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Alternative Investments

How To Invest In Bitcoin




It has been just six years since Bitcoin appeared, bringing a digital disruption to the concept of currency as we know it. Bitcoin’s disruptive powers have extended far beyond the currency markets, reaching deep into the financial industries, due to the technologies utilized by Satoshi Nakamoto in the creation of what is generally recognized as the world’s first digital currency. Most notable of those technologies is the block chain.

A remarkable technological achievement, the block chain is a distributed public ledger, permanently recording all transactions within minutes, updating and storing information via networked nodes in continuous communication. Bitcoin ownership is recorded in an unbroken chain from the current owner all the way back to the very first one.

Bitcoin’s block chain technology has been shown to be adaptable to many financial industry applications, including peer-to-peer lending and real estate transactions. The technology used to create the block chain has helped to facilitate the world’s first digital securities, a step toward the decentralization of financial instruments.

Infographic courtesy of Coin Republic.

Infographic courtesy of Coin Republic.

Yes, indeed, Bitcoin and its associated technologies have brought serious disruption to the financial world. It is, however, a good disruption, helping to open up investment opportunities to a much wider range of people, much to the consternation of financial industry gatekeepers. It’s no wonder, then, that so many people are interested in investing in Bitcoin.

However, it should be noted that there is a certain degree of Bitcoin price volatility, as there is with anything new and so potentially far-reaching, something that should be taken into consideration by potential investors. This type of investment does have a role in a well balanced investment portfolio, but isn’t an investment for those with a low risk tolerance.

Make A Direct Investment

The simplest way to invest in Bitcoin is to buy the digital currency and sell it at a profit. However, before you do that, you’ll need to get yourself a wallet – a place or an account to store your Bitcoins. You can store them on your computer, on a computer that doesn’t have Internet access or use cloud storage to ensure that something that harms your computer, like a virus, doesn’t harm your Bitcoins. You can find free or low cost wallets, but security is vital and there is no FDIC protection for this digital currency, so make sure whatever wallet you choose has the capacity to keep your Bitcoins safe.

Once you have your Bitcoin wallet, you can make your Bitcoin investments. When deciding how much money to invest, it’s important to remember that Bitcoin has experienced some wild price volatility. Early in the spring of 2011, the Bitcoin was worth $1 US. By April 2013, the value of a Bitcoin had risen to $266. Later that year, at the end of November, the Bitcoin price climbed to $1250. During the following month, the price dropped precipitously, falling to $600, then bounced back up to $1,000.

That cycle, falling and bouncing without quite making it back up to the price point it fell from, continued through 2014, hitting a low of $178 in January of 2015. Since then, the price has been rising and falling, but seems to be gradually creeping back up. As September faded into October, the price of a Bitcoin hit $239. These price fluctuations can be a great opportunity for the well-informed, careful investor. Bitcoins can be bought from individuals or from Bitcoin exchanges.

In the most fundamental sense, Bitcoin exchanges are simply a place, virtual or otherwise, through which people can buy and sell Bitcoins. It is a convenient way to engage in Bitcoin trading without having to seek out individuals in the real world or the cyber world. Transaction fees tend to be low. For example, Coinbase, established in January 2015 as the first licensed Bitcoin exchange in the United States, charges a fee of just 0.25 percent of a transaction. Interestingly, Wall Street invested $106 million in the exchange, in spite of or perhaps even because of the potential threat to the Wall Street system this digital currency and its associated technologies poses.

Other Ways To Invest

As with any other investing sector, there are always financial experts and skilled investors looking for ways to reduce Bitcoin investment risk. While periods of volatile prices can yield remarkable gains, they can, for those on the wrong side of those changes, result in significant losses. So, naturally, investors have been motivated to find other ways to invest in Bitcoin, ways that didn’t leave them quite as exposed to potential losses as some have felt when simply buying and selling Bitcoins.

One very recent alternative method of Bitcoin investing has just hit the Nordic NASDAQ, the Bitcoin based Exchange Traded Note (ETN), denominated in the Euro. A few months prior to this Euro Bitcoin ETN, the very first Bitcoin ETN, in US dollars appeared on the Nordic NASDAQ. These financial instruments are crafted from unsecured debt. Investors buy the debt and gain a return as it is paid. Since these are Bitcoin ETNs, investors can benefit in terms of return on their investment when the value of the Bitcoin increases without actually having to directly buy Bitcoins.

