Let’s Talk about Bitcoin Versus Gold

Bitcoin Versus Gold

The gist of this article is to explain in clear English why bitcoin has outperformed gold and makes a more viable currency. I’m not going to speculate on price movements rather the utility of the currency. If you’re an older reader pay closer attention, bitcoin is no longer just “an idea in a geek’s head”.

The Charts

BTC/USD

BTC/USD 1 Year to Jan 9, 2021

SPRD Gold Trust Price

SPRD Gold Trust Price 1 year history ending on Jan 9, 2021

Why has Bitcoin Outperformed?

So why has bitcoin outperformed gold in the past year? The charts above show bitcoin and a gold ETF side by side and as you can site bitcoin is the clear winner. My answer is in the form of a question.

“How would you use gold to buy what you buy in a given year?” How can you use gold to buy pizza, how can you use gold to order items online, and how can you use gold on the go anywhere you are?

The answers are clear, you can’t. If you do, you’ll probably lose value, for example you can give a store clerk a gold coin and he’ll pocket it and then pay from his pocket because he just ripped you off, but he won’t go through the rigamarole of checking the spot price of gold and empty out his cash register to make it a fair transaction. Regarding online orders, forget it. It’s really dangerous and stupid to be carrying gold coins with you everywhere you go.

Now pose the same question with bitcoin. Well, in some foreign countries such as Japan I can buy pizza with bitcoin. The US is still catching on so most restaurants and stores will not accept bitcoin.  Many websites accept bitcoin, a long time WordPress started accepting bitcoin and others followed such as Steam, Reddit, Microsoft, AT&T. The biggest news of all I think is that Paypal will allow spending in local currencies with bitcoin. So you go anywhere in the world, imagine being able to spend in local currencies being converted out of bitcoin and a real-time rate. Amazing right? All you need is your phone, something undoubtedly you have either in your hand or pocket right now. Good luck bringing gold overseas, even locally TSA questions people that move gold around but if you go overseas you may be subject to paying a tariff to bring in gold.

What should I do if I have Gold?

Two People Debating

If you have gold don’t worry, I think gold prices will keep going up in the medium and long term. A short term fall is most likely institutions rebalancing as they add bitcoin to their portfolio. Institutions need to have bitcoin in reserve if they offer their customers the option to buy bitcoin on their platform. Gold does have a few benefits over bitcoin, including it’s time earned reputation as a store of value. A digital coin that’s been around for a little more than 10 years is not going to replace gold as the “gold standard”, and you are protecting yourself against inflation. Gold also has the title of being anonymous. As long as people aren’t writing down serial numbers of coins or bars they trade, gold can be untraceable. Bitcoin used to have that distinction but since it uses a public ledger if folks reuse their same bitcoin addresses its possible to trace down where addresses belong using some tricky sleuthing. Also, many people are keeping bitcoin on online wallets that are hosted by companies rather than keeping it in cold storage on hard drives. That means users don’t really own the wallets they are using a service to manage a wallet that then creates sudo wallets when transactions are performed.

You’ll want to make precautions to make sure you don’t get your gold lost or stolen, gold thankfully has elemental properties that prevent it from decaying or becoming dull over time. That being said, I feel it’s value as a currency are less than bitcoin so treat it more as a hard asset investment (much like real estate except without the power to cash flow). I’m going to get to preferred investments later.

What should I do if I have Bitcoin?

If you have bitcoin congratulations, you’ve probably already made a killer profit. That being said bitcoin is still growing as a currency and most folks that are older and less technology savvy may be less likely to “catch on”. However, the great thing about bitcoin is it is a deflationary currency meaning it has a hard supply cap and the mining becomes more difficult over time. Higher demand with limited supply will lead to higher prices, however a pullback from the recent price spike is very possible. What I would do if I did not already own real estate is sell enough bitcoin to make sure you own your primary residence. If you have a lot of bitcoin I’d also sell more to buy rental properties which pay back the mortgage and then some. Throughout time mankind has had great success in making fortunes from supplying housing to folks for a price. You are doing tenants a service by providing housing at a price they are willing to pay and they do not have to buy an entire house or deal with some struggles that come with owning properties such as maintenance, taxes, insurance. I wouldn’t sell it all though because during a rising period it’s hard to be certain how high bitcoin will go. Will it stop at $50,000 or continue it’s way to $1,000,000? With a max supply of 21 million coins a 1 trillion dollar total capitalization would mean each coin is worth $47,619. Does the world place that much value on this cryptocurrency? My guess is yes, and if bitcoin pulls back to less than $20,000 I will be dollar cost average purchasing more with each paycheck.

