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The Day Advances | Monthly FIRE Portfolio Update - January 2020

The day advanced as if to light some work of mine
Thoreau, Walden
This is my thirty-eighth 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 – $813 282
Vanguard Lifestrategy Growth Fund – $45 802
Vanguard Lifestrategy Balanced Fund – $83 162
Vanguard Diversified Bonds Fund – $110 472
Vanguard Australian Shares ETF (VAS) – $178 121
Vanguard International Shares ETF (VGS) – $34 965
Betashares Australia 200 ETF (A200) – $272 399
Telstra shares (TLS) – $2 046
Insurance Australia Group shares (IAG) – $8 970
NIB Holdings shares (NHF) – $6 492
Gold ETF (GOLD.ASX) – $106 701
Secured physical gold – $17 252
Ratesetter (P2P lending) – $14 755
Bitcoin – $153 530
Raiz app (Aggressive portfolio) – $18 365
Spaceship Voyager app (Index portfolio) – $2 534
BrickX (P2P rental real estate) – $4 477
Total portfolio value: $1 873 325 (+$94 067)
Asset allocation
Australian shares – 42.8% (2.2% under)
Global shares – 22.6%
Emerging markets shares – 2.4%
International small companies – 3.1%
Total international shares – 28.1% (1.9% under)
Total shares – 70.9% (4.1% under)
Total property securities – 0.2% (0.2% over)
Australian bonds – 4.5%
International bonds – 9.5%
Total bonds – 14.0% (1.0% under)
Gold – 6.6%
Bitcoin – 8.2%
Gold and alternatives – 14.8% (4.8% over)
Presented visually, below is a high-level view of the current asset allocation of the portfolio.
Comments
This month saw exceptional growth in the portfolio, with a net increase of $94 000 after a small fall last month.
[Chart]
This is the fastest growth in the past half year. It is also the second largest absolute increase in over three years of measurement.
[Chart]
As the histogram below - which counts the frequency of occurrences in a specified range of monthly value changes (with red denoting losses) - makes clear, this is one of the most positive outcomes in the three year record.
[Chart]
The sources of portfolio growth were generally buoyant global and Australian share markets. Just under half of the growth was also due to an increase in the price of both gold securities and Bitcoin. In addition, even bond holdings increased in value over the period.
Distribution payments from the Vanguard retail funds, as well as the exchange-traded funds VAS, VGS and A200 were made through this month.
These totalled around $14 000 and have begun to be gradually fed back into the portfolio. This is a process which will occur through to June - with new investments twice per month. So far this has led to additional purchases in Vanguard's Australian shares exchange-traded fund (VAS) to maintain the target allocation of Australian equities making up 60 per cent of all equity holdings.
The bond allocation of the portfolio continues to be notionally under its target, but has not yet reached a position where further balancing investments are warranted. Fully excluding the value of Bitcoin, for example, it still sits on its target allocation of 15 per cent of the portfolio.
If the same calculation is done for equities, they sit just above their target, at 77 per cent, and have drifted higher since early last year. Over the past months my position has been to take no portfolio balancing actions based purely on the volatile value of Bitcoin over time, and this remains my approach.
There is no perfect answer to this issue - assigning no value to Bitcoin and ignoring it for asset allocation purposes is inconsistent with its role in the portfolio. Pushing either equity or bond allocations sharply out of target boundaries merely due to short-term Bitcoin movements is also not warranted. Taking a backcast 'moving average' approach might be one statistical solution, but I am not yet convinced it would do more than moderate the appearance of the issue.
While expenditure has been higher over the holiday period, on average the gap between the rolling three-year average of distributions and credit card expenditure continues to close, and sits at just over a $300 per month gap at present.
Flags of convenience - estimating hedging in the portfolio
This month, out of a curiosity carried over from my recent review of my bond holdings, I have found the time to review of the overall currency hedging position of the portfolio.
There are some excellent online research papers (pdf) and blog pieces, such as this one from Passive Investing Australia, for those interested in learning more about some of the associated issues.
