Where, oh where has Bitcoin's volatility gone? Part 2 ...

Testing the Tide | Monthly FIRE Portfolio Update - June 2020

We would rather be ruined than changed.
-W H Auden, The Age of Anxiety
This is my forty-third portfolio update. I complete this update monthly to check my progress against my goal.
Portfolio goal
My objective is to reach a portfolio of $2 180 000 by 1 July 2021. This would produce a real annual income of about $87 000 (in 2020 dollars).
This portfolio objective is based on an expected average real return of 3.99 per cent, or a nominal return of 6.49 per cent.
Portfolio summary
Vanguard Lifestrategy High Growth Fund – $726 306
Vanguard Lifestrategy Growth Fund – $42 118
Vanguard Lifestrategy Balanced Fund – $78 730
Vanguard Diversified Bonds Fund – $111 691
Vanguard Australian Shares ETF (VAS) – $201 745
Vanguard International Shares ETF (VGS) – $39 357
Betashares Australia 200 ETF (A200) – $231 269
Telstra shares (TLS) – $1 668
Insurance Australia Group shares (IAG) – $7 310
NIB Holdings shares (NHF) – $5 532
Gold ETF (GOLD.ASX) – $117 757
Secured physical gold – $18 913
Ratesetter (P2P lending) – $10 479
Bitcoin – $148 990
Raiz app (Aggressive portfolio) – $16 841
Spaceship Voyager app (Index portfolio) – $2 553
BrickX (P2P rental real estate) – $4 484
Total portfolio value: $1 765 743 (+$8 485 or 0.5%)
Asset allocation
Australian shares – 42.2% (2.8% under)
Global shares – 22.0%
Emerging markets shares – 2.3%
International small companies – 3.0%
Total international shares – 27.3% (2.7% under)
Total shares – 69.5% (5.5% under)
Total property securities – 0.3% (0.3% over)
Australian bonds – 4.7%
International bonds – 9.4%
Total bonds – 14.0% (1.0% under)
Gold – 7.7%
Bitcoin – 8.4%
Gold and alternatives – 16.2% (6.2% over)
Presented visually, below is a high-level view of the current asset allocation of the portfolio.
[Chart]
Comments
The overall portfolio increased slightly over the month. This has continued to move the portfolio beyond the lows seen in late March.
The modest portfolio growth of $8 000, or 0.5 per cent, maintains its value at around that achieved at the beginning of the year.
[Chart]
The limited growth this month largely reflects an increase in the value of my current equity holdings, in VAS and A200 and the Vanguard retail funds. This has outweighed a small decline in the value of Bitcoin and global shares. The value of the bond holdings also increased modestly, pushing them to their highest value since around early 2017.
[Chart]
There still appears to be an air of unreality around recent asset price increases and the broader economic context. Britain's Bank of England has on some indicators shown that the aftermath of the pandemic and lockdown represent the most challenging financial crisis in around 300 years. What is clear is that investor perceptions and fear around the coronavirus pandemic are a substantial ongoing force driving volatility in equity markets (pdf).
A somewhat optimistic view is provided here that the recovery could look more like the recovery from a natural disaster, rather than a traditional recession. Yet there are few certainties on offer. Negative oil prices, and effective offers by US equity investors to bail out Hertz creditors at no cost appear to be signs of a financial system under significant strains.
As this Reserve Bank article highlights, while some Australian households are well-placed to weather the storm ahead, the timing and severity of what lays ahead is an important unknown that will itself feed into changes in household wealth from here.
Investments this month have been exclusively in the Australian shares exchange-traded fund (VAS) using Selfwealth.* This has been to bring my actual asset allocation more closely in line with the target split between Australian and global shares.
A moving azimuth: falling spending continues
Monthly expenses on the credit card have continued their downward trajectory across the past month.
[Chart]
The rolling average of monthly credit card spending is now at its lowest point over the period of the journey. This is despite the end of lockdown, and a slow resumption of some more normal aspects of spending.
This has continued the brief period since April of the achievement of a notional and contingent kind of financial independence.
The below chart illustrates this temporary state, setting out the degree to which portfolio distributions cover estimated total expenses, measured month to month.
[Chart]
There are two sources of volatility underlying its movement. The first is the level of expenses, which can vary, and the second is the fact that it is based on financial year distributions, which are themselves volatile.
Importantly, the distributions over the last twelve months of this chart is only an estimate - and hence the next few weeks will affect the precision of this analysis across its last 12 observations.
Estimating 2019-20 financial year portfolio distributions
Since the beginning of the journey, this time of year usually has sense of waiting for events to unfold - in particular, finding out the level of half-year distributions to June.
These represent the bulk of distributions, usually averaging 60-65 per cent of total distributions received. They are an important and tangible signpost of progress on the financial independence journey.
This is no simple task, as distributions have varied in size considerably.
A part of this variation has been the important role of sometimes large and lumpy capital distributions - which have made up between 30 to 48 per cent of total distributions in recent years, and an average of around 15 per cent across the last two decades.
I have experimented with many different approaches, most of which have relied on averaging over multi-year periods to even out the 'peaks and troughs' of how market movements may have affected distributions. The main approaches have been:
Each of these have their particular simplifications, advantages and drawbacks.
Developing new navigation tools
Over the past month I have also developed more fully an alternate 'model' for estimating returns.
This simply derives a median value across a set of historical 'cents per unit' distribution data for June and December payouts for the Vanguard funds and exchange traded funds. These make up over 96 per cent of income producing portfolio assets.
