Bitcoin NVT, NVT Signal trending upwards

$BTC NVT is trending upwards after bottoming Feb 6. See chart from @coinmetrics. NVT Signal chart from @Woonomic shows similar pattern. #bitcoin

Bitcoin’s NVT (network value/transaction) has been moving in a general upward trend since bottoming on Feb 6th. Here’s a chart using the great charting tools at coinmetrics.io:

bitcoin nvt moving up

Likewise, Willy Woo’s NVT Signal chart shows a similar pattern:

 

ETH & QTUM to rise in 2018?

Earlier this year, Store of Value published a few predictions on the cryptocurrencies to rise in 2018. They start off with a bold one:

Ethereum will overtake Bitcoin by the end of 2018 and QTUM will be a top 5 cryptocurrency. There are some incredible things brewing for both and I don’t believe the market has fully realized nor appreciated what’s going on. Ethereum has the largest user and developer base in the West. QTUM has gained a strong foothold in the East.

These predictions aren’t made off the cuff; each is backed by an reasonable argument. For example, QTUM can benefit from both BTH and ETH “winning”:

Ethereum ecosystem wins = QTUM ecosystem wins
Because QTUM uses the EVM, any projects building on Ethereum can be easily ported to QTUM. A corollary to this is that any successful dApp or protocol on Ethereum can easily become a successful dApp or protocol on QTUM. QTUM doesn’t need to compete with Ethereum for its developer ecosystem, it shares Etheruem’s developer ecosystem. There are many amazing up-and-coming projects for Ethereum such as 0x and Augur and I can envision a world where QTUM has its own 0x’s and Augurs.

Bitcoin ecosystem wins = QTUM ecosystem wins
Because QTUM uses a Bitcoin-based UTXO blockchain as its settlement layer, QTUM can take advantage of any upgrades to Bitcoin. Here’s a few examples: QTUM is already using SegWit and is primed to deploy its own version of Lightning. Once deployed, QTUM is essentially Ethereum with Lightning. How cool is that? It’d be even better for QTUM if Lightning turns out to be a massive success.

Read the full post at Why 2018 Will Be The Year Of Ethereum And QTUM at Store of Value.

 

Is the artisan trend a precursor to a Big Tech backlash?

In the Economist’s 1843 magazine, Ryan Avent writes about the resurgence of the “artisan” culture in Crafting a life:

Before the Industrial Revolution, the craft economy was simply the economy. Clothing, processed food, furniture, wood and iron tools were all made by hand, using simple equipment, one unique batch at a time. Artisans learned their trade through years of observing experts, within the family or in a structured apprenticeship. The quality of both the instruction and the finished products was highly variable. There was virtually no opportunity for mass education in trades, nor a chance for better producers to capture increased market share by scaling up production.

The Atlantic ran a similar piece recently Craft Beer Is the Strangest, Happiest Economic Story in America.

At the same time, the number of public companies has decreased and the “Big 4” tech companies make up 24% of the market cap of $SPY. Some amazing numbers, per Scott Galloway in Esquire:

Over the past decade, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google—or, as I call them, “the Four”—have aggregated more economic value and influence than nearly any other commercial entity in history. Together, they have a market capitalization of $2.8 trillion (the GDP of France), a staggering 24 percent share of the S&P 500 Top 50, close to the value of every stock traded on the Nasdaq in 2001.

How big are they? Consider that Amazon, with a market cap of $591 billion, is worth more to the stock market than Walmart, Costco, T. J. Maxx, Target, Ross, Best Buy, Ulta, Kohl’s, Nordstrom, Macy’s, Bed Bath & Beyond, Saks/Lord & Taylor, Dillard’s, JCPenney, and Sears combined.

Meanwhile, Facebook and Google (now known as Alphabet) are together worth $1.3 trillion. You could merge the world’s top five advertising agencies (WPP, Omnicom, Publicis, IPG, and Dentsu) with five major media companies (Disney, Time Warner, 21st Century Fox, CBS, and Viacom) and still need to add five major communications companies (AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, Charter, and Dish) to get only 90 percent of what Google and Facebook are worth together.

