Bitcoin Futures Begin Trading – Let The Madness Commence!

One of the things that I love about Bitcoin is that the fun never seems to end.  On Sunday, Bitcoin futures began trading on the Chicago Board Options Exchange for the first time ever, and within minutes the CBOE’s website crashed.  What a perfect metaphor.  Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are completely and utterly disrupting the global financial system, and the financial establishment is still groping for a cohesive response to this growing phenomenon.

For a long time the financial establishment seemed to think that if they just kept publicly trashing Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies that they would eventually just go away.  In fact, earlier today I came across a story that talked about how Deutsche Bank is warning of a “Bitcoin crash” in 2018.  But what they don’t realize is that we have reached a tipping point, and the world will never go back to the way it was before.

And even though other global financial institutions are dragging their feet, an enormous threshold was crossed when Bitcoin futures were launched on the Chicago Board Options Exchange just a few hours ago

On Sunday, the Cboe will finally launch its long-awaited bitcoin futures contract; the CME Group will launch its futures contract later this month.

This will surely add a new element to bitcoin, shifting it from a buy-side-only trade to introducing the ability to go long — or short. This should bring new, larger and institutional participants into the market.

This move will also make it more tempting for large institutions to try to manipulate the price of Bitcoin, and that is always a dangerous thing.

But overall this is being hailed as a great thing for Bitcoin, and many believe that the wild ride that Bitcoin has been on in recent weeks has been because of this upcoming futures launch.  The following comes from CNBC

The futures are cash-settled contracts based on the auction price of bitcoin in U.S. dollars on the Gemini Exchange, owned and operated by virtual currency entrepreneurs Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss.

“The pretty sharp rise we have seen in bitcoin in just the last couple of weeks has probably been driven by optimism ahead of the futures launch,” said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab in Austin.

As I write this, the price of Bitcoin is sitting at $16,487.99, which is much higher than it was just a couple days ago.  At one point it had dipped below $14,000, but it has bounced back nicely.

And this could be just the beginning for Bitcoin futures.  According to CNN, Bitcoin futures will soon begin trading on a couple of additional exchanges as well…

There’s more to come. Bitcoin futures will also begin trading on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on December 17-18, while the Nasdaq will debut the options sometime next year.

Many of us that didn’t get into Bitcoin when it was first emerging are still kicking ourselves.  But one individual who did, but later abandoned his efforts, has more than 80 million dollars sitting in a landfill somewhere.  The story of a British man named James Howells was recently featured by Gizmodo

Through his computational labors, he amassed around 7,500 bitcoin before his girlfriend, fed up with the noise of block-mining hardware, made him stop. No great loss—the Silk Road was two years away and bitcoin was worth next to nothing.

Most of the equipment he was using was sold for scrap after he spilled lemonade on it, and the hard drive containing the key to his digital wallet sat in a drawer for three years before passing into its final resting place: the trash.

Near the tail end of 2013, Howells took stock of the crypto markets and began to regret his hasty cleaning decisions. At that time bitcoin’s market cap was beginning to climb, and his 7,500 lost coins were worth a few million. Four years later and he still—understandably—hasn’t let it go. One bitcoin is currently valued at $11,500, making the small fortune Howells sent to a landfill a considerably larger fortune of over $80 million.

Could you imagine being in his shoes?

That hard drive would almost certainly be virtually impossible to find at this point, but I am sure that he thinks about his lost fortune all the time.

But this is the great thing about Bitcoin.  Fortunes are being won and lost outside of the control of the global central banking system, and this has got to be driving the central bankers absolutely bonkers.  I have always believed that there would be a massive crackdown on cryptocurrencies someday, and this is something that Adam Taggart recently discussed with a digital currency expert

We talked about the central banking cartel’s longstanding monopoly of the money supply and its historic ruthlessness for squashing all competition. He agreed that the central banks would like nothing more than to replace the current cryptos as well as all paper fiat currencies with digital sovereign versions. And he predicts they will likely try to do exactly this. How successful will they be? Uncertain. He can certainly foresee a time when they ban ownership of Bitcoin and its brethren, criminalize transacting with them, and shut down the exchanges. Though while the cartel may be able to seriously curtail Bitcoin et al, he doesn’t see it succeeding in driving them to extinction for several reasons. One he offered that I hadn’t heard before (but have since verified) is that private investors have put a network of satellites up in space dedicated to making it possible to transact in Bitcoin anywhere on Earth even if the terrestrial networks are taken down by the authorities or natural disaster.

