Tesla has invested $1.5bn in bitcoin and plans to begin accepting it for payment in one of the highest-profile endorsements of the cryptocurrency sector by a major US company. The disclosure from the electric carmaker sent bitcoin rallying to a record high of $44,100, extending its 50 per cent surge so far this year.
Analysts have put the meteoric rally down to growing enthusiasm from institutional investors seeking returns in the era of low interest rates. In a regulatory filing on Monday, Tesla said it purchased the bitcoins after changing its investment policy last month to “diversify and maximise” returns on its cash. Line chart of $ per coin showing Bitcoin soars after Tesla reveals $1.5bn investment For years Tesla was short of cash as it invested heavily in developing its electric vehicles.
Although its finances have improved, the bitcoin investment still represents about 8 per cent of the $19.4bn it held in cash and liquid assets at the end of December, according to the filing. The group said it expected to accept bitcoin as a form of payment for its products, although initially on a “limited basis”, adding that it might sell the digital assets for hard currency once payments are processed.
Elon Musk, Tesla’s founder, has been a vocal supporter of digital assets on social media, particularly about dogecoin, which he said was the “people’s crypto”. In December he wrote on Twitter that bitcoin was his “safeword” in an apparent joke. Robyn Denholm, an Australian telecoms executive who took over from Musk as chair of Tesla’s board in 2018, is head of the audit committee that signed off on the change to the company’s investment policy.
The change allows Tesla to invest “a portion” of its cash in “alternative reserve assets including digital assets [and] gold bullion”. Recommended John Gapper Electric vehicles need to arrive as fast as vaccines The carmaker is the latest consumer-facing company to venture into cryptocurrency markets, following PayPal. However, cryptocurrencies remain highly volatile and are risky to hold due to frequent hacking and fraud, as well as difficulties in transferring them to cash.
“We believe our bitcoin holdings are highly liquid. However, digital assets may be subject to volatile market prices, which may be unfavourable at the time when we want or need to liquidate them,” Tesla said on Monday. “[This] is a potential game-changing move for the use of bitcoin from a transactional perspective,” said Dan Ives, an analyst at Wedbush Securities.
Ives said the announcement from Tesla could prompt other companies to make similar decisions given the growing interest in digital currencies. “Investors and other industry watchers will be watching this closely to see if other corporations follow the lead of Tesla on this crypto path or on the other hand does it remain a contained few names that make this strategic jump around bitcoin.”
Coinbase – a platform used to buy and sell currency – has temporarily disabled its users from being able to purchase Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies using US dollars.
Users who have attempted to make purchases over the past day have received a message that reads, ‘USD purchases are temporarily disabled,’ while other currencies, including the British pound, are also reported to have been blocked from making purchases.
Coinbase hasn’t commented since its users started getting the message, however the platform has reported experiencing difficulties due a recent surge in interest following a rise in the price of Bitcoin.
It’s unclear whether the temporary issue is related to the technical issues the app has been experiencing, or whether it’s a move from Coinbase to try and slow or restrict purchases.
However, it comes in the wake of trading platform Robinhood suspending sales of hugely popular Reddit stocks, GameStop and AMC, causing concern that similar blockages could be happening with Bitcoin too.
If the latter were to be true, it would be an incredibly unpopular move given all the backlash Robinhood is facing for allegedly protecting hedge fund millionaires at the steak of Reddit investors. Donald Trump Jr, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ted Cruz are among those who have criticised the platform.
One Reddit user has even filed a class action against the platform, after it blocked any further sales of GameStop stock due to ‘volatility of the market’.
Meanwhile, the value of Bitcoin has soared over the past couple of days, after Tesla founder Elon Musk changed his Twitter bio to simply read ‘#bitcoin’.
In just one hour after the multibillionaire updated his profile, the cryptocurrency’s value soared from around $32,000 (£23,500) to above $37,000 (£27,000,) per online trading site Coinbase.
Elsewhere, a cryptocurrency that began as a joke, has also soared in value by 140%, following the recent success of Reddit-fuelled stocks.
Dogecoin, which is based on the popular ‘doge’ meme, saw huge increases after a Reddit thread called SatoshiStreetBets called for the currency to reach the value of $1 per coin.
Again, cryptocurrency fan Musk has touched on the dogecoin, with many Reddit users calling on him to help spread the word about the currency.
