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Mutual funds continue to be among the most popular investing tools for both individual and professional investors who seek to beat the market or simply access a broad swath of investments rather than purchase stocks or bonds individually. Unlike stocks or exchange-traded funds, mutual funds trade just once per day, and many investors own them as part of a defined contribution retirement plan such as a 401(k) or an individual retirement account, known as an IRA. The price of a mutual fund share is known as the fund's net asset value, or NAV.
Money market funds offer high liquidity compared to other instruments with similar expected returns, like CD’s and treasury bills, while still being relatively low risk. You must typically hold a CD until its full maturity date to avoid paying an early withdrawal penalty. Treasury bills also have specific maturity dates. Money market funds, however, don’t have a set shelf life and can be liquidated on-demand when the cash is needed.
The first decentralized cryptocurrency, bitcoin, was created in 2009 by pseudonymous developer Satoshi Nakamoto. It used SHA-256, a cryptographic hash function, as its proof-of-work scheme. In April 2011, Namecoin was created as an attempt at forming a decentralized DNS, which would make internet censorship very difficult. Soon after, in October 2011, Litecoin was released. It was the first successful cryptocurrency to use scrypt as its hash function instead of SHA-256. Another notable cryptocurrency, Peercoin was the first to use a proof-of-work/proof-of-stake hybrid.
Generally, your money is protected and backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government if it’s within FDIC guidelines at a bank insured by the FDIC or at an NCUA credit union, which has the NCUSIF to insure accounts. But if you have money over the FDIC limit or funds that exceed the NCUSIF insurance limits, you could lose money if that financial institution fails. Both the FDIC and NCUA offer estimators to help you estimate whether your bank or credit union balances may be covered. Always double-check with the FDIC or NCUA and your financial institutions to confirm insurance coverage. You could lose money in a money market account if you don’t report an unauthorized transaction in a timely fashion. Generally, you have a window of 60 days after your statement was sent to tell your bank.
^ Iansiti, Marco; Lakhani, Karim R. (January 2017). "The Truth About Blockchain". Harvard Business Review. Harvard University. Archived from the original on 18 January 2017. Retrieved 17 January 2017. The technology at the heart of bitcoin and other virtual currencies, blockchain is an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way.
Since prices are based on supply and demand, the rate at which a cryptocurrency can be exchanged for another currency can fluctuate widely. However, plenty of research has been undertaken to identify the fundamental price drivers of cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin has indeed experienced some rapid surges and collapses in value, reaching as high as $19,000 per bitcoin in December of 2017 before returning to around $7,000 in the following months. Cryptocurrencies are thus considered by some economists to be a short-lived fad or speculative bubble. There is concern especially that the currency units, such as bitcoins, are not rooted in any material goods. Some research has identified that the cost of producing a bitcoin, which takes an increasingly large amount of energy, is directly related to its market price.
In February 2014 the world's largest bitcoin exchange, Mt. Gox, declared bankruptcy. The company stated that it had lost nearly $473 million of their customers' bitcoins likely due to theft. This was equivalent to approximately 750,000 bitcoins, or about 7% of all the bitcoins in existence. The price of a bitcoin fell from a high of about $1,160 in December to under $400 in February.
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Fund yields are typically somewhat higher than bank savings accounts, but of course these are different products with differing risks (e.g., money fund accounts are not insured and are not deposit accounts). Since Retail funds generally have higher servicing needs and thus expenses than Institutional funds, their yields are generally lower than Institutional funds.
From the outset, money market funds fell under the jurisdiction of the SEC as they appeared to be more like investments (most similar to traditional stocks and bonds) vs. deposits and loans (cash and cash equivalents the domain of the bankers). Although money market funds are quite close to and are often accounted for as cash equivalents their main regulator, the SEC, has zero mandate to control the supply of money, limit the overall extension of credit, mitigate against boom and bust cycles, etc. The SEC’s focus remains on adequate disclosure of risk, and honesty and integrity in financial reporting and trading markets. After adequate disclosure, the SEC adopts a hands off, let the buyer beware attitude.
Continuing investor anxiety as a result of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy and other pending financial troubles caused significant redemptions from money funds in general, as investors redeemed their holdings and funds were forced to liquidate assets or impose limits on redemptions. Through Wednesday, September 17, 2008, prime institutional funds saw substantial redemptions. Retail funds saw net inflows of $4 billion, for a net capital outflow from all funds of $169 billion to $3.4 trillion (5%).
Once you bought your cryptocurrency, you need a way to store it. All major exchanges offer wallet services. But, while it might seem convenient, it’s best if you store your assets in an offline wallet on your hard drive, or even invest in a hardware wallet. This is the most secure way of storing your coins and it gives you full control over your assets.
“In 2 years from now, I believe cryptocurrencies will be gaining legitimacy as a protocol for business transactions, micropayments, and overtaking Western Union as the preferred remittance tool. Regarding business transactions – you’ll see two paths: There will be financial businesses which use it for it’s no fee, nearly-instant ability to move any amount of money around, and there will be those that utilize it for its blockchain technology. Blockchain technology provides the largest benefit with trustless auditing, single source of truth, smart contracts, and color coins.”