My Take On The Bitcoin Craze -- And What's Coming Next
By Andy Obermueller | February 28, 2018 |

No topic in the financial space is garnering attention like bitcoin.

Its price continues to surge (and, occasionally, plunge). Last summer, I was commissioned to write a book about trading cryptocurrencies. The price at that time was just under $3,000. As I write this, the price is around $10,700 (down from a high of $18,723.82). Last month, I saw articles talking about how people are taking out second mortgages to buy bitcoin in an attempt to cash in.

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I see bitcoin as a classic bubble. There is no fundamental reason to buy it, and there is significant risk to holding it, as there's no way to protect gains or hedge against loss.

In a broader sense, though, I want to make the point that just because a security is rising doesn't automatically mean it's a suitable investment. What we are witnessing is a mass delusion that speculation can continue to drive prices indefinitely. That didn't work during the housing bubble, as you might recall, and it's not going to work now. That said, I still see some significant potential in cryptocurrencies, and I'll be keeping a very close eye on them for you.

Some background: "Bitcoin" has morphed into a sort of shorthand for any digital currency. The fact is, bitcoin grabbed the public imagination really for only one reason -- no one knows who's behind it. (The official name attached to it is the Japanese equivalent of John Smith.)

Cryptocurrencies came about seriously during the financial crisis, when faith in the U.S. economy, the banking system and even in the greenback itself was severely compromised. Not only is bitcoin not dependent on a government, it also requires literally thousands of layers of processing, which adds to its security. These so-called "miners" act as bitcoin's back office, maintaining and verifying records for accuracy. All of this is carefully checked, rechecked and double-checked before the transaction is posted to the blockchain, a giant ledger of all transactions.

What you as an investor need to know is that digital currencies work, they are as secure as anything connected to software can be, and that there are increasingly more billions of dollars tied up in them.

"Them" is a key term here. While we've all heard at least passing mention of bitcoin, it is far from the only player in the cryptocurrency corner. Today, I'm only going to dip a toe into the digital currency space. However, I will be discussing it more in-depth in the Fast-Track Millionaire Summit.

In the meantime, I want to be the first to tell you about what's next for bitcoin. It's a new patent that has just been filed. I'm the kind of wacky nerd who looks at patent filings, just like I read SEC filings and pore over the data collected by the FDIC.

The new patent is for a technology called "overledger." This is an elegant method to basically allow the various cryptos to talk to each other -- a common language that has the potential to knit them together and aggregate blockchain technology.

Pay close attention to this. I'm not sure whether this new idea is the one that's going to take off, but it's a Steve Jobsian-style approach -- taking a very complicated technology and making it much easier to use. Right now, frankly, the whole digital currency space is still in its clunky infancy.

For now, simply familiarize yourself with the other cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin might be the 600-pound gorilla, but there's a very large zoo out there with a whole lot of animals worth a gob of moolah, to use a technical term.

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