Back in April 2019, he tweeted, ‘Dogecoin might be my fav cryptocurrency. It’s pretty cool,’ later sending its value soaring by 20% when he simply tweeted, ‘doge.’
Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist who started her career by producing The Royal Rosemurgey newspaper in 2004, which kept her family up to date with the goings on of her sleepy north east village. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining Tyla (formerly Pretty 52) in 2017, and progressing onto UNILAD in 2019.
Almost every time the price of bitcoin increases or decreases quickly, Coinbase shuts down. It happens like clockwork, time and time again. Why does Coinbase always go down? Instead of specifically focusing on why Coinbase always crashes, in this video we will go over a simple fix to prevent yourself from being a victim in the future when your exchange of choice crashes or your account is disabled/frozen. Time Stamps: Intro – 0:00 History Of Crashes – 0:15 The Solution- 1:00 Alternative Exchanges – 2:00
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The most unique feature of the modern market is how fast everything happens. As we wrote back in November, the 2020 stock market essentially plotted the entire seven-year journey investors endured around the financial crisis in just seven months.
And as markets have moved to more quickly and efficiently discount all future outcomes, a series of mini-bubbles have become a defining feature of market today. And it appears SPACs (Special Purpose Acquisition Company) are taking their seat at the table.
George Livadas, portfolio manager at Upslope Capital Management, wrote cautiously about the SPAC space in his fourth quarter investor letter published Wednesday. “In recent years we’ve seen a number of mini-bubbles come and go rapidly (pot stocks, short vol, blockchain, etc),” Livadas writes.
“We’ve also seen what looks like a general speeding up of broader market regimes (flash bear markets of late 2018 and early 2020). For the SPAC bubble to be exempt from this phenomenon, one must assume that SPACs really are a better, lasting mousetrap vs. traditional IPOs. This seems highly unlikely.”
Livadas also cites impending lock-up expirations and the first full run of detailed quarterly results from many companies taken public by SPAC sponsors as risks for the space. Livadas disclosed that as of the end of the fourth quarter, Upslope was short 11 SPACs and two electric vehicle stocks, all as-yet unnamed.
But even the discussion of SPACs as a sector or asset class unto itself proves the enthusiasm has gone too far. SPACs are, after all, just a financing scheme, an alternate route for companies to go public that requires fewer disclosures than a traditional IPO or direct listing process. In exchange for this easier process, the company being taken public offers a bigger part of itself for sale to the SPAC sponsor.
Traditionally, this higher level of dilution made SPACs attractive for turnaround stories. Existing shareholders in a business that is struggling are typically more willing to give up an ownership stake in exchange for fresh capital, or a new management team running the company.
Though as Goldman Sachs strategists noted back in December, the sectors now being targeted by SPAC sponsors are no longer beaten down turnaround stories but high growth areas like pharma, tech, and electric vehicles. The SPAC has shifted from being a last resort to a first choice for many companies.
What Is a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC)?
A special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) is a company with no commercial operations that is formed strictly to raise capital through an initial public offering (IPO) for the purpose of acquiring an existing company. Also known as “blank check companies,” SPACs have been around for decades. In recent years, they’ve become more popular, attracting big-name underwriters and investors and raising a record amount of IPO money in 2019. In 2020, as of the beginning of August, more than 50 SPACs have been formed in the U.S. which have raised some $21.5 billion.
A special purpose acquisition company is formed to raise money through an initial public offering to buy another company.
At the time of their IPOs, SPACs have no existing business operations or even stated targets for acquisition.
Investors in SPACs can range from well-known private equity funds to the general public.
SPACs have two years to complete an acquisition or they must return their funds to investors.
How a SPAC Works
SPACs are generally formed by investors, or sponsors, with expertise in a particular industry or business sector, with the intention of pursuing deals in that area. In creating a SPAC, the founders sometimes have at least one acquisition target in mind, but they don’t identify that target to avoid extensive disclosures during the IPO process. (This is why they are called “blank check companies.” IPO investors have no idea what company they ultimately will be investing in.) SPACs seek underwriters and institutional investors before offering shares to the public.
The money SPACs raise in an IPO is placed in an interest-bearing trust account. These funds cannot be disbursed except to complete an acquisition or to return the money to investors if the SPAC is liquidated. A SPAC generally has two years to complete a deal or face liquidation. In some cases, some of the interest earned from the trust can be used as the SPAC’s working capital. After an acquisition, a SPAC is usually listed on one of the major stock exchanges.