In other words, this model essentially assumes that each Vanguard fund and ETF owned pays out the 'average' level of distributions this half-year, with the average being based on distribution records that typically go back between 5 to 10 years.
Mapping the distribution estimates
The chart below sets out the estimate produced by each approach for the June distributions that are to come.
[Chart]
Some observations on these findings can be made.
The lowest estimate is the 'adjusted GFC income' observation, which essentially assumes that the income for this period is as low as experienced by the equity and bond portfolio during the Global Financial Crisis. Just due to timing differences of the period observed, this seems to be a 'worst case' lower bound estimate, which I do not currently place significant weight on.
Similarly, at the highest end, the 'average distribution rate' approach simply assumes June distributions deliver a distribution equal to the median that the entire portfolio has delivered since 1999. With higher interest rates, and larger fixed income holdings across much of that time, this seems an objectively unlikely outcome.
Similarly, the delivery of exactly the income suggested by long-term averages measured across decades and even centuries would be a matter of chance, rather than the basis for rational expectations.
Central estimates of the line of position
This leaves the estimates towards the centre of the chart - estimates of between around $28 000 to $43 000 as representing the more likely range.
I attach less weight to the historical three-year average due to the high contribution of distributed capital gains over that period of growth, where at least across equities some capital losses are likely to be in greater presence.
My preferred central estimate is the model estimate (green) , as it is based in historical data directly from the investment vehicles rather than my own evolving portfolio. The data it is based on in some cases goes back to the Global Financial Crisis. This estimate is also quite close to the raw average of all the alternative approaches (red). It sits a little above the 'adjusted income' measure.
None of these estimates, it should be noted, contain any explicit adjustment for the earnings and dividend reductions or delays arising from COVID-19. They may, therefore represent a modest over-estimate for likely June distributions, to the extent that these effects are more negative than those experienced on average across the period of the underlying data.
These are difficult to estimate, but dividend reductions could easily be in the order of 20-30 per cent, plausibly lowering distributions to the $23 000 to $27 000 range. The recently announced forecast dividend for the Vanguard Australian Shares ETF (VAS) is, for example, the lowest in four years.
As seen from chart above, there is a wide band of estimates, which grow wider still should capital gains be unexpectedly distributed from the Vanguard retail funds. These have represented a source of considerable volatility. Given this, it may seem fruitless to seek to estimate these forthcoming distributions, compared to just waiting for them to arrive.
Yet this exercise helps by setting out reasoning and positions, before hindsight bias urgently arrives to inform me that I knew the right answer all along. It also potentially helps clearly 'reject' some models over time, if the predictions they make prove to be systematically incorrect.
Progress
Progress against the objective, and the additional measures I have reached is set out below.
Measure Portfolio All Assets
Portfolio objective – $2 180 000 (or $87 000 pa) 81.0% 109.4%
Credit card purchases – $71 000 pa 98.8% 133.5%
Total expenses – $89 000 pa 79.2% 106.9%
Summary
The current coronavirus conditions are affecting all aspects of the journey to financial independence - changing spending habits, leading to volatility in equity markets and sequencing risks, and perhaps dramatically altering the expected pattern of portfolio distributions.
Although history can provide some guidance, there is simply no definitive way to know whether any or all of these changes will be fundamental and permanent alterations, or simply data points on a post-natural disaster path to a different post-pandemic set of conditions. There is the temptation to fit past crises imperfectly into the modern picture, as this Of Dollars and Data post illustrates well.
Taking a longer 100 year view, this piece 'The Allegory of the Hawk and Serpent' is a reminder that our entire set of received truths about constructing a portfolio to survive for the long-term can be a product of a sample size of one - actual past history - and subject to recency bias.
This month has felt like one of quiet routines, muted events compared to the past few months, and waiting to understand more fully the shape of the new. Nonetheless, with each new investment, or week of lower expenditure than implied in my FI target, the nature of the journey is incrementally changing - beneath the surface.
Small milestones are being passed - such as over 40 per cent of my equity holdings being outside of the the Vanguard retail funds. Or these these retail funds - which once formed over 95 per cent of the portfolio - now making up less than half.
With a significant part of the financial independence journey being about repeated small actions producing outsized results with time, the issue of maintaining good routines while exploring beneficial changes is real.
Adding to the complexity is that embarking on the financial journey itself is likely to change who one is. This idea, of the difficulty or impossibility of knowing the preferences of a future self, is explored in a fascinating way in this Econtalk podcast episode with a philosophical thought experiment about vampires. It poses the question: perhaps we can never know ourselves at the destination? And yet, who would rationally choose ruin over any change?
The post, links and full charts can be seen here.
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Can Any Current Crypto Commodity Ever Be Used As A General Currency?

