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Bitcoin Has Crashed Again—But Is This When To Buy Bitcoin?

Bitcoin and cryptocurrency investors have had their hopes of a return to bitcoin’s all-time-high in 2019 all but dashed after the latest sudden sell-off.

[Updated Nov. 25 at 7:48 a.m. ET] The bitcoin price last night fell to a six month low of $6,515 per bitcoin on the Luxembourg-based bitcoin and crypto exchange Bitstamp. The bitcoin price is down some 6% over the last 24-hour trading period, wiping billions of dollars from the value of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency.

The bitcoin and crypto industry has been rocked by a severe bitcoin and crypto trading warning out of China, which some have blamed for the latest sell-off.

Now, Wall Street veteran Peter Brandt, who made a name for himself by predicting bitcoin’s devastating 2018 bear market, has called bitcoin’s low for July 2020–two months after bitcoin’s closely-watched halving event.

“My target of $5,500 is not far below today’s low,” Brandt wrote on Twitter ahead of the weekend’s sell-off.

“But I think the surprise might be in the duration and nature of market. I am thinking about a low in July 2020. That will wear out bulls quicker than a price correction.”

Brandt, who earlier this year said bitcoin will eventually hit $100,000 and described the bitcoin market as “like no other,” warned bitcoin bulls “must first be fully purged” before the price will rebound.

Brandt’s comments echo some of bitcoin’s biggest bulls, who have recently come out in force to reassure investors that bitcoin is far from dead.

As well as the May bitcoin halving, which will see the number of bitcoin rewarded to miners cut by half from 12.5 bitcoin to 6.25 bitcoin, bitcoin investors are hopeful next year will bring an increase in the number of bitcoin retail investors and people using bitcoin and cryptocurrencies for payments.

Bakkt, a New York Stock Exchange-owner backed bitcoin and cryptocurrency venture, announced last month it plans to launch a consumer app for cryptocurrency purchases in 2020.

U.S. coffee chain Starbucks will be its first launch partner, with the company one of the original backers of the crypto project, along with software giant Microsoft and Boston Consulting Group.

Meanwhile, Bakkt’s bitcoin futures daily volume hit a new all-time high, according to data from Intercontinental Exchange, with some $20.3 million across 2,700 futures contracts on Friday.

Many in the traditional financial industry remain unconvinced by bitcoin and crypto, however.

This month, former European Central Bank president Jean-Claude Trichet slammed bitcoin and Facebook’s crypto project, warning bitcoin is “not real” and not the future of money.

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I am a journalist with significant experience covering technology, finance, economics, and business around the world. As the founding editor of Verdict.co.uk I reported on how technology is changing business, political trends, and the latest culture and lifestyle. I have covered the rise of bitcoin and cryptocurrency since 2012 and have charted its emergence as a niche technology into the greatest threat to the established financial system the world has ever seen and the most important new technology since the internet itself. I have worked and written for CityAM, the Financial Times, and the New Statesman, amongst others. Follow me on Twitter @billybambrough or email me on billyATbillybambrough.com. Disclosure: I occasionally hold some small amount of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Source: Bitcoin Has Crashed Again—But Is This When To Buy Bitcoin?

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Check out the Cryptocurrency Technical Analysis Academy here: https://bit.ly/2EMS6nY Join The Cryptocurrency Technical Analysis Academy for $40 off using the coupon code “August 2019”. In this video we analyze a head and shoulders pattern that is forming in this downtrend. Will this mean that the down trend is over and we will have a new rally? Or will Bitcoin continue moving to the downside and go even lower? – – – If you enjoyed the video, please leave a like, and subscribe! – – – Follow me on Instagram & Twitter: @cryptojebb Join the Discord! https://discord.gg/59jGjJy #Bitcoin #BitcoinToday #BitcoinNews I am not a financial adviser, this is not financial advice. I strongly encourage all to do their own research before doing anything with their money. All investments/trades/buys/sells etc. should be made at your own risk with your own capital. Spare Change? BTC 127eLjKTBKU9HTFhYowCDC4D3JBxonVk15 ETH 0x5115ACa82edf204760fE3B351c08a48d6004D89B LTC LSKXx3fQRK5LMowGznVvo6A9NtmtaQaoqP Please do not feel obligated to donate, though donations are appreciated!

Bitcoin Isn’t Down Because of China, It’s Down Because You Don’t Need It

Crypto markets are not reeling this week because China is “cracking down on Blockchain.” Tokens have been getting slammed since the summer because most of them are unnecessary, and because the need for coins that may offer some utility is not as imminent as buyers thought it would be. This is most obvious with King Crypto, bitcoin, whose purported use-case as a store of value is not looking very compelling.

The risk-reward in bitcoin has always been an extreme one, which is why its biggest proponents/salespeople assigned astronomic price targets to it. Widespread adoption is an extremely low-probability event with an enormous payoff if the stars align. And let’s be clear: the things that need to happen for the world to turn to bitcoin – complete central bank impotence, widespread currency debasement, falling equity markets and the abandonment of traditional gold – means betting on bitcoin is essentially betting against the house. Hence the “short bankers, long bitcoin” meme. To say bitcoin will offer a 100x return yet also say it’s a highly probabilistic event is inherently contradictory and hugely dishonest.

The market is now realizing this. As the global economic slowdown of the last nine months shows signs of stabilization and the Federal Reserve sees no need for more interest-rate cuts, the case for bitcoin is taking body blows. None of the stories about adoption are turning out, big tech giants from Facebook to Google are doing everything possible to dominate electronic pay and finance, and projects designed to make bitcoin a means of exchange are either slow, fruitless, or both.

In short, the house does not look like it’s in a losing position just yet. And so bitcoin is getting killed. Sure, the U.S. and China could have a major fallout, get into a currency war, and Chinese citizens could rush to crypto as a way to get money out of the system. That’s why bitcoin will never be worthless, and why every investor should watch its price action, but that scenario is looking way, way further away from reality than the cryptoknights had so many believe.

Today In: Money

Bitcoin’s violent moves are a factor of the speculative nature described above. Because its probability of success is low, it is closer to a roulette wheel than any traditional asset class. Average people were lured into the bitcoin sales pitch in 2017 when the economy was tearing hot, cash flow was heavy, stocks were churning out huge gains, and people could afford to take a gamble. Why not roll the dice?

Now those buyers are losing faith in their chances of winning, and are using this year’s rally to get out. As the fundamental reason for owning bitcoin as a store of value also loses luster amid a stabilizing economic situation, the true believers may start bailing out too. If it continues, it should be a warning sign to more traditional investors who made a similar bet in gold, and maybe even those who ran to Treasury bonds as a hedge against chaos, too.

I am the Lead Anchor at TD Ameritrade Network, and the host of Morning Trade Live and Market On Close. I co-anchored Bloomberg BusinessWeek on TV and contributed to Bloomberg Markets and What’d You Miss while I was with Bloomberg beginning in June 2014. I also covered U.S. stocks and equity derivatives for Bloomberg News. Prior to that, I was a reporter at The Bond Buyer, primarily covering the sell side of the municipal bond industry, writing stories about bond insurers, underwriters, ratings services, bond counsel and general market trends. Early in my career I covered metropolitan news for the New York Post. I have a bachelor’s degree in materials science and engineering from Cornell University.

Source: Bitcoin Isn’t Down Because of China, It’s Down Because You Don’t Need It

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Blockchain is currently not suitable for large communities as it’s not scalable. In this video, the CVO of Dagcoin, Kris Ress, explains why the technology behind Dagcoin is perfect for small, big and very big communities. See more from the video!

