A guide to cryptocurrency Exchange-Traded Funds, and whether investing in one is right for you.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF), it is a type of pooled security fund that exists both in the standard investment world, and within the cryptocurrency space. It operates similarly to a mutual fund, although unlike a mutual fund, an ETF is a passively managed investment option. Like a standard ETF, a cryptocurrency ETF consists of a large number of securities. In the case of cryptocurrency ETFs, these securities consist of cryptocurrency.
Cryptocurrency ETFs fluctuate in value in line with the cryptocurrency securities that they consist of. For example, if the price of Bitcoin goes up in value, so will Bitcoin’s exchange-traded funds. The difference is that while you would trade Bitcoin on a cryptocurrency exchange, you would trade a Bitcoin ETF on a stock exchange, such as the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) or Nasdaq.
But what are the benefits of a cryptocurrency ETF, and is it worth investing in one? Find out everything you need to know below.
The pros and cons of cryptocurrency ETFs
There are a number of benefits and drawbacks to cryptocurrency ETFs. Understanding what they are can help you to make a better informed decision as to whether you which of the two you might prefer to invest in.
Pros of cryptocurrency ETFs
More cost effective. What is usually considered to be the biggest benefit of investing in a cryptocurrency ETF as opposed to buying the crypto direct from an exchange or via a broker is that there are less hidden fees involved. Buying crypto from an exchange or via a broker usually entails overheads such as transaction fees, custody charges, commission fees, digital wallet purchase costs, deposit costs, network fees, withdrawal fees, and possibly more. None of these apply when investing in a cryptocurrency ETF, as these expenses are outsourced onto ETF providers.
Reduced risk. There is less risk of having your crypto stolen when buying shares in ETFs as opposed to buying cryptocurrency. There’s also no risk of losing your wallet keys and not being able to access your crypto, as there is with owning cryptocurrency outright.
More diversified. ETFs can hold more than one asset at a time. This means that your ETF could hold various different types of cryptocurrency, but it can also hold various stocks. Diversifying your portfolio also helps to reduce risk to your assets, as it makes it less likely to decrease in value.
Simplicity. Investing in a crypto ETF, rather than buying cryptocurrency outright, is generally easier and more user-friendly. First time crypto buyers may prefer to invest in ETFs because it is simpler and less time consuming – particularly if you are investing in more than one form of crypto.
Tax efficient. The unregulated nature of cryptocurrency means that most of the world’s tax havens and pension/superannuation funds do not allow for direct crypto purchases. ETFs, on the other hand, are regulated by the SEC. This makes them a more tax efficient purchase.
Cons of cryptocurrency ETFs
Limitations.Given that Bitcoin is unregulated and decentralised, the majority of the world’s tax havens and pension funds do not allow for purchases of Bitcoin. On the other hand, a Bitcoin ETF trading on traditional exchanges would likely be regulated by the SEC and eligible for tax efficiency.
Fees. While you may avoid many of the fees that are involved with buying cryptocurrency outright, you will still incur various management fees when opting for an ETF.
Systemic flaws. ETFs track the price of cryptocurrency and provide leverage on that price. However, crypto price may not be accurately reflected in the value of exchange-traded fund holdings. ETFs only trade during market hours, but cryptocurrency trades 24/7 – which can lead to discrepancies in pricing. This could potentially mean that you lose out on some of the value of your holdings.
Can’t be traded for other crypto. A cryptocurrency ETF cannot be traded for other cryptocurrency. If you own crypto outright, such as Bitcoin, for example, you can trade it for Ethereum, Dogecoin, or any other cryptocurrency in the same way that you can purchase it for fiat currency. Crypto ETFs, however, aren’t tradable for other crypto.
Lose decentralisation benefits. While the regulation of ETFs by governing bodies makes them more tax efficient, it does also mean that you lose some of the benefits that are associated with decentralised currency. Owning cryptocurrency outright means that you are protected by the blockchain, and it mitigates any of the risks associated with the standard financial system.
How to invest in a crypto ETF
There are three ways that you can invest in a cryptocurrency ETF. These include:
Via a brokerage. You can buy a cryptocurrency ETF by signing up to a stock broker online. You will usually be required to provide ID and a few personal details before transferring your funds.
Via an exchange. Some cryptocurrency exchanges also offer ETFs. The process of signing up with an exchange will be very similar to that of a brokerage.
