Investorideas.com - What is Crypto Margin Trading & How
12 Must-read tips for crypto margin trading
The Basics of Margin Trading With Cryptocurrency
Crypto Margin Trading Made Simple - A Step by Step Guide
Crypto exchange with margin trading: How does it work?
Whether you are a trader or an exchange owner, you can certainly make profits from crypto margin trading. If you are planning to build a crypto exchange with margin trading, read on the blog for an in-depth understanding of margin trading to make well-informed decisions during your development journey.
You may have heard about off-shore tax havens of questionable legality where wealthy people invest their money in legal "grey zones" and don't pay any tax, as featured for example, in Netflix's drama, The Laundromat. The reality is that the Government of Canada offers 100% tax-free investing throughout your life, with unlimited withdrawals of your contributions and profits, and no limits on how much you can make tax-free. There is also nothing to report to the Canada Revenue Agency. Although Britain has a comparable program, Canada is the only country in the world that offers tax-free investing with this level of power and flexibility. Thank you fellow Redditors for the wonderful Gold Award and Today I Learned Award! (Unrelated but Important Note: I put a link at the bottom for my margin account explainer. Many people are interested in margin trading but don't understand the math behind margin accounts and cannot find an explanation. If you want to do margin, but don't know how, click on the link.) As a Gen-Xer, I wrote this post with Millennials in mind, many of whom are getting interested in investing in ETFs, individual stocks, and also my personal favourite, options. Your generation is uniquely positioned to take advantage of this extremely powerful program at a relatively young age. But whether you're in your 20's or your 90's, read on! Are TFSAs important? In 2020 Canadians have almost 1 trillion dollars saved up in their TFSAs, so if that doesn't prove that pennies add up to dollars, I don't know what does. The TFSA truly is the Great Canadian Tax Shelter. I will periodically be checking this and adding issues as they arise, to this post. I really appreciate that people are finding this useful. As this post is now fairly complete from a basic mechanics point of view, and some questions are already answered in this post, please be advised that at this stage I cannot respond to questions that are already covered here. If I do not respond to your post, check this post as I may have added the answer to the FAQs at the bottom.
How to Invest in Stocks
A lot of people get really excited - for good reason - when they discover that the TFSA allows you to invest in stocks, tax free. I get questions about which stocks to buy. I have made some comments about that throughout this post, however; I can't comprehensively answer that question. Having said that, though, if you're interested in picking your own stocks and want to learn how, I recommmend starting with the following videos: The first is by Peter Lynch, a famous American investor in the 80's who wrote some well-respected books for the general public, like "One Up on Wall Street." The advice he gives is always valid, always works, and that never changes, even with 2020's technology, companies and AI: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRMpgaBv-U4&t=2256s The second is a recording of a university lecture given by investment legend Warren Buffett, who expounds on the same principles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MHIcabnjrA Please note that I have no connection to whomever posted the videos.
TFSAs were introduced in 2009 by Stephen Harper's government, to encourage Canadians to save. The effect of the TFSA is that ordinary Canadians don't pay any income or capital gains tax on their securities investments. Initial uptake was slow as the contribution rules take some getting used to, but over time the program became a smash hit with Canadians. There are about 20 million Canadians with TFSAs, so the uptake is about 70%- 80% (as you have to be the age of majority in your province/territory to open a TFSA).
Eligibility to Open a TFSA
You must be a Canadian resident with a valid Social Insurance Number to open a TFSA. You must be at the voting age in the province in which you reside in order to open a TFSA, however contribution room begins to accumulate from the year in which you turned 18. You do not have to file a tax return to open a TFSA. You do not need to be a Canadian citizen to open and contribute to a TFSA. No minimum balance is required to open a TFSA.
Where you Can Open a TFSA
There are hundreds of financial institutions in Canada that offer the TFSA. There is only one kind of TFSA; however, different institutions offer a different range of financial products. Here are some examples:
The Canadian big 5 bank branches and most other financial institutions offer a TFSA that allows you to buy mutual funds, hold cash, GICs, term deposits, and possibly ETFs. This is a good choice if you want guaranteed returns or diversified investing.
There are a number of on-line banks such as Tangerine, Simplii Financial, Oaken Financial, and many more that offer the TFSA.
The discount DIY brokerage arms of the big 5 banks give you more choices, including stocks, warrants, bonds and options. There are also standalone brokers like IBKR Canada, Questrade, Qtrade, and Virtual Brokers, among others, that offer this.
Some brokerages and financial advisors also offer TFSAs that give you these investment choices, in different formats such as:
Traditional brokerage, where a stockbroker invests your money (BMO Nesbitt Burns, RBC Dominion Securities and others)
Financial advisor who will invest your money according to a plan you put together with the advisor (TSI Network and many others)
"Robo" advisors such as Wealthsimple, RBC InvestEase, BMO SmartFolio, or Wealthbar
BMO's AdviceDirect, which is a semi-directed hybrid between standalone DIY investing and fully-advised investing, where you operate on a DIY basis but have access to a registered investment advisor (a live person) who can give you suggetions and advice.
Your TFSA may be covered by either CIFP or CDIC insuranceor both. Ask your bank or broker for details.
What You Can Trade and Invest In
You can trade the following:
GICS, mutual funds, term deposits
individual common and preferred stocks listed on an "approved exchange" which is the TSX, TSX-V, NASDAQ, NYSE, and about 20 other exchanges worldwide, but not the US OTC pink sheets. Many examples, such as Suncor, Linamar, Apple, any of the big banks, and many thousands of others, when you want to buy into an individual company
stock-like securities like REITS, ETFs and ETNs, including 2x and 3x leveraged
gold and silver certificates
cash of many countries (CAD/USD/EUGBP/AUD/NZD/JPY/CHF and many others)
government bills and bonds of most countries, subsovereigns like Canadian provincial bills and bonds, and most corporations
options that trade on the Montreal Exchange or various options exchanges in the USA and the rest of the word (see FAQ for details)
gold, silver bullion certificates
shares in certain private companies -- but consult your tax advisor on this
What You Cannot Trade
You cannot trade:
commodity futures contracts
option spread positions (see FAQ for details)
anything that requires a margin account, meaning, a special kind of account that allows you to borrow money directly from the broker against the assets you have in your account and the assets you intend to buy.
crypto (although there exist crypto ETNs that you can buy)
Again, if it requires a margin account, it's out. You cannot buy on margin in a TFSA. Nothing stopping you from borrowing money from other sources as long as you stay within your contribution limits, but you can't trade on margin in a TFSA. You can of course trade long puts and calls which give you leverage.
Rules for Contribution Room
Starting at 18 you get a certain amount of contribution room. According to the CRA: You will accumulate TFSA contribution room for each year even if you do not file an Income Tax and Benefit Return or open a TFSA. The annual TFSA dollar limit for the years 2009 to2012 was $5,000. The annual TFSA dollar limit for the years 2013 and 2014 was $5,500. The annual TFSA dollar limit for the year 2015 was $10,000. The annual TFSA dollar limit for the years 2016 to 2018 was $5,500. The annual TFSA dollar limit for the year 2019 is $6,000. The TFSA annual room limit will be indexed to inflation and rounded to the nearest $500. Investment income earned by, and changes in the value of TFSA investments will not affect your TFSA contribution room for the current or future years. https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/topics/tax-free-savings-account/contributions.html If you don't use the room, it accumulates indefinitely. Trades you make in a TFSA are truly tax free. But you cannot claim the dividend tax credit and you cannot claim losses in a TFSA against capital gains whether inside or outside of the TFSA. So do make money and don't lose money in a TFSA. You are stuck with the 15% withholding tax on U.S. dividend distributions unlike the RRSP, due to U.S. tax rules, but you do not pay any capital gains on sale of U.S. shares. You can withdraw *both* contributions *and* capital gains, no matter how much, at any time, without penalty. The amount of the withdrawal (contributions+gains) converts into contribution room in the *next* calendar year. So if you put the withdrawn funds back in the same calendar year you take them out, that burns up your total accumulated contribution room to the extent of the amount that you re-contribute in the same calendar year.
E.g. Say you turned 18 in 2016 in Alberta where the age of majority is 18. It is now sometime in 2020. You have never contributed to a TFSA. You now have $5,500+$5,500+$5,500+$6,000+$6,000 = $28,500 of room in 2020. In 2020 you manage to put $20,000 in to your TFSA and you buy Canadian Megacorp common shares. You now have $8,500 of room remaining in 2020. Sometime in 2021 - it doesn't matter when in 2021 - your shares go to $100K due to the success of the Canadian Megacorp. You also have $6,000 worth of room for 2021 as set by the government. You therefore have $8,500 carried over from 2020+$6,000 = $14,500 of room in 2021. In 2021 you sell the shares and pull out the $100K. This amount is tax-free and does not even have to be reported. You can do whatever you want with it. But: if you put it back in 2021 you will over-contribute by $100,000 - $14,500 = $85,500 and incur a penalty. But if you wait until 2022 you will have $14,500 unused contribution room carried forward from 2021, another $6,000 for 2022, and $100,000 carried forward from the withdrawal 2021, so in 2022 you will have $14,500+$6,000+$100,000 = $120,500 of contribution room. This means that if you choose, you can put the $100,000 back in in 2022 tax-free and still have $20,500 left over. If you do not put the money back in 2021, then in 2022 you will have $120,500+$6,000 = $126,500 of contribution room. There is no age limit on how old you can be to contribute, no limit on how much money you can make in the TFSA, and if you do not use the room it keeps carrying forward forever. Just remember the following formula: This year's contribution room = (A) unused contribution room carried forward from last year + (B) contribution room provided by the government for this year + (C) total withdrawals from last year. EXAMPLE 1: Say in 2020 you never contributed to a TFSA but you were 18 in 2009. You have $69,500 of unused room (see above) in 2020 which accumulated from 2009-2020. In 2020 you contribute $50,000, leaving $19,500 contribution room unused for 2020. You buy $50,000 worth of stock. The next day, also in 2020, the stock doubles and it's worth $100,000. Also in 2020 you sell the stock and withdraw $100,000, tax-free. You continue to trade stocks within your TFSA, and hopefully grow your TFSA in 2020, but you make no further contributions or withdrawals in 2020. The question is, How much room will you have in 2021? Answer: In the year 2021, the following applies: (A) Unused contribution room carried forward from last year, 2020: $19,500 (B) Contribution room provided by government for this year, 2021: $6,000 (C) Total withdrawals from last year, 2020: $100,000 Total contribution room for 2021 = $19,500+6,000+100,000 = $125,500. EXAMPLE 2: Say between 2020 and 2021 you decided to buy a tax-free car (well you're still stuck with the GST/PST/HST/QST but you get the picture) so you went to the dealer and spent $25,000 of the $100,000 you withdrew in 2020. You now have a car and $75,000 still burning a hole in your pocket. Say in early 2021 you re-contribute the $75,000 you still have left over, to your TFSA. However, in mid-2021 you suddenly need $75,000 because of an emergency so you pull the $75,000 back out. But then a few weeks later, it turns out that for whatever reason you don't need it after all so you decide to put the $75,000 back into the TFSA, also in 2021. You continue to trade inside your TFSA but make no further withdrawals or contributions. How much room will you have in 2022? Answer: In the year 2022, the following applies: (A) Unused contribution room carried forward from last year, 2021: $125,500 - $75,000 - $75,000 = -$24,500. Already you have a problem. You have over-contributed in 2021. You will be assessed a penalty on the over-contribution! (penalty = 1% a month). But if you waited until 2022 to re-contribute the $75,000 you pulled out for the emergency..... In the year 2022, the following would apply: (A) Unused contribution room carried forward from last year, 2021: $125,500 -$75,000 =$50,500. (B) Contribution room provided by government for this year, 2022: $6,000 (C) Total withdrawals from last year, 2020: $75,000 Total contribution room for 2022 = $50,500 + $6,000 + $75,000 = $131,500. ...And...re-contributing that $75,000 that was left over from your 2021 emergency that didn't materialize, you still have $131,500-$75,000 = $56,500 of contribution room left in 2022. For a more comprehensive discussion, please see the CRA info link below.