And what of Apple? With a market cap of nearly $900 billion, Apple is the most valuable public company. Even more remarkable is that the company registers profit margins of 32 percent, closer to luxury brands Hermès (35 percent) and Ferrari (29 percent) than peers in electronics. In 2016, Apple brought in $46 billion in profits, a haul larger than that of any other American company, including JPMorgan Chase, Johnson & Johnson, and Wells Fargo. What’s more, Apple’s profits were greater than the revenues of either Coca- Cola or Facebook. This quarter, it will clock nearly twice the profits that Amazon has produced in its history.

Will the trend of the big getting bigger continue? Or is there enough of a Big Tech backlash to make things start regressing to more normalized levels?

We’re certainly not making a call and will continue to look for further evidence.

 

Look longterm for crypto investments

There’s a possibility that some big winners come out of the crypto projects. Sure, most are junk but like the tech boom, a few big winners may emerge. There’s a lot debate about how to value crypto assets. Most of that pertains to assets that are being used as intended now.

With many projects either not yet active, or still in the very early stages, any valuation based on data or metrics seems unlikely to be accurate. Investments need to be longterm, as Jeremy Epstein writes in How do you value crypto-assets? at Never Stop Marketing

if you are serious about profiting from this long term trend towards blockchain-based ownership of assets that will have value within decentralized networks, then the smart move is to ignore the short-term crypto mania and use this time to go as deep as you can on the fundamentals.

Do what you can to understand HOW a crypto-network is put together and how it will work. If you are about to make an investment, find someone who has really done his or her homework.

As an example of someone that’s done their homework, he cites the Store of Value blog.

Why do cities make deals to host Super Bowl & Olympics despite negative economic returns?

Why do cities agree to deals to host events like the Super Bowl and Olympics and build stadiums, despite proven negative negative economic results?

Seth Godin on the practical, human reasons this happens:

 

  1. The project is now. It’s imminent. It’s yes or no. You can’t study it for a year or a decade and come back to it. The team creates a forcing function, one that turns apathy into support or opposition.
  2. The project is specific. Are there other ways that Minneapolis could have effectively invested five hundred million dollars? Could they have created access, improved education, invested in technology, primed the job market? Without a doubt. But there’s an infinite number of alternatives vs. just one specific. 
  3. The end is in sight. When you build a stadium, you get a stadium. When you host a game, you get a game. That’s rarely true for the more important (but less visually urgent) alternatives.
  4. People in power and people with power will benefit. High profile projects attract vendors, businesses and politicians that seek high profile outcomes. And these folks often have experience doing this, which means that they’re better at pulling levers that lead to forward motion.
  5. There’s a tribal patriotism at work. “What do you mean you don’t support our city?

This seems applicable with a project of any size.

via The Super Bowl is for losers at Seth’s Blog

Split the deal to reach for bigger upside

Advice on investing and splitting the deal in order to share risk and reach for rewards that may otherwise be unattainable from Fred Wilson in Splitting The Deal at A VC.  His experience comes from venture capital, but these seems applicable in any type of private investing.

I am a firm believer in splitting the deal, even when the economics (another word for ownership) suggest that there is no room for others.

My personal track record tells me that splitting the deal works. It helps you step up to something that has a lot of risk but also a lot of upside and it brings other people who can add value into the situation early on.

At a time when we are seeing venture funds get bigger and bigger, I am convinced that the hallmarks of old school early stage investing; small fund sizes, small rounds, and syndicates remain best practices

NVT Signal, a new indicator, shows Bitcoin has bottomed

From well-known crypto investor Woobull, a post on a trading signal for Bitcoin, as first derived by  Dmitry Kalichki.

What is NVT Signal?

Standard NVT Ratio is simply the Network Valuation divided by the Transaction Value flowing through the blockchain and then smoothed using a moving average. What Dimitry did was to apply the moving average just to the volatile Transactions component only without smoothing the already stable Network Valuation component.

This produces a much more responsive chart. Responsive enough to use as a trading indicator.

This is probably the first trading indicator to use blockchain data instead of the basic price and volume data coming in from exchanges.

