FAQs

FAQs2022-10-26T16:59:41+00:00
What is a Bitcoin ETF?2024-01-12T18:56:46+00:00
Bitcoin ETF approved by SEC chair, Gary Gensler

The chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Gary Gensler.

More than 10 years after the first application, the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission – America’s financial regulatory arm) finally approved a Spot Bitcoin ETF (exchange traded fund) on January 10, 2024.

In fact, they approved ELEVEN Bitcoin ETFs! Let’s look at what this means:

What is an ETF?

As described in my 2010 book Investing 101 (free pdf download), ETFs are traded on traditional stock exchanges like the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and are regulated, offering a layer of oversight that traditional bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchanges do not typically have.

What are the benefits of a Bitcoin ETF?

The main benefit of a Bitcoin ETF for some investors is that they can avoid dealing with the technical challenges of buying, storing, and securing bitcoin directly. Instead, investors can buy the Bitcoin ETF via a stock broker which holds the bitcoin for you. Adding further peace of mind, the Bitcoin ETFs qualify for SIPC insurance (Securities Protector Investment Corporation), meaning that if investors lost their ETF shares due to mismanagement or malicious behavior by their brokerage, they would be covered (up to $500,000) against loss by the U.S. government.

What are the downsides of a Bitcoin ETF?

Not your keys, not your bitcoins! With a Bitcoin ETF, you do not control or hold the bitcoin yourself. You are actually an unsecured creditor of the company holding the bitcoin.

If, for any reason, the company holding the bitcoin goes bankrupt, you may lose your investment, despite the SIPC insurance. Also, if the government declares you to be a criminal or a political enemy, the government may freeze or confiscate your Bitcoin ETF assets, as was the case for Canadian truckers in 2022.

Further, not all stock brokers will allow you to buy Bitcoin ETFs. Despite the SEC approval of Bitcoin ETFs, many brokers FORBID purchases of Bitcoin ETFs after the launch! Vanguard, Citi, Merrill Lynch, Edward Jones, and UBS were all being reported to not allow clients to trade the Bitcoin ETF.

The Bitcoin ETFs also come with management fees. When you manage bitcoin yourself, you become your own bank and keep those fees.

Eleven Bitcoin ETFs to choose from

There are eleven Bitcoin ETFs for investors to choose from.

Here’s a list of the approved Bitcoin ETFs, their ticker symbols and their annual fees:

  • Bitwise Bitcoin ETP Trust (BITB) – 0.20%
  • ARK 21Shares Bitcoin ETF (ARKB) – 0.21%
  • Fidelity Wise Origin Bitcoin Trust (FBTC) – 0.25%
  • iShares Bitcoin Trust (IBIT) – 0.25%
  • VanEck Bitcoin Trust (HODL) – 0.25%
  • Franklin Bitcoin (EZBC) – 0.29%
  • Wisdomtree Bitcoin Trust (BTCW) – 0.30%
  • Invesco Galaxy Bitcoin ETF (BTCO) – 0.39%
  • Valkyrie Bitcoin Fund (BRRR) – 0.49%
  • Hashdesh Bitcoin ETF (DEFI) – 0.90%
  • Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) – 1.50%

There is also the risk of failure of the custodian holding the bitcoin for these providers. 8 of the 11 providers above will use Coinbase Custody, posing a custodian centralization risk. If Coinbase gets hacked or goes bankrupt, these bitcoin may disappear and your entire investment may be at risk.

Another downside is that you can’t take custody of bitcoin from a Bitcoin ETF. You are only entitled to a Cash (USD) redemption. One of the reasons we hold bitcoin is to protect ourselves from rampant money printing and other problems stemming from Central Bank control of our money and the resulting corruption.

TRADE-OFFS BETWEEN BITCOIN HELD IN SELF-CUSTODY VS BUYING SHARES IN A SPOT BITCOIN ETF

  • Holding Bitcoin In Self-Custody Control: You have complete control over your Bitcoin. This means you’re responsible for your own private keys and the security of your wallet.
  • Security Risks: With control comes the responsibility of ensuring your Bitcoin is safe from theft, fraud, or loss. Secure storage solutions are a must.
  • No Intermediary: There’s no need to trust a financial institution or intermediary to manage your investment.
  • Improved Financial Privacy: Bitcoin can be acquired P2P (peer to peer) without KYC (Know Your Customer requirements), minimizing the amount of personal financial information known by third parties.
  • Potential for Higher Returns: Self-custody potentially leads to higher returns, as you’re not paying management fees or other ETF-related expenses.
  • Complexity: Requires a good understanding of self-custody and security best practices.
  • Accessibility: Buying and selling may not be as quick or easy as trading ETF shares.
  • Simplicity: Investing in a spot Bitcoin ETF is as simple as trading stocks through a brokerage account.
  • Regulation: ETFs are regulated financial products that may offer some investors a sense of security and trust.
  • Liquidity: ETFs are designed to be highly liquid, allowing for quick entry into and exit out of the market.
  • Fees: You will pay annual fees for the management of the ETF, which can eat into your investment returns over time.
  • Less Control: You don’t own the underlying Bitcoin directly, and you’re subject to the management decisions of the ETF provider and to the decisions of governments and regulators (remember Presidential Executive Order order #6102 where gold was confiscated in 1933?).