FAQs That Have Arisen in the Discussion and Other Potential Questions:
Equity and ETF/ETN Options in a TFSA: can I get leverage? Yes. You can buy puts and calls in your TFSA and you only need to have the cash to pay the premium and broker commissions. Example: if XYZ is trading at $70, and you want to buy the $90 call with 6 months to expiration, and the call is trading at $2.50, you only need to have $250 in your account, per option contract, and if you are dealing with BMO IL for example you need $9.95 + $1.25/contract which is what they charge in commission. Of course, any profits on closing your position are tax-free. You only need the full value of the strike in your account if you want to exercise your option instead of selling it. Please note: this is not meant to be an options tutorial; see the Montreal Exchange's Equity Options Reference Manual if you have questions on how options work.
Equity and ETF/ETN Options in a TFSA: what is ok and not ok? Long puts and calls are allowed. Covered calls are allowed, but cash-secured puts are not allowed. All other option trades are also not allowed. Basically the rule is, if the trade is not a covered call and it either requires being short an option or short the stock, you can't do it in a TFSA.
Live in a province where the voting age is 19 so I can't open a TFSA until I'm 19, when does my contribution room begin? Your contribution room begins to accumulate at 18, so if you live in province where the age of majority is 19, you'll get the room carried forward from the year you turned 18.
If I turn 18 on December 31, do I get the contribution room just for that day or for the whole year? The whole year.
Do commissions paid on share transactions count as withdrawals? Unfortunately, no. If you contribute $2,000 cash and you buy $1,975 worth of stock and pay $25 in commission, the $25 does not count as a withdrawal. It is the same as if you lost money in the TFSA.
How much room do I have? If your broker records are complete, you can do a spreadsheet. The other thing you can do is call the CRA and they will tell you.
TFSATFSA direct transfer from one institution to another: this has no impact on your contributions or withdrawals as it counts as neither.
More than 1 TFSA: you can have as many as you want but your total contribution room does not increase or decrease depending on how many accounts you have.
Withdrawals that convert into contribution room in the next year. Do they carry forward indefinitely if not used in the next year? Answer :yes.
Do I have to declare my profits, withdrawals and contributions? No. Your bank or broker interfaces directly with the CRA on this. There are no declarations to make.
Risky investments - smart? In a TFSA you want always to make money, because you pay no tax, and you want never to lose money, because you cannot claim the loss against your income from your job. If in year X you have $5,000 of contribution room and put it into a TFSA and buy Canadian Speculative Corp. and due to the failure of the Canadian Speculative Corp. it goes to zero, two things happen. One, you burn up that contribution room and you have to wait until next year for the government to give you more room. Two, you can't claim the $5,000 loss against your employment income or investment income or capital gains like you could in a non-registered account. So remember Buffett's rule #1: Do not lose money. Rule #2 being don't forget the first rule. TFSA's are absolutely tailor-made for Graham-Buffett value investing or for diversified ETF or mutual fund investing, but you don't want to buy a lot of small specs because you don't get the tax loss.
Moving to/from Canada/residency. You must be a resident of Canada and 18 years old with a valid SIN to open a TFSA. Consult your tax advisor on whether your circumstances make you a resident for tax purposes. Since 2009, your TFSA contribution room accumulates every year, if at any time in the calendar year you are 18 years of age or older and a resident of Canada. Note: If you move to another country, you can STILL trade your TFSA online from your other country and keep making money within the account tax-free. You can withdraw money and Canada will not tax you. But you have to get tax advice in your country as to what they do. There restrictions on contributions for non-residents. See "non residents of Canada:" https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/cra-arc/formspubs/pub/rc4466/rc4466-19e.pdf
The U.S. withholding tax. Dividends paid by U.S.-domiciled companies are subject to a 15% U.S. withholding tax. Your broker does this automatically at the time of the dividend payment. So if your stock pays a $100 USD dividend, you only get $85 USD in your broker account and in your statement the broker will have a note saying 15% U.S. withholding tax. I do not know under what circumstances if any it is possible to get the withheld amount. Normally it is not, but consult a tax professional.
The U.S. withholding tax does not apply to capital gains. So if you buy $5,000 USD worth of Apple and sell it for $7,000 USD, you get the full $2,000 USD gain automatically.
Tax-Free Leverage. Leverage in the TFSA is effectively equal to your tax rate * the capital gains inclusion rate because you're not paying tax. So if you're paying 25% on average in income tax, and the capital gains contribution rate is 50%, the TFSA is like having 12.5%, no margin call leverage costing you 0% and that also doesn't magnify your losses.
Margin accounts. These accounts allow you to borrow money from your broker to buy stocks. TFSAs are not margin accounts. Nothing stopping you from borrowing from other sources (such as borrowing cash against your stocks in an actual margin account, or borrowing cash against your house in a HELOC or borrowing cash against your promise to pay it back as in a personal LOC) to fund a TFSA if that is your decision, bearing in mind the risks, but a TFSA is not a margin account. Consider options if you want leverage that you can use in a TFSA, without borrowing money.
Dividend Tax Credit on Canadian Companies. Remember, dividends paid into the TFSA are not eligible to be claimed for the credit, on the rationale that you already got a tax break.
FX risk. The CRA allows you to contribute and withdraw foreign currency from the TFSA but the contribution/withdrawal accounting is done in CAD. So if you contribute $10,000 USD into your TFSA and withdraw $15,000 USD, and the CAD is trading at 70 cents USD when you contribute and $80 cents USD when you withdraw, the CRA will treat it as if you contributed $14,285.71 CAD and withdrew $18,75.00 CAD.
OTC (over-the-counter stocks). You can only buy stocks if they are listed on an approved exchange ("approved exchange" = TSX, TSX-V, NYSE, NASDAQ and about 25 or so others). The U.S. pink sheets "over-the-counter" market is an example of a place where you can buy stocks, that is not an approved exchange, therefore you can't buy these penny stocks. I have however read that the CRA make an exception for a stock traded over the counter if it has a dual listing on an approved exchange. You should check that with a tax lawyer or accountant though.
The RRSP. This is another great tax shelter. Tax shelters in Canada are either deferrals or in a few cases - such as the TFSA - outright tax breaks, The RRSP is an example of a deferral. The RRSP allows you to deduct your contributions from your income, which the TFSA does not allow. This deduction is a huge advantage if you earn a lot of money. The RRSP has tax consequences for withdrawing money whereas the TFSA does not. Withdrawals from the RRSP are taxable whereas they are obviously not in a TFSA. You probably want to start out with a TFSA and maintain and grow that all your life. It is a good idea to start contributing to an RRSP when you start working because you get the tax deduction, and then you can use the amount of the deduction to contribute to your TFSA. There are certain rules that claw back your annual contribution room into an RRSP if you contribute to a pension. See your tax advisor.
Pensions. If I contribute to a pension does that claw back my TFSA contribution room or otherwise affect my TFSA in any way? Answer: No.
The $10K contribution limit for 2015. This was PM Harper's pledge. In 2015 the Conservative government changed the rules to make the annual government allowance $10,000 per year forever. Note: withdrawals still converted into contribution room in the following year - that did not change. When the Liberals came into power they switched the program back for 2016 to the original Harper rules and have kept the original Harper rules since then. That is why there is the $10,000 anomaly of 2015. The original Harper rules (which, again, are in effect now) called for $500 increments to the annual government allowance as and when required to keep up with inflation, based on the BofC's Consumer Price Index (CPI). Under the new Harper rules, it would have been $10,000 flat forever. Which you prefer depends on your politics but the TFSA program is massively popular with Canadians. Assuming 1.6% annual CPI inflation then the annual contribution room will hit $10,000 in 2052 under the present rules. Note: the Bank of Canada does an excellent and informative job of explaining inflation and the CPI at their website.
Losses in a TFSA - you cannot claim a loss in a TFSA against income. So in a TFSA you always want to make money and never want to lose money. A few ppl here have asked if you are losing money on your position in a TFSA can you transfer it in-kind to a cash account and claim the loss. I would expect no as I cannot see how in view of the fact that TFSA losses can't be claimed, that the adjusted cost base would somehow be the cost paid in the TFSA. But I'm not a tax lawyeaccountant. You should consult a tax professional.
Transfers in-kind to the TFSA and the the superficial loss rule. You can transfer securities (shares etc.) "in-kind," meaning, directly, from an unregistered account to the TFSA. If you do that, the CRA considers that you "disposed" of, meaning, equivalent to having sold, the shares in the unregistered account and then re-purchased them at the same price in the TFSA. The CRA considers that you did this even though the broker transfers the shares directly in the the TFSA. The superficial loss rule, which means that you cannot claim a loss for a security re-purchased within 30 days of sale, applies. So if you buy something for $20 in your unregistered account, and it's trading for $25 when you transfer it in-kind into the TFSA, then you have a deemed disposition with a capital gain of $5. But it doesn't work the other way around due to the superficial loss rule. If you buy it for $20 in the unregistered account, and it's trading at $15 when you transfer it in-kind into the TFSA, the superficial loss rule prevents you from claiming the loss because it is treated as having been sold in the unregistered account and immediately bought back in the TFSA.
Day trading/swing trading. It is possible for the CRA to try to tax your TFSA on the basis of "advantage." The one reported decision I'm aware of (emphasis on I'm aware of) is from B.C. where a woman was doing "swap transactions" in her TFSA which were not explicitly disallowed but the court rules that they were an "advantage" in certain years and liable to taxation. Swaps were subsequently banned. I'm not sure what a swap is exactly but it's not that someone who is simply making contributions according to the above rules would run afoul of. The CRA from what I understand doesn't care how much money you make in the TFSA, they care how you made it. So if you're logged on to your broker 40 hours a week and trading all day every day they might take the position that you found a way to work a job 40 hours a week and not pay any tax on the money you make, which they would argue is an "advantage," although there are arguments against that. This is not legal advice, just information.
The U.S. Roth IRA. This is a U.S. retirement savings tax shelter that is superficially similar to the TFSA but it has a number of limitations, including lack of cumulative contribution room, no ability for withdrawals to convert into contribution room in the following year, complex rules on who is eligible to contribute, limits on how much you can invest based on your income, income cutoffs on whether you can even use the Roth IRA at all, age limits that govern when and to what extent you can use it, and strict restrictions on reasons to withdraw funds prior to retirement (withdrawals prior to retirement can only be used to pay for private medical insurance, unpaid medical bills, adoption/childbirth expenses, certain educational expenses). The TFSA is totally unlike the Roth IRA in that it has none of these restrictions, therefore, the Roth IRA is not in any reasonable sense a valid comparison. The TFSA was modeled after the U.K. Investment Savings Account, which is the only comparable program to the TFSA.
The UK Investment Savings Account. This is what the TFSA was based off of. Main difference is that the UK uses a 20,000 pound annual contribution allowance, use-it-or-lose-it. There are several different flavours of ISA, and some do have a limited recontribution feature but not to the extent of the TFSA.
Is it smart to overcontribute to buy a really hot stock and just pay the 1% a month overcontribution penalty? If the CRA believes you made the overcontribution deliberately the penalty is 100% of the gains on the overcontribution, meaning, you can keep the overcontribution, or the loss, but the CRA takes the profit.
Speculative stocks-- are they ok? There is no such thing as a "speculative stock." That term is not used by the CRA. Either the stock trades on an approved exchange or it doesn't. So if a really blue chip stock, the most stable company in the world, trades on an exchange that is not approved, you can't buy it in a TFSA. If a really speculative gold mining stock in Busang, Indonesia that has gone through the roof due to reports of enormous amounts of gold, but their geologist somehow just mysteriously fell out of a helicopter into the jungle and maybe there's no gold there at all, but it trades on an approved exchange, it is fine to buy it in a TFSA. Of course the risk of whether it turns out to be a good investment or not, is on you.
Remember, you're working for your money anyway, so if you can get free money from the government -- you should take it! Follow the rules because Canadians have ended up with a tax bill for not understanding the TFSA rules. Appreciate the feedback everyone. Glad this basic post has been useful for many. The CRA does a good job of explaining TFSAs in detail at https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/cra-arc/formspubs/pub/rc4466/rc4466-19e.pdf
Unrelated but of Interest: The Margin Account
Note: if you are interested in how margin accounts work, I refer you to my post on margin accounts, where I use a straightforward explanation of the math behind margin accounts to try and give readers the confidence that they understand this powerful leveraging tool.