“In the long run, we are all dead. Economists set themselves too easy, too useless a task if in tempestuous seasons they can only tell us that when the storm is long past the ocean will be flat again.” - John Maynard Keynes

Cryptocurrency Supply Algorithms And The Equation Of Exchange

Although I am a proponent for Bitcoin and view it as a good store-of-value, my belief is that all of the algorithms for cryptocurrency supply models that I have seen to date are not amenable to creating a cryptocurrency useful as a general currency. That is as a means for exchange-of-value as opposed to store-of-value. The following is my brief description of the models that I am aware of, followed by an explanation of why I believe they are not useful for as general currencies. At the bottom, I make a concluding remark on what I believe is a missing feature needed to realize a general currency.

Coin Supply Algorithms

N+1
In an N+1 algorithm, each time a block is produced, a constant incentive reward is added to the supply of coins. This means explicitly that the size of the coin supply will grow forever, unlimited. This sounds pretty good on the surface. If you are a miner, you are guaranteed that there will always be an incentive reward available for mining.
If we look at this from a total coin supply viewpoint, and a little high school math, the normalized change in supply is:
N+1/N
We then want to ask the question, how fast is the coin supply changing, as N goes to infinity since we are assuming that blocks are produced forever. This is:
Lim N->∞ N+1/N
Where N is the number of blocks produced. By L’Hôpital’s rule for those that remember a little highschool calculus (I had to look it up), we can take the derivatives of the numerator and denominator which results in 1/1 = 1. In the limit at infinity, the coin supply is a constant value, even though theoretically it grows forever.
Since infinity is only theoretical, what does this look like for blockchain use cases:
To give a feel for it, imagine that we are at the following 4 stages: 10 blocks have been produced; 100 blocks have been produced; 1000 blocks have been produced, and 10000 blocks have been produced. Adding one reward at each stage gives the following percent change in coin supply:
1 — (10 + 1)/10 = 10%
1 — (100+1)/100 = 1%
1 — (1000+1)/1000 = .1%
1 — (10000+1)/10000 = .01%
This demonstrates that the change in coin supply quickly dwindles to an insignificant amount, even though it continues to grow forever. To put this another way, the addition of each new incentive reward quickly becomes a very small fraction of the total coin supply. The coin supply can be thought of as relatively constant.
N + M*N/2T or N(1+M/2T)
T is units of time in discrete steps, and M is the number of blocks produced at each step. This is essentially the Bitcoin model. To make this clearer let’s assume that there is only 1 block produced at each step. This becomes N + N/2T or N(1+1/2T).
If we replace 2T with a new variable K, then this becomes:
N(1+1/K)
Where K increases forever. The summation of 1/K is the harmonic series and increases forever. Therefore, just like N+1 above, N(1+1/K) or N+N/K also increases forever. As with N+1, the rate of increase of the coin supply is then:
(N(1+1/K))/N
This is more simply 1 + 1/K. Thus, as K grows, we can see that the rate of increase tends towards zero as well. Further, since 1/K becomes a smaller and smaller fraction, eventually representing this as a value in a computer becomes impossible. For example, Bitcoin’s smallest fraction is 1 satoshi. When 1/K becomes smaller than 1 satoshi it will no longer be possible to have an incentive reward for a single block produced.
Given that both coin supply algorithms tend towards a relatively constant supply, in terms of use as a currency, we can view both as essentially equivalent. The only difference is how fast the supply tends towards a constant value, where the Bitcoin model is faster.
N
A third coin supply algorithm is a simple constant amount created in the genesis block. The coins are usually distributed using an airdrop or similar model. Since coins are not being created, the coin supply is by definition constant. If the distribution model used is an incentive reward model to distribute from the pool of coins, it is indistinguishable from one of the above 2 models. If the distribution model is a one-time event, such that all the coins are distributed then there is no incentive reward model.
From a viewpoint of use of currency all 3 models described above can be thought of as equivalent, given enough blocks have been produced for the first 2 models.

Marked To External Asset

There is the fourth model for coin supply which is intended to mark the value of the coin to an external index of some kind. This may be a physical asset like an ounce of gold, or another commodity. In this model, the coin can explicitly represent a unit of the external asset such as an ounce of gold. Regardless of whether the coin can be exchanged for the underlying asset or not, given that supply of commodities such as gold are constantly following the same mining algorithms as above, the marked to asset model is a constant coin supply model. If the distribution model used is an incentive reward model, then it is similar to the third model.

Marked To Value Of External Asset

There is a fifth model for coin supply where the value of the coin is marked to the value of an external asset like the USD, instead of the supply of the external asset, as was the case for marking to a commodity. In this model, the coin supply is changed to reflect the exchange rate of the coin against the value of the external asset. The objective is to keep the exchange rate constant on average over time. For example: assuming the objective is a 1-to-1 exchange between the coin and the USD, then if the coin’s value increases above the objective, more coins are printed, and vice-versa. That is, if the value of the coin decreases, given some means (i.e. burning), the coin supply is decreased to bring the exchange rate towards the objective.
In this model, the coin supply is not fixed but varies with the exchange rate. To the extent that the value of the external asset is relatively constant, and the value of the coin is relatively constant the coin supply will be relatively constant.
Although marking to the USD would seem to be a good idea, given that it is called a “reserve currency”, the USD is intentionally subject to inflation, theoretically, the coin to USD exchange will continue to decrease, requiring the coin supply to be decreased to maintain the objective of a constant exchange rate. Over time, this model can be viewed as decreasing the coin supply if marked to the inflationary external asset value.

Comparing Coin Supply Models

In summary, of the five models described above, four of them are essentially variations on a constant coin supply using various means to distribute the coin, while the fifth tries to keep the value of the coin constant against an external asset value, by managing the supply of the coin.
The equation of exchange: M * V = P * Y[1] tells us that if the amount of money supply, M, (i.e. the coin supply) is constant, and the velocity of money is relatively constant, then an increase in demands for goods (Y), will cause a decrease in the price (P), price deflation. That is, with a fixed coin supply the price of goods is expected to drop, thus increasing the value of the coin. Bitcoin’s increase in value is an example of this. (The Bitcoin ledger does not have the means to determine either prices (P) or goods (Y). Instead, I am inferring from the increase in the value of bitcoins that an increase in demand for Y is occurring. There are possible other explanations.)
However, it should be noted that in order for the equation of exchange to be valid, the assumption of the velocity of money is relatively constant must hold. If holders of the coin stop using it as a currency for the exchange of value, then the M * V = M * 0 = 0. There is no price in that coin for any goods or services. That is, the value of the coin collapses.
Conversely, if the velocity of the coin were to increase significantly, then this creates effectively more available coin, resulting in the price (P) of the goods and services (Y) to increase. This causes price inflation, which encourages coin holders to spend their coin as fast as possible to avoid losing value in the coin. As the price of goods becomes excessive, people shift from the coin to other forms of currency. As this happens, once more a collapse happens.
At an equilibrium point, the coin supply is constant, the velocity is constant, the demand for goods and services is constant, and therefore the price would be constant. At such an equilibrium point, a constant coin supply would be ideal. However, we can observe throughout history that such an equilibrium point is never reached.
Given any sort of constant coin supply, the value of the coin is expected to vary unpredictably and often wildly. Of the 5 models, the first 4 will always be subject to this. Although this may be interesting for speculators, usefulness for general currency is questionable.
The fifth model is to manage the coin supply against an external asset value. In essence, this is a substitution of the coin for the asset. Provided that the coin supply can be managed to reflect the objective exchange rate, the value of the coin should be stable relative to the stability of the external asset value.
However, in my opinion, this marking of value does not take into account exchanges that are wholly internal to the coin and its blockchain. The transfer of a coin balance from one account to another implies an exchange of value, thus the equation of exchange applies internally to the blockchain. This exchange of value is independent of the exchange rate of the coin value versus the external asset value. Thus, the coin supply can be seen as independent of the exchange of value on the blockchain.
Given this assumption, we can make the simplifying assumption that the coin supply is relatively constant with respect to the exchange of value on the blockchain. As a result, one would expect that even though the coin supply is managed against the exchange rate with an external asset, its value can still fluctuate wildly, beyond the ability of coin supply management to compensate. This, in turn, will impact the exchange rate, destroying the intended objective.
As a natural consequence, even with the approach of marking the value of the coin to external asset value, such as the USD, the expected volatility limits the usefulness of the coin as a currency.

