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Bitcoin’s Double Spending Problem: Definition, Solution, and Future Outlook

The double spending problem is a phenomenon in which a single unit of currency is spent simultaneously more than once. This creates a disparity between the spending record and the amount of that currency available.Manipulating money is a common problem in every economic system. Whether with fake gold, counterfeit dollar notes, replica coins, or double-spending of digital currency, bad actors seek to exploit or emulate existing currencies for personal financial gain.

As new forms of technology and money become publicly available, bad actors are often some of the earliest adopters because the asset is largely untested or unregulated and thus more easily manipulated. Bitcoin is no exception.

Bitcoin’s completely digital currency network is decentralized—it has no central authority, regulators, or governing bodies to police thieves and hackers. Though traditional security entities don’t monitor the Bitcoin network for double-spending, other network defenses have been implemented to combat attacks that would otherwise threaten the network’s consensus mechanism and ledger of transactions, providing confidence to those who invest in Bitcoin.

What is the Double-spending Problem?

The double-spending problem is a phenomenon in which a single unit of currency is spent simultaneously more than once. This creates a disparity between the spending record and the amount of that currency available.

Imagine, for example, if someone walks into a clothing store with only $10 and buys a $10 shirt, then buys another $10 shirt with the same $10 already paid to the cashier. While this is difficult to do with a physical money—in part because recent transactions and current owners can be easily verified in real-time—there’s more opportunity to do it with digital currency.

Double spending is most commonly associated with Bitcoin because digital information can be manipulated or reproduced more easily by skilled programmers familiar with how the blockchain protocol works. Bitcoin is also a target for thieves to double-spend because Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer medium of exchange that doesn’t pass through any intermediaries or institutions.

How Does Double-spending Bitcoin Work?

Fundamentally, a Bitcoin double spend consists of a bad actor sending a copy of one transaction to make the copy appear legitimate while retaining the original, or erasing the first transaction altogether. This is possible—and dangerous—for Bitcoin or any digital currency because digital information is more easily duplicated. There are a few different ways criminals attempt to double-spend Bitcoin.

Simultaneously Sending the Same Bitcoin Amount Twice (or More)

In this situation, an attacker will simultaneously send the same bitcoin to two (or more) different addresses. This type of attack attempts to exploit the Bitcoin network’s slow 10-minute block time, in which transactions are sent to the network and queued to be confirmed and verified by miners to be added to the blockchain. In sneaking an extra transaction onto the blockchain, thieves can give the illusion that the original bitcoin amount hasn’t been spent already, or manipulate the existing blockchain and laboriously re-mine blocks with fake transaction histories to support the desired future double spend.

Reverse an already-sent transaction

Another way to attempt a Bitcoin double-spend is by reversing a transaction after receiving the counterparty’s assets or services, thus keeping both the received goods and the sent bitcoin. The attacker sends multiple packets (units of data) to the network to reverse the transactions, to give the illusion they never happened.

Blockchain Concerns with Double Spending

Some methods employed by hackers to circumvent the Bitcoin verification process consist of out-computing the blockchain security mechanism or double-spending by sending a fake transaction log to a seller and a different log to the network.

Perhaps the greatest risk for double-spending Bitcoin is a 51% attack, a network disruption where a user (or users) controls more than 50% of the computing power that maintains the blockchain’s distributed ledger of transactions. If a bad actor gains majority control of the blockchain, they can modify the network’s ledger to transfer bitcoin to their digital wallet multiple times as if the original transactions had not yet previously occurred.

Another concern is the potential double-spending problem on decentralized exchanges as crypto continues to migrate to decentralized exchanges (DEX) and platforms. With no central authority or intermediary, the growth and adoption of DEXs will depend on their security and proven ability to prevent double-spending.

Despite a variety of attempts to successfully double-spend Bitcoin, the majority of bitcoin thefts have not been the result of double-counting or double-spend attacks but rather users not properly securing their bitcoin.

How Does Bitcoin prevent Double Spending?

Bitcoin’s network prevents double-spending by combining complementary security features of the blockchain network and its decentralized network of miners to verify transactions before they are added to the blockchain. Here’s an example of that security in action:

Person A and Person B go to a store with only one collective BTC to spend. Person A buys a TV costing exactly 1 BTC. Person B buys a motorcycle that also costs exactly one BTC.