I agree that it is quite likely that global central banks will eventually come out with their own digital currencies using blockchain technology.  At that point it is entirely possible that they could try to ban the use of Bitcoin and other independent cryptocurrencies, and we must not allow them to do this.

The use of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is one way that humanity can express independence from the global debt-based system that is systematically enslaving all of us, and so I greatly applaud the entrepreneurs that are working so hard to make these new digital currencies viable.

But the battle over currencies is just in the early chapters, and some huge twists and turns are ahead.  We don’t know exactly how everything is going to play out, but it is definitely going to be a wild ride.

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

Bitcoin Bubble: Is Bitcoin Going To $1 Million Or Is it Going To Zero?

The price of Bitcoin continues to rise at an exponential rate, and the financial world is in a complete state of shock.  Just yesterday, I marveled that the price of Bitcoin had surged past the $13,000 mark for the first time ever, but then on Thursday it actually was selling for more than $19,000 at one point.  As I write this, Bitcoin is sitting at $16,877.42, but a few hours from now it could be a couple of thousand dollars higher or lower than that.  Those that got in early on “the Bitcoin revolution” have made extraordinary amounts of money, and many believe that this is just the beginning.

Of course many of the most respected names in the financial world were convinced that this would never happen.  For example, back in 2014 Warren Buffett encouraged investors to “stay away” because he believed that Bitcoin was a “mirage”.  And not too long ago JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said that “if you’re stupid enough to buy it, you’ll pay the price for it one day”.

But for now, it is Bitcoin investors that are having the last laugh.  If you would have gotten into Bitcoin back at the beginning of this year, your investment would be worth 16 times as much today.  The following comes from CNN

Bitcoin cracked $1,000 on the first day of 2017. By this week, it was up to $12,000, and then it really took off: The price topped $16,000 on some exchanges Thursday, and $18,000 on at least one. Other cryptocurrencies have seen similar spikes, though they trade for much less than bitcoin.

There’s a long list of factors people may point to in an attempt to explain this. Regulators have taken a hands-off approach to bitcoin in certain markets. Dozens of new hedge funds have launched this year to trade cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. The Nasdaq and Chicago Mercantile Exchange plan to let investors trade bitcoin futures, which may attract more professional investors.

At this point, Bitcoin has a market cap of approximately 280 billion dollars, and that means that if it was a stock it would “rank among the 20 largest stocks in the S&P 500“.

To put this another way, Bitcoin’s market cap is now greater than the GDP of the entire nation of Greece.

Earlier today, Zero Hedge posted a chart that showed how meteoric Bitcoin’s rise has been…

  • $0000 – $1000: 1789 days
  • $1000- $2000: 1271 days
  • $2000- $3000: 23 days
  • $3000- $4000: 62 days
  • $4000- $5000: 61 days
  • $5000- $6000: 8 days
  • $6000- $7000: 13 days
  • $7000- $8000: 14 days
  • $8000- $9000: 9 days
  • $9000-$10000: 2 days
  • $10000-$11000: 1 day
  • $11000-$12000: 6 days
  • $12000-$13000: 17 hours
  • $13000-$14000: 4 hours
  • $14000-$15000: 10 hours
  • $15000-$16000: 5 hours
  • $16000-$17000: 2 hours
  • $17000-$18000: 10 minutes
  • $18000-$19000: 3 minutes

So where is Bitcoin headed next?

Whenever we see anything go up this fast, it is inevitable that there will be a pullback, and that is precisely what we are witnessing at the moment.  After soaring past the $19,000 mark, Bitcoin dropped back to under $17,000.  But this pullback could just be temporary, and there are some that are absolutely convinced that Bitcoin will blow well past the $20,000 mark by the end of December.

In the long-term, experts such as John McAfee and James Altucher believe that the price of Bitcoin will reach one million dollars.  But there are others that believe that Bitcoin is one of the biggest financial bubbles in history and that it will eventually end in an absolutely horrible crash.

So who is correct?

Well, it is entirely possible that both sides are correct.

Bitcoin could theoretically continue to skyrocket for the next few years if the economy remains somewhat stable.  And it is also true that given a long enough time frame, virtually every financial investment goes to zero.

Just like every other financial investment, the key is to get in at the right time and to get out at the right time.

For now, Bitcoin has sparked a worldwide craze that is absolutely unprecedented.  The following comes from the Washington Post

Such warnings have not stopped the craze surrounding the currency as the sharp rise in value creates ever more demand. In South Korea, people are pouring their life savings into bitcoin and other digital currencies. In Venezuela, after observing the rise of bitcoin, the government announced it would launch its own virtual currency called the “Petro” to get around U.S. sanctions.