Ultimately, the “best choice” will depend on your individual circumstances. Contact us for a FREE 15 minute consultation.

Every Investor Can Benefit from Bitcoin

No matter how you hold bitcoin, every investor should have some of it. With SEC approval of these ETFs, Bitcoin has been brought into the mainstream. Thousands of investment advisors can now safely and easily recommend Bitcoin for their clients.

As the best performing asset over the last 1, 5 and 10 year time frames, Bitcoin is an obvious choice for any portfolio, large or small. These Bitcoin ETFs will bring billions $$$ more into Bitcoin which should only propel the price higher – not investment advice ;)

We are excited about the future of Bitcoin ETFs and this journey we’re on towards a sound, honest monetary system that will free the world!

Why is Bitcoin Valuable?2023-11-03T15:24:06+00:00

People value Bitcoin. That’s why they are valuable. According to Austrian economics, all value is subjective.

Some of the reasons why people value Bitcoin:

  • Digital Scarcity: No more than 21 million Bitcoin will ever exist. Unlike traditional currencies that can be printed out of thin air by central banks, Bitcoin has a predetermined and finite supply.
  • Trust-less: Anyone can verify their Bitcoin or any transaction on the network. No need to trust anyone.
  • Secure: Cryptographic security measures provide trust to Bitcoin and all its transactions. Multiple competing interests balance Bitcoin’s security architecture with checks and balances. Cryptography also makes manipulation of Bitcoin’s supply, by counterfeit, impossible.
  • Open source: Anyone can view the software code and verify that Bitcoin’s protocol rules are being enforced.
  • Always open: The Bitcoin network runs all the time, 24/7/365.
  • Proven track record: 14 years of proven security with 99.99% uptime. Trillions of dollars of value have been exchanged through the Bitcoin network, averaging $260,000 per second.
  • Decentralization: No single person, company, government or central bank controls Bitcoin. It operates on a decentralized network of nodes distributed around the world. This ensures that no one has unilateral control over the currency.
  • Permission-less: Bitcoin can be used by anyone, anywhere and for any reason. No identification needed!
  • Strong developers: Some of the best software developers in the world help to maintain the Bitcoin software.
  • Computing power: The world’s most powerful computer network validates the transactions.
  • Cross border payments: Send value anywhere in the world, in a short time and for little expense.
  • Un-confiscatable: Due to Bitcoin being completely digital, you can carry all your Bitcoin with you, no matter where you go and it can’t be confiscated by any government agency or stolen by another individual. All you have to do is remember your 12 word seed and you can re-create your signing device.
  • Network Effects: As more people adopt and use bitcoin, the network effect comes into play. The larger the user base and network of participants, the more valuable and useful bitcoin becomes. The network effect enhances liquidity, ease of transactions, confidence and overall acceptance.
  • Anonymous founder: The creator of Bitcoin disappeared. They cannot control the Bitcoin network and they can not be influenced.
  • Bitcoin is Gold 2.0

    Bitcoin is like Gold, but better.

    Gold 2.0: Like gold, Bitcoin holds its value over time. But unlike gold, Bitcoin can be sent easily and economically anywhere in the world with an internet connection. Bitcoin is also censorship resistant and can’t be confiscated.

  • Very low maintenance, storage and security costs: Unlike real estate, gold, artwork and diamonds, Bitcoin is easy to store and secure with virtually no maintenance costs.
  • Scalable: Through the Lightening network, Bitcoin can handle millions of transactions per second.
  • Number Go Up (NGU): Bitcoin has a remarkable financial history. It is the best performing financial asset over 1 year, 5 years and 10 years (as of 2023). NGU technology is usually the first reason people get excited about Bitcoin!
What is Backing Bitcoin?2023-10-31T19:49:54+00:00

Bitcoin is not backed by any physical commodity like gold or oil. Nor are they backed by any government, bank or corporation.  This raises the obvious question: why do they have any value at all?