Both transactions go into a pool of unconfirmed transactions, but only the first transaction gets confirmations (blocks containing transactions from preceding blocks and new transactions) and is verified by miners in the next block.

The second transaction gets pulled from the network because it didn’t get enough confirmations after the miners determined it was invalid.

Security measure 1: Whichever transaction gets the maximum number of network confirmations (typically a minimum of six) will be included in the blockchain, while others are discarded

Security measure 2: Once confirmations and transactions are put on the blockchain they are time-stamped, rendering them irreversible and impossible to alter

Once a merchant receives the minimum number of block confirmations, they can be sure a transaction was valid and not a double spend.

Bitcoin’s proof-of-work consensus model is inherently resistant to double-spending because of its block time. Proof-of-work requires miners on the network, or validator nodes, to solve complex algorithms that require a significant amount of computing power, or “hash power.” This process makes any attempt to duplicate or falsify the blockchain significantly more difficult to execute because the attacker would have to go back and re-mine every single block with the new fraudulent transaction(s) on it.

This process compounds over time, preserving previous transactions while recording new transactions. Reaching consensus through proof-of-work mining provides the network accountability by verifying Bitcoin ownership in each transaction and preventing double-counting and other subtle forms of fraud.

While it is technically possible for a group of individuals to initiate a 51% attack on the Bitcoin network, combining mining power and disrupting the network for their benefit, it is unlikely and difficult as it would require collusion by a tremendous amount of miners or a single miner with over 50% of the network’s hash power. Successfully executing a 51% attack has only gotten more difficult over time, for a few reasons: the difficulty of mining Bitcoin increases with every Bitcoin halving; mining hardware is prohibitively expensive at that scale, and a massive amount of electricity would be required to power such a massive mining operation.

The Takeaway

Double spending of Bitcoin is a concern since it’s a digital currency with no central authority to verify its spending records. This leaves some to question the network’s security and legitimacy of Bitcoin’s network, validators, and monetary supply. However, the network’s distributed ledger of transactions, the blockchain, autonomously records and verifies each transaction’s authenticity and prevents double counting.

Though the blockchain can’t solely prevent double-spending, it is a line of self-defense before an army of decentralized validator nodes solve complex mathematical problems to confirm and verify new transactions are not double spent before they’re permanently added to the network’s permanent ledger.

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin can be volatile investments and prices change quickly due to news flow and other factors. Yet it’s that potential for highly fluctuating price changes that compels some investors—particularly those with a long-term investment horizon—to see out crypto as an investment.

With SoFi Invest® cryptocurrency trading, people of all experience levels can invest in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin within a traditional investing platform, safely maintaining crypto alongside an investor’s stocks, bonds, and other assets.


Crypto: Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies aren’t endorsed or guaranteed by any government, are volatile, and involve a high degree of risk. Consumer protection and securities laws don’t regulate cryptocurrencies to the same degree as traditional brokerage and investment products. Research and knowledge are essential prerequisites before engaging with any cryptocurrency. US regulators, including FINRA, the SEC, and the CFPB, have issued public advisories concerning digital asset risk. Cryptocurrency purchases should not be made with funds drawn from financial products including student loans, personal loans, mortgage refinancing, savings, retirement funds, or traditional investments.
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Creating an Investment Portfolio

Seven Items to Consider When Creating an Investment Portfolio

You could read countless articles and read hundreds of books that will tell you how to choose investments and allocate your investment portfolio. For every argument for a certain kind of investment, there is one against it. What you need to know is that only you can determine what is best for you and equip yourself with impartial knowledge from trusted sources.You could read countless articles and read hundreds of books that will tell you how to choose investments and allocate your investment portfolio. For every argument for a certain kind of investment, there is one against it. You need to know that only you can determine what is best for you and equip yourself with impartial knowledge from trusted sources. Ask friends, read online forums, and take these five steps as a foundation for developing your portfolio.

I’ve been in the financial planning industry for over ten years and started investing in the market when I was 19 years old. Not to date myself, but I saw the 2008 crash and the impacts of the following recession. That was an eye-opening experience, if there ever was one. When you’re newly minted in the working world and impressionable at that young age, you look up to people more senior to you for guidance. Everyone I talked to said the economy was crashing, and get your money out while you can. Yet, on the other hand, everything I read said to stay invested, and buying stocks during a downturn is like buying them on sale. 