Advantages of a SPAC
Selling to a SPAC can be an attractive option for the owners of a smaller company, which are often private equity funds. First, selling to a SPAC can add up to 20% to the sale price compared to a typical private equity deal. Being acquired by a SPAC can also offer business owners what is essentially a faster IPO process under the guidance of an experienced partner, with less worry about the swings in broader market sentiment.
SPACs Make a Comeback
SPACs have become more common in recent years, with their IPO fundraising hitting a record $13.6 billion in 2019—more than four times the $3.2 billion they raised in 2016. They have also attracted big-name underwriters such as Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, and Deutsche Bank, as well as retired or semi-retired senior executives looking for a shorter-term opportunity.
Examples of High-Profile SPAC Deals
One of the most high-profile recent deals involving special purpose acquisition companies involved Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic. Venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya’s SPAC Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings bought a 49% stake in Virgin Galactic for $800 million before listing the company in 2019.1
In 2020, Bill Ackman, founder of Pershing Square Capital Management, sponsored his own SPAC, Pershing Square Tontine Holdings, the largest-ever SPAC, raising $4 billion in its offering on July 22.
Blank Check Company Definition A blank check company is a developmental stage company that has no specific business plan or has the intent to merge or acquire another firm.
moreInitial Public Offering (IPO) An initial public offering (IPO) refers to the process of offering shares of a private corporation to the public in a new stock issuance.
moreShares Shares are a unit of ownership of a company that may be purchased by an investor.
moreSponsor A sponsor can be a range of providers and entities supporting the goals and objectives of an individual or company. moreConditional Listing Application (CLA) A conditional listing application (CLA) is an interim step in the listing process for the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX).
In an investment industry known for big egos, overconfident analysts and “activists” who routinely tell CEOs how to run their companies, investor Nancy Zevenbergen and her team of four portfolio managers differentiate themselves by simply listening.
Zevenbergen, 61, founder of $5.7 billion (assets) Zevenbergen Capital Investments, believes the crucial job of an investor in today’s economy is to uncover the next great entrepreneur or technological innovation early on. The style is about “optimism and a view toward what the future might be,” she says. According to Zevenbergen, her task is to be curious and “understand the ‘crazy’ visions of new leaders and become investors alongside them.” If she likes a company, her Seattle-based firm will load up and watch from the sidelines, tracking the business patiently and holding their shares so long as growth doesn’t stall. Rarely do they worry too much about valuation.
This humble approach to investing has yielded results that make Zevenbergen among the best investors in the world. She has stuck by mercurial Elon Musk and owned Tesla for about a decade; Tesla’s stock is up 730% this year, and is the top performing stock of the ten years. She discovered Ottawa, Canada-based ecommerce company Shopify and its founder CEO Tobi Lütke in late 2016 when it was trading below $50; it now trades for $1,170.
Last September, Zillow chief executive Rich Barton decided the real estate platform would begin buying homes, leading to complaints from skeptics who sent its shares cratering 20% to below $30. Zevenbergen’s team liked Barton’s experimentation and built a large position. Fifteen months later, Zillow now trades for $140.
With stock-picks like these, Zevenbergen’s Innovative Growth Fund (SCATX) and Genea Fund (ZVGNX) are up a staggering 126% and 154%, respectively, in 2020. Of over 1,000 peer funds tracked by Morningstar, the two mutual funds rank in the top percentile.
Zevenbergen created her firm from her living room in the late 1980s with just $500,000 in assets while she nursed a young child. Her flagship strategy has beaten the S&P 500 Index by around four percentage points annually since 1987, but 2020 was a watershed. Assets more than doubled soaring towards $6 billion, based on performance and inflows to her mutual funds.
Zevenbergen is not the only woman fund manager who has crushed competition in 2020. Forbes found at least a half a dozen firms led by women-led funds that have blown away their peers and drawn in tens of billions of dollars in assets collectively since the start of January.
Cathie Wood, founder of Ark Investments, had the best year of anyone. In 2014, Wood, 65, created Ark with the idea of packaging stock-picking into tax-efficient exchange traded funds, and focusing exclusively on breakthrough innovations in genomics, robotics, financial technology, autonomous driving, digital services, and artificial intelligence.