20 Stocks That Could Double Your Money in 2020

It might be hard to believe, but in just seven weeks we’ll be saying our goodbyes to 2019. Although investors have endured a couple of short-lived rough patches, it’s been an exceptionally strong year for the stock market. The broad-based S&P 500 is up 23%, the iconic Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 18%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite has returned almost 27%.

How good are these returns? Well, let’s just say that the S&P 500, inclusive of dividends and when adjusted for inflation, has historically returned 7% annually, with the Dow closer to 5.7% a year, on average, over its 123-year history.

And it’s not just these indexes that stand out. Of companies with a market cap of $300 million or larger, 124 have gained at least 100% year to date, through Nov. 5. Just because the calendar is about to change over to a new year doesn’t mean this optimism can’t carry over.

If you’re looking for a number of intriguing investment ideas for next year, consider these 20 stocks as possible candidates to double your money in 2020.

1. Innovative Industrial Properties

Yes, cannabis real estate investment trusts (REIT) are a real thing, and they can be quite lucrative! Innovative Industrial Properties (NYSE:IIPR), the best-known marijuana REIT on Wall Street, is already profitable and growing at a lightning-quick pace. After beginning 2019 with 11 medical marijuana-growing and processing properties in its portfolio, it now owns 38 properties in 13 states that span 2.8 million square feet of rentable space.

The beauty of Innovative industrial Properties’ business model is that it creates highly predictable cash flow. The company’s weighted-average remaining lease term is 15.6 years, and its average current yield on its $403.3 million in invested capital is a cool 13.8%. At this rate, it’ll net a complete payback on its invested capital in just over five years.

As long as marijuana remains illicit at the federal level in the U.S., access to capital will be dicey for cannabis cultivators. That makes Innovative Industrial’s acquisition-and-lease model a veritable green rush gold mine for 2020.

A user pinning interests to a virtual board while using a tablet.

Image source: Pinterest.

2. Pinterest

If you missed out on the Facebook IPO and have been kicking yourself for the past seven years, don’t fret. Social media photo-sharing site Pinterest (NYSE:PINS), which allows users to create their own virtual boards based on their interests, could be your second chance to profit.

Like most brand-name social media sites, Pinterest has seen exceptionally strong user growth. Monthly active user (MAU) count rose to 322 million by the end of September, up 71 million from the prior-year period. What’s most notable about this growth is that it’s mostly coming from international markets (38% MAU growth vs. 8% in the U.S.). Even though ad-based revenue is minimal in foreign markets, it nevertheless demonstrates that Pinterest has global appeal.

The company is also making serious strides to monetize these users by boosting average revenue per user (ARPU) globally. In recent quarters, Pinterest has simplified its ad system for smaller businesses, focused its efforts on boosting ARPU in overseas markets, and pushed for video, which has a much higher repost rate than static images. These efforts appear to be paying early dividends, with international ARPU more the doubling to $0.13 from $0.06 over the past year.

With Pinterest forecast to push into recurring profitability next year, a doubling of its stock is certainly not out of the question.

A biotech lab researcher using multiple pipettes to fill test tubes.

Image source: Getty Images.

3. Intercept Pharmaceuticals

Never overlook a first-mover advantage — especially when it pertains to a $35 billion indication!

Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a liver disease that affects between 2% and 5% of all U.S. adults, has no cure or Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved treatments, and is expected to be the leading cause of liver transplants by the midpoint of the next decade. And according to Wall Street, it’s a $35 billion untapped disease.

In late September, Intercept Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ICPT) submitted a new drug application for Ocaliva, a treatment for NASH. While the high dose of Ocaliva did lead to an unsettling number of pruritus (itching)-based dropouts in late-stage studies, it also produced a statistically significant reduction in liver fibrosis levels, relative to baseline and the placebo, without a worsening in NASH at the 18-month mark. Even if Intercept’s Ocaliva only secures a small subset of the NASH market, it has the potential, if approved by the FDA, to quickly earn blockbuster status of $1 billion or more in annual sales. Suffice it to say that 2020 could be a banner year for this midcap biotech stock.

A Redfin for sale sign on the front lawn of a home, with a black sold sign attached.

Image source: Redfin.

4. Redfin

With interest rates and mortgage rates on the rise throughout much of 2018, it looked as if the fun had come to an end for a hot housing market. But following a trio of Federal Reserve rate cuts and a big drop in Treasury yields, the housing industry is hotter than it’s been in more than a year. That, along with low mortgage rates, could be the perfect recipe for online real estate brokerage company Redfin (NASDAQ:RDFN) to double in 2020.

Unlike some of the companies you’ll see on this list, profitability isn’t a near-term priority for Redfin. Rather, scaling its tech-driven platform and taking real estate service market share are its primary goals. One way Redfin is doing this is by undercutting traditional real estate agents with its salaried agents. With a listing fee of just 1%, Redfin cuts out costs that generally irritate buyers and sellers.

More so, Redfin is looking to infiltrate the high-margin servicing business to make the buying and selling experience less of a hassle. It’s expanding nationally and consolidating tasks, such as title, appraisal, and home inspection, into a single package that consumers can designate the company to handle, thereby removing a key buying or selling objection. Perhaps it’s no surprise that this real estate disruptor grew sales by 39% in the second quarter and saw its market share rise 11 basis points to 0.94% of U.S. existing home sales from Q1 2019.

Two smiling young women texting on their smartphones.

Image source: Getty Images.

5. Meet Group

The online dating industry is worth, by some accounts, $3 billion in annual revenue, and Meet Group (NASDAQ:MEET), which specializes in livestreaming and social media interaction (including online dating), is a company that growth and value investors should be swiping right on.

Whereas most of the tech world focuses on bigger names with broader brand recognition, Meet Group’s mobile portfolio of apps, which includes MeetMe, Lovoo, Skout, Tagged, and Growl, has done an admirable job of growing the business. More specifically, the company’s laser focus on bolstering its video business is really paying dividends. During the second quarter, daily active video users increased to 892,000, representing 21% of total users where Live is available on their app. This is important given that video revenue per daily active user grew to $0.26 in Q2 2019 from $0.15 in the prior-year quarter.

Furthermore, Meet Group’s big spending on security enhancements is now in the rearview mirror, according to a third-quarter preliminary update. This mobile livestreaming site is growing at a double-digit rate, has a focus on high-margin video, and sports a forward price-to-earnings ratio of eight (yes, eight!). This multiple, and stock, could both easily double and still have room to run.

A prescription drug capsule with a boxing glove coming out of it that's knocking out a cancer cell.

Image source: Getty Images.

6. Exelixis

In all fairness, Exelixis (NASDAQ:EXEL) has had an incredible run on the coattails of lead drug Cabometyx. Following its approval to treat second-line renal cell carcinoma (RCC), and first-line RCC, the company’s share price rose from $4 to $32 between Jan. 2016 and Jan. 2018. Now, back at $16, Wall Street is wondering, what’s next?

In the early months of 2020, Exelixis and partner Bristol-Myers Squibb may have that answer. The duo are expected to reveal results from the CheckMate 9ER late-stage trial that combines Cabometyx with Bristol-Myers’ blockbuster immunotherapy Opdivo, which also happens to be an RCC rival. If this combination therapy dazzles, the duo could snag an even greater share of the RCC market, further boosting Cabometyx’s case as a blockbuster drug.

Investors should also know that Exelixis offers a rare value proposition in the highly competitive and often money-losing biotech space. This is a company offering double-digit sales growth, a forward P/E of 16, and a PEG ratio of a minuscule 0.36. With patent cliffs remaining challenging for Big Pharma, Exelixis, in addition to potentially notching a win with CheckMate 9ER, might find itself as a buyout candidate in 2020.

A person inserting a credit card into a reader in a retail store.