Currency risks have never previously been an object of much detailed thought on the journey. Rather, I had tracked a basic measure of broader exposure to foreign assets (including foreign equities, property securities, gold and more recently Bitcoin).
The additional issue of whether my exposure to these assets was unhedged (meaning exposure to gains and losses from the relative movement in the Australian dollar and the foreign currencies) or hedged was not really front of mind.
I suppose I had a dim awareness that some elements of the Vanguard retail funds that have until recently dominated the portfolio were hedged (for example, around 30 per cent of the Vanguard High Growth Diversified funds equity position is currency hedged), and judged that there was likely a well-considered rationale behind the amount of this hedging.
The first step to understanding where any exposures exist is to understand and measure the current state of affairs. As of today, this is broadly as set out below:
The decision to invest in Vanguard's International Shares ETF (VGS), which is unhedged, is a significant event in this regard.
The chart below shows the overall level of currency hedging in the international equity portfolio. Investments in VGS commenced from July 2019, and have started to affect the level of hedging.
[Chart]
As future contributions flow into VGS - absent any other action - a historically quite stable level of hedging will continue to fall. So far this is just a trend I am monitoring, until I have completed more research and thinking on the best approach in this area.
There are many complicated, and some unknowable, issues to consider and balance in hedging decisions, such as the likely denomination of future costs, and the historical and future relationships between domestic currencies and equity markets. None avail themselves of short or easy answers. Until I have thought my way through them more fully, I remain hesitant to make any definitive decisions.
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) 85.2% 115.9%
Credit card purchases – $71 000 pa 103.9% 141.4%
Total expenses – $89 000 pa 83.3% 113.3%
Summary
This month has seen rapid progress, propelling the portfolio closer to both old and new goals. The portfolio gains this month have already closed nearly half of the additional distance created by increasing my portfolio target at the beginning of the year.
The psychological forward push from distributions performance across 2019 (including, pleasingly, seeing it recognised here) has added to this sense of momentum. Additionally, this month I have also crossed the threshold to the target portfolio size needed to achieve 'credit card FI', a long-standing measure I have tracked.
The long summer break that has just ended in some ways seemed like a foretaste of what some versions of financial independence could feel like. With the minimum of planning there was time to read, rest, exercise and write largely as I pleased.
Returning to work following this has been infused with an unusual sense of being a temporary visitor in a new workplace. There is a greater philosophical detachment, in observing its rituals and rhythms, and less of a desire to seek to shape or resist its minutiae. Rather, what I have focused on is seeking to more deliberately make use of the freedoms it does not constrain, and pursue the best and most interesting use of the time that is outside of work hours.
Through these recent strong Australian and US equity markets, this article has been a useful reminder of the 'survivorship' risks of focusing a FI target too narrowly on past performance.
This excellent recent piece from Aussie HIFIRE has also, from another direction, usefully focused on separating out the decisions that do, and do not, materially matter in planning and executing on a passive indexing strategy over the long-term. For a challenging and entirely heterodox view on the potential long-term movement of equity markets upwards from here, this article has been thought-provoking.
Finally, this month I have been discovering the Jolly Swagman podcast, which has long and fascinating interviews with the ex-head of the Reserve Bank of Australia, and Nobel Prize winning US economist Robert Shiller speaking on bubbles and narrative economics.
During the long restful hours of summer break, the day has advanced. Though clouds may come in time, as the year starts - at least - the way forward looks bright.
The post, links and full charts can be seen here.
submitted by thefiexpl to fiaustralia [link] [comments]