Via private sale. You can only access some ETFs via private sale from the issuer. These will come with certain requirements, such as high minimum investment amounts.
Your step-by-step guide to purchasing the infamous meme crypto, DOGE.
Looking to invest in one of the most well-known lesser-known cryptocurrencies currently on the market? We’ve got you covered. See below for our handy guide to what Dogecoin (DOGE) is, and our 5 simple steps on how to buy it.
What is Dogecoin?
Like Bitcoin (BTC) or Ethereum (ETH), Dogecoin is a cryptocurrency. It was started in 2013 and based on the popular meme of the Shiba Inu dog, a Japanese breed of hunting dog (pictured). It was originally launched by crypto enthusiasts to poke fun at Bitcoin, but quickly gained traction and became one of the most popular niche decentralised currencies on the market.
Dogecoin’s success was partly down to big names such as Elon Musk and Mark Cuban publicly professing their support for the coin, with Musk even claiming it to be his favourite cryptocurrency back in 2021. That being said, its recognisability due to its origins as the first ever memecoin, as well as other forms of media attention, have also facilitated its meteoric rise which has, at times, brought it into the top 10 cryptocurrencies on the market.
While Dogecoin has been overall a success story, like most other cryptocurrencies, it has also seen its fair share of dramatic lows alongside the surging heights. Dogecoin is currently ranked as the 11th most popular cryptocurrency.
Before you start the buying process
Before you get into the logistics of actually purchasing Dogecoin, it’s imperative that you carefully consider how much you actually want to invest. While it may have made some people millionaires overnight, it’s still a very volatile currency with high risks attached.
To help you to better understand how Dogecoin is currently performing and how it is expected to perform over the coming months/years some websites, such as Finder, have made price predictions which are based on expert opinions and analysis. These predictions currently anticipate that Dogecoin’s “value should increase by roughly 16.5% by the end of 2022” which would make it a profitable investment, if proved accurate.
While these price predictions are based on the opinions of the best informed experts, and are therefore as accurate as they can be, some factors that affect the coin’s cost aren’t possible to estimate. One major such factor is how heavily its price is affected by Elon Musk’s tweets. Sadly, unless you are somehow a close friend of Musk’s, his tweets of endorsement for Dogecoin can’t be anticipated, and neither can their affect on the memecoin’s price.
When is a good time to invest in Dogecoin?
When exactly you invest in Dogecoin is still a crucial component to how much profit you will make. This is because the market fluctuates so much daily. This is partly due to the fact that unlike the stock market, which closes during non-business hours, the cryptocurrency market never sleeps – trading is active 24/7, 365 days per year.
Generally it is considered better to invest when the market is bullish, although a bearish, and even a neutral market can still prove profitable, depending on your level of trading experience.
Whatever your level of trading experience and whenever you choose to invest, it is important to never put in more money than you can afford to lose. No amount of trained experts can give you an 100% fool-proof price prediction. There’s always a chance, however small, that you could lose everything. So, don’t set the stakes too high.
How do you buy Dogecoin?
Buying Dogecoin is the same as buying any other cryptocurrency. While somewhat fewer exchanges might offer it due to its reduced popularity in comparison to bigger cryptos like Ethereum and Bitcoin, it is still a widely circulated coin that’s easily accessible to most.
You can purchase DOGE by following these simple steps:
Choose an exchange
Opt for either a centralised exchange (CEX) such as Coinbase Pro or Binance, or a decentralised cryptocurrency exchange (DEX) such as Uniswap, Bithumb, or PancakeSwap. There are also many more exchanges that offer Dogecoin.
Platform costs, such as service fees, and even the price of Dogecoin, will vary between platforms. So, it’s important to do your research and compare exchanges to find the right exchange for you.
Create and verify an account
Once you’ve researched and found an exchange that you think suits you, it’s time to set up an account. This process will vary depending on the provider you choose, but it usually only involves giving a few personal details to the service provider.
You may also be required to verify your identity with the exchange platform. This is known as a KYC (Know Your Customer) process. This might include submitting a photo of your driver’s licence or passport, and possibly a selfie to prove that you match your documentation.
Choose a payment option
In order to purchase Dogecoin, you will need to deposit money into your exchange. To do this you will need to link a bank account, or a debit/credit card to your account. If you already possess cryptocurrency, you will likely be able to trade your current crypto of choice for DOGE, depending on the currency you own and the exchange platform that you are using.