So, I learned to ignore the noise and learned it at the right time. I didn’t have a huge amount in the market, but by learning about diversification, low-cost index funds, dollar-cost averaging, and how time in the market is more important than timing the market, I was able to learn how to create a robust investment portfolio.

Keep in mind the below guidance is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as investment advice. It is not intended to provide specific recommendations for any individual or entity or replace the guidance of a financial planner or tax planner.  

1) Know your Objective

When you’re selecting investments for your investment portfolio, you first want to determine what the money’s for. Retirement? Buying a house? Starting a business? Or maybe, you make so much money you need somewhere to throw it (If only, #AmIRight?). This will help you build out what kind of investments you want.

For example, if you’re saving up for a house in the next 3-5 years, maybe you want to look for more secure investments, such as a CD or balanced mutual fund/ETF. If the money is for your newborn’s college, stocks and ETFs are your friends.

2) Know The Timeline for Your Investment Portfolio

This is important because you want to select investments that align with the amount of time you will need to liquidate your investments, as well as to have time to recover from market volatility.

So, for retirement in 30 years, you can invest in instruments that have low liquidity or high volatility in exchange for higher returns (equities). If the money is for a car in a year or two, you probably want to invest cash equivalents or something you can liquidate easily, such as a short-term CD or money market account that won’t fluctuate as much, if at all.

3) Know Your Comfort Level with Risk

This is key because no matter what financial experts say you should invest in, only you know where you feel comfortable putting your hard-earned money. There are several risk-tolerance questionnaires (RTQs) on the web that can help you get started. They’ll ask how you would respond to a certain market event or what you are willing to give up in order to earn higher returns. Stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, bond funds, real estate, cash, and everything in between are potential contenders for your portfolio mix.

You just want to make sure you understand and feel comfortable where you put your money and be able to stick it out through volatility, political turmoil, or anything else that will make you feel as if the world is ending.

4) Know the Fees Associated with what You Buy

When you decide to open a brokerage (trading) account or IRA, you’ll want to figure out what the account minimum is and any fees for trading. Some brokerage companies offer free trades for their proprietary funds and ETFs, and some offer free trades for all stocks and ETFs.

You also want to make sure you understand what fees are involved in the funds you buy for your investment portfolio. Some mutual funds have sales charges or loads, and all have expense ratios for ongoing management of the fund. ETFs are popular for the reason that they trade like stocks (no loads or sales charges) but have the diversification of a mutual fund in that they own many stocks within them. Use a screener to find low expense funds that meet your criteria. You can’t control what returns you will earn on your investments, but you can control the fees, so look for low expense ratio funds, no transaction fee funds, and ask your brokerage company for free trades.

NerdWallet.com has a decent guide on how to select a company to open your investment account: NerdWallet Investing. Both Andrew and Adam of Wallet Squirrel use Robinhood for their investing platform.

5) Decide on Your Investment Portfolio Philosophy and Do Your Research

Are you completely turned off by logging into your account to trade and rebalance, nonetheless, different research investments? You may want to look at a professionally managed investment portfolio or maybe even a Robo Advisor to get started.

If you want to manage your own account, do you want actively managed funds or more inclined toward a passive index funds strategy? Most brokerage companies have research tabs where you can find out fundamentals, past performance, analyst ratings, and more for various stocks and funds.

Do you want to screen out companies that invest in fossil fuels or those that focus on impact investing? This is possible, as well. Morningstar.com can provide a star-rating for the funds, along with globe ratings for sustainability. Along with the custom screening, many brokerage companies offer an approved list of strong performers in each category, such as large-cap value funds or emerging markets funds.

6) Question #1 if you want to hire an advisor for your investment portfolio

How do you come up with the advice you give me? You should know what resources the planner uses to develop financial or investment recommendations.

Do they read financial journals, use online screeners or Morningstar? Or do they just use some online calculator for asset allocation and throw in some generic index funds you could have done yourself?

You want to make sure that if you are paying them, they are adding value to what you are trying to accomplish, such as saving you time or providing their expertise. The other thing is, never invest in something you don’t understand, especially when promised with high returns and low risk. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

7) Question #2: How will I know you have my best interests in mind?

One way to do this without asking the question is by looking up their credentials. If they are a CFP®, they are held to a fiduciary standard as part of their certification, meaning they have your best interests in mind when making recommendations. Check out BrokerCheck on finra.org.

