Elizabeth Belugina, the Head of Analytics Department at FBS
These days cryptocurrencies are now on everyone’s lips. Are we on the edge of new financial reality or is this just another bubble?
A new global passion
In the year of 2017,there are a lot of cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, ETH, Ripple, Litecoin, Solar Coin, Waves and hundreds of other “coins” that emerge almost every day.The overall capitalization of this market surged by more than 800% this year. Because of their specific features cryptocurrenciesare considered a new asset class, which currently offers the highest returns among all asset classes. Cryptocurrencies have no intrinsic value and are valuable only when exchanged with other currencies, but unlike fiat money, they don’t represent debt.
Although a lot of people rushed into Bitcoin – the first and the most popular cryptocurrency – not all of them can boast of understanding the blockchain technology, which lies at its basis. The blockchain is indeed a revolutionary thing. It allows building systems of distributed ledgers, which are based on peer-to-peer networks of computers and do not have a central authority. In such systems, transactions are recorded and verified on a shared, virtually incorruptible database in the form of a chain of blocks. A non-tech mind can concentrate on the main benefits of the system: the need of oversight or intermediation goes away, transactions become cheaper, transparency increases as transactions cannot be altered or deleted.
Bitcoin came into existence just a few weeks after the global financial crisis, yet the world has become really obsessed with it only this year. According to CoinDesk, about 40% of crypto enthusiasts bought Bitcoins for the first time in 2017.
Where the price comes from?
Bitcoin’s price depends on several factors.At the base of everything, there’s, of course, supply & demand.
Bitcoin supply is limited. The total number of Bitcoins in existence is not expected to exceed 21 million. In line with Bitcoin generation algorithm, the number of Bitcoins generated per block is set to decrease by 50% approximately every 4 years. Finite supply is one of the reasons why the asset’s price is going sky-high.
Demand is another big driver. A lot of Bitcoin investors became such out of fear of missing out (FOMO). Many websites contributed to the rush with posts that a person who bought 250 Bitcoins in 2010 would have by now become a millionaire.
News flow is a great engine of the demand for Bitcoins. If well-known companies and businesses start accepting Bitcoins as a means of transaction, the cryptocurrency’s quotes move up.Negative news can be about government regulations in various countries, bankruptcy or hacks of bitcoin exchanges, related websites and services.In addition, Bitcoin falls when large players need fiat money and sell large quantities of Bitcoins to get it.
The most recent wave of interest in cryptocurrencies was driven by Initial Coin Offerings (ICO). ICOs are a new form of crowdfunding. Various types of ventures raise money by selling tokens for Bitcoins or other cryptocurrencies. Often an idea is enough to collect millions of dollars.These tokens grant investors access to a product or service that will be built with the money raised in the ICO. This option based on Ethereum – a cryptocurrency, but also a platform for apps – has broadened horizons for a lot of projects, but also gave scammers a way to attract funding and disappear. It seems that ICOs, which have gone rogue on a global scale, represent the main risk for cryptocurrencies’ ecosystem.
The future of cryptocurrency market: investor’s perspective
If you decide to trade cryptocurrencies, you’ll need to take into account the fact that they are highly illiquid and extremely volatile. Low liquidity is what makes the market vulnerable to speculation: large players can easily manipulate the price. Cryptocurrencies have low correlation with other asset classes but are highly correlated among themselves. As the price of Bitcoin climbed, investors got interested in other cryptocurrencies.
In addition, it’s necessary to understand that buying a cryptocurrency is not like buying a stock or commodity futures. There’s something of a Wild West in the cryptocurrencies market. Dealing with cryptocurrencies involves a whole bunch of risks:risk of systemic & flash crashes, centralized exchange hacking,fork risk, mining concentration risk, regulatory risk, compliance & due diligence risks and many other risks.