Image source: Getty Images.

7. StoneCo

Although Warren Buffett is best known for buying value stocks, the fastest-growing stock in Buffett’s portfolio (at least from a revenue perspective), StoneCo (NASDAQ:STNE), could be primed to double in 2020.

StoneCo isn’t exactly a household name, but this $10 billion payment solutions and business management software developer is finding plenty of interest for its fintech offerings in Brazil. During the second quarter, which StoneCo reported in mid-August, the company saw total payment volume for its merchants rise 61% year over year, while active clients increased 80% to 360,200 from the prior-year period. Since Brazil remains largely underbanked, there’s a long-tail opportunity for StoneCo to make its mark with small-and-medium-sized businesses in the country.

StoneCo is also investing heavily into its software subscription model. On a sequential quarterly basis, subscribed clients more than doubled to approximately 70,000 in Q2 from 32,000 in Q1 2019. While StoneCo won’t appear cheap in 2020 due to its aggressive reinvestment strategy, its Wall Street-estimated top-line growth rate of 38% may have enough firepower to double this stock.

The facade of the Planet 13 SuperStore in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Image source: Planet 13.

8. Planet 13 Holdings

Although legalizing marijuana across the U.S. would make life easier for vertically integrated multistate operators (MSO), it’s not exactly a problem for Planet 13 Holdings (OTC:PLNHF), which approaches its seed-to-sale model a bit differently than other MSOs.

Planet 13 is all about creating the most unique experience imaginable for cannabis consumers. The company’s SuperStore in Las Vegas, Nevada, just west of the Strip, spans 112,000 square feet and will feature a pizzeria, coffee shop, events center, and consumer-facing processing site. At 112,000 square feet, it’s the largest dispensary in the U.S., and is actually 7,000 square feet bigger than the average Walmart. The company is also developing a second location that’ll open next year in Santa Ana, Calif., just minutes from Disneyland.

Aside from its sheer size and selection, Planet 13’s transparency and technology stand out. The company is utilizing self-pay kiosks in its stores to facilitate the payment process, and provides monthly updates on foot traffic and average paying ticket size for investors. Maybe most striking, Planet 13 has about 10% of Nevada’s entire cannabis market share. It could have its investors seeing green in 2020.

An up-close view of a shiny one ounce silver ingot.

Image source: Getty Images.

9. First Majestic Silver

Precious-metal mining isn’t exactly known as a high-growth industry. However, following years of conservative spending, and after witnessing gold and silver spot prices soar in 2019, miners like First Majestic Silver (NYSE:AG) are suddenly sitting pretty.

Even before gold and silver moved higher by a double-digit percentage in response to falling U.S. Treasury yields, First Majestic was making waves. In May 2018, it closed a deal to acquire Primero Mining and its flagship San Dimas mine. Between incorporating the low-cost San Dimas into its portfolio, and looking at ways to bolster its existing assets (e.g., modifying the roasting circuit at its La Encantada mine to add up to 1.5 million ounces of silver production per year), First Majestic has seen its silver equivalent ounce (SEO) production grow from 16.2 million ounces in 2017 to perhaps north of 26 million SEO in 2019.

First Majestic should also benefit from a return to historic norms in the gold-to-silver ratio (i.e., the amount of silver it takes to buy one ounce of gold). Historically, the gold-to-silver ratio has hovered around 65, but is currently at closer to 84. This would suggest silver has the potential to outperform gold in the intermediate-term; and no mining company has greater exposure to silver as a percentage of total revenue than First Majestic Silver.

A veterinarian with a stethoscope around her neck examining a small white dog.

Image source: Getty Images.

10. Trupanion

According to the American Pet Products Association, an estimated $75.4 billion will be spent on our pets in 2019, with $19 billion alone on veterinary care. Given that 63.4 million U.S. households have a dog, and 42.7 million have a cat, the opportunity for the pet insurance market is huge. That’s where Trupanion (NASDAQ:TRUP) comes in.

Trupanion is a provider of lifelong insurance policies for cats and dogs. Like any insurance company, Trupanion is built for long-term profitability. Most insurers offer predictable cash flow and have exceptional pricing power, which is a necessity if they’re to cover claims. But Trupanion is going where few insurers have gone before. U.S. and Canadian pet insurance market penetration is just 1% and 2%, respectively, which is providing some learning curve bumps along the way, but also giving Trupanion an incredibly long runway to growth.

Trupanion is currently unprofitable, but it appears close to turning the corner to profitability. Sales grew by 26% in the second quarter, and are expected to romp higher by 20% in 2020, according to Wall Street. If the company continues to find success with referrals, it’s very possible it could surprise in the earnings column next year.

A hacker wearing black gloves who's typing on a keyboard.

Image source: Getty Images.

11. Ping Identity

What do you get when you combine some of the hottest tech trends into one company? None other than identity solutions provider Ping Identity (NYSE:PING), which recently IPO’d in September.

While there are plenty of cybersecurity providers, Ping’s uniqueness derives from its use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to attempt to identify users and computers as trusted. Being able to operate within the confines of traditional enterprise networks, or being tasked with securing cloud networks, Ping offers an assortment of products that should be able to meet the needs of small, medium, and large-scale businesses. Not surprisingly, it should be capable of double-digit sales growth in the near-term, like its peers.

What also can’t be overlooked in the fast-growing security space is that Ping’s valuation is a modest $1.3 billion. After being acquired by private equity firm Vista Equity for $600 million in 2016, Ping delivered a doubling of that value in three years, following its IPO. This demonstrates the potential of focused individual security, and makes it all the more likely that Ping Identity could be quickly scooped up by a larger rival.

A woman checking her blood glucose readings on a connected device.

Image source: Livongo Health.

12. Livongo Health

As you’ve probably caught on by now, this list of stocks that could double in 2020 is full of disruptors, and Livongo Health (NASDAQ:LVGO) certainly fits the bill.

Livongo is a developer of solutions that helps people change their health habits. By supplying testing kits that connect to smartphones, and utilizing data science, Livongo works to change the behavior of diabetics, and can also be used to assist patients with hypertension. Given that over 30 million people have diabetes (most being type 2 diabetics), and a number of these folks could use some serious help managing their symptoms, Livongo Health’s products are exactly the disruptor needed in this space.

According to the company’s second-quarter results, the number of clients in Livongo’s ecosystem nearly doubled on a year-over-year basis to 720, while the number of enrolled diabetes members did more than double to 192,934. More importantly, Livongo’s triple-digit sales growth rate cannot be overlooked. While profits are highly unlikely in 2020, a year of market-topping revenue growth is very possible.

An assortment of couch sectionals pushed together in a living room.

Image source: Lovesac.

13. Lovesac

When the calendar changes to 2020, relax, put your feet up, and let small-cap Lovesac (NASDAQ:LOVE) do the heavy lifting for your portfolio.

Lovesac, the home furnishings company that sells beanbag chairs, sectional couches, and a host of other in-home decorations, has struggled in 2019 amid trade-war concerns. It’s been hit hard by higher tariff costs, and that’s clearly brought investor worry to the forefront.

However, a quick look at Lovesac’s second-quarter operating results should relieve most worries. By passing along modest price hikes to consumers, as well as reducing its reliance on China from 75% to 44% of its manufacturing, the company has, in a very short time frame, reduced the impact of the trade war going forward.

What’s more, these price hikes don’t appear to be adversely impacting the company’s fast-growing and niche furnishings business. Lovesac reiterated full-year sales growth of 40% to 45%, with comparable store sales growth coming in at 40.7% in the second quarter, and noted that new customers and repeat clients are driving growth. Although profitability is still probably two years away, sales growth of at least 40%, with a price-to-sales ratio of right around 1, could be more than enough to send this stock rocketing higher.