These investment vehicles, however, are based on debt, so there is risk involved and careful assessment of this type of investment instrument is required. For those investors who don’t feel comfortable counting on debt repayment for their ROI, there are other options, such as Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) based on Bitcoin. With this type of investment opportunity, a fund purchases, mines or, in the case of the Bitcoin Investment Trust, wins them at an auction and investors buy shares, earning returns as the value rises.

Debate, Of Course, Rages On

Experts debate the risk involved in investing in Bitcoin. Some investment professionals point to the wide price fluctuations the Bitcoin has experienced and say it is far too risky of an investment. Others point to the solid production limit of 21 million Bitcoins, saying that even though there are price fluctuations right now, in the end, because of the limited supply, prices will rise and stay high enough that a worthwhile return can be expected. Some even point to the American dollar and fiat currency in general and say that it is riskier than Bitcoin because governments print more and more of it, steadily degrading its value.

There are financial experts debating whether or not investing in Bitcoin is really even investing at all. Those that say it is merely speculation, not investing say that it has no real, intrinsic value, nor can it produce additional value, citing the example of a company that one would buy stocks in. They warn that investment vehicles based on the Bitcoin are little more than derivatives based basically nothing but a shared decision to ascribe value to something that doesn’t even exist in any physical form. Others insist that Bitcoin is as legitimate an investment as commodities and futures are.

There is more at play for some investors. For these investors, it’s not just about profit and loss. It is also about ideals, about truth and the leveling of the playing field. It’s about the financial industry gatekeepers not being able to keep the riff-raff – the average person – away from the investment opportunities that have helped keep the rich getting richer while for the average person real wages have gone down over the past few decades. Decentralized digital currencies along with banking and investment opportunities that fall outside of the regulatory control of industry gatekeepers will chip away at the revenue and, more importantly, the power of the traditional financial industries. For these investors, that is something worth investing in.

The Bottom Line

This is an investment decision you’ve got to make for yourself, whether you are the purely practical, dollars and sense sort of investor or an idealist investing in business and concepts you truly believe in. Financial experts and investment professionals are great sources of information and guidance, but the final determination of whether or not to invest in Bitcoin or how much to invest for how long, those are questions you’ll have to answer according to your risk tolerance, how close to retirement you are and your own overall life view, your own sense of priorities. Invest your time in learning all you can before making any investment, large or small, short-term or long.

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Alternative Investments

How to Invest in Marijuana: Investment Properties since 1975

Editorial Staff



Legal-weed-investments1How to Track Marijuana Stock Performance

Are you interested in watching the marijuana industry grow before you make any moves? Then it might be a good choice to simply sit back and watch. However, you shouldn’t take this to mean that you should be passive; no, instead take an active role in understanding what’s going on in this particular stock segment.

You can do this by picking some of the stocks you believe will perform the best in the coming months. Many online stock brokers offer automated “stock watcher” options that allow you to track the stocks that have gained your interest. Take full advantage of these features! Watch the news and see how your stocks ‘ value responds to the new. Every day, something new is happening in this industry; it’s important to not only understand the who of the industry, but the when. Getting your timing right is one of the most underrated aspects of investing.

Legal Weed in Alaska since 1975

The “Marijuana Index”

Don’t have the time to look at the individual stocks? You may want to consult the “Marijuana Index.”

This index is not exactly the S&P 500, but it does do a good job of showing you where the marijuana industry is at. If you’re interested in the industry but haven’t looked at individual stocks yet, then you may want to pay particular attention to this ‘index’ and keep up on the latest news as well. Understanding how the “index” reacts to various news events can really help you understand market timing.

It’s in this index that you can identify potential stocks to buy, as well. Doing your research with this index as a baseline or a guide, you’ll be able to identify all sorts of companies that you hadn’t thought of, perhaps even when you were doing your serious research into the industry.

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Alternative Investments

Investing in Lithium: The Energy Giants

Editorial Staff



This metal is perhaps best known for its use in lithium batteries common in all sorts of electronics devices.

Lithium is a soft, silver-white metal that is highly reactive and flammable. Its unique chemical profile makes it the lightest metal and the least dense solid element. Lithium has several other industrial applications as well, including use in heat resistant glass and ceramics, alloys used in aircraft, and lubricating greases.