Once you have successfully added funds to your account, you can purchase DOGE, as well as other cryptocurrencies via your chosen exchange. Processing times will vary, but are usually pretty instantaneous. Remember, as mentioned earlier, that you can trade Dogecoin at all hours of the day, 7 days a week.
Store and/or withdraw your DOGE
To store your Dogecoin, you will need a cryptocurrency wallet. Some exchanges will offer these built in, but it’s still a good idea to compare your options to find the most convenient and secure way to manage your DOGE.
Thinking of investing in crypto or stocks? Find out if Binance is the right place for you.
Binance, launched in 2017, is currently one of the highest ranking cryptocurrency exchanges in the world. It is well known for its broad range of decentralised finance (DeFi) offerings, high liquidity, and interest earning opportunities.
New and experienced users can buy and trade cryptocurrency from the Binance platform with relative ease, although it is known for having somewhat a more complicated user-interface than other exchange platforms, eg. Coinbase. Binance’s Decentralised Exchange (DEX) offers fast trading performance and it’s Liquid Swap automated market maker (AMM) offers more stable prices and lower fees for large transactions.
Binance is accompanied by two blockchain networks: Binance Chain and Binance Smart Chain. These are both powered by it’s native blockchain-based token, Binance Coin (BNB). As well as facilitating Binance’s ecosystem of custom decentralised applications (dApps) that you can build yourself, these dual blockchains have made it easier and more accessible for people to earn money from cryptocurrency. You can also purchase and trade NFTs using the Binance platform.
Pros and cons of Binance
Large number of cryptocurrencies. You can buy, trade, and hold (HODL) over 600 cryptocurrencies on this platform.
Large user base. Over 90 million people currently trust and invest in Binance.
Secure storage options. Over 90% of Binance’s holdings are held in offline cold storage, meaning that they can’t be accessed by hackers.
Low transaction fees. In comparison to most cryptocurrency exchange platforms, Binance typically has low transaction fees.
Greater trading control. Binance DEX allows users to trade digital assets directly with each other, giving users more control over their funds.
Complex for new users. Binance can be a struggle for users that are not yet adept at crypto buying and trading.
Banned in several countries. Binance has limited or banned access in Ontario (Canada), China, Europe (for derivatives trading), Malaysia, Japan, Thailand, and the UK (although you can still deposit sterling on Binance via non FCA regulated payment providers). This is due to accusations that Binance has been operating without regulatory clearance from financial authorities.
History of hacking. Binance has previously fallen victim to numerous security breaches.
How much does Binance cost?
Binance charges different fees for different services. At the time of writing this article, Binance’s fees include:
Deposit Fees. Crypto deposits are free on Binance.
Transaction fees. Transaction fees apply and will vary. It’s worth noting however that you can use Binance’s native coin, BNB to pay for transaction fees, which will apply up to a 25% discount to your trading fee.
Futures trading fees. Futures trading (betting on the future price of crypto without having to own it) incurs a fee. Binance Futures Fee Structure varies depending on the circumstances of the trade.
Withdrawal Fees. Binance charges withdrawal fees that are based on its fee schedule.
Understanding the Binance user-interface
Binance’s user-interface can be complicated to wrap your head around, particularly for new users. Numerous drop down menus, including: Buy Crypto, Markets, Trade, Derivatives, Earn, Finance and NFTs, feature at the top of the homepage, with each tab hosting a variety of options in each. Tabs like “Derivatives”, which include head scratching choices like “Vanilla Options”, may seem obscure and difficult for the layman to wrap their head around without prior knowledge of the terminology, the system, how it works, etc.
Thankfully, there are numerous trading tutorials on YouTube which explain in detail how to navigate Binance’s platform. The site also offers services for all investor levels, so being a crypto expert isn’t requisite.
Which cryptocurrencies are supported on Binance?
Binance offers the following cryptocurrencies for purchase and trade*:
To sign up with Binance, you must follow these 5 steps:
Register. Sign up using the “Register” icon at the top right hand corner of the Binance homepage. You can do this by using a phone number, email address, or an Apple ID.
Create a password. Once you have registered, you will be asked to create a password. Follow the platform’s guidelines and ensure that this password is something that is not easily guessable.