The Paycheck Conversion Plan

I learned of this when I lived in Malaysia. The Malaysia ringgit was getting hit hard with low oil prices and political issues, lines would form around all the currency traders (which were prevalent also because of lots of tourism). Locals would exchange their hard earned ringgit for either USD (US Dollars), SGD (Singapore Dollars), or RMB (Chinese Money). The reason for this was to prevent their money losing value as fast as it would otherwise. Also because they trusted the other currencies more.

I think it’s a great painless and stress free way of purchasing something your brain construes as “expensive” over time. Kind of like getting into the ocean inch by inch rather than taking a dive. Budget yourself, how much you need for your life and how much you use for investing. Divide your investing into stocks,real estate, and crypto. Divide your crypto into Bitcoin, Etherium, Litecoin, and any other coins you deem worthy (read the white papers and do so checking on how easy these coins are to mine and what they are already used for). After you come up with that percentage multiply it by your  wages (be it bi-weekly, monthly, etc) and then set a recurring purchase transaction on a website like Coinbase (join using this link to get $10 free bitcoin for you and me) for all the coins you’ve come up in your list.

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Biden Stocks

Which stocks will benefit from a Biden presidency?

stocks up under biden

Tonight’s first Presidential debate may have a lot of people thinking about their stock portfolio. Should I sell everything? Should I buy everything? Or is there a way I can position myself to be in better shape if the incumbent loses the White House. Like you, I have no idea who is going to win but have some ideas on what stocks will benefit from a Biden presidency based on the policy changes that would occur. Let’s take a look at some losers and then winners of a Biden presidency.

Losers

Let’s start with the stocks that will be at higher risk with a Biden presidency. Trump has always advocated de-regulation and privatization of public lands for profit. This largely benefits energy companies operating in the US in the fossil fuel industry. Extracting oil and natural gas would become less profitable under a Biden presidency, so you could consider investing AGAINST Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM), EOG Resources (NYSE:EOG), Marathon Oil (NYSE:MRO). Buying put option spreads with expiration a few months into a Biden presidency would make sense.

Strategy

I would not naked short a dividend paying stocks because it means you have to pay the dividends to who you short the shares from, through your broker. Buying a put spread means you benefit from a declining price, but limit the price you pay to buy the put option since you are also selling a put option at a lower strike price.

Winners

Now lets take a look at some companies that will probably benefit from Biden. Biden’s policy website has it’s own page for clean energy plans, and it specifically emphasizes solar and wind technologies. I am a big fan of Vestas (OTC:VWDRY), a Danish company with operations in the United States holding the title as largest wind company in the world. I own shares of this company and it’s my preferred “green energy” stock. Another benefit of Vestas over another company involved in wind such as General Electric (NYSE: GE) is that it’s not as diversified. GE is in the business of fossil fuel power plants and a variety of different sectors which will diminish the gains experienced by green energy by the company. For that reason I do not favor buying GE at this juncture.

Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) will benefit from a push to move from gas/diesel automobiles to EV’s, as states like California push for EV mandates for personal and commercial vehicles. A Democratic presidency or series or presidencies would give the EPA more power to regulate and push consumers towards electric vehicles. Gasoline prices would be higher all things being equal with higher regulations on drilling and the business of oil and gas industries. Chinese competitor Nio (NYSE: NIO) will most likely rise alongside Tesla.

I own both Tesla shares and NIO shares.

Strategy

I hold VWDRY, TSLA, and NIO as long positions. Option strategies include buying call option spreads for these stocks with expiration after the election, or selling PUT options for a stike price near the money after the election.

Why Bitcoin Trumps Dogecoin

 

Ok Dogecoin is cheap. Very cheap. Today it’s trading at $0.00351056, which makes it appealing the penny stock traders and the like who want to make it to the moon. I personally hold 50,000 of these coins, but do not believe in them. Here’s why:

  1. The supply of Bitcoin is constrained. The algorithm only allows for 21 million to ever be mined. That makes it harder to flood the market and drive prices down through the floor.
  2. The supply of dogecoin is 8 turned sideways. That makes this an inflationary currency and no better than the USD.