A lab researcher in a white coat holding a vial of blood in his left hand while reading from a blue clipboard in his right hand.

Image source: Getty Images.

14. Amarin

The biotech industry is always a good bet for a volatility, and Ireland-based Amarin (NASDAQ:AMRN) might have a real shot to grow from a midcap to a large-cap valuation in 2020 thanks to its lead drug, Vasecpa.

Vascepa, a purified fish oil derivative, was approved by the FDA all the way back in 2012 to treat patients with severe hypertriglyceridemia (SHTG). But it’s not Vascepa’s potential in treating SHTG patients that’s got Wall Street excited. Rather, it’s a supplemental new drug application stemming from a five-year Harvard study in 8,179 people with milder (but still high) triglyceride levels. The results showed that Vascepa lowered the aggregate risk of heart attack, stroke, and death in these patients by 25%. In other words, if Vascepa were to be approved for an expanded label indication to reduce the risk of major adverse cardiovascular events, its potential pool of patients could grow tenfold, as would its sales potential.

Later this month, on Nov. 14, an AdCom meeting will take place to discuss Amarin’s marketing application for Vascepa, as well as to vote on whether or not the members of the committee favor approval. By January 2020, at the latest, Amarin should have the FDA’s official decision on Vascepa (the FDA isn’t required to follow the AdCom’s vote, but it often does). If I were a betting man, I’d count on positive reviews all around.

A large city canvased by blue dots, representative of a wirelessly connected society.

Image source: Getty Images.

15. CalAmp

In Aug. 2018, Bain & Co. predicted that the Internet of Things global market would more than double from $235 billion in spending to $520 billion in just four years’ time (between 2017 and 2021). That global opportunity is too lucrative to overlook for small-cap CalAmp (NASDAQ:CAMP).

CalAmp, which provides software and subscription-based services, as well as cloud platforms that support a connected economy, has been hurt in recent quarters by the trade war with China, as well as sales weakness in its Telematics segment that’s been tied to a few core customers. However, CalAmp has reduced its Telematics product sourcing from China to around 50% from 70% to 80% earlier in the year, thereby minimizing the pain it feels from the trade war. Also, a number of customers blamed for its sales slowdown in Telematics (e.g., Caterpillar) are on the cusp of ramping up production as upgrades are made from 3G to 4G.

As Telematics growth picks back up, the company has seen record sales from its software subscription segment. Sales rose 65% year over year in the latest quarter, and now account for a third of total quarterly revenue. In short, the CalAmp growth story is just getting started, and 2020 could feature some very favorable year-on-year comparisons.

A female physician high-fiving a young child sitting on her mother's lap.

Image source: Getty Images.

16. Aimmune Therapeutics

Another biotech stock with a potential first-mover advantage in 2020 is Aimmune Therapeutics (NASDAQ:AIMT).

Aimmune’s lead drug is Palforzia, an oral drug that’s designed to lessen the symptoms associated with peanut allergy in children and teens. There is no FDA drug currently approved to treat peanut allergy in adolescents, and an estimated 4% to 6% of all children in the U.S. have some form of allergy to peanuts.

Now, here’s the great news: Palforzia looked like a star in late-stage clinical trials. Patients aged 4 to 17 were administered increasingly larger doses of peanut protein during the study, and 67.2% taking Palforzia completed the study without needing to discontinue the trial. This compared to a mere 4% on the placebo who completed the trial.

More good news: Palforzia has already been given the thumbs up by the FDA’s Allergenic Products Advisory Committee. Even though the FDA isn’t required to follow the vote of its panel of experts, it does so more often than not. It appears likely that Palforzia will get a green light in January, and it could be on track for more than $470 million in annual sales (by Wall Street’s consensus) by 2022. With other treatments in development for egg and walnut allergies, Aimmune looks well on its way to carving its own niche in the biotech space, and potentially doubling its stock in 2020.

Oil and gas pipeline leading to storage tanks.

Image source: Getty Images.

17. Antero Midstream

Midstream is the unsung hero of the energy infrastructure space. While drillers retrieve fossil fuels and refiners process them, it’s midstream providers that are the essential middlemen providing transmission, storage, and a host of other services that ensure these products make it to refineries for processing. Antero Midstream (NYSE:AM) may be just one of many midstream operators in the U.S., but it also might hold the distinction of being the cheapest and most likely to rebound in 2020.

Antero Midstream acts as the middleman for Antero Resources, a producer of natural gas and natural gas liquids (NGL) operating out of the Marcellus Shale and Utica Shale region in the Appalachia. This region is known for its natural gas and NGL production, which is worth noting given that LNG demand in North America could quadruple between 2018 and 2030, according to estimates from the McKinsey Energy/Insights Global Energy perspective model. This should provide a solid foundation of fee-based revenue for Antero Midstream.

Antero Midstream also recently announced a $300 million share repurchase program, suggesting that its board feels its stock is too cheap. If fully executed, this share buyback would remove about 8% of the company’s outstanding shares, and it shouldn’t impact the company’s jaw-dropping, yet seemingly sustainable, 17% dividend yield. Including this payout, Antero Midstream could very well double next year.

A gloved individual holding a full vial and dropper of cannabinoid-rich liquid in front of a hemp plant.

Image source: Getty Images.

18. MediPharm Labs

Marijuana stocks throughout Canada have suffered through supply issues since day one of adult-use legalization more than one year ago. But one ancillary niche that should be immune to these struggles is extraction services. The company you’ll want to know in this space is MediPharm Labs (OTC:MEDIF).

Extraction-service providers like MediPharm take cannabis and hemp biomass and produce resins, distillates, concentrates, and targeted cannabinoids for their clients. These are all used in the creation of high-margin derivatives, such as edibles and infused beverages, which were just legalized in Canada on Oct. 17, and will hit dispensary shelves in a little over a month. Since derivatives offer much juicier margins than dried cannabis flower, demand for cannabis and hemp extraction services should remain strong.

What’s more, extraction providers like MediPharm often secure contracts ranging from 18-to-36 months, leading to highly predictable cash flow. With MediPharm’s Barrie, Ontario, processing facility eventually on its way to 500,000 kilos of annual processing potential, and the company already profitable, it would not be the least bit surprising if MediPharm doubled in 2020.

A woman opening up a personalized box of clothing.

Image source: Stitch Fix.

19. Stitch Fix

Even high growth stocks can hit a rough patch; just ask the shareholders of online apparel company Stitch Fix (NASDAQ:SFIX). Following poorly received fourth-quarter results and weaker-than-expected sales guidance for the first quarter, Stitch Fix is a lot closer to its 52-week low than 52-week high at this point. However, things could change in a big way in 2020.

For starters, Stitch Fix is a potential retail disruptor that can capitalize on consumers in two ways. First, there’s the subscription side of the business that includes a stylist who picks outfits and accessories out for customers, who then to decide to keep (buy) or return these items. Secondly, but more recently, Stitch Fix has also been finding success with its direct buy program, which allows its members to skip the stylist and purchase highly curated and personalized product directly off its website. The company believes this dual-growth approach will play a key role in revenue growth reacceleration. It’s worth noting that despite its fourth-quarter report being poorly received by Wall Street, active clients grew 18% to 3.2 million from the prior-year period.

Stitch Fix is also planning to expand its offerings to men and children, and would be expected to bolster advertising as these new lines roll out. The company pointed out in its most recent quarter that fiscal first-quarter sales guidance is weaker because it lifted its foot off the gas pedal with regard to advertising. That’s an easy fix that should have Stitch Fix mending its weakness pretty quickly in 2020.

A white prescription generic drug tablet with a dollar sign stamped on it.