What are Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies Backed By?

Bitcoin was created back in 2009 and became the first cryptocurrency ever designed. Cryptocurrencies have become increasingly popular in the last few years as they offer an efficient and decentralized way of transferring money.
Cryptocurrencies have always been an alternative to banks and fiat money. But why do they have any value at all and who dictates what they are worth? The value of Bitcoin is really calculated through supply and demand. The digital asset itself is backed by nothing more than perhaps the blockchain ledger.
Every single cryptocurrency uses a blockchain ledger, a system that records transactions between two or more parties in a verifiable and permanent way. This certainly adds value to Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. However, it is not what determines their price.
Why Things Have Value
Why does anything have any value at all? It has mostly because of supply and demand. Traditional currencies, for instance, are only backed by the government that issued them. Digital money, like Bitcoin, is not backed or linked to any physical reserves like gold and can certainly lose value due to different factors.
Cryptocurrencies have value because they require ‘work’ to exist. Cryptocurrencies are maintained thanks to the mining process, a process in which transactions are verified by different people. This process requires a certain amount of work, electricity, and money.
Key Factors That Affect The Value of Cryptocurrencies
Since most cryptocurrencies are not physically backed by anything, their value is determined through supply and demand based on a few important factors. One of the biggest advantages of cryptocurrencies is scarcity. The supply of most cryptocurrencies is fixed, and, unlike traditional currencies, no one can issue more than the maximum limit. This means that cryptocurrencies are deflationary by nature.
Another key factor that benefits cryptocurrencies is divisibility. Any cryptocurrency can be divided into smaller units. A simple change in Bitcoin’s code could allow the digital asset to be divided into infinitely smaller units at any time.
Additionally, transferring cryptocurrencies can be extremely fast and cheap compared to traditional methods. Fees are somewhat fixed no matter the amount you send, which means that theoretically you could send 1 million Bitcoins to someone and pay only a few dollars in fees (or even less).
In a way, one could say that Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are backed by the public’s faith in them as they have realized that the current monetary system is not as robust as one might think.
Why Are Cryptocurrencies so Volatile Then?
In comparison to traditional currencies and even stocks, cryptocurrencies are far more volatile, meaning that the current price of any given crypto can change drastically in hours. It’s quite common to see Bitcoin’s price go up or down 5-10% within a few days. In fact, even in periods of low volatility, most cryptocurrencies still experience price moves of up to 1-2%, which is considered extremely high in traditional markets.
The explanation, however, is quite simple. Cryptocurrencies, in general, lack the liquidity that the rest of the markets enjoy. According to statistics from Statista, the average daily turnover in the global foreign exchange market was around $6.5 trillion daily. The cryptocurrency market, on average, sees around $80 billion in daily trading volume, and according to various sources, a lot of the volume is actually fake.
The problem with illiquidity is that someone who wants to sell or buy a huge amount of Bitcoin or any cryptocurrency will simply ‘eat’ all the orders in the order book of the exchange, catapulting the price up or crashing it. That is the only reason why cryptocurrencies, in general, are extremely volatile.
Some Cryptocurrencies Are Actually Backed by Things
There are, however, some cryptocurrencies that are backed by gold, assets, and even fiat money. Tether (USDT) became the most popular cryptocurrency backed by fiat, later known as a ‘stablecoin’.
Stablecoins
A stablecoin is designed to always be worth $1.00 by maintaining 1 dollar in some sort of reserve. The first stablecoin to become widely popular was Tether, however, there was a lot of controversy surrounding it. Most of the criticism came from the fact that Tether Limited was unable to prove they actually have the funds to cover all the Tether issued.
Additionally, on 30 April 2019, Tether Limited’s lawyer actually admitted that each coin is only backed by $0.74 in cash.
Currently, there are over a dozen stablecoins that are backed by fiat, commodities, and even cryptocurrencies. TrueUSD is similar to Tether but it is considered to be one of the most reliable stablecoins currently as the company behind it has been extremely transparent and conducted an independent audit back in March 2019.
A more complex stablecoin is Dai, which is backed by Ethereum and pegged to the dollar. The system behind Dai basically locks Ethereum in a public contract. If the value of Dai distances too far from $1, the system will make use of the contract to stabilize it back. There is, however, a small problem: Dai is not entirely decentralized as the technology behind it is being monitored by the Maker Foundation.
DigixDAO is another stablecoin and it’s backed by bars of actual gold. It is an ERC-20 token created back in 2014. The digital asset is entirely decentralized and autonomous and can in fact be extended to be backed by other precious metals and even physical assets. According to the company, the gold is stored in custodial vaults at the Singapore Safe House, and 1 DGX will always equal 1 gram of gold.
Cryptocurrencies Backed by Assets
Not all cryptocurrencies backed by assets are stablecoins. For instance, the first oil-backed cryptocurrency was introduced by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro back in 2017. El Petro, although highly criticized, is supposedly the first cryptocurrency to be backed by oil thanks to the country’s huge oil and mineral reserves.
Petro is, however, not pegged to anything, and its value can increase or decrease at any given time.
Tokenization of Assets
Something that has become quite popular over the last few years is the tokenization of traditional stocks and assets. There are countless blockchain startups tokenizing almost anything to represent ownership.
The tokenization of assets brings numerous benefits like greater liquidity, more transparency, cheaper and faster transactions, and more accessibility. Tokenization itself is quite difficult to regulate, and all tokenization assets have to be compliant with the law, something that issuers struggle to achieve.
Conclusion
While traditional cryptocurrencies are not necessarily backed by anything physical, they still hold a lot of value solely based on supply and demand. This is the case with numerous other assets and even fiat money.
Cryptocurrencies have come a long way and there is a wide variety of them. Stablecoins are the most popular when it comes to asset-backed cryptocurrencies. They serve as an alternative to fiat money and bring a lot of liquidity to the market. There are definitely concerns as people question their stability, however, they have become an important factor in the market.
Additionally, other projects aside from stablecoins have implemented asset-backed cryptocurrencies. There are numerous cryptocurrencies out there backed by precious metals, physical assets, stocks, and even other cryptocurrencies. We are definitely going to see even more in the near future as they bring a lot more security to investors and the crypto space in general.