Solve a puzzle. You will be required to solve a puzzle to prove that you are, in fact, a human.
Email verification. You’ll receive a 6-digit code to your email address that you must use to verify your account.
2FA and KYC verification. For security reasons, you will be required to provide either a second layer of verification (2-factor verification of 2FA), via either your phone number or Google account. You will then need to do KYC (Know Your Customer) identity verification. This will usually require ID, verification, face verification, and documents such as utility bills or proof of address.
A comprehensive overview of one of the world’s most popular cryptocurrency exchanges.
Coinbase Global Inc, launched in June 2012, is a secure cryptocurrency brokerage that can be used for purchasing, selling, trading, transferring, and storing cryptocurrency. It is one of the leading cryptocurrency exchanges currently available.
While it is an American company, Coinbase has a diverse fully remote workforce and is available in over 100 countries globally. At the time of writing this article, Coinbase has almost 90 million verified users across 11,000 institutions, as well as 185,000 ecosystem partners around the world. It also supports both fiat and cryptocurrencies. In fact, it supports the largest number of fiat currencies compared to any other exchange.
Coinbase is a beginner-friendly environment, because it makes purchasing digital currency as straightforward as buying stocks and shares online, while also offering educational tools to people who are new to crypto trading. Find out if Coinbase is the right cryptocurrency brokerage for you below.
Pros and cons of Coinbase
Beginner and user-friendly. Coinbase is an intuitive, easy-to-use platform that’s accessible to cryptocurrency beginners.
Large number of cryptocurrencies. Over 90 cryptocurrencies are currently supported on this platform.
High level security. Coinbase is considered to be one of the most secure cryptocurrency exchange platforms available. It uses two-step verification, biometric fingerprint logins, and more.
Insured. Unlike some cryptocurrency exchange platforms, Coinbase has crime insurance that protects crypto owners against theft losses, up to a certain limit.
Earn crypto while you learn. You can earn cryptocurrency rewards on Coinbase just from watching short informative videos and completing quizzes.
Cost-effective options available. You can access lower fees if you sign-up with Coinbase Pro.
Altcoin access. Coinbase previously had limited altcoin trading access, but now features over 40 altcoins that are available for purchase and trade.
High fees. Coinbase typically has higher fees than other similar exchange platforms.
Customer service issues. Coinbase has found itself the subject of criticism on multiple occasions. One of note was when it was hacked in 2021, numerous customers complained about the difficulty they faced in reaching a representative.
Availability varies. Coinbase’s crypto offerings vary depending on where you are in the world.
How much does Coinbase cost?
Coinbase isn’t particularly transparent in regards to its pricing. However, if you use the service, fees will be outlined in the trade preview screen before you submit your transaction.
How much you are charged in fees will depend on whether you are using Coinbase or Coinbase Pro. Factors that may also affect the cost of your transaction include:
Your payment method
The size of the order
Current market conditions, such as volatility and liquidity
Coinbase Pro features lower fees than the standard Coinbase platform, as well as more varied trading options. It also does not charge anything extra in sign-up costs. However, the interface is less user-friendly and is not suitable for crypto newbies.
Which cryptocurrencies are supported on Coinbase?
Coinbase offers the following cryptocurrencies for purchase and trade*:
Understanding the token art form that’s got everyone talking.
If you opened any social media app during pretty much the whole of 2021, you’ll likely have heard of NFTs. You may associate them with the blockchain, penguin communities, or even clip art – but what exactly does that all mean? In this article we will give you the full lowdown of what NFTs are, where to buy them, whether or not they’re a worthwhile investment, and what the future holds for the world of NFTs.
Find out everything you need to know below.
What are NFTs?
NFT stands for “non-fungible token”. This means that it is a non-interchangeable unit of data (or, in some cases, a physical object). To clarify that a little further: if something is fungible, it means that it can be replaced with something else that’s the same. For example, each individual bitcoin is fungible, because it is exactly the same as the next, and has the same value. In comparison, a non-fungible token is entirely unique. NFTs therefore, being one-of-a-kind, are popular tradable and collectible items.
While NFTs are generally associated with images, short videos, and GIFs, they can technically be anything. This could include Tweets, music, whiskey casks, etc.
How does an NFT work?