As Bitcoin’s price is still more than 300% up from the start of the year, concerns that such surge is a bubble are shared by the majority of market players. According to the famous anecdote, American businessman Joe Kennedy once said: “You know it’s time to sell when shoeshine boys gives you stock tips.” And now you can hear about Bitcoins everywhere. The current situation is often compared to 17th-century Dutch tulip bubble or the weeks before the dot-com crash.
On the bright side, crypto market cap varies between $100 billion and $147.1 billion, which is commensurable to the market cap of McDonald’s. It’s a drop in the ocean compared with other financial markets, so a scope for further growth exists.
There are several things that may drive Bitcoin “to the moon”. Blockchain technology is a revolution, which will lead to a better and a more efficient economy. Some experts compare it with the Internet and say that now that it is here it won’t go away. As cryptocurrencies are at the moment at the front side of the blockchain, it’s hard to believe that they will go down. The negative talk about Bitcoin and its brothers and sisters comes mainly from banks and governments, which of course can’t welcome something that will deprive them of control over money supply and circulation. Yet, it’s not likely that cryptocurrencies will be banned in the entire world. The Bank of Sweden has already started investigating a possibility of turning national currencies into cryptocurrencies.
That said, one has to understand that the market may be currently pricing in more than Bitcoin has to offer.As a result, short-term investment horizon is a most sensible option when dealing with Bitcoins – for now. Don’t be in a hurry to swap your fiat currencies for Bitcoins –nothing should be done in a hurry except catching fleas. At the same time, keep your eye on the ball: Bitcoin 2.0 will be the future.
Factors That Affect the Direction of the Stock Market
A stock price represents the value of a particular stock of a particular entity, asset or another financial instrument. It is calculated by calculating the price per share of the stock at a particular price and period in time.
There are various factors that affect the direction of the stock market. These factors include interest rates and inflation rates as well as the state of the economy. If one of these factors is not in the favor of the stock market, then it could bring about a downfall of its value.
The stock prices are also affected by various stock indexes, which provide information on a particular company or industry. It helps to analyze the trends of the stock market and makes better decisions when buying and selling.
However, there are some major factors that can influence the performance of the stock market. One such factor is the state of the economy. The state of the economy refers to how well the economy is doing economically. If there is an economic decline in a particular country, then the state of the economy would be affected and the stock market would also take a hit.
Economic conditions can also affect the performance of the stock markets. For example, if the state of the economy is poor and the population is experiencing unemployment, then the economy will suffer and the stock prices will definitely take a hit.
Political turmoil can also bring about a negative effect on the stock markets because it affects the economic conditions and the way people relate to the government. When there is a lack of confidence in the state of the economy and people tend to sell off their stock at cheaper prices, the stocks of the company would suffer.
Another important factor that influences the direction of the stock market is the change in the global economy. It has been proven that the changes in the global economy are very large and it can affect the direction of the stock market in a major way. For example, during the global recession in 2020, the stock prices of many companies suffered a great deal and so did the profits of the company.
The most important thing that determines the direction of the stock market is the state of the economy and the state of the country in which the stock market is based. It is therefore, very important to invest in the stock market as a company that is in good condition. This is because it will help in ensuring the stability in the economy.
The price of the stock market is also affected by the political stability of the country in which the stock market is based. If there is a rise in the political instability, then the price of the stocks would surely go up. However, when the political stability improves, the prices of the stocks will definitely fall.
The factors that affect the direction of the stock market include the conditions in which the economy is doing. It is therefore, very important to have a good understanding of how the economic conditions in a certain country are progressing. This will help in making better investments.
There are certain countries that are very stable and these countries have a very high demand for the stocks of other countries. This means that people from those countries will invest in stocks of countries that are in good condition, and these investments will yield profits for them.
There are also certain countries that have very bad economic conditions and these countries have a very low demand for the stocks of other countries. These countries are also in need of investments and these investments will yield huge losses for them. Therefore, investing in these countries is not advised because these stocks will yield zero returns.