SwapSpace team is always ready for discussion. You can drop an email with your suggestions and questions to [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]) Join our social networks: Twitter, Medium, Facebook, Telegram The best rates on https://swapspace.co/
submitted by SwapSpace_co to CryptoTechnology [link] [comments]

What are Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies Backed By?

Bitcoin was created back in 2009 and became the first cryptocurrency ever designed. Cryptocurrencies have become increasingly popular in the last few years as they offer an efficient and decentralized way of transferring money.
Cryptocurrencies have always been an alternative to banks and fiat money. But why do they have any value at all and who dictates what they are worth? The value of Bitcoin is really calculated through supply and demand. The digital asset itself is backed by nothing more than perhaps the blockchain ledger.
Every single cryptocurrency uses a blockchain ledger, a system that records transactions between two or more parties in a verifiable and permanent way. This certainly adds value to Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. However, it is not what determines their price.
Why Things Have Value
Why does anything have any value at all? It has mostly because of supply and demand. Traditional currencies, for instance, are only backed by the government that issued them. Digital money, like Bitcoin, is not backed or linked to any physical reserves like gold and can certainly lose value due to different factors.
Cryptocurrencies have value because they require ‘work’ to exist. Cryptocurrencies are maintained thanks to the mining process, a process in which transactions are verified by different people. This process requires a certain amount of work, electricity, and money.
Key Factors That Affect The Value of Cryptocurrencies
Since most cryptocurrencies are not physically backed by anything, their value is determined through supply and demand based on a few important factors. One of the biggest advantages of cryptocurrencies is scarcity. The supply of most cryptocurrencies is fixed, and, unlike traditional currencies, no one can issue more than the maximum limit. This means that cryptocurrencies are deflationary by nature.
Another key factor that benefits cryptocurrencies is divisibility. Any cryptocurrency can be divided into smaller units. A simple change in Bitcoin’s code could allow the digital asset to be divided into infinitely smaller units at any time.
Additionally, transferring cryptocurrencies can be extremely fast and cheap compared to traditional methods. Fees are somewhat fixed no matter the amount you send, which means that theoretically you could send 1 million Bitcoins to someone and pay only a few dollars in fees (or even less).
In a way, one could say that Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are backed by the public’s faith in them as they have realized that the current monetary system is not as robust as one might think.
Why Are Cryptocurrencies so Volatile Then?
In comparison to traditional currencies and even stocks, cryptocurrencies are far more volatile, meaning that the current price of any given crypto can change drastically in hours. It’s quite common to see Bitcoin’s price go up or down 5-10% within a few days. In fact, even in periods of low volatility, most cryptocurrencies still experience price moves of up to 1-2%, which is considered extremely high in traditional markets.
The explanation, however, is quite simple. Cryptocurrencies, in general, lack the liquidity that the rest of the markets enjoy. According to statistics from Statista, the average daily turnover in the global foreign exchange market was around $6.5 trillion daily. The cryptocurrency market, on average, sees around $80 billion in daily trading volume, and according to various sources, a lot of the volume is actually fake.
The problem with illiquidity is that someone who wants to sell or buy a huge amount of Bitcoin or any cryptocurrency will simply ‘eat’ all the orders in the order book of the exchange, catapulting the price up or crashing it. That is the only reason why cryptocurrencies, in general, are extremely volatile.
Some Cryptocurrencies Are Actually Backed by Things
There are, however, some cryptocurrencies that are backed by gold, assets, and even fiat money. Tether (USDT) became the most popular cryptocurrency backed by fiat, later known as a ‘stablecoin’.
Stablecoins
A stablecoin is designed to always be worth $1.00 by maintaining 1 dollar in some sort of reserve. The first stablecoin to become widely popular was Tether, however, there was a lot of controversy surrounding it. Most of the criticism came from the fact that Tether Limited was unable to prove they actually have the funds to cover all the Tether issued.
Additionally, on 30 April 2019, Tether Limited’s lawyer actually admitted that each coin is only backed by $0.74 in cash.
Currently, there are over a dozen stablecoins that are backed by fiat, commodities, and even cryptocurrencies. TrueUSD is similar to Tether but it is considered to be one of the most reliable stablecoins currently as the company behind it has been extremely transparent and conducted an independent audit back in March 2019.
A more complex stablecoin is Dai, which is backed by Ethereum and pegged to the dollar. The system behind Dai basically locks Ethereum in a public contract. If the value of Dai distances too far from $1, the system will make use of the contract to stabilize it back. There is, however, a small problem: Dai is not entirely decentralized as the technology behind it is being monitored by the Maker Foundation.
DigixDAO is another stablecoin and it’s backed by bars of actual gold. It is an ERC-20 token created back in 2014. The digital asset is entirely decentralized and autonomous and can in fact be extended to be backed by other precious metals and even physical assets. According to the company, the gold is stored in custodial vaults at the Singapore Safe House, and 1 DGX will always equal 1 gram of gold.
Cryptocurrencies Backed by Assets
Not all cryptocurrencies backed by assets are stablecoins. For instance, the first oil-backed cryptocurrency was introduced by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro back in 2017. El Petro, although highly criticized, is supposedly the first cryptocurrency to be backed by oil thanks to the country’s huge oil and mineral reserves.
Petro is, however, not pegged to anything, and its value can increase or decrease at any given time.
Tokenization of Assets
Something that has become quite popular over the last few years is the tokenization of traditional stocks and assets. There are countless blockchain startups tokenizing almost anything to represent ownership.
The tokenization of assets brings numerous benefits like greater liquidity, more transparency, cheaper and faster transactions, and more accessibility. Tokenization itself is quite difficult to regulate, and all tokenization assets have to be compliant with the law, something that issuers struggle to achieve.
Conclusion
While traditional cryptocurrencies are not necessarily backed by anything physical, they still hold a lot of value solely based on supply and demand. This is the case with numerous other assets and even fiat money.
Cryptocurrencies have come a long way and there is a wide variety of them. Stablecoins are the most popular when it comes to asset-backed cryptocurrencies. They serve as an alternative to fiat money and bring a lot of liquidity to the market. There are definitely concerns as people question their stability, however, they have become an important factor in the market.
Additionally, other projects aside from stablecoins have implemented asset-backed cryptocurrencies. There are numerous cryptocurrencies out there backed by precious metals, physical assets, stocks, and even other cryptocurrencies. We are definitely going to see even more in the near future as they bring a lot more security to investors and the crypto space in general.

