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What is a commodity pool?

Commodity pools are like the REITs of the commodity world, and some of them can be categorized as hedge funds or managed futures accounts (MFAs). Accredited investors, who meet qualifying requirements regarding income and total net worth, pool their money to be managed by a commodity pool operator (CPO) or commodity trading advisor (CTA) for the purpose of investing in commodities and commodity derivative instruments. Continue reading...

What are Bitcoin Mining Pools?

Individuals who do not have the computing power to compete with large bitcoin mining operations can join a mining pool and split the rewards. Mining pools allow individuals with insufficient computing power to join a mining pool and split the rewards proportionally to the amount of computer power that they contributed. If a user contributes 3% of the computing power that it took for the pool to solve a block, that user will receive 3% of the reward. Continue reading...

Who is a commodity trading advisor (CTA)?

A Commodity Trading Advisor (CTA) is registered with the National Futures Association (NFA) to manage client funds in a managed futures account (MFA) or other pooled investment such as a hedge fund or commodity pool in which the primary instruments being used are commodity futures, swaps, and other commodities derivatives. CTAs are a particular type of money manager specializing in commodities. Commodities Trading Advisors (CTAs) are licensed to manage commodity pools, managed futures accounts, and commodity-based hedge funds on behalf of clients. Continue reading...

What are “Dark Pools” of Money?

Large institutional investors sometimes trade on “Electronic Trading Crossing Networks," which allow them to conduct trades without publicly exposing them. They are used by financial institutions to move large blocks of shares without public investors even knowing about such transactions. Such examples of networks are “Liquidnet,” “Pipeline,” “SIGMA X,” and many others. It might be difficult to fathom the size of the transactions conducted over these networks, but the ownership of dark pools involves almost every institutional trading house. This is a huge business and regulators are carefully looking into their activities. Continue reading...

What is an Investment Manager?

An investment manager’s job is to adhere to the guidelines set forth in a prospectus while directing the decision-making process for a pooled investment company such as a mutual fund. He must remain accountable to the shareholders and observe SEC regulations while attempting to generate the best returns possible. Investment managers direct the flow of assets and trading in an investment account, usually a pooled investment using the funds of various numbers of investors, while seeking to serve the best interests of the investors whom he serves. Continue reading...

What is an Income Annuity?

Income annuities are used by people in retirement to give them a steady, dependable stream of income until they die. It is a financial product sold by a life insurance company, which serves as a kind of longevity insurance, so that people cannot outlive their money. People often roll lump sums from 401(k)s into these plans. Though inflexible, the income payout rate is designed to be appealing when compared to most retirement investments. Continue reading...

How Do You Set Up a Bitcoin Miner?

Setting up a bitcoin miner can be as simple as downloading a mining client program, or as complicated as building a custom rig. Bitcoin mining used to be cheaper and easier to do than it is today, but it can still be relatively simple to execute. In the past, a computer with a CPU could crunch through enough hashes to solve a few blocks and turn a profit. Now, a good GPU, that is, a Graphics Processing Unit card connected to the motherboard of a computer, or a series of GPUs, is par for the course because they can perform many times as many hashes per second than a CPU can alone. This is the case even if the CPU has several cores, and it just has to do with the way that GPUs handle their work. Continue reading...

What are REITs?

REITs are pooled investments similar to mutual funds, but, like mutual funds, they can take many shapes. They invest in different kinds of real estate and real estate-oriented assets, depending on the REIT, and sell ownership shares to investors. REIT is an acronym for Real Estate Investment Trust. REITs are similar to mutual funds, except that they only invest in real estate properties and related companies and assets such as mortgages. REITs will define the scope of their investments and strategies in their prospectus, which may read something like “We invest only in commercial Real Estate” or “Only in residential houses in Las Vegas” while other REITs are very general. Continue reading...

What is Bitcoin lending?

The cryptocurrency community has opened up creative options for making money in the form of lending platforms. A few forms of lending exist for cryptocurrencies at the time of this writing. One way to do it is to make your funds available in a lending market facilitated by an exchange, such as Poloniex, where you can name your interest rate and allow other traders to use your funds for trading on margin. Continue reading...

How Do You Calculate Mining Profitability?

Mining for cryptocurrency may or may not be profitable for you, but the good news is that you can easily run the numbers. Mining profitability is will primarily depend on the hashrate (mining speed) of your mining hardware, and the amount of energy it takes to run the hardware. Mining software usually comes with system monitors that will tell you with a fair degree of accuracy what the numbers are, and several online calculators exist to help as well. The cost of energy is the main concern, many miners will seek to be near the cheapest sources of energy, such as a hydroelectric plant in Sweden or countries with energy subsidies such as China. Continue reading...

What is a Life Annuity?