Six years later, Ark manages nearly $44 billion in assets, up from just $300 million at the end of 2016. This year, Ark funds have pulled in over $10 billion in new assets, led by extraordinary returns. Her flagship Ark Innovation Fund (ARKK) has seen assets soar to $17 billion, fueled by a 154% gain in 2020 and a 46% average annual return over the past five years. Her $6 billion Ark Genomic revolution ETF is up even more this year. “I wanted individual investors to catch the wave,” says Wood of today’s enormous technological change. Her funds were designed for those “willing to step out and away from fixed income and into some of the most exciting stocks in history.”
Ark publishes its financial models, trading logs, and research to the investing public, and the firm’s analysts are happy to engage in discussion on Twitter, opening themselves to criticism and mockery. Wood’s $4,000 a share valuation of Tesla a year ago drew many scoffs on Wall Street. But her heady valuation was spot on. Short sellers have been burned by Tesla’s rise, while female investors like Zevenbergen and Wood have been patient bulls. On Friday, Tesla was added to the S&P 500 Index.
Female investing success in 2020 extends well beyond soaring growth stocks. Women-run funds are leading the way in everything from small cap stocks, to emerging market debt portfolios, dividend paying companies, and sustainable investments.
Amy Zhang, portfolio manager of the Alger Small Cap Focus Fund (AOFIX) and Mid Cap Focus Fund (AFOIX) was hired in 2015 to expand Alger’s presence in niche small and mid-cap stocks. When Zhang arrived at Alger, the Small Cap Focus Fund had just $16 million in assets. Now, after a 54% return in 2020 and a 30% annual average return over the past five years, Zhang’s Small Cap Focus Fund has $7.5 billion in assets.
Top holdings include refrigerated logistics upstart CryoPort and fast casual restaurant Wingstop. Her Mid Cap Focus Fund, launched in mid-2018, has attracted over $500 million in assets as it has soared by 84% in 2020, bolstered by casino operator Penn National Gaming and power equipment manufacturer Generac.
Long before sustainable investments became a prolific buzzword, Karina Funk, an MIT-educated engineer at Baltimore-based mutual fund giant Brown Advisory, was a pioneer in bringing sustainable investments mainstream. Funk, 48, a vegetarian who watches her carbon footprint by biking to work, launched the Brown Advisory Sustainable Growth Fund in June 2012, alongside David Powell, with a goal to back about 35 companies with products improving social and environmental sustainability, or efficient operating footprints.
Its focus on companies like Ball Corp. and American Tower has made it one of the best funds on the planet during down markets. Even in 2020, the fund has gained 38% despite its defensive posture, thanks to savvy picks like life sciences conglomerate Danaher and Etsy, which has empowered many small businesses during the pandemic. Funk can be a tough customer. She exited Facebook in the fall of 2018 due to data privacy concerns.
“Sustainability is a means, not an end in and of itself,” she told Forbesas part of a profile three years ago, when the fund’s assets were just $1.1 billion. “Our end goal is performance. We achieve that by finding fundamentally strong companies using sustainability strategies to get even better.” The fund’s assets have since soared to $4.6 billion.
Other female-led funds that have done well include Capital Group’s $128 billion American Funds New Perspective (ANWPX), led by a team of managers including Joanna Jonsson and Noriko Chen, and the $36 billion in assets JPMorgan Equity Income Fund (HLIEX), led by Clare Hart. The New Perspectives fund has beaten its benchmark by four percentage points annually over the past decade, while Hart’s Equity Income Fund has returned an annualized 11.65%, two percentage points annually above its benchmark, according to data from Morningstar.
Rebecca Irwin, Natasha Kuhikin and Kathleen McCarragher of the $1.3 billion in assets PGIM Jennison Focused Growth Fund (SPFAX) have returned 68% in 2020 and 25% over the past five years, ranking in the top decile of peer funds. At Alger, Ankur Crawford, co-manager of the Alger Spectra Fund (ASPIX) and Alger Capital Appreciation (ACCAX) has seen returns surpass 40% this year.
In fixed income, Tina Vandersteel of the $4.4 billion in assets GMO Emerging Country Debt Fund (GMCDX) has been able to outperform emerging market bond indices despite underweighting China and many Gulf-states due to her skepticism of the veracity of their economic data.