SwapSpace team is always ready for discussion. You can drop an email with your suggestions and questions to [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]) Join our social networks: Twitter, Medium, Facebook, Telegram The best rates on https://swapspace.co/
submitted by SwapSpace_co to CoinBase [link] [comments]

What are Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies Backed By?

Bitcoin was created back in 2009 and became the first cryptocurrency ever designed. Cryptocurrencies have become increasingly popular in the last few years as they offer an efficient and decentralized way of transferring money.
Cryptocurrencies have always been an alternative to banks and fiat money. But why do they have any value at all and who dictates what they are worth? The value of Bitcoin is really calculated through supply and demand. The digital asset itself is backed by nothing more than perhaps the blockchain ledger.
Every single cryptocurrency uses a blockchain ledger, a system that records transactions between two or more parties in a verifiable and permanent way. This certainly adds value to Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. However, it is not what determines their price.
Why Things Have Value
Why does anything have any value at all? It has mostly because of supply and demand. Traditional currencies, for instance, are only backed by the government that issued them. Digital money, like Bitcoin, is not backed or linked to any physical reserves like gold and can certainly lose value due to different factors.
Cryptocurrencies have value because they require ‘work’ to exist. Cryptocurrencies are maintained thanks to the mining process, a process in which transactions are verified by different people. This process requires a certain amount of work, electricity, and money.
Key Factors That Affect The Value of Cryptocurrencies
Since most cryptocurrencies are not physically backed by anything, their value is determined through supply and demand based on a few important factors. One of the biggest advantages of cryptocurrencies is scarcity. The supply of most cryptocurrencies is fixed, and, unlike traditional currencies, no one can issue more than the maximum limit. This means that cryptocurrencies are deflationary by nature.
Another key factor that benefits cryptocurrencies is divisibility. Any cryptocurrency can be divided into smaller units. A simple change in Bitcoin’s code could allow the digital asset to be divided into infinitely smaller units at any time.
Additionally, transferring cryptocurrencies can be extremely fast and cheap compared to traditional methods. Fees are somewhat fixed no matter the amount you send, which means that theoretically you could send 1 million Bitcoins to someone and pay only a few dollars in fees (or even less).
In a way, one could say that Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are backed by the public’s faith in them as they have realized that the current monetary system is not as robust as one might think.
Why Are Cryptocurrencies so Volatile Then?
In comparison to traditional currencies and even stocks, cryptocurrencies are far more volatile, meaning that the current price of any given crypto can change drastically in hours. It’s quite common to see Bitcoin’s price go up or down 5-10% within a few days. In fact, even in periods of low volatility, most cryptocurrencies still experience price moves of up to 1-2%, which is considered extremely high in traditional markets.
The explanation, however, is quite simple. Cryptocurrencies, in general, lack the liquidity that the rest of the markets enjoy. According to statistics from Statista, the average daily turnover in the global foreign exchange market was around $6.5 trillion daily. The cryptocurrency market, on average, sees around $80 billion in daily trading volume, and according to various sources, a lot of the volume is actually fake.
The problem with illiquidity is that someone who wants to sell or buy a huge amount of Bitcoin or any cryptocurrency will simply ‘eat’ all the orders in the order book of the exchange, catapulting the price up or crashing it. That is the only reason why cryptocurrencies, in general, are extremely volatile.
Some Cryptocurrencies Are Actually Backed by Things