As an investment, lithium makes for an enticing play on the growing demand for energy efficient technologies. Lithium batteries, which are far more efficient than traditional nickel-metal hydride batteries, are seeing an increase in demand from the automobile and electronics industry alike.

Limited supply is another appealing factor that makes this metal a potentially lucrative investment. For those looking to invest in lithium, there are a number of options in the marketplace. While physical exposure is not possible, investors can buy a number of companies which are engaged in some aspect of lithium production. Lastly, investors can also purchase a lithium ETF which offers exposure to a basket of commodity producers.

How to Buy Lithium Stocks

There are a wide variety of companies who rely on lithium for a substantial portion of their revenues. One of the biggest is Sociedad Quimica y Minera (SQM) which is a Chilean producer of specialty plant nutrients and chemicals that maintains lithium production operations. Philadelphia-based FMC Corporation (FMC) is a diversified chemical company which also focuses on this rare metal. Rockwood Holdings (ROC) is another prominent manufacturer which is focused on the production of lithium chemicals.

How to Buy Lithium ETFs

Exchange traded products can be an efficient way to access lithium. The most targeted product is the Global X Lithium ETF (LIT), which offers investors exposure to the performance of the lithium industry. This ETF holds a global portfolio of companies engaged in everything from lithium mining to exploration and lithium-ion battery production.

Tesla Motors, Inc.’s (TSLA – Analyst Report) decision to build a $5 billion Gigafactory to meet its requirement of lithium-ion battery packs brought glaring focus on the shortage of supply of this emerging energy storage technology. Lithium-ion batteries are used by many auto manufacturers, including General Motors Co. (GM – Analyst Report), Navistar International Corp. (NAV – Analyst Report), BMW, Daimler AG (DDAIF) and Ford Motor Co. (F – Analyst Report). They are also used in cellphones, laptops, and other electronic devices as well as in the aerospace and defense sector.

However, the market for lithium-ion batteries has a lot of untapped potential. Tesla, for example, is facing problems in meeting the demand for its electric cars due to shortage of battery packs, which is limiting its production capacity. This was one of the chief reasons behind its decision to build a large-scale factory to produce lithium-ion batteries in collaboration with various partners. The electric carmaker’s Japanese battery pack supplier, Panasonic Corp. (PCRFY), is widely believed to be one of the partners.

By 2020, Tesla expects the annual lithium-ion battery production of the Gigafactory to exceed the global production in 2013. The factory will produce enough battery packs to allow Tesla to build around 500,000 electric cars annually by 2020.

However, Tesla’s Gigafactory will not start production until at least 2017. Till then, the focus will be on other lithium-ion battery manufacturers. Thus, it would be a good idea to invest in some companies that manufacture these batteries.

Two of our Favorite Stocks to Watch:

Arotech Corp. (ARTX) has two business divisions – Training and Simulation and Battery and Power Systems. The Battery and Power Systems division manufactures and sells Lithium and Zinc-Air batteries and chargers for the Military.

Arotech reported a 150% positive earnings surprise in the third quarter of 2013. This Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock is expected to report 100% and 411.11% year-over-year growth in earnings per share (EPS) in fourth-quarter and full-year 2013, respectively, based on the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 2 cents and 28 cents, respectively.

Arotech has a price-to-book (P/B) ratio of 1.3x, significantly lower than the industry average of 3.1x. Even the price-to-sales (P/S) ratio of 0.6x is lower than the industry average of 0.9x.

EnerSys (ENS – Snapshot Report) is the largest manufacturer, marketer and distributor of industrial batteries in the world. It also manufactures and distributes chargers, power equipments and battery accessories and provides aftermarket services for industrial batteries. The company recognizes the growing market share of lithium-based battery technology in the aerospace and defense sector, and is thus trying to develop products based on lithium and other new energy storage technologies to increase its market share in the aerospace and defense sector.

EnerSys, a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock, reported a positive earnings surprise in each of the trailing 4 quarters with an average beat of 3.44%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s fiscal 2014 (ending Mar 31, 2014) earnings is $3.87 per share, reflecting an estimated 9.01% year-over-year growth.

EnerSys has P/B ratio of 2.6x, far below the industry average of 6.5x. Its P/S ratio is 1.5x, also lower than the industry average of 1.9x. Long-term EPS growth rate for the stock has been pegged at 15.3%.