The bull market of 2020 is also creating new opportunities for female fund managers to shine. Two years ago, Julie Biel of Los Angeles-based Kayne Anderson Rudnick, was a rising star at the $30 billion (assets) firm and excited about the looming public offering of software company DocuSign. Known for investing in established businesses, Kayne had never participated in an IPO. Biel was late in her pregnancy as the IPO progressed and trying to win an allocation. She needed a doctor’s note to fly to the Bay Area to meet with DocuSign’s management. Kayne eventually won a large block of shares, quickly becoming one of its largest outside investors.
Biel also began to manage the firm’s KAR Small Mid- Sustainable Growth strategy around that time and made DocuSign the fund’s top holding. Its shares have risen 225% in 2020. This year, Biel’s fund has returned 42% through November. In December, Kayne decided to launch a mutual fund version, launching the strategy, called the Virtus KAR Small-Mid Cap Growth Fund (VIKSK), with Biel in charge.
Like Zevebergen and Wood, Biel is starting small and manages just $60 million. But the investment industry rewards performance above all, hinting at much larger things to come. Entering 2021, Biel’s portfolio is loaded with hidden gems like Ollie’s Bargain Outlet and MarketAxess that could grow for years to come. Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Send me a secure tip.
I’m a staff writer and associate editor at Forbes, where I cover finance and investing. My beat includes hedge funds, private equity, fintech, mutual funds, mergers, and banks. I’m a graduate of Middlebury College and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and I’ve worked at TheStreet and Businessweek. Before becoming a financial scribe, I was a member of the fateful 2008 analyst class at Lehman Brothers. Email thoughts and tips to email@example.com. Follow me on Twitter at @antoinegara
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Bitcoin is the first cryptocurrency in the world, launched in 2009. It is also the first wide-scale, real-world application of blockchain technology. Bitcoin (BTC) is a decentralised network which uses a public ledger to approve transactions, eliminating the need for third party approval (such as a bank). It also operates free of a governing body, such as a central bank, and all changes in the network require consensus from its members.
While initially BTC value was extremely low, priced at fractions of cents, it picked up steam over the years, reaching price levels in the thousands of dollars for a single Bitcoin token and a market cap in the hundreds of billions. The Bitcoin chart often displays extreme volatility, having short-term price spikes and tumbles. Sometimes, when the Bitcoin price is on the rise, more people are inclined to buy Bitcoin, fueling its positive run further.
On the other hand, when the Bitcoin value is on the decline, it can prompt existing investors to sell their Bitcoin and push prices down. Moreover, Bitcoin is considered the bellwether of the cryptocurrency space, so it can often generate industry-wide trends.
Get the facts about trading Bitcoin before you start. Discuss investment strategies, review market research, and get real-time updates. Bitcoin is the first cryptocurrency in the world, launched in 2009. It is also the first wide-scale, real-world application of blockchain technology.
While initially BTC value was extremely low, priced at fractions of cents, it picked up steam over the years, reaching price levels in the thousands of dollars for a single Bitcoin token and a market cap in the hundreds of billions.
The Bitcoin chart often displays extreme volatility, having short-term price spikes and tumbles. Sometimes, when the Bitcoin price is on the rise, more people are inclined to buy Bitcoin, fueling its positive run further. On the other hand, when the Bitcoin value is on the decline, it can prompt existing investors to sell their Bitcoin and push prices down. Moreover, Bitcoin is considered the bellwether of the cryptocurrency space, so it can often generate industry-wide trends. Still not sure if you should invest? Read more below
Read more about Bitcoin
Who should include Bitcoin in their portfolios?
Cryptocurrency traders: Bitcoin is the most well-known cryptocurrency, and therefore, many crypto traders buy it as part of their cryptocurrency portfolio.
Long-term investors: While still considered an extremely volatile and risky market, Bitcoin has shown tremendous price increases over time. Therefore, those who believe the overall trend will be positive could consider a Bitcoin investment.
Day traders: BTC prices can often have significant price swings over the course of a few hours. Traders can try to take advantage of these movements in an attempt to generate short-term profits.
Blockchain enthusiasts: Since Bitcoin is the first major application of blockchain technology, those who have faith in the technology and its potential impact on the tech and financial industries, could consider buying Bitcoin.
Blockchain enthusiasts: Since Bitcoin is the first major application of blockchain technology, those who have faith in the technology and its potential impact on the tech and financial industries, could consider buying Bitcoin.