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<>All the features of a standard mutual fund apply to a money market fund, with one key difference. A money market fund aims to maintain a net asset value (NAV) of $1 per share. Any excess earnings that get generated through interest on the portfolio holdings are distributed to the investors in the form of dividend payments. Investors can purchase or redeem shares of money market funds through investment fund companies, brokerage firms, and banks.

Commercial paper has become a common component of money markets funds as they have evolved from holding only government bonds—their original mainstay—to boost yields. However, it was this reliance on commercial paper that led to the Reserve Primary Fund crisis. In addition to the post-financial crisis reforms in 2010, mentioned above, the SEC adopted fundamental structural changes to the regulations of money market funds. 

<>The world then decided to have fixed exchange rates that resulted in the U.S. dollar being the primary reserve currency and that it would be the only currency backed by gold, this is known as the ‘Bretton Woods System’ and it happened in 1944 (I know you super excited to know that). In 1971 the U.S. declared that it would no longer exchange gold for U.S. dollars that were held in foreign reserves, this marked the end of the Bretton Woods System.

In 1876, something called the gold exchange standard was implemented. Basically it said that all paper currency had to be backed by solid gold; the idea here was to stabilize world currencies by pegging them to the price of gold. It was a good idea in theory, but in reality it created boom-bust patterns which ultimately led to the demise of the gold standard.

The monetary policies of the Federal Reserve Bank during the 2010s led to the short-term interest rates—the rates banks pay to borrow money from one another—hovering around zero percent. The near zero rates meant money market fund investors saw returns significantly lower, compared to those in the prior decades. Further, with the tightening of regulations after the 2008 financial crisis, the number of investable securities grew smaller.

<>Currency trading was very difficult for individual investors prior to the internet. Most currency traders were large multinational corporations, hedge funds or high-net-worth individuals because forex trading required a lot of capital. With help from the internet, a retail market aimed at individual traders has emerged, providing easy access to the foreign exchange markets, either through the banks themselves or brokers making a secondary market. Most online brokers or dealers offer very high leverage to individual traders who can control a large trade with a small account balance.

<>^ See Markus K. Brunnermeir,Deciphering the 2007-08 Liquidity and Credit Crunch, Journal of Economic Perspectives (May, 2008)(arguing that investment banks reliance on commercial paper and repo markets had increased over the last 3 years. This reliance is seen in the fact that 25% of assets purchased by investment banks had been funded through the repo market.)

Cryptocurrencies are digital gold. Sound money that is secure from political influence. Money that promises to preserve and increase its value over time. Cryptocurrencies are also a fast and comfortable means of payment with a worldwide scope, and they are private and anonymous enough to serve as a means of payment for black markets and any other outlawed economic activity.

<>Within a cryptocurrency network, only miners can confirm transactions by solving a cryptographic puzzle. They take transactions, mark them as legitimate and spread them across the network. Afterwards, every node of the network adds it to its database. Once the transaction is confirmed it becomes unforgeable and irreversible and a miner receives a reward, plus the transaction fees.

<>From the outset, money market funds fell under the jurisdiction of the SEC as they appeared to be more like investments (most similar to traditional stocks and bonds) vs. deposits and loans (cash and cash equivalents the domain of the bankers). Although money market funds are quite close to and are often accounted for as cash equivalents their main regulator, the SEC, has zero mandate to control the supply of money, limit the overall extension of credit, mitigate against boom and bust cycles, etc. The SEC’s focus remains on adequate disclosure of risk, and honesty and integrity in financial reporting and trading markets. After adequate disclosure, the SEC adopts a hands off, let the buyer beware attitude.

<>Investors – Investment firms who manage large portfolios for their clients use the Fx market to facilitate transactions in foreign securities. For example, an investment manager controlling an international equity portfolio needs to use the Forex market to purchase and sell several currency pairs in order to pay for foreign securities they want to purchase.

The U.S. News Best Mutual Fund rankings combine expert analyst opinions and fund-level data to rank over 4,500 mutual funds. Rankings reflect a variety of popular fund rating systems which track funds’ historical and current performance, risk and other metrics to help investors understand each fund’s overall strategy and quality. To learn more about how the funds are ranked, see the methodology.

<>In 2008, following the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, the venerable Reserve Primary Fund broke the buck: It held millions of Lehman's debt obligations, and panicked redemptions by its investors caused its NAV to fall to 97 cents per share. The pullout of money caused the Reserve Primary Fund to close and triggered mayhem throughout the money markets.

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