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A cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that uses cryptography for security. A cryptocurrency is difficult to counterfeit because of this security feature. Many cryptocurrencies are decentralized systems based on blockchain technology, a distributed ledger enforced by a disparate network of computers. A defining feature of a cryptocurrency, and arguably its biggest allure, is its organic nature; it is not issued by any central authority, rendering it theoretically immune to government interference or manipulation.

Our list is broken out into three groupings of recommended mutual funds: “building-block funds” for the core of your portfolio, offering you broad exposure to stocks and bonds; “custom funds” to help you tilt toward specific strategies, such as value or dividend investing; and “one-decision funds,” which are single funds offering you exposure to both equities and fixed income. Here’s a roundup of what we consider the best mutual funds right now:

A Government money fund (as of the SEC's July 24, 2014 rule release) is one that invests at least 99.5% of its total assets in cash, government securities, and/or repurchase agreements that are “collateralized fully” (i.e., collateralized by cash or government securities). A Treasury fund is a type of government money fund that invests in US Treasury Bills, Bonds and Notes.

The first cryptocurrency to capture the public imagination was Bitcoin, which was launched in 2009 by an individual or group known under the pseudonym, Satoshi Nakamoto. As of February 2019, there were over 17.53 million bitcoins in circulation with a total market value of around $63 billion (although the market price of bitcoin can fluctuate quite a bit). Bitcoin's success has spawned a number of competing cryptocurrencies, known as "altcoins" such as Litecoin, Namecoin and Peercoin, as well as Ethereum, EOS, and Cardano. Today, there are literally thousands of cryptocurrencies in existence, with an aggregate market value of over $120 billion (Bitcoin currently represents more than 50% of the total value).

<>A lot of concerns have been raised regarding cryptocurrencies’ decentralized nature and their ability to be used almost completely anonymously. The authorities all over the world are worried about the cryptocurrencies’ appeal to the traders of illegal goods and services. Moreover, they are worried about their use in money laundering and tax evasion schemes.

This free Forex mini-course is designed to teach you the basics of the Forex market and Forex trading in a non-boring way. I know you can find this information elsewhere on the web, but let’s face it; most of it is scattered and pretty dry to read. I will try to make this tutorial as fun as possible so that you can learn about Forex trading and have a good time doing it.

There are currently more than 9,000 mutual funds that hold more than $16 trillion in assets. In part because of increased competition for those assets from lower-cost ETFs, mutual fund expenses continue to decline. Expense ratios averaged 0.63 percent in 2016 compared with 1.04 percent in 1996, according to the Investment Company Institute, though some funds levy additional management fees or sales charges that buyers should be aware of before purchasing.

An increase in cryptocurrency mining increased the demand of graphics cards (GPU) in 2017.[37] Popular favorites of cryptocurrency miners such as Nvidia's GTX 1060 and GTX 1070 graphics cards, as well as AMD's RX 570 and RX 580 GPUs, doubled or tripled in price – or were out of stock.[38] A GTX 1070 Ti which was released at a price of $450 sold for as much as $1100. Another popular card GTX 1060's 6 GB model was released at an MSRP of $250, sold for almost $500. RX 570 and RX 580 cards from AMD were out of stock for almost a year. Miners regularly buy up the entire stock of new GPU's as soon as they are available.[39]

Properties of cryptocurrencies gave them popularity in applications such as a safe haven in banking crises and means of payment, which also led to the cryptocurrency use in controversial settings in the form of online black markets, such as Silk Road.[66] The original Silk Road was shut down in October 2013 and there have been two more versions in use since then. In the year following the initial shutdown of Silk Road, the number of prominent dark markets increased from four to twelve, while the amount of drug listings increased from 18,000 to 32,000.[66]

<>While some mutual funds are index funds, which aim to track the performance of a specific market index, most are actively managed, meaning fund managers follow an investment strategy to buy and sell a variety of securities in an attempt to beat the market. There are funds that focus on nearly every part of the market, and buyers can invest in a variety of assets including equities, bonds, real estate and commodities.