Image source: Getty Images.

20. Teva Pharmaceutical Industries

Not every stock that doubles has to be growing at 20%, 30%, or more, per year. Sometimes, it just requires Wall Street and investors to readjust their outlook.

Brand-name and generic drug giant Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (NYSE:TEVA) has had a miserable go of things for nearly four years. A combination of generic-drug pricing weakness, opioid lawsuits, bribery allegations, high debt levels, and the shelving of its once-hefty dividend, have sunk Teva’s stock by almost 90%. But a renaissance of sorts may be on the horizon.

You see, Teva lost more than half of its value in 2019 after 44 U.S. states sued the company, and many of its related peers, over the manufacture and sale of opioids. However, Teva appears to be making progress on these lawsuits by offering free medicine to select states, and, more importantly, not having to outlay much of its precious cash. If these opioid suits are resolved, it’s not crazy to think Teva regains pretty much all of the ground it lost when they were announced.

At the same time, Teva’s turnaround specialist, CEO Kare Schulze, has reduced annual operating expenses by $3 billion and lowered net debt by $8 billion in a couple of years. Teva has the potential to really change some opinions in 2020, and that could lead to a doubling in its share price.

A man in a tie who's holding a stopwatch behind an ascending stack of coins.

Image source: Getty Images.

Don’t forget the most important “secret” to wealth creation

While it’s possible that many, or only a small number, of these 20 companies doubles next year, the important thing for investors to remember is that great ideas often take time to develop. The grandiose secret to wealth creation isn’t going to be found by day-trading or trying to time the market. Rather, it’s discovered by investing in high-quality businesses that you believe in, and allowing your investments to grow for five, 10, or even 20 years, if not longer.

It can be fun to predict next year’s top performers and potentially find yourself a proverbial gold mine, but don’t take your eyes off the horizon, which is where the big money is being made.

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Randi Zuckerberg, a former director of market development and spokeswoman for Facebook and sister to its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Sean Williams owns shares of Exelixis, First Majestic Silver, Intercept Pharmaceuticals, and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Facebook, Livongo Health Inc, Pinterest, Stitch Fix, and Trupanion. The Motley Fool owns shares of Stoneco LTD. The Motley Fool recommends CalAmp, Exelixis, Innovative Industrial Properties, Intercept Pharmaceuticals, and Redfin. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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A Major Bitcoin Exchange Has A ‘Massive’ Problem

Bitcoin exchanges and platforms never seem far from scandal, with crypto investors always nervously awaiting the next bitcoin hack or data breach. The bitcoin price has been known to swing wildly following reports of major bitcoin thefts, though sometimes fails to react at all.

Now, Seychelles-based bitcoin futures exchange BitMEX has sparked panic among bitcoin traders and investors after accidentally exposing thousands of its users’ emails–with the exchange’s Twitter account then compromised shortly after.

BitMEX this week sent out thousands of its users’ email addresses along with a weekly newsletter after inadvertently CC’ing recipients instead of BCC’ing them.

Today In: Money

“We are aware that some of our users have received a general user update email earlier today, which contained the email addresses of other users,” BitMEX said in a statement posted to its blog, adding an apology for the leak.

“Our team have acted immediately to contain the issue and we are taking steps to understand the extent of the impact. Rest assured that we are doing everything we can to identify the root cause of the fault and we will be in touch with any users affected by the issue.”

The exchange has blamed a bug for the leak claiming the error has been “identified and fixed.”

BitMEX, known for offering 100-times leverage trading, is currently being investigated by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) for allowing U.S. traders to use its platform without a licence.

“This kind of thing is a massive privacy breach with potentially serious consequences,” Jake Chervinsky, general counsel at Compound Finance, said via Twitter, adding: “[It’s] the last thing a derivatives exchange needs to deal with during a CFTC investigation.”

BitMEX has requested its users add BitMEX’s support email to their contact lists to decrease phishing emails along with adding 2-factor authentication.

Shortly after BitMEX warned users about the email leak, the exchange’s Twitter account @BitMEXdotcom posted two tweets that were promptly deleted.

The first read “Hacked” and the second advised followers to: “Take Your [bitcoin] and run. Last day for withdrawals.”

The bitcoin price, which is still choppy after a roller-coaster October, barely reacted to news of the leak, remaining steady at a little over $9,000 per bitcoin.

Last month, the bitcoin price was suddenly heavily sold off before rebounding sharply just a couple of days later.

Meanwhile, Malta-based bitcoin exchange Binance, the world’s largest bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchange by volume, warned its users to change their Binance-registered email accounts following BitMEX’s blunder.

BitMEX, known for offering 100-times leverage trading, has been criticised previously for potentially exposing traders to too much risk, with economist and bitcoin skeptic Nouriel Roubini attacking the exchange and claiming it “may be openly involved in systematic illegality.”

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I am a journalist with significant experience covering technology, finance, economics, and business around the world. As the founding editor of Verdict.co.uk I reported on how technology is changing business, political trends, and the latest culture and lifestyle. I have covered the rise of bitcoin and cryptocurrency since 2012 and have charted its emergence as a niche technology into the greatest threat to the established financial system the world has ever seen and the most important new technology since the internet itself. I have worked and written for CityAM, the Financial Times, and the New Statesman, amongst others. Follow me on Twitter @billybambrough or email me on billyATbillybambrough.com. Disclosure: I occasionally hold some small amount of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Source: A Major Bitcoin Exchange Has A ‘Massive’ Problem

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Late-Inning Heroics? Stocks Hint At Friday Rally As Trade Talk Optimism On the Rise

  • Stocks down for the week so far but trade optimism gives positive tone early
  • Micron shares fall on disappointing forecast
  • Wells Fargo gets a new CEO, helping lift shares

Friday dawns after a week that didn’t provide much direction for investors. Stocks have generally chopped around in reaction to the latest geopolitical or domestic political news, and stayed in a tight range.

The question Friday might be whether the major indices can propel themselves to a victory for the week, because they start the session slightly down from a week ago thanks to positive trade vibes and solid durable goods data. That data looked really nice, up from the previous month and rising for the third month in a row. We’ll have to see if that’s sustainable because a lot of it was from the defense sector in the form of planes and parts. Either way, the trend can sometimes be your friend, as the old market saying goes.

Today In: Money

Also, the Personal Consumption Index (PCE)—the Fed’s preferred inflation metric—rose 0.1%, roughly in line with expectations. The core index, which strips out the often-volatile food and energy prices, also rose 0.1% to an annualized rate of 1.8%. It’s an uptick for sure, but still below the Fed’s stated target of 2% inflation. Might this be enough to shift the Fed’s thinking from dovish to neutral?

Whether or not stocks make a last-minute run here, it’s been hard to find much of a theme in the last few days. Hopes for progress in trade negotiations got reinforcement yesterday with an October 10 date set for new talks, but the noise out of China since then has mostly been about how willing they are to buy more U.S. products.

That’s all good, but it doesn’t get at the intellectual property and other issues that U.S. negotiators say are at the heart of the matter and apparently were a sticking point when the last round of talks broke down. It’s hard to see these talks getting much further without movement on these issues.

Another focus is the impeachment drama in Washington. Two big bombshells came out this week, but stocks didn’t show much reaction. As we’ve said, it’s important to keep your emotions out of trading, and impeachment is an emotional issue. It’s likely to be a long process and a constant background noise over the next weeks and months, but investors might serve themselves better by watching earnings and data.

It’s interesting to hear some analysts saying that the impeachment situation might actually be bullish because it could put pressure on the administration to get a trade deal done on the sooner side. This school of thought suggests President Trump might be keen to get some positive headlines to counter the negative ones. That remains to be seen and is just speculation for now.