The stock markets are not stable unless there are good economic conditions prevailing in a country. This means that one has to know the economic condition of the country in order to make investments. Investing in the stock market is the best way to do this because investing will always yield returns, as long as the country in which one is investing is stable.
How has the online trading landscape changed in 2020?
By Dáire Ferguson, CEO, AvaTrade
This year has been all about change following the outbreak of coronavirus and the subsequent global economic downturn which has impacted nearly every aspect of personal and business life. The online trading world has been no exception to this change as volatility in the financial markets has soared.
Although the global markets have been on a rollercoaster for some time with various geopolitical tensions, the market swings that we have witnessed since March have undoubtedly been unlike anything seen before. While these are indeed challenging times, for the online trading community, the increased volatility has proven tempting for those looking to profit handsomely.
However, with the opportunity to make greater profits also comes the possibility to make a loss, so how has 2020 changed the online trading landscape and how can retail investors stay safe?
Interest rates offered by banks and other traditional forms of consumer investments have been uninspiring for some time, but with the current economic frailty, the Bank of England cut interest rates to an all-time low. This has left many people in search of more exciting and rewarding ways to grow their savings which is indeed something online trading can provide.
When the pandemic hit earlier this year, it was widely reported that user numbers for online trading rocketed due to disappointing savings rates but also because the enforced lockdown gave more people the time to learn a new skill and educate themselves on online trading.
A volatile market certainly offers great scope for profit and new sources of revenue for those that are savvy enough to put their convictions to the test. However, where people stand the chance to profit greatly from market volatility, there is also the possibility to make a loss, particularly for those that are new to online trading or who are still developing their understanding of the market.
The sharp rise in online trading over lockdown paired with this year’s unpredictable global economy has led to some financial losses, but with a number of risk management tools now available this does not necessarily have to be the case.
Protect your assets
Although not yet widely available across the retail market, risk management tools are slowly becoming more prevalent and being offered by online traders as an extra layer of security for those seeking to trade in riskier climates.
There are a range of options available for traders, but amongst the common tools are “take profit” orders in conjunction with “stop loss” orders. A take profit order is a type of limit order that specifies the exact price for traders to close out an open position for a profit, and if the price of the security does not reach the limit price, the take profit order will not be fulfilled. A stop loss order can limit the trader’s loss on a security position by buying or selling a stock when it reaches a certain price.
Take profit and stop loss orders are good for mitigating risk, but for those that are new to the game or who would prefer extra support, there are even some risk management tools, such as AvaProtect, that provide total protection against loss for a defined period. This means that if the market moves in the wrong direction than originally anticipated, traders can recoup their losses, minus the cost of taking out the protection.
Not a day has gone by this year without the news prompting a change in the financial markets. Until a cure for the coronavirus is discovered, we are unlikely to return to ‘normal’ and the global markets will continue to remain highly volatile. In addition, later this year we will witness one of the most critical US presidential elections in history and the UK’s transition period for Brexit will come to an end. The outcome of these events may well trigger further volatility.
Of course, this may also encourage more people to dip their toes into online trading for a chance to profit. As more people take an interest and sign up to online trading platforms, providers will certainly look to increase or improve the risk management tools on offer to try and keep new users on board, and this could spell a new era for the online trading world.
By Paddy Osborn, Academic Dean, London Academy of Trading
Whether you’re negotiating a business deal, playing a sport or trading financial markets, it’s vital that you have a plan. Top golfers will have a strategy to get around the course in the fewest number of shots possible, and without this plan, their score will undoubtedly be worse. It’s the same with trading. You can’t just open a trading account and trade off hunches and hopes. You need to create a structured and robust plan of attack. This will not only improve your profitability, but will also significantly reduce your stress levels during the decision-making process.
In my opinion, there are four stages to any trading strategy.