Annuities are primarily designed to pay a substantially similar sum at regular intervals until the annuitant dies. Life insurance companies write these contracts since they are designed as a kind of longevity insurance. A lifetime income annuity, sometimes called a life annuity, is a stream of guaranteed payments for the duration of the annuitant’s life, based on the sum used to purchase the lifetime income and the age of the annuitant at the time of purchase. Life annuities can also be joint-life, meaning the contract will pay an amount to either of two people as long as one is alive. Continue reading...

What is Life Expectancy?

Life Expectancy at Birth Statistics — Found Here Life expectancy may be different for each subset of the population, based on risk factors and age. It is most commonly discussed as the average for an entire population or a specific age group, without regard for specific health risks that may be present. Life expectancy may come into play in discussions of the economy, the health of a population, or for individual planning purposes. Actuarial tables with life expectancy are published by government entities and private companies. The most basic variable will be age. Continue reading...

What is After-Hours Trading?

After-Hours Trading on the Nasdaq can take place after market close from 4-8pm EST or in the pre-market hours from 4-9:30am EST. Pre- and Post-market trading used to be reserved for large institutional investors or high net worth individuals, but is now made possible through the improvements to electronic trading networks and the demand from individuals trading from their computers at home. Interestingly, institutional investors can trade anonymously on the after-hours Nasdaq market, such that virtually no one knows what positions they take during that time. This is called trading in “dark pools of liquidity.” Traders on the after-hours Nasdaq cannot make certain kinds of trades or use certain instruments. Continue reading...

What is index investing?

The main idea behind index investing is that markets are efficient, and, especially with the low fees of indexed funds, it can be a winning strategy. Index investing is a simple strategy of choosing the indices which reflect your investment beliefs and offer diversification, buying mutual funds or ETFs that track these indices, and holding them for a long period of time. The last 10 years have seen the propagation of index funds for any specific market, industry, country, commodity, etc. Continue reading...

Should I invest in commodities?

Investing in commodities has lately become accessible to even small retail investors via ETFs. There are now literally hundreds of different commodity ETFs, linked to various individual commodities and baskets (such as agricultural baskets, commodity indices, etc.) These instruments are very complex and sometimes do not reflect the behavior of the underlying commodity. While investing in commodities may significantly diversify your portfolio, it requires profound knowledge of the behavior of the underlying assets. Continue reading...

What is alpha in investing?

Alpha is a risk ratio which measures gains or losses relative to a benchmark, indicating whether an investor is being compensated with a return greater than the volatility risk being taken. Alpha’s counterpart, the Beta figure, measures how closely an investment follows movements in the market as a whole or, when examining mutual funds, how similarly the funds move to their relevant indexes. Alpha is expressed as integers, which can be translated into percentage points above or below a benchmark for a time period. Investors are interested in higher Alpha figures: the larger the positive Alpha, the more the fund in question has outperformed its benchmark. An Alpha of 2 indicates a performance 2% greater than its benchmark; inversely, a -2 Alpha would denote 2% underperformance. Continue reading...

How Does Cloud Mining Bitcoin Work?

It is possible to participate in bitcoin mining indirectly, by partially funding a remote mining operation. Cloud mining is separate and distinct from pool mining, because instead of owning hardware and pooling resources with other miners to increase the likelihood of securing profits, cloud mining simply secures funding from investors, essentially, who have a contract to participate in profits of a mining pool in a remote locations based on the bandwidth of Gigahashes/s that they would like to fund (“buy”). Continue reading...

What is a credit rating?

A credit rating is given to a company or debt issue after a disinterested third party evaluates the strength of the business or cash flow and rates its ability to pay all of its liabilities. Third-party institutions such as Standard & Poor’s (S&P), Moody’s, and Fitch will conduct research in order to give investors an idea of how likely a business, bond issue, or insurance company can pay all of its obligations. Continue reading...

Who is the best custodian for my investments?

Custodians are the institutions which hold your securities for you and provide some related services. Some will have various arrangements and relationships with exchanges and broker-dealers, and some may do everything in-house; such things have bearing on what your investment options are, how much equity you must have for margin, what kind of fees you pay for various services, and so on. Different custodians tend to structure their fees and services to a particular type of clientele or a particular account size. You may outgrow the custodian you have, or you may discover that there is a better, more affordable option for an account like yours. Continue reading...

How do I Invest in commodities?

Commodities can be acquired through brokerage services that can access the commodities markets, or you can buy the stocks of companies that bring commodities to market. Investors can also gain exposure to commodities through mutual funds and ETFs that focus on them. There are a few ways to invest in commodities. One simple way is to purchase the stock of companies that produce commodities. You can also invest through futures contracts, which are agreements to buy a certain amount of a commodity at a certain price at some point in the future; this is the primary way that commodities are traded. They can also trade at spot, which means at the current price, or through the use of other derivative instruments, such as options on futures contracts. Continue reading...