There are, however, some cryptocurrencies that are backed by gold, assets, and even fiat money. Tether (USDT) became the most popular cryptocurrency backed by fiat, later known as a ‘stablecoin’.
Stablecoins
A stablecoin is designed to always be worth $1.00 by maintaining 1 dollar in some sort of reserve. The first stablecoin to become widely popular was Tether, however, there was a lot of controversy surrounding it. Most of the criticism came from the fact that Tether Limited was unable to prove they actually have the funds to cover all the Tether issued.
Additionally, on 30 April 2019, Tether Limited’s lawyer actually admitted that each coin is only backed by $0.74 in cash.
Currently, there are over a dozen stablecoins that are backed by fiat, commodities, and even cryptocurrencies. TrueUSD is similar to Tether but it is considered to be one of the most reliable stablecoins currently as the company behind it has been extremely transparent and conducted an independent audit back in March 2019.
A more complex stablecoin is Dai, which is backed by Ethereum and pegged to the dollar. The system behind Dai basically locks Ethereum in a public contract. If the value of Dai distances too far from $1, the system will make use of the contract to stabilize it back. There is, however, a small problem: Dai is not entirely decentralized as the technology behind it is being monitored by the Maker Foundation.
DigixDAO is another stablecoin and it’s backed by bars of actual gold. It is an ERC-20 token created back in 2014. The digital asset is entirely decentralized and autonomous and can in fact be extended to be backed by other precious metals and even physical assets. According to the company, the gold is stored in custodial vaults at the Singapore Safe House, and 1 DGX will always equal 1 gram of gold.
Cryptocurrencies Backed by Assets
Not all cryptocurrencies backed by assets are stablecoins. For instance, the first oil-backed cryptocurrency was introduced by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro back in 2017. El Petro, although highly criticized, is supposedly the first cryptocurrency to be backed by oil thanks to the country’s huge oil and mineral reserves.
Petro is, however, not pegged to anything, and its value can increase or decrease at any given time.
Tokenization of Assets
Something that has become quite popular over the last few years is the tokenization of traditional stocks and assets. There are countless blockchain startups tokenizing almost anything to represent ownership.
The tokenization of assets brings numerous benefits like greater liquidity, more transparency, cheaper and faster transactions, and more accessibility. Tokenization itself is quite difficult to regulate, and all tokenization assets have to be compliant with the law, something that issuers struggle to achieve.
Conclusion
While traditional cryptocurrencies are not necessarily backed by anything physical, they still hold a lot of value solely based on supply and demand. This is the case with numerous other assets and even fiat money.
Cryptocurrencies have come a long way and there is a wide variety of them. Stablecoins are the most popular when it comes to asset-backed cryptocurrencies. They serve as an alternative to fiat money and bring a lot of liquidity to the market. There are definitely concerns as people question their stability, however, they have become an important factor in the market.
Additionally, other projects aside from stablecoins have implemented asset-backed cryptocurrencies. There are numerous cryptocurrencies out there backed by precious metals, physical assets, stocks, and even other cryptocurrencies. We are definitely going to see even more in the near future as they bring a lot more security to investors and the crypto space in general.

SwapSpace team is always ready for discussion. You can drop an email with your suggestions and questions to [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]) Join our social networks: Twitter, Medium, Facebook, Telegram The best rates on https://swapspace.co/
submitted by SwapSpace_co to CryptoCurrencyTrading [link] [comments]

AsicVault - Frequently Asked Questions

When was AsicVault established and how is it funded?
AsicVault was established 2016. It is funded by founders and corporate investors. Please see Crunchbase.