Investment Thesis: Why investing in POW.TO (Power Corporation of Canada) now is an investment in a future high market cap Wealthsimple IPO
I have seen some posts here wondering about the wisdom of investing in Wealthsimple's parent company, Power Corporation of Canada (POW.TO). I decided to look more into this, decided to post my investment thesis and research on why I, long-term, I have a very bullish view on Wealthsimple (and by extension POW.TO), and why I think this is equal to being an early stage investor in a Wealthsimple IPO.
Ownership: Power Corporation of Canada (POW.TO) (83.2% ownership)
AssetsUnderMangement: $5.4 billion, as of June 30, 2020 (4.9 billion in June 30, 2019)
Wealthsimple Invest (ETF Roboadvisor service), WS was one of the first-movers in this space in Canada and offered robo-advising as part of its initial product in 2015. WS claims to have largest digital investing presence in Canada (70% of the market) (reference).
Wealthsimple Cash, a savings account service
Wealthsimple Trade, a commission free trading app where users can buy and sell ~8,000 stocks and ETFs
Wealthsimple Crypto, a commission free cryptocurrency trading app, currently in beta
SimpleTax.ca, a free tax-return service used by ~1 million Canadians per year, acquired in late 2019
WS has had many successful rounds of funding and a vote of confidence from both its parent POW.TO and other multinationals investing in fintech.
Last year WS received a $100 million dollar investment led by Allianz X, the start up investor arm of German financial services giant Allianz
WS has had 7 total investing rounds, totalling $266.9 million (reference)
WS has been extremely aggressive in targeting growth areas. Wealthsimple’s CEO Mike Katchen has said he wants to position the company as a “full-stack” financial services company. Here are some of their current expansion areas:
UK and USA Expansion - in 2017, they started offering similar investing services in the UK and the US (reference and reference).
Socially Responsible ETFs - WS recently partnered with Mackenzie Investment to offer socially responsible ETFs with a social and environmental focus. Although probably not something that older investors care about, this is particularly important for younger investors who want to make sure their investments are socially responsible
Cryptocurrency - WS is currently testing a beta service of their cryptocurrency app, and offering fee-free cryptocurrency trading, similar to Wealthsimple Trade. Whatever your views of cryptocurrency (I'm of the view that I can in some cases be part of a portfolio to hedge against risk), it's here to stay. Earlier this month, WS was the first company in Canada to register with the Ontario Securities Exchange Commission (reference). My sense is that crypto will face increasing regulations and scrutiny in the coming years, which will be a good thing for WS which is a step ahead of the game (reference). Even Google is starting to look into relaxing its restraints on crypto (reference).
Other full-stack services - WS has been mum on what other services they might offer, but insurance, mortgages, and chequing accounts could be other areas of disruption. (Reference)
WS is run by young guys who have big ambitions and plans for the company. Sometimes there are CEOs with the intangibles that can really drive a company's growth, and from what I can glean, I think the company has a lot of potential here in terms of vision by its leaders. You can read more about the founders here
Michael Katchen, CEO, Background: Led product and marketing at a start up called 1000memories, a Y Combinator startup later acquired by Ancestry.com. Worked for McKinsey & Company.
Brett Huneycutt, COO, Rhodes Scholar... not much else I know about the guy
Quote sfrom CEO: Michael Katchen On being laughed out of the boardroom when he proposed his idea for Wealthsimple:
Within the last month, Wealthsimple has also opened an office in London. Katchen said a push into the European market is “possible” as its “ambitions are global,” but right now the Canadian and U.S. markets are “a lot to chew.” It is a far cry from the company’s early days: Katchen said he was “laughed out of the boardroom” for laying out a global vision for Wealthsimple at a time when they had just $1.9-million in funding and 20 users***.***“It’s a very personal mission of mine since I moved back from California, to inspire more Canadian companies to think big and to think internationally about the businesses that they’re building,” he said. (reference)
On Wealthsimple's growth in the next 10-15 years:
Wealthsimple has more than $5 billion in assets under management and 175,000 customers in Canada, the U.S. and U.K. He sees that reaching $1 trillion 15 years. “We’re just getting started,” he said. “Our plans are to get to millions of clients in the next five years.” (reference)
Brand Value and Design
Out of all the financial services company in Canada, WS probably has the most cohesive and smart design concept across its platforms and products. I see the value in Wealthsimple in not just the assets they have under management, but also the value of the brand itself. I mean, what kind of financial services company makes a blog post about their branding colour scheme and font choices? Also see: Wealthsimple’s advertisement earlier this year capturing 4 million views on Youtube. There also seems to be very strong brand awareness and brand loyalty amongst its users. I think a lot of users find WS refreshing as a financial services company because they cut through the "bullshit" and legalese, and try to simply things for the consumer. They also have their own in house team of designers and creative directors to do branding, design, and advertising, and this kind of vertical integration is generally unheard of in the financial services industry (reference).
Interestingly, the CEO’s ultimate goal is to take the company public. Therefore, I see an investment in POW.TO as being an early stage pre-IPO investor in WS (reference).
The goal is to get Wealthsimple to the size and scale to go public, something that Katchen said he’s “obsessed with.” While admitting that an IPO was still a few years down the road, Katchen already has a target of $20 billion in assets under administration (AUA) as the tipping point (the company recently announced $4.3 billion in AUA as of Q1 2019) (reference)
Ultimately, my sense is that a spun-out Wealthsimple IPO eventually be worth a lot, perhaps even more than POW.TO at some point. Obviously the company is losing money right now, and no where even close to an IPO, and there are still many chances that this company could flop. The best analogy that I can think of is when Yahoo bought an early stake in Alibaba (BABA) back in the early 2000s, and there came a point where their stake in BABA was worth more than Yahoo’s core business. I think an investment in POW.TO now is an early investment in WS before it goes public. (reference)
Expansion problems. In the UK, they reported significant losses and despite increasing users. (reference). The US is also an especially competitive space with lots of similar competitors.
The robo-advising, fintech space is highly competitive now, and the Big Five Banks and other investment/trading companies could easily start offering low-cost or commission free trading
Competitors such as Robinhood could also expand into the Canadian market and take out a huge chunk of WS's userbase
The X Factor
What I find particularly compelling about WS is they have aggressively positioned themselves to be a disruptor in the Canadian financial services industry. This is an area that has traditionally been thought to be a firewall for the Big Five Banks. There is also a generational gap in investing approaches, knowledge, and strategy, and I think WS has positioned itself nicely with first-time investors. My sense is that COVID-19 has also captured a huge amount of young adults with its trading app in the last few months, who will continue to use Wealthsimple products in the future. The average age of its user is around 34. As younger individuals are more comfortable with moving away traditional banking products, I think Wealthsimple’s product offering offers significant advantages over its competitors.
Power Corp is a Good Home
Currently POW.TO is trading at $26.30, down from its 52-week high of $35.15. I see an investment in POW.TO now as fairly low risk, and while WS grows, and there is also the added benefit of a high dividend stock. One of the most confusing things I found about Power Corp was its confusing corporate structure where there were two stocks, Power Financial Corp, and Power Corp of Canada. Fortunately, in Dec 2019, they simplified and consolidated the stocks, which also simplifies the holding structure of WS. I currently see POW.TO has a good stock to hold as well if you're a dividend holder, with a dividend of 6.86%. Also, POW.TO is patient enough to bide its time and let its investment in WS grow, unlike a VC that might want to sell it quick. For example, the reason why WS went with POW.TO instead of the traditional VC route is explained here:
Katchen has directly addressed the question of why he did not go the traditional VC route recently, saying: If you are a business that requires perhaps decades to achieve the vision you have, well, if you’re not going to be able to generate the kind of returns that venture needs is they will force you to sell yourself, they will force you to go public before you’re ready, or they will just forget about you because you’re going to be a write off. And so Katchen essentially flipped Wealthsimple to Power Financial. Power is well known as a conservative, patient, long-term investor. (https://opmwars.substack.com/p/the-wealthsimple-founders-before)
My belief is there is a huge unrecognized potential in POW.TO's massive ownership stake in WS that will be realized maybe 5-10 years down the road. I didn't really dive into the financials of POW.TO in relation to WS's performance, because the earnings reports do no actually say much about WS. I'm aware of the main criticisms that POW.TO is a mature company and dividend stock that has been trading sideways for many years, and the fact that WS is currently not a profitable company. I am not a professional investor, and this is just my amateur research, so I certainly welcome any comments/criticism of this thesis that people on this subreddit might have! (Please be gentle on me!).
"Looking into Nexo's business model it's increasingly clear to me that they are insolvent due to chainlink's recent rise. A brief introduction to how these crypto deposit/lending sites generally work, or are supposed to work. You deposit a cryptocurrency. Someone else wants to borrow it against their own cryptocurrency as collateral (reasons typically are to get some funds without selling their own crypto, or for margin trading). The borrower pays an interest rate, the lender receives a lower interest rate and the middleman (in this case it would be nexo) takes a large cut of the difference. A decentralized version of this is Aave. Centralised versions are crypto.com and nexo. Typically stablecoins have the highest borrow and lending interest rate, because demand to borrow them is highest. Next is typically bitcoin/ethereum, and most ERC tokens are very low because there's little demand to borrow them. Chainlink has been close to 0 on the likes of Aave as well as binance for months, while nexo pays 5%. Now, nexo's business model is a bit different. While they take deposits in LINK and pay 5% on them, it seems they do not lend out LINK or other cryptocurrencies. Instead they lend out fiat. This means they are not lending out assets deposited by other users, like Aave and binance. Instead it would mean they are selling user deposits to fiat and then lending out said fiat. Chainlink has been trading as low as $1.8 this year and mostly in the $3-5 range. No doubt chainlink deposits are very popular with nexo, there are lots of long term holders and the 5% interest rate they claim to pay is much higher than elsewhere. So this likely means they've taken a lot of LINK deposits and sold them to fiat. So why is this a problem? Well the way this business SHOULD work is: User A deposits 1 BTC. User B borrows 1 BTC. A receives 1%, B pays 2%, and the middleman/nexo would receive the 1% cut. Nexo doesn't care which way the price of bitcoin moves. It has one bitcoin as a receivable (that which B has borrowed) and one bitcoin as a payable (that which A has deposited). It's overall exposure is zero. However, it's clear that nexo's business model is: User A deposits 1000 LINK Nexo sells 1000 LINK for $5 each User B borrows $5000 So now, nexo has 1000 LINK as a payable, and 5000 USD as a receivable. As you can see, nexo is essentially opening a large synthetic short on every asset that is deposited with them. Now LINK goes to $8. Suddenly nexo has $5000 in receivables and $8000 in payables. Now consider this but with millions of dollars of LINK deposits. Nexo is now insolvent. Look at the site yourself (if you trust it, I understand if you don't). You can confirm all this yourself. Their business model is not sustainable. This is the first crack. And absolutely explains why they have released the fraudulent short report. It's because they are close to insolvent. Do you think it's a coincidence that they recently stopped paying interest in LINK and are paying in USD? A corollary of the above is that your LINK deposits , or any deposits on nexo are not safe. They likely do not have enough LINK to honour all deposits. Nexo likely received a load of chainlink deposits. Possibly millions of LINK. Chainlink has an attribute that there are lots of long term holders who would all love to receive interest on their LINK. The recent price increase in LINK means nexo can’t afford to pay back all their LINK deposits. They likely sell LINK as it comes in. Which means they’ve been selling as low as $1.80 and are essentially short since then. All it takes is one large positive news piece on LINK to seal their fate, and with oracle partnership, Microsoft partnership likely end of August and staking around the corner it could come very soon. If this goes to news outlets that will take this information to whales that are self-interested in fishing for liquidations." Any thoughts on this? Nexo going belly up as soon as Link moons?
Hey all, I've been researching coins since 2017 and have gone through 100s of them in the last 3 years. I got introduced to blockchain via Bitcoin of course, analyzed Ethereum thereafter and from that moment I have a keen interest in smart contact platforms. I’m passionate about Ethereum but I find Zilliqa to have a better risk-reward ratio. Especially because Zilliqa has found an elegant balance between being secure, decentralized and scalable in my opinion.