And of course Bitcoin has spawned a whole host of competitors.  At this point there are more than 1,000 virtual currencies in existence, and that number is constantly growing.

To me, this whole phenomenon is absolutely amazing.  Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are digital creations, and they don’t have any real intrinsic value.

But something doesn’t have to have intrinsic value in order to be extremely expensive.  For example, a single painting by Pablo Picasso once sold for more than 100 million dollars.  You and I may consider it to be just a silly painting, but because there are people out there that are willing to pay more than 100 million dollars for it, that is how much it is worth.

The same thing is true with cryptocurrencies.  At this moment there are people willing to pay more than $16,000 for a single Bitcoin, and therefore that is what it is selling for.

Someday if this craze fades or global governments really start cracking down on cryptocurrencies, things could change very, very rapidly.  So anyone that is considering investing should be aware of the risks.

But for the moment Bitcoin is on a wild ride, and it has been fun to watch.  And since Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are not controlled by the authorities, it is easy to root for them to be successful.

However, now that they are getting so much attention it is inevitable that the heavy hand of government will come down hard at some point.  In the end, government usually ends up ruining just about everything, and I have a feeling that cryptocurrencies will be no exception.

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

In January 2017 Bitcoin Was Selling For $1,000, And Now It Is Selling For $13,000

I have never seen anything quite like this in my entire life.  As 2017 began, Bitcoin was selling for about $1,000, and many were optimistic about what the new year would bring.  But nobody could have imagined this.  When Bitcoin hit $5,000 in October, it made headlines all over the world, but it has continued to rise at an exponential rate since then.  My friend Joseph told me that Bitcoin would hit $10,000 “by December”, and it actually happened.  This week, the euphoria has hit an entirely new level, and as I write this article the price of Bitcoin is sitting at an eye-popping $13,899.50.

The price of Bitcoin is going up so fast that it is difficult to keep up with it.  Just check out this chart.  Bitcoin hit $12,000 on Tuesday night, and it could very well be above $14,000 by the time this article gets to you.  The following is how CNBC summarized the price movements that we have been witnessing over the past few days…

Bitcoin climbed above $13,000 Wednesday afternoon after topping $12,000 Tuesday night.

The volatile digital currency leaped 11 percent to hit a record high of $13,017.96 and was last trading near $13,000, according to CoinDesk. Bitcoin topped $12,000 Tuesday night in a rapid recovery from a 20 percent drop last week.

I have been writing a lot about Bitcoin lately, and I will probably be writing about it a lot more in the months ahead.  We are in uncharted territory, and the financial community is having a difficult time coming to terms with what is happening.  In all my years, I have never seen this sort of exponential growth over an extended period of time…

Just in the year 2017, Bitcoin, in particular, has seen unprecedented increases in value relative to the U.S. dollar. On January 1, 2017, the price of Bitcoin had just topped $1,000 per coin. Fast-forward to December 1, 2017, and the price of Bitcoin blew right on past $10,000 per coin.

So how high could Bitcoin ultimately go?

At this point it seems like the euphoria will never end, and some analysts are predicting a price of 1 million dollars by the year 2020.  Books with titles such as “Mastering Bitcoin For Dummies” are starting to pop up all over the place, and there is no shortage of people that are willing to teach the finer points of trading Bitcoin (for a fee of course).

But there are trouble signs on the horizon as well.

For example, on Wednesday we learned that “the largest crypto-mining marketplace” in the entire world has been hacked

As Bitcoin explodes higher on what now appears to be constant demand out of South Korea, there were unconfirmed (at least until recently) reports that Nice Hash, the largest crypto-mining marketplace, has been hacked with over 4,000 bitcoins worth over $50 million stolen.

50 million dollars is a lot of money.  If Bitcoins can be stolen this easily, will investors really feel safe having so much money tied up in cryptocurrencies?

This hack is one of the biggest news stories in the world right now, and NiceHash has put out a lengthy statement about this incident.  The following is an excerpt from that statement

Unfortunately, there has been a security breach involving NiceHash website. We are currently investigating the nature of the incident and, as a result, we are stopping all operations for the next 24 hours.

Importantly, our payment system was compromised and the contents of the NiceHash Bitcoin wallet have been stolen. We are working to verify the precise number of BTC taken.

Clearly, this is a matter of deep concern and we are working hard to rectify the matter in the coming days. In addition to undertaking our own investigation, the incident has been reported to the relevant authorities and law enforcement and we are co-operating with them as a matter of urgency.

The future of Bitcoin remains unclear at this point, but many of us that missed out on investing in the early stages are deeply regretting it.