How can it be 1,000 times harder to crack compared to other BIP-39 hardware wallets?
BIP-39 hardware wallets are working on very low performance microcontrollers or secure elements. They are doing only 2,048 iterations of PBKDF2 SHA-512 that is even less than old NIST recommendation of 10,000 rounds from year 2016.
Performing higher number of PBKDF2 SHA-512 is standard practice for good security. iTunes does it, LastPass does it and Veracrypt as well. Even Ledger agrees that this very low number is the main problem of BIP-39.
AsicVault specially designed SHA-512 accelerator inside high performance secure chip is at least 340 times faster than common microcontrollers. The number of PBKDF2 SHA-512 rounds is set to be exactly 1,000 times higher than BIP-39, hence the cost to crack AsicVault is also 1,000 times bigger.
Please read in-depth teardown review and validation of AsicVault SHA-512 performance here.
You can perform independent analysis according to this PDF and our device performance is shown on this video.

Does it support BIP-39 passphrase?
Yes, AsicVault supports all standard BIP-39 seed words and additional passphrase (so-called 25th word). You can restore your HD wallet account created by other hardware wallets (Ledger, Trezor, Keepkey) without any additional steps. AsicVault always opens standard security BIP-39 account and high security BIP-39 accounts at the same time.

Why two processors?
Common design practice, also followed by Ledger, is to separate secure and non-secure code. Our advantage is that these two RISC-V processors are inside a single secure chip. This way the Security CPU has full access to the Application CPU RAM. This makes it possible to do proper secure boot.

Why RISC-V?
Open instruction set. Possibility to have open source CPU and extensions. We have already implemented several custom instructions.

Do I need a computer to initialize the device?
No. You can supply power from wall adapter or battery bank. AsicVault supports true air-gapped environment.
You can perform full device initialization, seed word generation and seed word backup without connection to the computer. You can also charge the device and check the status the same way.

Can I use USB extender cables?
Certified USB2.0 extender cables can be used. We don’t recommend extender cables while using USB3.1 features of the device. The device can detect (some) bad cables and show warning messages about them. It is not recommended to use cables/extenders longer than 2.5m. In any case, cables with lower AWG value are better, such as AWG20.

How hot does the device get?
During normal operation AsicVault device temperature reaches 35-37C. High speed USB3.0 operation adds additional 7C. AsicVault utilizes full Aluminum enclosure as an effective heatsink. Internal chips can tolerate up to +85C, so you never need to worry about them overheating. There are no Lithium batteries inside the device that are known for leaking and not tolerating high temperatures.

How long does the active anti-tamper system work?
Active anti-tamper protects your device at least 2 weeks, possibly up to 45 days, after you have fully charged the device. It takes just 15 minutes to charge the supercapacitors again. It is advisable to connect the device to a power source at least once per week. Different anti-tamper settings affect the anti-tamper aggressiveness, sensitivity and power consumption.
It is also good practice to enter your passphrase weekly so that you will not forget it.

How often can I charge it? Do the batteries age?
You can charge it as often as you like, several times per day. Supercapacitors can be charged 50,000 – 1,000,000 times during their lifetime compared to common Lithium batteries that only allow 500-1,000 times. Therefore even 10 times per day for 10 years should be fine. At least weekly charging is recommended for best anti-tamper protection.

How long are private keys safely stored inside device before the memory gets weak and they are lost?
Data retention time of Flash memory inside the main chip is 20 years. Additional encryption keys stored inside FRAM can last for 40 years at temperatures below 70C. These values are higher than the expected lifetime of the device. In any case you must make paper backup(s) of your seed words.

Can it store the whole Bitcoin blockchain inside the device?
No. The device is not designed to store large amounts of data. Internal 128-megabyte Flash is used to store applications. There are thousands of copies of the blockchain, storing yet another copy is not meaningful or necessary.

What is FIPS 140-2 highest Level 4?
FIPS 140-2 is Federal Information Processing Standard.
Level 4 requires that:
  1. physical security mechanisms provide a complete envelope of protection around the cryptographic module
  2. with the intent of detecting and responding to all unauthorized attempts at physical access
  3. Penetration of the cryptographic module enclosure from any direction has a very high probability of being detected, resulting in the immediate deletion of all plaintext CSPs
  4. Security Level 4 also protects a cryptographic module against a security compromise due to environmental conditions or fluctuations outside of the module's normal operating ranges for voltage and temperature
  5. A cryptographic module is required to include special environmental protection features designed to detect fluctuations and delete CSPs
We have used these guidelines while designing AsicVault. We meet and exceed the requirements in the following way:
  1. AsicVault has full Aluminium/Titanium enclosure that is not designed to be opened. Passive antitamper mesh protects the electronic circuits inside the device. Main secure chip also has chip level metal layer anti-tamper mesh.
  2. Active anti-tamper circuit monitors all intrusion attempts and performs immediate device zeroization upon detecting any such attempts.
  3. AsicVault has temperature, voltage and many other sensors that are continuously monitored by the anti-tamper circuit. Additionally, AsicVault has internal supercapacitor-based power reserve to run Elliptic Curve calculations and other cryptographic functions. Therefore, external voltage fluctuations can’t affect our device while performing these critical operations.
  4. Zeroization not only deletes the private keys, it also destroys internal hardware design making it impossible to perform any further analysis of the hardware.
AsicVault has not participated in formal Cryptographic Module Validation Program since we are not targeting US government users at this point.