Certifications also display their commitment to the profession and in continuing education, so they know what they are talking about. Ask if they receive any kickbacks for referring you to a banker, CPA, life insurance agent, attorney, etc. Do they look out for load funds, so the money you invest actually goes into the investment and not their pocket?

Search for the professional you are considering on Google. Also, check out Investor.gov for links to vetting the background of the planner, such as years in business and if they have any disciplinary actions on file.

Top 22 Warren Buffett Quotes the Internet Can’t Get Enough Of

Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, has a net worth of over $78.2 billion and is known as one of the greatest investors of all time. So when he speaks, people take note.

Here are some of the top 22 Warren Buffett Quotes the internet can’t get enough of.

Warren Buffett Quotes Infographic

Top 22 Warren Buffett Quotes The Internet Can’t Get Enough Of

Here are some of the top Warren Buffet quotes found on every list of Warren Buffet quotes around the internet. These quotes range in wisdom on investing to regular life. I try to live by these quotes on my own investment portfolio.

Warren Buffett Quotes

1. Rule #1: Never lose money. Rule #2: Never forget rule #1

One of my favorite Warren Buffet Quotes. The fastest way to grow your money is to never lose it in the first place. This applies from saving on your groceries to focusing on less risky stocks of well established companies.

2. It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently

Think about the Wells Fargo or Equifax scandals. It takes years to build enough trust for someone to have brand loyalty. Warren Buffet quotes it takes 20 years, but it takes 5 minutes or less to destroy all that goodwill you’ve built. People are quick to revolt if you’ve done anything to betray their trust.

It is infinitely harder to build trust than destroy it.

3. Diversification is a protection against ignorance. It makes very little sense for those who know what they’re doing.

Multiple studies show that diversification in the stock market will help protect you against market falls. Or it could be summarized in the old proverb “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”. Unless you have insider information that a stock is going do really well, maintain a diversified portfolio to protect you. No one knows what they’re doing all the time.

4. If you aren’t willing to own a stock for ten years, don’t even think about owning it for ten minutes. Put together a portfolio of companies whose aggregate earnings march upward over the years, and so also will the portfolio’s market value.

Unless you’re a day trader (I will never be), you should only be investing in the stock market with the intention to hold those stocks for a long time. You can do really well as a beginner if you’re buying stocks and not planning on selling till you retire. Those are where you get the best returns. Warren Buffett is infamously known for rarely selling stocks.

5. It’s far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price.

When you buy a stock, you should think of it as owning a piece of that company. You should be looking at wonderful companies that have a competitive advantage in the industry. Those are the companies that will do well over the long run. You may find a wonderful price on a mediocre company, but really what are you getting? A mediocre company that will likely be edged out of the market by a better company.

Many of the famous Warren Buffett quotes are about investing in strong companies with a competitive advantage and strong brand loyalty rather than cheap companies where you think you can make a quick buck. Warren Buffett is never into buying a company for a quick buck.

6. Be fearful when others are greedy. Be greedy when others are fearful.

During the 2008 financial crisis when investors were all exiting the market, Warren Buffett invested in a few large companies even though their stock prices were falling. Those deals made Warren Buffett over $10 billion dollars when the market stabilized and it’s continuing to show dividends. When the market goes upside down during world events, politics, market forecasts, those are the times when everyone else is fearful, that Warren Buffet sees an advantage when the markets crash.

Think about it this way, the New York Stock Exchange has been around since 1817, it has always recovered. Chances are, minus a world apocalypse, that the market will always bounce back. Those who capitalize on those downturns are usually rewarded.

7. The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.

One of my favorite Warren Buffett quotes because it has so many applications. You will see many opportunities in your life and you may want to jump on everyone, but it’s ok to be selective and say no. You’ll burn yourself out if you say “yes” to everything. This also applies to going out on a Saturday night with friends drinking. It’s ok to say “no” to save a few dollars or have a night to yourself to finish your article on Warren Buffett quotes. =)

This also applies to going out on a Saturday night with friends drinking. It’s ok to say “no” to save a few dollars or have a night to yourself to finish your article on Warren Buffett quotes. =)

8. Develop and build the habits you admire in others.

Remember all those times that your parents wanted you to hang out with those “good kids”. The habits of the people you surround yourself with rub off you on, consciously or unconsciously. When you find people like Warren Buffett, the Oracle of Omaha, who is one of the greatest investors of all time. You should find out what makes him so successful and learn those traits to improve yourself.