Towards A General Currency

As stated in the introduction, I believe that none of the cryptocurrency models described are viable for use as general currencies. In my opinion, my brief non-rigorous analysis above demonstrates this likely to be true. The question remains, what else is needed to create a cryptocurrency that is viable as a general currency.
The equation of exchange shows us what is missing directly: In the equation M * V = P * Y, we can say that on every blockchain we can know the values of M and V directly. The account ledger explicitly shows us this, (ignoring encrypted exchanges). What we do not know is the other side of the equation. We do not know either price (P) or goods and services (Y) for any exchanges that are internal to the blockchain, that is between accounts on the blockchain.
If we compare cryptocurrencies with national fiat currencies, and cryptocurrency exchanges with foreign exchanges, we can see that the foreign exchanges relate the difference in prices in related economies. In comparison, the cryptocurrency exchanges appear to only relate the difference in demand for the cryptocurrencies themselves. This demand only manifests itself during the exchange of cryptocurrencies for each other and between fiat and cryptocurrencies and vice-versa.
It is my position that because the internal use of cryptocurrencies on their own blockchains is currently hidden, none of the above coin supply models will create a currency stable enough to be useful as a general currency. If/when a cryptocurrency model is created that takes into account the currently hidden internal exchange of value, then we will have realized a general currency.
[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equation_of_exchange
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A Beginners Guide to Bitcoin, Blockchain & Cryptocurrency

As cryptocurrency, and blockchain technology become more abundant throughout our society, it’s important to understand the inner workings of this technology, especially if you plan to use cryptocurrency as an investment vehicle. If you’re new to the crypto-sphere, learning about Bitcoin makes it much easier to understand other cryptocurrencies as many other altcoins' technologies are borrowed directly from Bitcoin.
Bitcoin is one of those things that you look into only to discover you have more questions than answers, and right as you’re starting to wrap your head around the technology; you discover the fact that Bitcoin has six other variants (forks), the amount of politics at hand, or that there are over a thousand different cryptocurrencies just as complex if not even more complex than Bitcoin.
We are currently in the infancy of blockchain technology and the effects of this technology will be as profound as the internet. This isn’t something that’s just going to fade away into history as you may have been led to believe. I believe this is something that will become an integral part of our society, eventually embedded within our technology. If you’re a crypto-newbie, be glad that you're relatively early to the industry. I hope this post will put you on the fast-track to understanding Bitcoin, blockchain, and how a large percentage of cryptocurrencies work.

Community Terminology

Altcoin: Short for alternative coin. There are over 1,000 different cryptocurrencies. You’re probably most familiar with Bitcoin. Anything that isn’t Bitcoin is generally referred to as an altcoin.
HODL: Misspelling of hold. Dank meme accidentally started by this dude. Hodlers are much more interested in long term gains rather than playing the risky game of trying to time the market.
TO THE MOON: When a cryptocurrency’s price rapidly increases. A major price spike of over 1,000% can look like it’s blasting off to the moon. Just be sure you’re wearing your seatbelt when it comes crashing down.
FUD: Fear. Uncertainty. Doubt.
FOMO: Fear of missing out.
Bull Run: Financial term used to describe a rising market.
Bear Run: Financial term used to describe a falling market.

What Is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin (BTC) is a decentralized digital currency that uses cryptography to secure and ensure validity of transactions within the network. Hence the term crypto-currency. Decentralization is a key aspect of Bitcoin. There is no CEO of Bitcoin or central authoritative government in control of the currency. The currency is ran and operated by the people, for the people. One of the main development teams behind Bitcoin is blockstream.
Bitcoin is a product of blockchain technology. Blockchain is what allows for the security and decentralization of Bitcoin. To understand Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, you must understand to some degree, blockchain. This can get extremely technical the further down the rabbit hole you go, and because this is technically a beginners guide, I’m going to try and simplify to the best of my ability and provide resources for further technical reading.

A Brief History

Bitcoin was created by Satoshi Nakamoto. The identity of Nakamoto is unknown. The idea of Bitcoin was first introduced in 2008 when Nakamoto released the Bitcoin white paper - Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System. Later, in January 2009, Nakamoto announced the Bitcoin software and the Bitcoin network officially began.
I should also mention that the smallest unit of a Bitcoin is called a Satoshi. 1 BTC = 100,000,000 Satoshis. When purchasing Bitcoin, you don’t actually need to purchase an entire coin. Bitcoin is divisible, so you can purchase any amount greater than 1 Satoshi (0.00000001 BTC).

What Is Blockchain?