Read Investing in Lithium: The Energy Giants Part 2

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Alternative Investments

How to Invest: Graphene Investing

Editorial Staff



Graphene Investing: The Real Benefits of Graphene

Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, both of the University of Manchester were credited with the discovery of graphene and as a result won the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Graphene is 200 times stronger than steel and more robust than a diamond. You can see where the Graphene Investment Opportunities can be so relevant. As used here robustness refers to, “the ability of a structure to withstand events like fire, explosions, impact or consequences of human error, without being damaged to an extent disproportionate to the original cause.”
Read More on Graphene, from

Understand What Graphene Is: Before you Invest
Anyone familiar with the robustness of diamonds will be more impressed by this fact, than the “200 times stronger than steel” line that would impress the layperson more. This is worth keeping in mind as we read on.

Diamonds and Graphene

Though unproven, reasonable theoretical applications include the creation of synthetic plasma and various potential cancer treatment methods.

What you didn’t know about Graphene Stock, is it’s companies will likely put the power of up to 10,000 mainframes into the typical ‘tablet’ or ‘smartphone’ at some point in the near future.

Scientists also theorize that graphene could help clump together radioactive waste, making disposal remarkably safe, clean and efficient. During tragedies like the Fukushima meltdown, graphene could not only serve a valuable economic, but priceless social benefit.

Regulations on Graphene

This is an important factor to note because it could lead to a far lighter regulation note being placed on graphene-based products as they’re manufactured and put into mass production. It means better power, and better Eco-Friendly Products, Graphene Investment Opportunities really span a broad range of businesses.

Perhaps the biggest cause of excitement surrounding graphene is the active attempt by a slew of scientists to replace the silicon inside of semiconductor wafers with graphene. We can only imagine what this will do to the “Silicon Valley” moniker.

For this reason, some have taken to calling graphene “Moore’s Murderer.” The reference is to Moore’s Law, a historical observation of computer hardware claiming chip performance would double every 18 months. If graphene can do what most knowledgeable minds seem to think it can, chip performance could theoretically grow exponentially overnight, thereby making Moore’s Law as obsolete as blind faith in a flat planet.

Graphene is already a part of our daily lives. Graphite in pencils, batteries, brake linings, foundry facings, charcoal and lubricants…but it is also the basic structural element of other allotropes, including graphite, charcoal, carbon nanotubes and fullerenes.

The properties of graphene are so amazing that they have the potential to revolutionize multiple industries. Sensors, batteries, computing, touch screens, electronics, water filtration and salinization, organic solar cells, energy generation and storing, medicine and much more.

As the world’s thinnest material graphene is considered a two-dimensional object, while also being flexible and transparent. It also conducts electricity more efficiently than a semiconductor and is an exceptional heat conductor.

And though the temptation is to look towards technology and manufacturing, the medical devices, biotech and healthcare markets, are all venues where the carbon-based Graphene may have the most investment impact. As we all know, tech and bio stocks tend to do very well in strong performing markets, so just imagine how well such stocks could have performed in recent years with Graphene-backed products.

The standardization of Graphene as a medical/medicinal component, and its potential to enter the human body without damaging the immune system would give it a remarkably beneficial characteristic as a drug delivery mechanism. Graphene also has properties which can aid in bone-rebuilding processes and create the biological structures needed to create organs and tissues.

But here’s an example of what we are all most interested in, the investment value and the rarely-seen, always-profitable synergistic link between government and industry. Namely, the European Union recently awarded Nokia (NYSE: NOK) with a $1.35 billion grant to research the commercial applications of Graphene. Can anyone really imagine how much a company like Phizer or Johnson & Johnson may get from the US government to research healthcare applications of Graphene?

The point of the example is to illustrate that when a material has the ability to affect positive societal change and advancement, as well as being worthwhile for the investment set, a far greater likelihood of success will emerge.

Rarely does an investment opportunity come along that seems to have everyone’s support and very rarely does such an opportunity result in anything but profits to investors.

Graphene Investing has taken on so many industries, these should all be very positive signs. It truly is strange that more investors aren’t talking about Graphene, but at a time when information flows so freely and is so readily available, and you understand What it is capable of, you will see the rise in potential Graphene Stocks.


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