Unlike stocks, bonds, real estate, or even commodities, bitcoins cannot be valued using standard financial analysis, or by demand for their use in the manufacture of other goods.

Bitcoin falls into an entirely different category of goods, known as monetary goods, whose value is set subjectively. In other words, each market participant values the good based on their opinion of how useful it serves as money, and how much other people will value it. To understand the nature of monetary goods, we need to explore the historical origins of money, the problems of money and the crisis in the current monetary system.

Watch this presentation about what money is, why it’s so useful and how Bitcoin offers a revolutionary leap forward in monetary technology and our governments relationship to money:

How Many Bitcoin Are There?2023-10-31T19:56:24+00:00

The rules of the Bitcoin software declare that only 21 million bitcoins will ever be mined. Most Bitcoin already have been created. Approximately 19.5 million have been mined at the time of writing (block height 809454 in the year 2023). See live data on Bitcoin production.

Every four years, the number of bitcoins produced through the mining protocol is cut in half. The production of new bitcoins will end completely by the year 2142.

Thus, the issuance rate of Bitcoin is fixed and the inflation rate is completely predictable and knowable. Over time, less and less Bitcoin are mined, creating a lower and lower inflation rate, until production stops completely. Then, no more Bitcoin will ever be created and the inflation rate will be 0%. The decreasing issuance rate and limited amount gives Bitcoin its natural scarcity and intrinsic value.

See the chart below of the percentage of Bitcoin mined vs. Bitcoin’s inflation rate over time:

 

Who created Bitcoin?2023-09-26T17:42:57+00:00

Bitcoin was created by Satoshi Nakamoto, who may be an individual or a group of people.

Because the name seems to be Japanese, many people assume the creator is from Japan. Some nefarious individuals have claimed that they are Satoshi. However, no one knows who Satoshi is! We will know know who Satoshi is once they use their private cryptographic key which will definitively prove who they are…until then Satoshi is a myth!

Shortly after Bitcoin was launched, Satoshi went silent on the channels they used to previously communicate.  This is a great benefit because they cannot be pressured or threatened. This creates even greater security and decentralization for the Bitcoin network.

Who created Bitcoin?

How does Bitcoin work?2023-09-26T17:43:07+00:00

Bitcoin works through the clever integration of many technologies: public/private key cryptography, digital signatures, hash functions, proof of work, algorithmic difficulty adjustments, time stamps, distributed ledgers, block rewards, peer to peer node computing, and game theory.

You can read the Bitcoin White paper, written by Satoshi, to gain a greater understanding of these technologies and how they work together to make the Bitcoin protocol:

Is Bitcoin a risky investment?2022-03-31T20:26:38+00:00

It depends on your definition of “risky” and your tolerance for risk.

In today’s world, investment risk is increasing everywhere. Government bonds are at risk of interest rate rises, corporate bonds are risk of insolvency and stocks are always at risk of a market crash. Gold and silver coins are at risk of confiscation, theft and don’t yield dividends.

One fact about Bitcoin shows that it’s not as risky as you may think despite corrections that can be harsh (70%). As of 2022, every investor of Bitcoin who has held it for 900 days or more has gained value from the investment. Every one – without exception.

Also, Bitcoin has the lowest Sharpe ratio of any investment class. The Sharpe ratio measures risk adjusted returns of various investments – calculated as average annual return divided by maximum annual loss. Bitcoin is the only investment of a sharpe ratio greater than 1.0.

So, it depends on how you define risky. But consult a financial advisor to see if Bitcoin is a right investment for you. We are not licensed investment advisors.

btc sharpe ratio

The historical risk and return of various investments.

What is the safest way to store Bitcoin?2022-03-31T17:39:09+00:00

While exchanges are a great way to easily buy Bitcoin, they are not the safest way to store your Bitcoin.

The safest way to store Bitcoin is through hardware wallets that store the private keys to your bitcoin off-line with a multi-word seed backup. Examples of popular and inexpensive hardware wallets are:

Mobile wallets on a phone like Cash app, Strike and Blue are good for storing a small amount of Bitcoin to use on the go, but they are not very secure since they can more easily be broken, stolen, hacked or lost.

Bitcoin hardware wallets

What are the best books to read about Bitcoin?2024-01-04T17:34:26+00:00

Recommended books to help you learn about Bitcoin and the history of money:

The Bitcoin Standard (2018) by Saifedean AmmousBitcoin standard book

This book is less about Bitcoin and more about the history of money. Once you understand the challenges and successes of past monetary systems, you’ll understand the real value of Bitcoin.

Download a FREE digital copy of the book (.epub file)

The Little Bitcoin Book (2019) by The Bitcoin Collective

A book that explains why Bitcoin was created, the problems it fixes, and provides a simple explanation of how Bitcoin works.