Below I post my analysis of why from all the coins I went through I’m most bullish on Zilliqa (yes I went through Tezos, EOS, NEO, VeChain, Harmony, Algorand, Cardano etc.). Note that this is not investment advice and although it's a thorough analysis there is obviously some bias involved. Looking forward to what you all think!
Fun fact: the name Zilliqa is a play on ‘silica’ silicon dioxide which means “Silicon for the high-throughput consensus computer.”
This post is divided into (i) Technology, (ii) Business & Partnerships, and (iii) Marketing & Community. I’ve tried to make the technology part readable for a broad audience. If you’ve ever tried understanding the inner workings of Bitcoin and Ethereum you should be able to grasp most parts. Otherwise, just skim through and once you are zoning out head to the next part.
Technology and some more:
The technology is one of the main reasons why I’m so bullish on Zilliqa. First thing you see on their website is: “Zilliqa is a high-performance, high-security blockchain platform for enterprises and next-generation applications.” These are some bold statements.
Before we deep dive into the technology let’s take a step back in time first as they have quite the history. The initial research paper from which Zilliqa originated dates back to August 2016: Elastico: A Secure Sharding Protocol For Open Blockchains where Loi Luu (Kyber Network) is one of the co-authors. Other ideas that led to the development of what Zilliqa has become today are: Bitcoin-NG, collective signing CoSi, ByzCoin and Omniledger.
The technical white paper was made public in August 2017 and since then they have achieved everything stated in the white paper and also created their own open source intermediate level smart contract language called Scilla (functional programming language similar to OCaml) too.
Mainnet is live since the end of January 2019 with daily transaction rates growing continuously. About a week ago mainnet reached 5 million transactions, 500.000+ addresses in total along with 2400 nodes keeping the network decentralized and secure. Circulating supply is nearing 11 billion and currently only mining rewards are left. The maximum supply is 21 billion with annual inflation being 7.13% currently and will only decrease with time.
Zilliqa realized early on that the usage of public cryptocurrencies and smart contracts were increasing but decentralized, secure, and scalable alternatives were lacking in the crypto space. They proposed to apply sharding onto a public smart contract blockchain where the transaction rate increases almost linear with the increase in the amount of nodes. More nodes = higher transaction throughput and increased decentralization. Sharding comes in many forms and Zilliqa uses network-, transaction- and computational sharding. Network sharding opens up the possibility of using transaction- and computational sharding on top. Zilliqa does not use state sharding for now. We’ll come back to this later.
Before we continue dissecting how Zilliqa achieves such from a technological standpoint it’s good to keep in mind that a blockchain being decentralised and secure and scalable is still one of the main hurdles in allowing widespread usage of decentralised networks. In my opinion this needs to be solved first before blockchains can get to the point where they can create and add large scale value. So I invite you to read the next section to grasp the underlying fundamentals. Because after all these premises need to be true otherwise there isn’t a fundamental case to be bullish on Zilliqa, right?
Down the rabbit hole
How have they achieved this? Let’s define the basics first: key players on Zilliqa are the users and the miners. A user is anybody who uses the blockchain to transfer funds or run smart contracts. Miners are the (shard) nodes in the network who run the consensus protocol and get rewarded for their service in Zillings (ZIL). The mining network is divided into several smaller networks called shards, which is also referred to as ‘network sharding’. Miners subsequently are randomly assigned to a shard by another set of miners called DS (Directory Service) nodes. The regular shards process transactions and the outputs of these shards are eventually combined by the DS shard as they reach consensus on the final state. More on how these DS shards reach consensus (via pBFT) will be explained later on.
The Zilliqa network produces two types of blocks: DS blocks and Tx blocks. One DS Block consists of 100 Tx Blocks. And as previously mentioned there are two types of nodes concerned with reaching consensus: shard nodes and DS nodes. Becoming a shard node or DS node is being defined by the result of a PoW cycle (Ethash) at the beginning of the DS Block. All candidate mining nodes compete with each other and run the PoW (Proof-of-Work) cycle for 60 seconds and the submissions achieving the highest difficulty will be allowed on the network. And to put it in perspective: the average difficulty for one DS node is ~ 2 Th/s equaling 2.000.000 Mh/s or 55 thousand+ GeForce GTX 1070 / 8 GB GPUs at 35.4 Mh/s. Each DS Block 10 new DS nodes are allowed. And a shard node needs to provide around 8.53 GH/s currently (around 240 GTX 1070s). Dual mining ETH/ETC and ZIL is possible and can be done via mining software such as Phoenix and Claymore. There are pools and if you have large amounts of hashing power (Ethash) available you could mine solo.
The PoW cycle of 60 seconds is a peak performance and acts as an entry ticket to the network. The entry ticket is called a sybil resistance mechanism and makes it incredibly hard for adversaries to spawn lots of identities and manipulate the network with these identities. And after every 100 Tx Blocks which corresponds to roughly 1,5 hour this PoW process repeats. In between these 1,5 hour, no PoW needs to be done meaning Zilliqa’s energy consumption to keep the network secure is low. For more detailed information on how mining works click here. Okay, hats off to you. You have made it this far. Before we go any deeper down the rabbit hole we first must understand why Zilliqa goes through all of the above technicalities and understand a bit more what a blockchain on a more fundamental level is. Because the core of Zilliqa’s consensus protocol relies on the usage of pBFT (practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance) we need to know more about state machines and their function. Navigate to Viewblock, a Zilliqa block explorer, and just come back to this article. We will use this site to navigate through a few concepts.
We have established that Zilliqa is a public and distributed blockchain. Meaning that everyone with an internet connection can send ZILs, trigger smart contracts, etc. and there is no central authority who fully controls the network. Zilliqa and other public and distributed blockchains (like Bitcoin and Ethereum) can also be defined as state machines.
Taking the liberty of paraphrasing examples and definitions given by Samuel Brooks’ medium article, he describes the definition of a blockchain (like Zilliqa) as: “A peer-to-peer, append-only datastore that uses consensus to synchronize cryptographically-secure data”.
Next, he states that: "blockchains are fundamentally systems for managing valid state transitions”. For some more context, I recommend reading the whole medium article to get a better grasp of the definitions and understanding of state machines. Nevertheless, let’s try to simplify and compile it into a single paragraph. Take traffic lights as an example: all its states (red, amber, and green) are predefined, all possible outcomes are known and it doesn’t matter if you encounter the traffic light today or tomorrow. It will still behave the same. Managing the states of a traffic light can be done by triggering a sensor on the road or pushing a button resulting in one traffic lights’ state going from green to red (via amber) and another light from red to green.
With public blockchains like Zilliqa, this isn’t so straightforward and simple. It started with block #1 almost 1,5 years ago and every 45 seconds or so a new block linked to the previous block is being added. Resulting in a chain of blocks with transactions in it that everyone can verify from block #1 to the current #647.000+ block. The state is ever changing and the states it can find itself in are infinite. And while the traffic light might work together in tandem with various other traffic lights, it’s rather insignificant comparing it to a public blockchain. Because Zilliqa consists of 2400 nodes who need to work together to achieve consensus on what the latest valid state is while some of these nodes may have latency or broadcast issues, drop offline or are deliberately trying to attack the network, etc.
Now go back to the Viewblock page take a look at the amount of transaction, addresses, block and DS height and then hit refresh. Obviously as expected you see new incremented values on one or all parameters. And how did the Zilliqa blockchain manage to transition from a previous valid state to the latest valid state? By using pBFT to reach consensus on the latest valid state.
After having obtained the entry ticket, miners execute pBFT to reach consensus on the ever-changing state of the blockchain. pBFT requires a series of network communication between nodes, and as such there is no GPU involved (but CPU). Resulting in the total energy consumed to keep the blockchain secure, decentralized and scalable being low.
pBFT stands for practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance and is an optimization on the Byzantine Fault Tolerant algorithm. To quote Blockonomi: “In the context of distributed systems, Byzantine Fault Tolerance is the ability of a distributed computer network to function as desired and correctly reach a sufficient consensus despite malicious components (nodes) of the system failing or propagating incorrect information to other peers.” Zilliqa is such a distributed computer network and depends on the honesty of the nodes (shard and DS) to reach consensus and to continuously update the state with the latest block. If pBFT is a new term for you I can highly recommend the Blockonomi article.
The idea of pBFT was introduced in 1999 - one of the authors even won a Turing award for it - and it is well researched and applied in various blockchains and distributed systems nowadays. If you want more advanced information than the Blockonomi link provides click here. And if you’re in between Blockonomi and the University of Singapore read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 2 dating from October 2017. Quoting from the Zilliqa tech whitepaper: “pBFT relies upon a correct leader (which is randomly selected) to begin each phase and proceed when the sufficient majority exists. In case the leader is byzantine it can stall the entire consensus protocol. To address this challenge, pBFT offers a view change protocol to replace the byzantine leader with another one.”
pBFT can tolerate ⅓ of the nodes being dishonest (offline counts as Byzantine = dishonest) and the consensus protocol will function without stalling or hiccups. Once there are more than ⅓ of dishonest nodes but no more than ⅔ the network will be stalled and a view change will be triggered to elect a new DS leader. Only when more than ⅔ of the nodes are dishonest (66%) double-spend attacks become possible.
If the network stalls no transactions can be processed and one has to wait until a new honest leader has been elected. When the mainnet was just launched and in its early phases, view changes happened regularly. As of today the last stalling of the network - and view change being triggered - was at the end of October 2019.
Another benefit of using pBFT for consensus besides low energy is the immediate finality it provides. Once your transaction is included in a block and the block is added to the chain it’s done. Lastly, take a look at this article where three types of finality are being defined: probabilistic, absolute and economic finality. Zilliqa falls under the absolute finality (just like Tendermint for example). Although lengthy already we skipped through some of the inner workings from Zilliqa’s consensus: read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 3 and you will be close to having a complete picture on it. Enough about PoW, sybil resistance mechanism, pBFT, etc. Another thing we haven’t looked at yet is the amount of decentralization.
Currently, there are four shards, each one of them consisting of 600 nodes. 1 shard with 600 so-called DS nodes (Directory Service - they need to achieve a higher difficulty than shard nodes) and 1800 shard nodes of which 250 are shard guards (centralized nodes controlled by the team). The amount of shard guards has been steadily declining from 1200 in January 2019 to 250 as of May 2020. On the Viewblock statistics, you can see that many of the nodes are being located in the US but those are only the (CPU parts of the) shard nodes who perform pBFT. There is no data from where the PoW sources are coming. And when the Zilliqa blockchain starts reaching its transaction capacity limit, a network upgrade needs to be executed to lift the current cap of maximum 2400 nodes to allow more nodes and formation of more shards which will allow to network to keep on scaling according to demand. Besides shard nodes there are also seed nodes. The main role of seed nodes is to serve as direct access points (for end-users and clients) to the core Zilliqa network that validates transactions. Seed nodes consolidate transaction requests and forward these to the lookup nodes (another type of nodes) for distribution to the shards in the network. Seed nodes also maintain the entire transaction history and the global state of the blockchain which is needed to provide services such as block explorers. Seed nodes in the Zilliqa network are comparable to Infura on Ethereum.
The seed nodes were first only operated by Zilliqa themselves, exchanges and Viewblock. Operators of seed nodes like exchanges had no incentive to open them for the greater public. They were centralised at first. Decentralisation at the seed nodes level has been steadily rolled out since March 2020 ( Zilliqa Improvement Proposal 3 ). Currently the amount of seed nodes is being increased, they are public-facing and at the same time PoS is applied to incentivize seed node operators and make it possible for ZIL holders to stake and earn passive yields. Important distinction: seed nodes are not involved with consensus! That is still PoW as entry ticket and pBFT for the actual consensus.
5% of the block rewards are being assigned to seed nodes (from the beginning in 2019) and those are being used to pay out ZIL stakers. The 5% block rewards with an annual yield of 10.03% translate to roughly 610 MM ZILs in total that can be staked. Exchanges use the custodial variant of staking and wallets like Moonlet will use the non-custodial version (starting in Q3 2020). Staking is being done by sending ZILs to a smart contract created by Zilliqa and audited by Quantstamp.
With a high amount of DS; shard nodes and seed nodes becoming more decentralized too, Zilliqa qualifies for the label of decentralized in my opinion.