Blockchain is a distributed ledger, a distributed collection of accounts. What is being accounted for depends on the use-case of the blockchain itself. In the case of Bitcoin, what is being accounted for is financial transactions.
The first block in a blockchain is referred to as the genesis block. A block is an aggregate of data. Blocks are also discovered through a process known as mining (more on this later). Each block is cryptographically signed by the previous block in the chain and visualizing this would look something akin to a chain of blocks, hence the term, blockchain.
For more information regarding blockchain I’ve provided more resouces below:

What is Bitcoin Mining

Bitcoin mining is one solution to the double spend problem. Bitcoin mining is how transactions are placed into blocks and added onto the blockchain. This is done to ensure proof of work, where computational power is staked in order to solve what is essentially a puzzle. If you solve the puzzle correctly, you are rewarded Bitcoin in the form of transaction fees, and the predetermined block reward. The Bitcoin given during a block reward is also the only way new Bitcoin can be introduced into the economy. With a halving event occurring roughly every 4 years, it is estimated that the last Bitcoin block will be mined in the year 2,140. (See What is Block Reward below for more info).
Mining is one of those aspects of Bitcoin that can get extremely technical and more complicated the further down the rabbit hole you go. An entire website could be created (and many have) dedicated solely to information regarding Bitcoin mining. The small paragraph above is meant to briefly expose you to the function of mining and the role it plays within the ecosystem. It doesn’t even scratch the surface regarding the topic.

How do you Purchase Bitcoin?

The most popular way to purchase Bitcoin through is through an online exchange where you trade fiat (your national currency) for Bitcoin.
Popular exchanges include:
  • Coinbase
  • Kraken
  • Cex
  • Gemini
There’s tons of different exchanges. Just make sure you find one that supports your national currency.

Volatility

Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are EXTREMELY volatile. Swings of 30% or more within a few days is not unheard of. Understand that there is always inherent risks with any investment. Cryptocurrencies especially. Only invest what you’re willing to lose.

Transaction & Network Fees

Transacting on the Bitcoin network is not free. Every purchase or transfer of Bitcoin will cost X amount of BTC depending on how congested the network is. These fees are given to miners as apart of the block reward.
Late 2017 when Bitcoin got up to $20,000USD, the average network fee was ~$50. Currently, at the time of writing this, the average network fee is $1.46. This data is available in real-time on BitInfoCharts.

Security

In this new era of money, there is no central bank or government you can go to in need of assistance. This means the responsibility of your money falls 100% into your hands. That being said, the security regarding your cryptocurrency should be impeccable. The anonymity provided by cryptocurrencies alone makes you a valuable target to hackers and scammers. Below I’ve detailed out best practices regarding securing your cryptocurrency.

Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

Two-factor authentication is a second way of authenticating your identity upon signing in to an account. Most cryptocurrency related software/websites will offer or require some form of 2FA. Upon creation of any crypto-related account find the Security section and enable 2FA.

SMS Authentication

The most basic form of 2FA which you are probably most familiar with. This form of authentication sends a text message to your smartphone with a special code that will allow access to your account upon entry. Note that this is not the safest form of 2FA as you may still be vulnerable to what is known as a SIM swap attack. SIM swapping is a social engineering method in which an attacker will call up your phone carrier, impersonating you, in attempt to re-activate your SIM card on his/her device. Once the attacker has access to your SIM card he/she now has access to your text messages which can then be used to access your online accounts. You can prevent this by using an authenticator such as Google Authenticator.

Authenticator

The use of an authenticator is the safest form of 2FA. An authenticator is installed on a seperate device and enabling it requires you input an ever changing six digit code in order to access your account. I recommend using Google Authenticator.
If a website has the option to enable an authenticator, it will give you a QR code and secret key. Use Google Authenticator to scan the QR code. The secret key consists of a random string of numbers and letters. Write this down on a seperate sheet of paper and do not store it on a digital device.
Once Google Authenticator has been enabled, every time you sign into your account, you will have to input a six-digit code that looks similar to this. If you happen to lose or damage the device you have Google Authenticator installed on, you will be locked out of your account UNLESS you have access to the secret key (which you should have written down).

Hardware Wallets

A wallet is what you store Bitcoin and cryptocurrency on. I’ll provide resources on the different type of wallets later but I want to emphasize the use of a hardware wallet (aka cold storage).
Hardware wallets are the safest way of storing cryptocurrency because it allows for your crypto to be kept offline in a physical device. After purchasing crypto via an exchange, I recommend transferring it to cold storage. The most popular hardware wallets include the Ledger Nano S, and Trezor.
Hardware wallets come with a special key so that if it gets lost or damaged, you can recover your crypto. I recommend keeping your recovery key as well as any other sensitive information in a safety deposit box.
I know this all may seem a bit manic, but it is important you take the necessary security precautions in order to ensure the safety & longevity of your cryptocurrency.

Technical Aspects of Bitcoin

TL;DR
  • Address: What you send Bitcoin to.
  • Wallet: Where you store your Bitcoin
  • Max Supply: 21 million
  • Block Time: ~10 minutes
  • Block Size: 1-2 MB
  • Block Reward: BTC reward received from mining.

What is a Bitcoin Address?

A Bitcoin address is what you send Bitcoin to. If you want to receive Bitcoin you’d give someone your Bitcoin address. Think of a Bitcoin address as an email address for money.

What is a Bitcoin Wallet?

As the title implies, a Bitcoin wallet is anything that can store Bitcoin. There are many different types of wallets including paper wallets, software wallets and hardware wallets. It is generally advised NOT to keep cryptocurrency on an exchange, as exchanges are prone to hacks (see Mt. Gox hack).
My preferred method of storing cryptocurrency is using a hardware wallet such as the Ledger Nano S or Trezor. These allow you to keep your crypto offline in physical form and as a result, much more safe from hacks. Paper wallets also allow for this but have less functionality in my opinion.
After I make crypto purchases, I transfer it to my Ledger Nano S and keep that in a safe at home. Hardware wallets also come with a special key so that if it gets lost or damaged, you can recover your crypto. I recommend keeping your recovery key in a safety deposit box.

What is Bitcoins Max Supply?

The max supply of Bitcoin is 21 million. The only way new Bitcoins can be introduced into the economy are through block rewards which are given after successfully mining a block (more on this later).