Additional Information

  1. Bitcoin is the gold standard of crypto, and built off the idea that currency can be democratized and protected against central bank shenanigans, Dogecoin was founded off a meme of a dog.
  2. Alternatives to Bitcoin that have a supply cap are:
    1. Etherium
    2. Litecoin
    3. Ripple (I have qualms with Ripple since a lot of the supply has been pre-mined and gets released periodically, sounds like manipulation to me)

 

US Debt 25 Trillion and Counting. How to Protect Yourself.

The United States is 25 trillion dollars in debt. It collects around 3.2 trillion dollars in tax revenue every year and spends 6.2 trillion dollars every year. The spending continues to go up and all the while the US is paying interest on its debt. Instead of hoarding dollars you should consider some of these other stores of value.

The US dollar is one of the strongest currencies out there, backed by the strongest military and economy the world has ever seen. That being said it is not in the interest of the United States government to have the US dollar increase in value, especially because it owes so much in the form of Treasury bonds and notes. Thankfully most debt is internal – meaning the debt is held by US entities and the Federal Reserve, however there is a lot of debt owned by foreign countries as well. This makes inflation FAVORABLE for multiple reasons – the amount owed to others decreases in real value and economic growth occurs when people use their money to make a higher return than inflation and the interest rates.

If the Federal Reserve were to increase interest rates it would strengthen the US dollar, going against the interests I mentioned above.

This is fine, you just need to know where to put your money so you aren’t affected as much by it.

Watch and subscribe.

Adam Interviews Damien

 

Watch the interview between Adam and Damien, and how a index fund investor is starting to doubt what he believed strongly all these years. We go over when we started investing, what tools we use, and how we determine what to put our hard earned money into.

The takeaways are as follows:

  1. Damien invests into an index fund and about 10% into bonds.
  2. Adam believes index funds include winners and losers, and attempts to pick the winners directly. He also points to unethical companies being in the mix when you buy the whole market.
  3. Damien manages a budget sofware YNAB and Adam just uses his credit card to track spending. Both agree restaurants and eating out are a cash drain.
  4. Adam contends that if you have a 401k you’re already forced into buying stocks you can’t pick so why do that in your managed portfolio?
  5. Adam talks about bitcoin and gold being good alternatives to cash rather than just stocks.
  6. Damien insults Adam’s hair
  7. Adam insults Damien’s yearly return on investment (ROI)

Two People Debating

Oil Ultra ETF UCO Goes Through Reverse Stock Split

This morning investors woke up to see their shares of UCO go from $1.35/share to $23/share. What happened was a reverse stock split, at a ratio of 25 shares into 1 share. By the end of the day on April 21, 2020 UCO then proceeded to go down to $14.57/share. That equates to about a 57% loss if you’re holding UCO stocks outright, and slim chance of profit if you have call options.

UCO is an ETF which is supposed to change twice as much as the price of oil. Oil, as you may know, has experienced a historic epic drop in prices as the plague has hit the world and people are confined to their homes. On top of this, Russia and OPEC have not cut production and have both left their “ceasefire” of production cuts – so production has actually risen!

Oil futures have actually gone into negative territory, time will tell how long this lasts. My guess is that negative prices will be unsustainable and eventually companies will just stop production and leave it all to the low cost producers (see table below).

Crude Oil Cost of Production by Country

The alternative is if some of these higher cost of production countries increase subsidies for domestic production or cut off imports. UCO is based on WTI prices, which stands for West Texas Intermediate. WTI futures are traded in New York, and traditionally the delivery hub for this oil has been Cushing, Oklahoma.

If protectionist actions are taken and US prices increase I expect UCO to follow suit. Given the high dependence of oil jobs in some of the countries listed I have very little doubt other countries will also take measures to protect their local industries and jobs.

Having lived through $100/bbl days and talk of Peak Oil being thrown around, I would have never had thought we’d come to a point like this. It will be a tale for the grandchildren to tell about the days when gas prices were below a dollar again.

If you’re interested in investing in oil futures take a look at our video on oil ultras. WARNING – these investments carry a lot of risk, moreso than company stocks. This is to show you what exists and not recommend any action, you should use your brain and think hard about the potential downside and how high the expense ratio is on these instruments.

 

GILD up 15% in after-hours trading

Gilead Sciences’s drug remdesivir produced rapid recoveries in 125 COVID-19 patients, according to University of Chicago Medicine.