The internet of money bookThe Internet of Money: A collection of talks by Andreas M. Antonopoulos (2016)

A collection of transcribed talks by one of the best speakers in the Bitcoin world. Great for beginners and experts alike.

Download a FREE digital copy of the book (.epub file)

Gradually, Then Suddenly (2023) by Parker Lewis

Bitcoin ultimately solves the problem of money printing. This book is designed to help anyone curious about bitcoin develop an intuitive understanding, in a way that is accessible to a non-technical audience.

How can I buy Bitcoin?2023-09-26T17:43:25+00:00

There are many ways to buy Bitcoin. We recommend the following exchanges as a 1st step to getting Bitcoin:

There are other ways to acquire Bitcoin through:

Bitcoin ATM Locations Around the World:

Bitcoin ATM locations

Was Bitcoin created by the C.I.A.?2022-03-31T17:04:59+00:00

No. Bitcoin was not created by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the United States.

Bitcoin was created by an anonymous individual or group of individuals that goes by the name Satoshi Nakamoto.

Bitcoin is safe to invest in although it is not 100% completely anonymous to use.

Read more about this bogus conspiracy theory.

Did someone buy 2 pizzas for 10,000 Bitcoin?2022-03-31T17:05:23+00:00

Yes!

In the early days of Bitcoin (2010), Laszlo Hanyecz made the first purchase using Bitcoin when he bought 2 pizzas for 10,000 Bitcoin! In those days, 10,000 Bitcoin was only worth $41.00!

This transaction has come to inspire the annual Bitcoin Pizza Day celebration.

 

Is it too late to buy Bitcoin?2022-03-31T17:05:38+00:00

No. Bitcoin is for anyone who is ready to take control of their wealth and protect it from the threats of inflation, confiscation and currency collapse.

Bitcoin is designed to increase in value verses ALL national fiat currencies which, in contrast, are designed to be inflationary and lose value over time.

So, it’s never too late to buy because the price goes up over time.

waiting to buy bitcoin

Does Bitcoin destroy the Environment because it uses too much energy?2023-09-28T18:27:53+00:00

No.

Bitcoin mining does use a lot of energy which makes it the most secure computer network in the history of the world.

However, claims that Bitcoin will destroy the world by causing the climate to warm are not true. In fact, Bitcoin mining takes unused and stranded natural gas, coal slurry, geothermal energy and hydro energy that would otherwise be wasted.

As of 2022, Exxon and other oil producers were using dirty methane that traditionally had been released directly into the air, causing pollution, to power Bitcoin mining. This actually cleans the environment! Further, Bitcoin is the most renewable energy intensive industry on the planet today, using between 30% and 50% renewables.

The energy cost to power and secure Bitcoin, the most sound and free money in the history of the world, is relatively small. It uses much less energy than it takes to mine gold annually, to run the fiat banking system, or to operate and maintain the massive USA military presence around the world that coerces other countries to use the US Dollar for international trade.

Energy use for forms of money

 

Why is it necessary for Bitcoin to use so much energy?

Nick Szabo answers this question in Money, Blockchains, and Social Scalability, by pointing out that Bitcoin’s high resource consumption buys something even more valuable: social scalability. Bitcoin’s costly design gives stronger resistance to forgery, inflation, and theft. This is due to the difficulty of production, and also to the easy-to-verify dynamic of Proof of Work schemes.

Under current government fiat money, society suffers from the perpetual, hidden costs of inflation, which are never questioned. Fiat money allows governments dramatically cheaper debt than in a sound money system under gold or Bitcoin. This easier debt financing in turn enables many extremely costly and destructive programs, such as the warfare (Guns) and welfare (Butter) state. These government programs, in a sound money system, would otherwise require increased taxes, which is much more difficult for a politician to campaign for, relative to the hidden costs of inflation.

Overall, Bitcoin’s energy use is a tiny fraction of world energy usage:

bitcoin energy usage

Who owns and secures the Bitcoin network?2022-03-31T17:39:57+00:00

The Bitcoin network is owned by no one and is maintained and validated by thousands of users around the world. This makes Bitcoin a truly decentralized, open and permissionless network.

Anyone in the world can install and run the Bitcoin software, called a full node, to validate its rules. Further, anyone can propose changes to Bitcoin’s protocols through the Bitcoin Improvement Proposal (BIP) process.

Contrary to popular belief, Bitcoin miners do not own or operate the Bitcoin network. Miners provide a valuable service in validating transactions and creating blocks on the Blockchain, but they do not control the Bitcoin software or the network that runs it.

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