What is Bitcoins Block Time?

The average time in which blocks are created is called block time. For Bitcoin, the block time is ~10 minutes, meaning, 10 minutes is the minimum amount of time it will take for a Bitcoin transaction to be processed. Note that transactions on the Bitcoin network can take much longer depending on how congested the network is. Having to wait a few hours or even a few days in some instances for a transaction to clear is not unheard of.
Other cryptocurrencies will have different block times. For example, Ethereum has a block time of ~15 seconds.
For more information on how block time works, Prabath Siriwardena has a good block post on this subject which can be found here.

What is Bitcoins Block Size?

There is a limit to how large blocks can be. In the early days of Bitcoin, the block size was 36MB, but in 2010 this was reduced to 1 MB in order to prevent distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS), spam, and other malicious use on the blockchain. Nowadays, blocks are routinely in excess of 1MB, with the largest to date being somewhere around 2.1 MB.
There is much debate amongst the community on whether or not to increase Bitcoin’s block size limit to account for ever-increasing network demand. A larger block size would allow for more transactions to be processed. The con argument to this is that decentralization would be at risk as mining would become more centralized. As a result of this debate, on August 1, 2017, Bitcoin underwent a hard-fork and Bitcoin Cash was created which has a block size limit of 8 MB. Note that these are two completely different blockchains and sending Bitcoin to a Bitcoin Cash wallet (or vice versa) will result in a failed transaction.
Update: As of May 15th, 2018 Bitcoin Cash underwent another hard fork and the block size has increased to 32 MB.
On the topic of Bitcoin vs Bitcoin Cash and which cryptocurrency is better, I’ll let you do your own research and make that decision for yourself. It is good to know that this is a debated topic within the community and example of the politics that manifest within the space. Now if you see community members arguing about this topic, you’ll at least have a bit of background to the issue.

What is Block Reward?

Block reward is the BTC you receive after discovering a block. Blocks are discovered through a process called mining. The only way new BTC can be added to the economy is through block rewards and the block reward is halved every 210,000 blocks (approximately every 4 years). Halving events are done to limit the supply of Bitcoin. At the inception of Bitcoin, the block reward was 50BTC. At the time of writing this, the block reward is 12.5BTC. Halving events will continue to occur until the amount of new Bitcoin introduced into the economy becomes less than 1 Satoshi. This is expected to happen around the year 2,140. All 21 million Bitcoins will have been mined. Once all Bitcoins have been mined, the block reward will only consist of transaction fees.

Technical Aspects Continued

Understanding Nodes

Straight from the Bitcoin.it wiki
Any computer that connects to the Bitcoin network is called a node. Nodes that fully verify all of the rules of Bitcoin are called full nodes.
In other words, full nodes are what verify the Bitcoin blockchain and they play a crucial role in maintaining the decentralized network. Full nodes store the entirety of the blockchain and validate transactions. Anyone can participate in the Bitcoin network and run a full node. Bitcoin.org has information on how to set up a full node. Running a full node also gives you wallet capabilities and the ability to query the blockchain.
For more information on Bitcoin nodes, see Andreas Antonopoulos’s Q&A on the role of nodes.

What is a Fork?

A fork is a divergence in a blockchain. Since Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer network, there’s an overall set of rules (protocol) in which participants within the network must abide by. These rules are put in place to form network consensus. Forks occur when implementations must be made to the blockchain or if there is disagreement amongst the network on how consensus should be achieved.

Soft Fork vs Hard Fork

The difference between soft and hard forks lies in compatibility. Soft forks are backwards compatible, hard forks are not. Think of soft forks as software upgrades to the blockchain, whereas hard forks are a software upgrade that warrant a completely new blockchain.
During a soft fork, miners and nodes upgrade their software to support new consensus rules. Nodes that do not upgrade will still accept the new blockchain.
Examples of Bitcoin soft forks include:
A hard fork can be thought of as the creation of a new blockchain that X percentage of the community decides to migrate too. During a hard fork, miners and nodes upgrade their software to support new consensus rules, Nodes that do not upgrade are invalid and cannot accept the new blockchain.
Examples of Bitcoin hard forks include:
  • Bitcoin Cash
  • Bitcoin Gold
Note that these are completely different blockchains and independent from the Bitcoin blockchain. If you try to send Bitcoin to one of these blockchains, the transaction will fail.

A Case For Bitcoin in a World of Centralization

Our current financial system is centralized, which means the ledger(s) that operate within this centralized system are subjugated to control, manipulation, fraud, and many other negative aspects that come with this system. There are also pros that come with a centralized system, such as the ability to swiftly make decisions. However, at some point, the cons outweigh the pros, and change is needed. What makes Bitcoin so special as opposed to our current financial system is that Bitcoin allows for the decentralized transfer of money. Not one person owns the Bitcoin network, everybody does. Not one person controls Bitcoin, everybody does. A decentralized system in theory removes much of the baggage that comes with a centralized system. Not to say the Bitcoin network doesn’t have its problems (wink wink it does), and there’s much debate amongst the community as to how to go about solving these issues. But even tiny steps are significant steps in the world of blockchain, and I believe Bitcoin will ultimately help to democratize our financial system, whether or not you believe it is here to stay for good.

Final Conclusions

Well that was a lot of words… Anyways I hope this guide was beneficial, especially to you crypto newbies out there. You may have come into this realm not expecting there to be an abundance of information to learn about. I know I didn’t. Bitcoin is only the tip of the iceberg, but now that you have a fundamental understanding of Bitcoin, learning about other cryptocurrencies such as Litecoin, and Ethereum will come more naturally.
Feel free to ask questions below! I’m sure either the community or myself would be happy to answer your questions.
Thanks for reading!

