As major economies across the globe—including the U.S.—followed QE measures in the aftermaths of the 2008 financial crisis, a good portion of the QE money made its way into money market mutual funds as a haven. This migration of funds has led to interest rates remaining low for a long duration, and the diminishing of returns from money market funds.
Many people believe that cryptocurrencies are the hottest investment opportunity currently available. Indeed, there are many stories of people becoming millionaires through their Bitcoin investments. Bitcoin is the most recognizable digital currency to date, and just last year one BTC was valued at $800. In November 2017, the price of one Bitcoin exceeded $7,000.
“While it’s still fairly new and unstable relative to the gold standard, cryptocurrency is definitely gaining traction and will most certainly have more normalized uses in the next few years. Right now, in particular, it’s increasing in popularity with the post-election market uncertainty. The key will be in making it easy for large-scale adoption (as with anything involving crypto) including developing safeguards and protections for buyers/investors. I expect that within two years, we’ll be in a place where people can shove their money under the virtual mattress through cryptocurrency, and they’ll know that wherever they go, that money will be there.” – Sarah Granger, Author, and Speaker.
There are currently more than 9,000 mutual funds that hold more than $16 trillion in assets. In part because of increased competition for those assets from lower-cost ETFs, mutual fund expenses continue to decline. Expense ratios averaged 0.63 percent in 2016 compared with 1.04 percent in 1996, according to the Investment Company Institute, though some funds levy additional management fees or sales charges that buyers should be aware of before purchasing.
As of November 2017, Bitcoin and other digital currencies are outlawed only in Bangladesh, Bolivia, Ecuador, Kyrgyzstan and Vietnam, with China and Russia being on the verge of banning them as well. Other jurisdictions, however, do not make the usage of cryptocurrencies illegal as of yet, but the laws and regulations can vary drastically depending on the country.
In 1998, Wei Dai published a description of "b-money", characterized as an anonymous, distributed electronic cash system. Shortly thereafter, Nick Szabo described bit gold. Like bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies that would follow it, bit gold (not to be confused with the later gold-based exchange, BitGold) was described as an electronic currency system which required users to complete a proof of work function with solutions being cryptographically put together and published. A currency system based on a reusable proof of work was later created by Hal Finney who followed the work of Dai and Szabo.
A money market fund is a type of fixed income mutual fund with very stringent maturity, credit quality, diversification, and liquidity requirements intended to help it achieve its goals of principal preservation and daily access for investors. Customers should determine when picking a money market fund that its characteristics align with their investment objectives and strategy.
The legal status of cryptocurrencies varies substantially from country to country and is still undefined or changing in many of them. While some countries have explicitly allowed their use and trade, others have banned or restricted it. According to the Library of Congress, an "absolute ban" on trading or using cryptocurrencies applies in eight countries: Algeria, Bolivia, Egypt, Iraq, Morocco, Nepal, Pakistan, and the United Arab Emirates. An "implicit ban" applies in another 15 countries, which include Bahrain, Bangladesh, China, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Iran, Kuwait, Lesotho, Lithuania, Macau, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Taiwan. In the United States and Canada, state and provincial securities regulators, coordinated through the North American Securities Administrators Association, are investigating "bitcoin scams" and ICOs in 40 jurisdictions.
Interest rates determine how much interest your money market account earns. The more money you have in your money market account and the higher interest rate you’re earning, the more money you’ll earn on your money in this account. When the Federal Reserve raises or lowers the federal funds rate, its benchmark rate, that tends to affect the yields on money market accounts. Since December 2015, the Fed has raised rates nine times, which has helped some money market account yields increase.
Government Normally at least 99.5% of the fund’s total assets are invested in cash, U.S. government securities and/or repurchase agreements that are collateralized fully (i.e., collateralized by cash or government securities)—including at least 80% in U.S. government securities and repurchase agreements for those securities. Certain issuers of U.S. government securities (e.g., “Government-Sponsored Enterprises” such as Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Banks) are sponsored or chartered by Congress, but their securities are neither issued by nor guaranteed by the U.S. Treasury.