Only time will tell if Bitcoin continues to soar or if it comes crashing back to Earth, but without a doubt this is one of the biggest financial stories that we have seen in a very long time.

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

‘The Currency Of The Apocalypse’? Doomsday Preppers Flock To Bitcoin As It Surges Past $8000

Once upon a time preppers would hoard gold and silver in anticipation of the meltdown of society, but now Bitcoin is becoming the alternative currency of choice for many in the prepping community.  On Monday, Bitcoin hit an all-time record high as it surged past $8,200, and it has now gone up nearly 50 percent in just the last eight days.  As I have admitted previously, one of my great regrets is not investing in Bitcoin when it first started, because we have never seen a meteoric rise quite like this.  Bitcoin hit the $5,000 mark for the very first time just over a month ago, it is up more than 700 percent so far this year, and it is up almost 40,000 percent over the past five years.  At this point Bitcoin has a market cap of over 130 billion dollars, and many believe that this is just the beginning.

At one time many preppers were quite skeptical of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, but now that is starting to change in a major way.  The following comes from a Bloomberg article entitled “These Doomsday Preppers Are Starting to Switch From Gold to Bitcoin”

“Not too long ago, people in the prepper community were actively warning against crypto, and now they’re all investing in it,” said Tom Martin, a truck driver from Washington who runs a social-media website for people interested in learning skills to survive disaster. “As long as the grid stays up, people will keep using bitcoin.”

In addition to gold, silver and stocks, Martin invests in bitcoin and peers litecoin and steem because they’re easier to travel with, harder to steal and offer better protection in the event of the kind of societal breakdown that would unfold if a fiat currency like the dollar collapsed.

He’s among those confident that bitcoin can withstand even a complete blackout through the strength of the underlying blockchain, the anonymous public bookkeeping technology that records every single bitcoin transaction.

At the end of the day, cryptocurrencies only have value because people believe that they have value.  If the global financial system completely collapses, will there still be demand for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies?  And will they be accepted for food, medicine and other basic emergency supplies when everything falls apart?

These are legitimate questions for preppers to consider, because cryptocurrencies do not actually have any intrinsic value.  At the end of the day these cryptocurrencies only exist in cyberspace, and some of the biggest names in the financial world continue to be skeptics

J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon thinks bitcoin is a “fraud.” Investor Mark Cuban called it “a bubble.” Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein is still undecided. But whether or not executives believe in the potential of bitcoin, ethereum or blockchain technology, they and their companies can’t avoid talking about cryptocurrencies.

And there is a very real possibility that the marketplace could soon become absolutely saturated with “cryptocurrencies”.  At this point it seems like a new crytpocurrency is being started on almost a daily basis.  Here is more from CNN

Dragonchain, a crytpocurrency startup originally backed by Disney (DIS), has held an ICO. Filecoin, a cloud storage company, raised more than $250 million earlier this year from an ICO — the biggest ever.

And online retailer Overstock (OSTK) is even planning an ICO for its tZero blockhain unit.

“In an effort to bypass the rules and costs associated with getting listed on an exchange, many startups now are opting to raise funds by issuing their own digital currency based on blockchain technology,” Holmes wrote.

For now, we will probably continue to see wild up and down swings in the price of Bitcoin.  Those that were able to buy low and are able to sell high will make an extraordinary amount of money, but those that hold on to the bitter end may ultimately lose everything.

As is the case with so many things in life, timing is everything.

And for all of the preppers that are getting into Bitcoin, even Bloomberg is skeptical that the cryptocurrency will be of much use in an apocalyptic situation…

Still, it’s hard to envision people walking around spending digital coins to buy Spam, canned beans or bottled water at a local supermarket when they don’t have electricity at home to charge their smart phones, let alone a working internet connection to access their digital wallets.

Of course up to this point those with the last laugh have been those that invested in Bitcoin despite what the skeptics were saying.

Countless numbers of “Bitcoin millionaires” have already been created, and many believe that this is just the start of the cryptocurrency revolution.

But will this revolution end up resulting in heartbreak for those that don’t get out before the bubble bursts?

Only time will tell…

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

How High Can It Go? Bitcoin Shocks The World By Crossing The $7000 Mark Less Than 1 Month After It Sold For $5000

Less than a month ago, Bitcoin was selling for less than $5000, but now it has smashed through the $7000 mark with seemingly no end in sight.  At this point Bitcoin has a total market cap of more than 100 billion dollars, and some analysts are suggesting that it could eventually go as high as a trillion dollars.  Cryptocurrencies overall are up an astounding 640 percent so far in 2017, and personally I regret not investing when Bitcoin was still in the very early stages.  I always thought that governments would eventually crack down and regulate cryptocurrencies out of existence, and that still may happen someday, but it hasn’t happened yet.