<>In general, the NAV will stay close to $1, but is expected to fluctuate above and below, and will break the buck more often.[24][25][26] Different managers place different emphases on risk versus return in enhanced cash – some consider preservation of principal as paramount,[24] and thus take few risks, while others see these as more bond-like, and an opportunity to increase yield without necessarily preserving principal. These are typically available only to institutional investors, not retail investors.

“If the trend continues, the average person will not be able to afford to purchase one whole bitcoin in 2 years. As global economies inflate and markets exhibit signs of recession, the world will turn to Bitcoin as a hedge against fiat turmoil and an escape against capital controls. Bitcoin is the way out, and cryptocurrency as a whole is never going away, it’s going to grow in use and acceptance as it matures.”

<>In cryptocurrency networks, mining is a validation of transactions. For this effort, successful miners obtain new cryptocurrency as a reward. The reward decreases transaction fees by creating a complementary incentive to contribute to the processing power of the network. The rate of generating hashes, which validate any transaction, has been increased by the use of specialized machines such as FPGAs and ASICs running complex hashing algorithms like SHA-256 and Scrypt.[30] This arms race for cheaper-yet-efficient machines has been on since the day the first cryptocurrency, bitcoin, was introduced in 2009.[30] With more people venturing into the world of virtual currency, generating hashes for this validation has become far more complex over the years, with miners having to invest large sums of money on employing multiple high performance ASICs. Thus the value of the currency obtained for finding a hash often does not justify the amount of money spent on setting up the machines, the cooling facilities to overcome the enormous amount of heat they produce, and the electricity required to run them.[30][31]

Under the provisions, a money fund mainly invests in the top-rated debt instruments, and they should have a maturity period under 13 months. The money market fund portfolio is required to maintain a weighted average maturity (WAM) period of 60 days or less. This WAM requirement means that the average maturity period of all the invested instruments taken in proportion to their weights in the fund portfolio should not be more than 60 days. This maturity limitation is done to ensure that only highly liquid instruments qualify for investments, and the investor’s money is not locked-in long maturity instruments that can mar the liquidity.

Money market funds seek to limit exposure to losses due to credit, market, and liquidity risks. Money market funds in the United States are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) under the Investment Company Act of 1940. Rule 2a-7 of the act restricts the quality, maturity and diversity of investments by money market funds. Under this act, a money fund mainly buys the highest rated debt, which matures in under 13 months. The portfolio must maintain a weighted average maturity (WAM) of 60 days or less and not invest more than 5% in any one issuer, except for government securities and repurchase agreements.[4]

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.

<>Forex, also known as foreign exchange, FX or currency trading, is a decentralized global market where all the world's currencies trade. The forex market is the largest, most liquid market in the world with an average daily trading volume exceeding $5 trillion. All the world's combined stock markets don't even come close to this. But what does that mean to you? Take a closer look at forex trading and you may find some exciting trading opportunities unavailable with other investments.

<>Since prices are based on supply and demand, the rate at which a cryptocurrency can be exchanged for another currency can fluctuate widely. However, plenty of research has been undertaken to identify the fundamental price drivers of cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin has indeed experienced some rapid surges and collapses in value, reaching as high as $19,000 per bitcoin in December of 2017 before returning to around $7,000 in the following months. Cryptocurrencies are thus considered by some economists to be a short-lived fad or speculative bubble. There is concern especially that the currency units, such as bitcoins, are not rooted in any material goods. Some research has identified that the cost of producing a bitcoin, which takes an increasingly large amount of energy, is directly related to its market price.

<>Standard Variable NAV VNAV– Standard MMFs must be VNAV funds.Funds are primarily invested in money market instruments, deposits and other short-term assets. Funds are subject to looser liquidity rules than Public Debt CNAV and LVNAV funds AND may invest in assets of much longer maturity.Units in the funds are purchased or redeemed at a variable price calculated to the equivalent of at least four significant figures (e.g. 10,000.00).

Scott Picken