On the earnings front, bad news came at the end of the week from Micron (MU), as the semiconductor firm issued guidance that Wall Street didn’t seem to like too much. Shares were down 5% in premarket trading. Revenue and earnings beat third-party consensus views, but were way down from a year ago as the company continues to struggle with demand for its memory products. It wouldn’t be too surprising to see the weakness in MU shares work their way into the entire chip sector, maybe putting pressure on Technology stocks today.

And Wells Fargo (WFC) is back in the news today after the financial company hired a new CEO. This ended a six-month search and means investors won’t have to approach WFC’s earnings call next month with more questions about who would head the company. Shares rose in premarket trading.

Quarterly Market Gains Not Much To See

The old quarter is just about over, and it’s been a wild one that basically didn’t go much of anywhere if you look at the major indices. Sure, they surged to new peaks at times, but also retreated. It ended up being almost a wash, with the benchmark S&P 500 (SPX) closing Thursday up just 1% from where it finished at the end of June.

The choppy trade that marked most of the quarter continued on Thursday, with the market giving up early gains, clawing back to flat and then losing more ground by the closing bell. Some of the “risk-on” trading we saw on Wednesday didn’t really carry into Thursday, with small-caps in the Russell 2000 (RUT) drifting lower and Financials having a rough day.

Instead, some caution appears to be coming back into play late this week, with Utilities and Real Estate near the top of the leaderboard Thursday. Those aren’t places people tend to go when they’re feeling gung-ho about the economy. Bonds—another defensive area—also rallied, but gold didn’t share in the fun.

Though every day seems to have a different theme, there’s a lot of concern out there about the fundamental picture. It’s good to hear that new trade talks begin October 10, as we found out Thursday, but a resolution doesn’t seem all that close.

One concern is that new tariffs announced last month on Chinese goods could start having an impact on consumer spending, which would possibly cause companies to get even more cautious. If companies stay in a holding pattern, it’s hard to see any significant rally on the horizon. Earnings growth is already expected to fall year-over-year in Q3 after sinking in Q1 and Q2.

When you get right down to it, earnings drive the market. If investors continue to see earnings grow at slower rates, at some point the market could start to reflect that. FactSet, a research firm, predicts a nearly 4% earnings loss for S&P 500 companies in Q3. Earnings fell 0.4% in Q2 and also fell in Q1, making this potentially the first three-quarter stretch of falling year-over-year earnings since late 2015/early 2016.

No Fun for FAANGS

Some of the FAANG stocks, including Amazon (AMZN), Netflix (NFLX) and Facebook (FB), also are having tough weeks. Again, it’s regulatory issues dogging FB, but the others could be under pressure from changing money flows as the FAANG sector seems to be losing some of its mojo, according to an article this week on MarketWatch.

Next week will be October, after Monday at least, so let’s look at what the market’s going to be grappling with beyond the China trade and impeachment stories. We’re still a few weeks out from earnings, meaning volatility could be a factor and the market could move up or down quickly based on the latest headlines or tweets. It could still do that after earnings start in mid-October, too, but earnings give people something solid to point at in times of turmoil.

One thing we’ll be pointing to next week is a monthly payrolls report for September. A lot of eyes are likely to be on the numbers a week from today, wondering if those relatively modest job gains back in August were a one-time deal or maybe a sign of something more serious. Even before August, job growth had been slowing this year, but it’s still above the level economists think we need to keep unemployment low.

Other data aren’t so exciting next week, but Chicago PMI on Monday might be interesting when you consider recent data where manufacturing activity appears to be slowing down. Chicago PMI surprised to the upside last time and came in above 50. Anything below that would indicate economic contraction, according to how the report is structured. It was 50.4 in August.

Volatility can sometimes tick up the last days of the quarter, but the Cboe Volatility Index (VIX) has dropped below 16 this morning after topping 17 earlier this week.

Company Caution Crimps Quarter: Normally, the government’s report on gross domestic product (GDP) gets lots of attention. That wasn’t the case yesterday because a few other things were going on (there’ve been some political headlines, if you haven’t noticed). A check of the data showed 2% growth in Q2, which means the slowdown that began early this year continued. As a reminder, gross domestic product was nearly 3% in 2018. To some extent, this downturn probably reflects the trade war with China. Many companies appear to be in a holding state because they’re putting off decisions on business plans. You can’t continue to have companies putting decisions off, because it could start affecting the longer curve of growth. It may already be doing that.

Crude Concerns: The fundamental concerns mentioned above aren’t any easier to dismiss when you consider how crude’s behaved recently. Remember when U.S. crude rose above $60 less than two weeks ago in a 15% one-day rally? Seems like a long time ago, with crude back down in the mid-$50s by Thursday. Rising U.S. inventories apparently caught some market participants by surprise and raised questions about demand. It’s just a week or two of data, so you don’t want to make any broad conclusions, but falling crude demand would possibly be a sign of a slowing economy if it continues. That remains to be seen, but for the moment it’s hurting the Energy sector, which suffered more than a 1% loss yesterday.

Batting 3000: The first time the S&P 500 (SPX) crossed the 2000 level was on Aug. 26, 2014. But it traded below 2000 on an intraday basis 22 months later, on June 27, 2016. The lesson here? Just because an index crosses a big round-number benchmark doesn’t mean you can put that magic number in the rearview mirror and forget about it. We’re getting a reminder of that now, with the SPX struggling to get its head above 3000 after first hitting that mark back in July. At this point, the late July intraday high of 3027 remains the peak, and the SPX has fluttered back and forth above and below 3000 ever since.

This doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll still be wrestling with 3000 in mid-2021, though that can’t be ruled out. And while we’re talking scenarios, one can’t rule out a major test to the downside either. In the near term, it’s very hard to see any move above 3000 lasting long without a China deal. Anticipated weak earnings are another major barrier, because without earnings growth, it gets harder and harder to justify rallies.

TD Ameritrade® commentary for educational purposes only. Member SIPC.

I am Chief Market Strategist for TD Ameritrade and began my career as a Chicago Board Options Exchange market maker, trading primarily in the S&P 100 and S&P 500 pits. I’ve also worked for ING Bank, Blue Capital and was Managing Director of Option Trading for Van Der Moolen, USA. In 2006, I joined the thinkorswim Group, which was eventually acquired by TD Ameritrade. I am a 30-year trading veteran and a regular CNBC guest, as well as a member of the Board of Directors at NYSE ARCA and a member of the Arbitration Committee at the CBOE. My licenses include the 3, 4, 7, 24 and 66

Source: Late-Inning Heroics? Stocks Hint At Friday Rally As Trade Talk Optimism On the Rise.

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Bitcoin Chaos Continues As Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg Reveals Libra Woes

Bitcoin and cryptocurrency markets went into meltdown this week, with the bitcoin price suddenly falling off a cliff.

The bitcoin price lost some 15% in a shock sell-off on Tuesday, dragging down the wider bitcoin and crypto market and catching traders, who had hoped the hotly-anticipated Bakkt crypto platform launch would give bitcoin a boost, off-guard.

Now, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has revealed his libra cryptocurrency, which is largely credited with sparking bitcoin’s bull run earlier this year, may not launch in 2020, as previously expected.

“Obviously we want to move forward at some point soon [and] not have this take many years to roll out,” Zuckerberg told Nikkei Asian Review, a Japanese business newspaper. “But right now I’m really focused on making sure that we do this well.”

Facebook’s libra has run into opposition around the world as countries, including India, France and the U.S., warn it will undermine their national currencies, with U.S. president Donald Trump launching a blistering attack on libra, bitcoin, and crypto earlier this year.

