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.
The monetary policies of the Federal Reserve Bank during the 2010s led to the short-term interest rates—the rates banks pay to borrow money from one another—hovering around zero percent. The near zero rates meant money market fund investors saw returns significantly lower, compared to those in the prior decades. Further, with the tightening of regulations after the 2008 financial crisis, the number of investable securities grew smaller.
As of February 2018, the Chinese Government halted trading of virtual currency, banned initial coin offerings and shut down mining. Some Chinese miners have since relocated to Canada. One company is operating data centers for mining operations at Canadian oil and gas field sites, due to low gas prices. In June 2018, Hydro Quebec proposed to the provincial government to allocate 500 MW to crypto companies for mining. According to a February 2018 report from Fortune, Iceland has become a haven for cryptocurrency miners in part because of its cheap electricity. Prices are contained because nearly all of the country's energy comes from renewable sources, prompting more mining companies to consider opening operations in Iceland.
^ See Markus K. Brunnermeir,Deciphering the 2007-08 Liquidity and Credit Crunch, Journal of Economic Perspectives (May, 2008)(arguing that investment banks reliance on commercial paper and repo markets had increased over the last 3 years. This reliance is seen in the fact that 25% of assets purchased by investment banks had been funded through the repo market.)
The SEC reports that the popularity of and investments in money market funds has grown significantly and they currently hold about US$3 trillion in assets. They have become one of the core pillars of the present-day capital markets as they offer investors a diversified, professionally managed portfolio with high daily liquidity. Many investors use money market funds as a place to "park their cash" until they decide on other investments, or for funding needs that may arise in the short term.
Markets are dirty. But this doesn‘t change the fact that cryptocurrencies are here to stay – and here to change the world. This is already happening. People all over the world buy Bitcoin to protect themselves against the devaluation of their national currency. Mostly in Asia, a vivid market for Bitcoin remittance has emerged, and the Bitcoin using darknets of cybercrime are flourishing. More and more companies discover the power of Smart Contracts or token on Ethereum, the first real-world application of blockchain technologies emerge.
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.
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Bitcoin is pseudonymous rather than anonymous in that the cryptocurrency within a wallet is not tied to people, but rather to one or more specific keys (or "addresses"). Thereby, bitcoin owners are not identifiable, but all transactions are publicly available in the blockchain. Still, cryptocurrency exchanges are often required by law to collect the personal information of their users.
Central to the appeal and function of Bitcoin is the blockchain technology it uses to store an online ledger of all the transactions that have ever been conducted using bitcoins, providing a data structure for this ledger that is exposed to a limited threat from hackers and can be copied across all computers running Bitcoin software. Every new block generated must be verified by the ledgers of each user on the market, making it almost impossible to forge transaction histories. Many experts see this blockchain as having important uses in technologies such as online voting and crowdfunding, and major financial institutions such as JPMorgan Chase see potential in cryptocurrencies to lower transaction costs by making payment processing more efficient. However, because cryptocurrencies are virtual and do not have a central repository, a digital cryptocurrency balance can be wiped out by a computer crash if a backup copy of the holdings does not exist, or if somebody simply loses their private keys. At the same time, there is no central authority, government, or corporation that has access to your funds or your personal information.
In 2008, following the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, the venerable Reserve Primary Fund broke the buck: It held millions of Lehman's debt obligations, and panicked redemptions by its investors caused its NAV to fall to 97 cents per share. The pullout of money caused the Reserve Primary Fund to close and triggered mayhem throughout the money markets.
The Money Market enables the commercial banks to use their excess reserves in profitable investment. The main objective of the commercial banks is to earn income from its reserves as well as maintain liquidity to meet the uncertain cash demand of the depositors. In the money market, the excess reserves of the commercial banks are invested in near-money assets (e.g., short-term bills of exchange), which are easily converted into cash. Thus, commercial banks earn profits without sacrificing liquidity.
One example might be when you have saved up a down payment for your first home and are simply waiting to find the perfect house. The stock market might be too risky since you want to buy the house soon and market volatility could eat up some of your investment. Yet the balance is large enough that you don’t want to miss out on earning interest by just having it sit in a conventional saving, or worse, checking account.
If this sounds similar to banks’ high-yield savings accounts or money market accounts, it is. The largest difference lies in the ability for yields on money market mutual funds to rise proportionately with interest rates. For example, as interest rates have risen, the yields on most bank money market accounts (which are set by the banks themselves) have stayed relatively flat, while money market mutual fund yields have increased.