The NVT Signal is picking we’ve bottomed.

This is available on Woobull Charts for now, though a new project named Fomonomics is mentioned.

via NVT Signal, a new trading indicator to pick tops and bottoms at Woobull

Apple is well-positioned, less flashy

Apple isn’t the same company it once was, and that’s ok as they seem aware of their position as market leader, rather than the upstart they once were. While they may not be overwhelming critics and consumers with new devices, they are making appropriate moves for a company in their “middle age.”

This is by no means a condemnation of Apple. Every single move I’ve described above is justified by two circumstances in particular.

First, as a general rule, challengers pursue interoperability while incumbents strive for incompatibility. This is Strategy 101: seek to fight battles where you have the greatest advantage. When Apple was making the iPod, it’s advantage was a superior device; making that device interoperable with Windows let Apple fight the portable music player battle on its terms. Today, though, Apple already has dominant market share: better to make its devices exclusive to its ecosystem, preventing rivals from bringing their own advantage (superior voice assistants, in the case of Alexa and Google Assistant) to bear.

Secondly, the high-end smartphone market — that is, the iPhone market — is saturated. Apple still has the advantage in loyalty, which means switchers will on balance move from Android to iPhone, but that advantage is counter-weighted by clearly elongating upgrade cycles. To that end, if Apple wants growth, its existing customer base is by far the most obvious place to turn.

In short, it just doesn’t make much sense to act like a young person with nothing to lose: one gets older, one’s circumstances and priorities change, and one settles down. It’s all rather inevitable.

via Apple’s Middle Age at Stratechery by Ben Thompson

Build your own index fund using blockchains

Another tool (in beta) for better managing money on your own, Prism lets you setup an index on your own. From  the post How Blockchains Will Disrupt Mutual Funds…You Build Your Own at Never Stop Marketing:

Prism is the world’s first trustless platform for creating portfolios of assets.

Designed and built by ShapeShift, Prism uses smart contracts deployed on the Ethereum network to bring custom portfolio management to everyone.

You can create and rebalance your own portfolio, as well as browse the public portfolios of others and follow them.

So that is exactly what I did.

Now, my one issue with the site (at the moment) is the relative limited number of coins that it supports. I had hoped to create a broader index of coins, but there are only about 25 or so coins (if you have ever used ShapeShift, you will see the exact same coins).

Why value investing doesn’t work like it used to

Models change and strategies need to be adjusted, especially as some models are exploited. What worked for Billy Beane when he built the A’s as written about in Moneyball doesn’t work any longer because all teams are aware of the value of looking for high OBP, undervalued players.

Here’s Ben Carlson with a post When Mental Models Fail at A Wealth of Common Sense:

The old mental model for value investing was that you could easily outperform through the purchase of cheap companies. Oakmark portfolio manager and notable value investor Bill Nygren recently gave a talk at Google where he discussed the changing nature of this mental model:

I think one of the frustrations you hear with a lot of value managers today is, what I did 20 years ago isn’t working anymore. I think that’s always been the case. What worked 20 years ago very rarely still works today. Twenty years ago you could just buy low P/E, low price to book value stocks, and that was enough to be attractive. Now, you can do that for almost no fee and the computers have gotten smarter about combining low P/E, low price to book with some positive characteristics – book value growth, earnings growth. The simple, obvious stocks that look cheap generally deserve to be cheap.

When I started at Harris 30 years ago, we were one of the earliest firms to do computer screening to find ideas. Once a month, we would pay to have a universe of 1,500 stocks rank ordered by P/E ratio. As analysts, the day that output came in, we would all be crawling all over it to look at what the new low P/E stocks were. Today, any of our administrative assistants could put that screen together in a couple of minutes. Because it’s become so easy to get, it’s not valuable anymore. I think it’s probably not just investing, that’s through a lot of industries, as information becomes more easily accessible it loses its value.

He ends with a prudent remider:

But you must also have the ability to adapt to changing circumstances to avoid mistakes both big and small. I like the idea of having strong opinions, weakly held. The whole point of a mental model framework is not to be so rigid that you always do things the same way.