Bitcoin traders and investors have closely-watched the development of Facebook’s libra, which has been adopted as something of a cryptocurrency regulatory bellwether and a tacit endorsement of bitcoin’s underlying blockchain technology.

“A lot of people have had questions and concerns, and we’re committed to making sure that we work through all of those before moving forward,” Zuckerberg added.

The bitcoin price lost further ground yesterday, dropping some 5% and dipping below the psychological $8,000 per bitcoin mark.

Bitcoin cash, an offshoot of bitcoin itself, led the cryptocurrency market lower, recording losses for the day of over 5% and taking its weekly decline to almost 30%.

The bitcoin sell-off comes after a muted launch of the New York Stock Exchange owner Intercontinental Exchange’s Bakkt crypto platform, which was unveiled last year boasting software giant Microsoft and coffee chain Starbucks among its partners.

Bakkt’s platform allows traders and institutional investors to swap so-called “physically” settled bitcoin futures contracts, meaning traders and investors are not able to sell more bitcoin than they actually have, but the total number traded came to just 72 by the end of its first day, compared to over 5,000 traded on the first day of CME’s cash-settled futures, launched at the peak of bitcoin-mania in December 2017.

“Bitcoin staged a brief recovery yesterday but is again below [$8,000], currently trading at $7,990,” Marcus Swanepoel, chief executive of bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchange Luno, said in a note to traders.

“Similar losses have been recorded by all the main altcoins. The loss of value is certainly as a result of the overall global market negativity, but the change in the structure of the market with the launch of the bitcoin futures on Bakkt is thought, by a number of traders, to have been a contributing factor.”

Facebook’s libra, considered by some to be a competitor to bitcoin, is being pitched as a global currency, with the social media giant aiming to bring as many countries on board as possible.

However, the primary target is developing countries where banking and access to finance is low.

Facebook and Zuckerberg, who launched the platform in 2004, are both still reeling from a string of data-sharing and privacy scandals that have plagued the company in recent years and led to questions around the power of some of Silicon Valley’s biggest internet companies.

“Part of the approach and how we’ve changed is that now when we do things that are going to be very sensitive for society, we want to have a period where we can go out and talk about them and consult with people and get feedback and work through the issues before rolling them out,” Zuckerberg said.

“And that’s a very different approach than what we might have taken five years ago. But I think it’s the right way for us to do this at the scale that we operate in.”

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I am a journalist with significant experience covering technology, finance, economics, and business around the world. As the founding editor of Verdict.co.uk I reported on how technology is changing business, political trends, and the latest culture and lifestyle. I have covered the rise of bitcoin and cryptocurrency since 2012 and have charted its emergence as a niche technology into the greatest threat to the established financial system the world has ever seen and the most important new technology since the internet itself. I have worked and written for CityAM, the Financial Times, and the New Statesman, amongst others. Follow me on Twitter @billybambrough or email me on billyATbillybambrough.com. Disclosure: I occasionally hold some small amount of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies

Source: Bitcoin Chaos Continues As Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg Reveals Libra Woes

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Bitcoin Market Falls Sharply As Litecoin Suddenly Crashes

Bitcoin and cryptocurrency market watchers were on high alert today as the eagerly-anticipated Bakkt crypto platform went live.

The bitcoin price failed to perform, however, with bitcoin losing around 2% of its value since Bakkt began trading its “physically” settled bitcoin futures contracts, with some $8 billion wiped from the wider cryptocurrency market today.

Meanwhile, litecoin, the fifth largest cryptocurrency by market value, has suddenly gone into free fall, losing almost 10% of its value in a matter of minutes.

The reason for litecoin’s sudden sell-off was not immediately clear, however litecoin is down some 50% since June, thought to be a response to the gains litecoin made earlier in the year as traders cashed out of their positions.

Today In: Money

Litecoin, which has been called the silver to bitcoin’s gold, surged in the first half of 2019 as traders bet an August so-called halvening of the cryptocurrency, where miner rewards for finding blocks are cut, putting a squeeze on supply, would spark a crypto bull market.

Bitcoin is itself due to undergo a halvening event in May next year and many have suggested this will be the catalyst for the next major bitcoin leap higher.

However, many had also expected bitcoin and the broader cryptocurrency market to get a boost when the Bakkt platform began operating today.

Bakkt, an Intercontinental Exchange-backed bitcoin and crypto platform, was unveiled last year and boasted computing giant Microsoft and coffee chain Starbucks among its partners–promising to open up bitcoin to institutional investors and bring crypto spending to the high street.

Trading of Bakkt’s hyped “physical” bitcoin futures, meaning that traders and investors are not able to sell more bitcoin than they actually have, have been muted today, however.

There were just five bitcoin futures contracts traded via the platform after the first hour, rising to 28 ten hours after launch.

Traders and bitcoin industry executives were quick to play down Bakkt’s slow start.

“Bakkt will be likely first a trickle and then a flood,” Su Zhu, chief executive of Singapore-based hedge fund Three Arrows Capital, said via Twitter.

“The reality is that most regulated futures contracts get low adoption on day one simply because not all futures brokers are ready to clear it, many people want to wait and see, the tickers are not even populated on risk systems.”

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I am a journalist with significant experience covering technology, finance, economics, and business around the world. As the founding editor of Verdict.co.uk I reported on how technology is changing business, political trends, and the latest culture and lifestyle. I have covered the rise of bitcoin and cryptocurrency since 2012 and have charted its emergence as a niche technology into the greatest threat to the established financial system the world has ever seen and the most important new technology since the internet itself. I have worked and written for CityAM, the Financial Times, and the New Statesman, amongst others. Follow me on Twitter @billybambrough or email me on billyATbillybambrough.com. Disclosure: I occasionally hold some small amount of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Source: Bitcoin Market Falls Sharply As Litecoin Suddenly Crashes

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The cryptocurrency market has fallen sharply over the past couple of days and is currently at $241 billion market capitalization at the time of recording. While the Bithumb hacking and Japanese regulators’ strict outlook towards cryptocurrency exchanges are being cited as reasons for the sharp decline, the likely cause is that we are still stuck in a long-term bearish cycle. We have still not discovered the bottom of the market, and chances are that the market will continue to be in a state of decline for some time. EOS has taken the biggest hit after a stop-start mainnet launch and controversies surround centralization and constitution. We strongly recommend cryptocurrency investors to take a mid-to-long term approach towards investing and hodl strongly. We believe that mainstream adoption and regulation will brining institutional investors and the next set of retail investors to the market driving prices up in the ling run. References: Correction Deepens as Coin Values Approach 2018 Lows: https://hacked.com/cryptocurrency-mar… Cryptocurrency Market Drops to $241 Billion, EOS Takes a Huge Beating: https://www.ccn.com/cryptocurrency-ma… Bitcoin Price Hits 2018-Low at $5,825, Where Will it Bottom Out?: https://www.ccn.com/bitcoin-price-hit… Follow Crypto Dost on Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheCryptoDost For enquiries, write to thecryptodost@gmail.com Disclaimer: Please keep in mind that I have made this channel to share my experiences in the cryptocurrency market. I am not a professional financial advisor and the information provided is solely for educational purposes. Consult your own financial advisors and do your own research before investing in cryptocurrencies. Investing in cryptocurrencies is inherently risky and you can also lose all the amount you invested. Only invest the amount you can afford to lose. The channel shall not be liable to the viewer for any damages, claims, expenses or losses of any kind (whether direct or indirect) suffered by the viewer from or in connection with the information obtained on this channel.