I recommended GILD on my March 22 video below, along with WMT, KR, PG, INO, and MRNA. Since the video was released, PG has gone up 18.82%, WMT has gone up 16.09%, INO has gone up 9.75%, and MRNA has gone up 44.28%.

Based on after hours trading, GILD has gone up around 19%, if the news holds true expect that to climb dramatically.

KR was the only disappointing pick with a measly 0.47% return. Click on the video below and subscribe to my channel for updated stock picks.

A look at my video recommendations from March 23

Switching To YouTube for Awhile

While it’s been a blast writing these articles, the analytics shows that videos just get more views and are a more viable way to communicate to the audience of the internet. I’ll keep this blog open, but if you’re looking for new updates please check out my YouTube channel.

 

One Percentage Point Cut in Benchmark Rate, Now at 0% – 0.25%

What Happened?

Today the Federal Reserve announced it will cut the benchmark rate to between 0% and 0.25%. On top of this, the Federal Reserve has said it will proceed with $700 billion in asset purchases (quantitative easing)

This is an important milestone in that the only additional tools the Federal Reserve now has to curb further depression in the stock market and slowing of the economy due to Coronavirus is to either:

  1. Push the benchmark rate into negative territory
  2. Introduce additional quantitative easing

Focusing in on this change only, and not the other stimulus the Federal government is pursuing, indicates that there is a large amount of fear about the economy.

What should you do now based on these changes?

Refinance

If you have an existing home loan chances are very high at this point you will be able to refinance your loan for a lower interest rate (more than 1% of your current rate) which would make it financially worth the closing costs.

Figure out to do with your cash

0% benchmark rates and increased government spending through stimulus measures means your cash is at risk of devaluation.

Commodities

Consider investing in alternative forms of wealth including gold, silver, platinum, palladium, rhodium, and consider diversifying with some cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin or etherium. Last time quantitative easing was introduced and implemented gold prices more than doubled from $800/oz in 2009 to over $1800/oz in 2011. Today gold stands at $1544/oz. Gold isn’t so much a way to make huge returns rather a way to store value, but a tool nonetheless. Silver went from $10/oz to over $45/oz in 2011. Same concept applies except silver is more volatile, less expensive, and more abundant. Also silver oxidizes, unlike gold.

Equities

Consider investing in companies that can weather a Coronavirus instigated economic adjustment that are on discount after our stock market rout of the past few weeks. Don’t dump all your cash into the market immediately, but start moving money over time and pick up some bargains. Anyone who used this strategy in 2009 would be looking good today. Be careful of companies in high risk industries in the current environment. Casinos, resorts, cruise, and travel companies come to mind as high risk investments. Secondary companies that could share some of that risk include airplane manufacturers, and restaurant franchises that aren’t tuned for home delivery, and theater companies.

The no-brainer at this point is the refinance. Others are optional, and carry risk.

Ally Bank Loses Its Luster as Robinhood Introduces Cash Management


Robinhood vs Ally Savings Over time

Robinhood’s New Cash Management Feature

Robinhood has introduced a new feature Cash Management which allows Robinhood users to save their extra cash in a high-yield account. Current rates for Ally Bank is only 1.6% (see below). Considering the main draw for Ally Savings bank was the interest rate (Ally has no physical walk-in bank), I can see a huge challenge approaching if Robinhood indeed keeps it’s interest rate at 0.2% higher than Ally Savings.

Adding insult to injury, Robinhood does not impose the transaction restrictions on its new account.

The only redeeming factor for Ally at this point is that Robinhood is releasing this slowly on a waiting list as it has done with features in the past.

Side by Side Comparison

Interest rate (most important)

  1. Robinhood Cash Management: 1.8% APY
  2. Ally Savings: 1.6% APY

Initial Deposit

  1. Both have $0.01 minimum requirement

FDIC Insured

  1. Both are FDIC Insured

Transactions

  1. Robinhood Cash Management comes with a debit card and no transaction restrictions (huge)
  2. Ally limits transactions to 6 per statement cycle

Ally savings rate as of 12/31/2019

Robinhood cash management rate as of 12/31/2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


How to Get Robinhood?

You can use this link to join Robinhood. By using my referral code (included in the link) you will receive a free share as a signup bonus. Alternatively you can forgo the free share and go to Robinhood.com and figure it out from there. Good luck and best returns!