One of the great things about Bitcoin is that it represents a medium of exchange that is not controlled by the central bankers.  So when you use Bitcoin you are choosing to become less dependent on a system that is designed to financially dominate the entire planet.  Any way that we can become more independent is a good thing, and so I greatly applaud the use of cryptocurrencies.

But there are those that are warning that a major bubble is forming and that extreme downward price action will be coming at some point.  Needless to say, the upward momentum that we are witnessing at the moment is certainly not sustainable indefinitely.  The following comes from Breitbart

The price of Bitcoin smashed another record early Thursday morning — $7,000 for each unit of the digital currency.

As of 7 AM Eastern time, BTC is selling for $7,191.16, according to data from Coinbase. Bitcoin — which is minted by a decentralized network of miners, not a governing body — hit this latest benchmark with a single-day increase of nearly $640, only 13 days after it first became valued at $6,000. If an individual bought 1 BTC exactly one month ago, it has grown $2,902.33 or +67.67% in value.

Anything that goes up that fast is eventually going to come down, and those that invest at $7,000 could end up seeing the price fall back several thousand dollars.  Or, the euphoria surrounding Bitcoin cold propel it through the $10,000 mark and make all of the skeptics look like idiots.

We just don’t know, and that is part of the charm of Bitcoin.

And according to Bloomberg, soon investors will be able to trade Bitcoin futures…

The digital currency got new impetus this week after CME Group Inc., the world’s largest exchange owner, said it plans to introduce bitcoin futures by the end of the year, citing pent-up demand from clients. Skeptics including Themis Trading say the rally is evidence that the software-created asset is a bubble that should not be given regulatory cover.

Of course Bitcoin is not the only major cryptocurrency that is out there.  In fact, there are rumblings that Amazon is about to start promoting Bitcoin’s chief competitor

Ethereum, the top digital currency behind Bitcoin, has plunged in price as Bitcoin enjoys its massive surge, falling from a 24-hour high of $301.41 to $277.82 Thursday morning.

However, this Tuesday, Amazon bought the domain names amazonethereum.com, amazoncryptocurrency.com, and amazoncryptocurrencies.com, fueling speculation that it may get into the action on decentralized digital currencies. Ethereum is not just a currency like Bitcoin but an app development platform — the Windows or OSX of blockchain. The domain purchase could be a sign that Amazon may join the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance — a group of large companies, including JP Morgan and Microsoft, putting their weight behind blockchain tech.

If Ethereum ultimately becomes the dominant cryptocurrency in the marketplace, what would that do to Bitcoin?

Or could it be possible that there is room enough for both of them?

The truth is that we don’t know what the future will hold.  Cryptocurrencies have never existed before, and there are so many variables at play.  The biggest variable is how national governments will respond to these alternate currencies, and I still believe that they will eventually make a move to heavily regulate them.

And unlike gold and silver, these cryptocurrencies do not have any intrinsic value.  The only reason that they have any value at all is because people believe they have value.  But for the moment the number of believers continues to rise, and this may be a factor in why the price of gold is relatively low right now.  This is something that Ron Paul commented on recently

“Does it represent real money to you?” Cambone further asked the former presidential candidate.

“Not to me, no, it doesn’t,” Paul answered. “But if it serves the voluntary exchanges of people, and serves the purpose of exchanging wealth, … it could act as if it were money ….” he stated.

“Some say Bitcoin is stealing the thunder away from gold,” Cambone continued, “and that’s one of the reasons the yellow metal is not rallying further. Do you agree with this?”

“I think that’s a very strong possibility,” he considered. “I am amazed,” he laughed, “at all the capitalization on these cryptocurrencies. It’s a huge amount of money,” Paul emphasized.

Once again, I greatly applaud the use of cryptocurrencies as a way to become more independent from the system.  I love the fact that mediums of exchange are being developed outside of the control of the central banks, and we should greatly resist any efforts by national governments to take control of these emerging new currencies.

However, as an investment these cryptocurrencies are exceedingly risky.

There are some that have already become quite wealthy by investing in Bitcoin at the very beginning, but there are others that will invest at the peak of the market and will get very badly burned.

As with all forms of investing, there will be winners and there will be losers, and timing is everything.

But we should all love the principles underlying Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.  To me, they are all about liberty and freedom, and the more liberty and freedom we have the better.

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.