Buy, sell, store and spend…

Thursday, 9 August 2018
Melbourne, Australia
By Bernd Struben

  • ICOs reserved for the wealthy?
  • Did you watch this 10-second video?

Have you dipped your toe into the crypto pool yet?

If not, don’t worry. Cryptocurrencies aren’t going anywhere. And as we’ll cover shortly, buying, selling, storing and spending cryptos is only getting easier.

If you have already bought into cryptos, your first digital currency was most likely bitcoin. With a market cap of US$109.1 billion, according to CoinMarketCap, bitcoin is still by far the largest player.

Ether, with a market cap of US$36.6 billion, comes in a distant second.

Any guesses on number three? If you said XRP (market cap US$13.5 billion) go to the head of the class.

But back to bitcoin.

As the best known and largest cryptocurrency, bitcoin is likely to lead the way into daily commerce.

In Monday’s Port Phillip Insider, I mentioned that Queensland’s government recently granted $100,000 to TravelbyBit. The company is billed as a crypto travel experience startup.

As CoinDesk notes, CEO Caleb Yeoh says his company is targeting, ‘tech savvy travellers from anywhere in the world who are looking to book their travel experiences ahead of their trip and use digital currency to pay for their travels.’

Most people’s travel experiences include regular fixes of caffeine. Generally in the form of coffee.

And Starbucks Corp wants to make sure that wherever you go, you can buy your cup of joe not just in the local currency, but with bitcoin as well.

From Bloomberg:

The beverage retailer [Starbucks] is teaming up with one of the world’s biggest exchange operators, Intercontinental Exchange Inc., which just created a venture called Bakkt designed to more tightly integrate digital currencies into global commerce…

ICE said Starbucks and Microsoft Corp. were joining the effort to help consumers and institutions “buy, sell, store and spend digital assets.” The companies didn’t provide a timetable.

As bitcoin and the lesser known cryptos gain more mainstream traction, they should continue to offer tremendous new investment opportunities.

Opportunities that saw NEM shoot up 29,842% from trough to peak in 2017. And DASH — currently the world’s 14th largest crypto with a market cap of US$1.5 billion — gain 9,264%.

Now that was last year.

As you know, the early months of 2018 saw most cryptos fall. So what does my crystal ball tell me lies ahead?

To answer that question, I turn to our in-house crypto guru, Sam Volkering.

What could happen over the course of the rest of this year is anyone’s guess.

One thing you have to understand though is that investing in cryptos is risky.

The markets are unregulated. And some of these cryptos are illiquid.

It’s the Wild West of finance.

There’s one thing I learned from all the old Westerns I watched growing up. If you’re heading into the Wild West, take an experienced guide. Otherwise you’re liable to end up buried neck deep next to an anthill.

You can find out how Sam can help you avoid getting stung in your early crypto investments here.

Now to the markets.


Overnight the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 45.16 points, or 0.18%.

The S&P 500 dropped 0.75 points, or 0.03%.

In Europe, the Euro Stoxx 50 index finished down 10.77 points, or 0.31%. Meanwhile, the FTSE 100 gained 0.75%, and Germany’s DAX fell 14.65 points, or 0.12%.

In Asian markets, Japan’s Nikkei 225 is down 22.69 points, or 0.10%. China’s CSI 300 is up 2.60%.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 is up 36.57 points, or 0.58%.

On the commodities markets, West Texas Intermediate crude oil is US$66.88 per barrel. Brent crude is US$72.34 per barrel.

That puts WTI down 3.3% since I wrote to you yesterday.

You can see the recent downward trend for Brent (blue line) and WTI (white line) below. A trend I expect will see WTI fall back below US$60 per barrel before the end of September.

chart image

Source: Bloomberg
Click to enlarge

So, what drove the overnight fall?

First, investors are increasingly concerned about the impact of the building US–China trade war. If China’s economy slows under ramped up US tariffs, it will have a significant impact on global demand for crude.

Adam Wise oversees an $8 billion energy portfolio at John Hancock Financial Services Inc. Bloomberg quotes Wise as saying:

The key to future global demand growth, and therefore, the underlying commodity price, is China and so to the extent that you’re seeing noise around that, you’re going to get softness in the crude market.’