 

Here’s Where $800 Of Bitcoin Buys You $10,000 Cash

Researchers from cloud security-as-a-service provider Armor’s Threat Resistance Unit (TRU) have been taking a deep dive into a dozen dark markets and forums. Analysis of the data compiled from trawling these English and Russian-speaking criminal marketplaces has been published in the annual Armor Black Market Report. As well as the usual tracking of the prices for stolen credit cards, bank account credentials and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) for-hire operators, there was one surprising new trend: a Bitcoin to cash conversion scheme that offers criminal buyers the opportunity to buy cash for pennies on the dollar. Paying $800 (£647) in Bitcoin gets you $10,000 (£8,095) in cash.

The Black Market Report

The Armor Black Market Report is the result of researchers from the Armor TRU trawling through underground internet markets and criminal forums. These “dark markets” are notorious for selling just about anything that can be stolen online, from personal and financial data to illicit services such as articles of incorporation for creating shell companies, the distribution malicious spam and even hackers for hire who will scrub your credit history.

The TRU research team analyzed and compiled data from twelve dark markets and criminal forums visited between February and June 2019. It came as no surprise to me that they found cybercriminal after cybercriminal selling credentials for as yet “unhacked” Windows remote desktop (RDP) servers. These are often used by ransomware actors looking for an entry point into corporate networks. That these credentials were being sold for as little as $20 (£16) was unexpected though. The cost of entry, quite literally, to the ransomware threat sector has never been cheaper.

Today In: Innovation

Neither, for that matter, has the cost of cold, hard cash. The TRU researchers found that, partly to get noticed in a crowded market and partly to offset the risk of monetizing stolen banking and credit card accounts, entrepreneurial threat actors are selling cash for between 10 and 12 cents on the dollar. This isn’t, as you might have guessed, a case of criminal philanthropy.

Instead, it’s a method for criminals to offload the risk of monetizing stolen account credentials by transferring the funds available rather than taking possession of them. It’s still money laundering, and it’s illegal, but it puts the most significant weight of risk onto the buyer.

Here’s how the buy cash for Bitcoin scheme works

The seller offers bundles of cash in various amounts, from $2,500 (£2,020) to $10,000 (£8,095) in exchange for a pre-paid fee in Bitcoin. That fee varies between 10% and 12%. Which means that $10,000 of cold cash can be bought for $800 in Bitcoin.

The buyer makes the payment and then chooses how they would like to collect the cash. This can be a straightforward transfer of funds to a bank or PayPal account or wired via Western Union. As well as getting a significant return on their illicit investment, the purchaser no longer has to worry about monetizing online bank account or credit card credentials. It’s a turn-key service; there’s no risky logging into compromised accounts, no money mules to worry about, just the (totally illegal) collection of cash.

“For those scammers who don’t possess the technical skills and a robust money mule network to monetize online bank account or credit card credentials, this is an offer that can be very attractive,” Chris Hinkley, head of Armor’s TRU team said, “the threat actors are still selling financial account and credit card credentials outright, but this clever service gives them an additional channel for monetizing the large amounts of financial data available on the underground.”

Money mules served well by dark market documentation

One of the other interesting things to come out of this analysis was the fact that cybercriminals are selling articles of incorporation and sole proprietorship papers on the dark market. Not shocking, but interesting. While the cash for Bitcoin transactions gets rid of the money mule requirement, there are still plenty of people who adopt that role, and these papers are aimed at them. A money mule is someone who transfers stolen money between accounts in exchange for a fee of between 10% and 20% of the value. For a money mule to be successful, they need to open business bank accounts that don’t trigger fraud alerts on larger transfer volumes. To open these accounts, they need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) assigned by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, and that’s where the documentation to create shell companies enters the equation. The documentation does not come cheap, however. Sole proprietorship papers complete with EIN were found on sale for $1,611 (£1,298), and Articles of Incorporation with EIN were $811 (£653).

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I’m a three-decade veteran technology journalist and have been a contributing editor at PC Pro magazine since the first issue in 1994. A three-time winner of the BT Security Journalist of the Year award (2006, 2008, 2010) I was also fortunate enough to be named BT Technology Journalist of the Year in 1996 for a forward-looking feature in PC Pro called ‘Threats to the Internet.’ In 2011 I was honored with the Enigma Award for a lifetime contribution to IT security journalism. Contact me in confidence at davey@happygeek.com if you have a story to reveal or research to share

Source: Here’s Where $800 Of Bitcoin Buys You $10,000 Cash

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The Winklevoss Twins Made A Serious Wall Street Bitcoin Warning

The Winklevoss twins of Facebook-founding fame have long been strong advocates for bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, buying up huge amounts of bitcoin and founding the U.S. Gemini crypto exchange.

The bitcoin price, now back above $10,000 per bitcoin after dipping under the psychological mark earlier this month, has climbed around 200% so far this year, emboldening bitcoin bulls who had feared last year’s bear market could drag on through 2019.

Now, the Winklevoss twins have warned Wall Street banks have been “asleep at the wheel” on bitcoin and cryptocurrencies—something that’s helped bitcoin retail investors.

“Unlike the internet, which you couldn’t buy a piece of, you can actually buy a piece of this new internet of money,” Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss told CNN.

“It’s still a retail-driven market, from day one. And a lot of people have done really well. Wall Street has been asleep at the wheel,” the twins warned.

Bitcoin’s epic 2017 bull run, which saw the bitcoin price soar from under $1,000 per bitcoin at the beginning of the year to almost $20,000 in December, was largely thought to be due to Wall Street and institutional investment could be poised to flow into bitcoin and crypto.

When this investment failed to firmly materialise, the bitcoin price crashed to around $3,000 per bitcoin last year, only to rebound in 2019 as a result of technology companies taking an interest in bitcoin and crypto.

“We had to invest because we were afraid of missing out, we couldn’t miss out on this future,” the twins added.

Meanwhile, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss earlier said they are open to partnering with Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg on the social media giant’s libra cryptocurrency project after it was revealed they have been in talks about joining the Libra Association.

The newly-created, independent governance consortium for Facebook’s planned token currently counts 28 founding members but is expected to swell to around 100 by the time of libra’s launch next year.

Follow me on Twitter.

I am a journalist with significant experience covering technology, finance, economics, and business around the world. As the founding editor of Verdict.co.uk I reported on how technology is changing business, political trends, and the latest culture and lifestyle. I have covered the rise of bitcoin and cryptocurrency since 2012 and have charted its emergence as a niche technology into the greatest threat to the established financial system the world has ever seen and the most important new technology since the internet itself. I have worked and written for CityAM, the Financial Times, and the New Statesman, amongst others. Follow me on Twitter @billybambrough or email me on billyATbillybambrough.com. Disclosure: I occasionally hold some small amount of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Source: The Winklevoss Twins Made A Serious Wall Street Bitcoin Warning

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss talk with Ben Mezrich and Paul Vigna about Cryptocurrency and the Future of Money. Recorded July 9, 2019 at 92nd Street Y. What do bitcoin, ether, zcash, litecoin and other cryptocurrencies tell us about where capitalism is going next? And how did the Winklevoss twins see it coming? Cryptocurrency has emerged in the last decade as a powerful bellwether for what money might look like in the future—and Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss are leading the way in how it’s being used. Join them for a fascinating discussion along with author Ben Mezrich (Bitcoin Billionaires) and the Wall Street Journal’s Paul Vigna about the origins of Gemini, their cryptocurrency exchange and custodian, and the future of money. Subscribe for more videos like this: http://bit.ly/1GpwawV Your support helps us keep our content free for all. Donate now: http://www.92y.org/donatenow?utm_sour… Facebook: http://facebook.com/92ndStreetY Instagram: http://Instagram.com/92ndStreetY Twitter: https://twitter.com/92Y Tumblr: http://92y.tumblr.com/ On Demand: http://www.92yondemand.org

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