Generalized: programming languages can be divided into being ‘object-oriented’ or ‘functional’. Here is an ELI5 given by software development academy: * “all programs have two basic components, data – what the program knows – and behavior – what the program can do with that data. So object-oriented programming states that combining data and related behaviors in one place, is called “object”, which makes it easier to understand how a particular program works. On the other hand, functional programming argues that data and behavior are different things and should be separated to ensure their clarity.” *
Scilla is on the functional side and shares similarities with OCaml: OCaml is a general-purpose programming language with an emphasis on expressiveness and safety. It has an advanced type system that helps catch your mistakes without getting in your way. It's used in environments where a single mistake can cost millions and speed matters, is supported by an active community, and has a rich set of libraries and development tools. For all its power, OCaml is also pretty simple, which is one reason it's often used as a teaching language.
Scilla is blockchain agnostic, can be implemented onto other blockchains as well, is recognized by academics and won a so-called Distinguished Artifact Award award at the end of last year.
One of the reasons why the Zilliqa team decided to create their own programming language focused on preventing smart contract vulnerabilities is that adding logic on a blockchain, programming, means that you cannot afford to make mistakes. Otherwise, it could cost you. It’s all great and fun blockchains being immutable but updating your code because you found a bug isn’t the same as with a regular web application for example. And with smart contracts, it inherently involves cryptocurrencies in some form thus value.
Another difference with programming languages on a blockchain is gas. Every transaction you do on a smart contract platform like Zilliqa or Ethereum costs gas. With gas you basically pay for computational costs. Sending a ZIL from address A to address B costs 0.001 ZIL currently. Smart contracts are more complex, often involve various functions and require more gas (if gas is a new concept click here ).
So with Scilla, similar to Solidity, you need to make sure that “every function in your smart contract will run as expected without hitting gas limits. An improper resource analysis may lead to situations where funds may get stuck simply because a part of the smart contract code cannot be executed due to gas limits. Such constraints are not present in traditional software systems”.Scilla design story part 1
Some examples of smart contract issues you’d want to avoid are: leaking funds, ‘unexpected changes to critical state variables’ (example: someone other than you setting his or her address as the owner of the smart contract after creation) or simply killing a contract.
Scilla also allows for formal verification. Wikipedia to the rescue: In the context of hardware and software systems, formal verification is the act of proving or disproving the correctness of intended algorithms underlying a system with respect to a certain formal specification or property, using formal methods of mathematics.
Formal verification can be helpful in proving the correctness of systems such as: cryptographic protocols, combinational circuits, digital circuits with internal memory, and software expressed as source code.
“Scilla is being developed hand-in-hand with formalization of its semantics and its embedding into the Coq proof assistant — a state-of-the art tool for mechanized proofs about properties of programs.”
Simply put, with Scilla and accompanying tooling developers can be mathematically sure and proof that the smart contract they’ve written does what he or she intends it to do.
Smart contract on a sharded environment and state sharding
There is one more topic I’d like to touch on: smart contract execution in a sharded environment (and what is the effect of state sharding). This is a complex topic. I’m not able to explain it any easier than what is posted here. But I will try to compress the post into something easy to digest.
Earlier on we have established that Zilliqa can process transactions in parallel due to network sharding. This is where the linear scalability comes from. We can define simple transactions: a transaction from address A to B (Category 1), a transaction where a user interacts with one smart contract (Category 2) and the most complex ones where triggering a transaction results in multiple smart contracts being involved (Category 3). The shards are able to process transactions on their own without interference of the other shards. With Category 1 transactions that is doable, with Category 2 transactions sometimes if that address is in the same shard as the smart contract but with Category 3 you definitely need communication between the shards. Solving that requires to make a set of communication rules the protocol needs to follow in order to process all transactions in a generalised fashion.
There is no strict defined roadmap but here are topics being worked on. And via the Zilliqa website there is also more information on the projects they are working on.
Business & Partnerships
It’s not only technology in which Zilliqa seems to be excelling as their ecosystem has been expanding and starting to grow rapidly. The project is on a mission to provide OpenFinance (OpFi) to the world and Singapore is the right place to be due to its progressive regulations and futuristic thinking. Singapore has taken a proactive approach towards cryptocurrencies by introducing the Payment Services Act 2019 (PS Act). Among other things, the PS Act will regulate intermediaries dealing with certain cryptocurrencies, with a particular focus on consumer protection and anti-money laundering. It will also provide a stable regulatory licensing and operating framework for cryptocurrency entities, effectively covering all crypto businesses and exchanges based in Singapore. According to PWC 82% of the surveyed executives in Singapore reported blockchain initiatives underway and 13% of them have already brought the initiatives live to the market. There is also an increasing list of organizations that are starting to provide digital payment services. Moreover, Singaporean blockchain developers Building Cities Beyond has recently created an innovation $15 million grant to encourage development on its ecosystem. This all suggests that Singapore tries to position itself as (one of) the leading blockchain hubs in the world.
Zilliqa seems to already take advantage of this and recently helped launch Hg Exchange on their platform, together with financial institutions PhillipCapital, PrimePartners and Fundnel. Hg Exchange, which is now approved by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), uses smart contracts to represent digital assets. Through Hg Exchange financial institutions worldwide can use Zilliqa's safe-by-design smart contracts to enable the trading of private equities. For example, think of companies such as Grab, Airbnb, SpaceX that are not available for public trading right now. Hg Exchange will allow investors to buy shares of private companies & unicorns and capture their value before an IPO. Anquan, the main company behind Zilliqa, has also recently announced that they became a partner and shareholder in TEN31 Bank, which is a fully regulated bank allowing for tokenization of assets and is aiming to bridge the gap between conventional banking and the blockchain world. If STOs, the tokenization of assets, and equity trading will continue to increase, then Zilliqa’s public blockchain would be the ideal candidate due to its strategic positioning, partnerships, regulatory compliance and the technology that is being built on top of it.
What is also very encouraging is their focus on banking the un(der)banked. They are launching a stablecoin basket starting with XSGD. As many of you know, stablecoins are currently mostly used for trading. However, Zilliqa is actively trying to broaden the use case of stablecoins. I recommend everybody to read this text that Amrit Kumar wrote (one of the co-founders). These stablecoins will be integrated in the traditional markets and bridge the gap between the crypto world and the traditional world. This could potentially revolutionize and legitimise the crypto space if retailers and companies will for example start to use stablecoins for payments or remittances, instead of it solely being used for trading.
Zilliqa also released their DeFi strategic roadmap (dating November 2019) which seems to be aligning well with their OpFi strategy. A non-custodial DEX is coming to Zilliqa made by Switcheo which allows cross-chain trading (atomic swaps) between ETH, EOS and ZIL based tokens. They also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a (soon to be announced) USD stablecoin. And as Zilliqa is all about regulations and being compliant, I’m speculating on it to be a regulated USD stablecoin. Furthermore, XSGD is already created and visible on block explorer and XIDR (Indonesian Stablecoin) is also coming soon via StraitsX. Here also an overview of the Tech Stack for Financial Applications from September 2019. Further quoting Amrit Kumar on this:
There are two basic building blocks in DeFi/OpFi though: 1) stablecoins as you need a non-volatile currency to get access to this market and 2) a dex to be able to trade all these financial assets. The rest are built on top of these blocks.
So far, together with our partners and community, we have worked on developing these building blocks with XSGD as a stablecoin. We are working on bringing a USD-backed stablecoin as well. We will soon have a decentralised exchange developed by Switcheo. And with HGX going live, we are also venturing into the tokenization space. More to come in the future.”
Additionally, they also have this ZILHive initiative that injects capital into projects. There have been already 6 waves of various teams working on infrastructure, innovation and research, and they are not from ASEAN or Singapore only but global: see Grantees breakdown by country. Over 60 project teams from over 20 countries have contributed to Zilliqa's ecosystem. This includes individuals and teams developing wallets, explorers, developer toolkits, smart contract testing frameworks, dapps, etc. As some of you may know, Unstoppable Domains (UD) blew up when they launched on Zilliqa. UD aims to replace cryptocurrency addresses with a human-readable name and allows for uncensorable websites. Zilliqa will probably be the only one able to handle all these transactions onchain due to ability to scale and its resulting low fees which is why the UD team launched this on Zilliqa in the first place. Furthermore, Zilliqa also has a strong emphasis on security, compliance, and privacy, which is why they partnered with companies like Elliptic, ChainSecurity (part of PwC Switzerland), and Incognito. Their sister company Aqilliz (Zilliqa spelled backwards) focuses on revolutionizing the digital advertising space and is doing interesting things like using Zilliqa to track outdoor digital ads with companies like Foodpanda.
Zilliqa is listed on nearly all major exchanges, having several different fiat-gateways and recently have been added to Binance’s margin trading and futures trading with really good volume. They also have a very impressive team with good credentials and experience. They don't just have “tech people”. They have a mix of tech people, business people, marketeers, scientists, and more. Naturally, it's good to have a mix of people with different skill sets if you work in the crypto space.
Marketing & Community
Zilliqa has a very strong community. If you just follow their Twitter their engagement is much higher for a coin that has approximately 80k followers. They also have been ‘coin of the day’ by LunarCrush many times. LunarCrush tracks real-time cryptocurrency value and social data. According to their data, it seems Zilliqa has a more fundamental and deeper understanding of marketing and community engagement than almost all other coins. While almost all coins have been a bit frozen in the last months, Zilliqa seems to be on its own bull run. It was somewhere in the 100s a few months ago and is currently ranked #46 on CoinGecko. Their official Telegram also has over 20k people and is very active, and their community channel which is over 7k now is more active and larger than many other official channels. Their local communities also seem to be growing.
Moreover, their community started ‘Zillacracy’ together with the Zilliqa core team ( see www.zillacracy.com ). It’s a community-run initiative where people from all over the world are now helping with marketing and development on Zilliqa. Since its launch in February 2020 they have been doing a lot and will also run their own non-custodial seed node for staking. This seed node will also allow them to start generating revenue for them to become a self sustaining entity that could potentially scale up to become a decentralized company working in parallel with the Zilliqa core team. Comparing it to all the other smart contract platforms (e.g. Cardano, EOS, Tezos etc.) they don't seem to have started a similar initiative (correct me if I’m wrong though). This suggests in my opinion that these other smart contract platforms do not fully understand how to utilize the ‘power of the community’. This is something you cannot ‘buy with money’ and gives many projects in the space a disadvantage.
Zilliqa also released two social products called SocialPay and Zeeves. SocialPay allows users to earn ZILs while tweeting with a specific hashtag. They have recently used it in partnership with the Singapore Red Cross for a marketing campaign after their initial pilot program. It seems like a very valuable social product with a good use case. I can see a lot of traditional companies entering the space through this product, which they seem to suggest will happen. Tokenizing hashtags with smart contracts to get network effect is a very smart and innovative idea.
Regarding Zeeves, this is a tipping bot for Telegram. They already have 1000s of signups and they plan to keep upgrading it for more and more people to use it (e.g. they recently have added a quiz features). They also use it during AMAs to reward people in real-time. It’s a very smart approach to grow their communities and get familiar with ZIL. I can see this becoming very big on Telegram. This tool suggests, again, that the Zilliqa team has a deeper understanding of what the crypto space and community needs and is good at finding the right innovative tools to grow and scale.
To be honest, I haven’t covered everything (i’m also reaching the character limited haha). So many updates happening lately that it's hard to keep up, such as the International Monetary Fund mentioning Zilliqa in their report, custodial and non-custodial Staking, Binance Margin, Futures, Widget, entering the Indian market, and more. The Head of Marketing Colin Miles has also released this as an overview of what is coming next. And last but not least, Vitalik Buterin has been mentioning Zilliqa lately acknowledging Zilliqa and mentioning that both projects have a lot of room to grow. There is much more info of course and a good part of it has been served to you on a silver platter. I invite you to continue researching by yourself :-) And if you have any comments or questions please post here!