When an owner of an asset (either digital or physical) wants to sell/exchange it as an NFT, they must first have it ‘minted’ on the blockchain. This process generates a unique token for the asset and cements it as a one-of-a-kind piece, ready for auctioning on a marketplace. This is called a ‘smart contract’. These smart contracts are registered and recorded via the blockchain, which acts as an online ledger that keeps a record of all tokens and transactions.
NFTs originated from the Ethereum blockchain, on which the cryptocurrency ether (ETH) is held and distributed from. They are however different from ETH, ERC-20 tokens and other forms of cryptocurrency. They were launched three months after the launch of Ethereum, in October 2015 at DEVCON 1 in London, Ethereum’s first developer conference. However, it is not requisite of NFTs that they are part of Ethereum. Other blockchains, such as Cardano and TRON, have also recently started to introduce NFTs.
An NFT works in a similar way to an original painting. They are created by an artist and sold at a marketplace, usually at auction. You can copy and reproduce NFTs, but only a single person at any one time can own the original. They can be traded for other NFTs, cryptocurrency, or sold for cold hard cash. When you purchase an NFT you are often provided with a digital certificate (though there are other means of verifying NFT ownership) that authenticates you as the legal owner of that particular piece of data.
While it’s impossible to estimate the value potential of any NFT, they have been known, in the case of a digital artist known as Beeple, to sell for as much as $69 million USD. According to the auction house Christie’s, this ranks him as “among the top three most valuable living artists”.
Beeple’s collage, Everydays: The First 5000 Days, sold at Christie’s for $69 million
Are NFTs worth investing in?
This is a complicated question, as there is no way of knowing the intrinsic value of any NFT. Like any other piece of art, it’s only as valuable as the buyer deems it to be, making it a risky investment.
Unlike copies of physical art pieces, such as an original Van Gogh or a Picasso, the replicas made from downloading NFTs are identical to the original. On paper (or more accurately, digitally), this makes actually owning an NFT little more than a financial flex, because what you own can be reproduced a billion times over – at no financial benefit to you, the owner.
On the other hand, isn’t that quite similar to owning many things that are considered capitalistically “of value”? For many people, an NFT is an emotional investment as well as a financial one. You don’t necessarily buy things because of their payback potential, but because they bring you joy. You don’t buy a Versace dress you actually hate because it might be worth more than its current value in 20 years, you buy it because you love it, and you want to wear it and look fabulous. The potential accumulation of value is simply a bonus.
There is also much more to NFTs than just pieces of digital art. As mentioned earlier, NFTs can be anything that’s technically impossible to reproduce.
The future of NFTs
There has been a great deal of speculation as to what the future holds for the world of NFTs. In 2021, NFTs went from strength to strength, with celebrities from Grimes to Snoop Dogg, Linsey Lohan and even Paris Hilton jumping enthusiastically on the NFT bandwagon. In total, the sales volume of NFTs in 2021 was $24.9 billion USD. But has the initial hype fizzled out? Are NFTs really here to stay?
The overarching expert opinion is yes – but not necessarily as we know them now. As we progress further into the metaverse and Web3, NFTs are set to become more of a staple in our daily lives. For example, they are set to revolutionise the way we certify accolades, with the future of students potentially set to receive their degrees as NFTs. This will make it easier for people to prove ownership of their qualifications and will alter the face of the employment industry as we know it.
It is also already revolutionising the way we ticket events. For example, popular NFT art distributor Clay Nation currently holds open bar festival events and community meet-ups around the world for NFT ticket-holders. Because NFTs cannot be forged or faked, this kind of ticketing process enhances the exclusivity of such events.
Clay Nation offers unique NFT characters with handcrafted clay traits
Founder of Clay Nation, Lenna Onto says that “NFTs are and will be much more than digital art in terms of utility and use cases. There are endless possibilities.”
The company are also building a full scale digital environment in which holders will be able to attend immersive events and be part of a digital festival – as well as being able access physical events, just by holding the applicable NFT.
The creation, minting and trading of NFTs has made millionaires of many people across the globe in various forms; from artists and curators to agency owners and traders. This blockchain-based market has revolutionised the way we think about art consumption and engagement.
Investing in NFTs is undeniably risky, but if you do your research and compare your marketplace options, you may potentially find yourself in a lucrative trading position, (or the sole owner of your much-loved piece of art!). That being said, you should always be prepared to lose anything you spend on an NFT, as there are no guarantees.