the event any information, commentary, analysis, opinions, advice and/or recommendations prove to be inaccurate, incomplete or unreliable, or result in any investment or other losses.

Crypto Revolution Will Happen

Often I hear from people about the “bad innovation” that’s happening around us. Not everything seems like a good idea to everyone. But I think innovation has never stopped, and never will, even if some people believe that it’s ruining lives.

The first industry that I watched very closely in my career was the music industry. Artists made their living by selling albums on cassettes and eventually CDs. But someone decided that music needs to be more portable and digital and so Mp3 was invented.

MP3 contributed big time towards music piracy and killed the revenues for musicians. Eventually Steve Jobs saved the day for musicians and record labels by offering “a la carte” music at 99C a piece to customers as a legal alternate to piracy. The digital music had to happen even if it happened at the cost of suffering of musicians and record labels.

In a similar way, I think crypto revolution will also happen, even if it happens at the cost of many other things. The money will be digital, decentralized and deflationary whether someone likes it or not. It’s likely that just like Mp3, Bitcoin or other crypto assets may need to be acquired from the iTunes of crypto-assets. But the crypto revolution will happen.