9. Passive investing will make you more money than active trading

Oh my goodness, fees are the WORST! Active trading requires more work and more fees, so more of your money will be paid to your broker. Yet studies have shown over and over that passive investing where you set your money and forget it are far more successful for growing wealth. I don’t plan to ever touch my stocks currently making dividends.

10. There seems to be some perverse human characteristic that likes to make easy things difficult.

Great quote, people always imagine things are more difficult than they really are. When I first considered starting investing, I thought there were so many hurdles and financial experts I would have to pay. Yet, when I finally decided I wanted to start investing in the stock market, I just downloaded the Robinhood App and started investing. It took 10 minutes to sign up and buy my first stock when I worried about investing in the stock market for over 5 years. Things are often more simple than you think they are.

11. Tell me who your heroes are and I’ll tell you who you’ll turn out to be.

This is similar to the Warren Buffett quote “Develop and build the habits you admire in others”. If you want to be an entrepreneur, start joining local meetups of entrepreneurs. You learn SO MUCH MORE when you surround yourself with the people you want to be like. You can learn A LOT in a book, but you’ll learn even more by surrounding yourself with people you admire.

12. We have long felt that the only value of stock forecasters is to make fortune-tellers look good.

No one can predict the stock market, no one. Not even Warren Buffett. Anyone who says they know exactly how the market works is trying to sell you something. You can lump stock forecasters being as accurate as the carnival fortune-tellers. You know the ones with 3 teeth, crystal ball and you’re going to die in 2083.

13. When we own portions of outstanding businesses with outstanding managements, our favorite holding period is forever.

If you invest in an outstanding company, even if the stock price goes up, why would you ever sell it? No matter when you sell it, outstanding companies will continually do better and better. Don’t sell until you absolutely have to, otherwise, you’ll just be losing money in the long run. Many of Warren Buffett Quotes are like this, they are all very Anti-Day Trader.

14. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist. Investing is not a game where the guy with the 160 IQ beats the guy with 130 IQ.

If you follow the basic principals of Warren Buffett and buy outstanding companies with strong competitive advantages like Apple (AAPL). You don’t have to be a genius. Just buy and hold forever, you literally don’t have to do anything until you sell.

Many Warren Buffett quotes are similar to this because he stresses that anyone can invest in the stock market. The simplest way is just to invest in index funds that follow the market. Set it and forget it. The market sees an average increase of 7% per year and that’s WAY better than a savings account.

15. I try to buy stock in businesses that are so wonderful that an idiot can run them. Because sooner or later, one will.

Look for companies to invest in that are so strong that they can weather any storm because soon enough they will have to. Think about Apple (AAPL), as long as they keep pushing out iPhones it doesn’t matter who runs the company, they’ll continue to do well. People were worried when Steve Jobs passed because they didn’t know the future of the company, but Tim Cook stepped in and maintained the same Apple legacy. As long as Tim Cook sticks to the secret Apple recipe, they’ll be in good shape.

16. Buy into a company because you want to own it, not because you want the stock to go up.

If you see a company that you think is going to do well or heard will do well, don’t buy it unless you’re willing to hold it for awhile. If something goes wrong and the stock dives, you’re stuck with a company you don’t believe in and will likely sell at a lower price to get rid of it, ruining the reason you bought it in the first place.

17. Wall Street is the only place that people ride to work in a Rolls Royce to get advice from those who take the subway.

This is just a funny Warren Buffet quote.

18. Charlie and I have not learned how to solve difficult business problems. What we have learned is to avoid them.

I’m sure Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger have learned how to solve difficult business problems, but the best way to navigate murky waters is to avoid them all together. The more problems your business can avoid, the better shape you’ll be. You can avoid a lot of problems from being proactive instead of reactive.

19. Long ago, Ben Graham taught me that “Price is what you pay; value is what you get.”

Ben Graham, Warren Buffett’s mentor had this popular quote. I always think about it simply. Price is what you buy a stock for and Value is what you sell that same stock for.

20. It’s better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you’ll drift in that direction.

If you can’t tell, Warren Buffett believes in surrounding yourself with the right people. He credits much of his success from surrounding himself with smart, good people.