Can AsicVault device run Linux?
It is not our priority to run Linux since it has too big overhead for hardware wallet. However, our RISC-V processors and Mark II hardware can run Linux for your custom projects.

Where can I purchase the device?
Please contact your local supplier about availability.
submitted by photonreality to AsicVaultOfficial [link] [comments]

What are Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies Backed By?

Bitcoin was created back in 2009 and became the first cryptocurrency ever designed. Cryptocurrencies have become increasingly popular in the last few years as they offer an efficient and decentralized way of transferring money.
Cryptocurrencies have always been an alternative to banks and fiat money. But why do they have any value at all and who dictates what they are worth? The value of Bitcoin is really calculated through supply and demand. The digital asset itself is backed by nothing more than perhaps the blockchain ledger.
Every single cryptocurrency uses a blockchain ledger, a system that records transactions between two or more parties in a verifiable and permanent way. This certainly adds value to Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. However, it is not what determines their price.
Why Things Have Value
Why does anything have any value at all? It has mostly because of supply and demand. Traditional currencies, for instance, are only backed by the government that issued them. Digital money, like Bitcoin, is not backed or linked to any physical reserves like gold and can certainly lose value due to different factors.
Cryptocurrencies have value because they require ‘work’ to exist. Cryptocurrencies are maintained thanks to the mining process, a process in which transactions are verified by different people. This process requires a certain amount of work, electricity, and money.
Key Factors That Affect The Value of Cryptocurrencies
Since most cryptocurrencies are not physically backed by anything, their value is determined through supply and demand based on a few important factors. One of the biggest advantages of cryptocurrencies is scarcity. The supply of most cryptocurrencies is fixed, and, unlike traditional currencies, no one can issue more than the maximum limit. This means that cryptocurrencies are deflationary by nature.
Another key factor that benefits cryptocurrencies is divisibility. Any cryptocurrency can be divided into smaller units. A simple change in Bitcoin’s code could allow the digital asset to be divided into infinitely smaller units at any time.
Additionally, transferring cryptocurrencies can be extremely fast and cheap compared to traditional methods. Fees are somewhat fixed no matter the amount you send, which means that theoretically you could send 1 million Bitcoins to someone and pay only a few dollars in fees (or even less).
In a way, one could say that Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are backed by the public’s faith in them as they have realized that the current monetary system is not as robust as one might think.
Why Are Cryptocurrencies so Volatile Then?
In comparison to traditional currencies and even stocks, cryptocurrencies are far more volatile, meaning that the current price of any given crypto can change drastically in hours. It’s quite common to see Bitcoin’s price go up or down 5-10% within a few days. In fact, even in periods of low volatility, most cryptocurrencies still experience price moves of up to 1-2%, which is considered extremely high in traditional markets.
The explanation, however, is quite simple. Cryptocurrencies, in general, lack the liquidity that the rest of the markets enjoy. According to statistics from Statista, the average daily turnover in the global foreign exchange market was around $6.5 trillion daily. The cryptocurrency market, on average, sees around $80 billion in daily trading volume, and according to various sources, a lot of the volume is actually fake.
The problem with illiquidity is that someone who wants to sell or buy a huge amount of Bitcoin or any cryptocurrency will simply ‘eat’ all the orders in the order book of the exchange, catapulting the price up or crashing it. That is the only reason why cryptocurrencies, in general, are extremely volatile.
Some Cryptocurrencies Are Actually Backed by Things
There are, however, some cryptocurrencies that are backed by gold, assets, and even fiat money. Tether (USDT) became the most popular cryptocurrency backed by fiat, later known as a ‘stablecoin’.
Stablecoins
A stablecoin is designed to always be worth $1.00 by maintaining 1 dollar in some sort of reserve. The first stablecoin to become widely popular was Tether, however, there was a lot of controversy surrounding it. Most of the criticism came from the fact that Tether Limited was unable to prove they actually have the funds to cover all the Tether issued.
Additionally, on 30 April 2019, Tether Limited’s law