S – Set-up
T – Trigger
E – Execution
M – Management
Good trading performance STEMs from a structured trading process, so you should have one or more specific rules for each stage of this process.
Before executing any trades, you need to decide on your criteria for making your trading decisions. Should you base your trades off fundamental analysis, or maybe political news or macroeconomic data? If so, then you need to understand these subjects and how markets react to specific news events.
Alternatively, of course, there’s technical analysis, whereby you base your decisions off charts and previous price action, but again, you need a set of specific rules to enable you to trade with a consistent strategy. Many traders combine both fundamental and technical analysis to initiate their positions, which, I believe, has merit.
What needs to happen for you to say “Ah, this looks interesting! Here’s a potential trade.”? It may be a news event, a major macro data announcement (such as interest rates, employment data or inflation), or a chart level breakout. The key ingredient throughout is to fix specific and measurable rules (not rough guidelines that can be over-ridden on a whim with an emotional decision). For me, I may take a view on the potential direction of an asset (i.e. whether to be long or short) through fundamental analysis, but the actual execution of the trade is always technical, based off a very specific set of rules.
To take a simple example, let’s assume an asset has been trending higher, but has stopped at a certain price, let’s say 150. The chart is telling us that, although buyers are in long-term control, sellers are dominant at 150, willing to sell each time the price touches this level. However, the uptrend may still be in place, since each time the price pulls back from the 150 level, the selling is weaker and the price makes a higher short-term low. This clearly suggests that upward pressure remains, and there’s potential to profit from the uptrend if the price breaks higher.
Once you’ve found a potential new trade set-up, the next step is to decide when to pull the trigger on the trade. However, there are two steps to this process… finger on trigger, then pull the trigger to execute.
Continuing the example above, the trigger would be to buy if the price breaks above the resistance level at 150. This would indicate that the sellers at 150 have been exhausted, and the buyers have re-established control of the uptrend. Also, it is often the case that after pause in a trend such as this, the pent-up buying returns and the price surges higher. So the trigger for this trade is a breakout above 150.
We have a finger on the trigger, but now we need to decide when to squeeze it. What if the price touches 150.10 for 10 seconds only? Has our resistance level broken sufficiently to execute the trade? I’d say not, so you need to set rules to define exactly how far the price needs to break above 150 – or for how long it needs to stay above 150 – for you to execute the trade. You’re basically looking for sufficient evidence that the uptrend is continuing. Of course, the higher the price goes (or the longer it stays above 150), the more confident you can be that the breakout is valid, but the higher price you will need to pay. There’s no perfect solution to this decision, and it depends on many things, such as the amount of other supporting evidence that you have, your levels of aggression, and so on. The critical point here is to fix a set of specific rules and stick to those rules every time.
Good trade management can save a bad trade, while poor trade management can turn an excellent trade entry into a loser. I could talk for days about in-trade management, since there are many different methods you can use, but the essential ingredient for every trade is a stop loss. This is an order to exit your position for a loss if the market doesn’t perform as expected. By setting a stop loss, you can fix your maximum risk on a trade, which is essential to preserving your capital and managing your overall risk limits. Some traders set their stop loss and target levels and let the trade run to its conclusion, while others manage their trades more actively, trailing stop losses, taking interim profits, or even adding to winning positions. No matter how you decide to manage each trade, it must be the same every time, following a structured and robust process.
The final step in the process is to review every trade to see if you can learn anything, particularly from your losing trades. Are you sticking to your trading rules? Could you have done better? Should you have done the trade in the first place? Only by doing these reviews will you discover any patterns of errors in your trading, and hence be able to put them right. In this way, it’s possible to monitor the success of your strategy. If your trades are random and emotional, with lots of manual intervention, then there’s no fixed process for you to review. You also need to be honest with yourself, and face up to your bad decisions in order to learn from them.
In this way, using a structured and robust trading strategy, you’ll be able to develop your trading skills – and your profits – without the stress of a more random approach.
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