21. If past history was all there was to the game, the richest people would be librarians.

When you analyze a stock based on its historical performance, it’s called technical analysis. Yet past performance does not necessarily mean future performance. Just because you know what the stock has done in the past doesn’t mean it’s going to follow that same trend.

22. You only have to do a very few things right in your life so long as you don’t do too many things wrong.

It’s ok to mess up, focus on learning from those mistakes for the next time. It just sounds cooler when Warren Buffett quotes it. Or you can take this as no matter how many mistakes you’ve made in the past, you always have a chance to do more good. It’s one of those life quotes that can go many ways.

Can We Finally Say Cryptocurrency is Over?

I first heard of Bitcoin on June 17th, 2013 featured on the “How Stuff Works” Podcast. The podcast was great and they dived into what Bitcoin was, a bit about how blockchain worked and how if it caught on, it could vastly change the way we use currency.

I was intrigued, but I compared it to the trend in multiplayer games like World of Warcraft where people were gathering in-game coins in exchange for real money. It was only worth something while the game was popular.

I admit, I thought the idea was a bit ridiculous.

I could have bought Bitcoin at $100

When I first heard about Bitcoin in June 2013, the price was around $100 per coin.

That’s right, if I bought 10 bitcoins for $1,000 at the time and sold at their peak of $19,783 per coin in December, 2017. I would have now nearly $200,000.

Do I regret my decision? No

I regret nothing and still continue to hold zero coins of any kind. Would it be nice to have $200,000, absolutely, but assuming the entire world would accept a new currency is silly. Here’s why.

Why I never believed in Cryptocurrency

Nothings Hack Proof

Bitcoin which uses Blockchain to create an incredibly long receipt of user transactions. The longer the blockchain receipt, the harder it is to hack because it needs an extraordinary amount of processing power. So Bitcoin uses the longest receipt to verify who has how much Bitcoins because it’s assumed impossible to hack.

Well that’s not the only way to hack Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies. In June 2018 the cryptocurrency exchange company Coinrail was hacked. The hackers stole 30% of the exchanges total cryptocurrency, or $35 million US dollars (source). Plus once that money is gone, it’s gone and nearly impossible to track unlike bank records. Oh, and it’s not insured by any goverment agency.

It’s not an isolated case. Japan’s Coincheck was hacked resulting in a crypto loss, South Korean Youbit was hacked twice requiring bankruptcy and others continue to be hacked (source). With no physical footprint, your money is just gone if hacked.

Let’s face it, we live in a hack-happy world. Each time an Exchange gets hacked (happens more than you think), the price of Cryptocurrencies lose major value. Yikes.

It skyrocketed due to media attention, now that’s gone

Bitcoin has literally zero real value. It’s only worth what we say it is.

That being said, in 2017 where it had one of its largest rises in price, Bitcoin thrived on all the media attention and the FOMO “Fear Of Missing Out”. Bitcoin has a finite supply of coins and everyone wanted one as the price rose.

However, that FOMO is gone and media attention has staggered. With the lack of these 2 qualities, Bitcoin’s price has tumbled from its $19,783 high to its current price of $6,363. It’s maintained a fluctuation of $8,000 – $6,000 through most of 2018.

Since Bitcoin is unregulated, no other influences will really affect the price. There may be a few spikes, but no quarterly reports or conference calls like a company or government agency, since it’s unregulated, will help the currency get anywhere back up as it used to be.

Bitcoin isn’t special, now a dime a dozen

The idea of Bitcoin was to be a central currency for everyone to use. However now there are well over 1,658 cryptocurrencies in existence (source). So 1,658 cryptocurrencies grabbing for our attention. Anything special about Bitcoin is now lost in a sea of other coins fighting for dominance and frankly, none of them are winning. It’s safer and easier to give up and forget about crypto.

Conclusion

Reports continue to come in of Bitcoin hacking, and the media attention & FOMO are gone while 1,658 other cryptocurrencies exist. Everything that made Bitcoin special is gone.

It’s over. If you’re holding out hope that your Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies will make a dramatic comeback. It’s my opinion you’re wrong.