The fee schedule below provides the applicable rate based on the account's 30-Day Volume and if the order is a maker or taker. Bittrex Global Fee30 Day Volume (USD)MakerTaker$0k - $50k0.2%0.2%$50k - $1M0.12%0.18%$1M - $10M0.05%0.15%$10M - $60M0.02%0.1%$60M+0%0.08%>$100MContact TAM representative Trading expenses are incurred when an order is prepared by means of the Bittrex worldwide matching engine. While an order is being executed, the purchaser and the vendor are charged a rate primarily based on the order’s amount. The fee charged by Bittrex exchange is calculated by the formula amount * buy rate * fee. There aren't any charges for placing an order which is not being executed so far. Any portion of an unfinished order will be refunded completely upon order cancelation. Prices vary depending on the currency pair, monthly trade volume, and whether the order is a maker or taker. Bittrex reserves the right to alternate fee quotes at any time, including offering various discounts and incentive packages.
Your buying and selling volume affects the fee you pay for every order. Our expenses are built to encourage customers who ensure liquidity in the Bittrex crypto exchange markets. Your buying and selling charges are reduced according to your trade volume for the last 30 years in dollars. Bittrex calculates the 30-day value every day, updating every account's volume calculation and buying and selling charge between of 12:30 AM UTC and 01:30 AM UTC every day. You can check your monthly trade volume by logging in and opening Account > My Activity. https://preview.redd.it/n1djh2ob4zh51.jpg?width=974&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=2eebb9c9ac63de207c4dd2e49bc45aeb53a8dec8
6. Withdrawing Funds
Withdrawing any type of funds is likewise simple. You can profit by buying and selling Bitcoin, Ether, or any other cryptocurrency. You determine the crypto address—to which the amount will be credited—and the transaction amount. The withdrawal fee will be automatically calculated and shown right away. After confirming the transaction, the finances will be sent to the specified addresses and all that you need to do is to wait for the community to confirm the transaction. If the 2FA is enabled, then the user receives a special code (via SMS or application) to confirm the withdrawal.
7. How to Trade on Bittrex Global
Currency selling and buying transactions are performed using the Sell and Buy buttons, accordingly. To begin with, the dealer selects a currency pair and sees a graph of the rate dynamics and different values for the pair. Below the chart, there is a section with orders where the user can buy or sell a virtual asset. To create an order, you just need to specify the order type, price, and quantity. And do not forget about the 0.25% trade fee whatever the quantity. For optimum profit, stay with liquid assets as they can be quickly sold at a near-market rate effective at the time of the transaction. Bittrex offers no referral program; so buying and selling crypto is the easiest way to earn. https://preview.redd.it/hopm6fih4zh51.jpg?width=1302&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=68c0aaae86f64c3e6b9d351c3df2a9c331f94038
Bittrex helps you alternate Limit and Stop-Limit orders. A limit order or a simple limit order is performed when the asset fee reaches—or even exceeds—the price the trader seeks. To execute such an order, it is required that there's a counter market order on the platform that has the identical fee as the limit order.
Differences between Limit Order and Stop Limit Order
A stop limit order is a mixture of a stop limit order and a limit order. In such an application, charges are indicated—a stop charge and the limit.
Let’s discuss how you could trade conveniently with our service. The key features include a user-friendly interface and precise currency pair statistics (timeframe graphs, network data, trade volumes, and so forth). The platform’s top-notch advantage is handy, easy-to-analyze, customizable charts. There is also a column for quick switching between currency pairs and an order panel beneath the fee chart. Such an all-encompassing visual solution helps compare orders efficiently and in one place. You can use the terminal in a day or night mode; when in the night mode, the icon in the upper-right corner changes and notice the Bittrex trading terminal in night mode is displayed. The main menu consists of 4 sections: Markets, Orders, Wallets, Settings. Markets are the trade section. Bittrex allows handling over 270 currency pairs. Orders. To see all open orders, go to Orders → Open. To see completed orders, go to Orders → Completed. Wallets. The Wallets tab displays many wallets for all cryptocurrencies supported by the exchange and the current balance of each of them. After refilling the balance or creating a buy or sale order, you will see all actions in the section. Bittrex allows creating a separate wallet for every coin. Additionally, you can see how the coin price has changed, in terms of percentage, throughout the day. Here’s what you can also do with your wallets:
Hide zero balances: hide currencies with zero balance
Green and red arrows: replenish balance/withdraw funds
Find: search for a cryptocurrency
The Settings section helps manage your account, verification, 2FA, password modification, API connection, and many more.
How to Sell
The process of selling crypto assets follows the same algorithm. The only difference is that after choosing the exchange direction, you need to initiate a Sell order. All the rest is similar: you select the order type, specify the quantity and price, and click Sell *Currency Name* (Sell Bitcoin in our case). If you scroll the screen, the entire history of trades and orders will be displayed below.
LONG and SHORT
You can make a long deal or a short deal. Your choice depends on whether you expect an asset to fall or rise in price. Long positions are a classic trading method. It concerns purchasing an asset to profit when its value increases. Long positions are carried out through any brokers and do not require a margin account. In this case, the trader’s account must have enough funds to cover the transaction. Losses in a long position are considered to be limited; no matter when the trade starts, the price will not fall below zero with all possible errors. Short positions, in contrast, are used to profit from a falling market. A trader buys a financial instrument from a broker and sells it. After the price reaches the target level, the trader buys back the assets or buys them to pay off the initial debt to the broker. A short position yields profit if the price falls, and it is considered unprofitable the price matches the asset value. Performing a short order requires a margin account as a trader borrows valuable assets from a broker to complete a transaction. Long transactions help gain from market growth; short from a market decline.
Trade via API
Bittrex also supports algorithmic trading through extensive APIs (application programming interface), which allows you to automate the trading process using third-party services. To create an API key, the user must enable the two-factor authentication 2FA, verify their account, and log in to the site within 3 minutes. If all the requirements of the system are fulfilled, you can proceed to generate the API key. Log in to your Bittrex account, click Settings. Find API Keys. Click Add new key (Create a new key). Toggle on / off settings for READ INFO, TRADE, or WITHDRAW, depending on what functionality you want to use for our API key. Click Save and enter the 2FA code from the authenticator → Confirm. The secret key will be displayed only once and will disappear after the page is refreshed. Make sure you saved it! To delete an API key, click X in the right corner for the key that you want to delete, then click Save, enter the 2FA code from the authenticator and click Confirm.
Bittrex Bot, a Trader’s Assistant
Robotized programs that appeared sometimes after the appearance of cryptocurrency exchanges save users from monotonous work and allow automating the trading process. Bots for trading digital money work like all the other bots: they perform mechanical trading according to the preset parameters. Currently, one of Bittrex’s most popular trading bots is Bittrex Flash Crash Buyer Bot that helps traders profit from altcoin volatility without missing the right moment. The program monitors all the market changes in the market every second; also, it even can place an order in advance. The Bittrex bot can handle a stop loss—to sell a certain amount of currency when the rate changes in a favorable direction and reaches a certain level.
8. Secure Platform
Bittrex Global employs the most reliable and effective security technologies available. There are many cases of theft, fraud. It is no coincidence that the currency is compared to the Wild West, especially if we compare the 1800s when cowboys rushed to the West Coast of America to earn and start something new in a place that had no rules. Cryptocurrency is still wild. One can earn and lose money fast. But Bittrex has a substantial security policy thanks to the team’s huge experience in security and development for companies such as Microsoft, Amazon, Qualys, and Blackberry. The system employs an elastic, multi-stage holding strategy to ensure that the majority of funds are kept in cold storage for extra safety. Bittrex Global also enables the two-factor authentication for all users and provides a host of additional security features to provide multiple layers of protection. Bittrex cold wallet: https://bitinfocharts.com/en/bitcoin/address/385cR5DM96n1HvBDMzLHPYcw89fZAXULJP
Bittrex Global is a reliable and advanced platform for trading digital assets with a respected reputation, long history, and active market presence and development nowadays. The exchange is eligible to be used globally, including the US and its territories. The legal component of Bittrex Global is one of the most legitimate among numerous crypto-asset exchanges. The Bittrex team has had great ambitions and managed to deliver promises and more. The exchange staff comprises forward-thinking and exceptional individuals whose success is recognized in the traditional business and blockchain sector. Bittrex's purpose is to be the driving force in the blockchain revolution, expanding the application, importance, and accessibility of this game-changing technology worldwide. The exchange fosters new and innovative blockchain and related projects that could potentially change the way money and assets are managed globally. Alongside innovation, safety will always be the main priority of the company. The platform utilizes the most reliable and effective practices and available technologies to protect user accounts. Bittrex customers have always primarily been those who appreciate the highest degree of security. Because of the way the Bittrex trading platform is designed, it can easily scale to always provide instant order execution for any number of new customers. Bittrex supports algorithmic trading and empowers its customers with extensive APIs for more automated and profitable trading. One of the common features which is not available on the exchange is margin trading. No leverage used however adds up to the exchange's stability and prevents fast money seekers and risky traders from entering the exchange. Bittrex is a force of the blockchain revolution and an important entity of the emerging sector. The full version First part Second part
How many people really understand what they’re buying, especially when it comes to highly specialized hardware companies? Most NVidia investors seem to be relying on a vague idea of how the company should thrive “in the future”, as their GPUs are ostensibly used for Artificial Intelligence, Cloud, holograms, etc. Having been shocked by how this company is represented in the media, I decided to lay out how this business works, doing my part to fight for reality. With what’s been going on in markets, I don’t like my chances but here goes: Let’s start with… How does NVDA make money? NVDA is in the business of semiconductor design. As a simplified image in your head, you can imagine this as designing very detailed and elaborate posters. Their engineers create circuit patterns for printing onto semiconductor wafers. NVDA then pays a semiconductor foundry (the printer – generally TSMC) to create chips with those patterns on them. Simply put, NVDA’s profits represent the difference between the price at which they can sell those chips, less the cost of printing, and less the cost of paying their engineers to design them. Notably, after the foundry prints the chips, NVDA also has to pay (I say pay, but really it is more like “sell at a discount to”) their “add-in board” (AIB) partners to stick the chips onto printed circuit boards (what you might imagine as green things with a bunch of capacitors on them). That leads to the final form in which buyers experience the GPU. What is a GPU? NVDA designs chips called GPUs (Graphical Processing Units). Initially, GPUs were used for the rapid processing and creation of images, but their use cases have expanded over time. You may be familiar with the CPU (Central Processing Unit). CPUs sit at the core of a computer system, doing most of the calculation, taking orders from the operating system (e.g. Windows, Linux), etc. AMD and Intel make CPUs. GPUs assist the CPU with certain tasks. You can think of the CPU as having a few giant very powerful engines. The GPU has a lot of small much less powerful engines. Sometimes you have to do a lot of really simple tasks that don’t require powerful engines to complete. Here, the act of engaging the powerful engines is a waste of time, as you end up spending most of your time revving them up and revving them down. In that scenario, it helps the CPU to hand that task over to the GPU in order to “accelerate” the completion of the task. The GPU only revs up a small engine for each task, and is able to rev up all the small engines simultaneously to knock out a large number of these simple tasks at the same time. Remember the GPU has lots of engines. The GPU also has an edge in interfacing a lot with memory but let’s not get too technical. Who uses NVDA’s GPUs? There are two main broad end markets for NVDA’s GPUs – Gaming and Professional. Let’s dig into each one: The Gaming Market: A Bit of Ancient History (Skip if impatient) GPUs were first heavily used for gaming in arcades. They then made their way to consoles, and finally PCs. NVDA started out in the PC phase of GPU gaming usage. They weren’t the first company in the space, but they made several good moves that ultimately led to a very strong market position. Firstly, they focused on selling into OEMs – guys like the equivalent of today’s DELL/HP/Lenovo – , which allowed a small company to get access to a big market without having to create a lot of relationships. Secondly, they focused on the design aspect of the GPU, and relied on their Asian supply chain to print the chip, to package the chip and to install in on a printed circuit board – the Asian supply chain ended up being the best in semis. But the insight that really let NVDA dominate was noticing that some GPU manufacturers were focusing on keeping hardware-accelerated Transform and Lighting as a Professional GPU feature. As a start-up, with no professional GPU business to disrupt, NVidia decided their best ticket into the big leagues was blowing up the market by including this professional grade feature into their gaming product. It worked – and this was a real masterstroke – the visual and performance improvements were extraordinary. 