Month: May 2018

Understanding Virtual Currencies & Blockchain

VIRTUAL CURRENCIES VS. BLOCKCHAIN

Virtual Currencies are digital mediums of exchange such as Bitcoin operating in largely unregulated environments with minimal regulatory oversight. It is critically important to distinguish Virtual Currencies as a controversial, potential medium of exchange for transactions vs. the underlying blockchain technology.  Blockchain is a technology platform that provides a distributed ledger to track and bundle transactions.

VIRTUAL CURRENCIES & COIN OFFERINGS

In the US and most developed nations, Virtual Currencies are regulated as commodities and are not viewed as currencies/securities.  As a result, Virtual Currencies and Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) are not subject to many of the substantive securities regulations protecting investors dating back to the Securities Act of 1933.

The lack of regulation has opened the door to fraudulent actors pretending to offer opportunities in ICO’s and Virtual Currencies.  There are also perfectly legitimate companies in this space that are adversely impacted by these fraudulent actors.

For now, our view is that until ICO’s and Virtual Currencies are properly regulated, we strongly urge our clients and all investors to be vigilant when considering investing in this space.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) launched Howeycoins, an educational tool to alert investors regarding investments in Virtual Currencies and coin offerings:

https://www.howeycoins.com/index.html

Howeycoins looks enticing and one may even consider investing with them.  However, when you get that far, you are directed to the following SEC web-page:

https://www.investor.gov/howeycoins

To read the full list of investment red flags, please visit the SEC website https://investor.gov.

BLOCKCHAIN

On the other hand, Blockchain, the technology behind Virtual Currencies, is in our opinion the technology of the future.  The technology is capable of revolutionizing global trade, data security, supply chain management, and financial instrument clearing.  Blockchain is being embraced by industry leading corporations in 3 profound ways, in addition to allowing Virtual Currencies as payment:

Mining Enablers: Companies that either create equipment and/or tools to enable creation of new blockchains or are mining blockchains as their main business.

 

Solutions Providers: Companies engaged in blockchain as service providers. They assist businesses & organizations in the creation and implementation of blockchain applications.

 

Adopters: Companies that primarily use Blockchain technology to increase operational efficiencies, optimize settlement processes, enhance the customer experience and/or increase data security/integrity.

The Innovation Labs Blockchain Innovators Index targets companies that may benefit from blockchain technology, many of them being blue-chip companies across a wide range of sectors.  Below are the top 10 holdings currently [1]:

  • Visa (V)
  • Microsoft (MSFT)
  • Amazon (AMZN)
  • Intel Corp (INTC)
  • Tencent Holdings Ltd (700 HK)
  • Taiwan Semiconductor (TSM)
  • Mastercard (MA)
  • Oracle (ORCL)
  • BP (BP / LN)
  • Cisco Systems

CONCLUSION

We prefer investing in established companies that will benefit from incorporating Blockchain technology, instead of higher risk and poorly regulated initial coin offerings or Virtual Currencies.

SOURCE DATA:

[1] Innovation Shares – https://www.innovationshares.com/

Touchstone Advisory, LLC is a Registered Investment Adviser with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (CRD# 288370 / SEC# 801-110510).  Information presented is for educational purposes only and does not intend to make an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any specific securities, investments, or investment strategies.  Investments involve risk and, unless otherwise stated, are not guaranteed.  Be sure to first consult with a qualified financial adviser and/or tax professional before implementing any strategy discussed herein. Past performance is not indicative of future performance.

Investment advisory services in the United States provided through Touchstone Advisory, LLC as a fully separate service from the non-US services provided through Touchstone Advisory, Ltd (https://touchstone-global.com). Touchstone Advisory, LLC and Touchstone Advisory Ltd are affiliated but operate as separate entities. 

Monthly Newsletter – May 2018

Our May newsletter covers some relevant and timely topics we hope you find value reading.  We begin with our latest UK Retirement Planning Guide.  We also share Lord Abbett’s perspectives on Cryptocurrencies & Blockchain.  Finally, our partners at Pacific Asset Management share their latest monthly commentary:

TOUCHSTONE ADVISORY – UK RETIREMENT PLANNING GUIDE

Many of our clients have retirement assets in the United Kingdom.  With this in mind, we prepared the following UK Retirement Planning Guide.  This guide covers the major aspects of the UK pension landscape, including recent changes to be aware of.

To read the full guide, please click the link below:

TOUCHSTONE ADVISORY – UK RETIREMENT PLANNING GUIDE

Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain: A Promising, and Potentially Scary, Future

Digital currencies such as Bitcoin—and the blockchain technology that powers them—have received much attention in recent months. But the headline-grabbing volatility of cryptocurrency-linked investments is only part of the story. We believe it’s important to take a longer view, focusing on the possible impact of these technologies on the global economy and financial markets in the years to come, as well as their potential to change the world in other surprising ways.  Lord Abbett experts examine important facets of the emergence of cryptocurrencies and blockchain—and their implications for investors.

To read the full article, please click the link below:

Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain: A Promising, and Potentially Scary, Future

PACIFIC MAY MONTHLY COMMENTARY

Our partners at Pacific Asset Management share their latest Market Commentary.  Please click the link below to read May’s monthly commentary:

PACIFIC ASSET MANAGEMENT – MAY COMMENTARY

Monthly Newsletter – April 2018

With stock market volatility on the rise, our April newsletter covers some relevant and timely topics we hope you find value reading.  We begin with Touchstone’s Founder & US Partner Benjamin Alderson’s article on Understanding Investment Risk.  We also share Lord Abbett’s perspectives on Market Volatility.  Finally, our partners at Pacific Asset Management share their latest monthly commentary:

BENJAMIN ALDERSON – UNDERSTANDING INVESTMENT RISK

If you want to plan for your financial future, it helps to understand risk. If you understand the risks associated with investing and you know how much risk you are comfortable taking, you can make informed decisions and improve your chances of achieving your goals.

To read the full article, please click the link below:

BENJAMIN ALDERSON – UNDERSTANDING INVESTMENT RISK

MARKET VOLATILITY: FOUR IMPORTANT PERSPECTIVES

Investors should focus on these critical facts about the current market, and how U.S. equity markets have responded to prior episodes of volatility.

To read the full article, please click the link below:

LORD ABBETT – MARKET VOLATILITY: FOUR IMPORTANT PERSPECTIVES

PACIFIC APRIL MONTHLY COMMENTARY

Our partners at Pacific Asset Management share their latest Market Commentary.  Please click the link below to read April’s monthly commentary:

PACIFIC ASSET MANAGEMENT – APRIL COMMENTARY

Monthly Newsletter – March, 2018

Monthly Newsletter – March 2018

Our March newsletter begins with Lord Abbett’s MarketView.  Lord Abbett is well-regarded for their work in the fixed income space and we share their latest insights.  We also share Schwab’s latest Market Insights. Finally, an update from our partners at Pacific Asset Management.

MARKET VIEW – BANK LOANS: STABILITY IN THE FACE OF VOLATILITY

Below is Lord Abbett’s latest Market View that introduces investing in Bank Loans and the potential benefits during periods of market volatility such as February.

Lord Abbett’s Market View

Schwab Market Perspective: Volatility…it’s Back!

Below is the latest Market Perspective from Schwab’s Investment Strategy Team:

Schwab Market Perspective: Volatility…it’s Back!

Pacific March Monthly Commentary

Our partners at Pacific Asset Management share their latest Market Commentary:

Touchstone – Pacificam – Monthly Commentary – March 2018