Is Cryptocurrency the Best Hedge Against War?

Is Cryptocurrency the Best Hedge Against War?

Are you prepared for Armageddon? We’re not talking about a concrete bunker 30 feet below ground. We’re not talking about a store of AK-47s, five years’ supply of canned food and some anti-zombie defence.

We’re talking about…actually maybe we are talking about that kind of Armageddon.

Let’s say North Korea sends a ‘nuke’ over to Seoul via airmail. And let’s say the US reply with their own ‘postal service’. We would be confident that stock markets around the world would fall.

It’s pretty rare that markets rise on the prospect of global warfare (to start with, at least). Often they’ll quickly realise that it’s not as horrible as it seems and then march on to record highs. But only after falling initially.

But with the world almost constantly anticipating a Third World War, you have to ask, what will happen if there actually is one?

Will you need to brush up on your hand-to-hand combat skills? Probably. But that’s what Liam Neeson movies are (now) for. Will you need to learn the basics of survival, including how to find water, track food and navigate without Google Maps? Probably. But that’s what Google Maps ‘offline mode’ is for.

Those things are important. But more important is your financial preparation. So, are you prepared? Financially? If war breaks out or any other massive crisis, are you financially ready for it?

The money tree is a real thing

You might say yes. You might have moved your money into cash. And you’re now safe, secure and sitting pretty. But what if not even cash is safe in all-out war? Are you 100% confident that you’ll be able to get your money out of the bank? Can you say for certain that the ATMs will still work?

Really? Ask the people of Cyprus how the ATMs were in 2013.

OK, so maybe you store your cash under the bed. Or maybe you have gold. Two reasonable defences. But they’re no good to you if war doesn’t break out. Remember there is no war right now. There might be in the future. But there might also not be.

So then you’re pretty screwed too. That cash isn’t going to work for you while there is no war. And that gold? Well it might go up in value a little. It might lose value a little. At best it might double your money one day. That’d be nice.

Wrong. That’d suck. Doubling your money is no good. That’s not what you invest for. You invest to make five, ten, 100 times your money. That’s where real wealth is made.

But how can you even contemplate returns like that when we’re on the brink of war or crisis?

At this point you might anticipate I’ll be suggesting buying stocks. Small-cap, microcap or technology stocks. But again, you’d be wrong.

What if I said there was a way to hedge yourself against crisis that didn’t involve stocks? What if there was somewhere to put your money that works for you when things are great and works even better for you when things are rubbish?

Would that be something you’d want to know more about? Making money when things are good. And making money when things are bad. All in the one kind of investment. Sounds like that ethereal money tree, doesn’t it?

Well I used to think money trees were as real as a leprechaun riding a unicorn. And then I discovered bitcoin back in 2010.

In its early days bitcoin was the money tree. You could simply use a (reasonably powerful) computer to ‘mine’ bitcoin. If you were successful in ‘mining’ a block on bitcoin’s blockchain, you’d get 50 bitcoin. Mining just one block back in 2010 would today be worth US$66,500. But back then 50 coins was actually worth about US$150.

Today mining bitcoin is way harder. It’s near on impossible for an average user at home to ‘mine’ blocks. Today for people like you and me, the easiest way to get bitcoin is to buy it.

And that’s something I’ve been advocating for a while now. You see, bitcoin is one of the best hedges against crisis or war that I’ve ever seen.

The primary reason is because a central bank or a government does not control it. It’s a distributed, decentralised system that allows people to anonymously store wealth. And when there’s a financial crisis, bitcoin tends to do very well.

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Japan is in trouble, but at least they like bitcoin

Japan for instance looks like it’s going to print a whole heap more cash. Their 10-year bond yields are once again back down around the 0% mark. Despite their relentless pursuit of quantitative easing and printing cash the Yen has (somehow) been holding on. But not for long. The Yen could be in for some serious pain. And that’s worrying for anyone living and earning in Japan.

If your country is dead set on running its economy into zombieland, what else can you do with your money? Well Japan actually accounts for around 41% of the bitcoin exchange market. And Japan has just recently legalised bitcoin as a legitimate method of payment.

What we’re seeing is Japan looking at alternative options for its citizens. Perhaps bitcoin will become the main currency of Japan. Imagine what that would do to the price of bitcoin! But remember, this is only possible because Japan’s economy is on life support.

And it’s also no surprise that with North Korea on the brink of war, the price of bitcoin has continued to rise to all-time highs. It’s now at US$1,388 at the time of writing. That’s more than US$100 higher than an ounce of gold.

It’s also the best performing currency across the world year to date. The worse things get, the better bitcoin does. And then even if things are good, it still does well. That’s because, in our view, it’s the financial system of the future.

The cryptocurrency world is the Wild West

But bitcoin isn’t the only coin of its type. There’s a whole world of ‘cryptocurrencies’ that you can buy and hold your wealth in. There are cryptocurrencies like Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, Dash, Golem and NEM that you can buy and sell, invest in, and hold long term.

We’ve been involved in this area of investing since 2014. We’ve seen big wins, big losses, bankrupt businesses, theft, fraud and everything in-between. We know the market better than anyone else we know. And we think the market is now mature enough that non-tech people, people who are curious and want to know more, should have an opportunity to do so.

Of course this area of investing isn’t for rookies. It’s really still the ‘wild west’. If you don’t know the difference between POW, POS, ICO, blocks, smart contracts, ASIC, hard or soft fork, multisig or the difference between a public and private key, then you need a tour guide.

We think that investing in cryptocurrencies could be the best and biggest opportunity of 2017 and even for the next decade. If you’re interested in more information on how to navigate this digital minefield, then we’d love to hear from you. It might just result in an investment service that no one else in Australia is doing.

Regards,
Sam

Sam Volkering

Sam Volkering is Editor for Money Morning and its small-cap, cryptocurrency and technology expert. Find out what he has to say here with all his latest articles.

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