Alternative Investments

Alternative InvestmentsHighlight

Bitcoin boss for cautious investment

Bitcoin investment

Head of Bitcoin Foundation cautions people not to invest more than they can afford

As billions lack access to formal banking, mobile money is getting increasingly popular. In Africa, more users are taking to Bitcoin. It is getting particularly popular in Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya. The crypto currency has lot of potential in countries with volatile economies.

However, the head of Washington-based Bitcoin Foundation, Llews Claasen sounded a note of caution, urging people not to invest more than they can afford in the crypto currency. He was speaking at the TEDGlobal conference in Tanzania regarding the potential of Bitcoin in Africa. Bitcoin Foundation is a non-profit organisation that promotes the use of Bitcoin around the world. The crypto currency relies on blockchain, a digital technology that records every transaction.

Mr Claasen said,

“It offers people a chance to protect their savings from government abuse of monetary policy.

“A lot of people in Zimbabwe are interested in it as an alternative financial system, but that is not an easy thing to do formally as we don’t want to be perceived as wanting to disrupt economies,”

he told in an interview.

Read More: Investors are pouring thousands into rare whisky

He said that the tokenisation of crypto-currency could also have a big impact on Africa. Under tokenisation of crypto currency, rights to an asset are converted into a digital token on a blockchain.

“It means a small business owner can tokenise shares in his business so investors do not have to go through a central intermediary or register their shares.”

He said that it would make it easier for investors to put money in and take it out of businesses. However, he agreed that Bitcoin, in its present form, is not a great alternative to cash. But added that network upgrade would make mobile-based transactions easier. The upgrade would be done in the next six to twelve months.

“Currently the network has a transactional input of three to four transactions per second, which isn’t great if you want to use it as cash.

“But once the upgrade goes live, effectively there will be no limit to the transactions the network can handle.”

Recently, the value of one Bitcoin touched 4,500 (£3,470), the highest all-time value.

“To be honest Bitcoin is not a great form of cash right now. Don’t think of it as cash, think of it as a digital form of gold that enables you to save outside of the current financial climate,”

he said.

“They read an article about it which may or may not be true and make decisions about its long-term future, and that is why we have extreme swings,”

he said.

He said that in the future, there would be two currencies for everyone – one would be the local currency and the other would be the crypto currency. He dismissed an EU report sometime back that suggested misuse of the crypto currency in the form of tax evasion and money laundering. The report had cited the potential criminal use of bitcoin because of the anonymous nature of the blockchain-based currency.

“It found that there was not a lot of large-scale criminal behaviour,”

he said.

“Bitcoin is not completely anonymous and it is fairly easy for someone, say a revenue officer, to work backwards to find who was responsible for a transaction.”

Read More: Investment trusts preferred for in demand alternatives

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Alternative Investments

Investors are pouring thousands into rare whisky

Investors rare whisky

Investors are investing huge money in rare whisky

Investors are pouring money in rare whisky and the value of old and rare whisky is touching record high prices. The market of old and rare whisky is seeing great investment. In the UK alone, bottles of Scotch broke a record high of £11.18 million ($14.34 million), which is a rise of 94% from the first half of 2016, said report. Out of the various types, a 50-year-old single malt brand, Macallan, was the most expensive Scotch sold in the first half of the year. It sold for £65,210 ($83,656), up from a previous high of £17,000 ($21,808) in 2015. Sale of Scotch to Asia grew has grown by 55 per cent in the last 12 months.

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HighlightPrecious Metals

Gold jewellery demand down in the UK

Gold jewellery uk

Demand for gold jewellery in the UK falls: World Gold Council

Demand for gold has decreased in Europe, according to the World Gold Council (WGC). The demand is particularly down in the UK where demand fell 10% to a three-year low of 3.8t. The council released its gold trend for Q2 2017 and reported a 4% fall in demand for gold jewellery across Europe. Globally, the demand for gold jewellery was 480.8t which was 8% higher year-on-year. In some parts, global gold demand in Q2 2017 fell 10% compared with the same period in 2016.

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Precious Metals

Gold slips on tensions over the Korean peninsula

Gold slips

Gold falls as investors kept a close watch on Korean peninsula

Gold fell as the dollar went up, but held near two-month highs as investors kept a close watch on tensions over the Korean peninsula. Spot gold was down 0.2 per cent at $1,286.39 per ounce after marking its highest since June 7 at $1,291.86 an ounce. U.S. gold futures for December delivery fell 0.12 per cent to $1,292.4 per ounce.

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Precious Metals

Gold worth $248bn kept under London’s streets

London gold

A majority of London’s gold is reportedly kept in vaults under the Bank of London

A majority of the UK’s gold is kept under London and it is worth £172 billion ($248 billion). Out of the 6,256 tonnes of gold kept under the Capital’s streets, the majority – 5,134 tonnes – is reportedly kept in vaults under the Bank of England on Threadneedle Street.

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Precious Metals

Physical gold is the best hedge against economic uncertainties

Physical gold

Physical gold is the best hedge against unpredictable monetary policies and economic risks

Holding gold is desirable but it depends on the form of the precious metal in which you hold it, to really pay you off in the long term.

It is not about just holding gold, but the form matters which give you protection against global economic uncertainties. Holding gold in its physical form is much more beneficial than other varieties of gold holdings. Investing in gold offers tax benefits and security which makes it an attractive choice over other forms of investment.

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Alternative Investments

Government to crack down on pension scam

pension scam

Government plans to come down heavily on fraudsters tricking pensioners

There has been demand for strict measures as the UK pension scam gets bigger and serious. Millions of pounds are siphoned away by the scammers, which has created serious concerns across the country. An increasing number of savers are falling prey to the massive scam hitting the country.

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Precious Metals

Low platinum cost pushes jewellery demand


For budget-conscious ring-bearers, the preferred material might be platinum.

According to Platinum Guild International, the low platinum price in 2016 had retailers stocking up on the precious metal, with Indians and Americans the most likely to put a platinum ring on it. In India platinum demand soared 11.4%, while in the U.S., demand grew 5.4%.

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