3DFX, the initial leader in PC gaming GPUs, was vanquished, and importantly it happened when funding markets shut down with the tech bubble bursting and after 3DFX made some large ill-advised acquisitions. Consequently 3DFX, went from hero to zero, and NVDA bought them for a pittance out of bankruptcy, acquiring the best IP portfolio in the industry. Some more Modern History This is what NVDA’s pure gaming card revenue looks like over time – NVDA only really broke these out in 2005 (note by pure, this means ex-Tegra revenues): 📷 https://hyperinflation2020.tumblr.com/private/618394577731223552/tumblr_Ikb8g9Cu9sxh2ERno So what is the history here? Well, back in the late 90s when GPUs were first invented, they were required to play any 3D game. As discussed in the early history above, NVDA landed a hit product to start with early and got a strong burst of growth: revenues of 160M in 1998 went to 1900M in 2002. But then NVDA ran into strong competition from ATI (later purchased and currently owned by AMD). While NVDA’s sales struggled to stay flat from 2002 to 2004, ATI’s doubled from 1Bn to 2Bn. NVDA’s next major win came in 2006, with the 8000 series. ATI was late with a competing product, and NVDA’s sales skyrocketed – as can be seen in the graph above. With ATI being acquired by AMD they were unfocused for some time, and NVDA was able to keep their lead for an extended period. Sales slowed in 2008/2009 but that was due to the GFC – people don’t buy expensive GPU hardware in recessions. And then we got to 2010 and the tide changed. Growth in desktop PCs ended. Here is a chart from Statista: 📷https://hyperinflation2020.tumblr.com/private/618394674172919808/tumblr_OgCnNwTyqhMhAE9r9 This resulted in two negative secular trends for Nvidia. Firstly, with the decline in popularity of desktop PCs, growth in gaming GPUs faded as well (below is a chart from Jon Peddie). Note that NVDA sells discrete GPUs, aka DT (Desktop) Discrete. Integrated GPUs are mainly made by Intel (these sit on the motherboard or with the CPU). 📷 https://hyperinflation2020.tumblr.com/private/618394688079200256/tumblr_rTtKwOlHPIVUj8e7h You can see from the chart above that discrete desktop GPU sales are fading faster than integrated GPU sales. This is the other secular trend hurting NVDA’s gaming business. Integrated GPUs are getting better and better, taking over a wider range of tasks that were previously the domain of the discrete GPU. Surprisingly, the most popular eSports game of recent times – Fortnite – only requires Intel HD 4000 graphics – an Integrated GPU from 2012! So at this point you might go back to NVDA’s gaming sales, and ask the question: What happened in 2015? How is NVDA overcoming these secular trends? The answer consists of a few parts.Firstly, AMD dropped the ball in 2015. As you can see in this chart, sourced from 3DCenter, AMD market share was halved in 2015, due to a particularly poor product line-up: 📷 https://hyperinflation2020.tumblr.com/private/618394753459994624/tumblr_J7vRw9y0QxMlfm6Xd Following this, NVDA came out with Pascal in 2016 – a very powerful offering in the mid to high end part of the GPU market. At the same time, AMD was focusing on rebuilding and had no compelling mid or high end offerings. AMD mainly focused on maintaining scale in the very low end. Following that came 2017 and 2018: AMD’s offering was still very poor at the time, but cryptomining drove demand for GPUs to new levels, and AMD’s GPUs were more compelling from a price-performance standpoint for crypto mining initially, perversely leading to AMD gaining share. NVDA quickly remedied that by improving their drivers to better mine crypto, regaining their relative positioning, and profiting in a big way from the crypto boom. Supply that was calibrated to meet gaming demand collided with cryptomining demand and Average Selling Prices of GPUs shot through the roof. Cryptominers bought top of the line GPUs aggressively. A good way to see changes in crypto demand for GPUs is the mining profitability of Ethereum: 📷 https://hyperinflation2020.tumblr.com/private/618394769378443264/tumblr_cmBtR9gm8T2NI9jmQ This leads us to where we are today. 2019 saw gaming revenues drop for NVDA. Where are they likely to head? The secular trends of falling desktop sales along with falling discrete GPU sales have reasserted themselves, as per the Jon Peddie research above. Cryptomining profitability has collapsed. AMD has come out with a new architecture, NAVI, and the 5700XT – the first Iteration, competes effectively with NVDA in the mid-high end space on a price/performance basis. This is the first real competition from AMD since 2014. NVDA can see all these trends, and they tried to respond. Firstly, with volumes clearly declining, and likely with a glut of second-hand GPUs that can make their way to gamers over time from the crypto space, NVDA decided to pursue a price over volume strategy. They released their most expensive set of GPUs by far in the latest Turing series. They added a new feature, Ray Tracing, by leveraging the Tensor Cores they had created for Professional uses, hoping to use that as justification for higher prices (more on this in the section on Professional GPUs). Unfortunately for NVDA, gamers have responded quite poorly to Ray Tracing – it caused performance issues, had poor support, poor adoption, and the visual improvements in most cases are not particularly noticeable or relevant. The last recession led to gaming revenues falling 30%, despite NVDA being in a very strong position at the time vis-à-vis AMD – this time around their position is quickly slipping and it appears that the recession is going to be bigger. Additionally, the shift away from discrete GPUs in gaming continues. To make matters worse for NVDA, AMD won the slots in both the New Xbox and the New PlayStation, coming out later this year. The performance of just the AMD GPU in those consoles looks to be competitive with NVidia products that currently retail for more than the entire console is likely to cost. Consider that usually you have to pair that NVidia GPU with a bunch of other expensive hardware. The pricing and margin impact of this console cycle on NVDA is likely to be very substantially negative. It would be prudent to assume a greater than 30% fall in gaming revenues from the very elevated 2019 levels, with likely secular decline to follow. The Professional Market: A Bit of Ancient History (again, skip if impatient) As it turns out, graphical accelerators were first used in the Professional market, long before they were employed for Gaming purposes. The big leader in the space was a company called Silicon Graphics, who sold workstations with custom silicon optimised for graphical processing. Their sales were only $25Mn in 1985, but by 1997 they were doing 3.6Bn in revenue – truly exponential growth. Unfortunately for them, from that point on, discrete GPUs took over, and their highly engineered, customised workstations looked exorbitantly expensive in comparison. Sales sank to 500mn by 2006 and, with no profits in sight, they ended up filing for bankruptcy in 2009. Competition is harsh in the semiconductor industry. Initially, the Professional market centred on visualisation and design, but it has changed over time. There were a lot of players and lot of nuance, but I am going to focus on more recent times, as they are more relevant to NVidia. Some More Modern History NVDA’s Professional business started after its gaming business, but we don’t have revenue disclosures that show exactly when it became relevant. This is what we do have – going back to 2005: 📷 https://hyperinflation2020.tumblr.com/private/618394785029472256/tumblr_fEcYAzdstyh6tqIsI In the beginning, Professional revenues were focused on the 3D visualisation end of the spectrum, with initial sales going into workstations that were edging out the customised builds made by Silicon Graphics. Fairly quickly, however, GPUs added more and more functionality and started to turn into general parallel data processors rather than being solely optimised towards graphical processing. As this change took place, people in scientific computing noticed, and started using GPUs to accelerate scientific workloads that involve very parallel computation, such as matrix manipulation. This started at the workstation level, but by 2007 NVDA decided to make a new line-up of Tesla series cards specifically suited to scientific computing. The professional segment now have several points of focus:
GPUs used in workstations for things such as CAD graphical processing (Quadro Line)
GPUs used in workstations for computational workloads such as running engineering simulations (Quadro Line)
GPUs used in workstations for machine learning applications (Quadro line.. but can use gaming cards as well for this)
GPUs used by enterprise customers for high performance computing (such as modelling oil wells) (Tesla Line)
GPUs used by enterprise customers for machine learning projects (Tesla Line)
GPUs used by hyperscalers (mostly for machine learning projects) (Tesla Line)
In more recent times, given the expansion of the Tesla line, NVDA has broken up reporting into Professional Visualisation (Quadro Line) and Datacenter (Tesla Line). Here are the revenue splits since that reporting started: 📷 https://hyperinflation2020.tumblr.com/private/618394798232158208/tumblr_3AdufrCWUFwLgyQw2 📷 https://hyperinflation2020.tumblr.com/private/618394810632601600/tumblr_2jmajktuc0T78Juw7 It is worth stopping here and thinking about the huge increase in sales delivered by the Tesla line. The reason for this huge boom is the sudden increase in interest in numerical techniques for machine learning. Let’s go on a brief detour here to understand what machine learning is, because a lot of people want to hype it but not many want to tell you what it actually is. I have the misfortune of being very familiar with the industry, which prevented me from buying into the hype. Oops – sometimes it really sucks being educated. What is Machine Learning? At a very high level, machine learning is all about trying to get some sort of insight out of data. Most of the core techniques used in machine learning were developed a long time ago, in the 1950s and 1960s. The most common machine learning technique, which most people have heard of and may be vaguely familiar with, is called regression analysis. Regression analysis involves fitting a line through a bunch of datapoints. The most common type of regression analysis is called “Ordinary Least Squares” OLS regression, and that type of regression has a “closed form” solution, which means that there is a very simple calculation you can do to fit an OLS regression line to data. As it happens, fitting a line through points is not only easy to do, it also tends to be the main machine learning technique that people want to use, because it is very intuitive. You can make good sense of what the data is telling you and can understand the machine learning model you are using. Obviously, regression analysis doesn’t require a GPU! However, there is another consideration in machine learning: if you want to use a regression model, you still need a human to select the data that you want to fit the line through. Also, sometimes the relationship doesn’t look like a line, but rather it might look like a curve. In this case, you need a human to “transform” the data before you fit a line through it in order to make the relationship linear. So people had another idea here: what if instead of getting a person to select the right data to analyse, and the right model to apply, you could just get a computer to do that? Of course the problem with that is that computers are really stupid. They have no preconceived notion of what data to use or what relationship would make sense, so what they do is TRY EVERYTHING! And everything involves trying a hell of a lot of stuff. And trying a hell of a lot of stuff, most of which is useless garbage, involves a huge amount of computation. People tried this for a while through to the 1980s, decided it was useless, and dropped it… until recently. What changed? Well we have more data now, and we have a lot more computing power, so we figured lets have another go at it. As it happens, the premier technique for trying a hell of a lot of stuff (99.999% of which is garbage you throw away) is called “Deep Learning”. Deep learning is SUPER computationally intensive, and that computation happens to involve a lot of matrix multiplication. And guess what just happens to have been doing a lot of matrix multiplication? GPUs! Here is a chart that, for obvious reasons, lines up extremely well with the boom in Tesla GPU sales: 📷 https://hyperinflation2020.tumblr.com/private/618394825774989312/tumblr_IZ3ayFDB0CsGdYVHW Now we need to realise a few things here. Deep Learning is not some magic silver bullet. There are specific applications where it has proven very useful – primarily areas that have a very large number of very weak relationships between bits of data that sum up into strong relationships. An example of ones of those is Google Translate. On the other hand, in most analytical tasks, it is most useful to have an intuitive understanding of the data and to fit a simple and sensible model to it that is explainable. Deep learning models are not explainable in an intuitive manner. This is not only because they are complicated, but also because their scattershot technique of trying everything leaves a huge amount of garbage inside the model that cancels itself out when calculating the answer, but it is hard to see how it cancels itself out when stepping through it. Given the quantum of hype on Deep learning and the space in general, many companies are using “Deep Learning”, “Machine Learning” and “AI” as marketing. Not many companies are actually generating significant amounts of tangible value from Deep Learning. Back to the Competitive Picture For the Tesla Segment So NVDA happened to be in the right place at the right time to benefit from the Deep Learning hype. They happened to have a product ready to go and were able to charge a pretty penny for their product. But what happens as we proceed from here? Firstly, it looks like the hype from Deep Learning has crested, which is not great from a future demand perspective. Not only that, but we really went from people having no GPUs, to people having GPUs. The next phase is people upgrading their old GPUs. It is much harder to sell an upgrade than to make the first sale. Not only that, but GPUs are not the ideal manifestation of silicon for Deep Learning. NVDA themselves effectively admitted that with their latest iteration in the Datacentre, called Ampere. High Performance Computing, which was the initial use case for Tesla GPUs, was historically all about double precision floating point calculations (FP64). High precision calculations are required for simulations in aerospace/oil & gas/automotive. NVDA basically sacrificed HPC and shifted further towards Deep Learning with Ampere, announced last Thursday. The FP64 performance of the A100 (the latest Ampere chip) increased a fairly pedestrian 24% from the V100, increasing from 7.8 to 9.7 TF. Not a surprise that NVDA lost El Capitan to AMD, given this shift away from a focus on HPC. Instead, NVDA jacked up their Tensor Cores (i.e. not the GPU cores) and focused very heavily on FP16 computation (a lot less precise than FP64). As it turns out, FP16 is precise enough for Deep Learning, and NVDA recognises that. The future industry standard is likely to be BFloat 16 – the format pioneered by Google, who lead in Deep Learning. Ampere now does 312 TF of BF16, which compares to the 420 TF of Google’s TPU V3 – Google’s Machine Learning specific processor. Not quite up to the 2018 board from Google, but getting better – if they cut out all of the Cuda cores and GPU functionality maybe they could get up to Google’s spec. And indeed this is the problem for NVDA: when you make a GPU it has a large number of different use cases, and you provide a single product that meets all of these different use cases. That is a very hard thing to do, and explains why it has been difficult for competitors to muscle into the GPU space. On the other hand, when you are making a device that does one thing, such as deep learning, it is a much simpler thing to do. Google managed to do it with no GPU experience and is still ahead of NVDA. It is likely that Intel will be able to enter this space successfully, as they have widely signalled with the Xe. There is of course the other large negative driver for Deep Learning, and that is the recession we are now in. Demand for GPU instances on Amazon has collapsed across the board, as evidenced by the fall in pricing. The below graph shows one example: this data is for renting out a single Tesla V100 GPU on AWS, which isthe typical thing to do in an early exploratory phase for a Deep Learning model: 📷 https://hyperinflation2020.tumblr.com/private/618396177958944768/tumblr_Q86inWdeCwgeakUvh With Deep Learning not delivering near-term tangible results, it is the first thing being cut. On their most recent conference call, IBM noted weakness in their cognitive division (AI), and noted weaker sales of their power servers, which is the line that houses Enterprise GPU servers at IBM. Facebook cancelled their AI residencies for this year, and Google pushed theirs out. Even if NVDA can put in a good quarter due to their new product rollout (Ampere), the future is rapidly becoming a very stormy place. For the Quadro segment The Quadro segment has been a cash cow for a long time, generating dependable sales and solid margins. AMD just decided to rock the boat a bit. Sensing NVDA’s focus on Deep Learning, AMD seems to be focusing on HPC – the Radeon VII announced recently with a price point of $1899 takes aim at NVDAs most expensive Quadro, the GV100, priced at $8999. It does 6.5 TFLOPS of FP64 Double precision, whereas the GV100 does 7.4 – talk about shaking up a quiet segment. Pulling things together Let’s go back to what NVidia fundamentally does – paying their engineers to design chips, getting TSMC to print those chips, and getting board partners in Taiwan to turn them into the final product. We have seen how a confluence of several pieces of extremely good fortune lined up to increase NVidia’s sales and profits tremendously: first on the Gaming side, weak competition from AMD until 2014, coupled with a great product in form of Pascal in 2016, followed by a huge crypto driven boom in 2017 and 2018, and on the Professional side, a sudden and unexpected increase in interest in Deep Learning driving Tesla demand from 2017-2019 sky high. It is worth noting what these transient factors have done to margins. When unexpected good things happen to a chip company, sales go up a lot, but there are no costs associated with those sales. Strong demand means that you can sell each chip for a higher price, but no additional design work is required, and you still pay the printer, TSMC, the same amount of money. Consequently NVDA’s margins have gone up substantially: well above their 11.9% long term average to hit a peak of 33.2%, and more recently 26.5%: 📷 https://hyperinflation2020.tumblr.com/private/618396192166100992/tumblr_RiWaD0RLscq4midoP The question is, what would be a sensible margin going forward? Obviously 33% operating margin would attract a wall of competition and get competed away, which is why they can only be temporary. However, NVidia has shifted to having a greater proportion of its sales coming from non-OEM, and has a greater proportion of its sales coming from Professional rather than gaming. As such, maybe one can be generous and say NVDA can earn an 18% average operating margin over the next cycle. We can sense check these margins, using Intel. Intel has a long term average EBIT margin of about 25%. Intel happens to actually print the chips as well, so they collect a bigger fraction of the final product that they sell. NVDA, since it only does the design aspect, can’t earn a higher EBIT margin than Intel on average over the long term. Tesla sales have likely gone too far and will moderate from here – perhaps down to a still more than respectable $2bn per year. Gaming resumes the long-term slide in discrete GPUs, which will likely be replaced by integrated GPUs to a greater and greater extent over time. But let’s be generous and say it maintains $3.5 Bn Per year for the add in board, and let’s assume we keep getting $750mn odd of Nintendo Switch revenues(despite that product being past peak of cycle, with Nintendo themselves forecasting a sales decline). Let’s assume AMD struggles to make progress in Quadro, despite undercutting NVDA on price by 75%, with continued revenues at $1200. Add on the other 1.2Bn of Automotive, OEM and IP (I am not even counting the fact that car sales have collapsed and Automotive is likely to be down big), and we would end up with revenues of $8.65 Bn, at an average operating margin of 20% through the cycle that would have $1.75Bn of operating earnings power, and if I say that the recent Mellanox acquisition manages to earn enough to pay for all the interest on NVDAs debt, and I assume a tax rate of 15% we would have around $1.5Bn in Net income. This company currently has a market capitalisation of $209 Bn. It blows my mind that it trades on 139x what I consider to be fairly generous earnings – earnings that NVidia never even got close to seeing before the confluence of good luck hit them. But what really stuns me is the fact that investors are actually willing to extrapolate this chain of unlikely and positive events into the future. Shockingly, Intel has a market cap of 245Bn, only 40Bn more than NVDA, but Intel’s sales and profits are 7x higher. And while Intel is facing competition from AMD, it is much more likely to hold onto those sales and profits than NVDA is. These are absolutely stunning valuation disparities. If I didn’t see NVDA’s price, and I started from first principles and tried to calculate a prudent price for the company I would have estimated a$1.5Bn normalised profit, maybe on a 20x multiple giving them the benefit of the doubt despite heading into a huge recession, and considering the fact that there is not much debt and the company is very well run. That would give you a market cap of $30Bn, and a share price of $49. And it is currently $339. Wow. Obviously I’m short here!
https://preview.redd.it/9evc1yd1kyi51.png?width=1000&format=png&auto=webp&s=60bbf844bcf676e26305e96e8b3f507a04e76673 Social trading is a growing new trend in the cryptocurrency space that has seen it become one of the fastest-growing sub-sectors over the last few years. While forms of social trading such as the commonly known, “copy trading”, have been used predominantly with traditional assets such as stocks and currencies, a new kind of social trading known as “covesting” has been widely adopted by cryptocurrency traders over the past few years and is continuing to grow. We’re breaking down what social trading actually is, how covesting is superior to other forms of social trading that have been around for a number of years, and the integration of covesting into the core of the world's leading multi-asset margin trading platform, PrimeXBT. What is Social Trading? Social trading is the process of multiple traders working together in order to collectively improve their individual profits, with this typically taking a form of resource sharing such as pooling capital, sharing market knowledge, or the trades of experienced traders being copied by less experienced traders. While social trading has been a major part of the traditional asset market for more than a decade, cryptocurrency market has been slow to catch up and for much of the last 10 years of the life of cryptocurrency there were no options available for traders to engage in social trading with cryptocurrencies. In 2020 however, social trading in the crypto market has taken off, and especially over the past few years has grown dramatically in its popularity amongst cryptocurrency traders and investors. How is Covesting Better than Other Forms of Social Trading? Covesting is the newest form of social trading which has been designed to supersede pre-existing methods of social trading that are sub-optimal in comparison. Other forms of social trading, such as copy trading, typically connect traders in a simplified way with inefficiencies being present in the way that resources are shared between copy traders. In comparison, covesting is the most efficient way for traders to be able to work together, by providing a flexible-yet-powerful structure for traders to use in order to interact with each other. Covesting is based around the creation of peer-to-peer investment funds by strategy managers that have a proven track record for being able to generate profits in global markets, while allowing all traders to transparently see the success rates of each fund, their risk profile, and details about the nature of these strategies being used. What is PrimeXBT’s Covesting Module? https://preview.redd.it/166rion3kyi51.png?width=2544&format=png&auto=webp&s=e9cf1adb2e22017fa2d1d5e37ee749c16bb28fd6 Covesting has been used for a number of years in the cryptocurrency market, with it originally being designed by crypto social trading giant, Covesting.io, and through a partnership with advanced multi-asset margin trading platform, PrimeXBT, traders at the latter platform are now also able to use covesting to maximize their profitability. Since April, PrimeXBT’s Covesting module has been running a beta phase with more than $1 million in equity provided by followers during the phase, and ROI’s of up to 360% being generated by the most profitable strategy managers during this period as well. Traders are able to covest on PrimeXBT seamlessly using the module, which has now been fully launched with the successful conclusion of the beta phase, and this allows traders to create strategy-based investment funds, and for followers to access a diverse range of investment opportunities. What is the Roadmap for the Covesting Module? There are a range of proposed features and upgrades that make up the Covesting modules roadmap, with development and release of these features predicted throughout 2020. In order to allow followers to have more granular control over the funds and to be able to better manage their maximum drawdown, individual stop losses for each follower will be available, and are included as one of the main features of the roadmap. Two additional features in the covesting roadmap which will both improve the transparency of the platform and the provision of more detailed data for followers are the creation and integration of additional risk metrics, as well as upgrading the ratings logic of the platform in order to optimize the way the followers are able to assess each fund. How to Get Started with Covesting https://preview.redd.it/umkootz4kyi51.png?width=2218&format=png&auto=webp&s=401c3c815ddf4fe7bc05ac14bc9fd668a1bf8ed2 Any user of PrimeXBT is automatically able to access the full suite of features in the Covesting module, and may do so by clicking on the “Covesting” link in the top tab of the user interface. There are no restrictions or requirements for traders to be able to create their own strategy and begin interacting with potential followers, and to begin building their reputation and ratings as a result of successfully trading in the market. All users PrimeXBT are likewise able to click on the Covesting module’s link in the top bar of the user interface, and then to compare the ratings and performance of a wide range of different strategy managers, being able to seamlessly select a fund to follow with a varying range of investment being possible. In Summary Covesting is a newer and more powerful form of social trading which has grown rapidly in popularity throughout the cryptocurrency market, and is providing traders and investors with unique forms of value and opportunities for generating profit. After a successful beta phase since April, covesting on PrimeXBT is now fully launched and available for all users to create their own strategies and begin seeking investment, or to be able to leverage the knowledge and experience of professional traders in order to reduce risk and increase profit. For more information about PrimeXBT’s Covesting module and how to get started, check out this link.
Crypto margin trading is a trading practice that allows traders to gain greater exposure to a specific asset by borrowing capital from other traders on an exchange or the exchange itself. In contrast with regular trading in which traders use their own capital to fund trades, margin trading allows traders to multiply the amount of capital they are able to trade. How does crypto margin trading work? There are noticeable differences and variations in rules between different crypto margin trading platforms, but it follows more or less the same principles. In general, the margin trading works the following way. The trader commits a percentage of the total order value. How does Crypto Margin Trading works? Besides understanding what leverage means, crypto traders should also pay attention to these 3 things: Maintenance Margin; According to Investopedia, maintenance margin is the minimum amount of equity (in the form of funds/positions) that must be maintained in a margin account. In the context of the crypto Crypto margin trading is a trading practice that allows traders to gain greater exposure to a specific asset by borrowing capital from other traders on an exchange or the exchange itself. In contrast with regular trading in which traders use their own capital to fund trades, margin trading allows traders to multiply the amount of capital they are able to trade. Crypto margin trading may not be for everyone. However, those that are able to use if effectively and in a risk controlled manner can increase their returns for a set amount of capital. It gives them the ability to trade on borrowed money.
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