Related Links

Guides

Exchanges

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Deathstroke rebirth

Deathstroke aka Slade Wilson is a DC Comicbook character. This thread will be about the DC Rebirth version of Deathstroke, which more or less Rebooted Deathstroke back in 2016. The main writer of this Deathstroke is Christopher Priest which is why this Deathstroke may be known as Prieststroke. He as far as I am concerned is the Word of God when it comes to this Deathstroke.
Christopher Priest has a site specifically dedicated to Deathstroke: http://lamerciepark.com/comics/deathstroke/
and most quotations will be from it. I recommend reading it for the best intro into the series.
Also This is Deathstroke's Rebirth Design version 1.1
Now, Who is DC Rebirth's Deathstroke?:
He is not a mercenary, profesional soldier, military subcontractor or any other clever euphemism used to round the edges off of his description. Deathstroke kills people for money. Lots of money. He spends a great deal of that money on a virtual army of lawyers who expertly prevent police and/or covert entities from ever positively proving Lt. Colonel Slade Wilson (Ret.) and Deathstroke are, in fact, one and the same.
Physically;
Deathstroke is approximately 55 years of age but appears to be 20 years younger due to the tissue regeneration caused by his rapid healing power. He is 6'4", taller than Superman or Batman, (and very intimidating). Slade is an extremely cool customer, much like the first act or so of the Michael Mann-Tom Cruise film Collateral. He occasionally wears sunglasses so the eye patch (a stick-on white patch) isn’t necessarily seen. It is very difficult to get Deathstroke to lose his temper.
Mentally;
Deathstroke is an emotional cripple along the lines of Hugh Laurie's House M.D., a guy who desperately loves and desires to be close to his children, but is too emotionally damaged to ever achieve that. He was a terrible father and is now haunted by a lot of poor choices made with his wife Adeline and his boys, especially.
So
The only people he actually talks to are his longtime partner Major William Randolph Wintergreen, British SAS (Ret.), his kids and his ex-wife. Wintergreen, approximately 65, is a reluctant partner who has ethical conflicts about DS's line of work. Other than that, Deathstroke is (in my version) much more laconic than as he's traditionally been portrayed. He trusts no one, thinks most everyone is an idiot, speaks only when absolutely necessary.
Also
Deathstroke works for himself, is suspicious of all governments (especially ours). You hire him by posting an offer on the Dark Web along with a six-figure deposit in untraceable Bitcoin.
Deathstroke's basic powers are:
Enhanced Strength: Roughly that of Captain America. YMMV.
Enhanced Reflexes: Roughly that of Captain America. YMMV.
Note* Christopher Priest has written Captain America before (The Captain America and Falcon series if i recall), so what his Captain America did may be usable for his Deathstroke. Also YMMV is "Your Milleage May Vary", which means basically it may be different in your view.
Deathstroke also has
Enhanced Intellect: Post-Rebirth, we're redefining this a little. We no longer say Deathstroke uses "90% of his brain capacity." If Deathstroke used 90% of his brain capacity, he'd be Charles Xavier. Now we just say he's really, really smart. Deathstroke is probably the smartest guy in the DC Universe. He is easily the equal of Batman in terms of strategic planning. Deathstroke's intellect is deadlier than his sword. He typically out-thinks and out-strategizes everybody in the book. He is a keen observer and expert detective. He usually has several balls in the air at one time.
And
Rapid Healing: Post-Rebirth, we're redefining this a little. Deathstroke's rapid healing clots blood in seconds and seals wounds in minutes. The time it takes for full healing depends upon the wound: a bee sting, maybe a couple seconds. A gunshot wound: a few hours. It depends on the complexity of the knitting process, how much tissue needs to be regenerated and other factors. It is not an instant process. Deathstroke's rapid healing cannot regenerate organs. It can heal organs, but, for example, it won't regenerate a liver if a bad guy rips his out. Therefore, his rapid healing power did not simply create a new eye (or, in the case of Marvel's over-the-top Deathstroke parody Deadpool, grow a new hand). Deathstroke experiences pain like anyone else. Just because he has rapid healing doesn't mean he'd just sit around and let people gut him with swords. This is why he wears a protective uniform.. Deathstroke experiences trauma like anyone else and is capable of going into traumatic shock from injury. If he does not allow his rapid healing process to properly close a wound, Deathstroke can bleed out and die just like anyone else.
This all as Dr. Villain has explained comes from a dormant Metagene that after being activated in an experiment "literally evolved his brain." Meaning Deathstroke is actually a Dormant Meta-Human. His evolved brain means Deathstroke can "Access his brain functions on a cellular scale--Enabling Rapid Healing, Enhanced Strength and Reflexes.", and just in case you are not aware; Deathstroke lost his right eye due to his (Now Ex) Wife shooting him in the back of the head. Anyway Deathstroke is genetically enhanced with Rapid Healing, Enhanced Strength, Reflexes and intellect, and being Half blind is said to have only made him more dangerous.
By the way: Yes. Deathstroke is stronger and faster than Batman, as he has directly told Batman.
Anyway, Deathstroke has been known as a decorated war hero, devoted husband, loving father, relentless warrior, prisoner of war, and the world's deadliest assassin. He's also been called "the most ruthlessly efficient killer alive", "the best informed and most prepared assassin on the planet", "one of the most dangerous men on the planet", and "the deadliest man alive".
Lastly, Deathstroke's major background info has been summarized. It's also been summarized again by The Riddler
Ok, now that you have been introduced to this Deathstroke...