The other reason prices tumbled 3.3% overnight is due to a smaller decline in US crude inventories than had been forecast by the Energy Information Administration (EIA). This was coupled with news that the US petrol surplus had grown.

From Bloomberg:

‘[I]n the U.S., crude inventories fell 1.35 million barrels last week, according to the EIA, well shy of the 3-million-barrel drop expected by analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Gasoline stockpiles increased by 2.9 million barrels, the data showed.

“The trade talk continues to escalate,” said Brian Kessens, who helps manage $16 billion in energy assets at Tortoise. The EIA report was “pretty underwhelming to say the least.”

Granted, it’s not easy trying to estimate the level of crude inventories. But this isn’t the first time analysts have been off by more than 1.5 million barrels. And I’m sure it won’t be the last.

Futures traders take note.

Turning to gold, the yellow metal is trading for US$1,214.44 (AU$1,635.83) per troy ounce. Silver is US$15.44 (AU$20.80) per troy ounce.

One bitcoin is worth US$6,302.36.

The Aussie dollar is worth 74.24 US cents.

ICOs reserved for the wealthy?

We covered the big boy of the crypto world above. But there are far more players in the market than bitcoin. Over 1,600 in fact. And more enter the market almost every day in initial coin offerings (ICOs).

Like initial public offerings (IPOs) for stocks, ICOs can be incredibly lucrative to early investors. Or they can see their value plummet on the first day of trading.

Unfortunately, for those with a healthy risk appetite for big gains, it’s getting harder to participate.

From Bloomberg:

ICOs were supposed to be IPOs without the Wall Street middlemen and Washington meddling. Now they’re looking a bit less revolutionary.

Initial coin offerings have raised $18 billion for blockchain startups this year, almost five times last year’s total, according to CoinSchedule. But unlike 2017, this is increasingly due to blockbuster sales that targeted accredited (read: wealthy) investors instead of just anyone with an internet connection.’

This is where Sam Volkering’s premium crypto advisory service, Crypto Tech Investor, can make all the difference.

Sam not only undertakes many hours of painstaking research to weed out the ICOs he believes are little more than scams. He also works to get his subscribers access to the ICOs his research indicates should rocket. ICOs that might otherwise be reserved for ‘accredited investors’.

If you’re ready to take your crypto investing to the next level, you can do so here.

Did you watch this 10-second video?

As you may know, on Tuesday, small-cap analyst Harje Ronngard released his much anticipated research report on ‘the living drug’.

I wrote about this earlier in the week and won’t rehash the finer details today.

In a nutshell, Harje’s been tracking revolutionary medical research to treat, and even cure, some of the world’s deadliest diseases. Including cancer. It involves using human T-cells to attack cancer cells. Something they don’t do naturally.

And the research is proving incredibly promising.

According to Dr Stanley Riddell of the Fred Hutchison Cancer Centre, ‘We are at the precipice of a revolution in cancer treatment.’

You can find all the details of the project in Harje’s new report.

He’s also uncovered one small company at the heart of the research, working closely with billion dollar pharmaceutical giants like Pfizer, Bayer and Novartis. This company could see its share price rocket 20 times or more if the research pans out as Harje expects.

And if you’re like me, you might like visual proof. A few pages into the report you’ll find that in the form of a fascinating 10-second video.

For all that, click here.

Questions, comments, feedback?

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Finally, here’s the latest on China’s extraordinary censorship from The Australian Tribune:

‘Winnie the Pooh Highlights Risks of Closer China Ties’

The next time you hear some armchair analyst suggest Australia should move away from its close ties with the US and cosy up to China, you might want to check with Disney’s big yellow bear.

But you won’t find him in China.

China has denied Disney’s request to…’

If you’re fed up with sanitised, politically correct dogma cut and pasted from one mainstream source to another, then The Australian Tribune is for you.

And it’s absolutely free.

Sign up here to get The Australian Tribune delivered free to your inbox five days per week.

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