FEATS:

STRENGTH FEATS
Striking:
Other:
SPEED FEATS
Reaction/Combat:
Other:
INTELLIGENCE FEATS
Combat Strategy:
Other:
SKILL FEATS
Combat Skill:
Other:
DURABILITY FEATS (Non Ikon Suit)
Unarmored/Virtually Unarmored:
Limits:
"Deathstroke Classic":
Limits
RAPID HEALING FEATS
Other:
RESOURCES FEATS
Hosun (Deathstroke's sometime tech guy):
Wintergreen (Deathstroke's best friend and virtual conscience):
Prep only:
Other:

GEAR

Deathstroke's standard gear includes:
  • His Promethium Broadsword aka The Deathstroke
  • His Titanium Staff
  • His Ikon Suit Prototype
  • His Glock 19
  • His combat belt
and
  • His knife
The Deathstroke:
Deathstroke’s sword was originally named “Scrymgeour.” Eòsaph Mar cut down a thousand of King Charles’ men with it after Jenny Geddes threw her stool at the head of the minister in St Giles’ Cathedral, inciting the Bishops’ Wars. Or, at least, that’s the story Deathstroke told. One of dozens. Slade Wilson actually won the sword from a rich collector in Glasgow with a full house, queens full of nines. An antique Grete war sword, the blade was forged of three separate pieces hammer-welded together, the bottommost a flattened diamond cross-pattern. The blade became mangled during the “Judas Contract” incident and HIVE re-cast it in Type-II, or “Volatile,” Promethium—a dangerous mutagen capable of absorbing unlimited amounts of energy—which Deathstroke stole from S.T.A.R. Labs. It is suspected that particle bleed from this blade may have played a role in activating dormant metagenes in Slade’s children. The blade cannot be damaged or destroyed by any known means.
Note* It "is capable of absorbing unlimited amounts of energy","cannot be damaged or destroyed by any known means" and is made of "Volatile Promethium"
Feats:
Sharpness
Absorption
Other
Titanium Staff:
He also carries a telescoping Titanium staff fitted with a plasma torch for less-than-lethal confrontations.
Feats:
Plasma Torch energy (Usually orangish)
Plasma Burst energy (Usually blueish)
Can be used to travel
Other
Ikon Suit Prototype:
He currently wears a costume we call the Ikon Suit, designed by Dr. Ikon, a Canadian superhero who was once one of Slade Wilson's partners in covert ops (David Isherwood, a nervous, Jeff Goldblum-type introduced in issue #2). The Ikon Suit contains a point defense shield system which senses incoming force (a punch, a bullet) and hardens the uniform in those spots, like the shields on the Enterprise. And, like the Enterprise shields, the wider the surface the Ikon Suit needs to defend, the weaker the shield. At the size of a fist, for example, the shield is virtually impenetrable, allowing DS to survive a punch by Superman or Darkseid. If DS were walking through a nuclear explosion or reaction, the shield would envelop his entire body to protect him-- but would likely buckle if Superman then punched him. Deathstroke does not fully understand how the system works and cannot repair it himself, but would need to turn to Dr. Ikon.
Note* this part especially: "The Ikon Suit contains a point defense shield system which senses incoming force (a punch, a bullet) and hardens the uniform in those spots, like the shields on the Enterprise. And, like the Enterprise shields, the wider the surface the Ikon Suit needs to defend, the weaker the shield. At the size of a fist, for example, the shield is virtually impenetrable, allowing DS to survive a punch by Superman or Darkseid. If DS were walking through a nuclear explosion or reaction, the shield would envelop his entire body to protect him-- but would likely buckle if Superman then punched him"
The Ikon Suit also has an Artificial Intelligence and has explained it's voice is Wintergreen's and it is the A.I. tactical system part of the Ikon suit beta D which is Deathstroke's.
Note Deathstroke's left arm is Exposed. This means it's unprotected by the Ikon Suit unless the defensive shield is expanded.
Feats:
Combat Belt:
Standard
Presumably has
MISC:

Ongoing

submitted by TheTrueDeathSkeleton to u/TheTrueDeathSkeleton [link] [comments]

Constructing an Implied Volatility Surface 1 - YouTube What Is Implied Volatility & Why It's Important - Options ... Calculating Implied Volatility from an Option Price Using ... Implied Volatility Surface JPMorgan Implied Volatility surface Parameterization (Part 2/2)

No Comments on Where, oh where has Bitcoin’s volatility gone? Part 2; At the same time that volatility and short-term implied volatility have been sucked out of the market, options with longer expiration dates (about six months to expiration) are still trading closer to their historical average volatility in the range of 70%. This bias in the structure of the terms of implied volatility ... Alternatively, we can compute the implied volatility for each option in the surface. Implied volatility smiles based on the mid-prices of out of the money vanilla options as published on Friday 29 June 2018 are displayed in Fig. 4 for each maturity. The 1-week implied volatility smiles are the only graphs that actually resemble the shape of a ... Bitcoin’s implied volatility has cratered in recent times, plummeting back to its pre-crash levels This comes as the cryptocurrency continues extending its intense uptrend as bulls attempt to propel BTC back up towards the $8,000 region Bears have firmly established the upper-$7,000 region as a strong resistance region, and analysts don’t expect it to be […] Diving into the mechanics of term structure and discussing BTC trading strategies in the current environment. At the same time that volatility and short-term implied volatility have been sucked out of the market, longer dated options (six months or so until expiration) are still pricing closer to their historical average volatility in the 70% range. This steepness in implied volatility term ... At the same time that volatility and short-term implied volatility have been sucked out of the market, longer dated options (six months or so until expiration) are still pricing closer to their historical average volatility in the 70% range. This steepness in implied volatility term structure suggests one of two things: Investors expect that this period of low volatility will be transitory and ...

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Constructing an Implied Volatility Surface 1 - YouTube

https://sites.google.com/view/vinegarhill-financelabs/black-scholes-merton/volatility-surface https://sites.google.com/view/brian-byrne-data-analytics/volati... Implied Volatility Surface of JPMorgan 1998-2013 Lehman Collapse @ 1:47 real-vol.com I look at using Newton’s method to solve for the implied volatility of an option. This is done using the Black-Scholes model and a simple Python script. My m... The volatility surface is a three-dimensional plot where the x-axis is the time to maturity, the z-axis is the strike price, and the y-axis is the implied volatility. The volatility surface is ... Implied volatility is one of the most important pieces of determining the price of an option. Even more critically, we can use Implied Volatility (IV) levels...

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