I Tried Lending Club for 2 Years, Here’s How Much Money I Made

A little over two years ago, I invested $300 in Lending Club. I was curious to see how the world of Peer-to-Peer Lending worked. This was different from investing in the stock market, because I became a mini-bank by lending microloans to people paying of credit card debt, home renovations, a new car, and multiple other reasons people take loans. All while I earn interest as they pay the loan off.

How Investing in Lending Club Went?

When I started 2 years ago, I choose to individually select which micro-loans I wanted to invest in. I knew, like a traditional bank, some loans may default and you lose money. So I took the time to research each loan application and Lending Club gives you a detailed credit history to choose from.

I specifically looked at their credit history, what they want to use the loan for and history of delinquencies. As well as their debt to income ratio. If these look good, then I help crowd-fund this microloan and invest $25 (typical) to the loan. Once it gets fully funded (below is 96% funded), the money will be taken out of my account and given to the borrower and I’ll receive payments back over 36 months (term of the loan).

 

You can also use Lending Club’s own rating system that’s “A-E” with “A” being borrowers with a great credit rating and likely to pay back their loan but have a lower interest rate. All the way down to “E” which don’t have a great credit rating but have a higher interest rate. Lending Club has since discontinued rating “F-G” because too many of those loans were defaulting and they wanted to clean up their platform. I still have some “G” loans grandfathered in until they’re paid off.

Over the last 2 years, I choose all of my individual loans manually. This was a huge time waster. Plus letting money sit in your account un-invested isn’t making money.

Last week I switched my account over to automatic investing so once I received enough money back in my account ($25), it’ll automatically reinvest into loans that meet specific criteria. I’m a bit more conservative on the loans I prefer because I want to avoid bad borrowers who default, which typically have a lower “D-G” rating.

Here is how I have my Lending Club automated investing currently set up. My account will prioritize “B” rated loans, followed by “A” and “C” loans. The solid colors are what I’m currently invested in and the hash lines are what my automated investing settings are currently at. Since each loan takes 24-36 months, it’ll be awhile before they even out. Remember, I just turned on automated investing last week.

 

How Much Money After 2 Years of Lending Club?

Since I started in February, 2016 and invested $300 it’s been fairly consistent (compare stock market stats). Typically every month I received an average of $3.05 per month. For 2.4 years (currently June, 2018), that would be around $85.4, but that’s not the whole story since I’m constantly reinvesting the extra cash and some loans defaulted.

Deposited: $300 (How Much Cash I Invested in Lending Club)

Total Loans: 30 (I invested in 30 loans at $25 each, including reinvesting)

Principal Received Back: $427.51 (Those 30 loans paid me back $427.51 so far, still ongoing)

Interest: $87.96 (Of that $427.51 received back, $87.96 was interest)

Default Loans: -$28.03 (2 loans defaulted and didn’t pay me back the full amount)

Total Profit after 1.5 years: $59.93 or 9% annual interest

*Interesting to note that some people were diligent and paid off their loans early, however you don’t earn extra interest if they choose to do this.

*The two loans that defaulted were 1 “F” rated loans which Lending Club has discontinued and surprisingly a “B” rated loan which shows that even highly rated loans can still default.

Conclusion

In the last 2 years, Lending Club has made about 9% annual interest. That’s not bad and significantly better than a 1% savings account. Yet still less than the 11% annual interest I’m seeing in my stock portfolio.

The biggest downside to Lending Club is your money isn’t liquid, meaning once you invest your money in a loan, it’s there until 24-36 months till the loan is paid off. That’s not too bad though, if you’re a long-term investor, you invest your money and forget it. So it’s not a big deal.

Overall, I’ve had a good experience and will continue to keep a little money in Lending Club to see how it does during a market downtown when everything crashes. Until then, good luck investing!

Why I Just Invested In The Dividend Stock, Iron Mountain

My goal on Wallet Squirrel is to find new ways to earn extra money and then invest what I make into my stock portfolio of dividend stocks. These dividend stocks are key, because my goal is to invest in enough dividend producing stocks that they may replace my current income. To do this, I need to invest more and my latest stock is Iron Mountain Incorporated, stock ticker (IRM).

Let me introduce Iron Mountain (IRM)

If you’re not familiar with this company, let’s hit a brief overview. Iron Mountain is a storage company, storing physical records as well as data centers for companies.

Physical Storage Items

The types of physical storage vary greatly from anything you could imagine a company wanting to store. These could be HR files, to legal, to extra storage. In fact, 95% of the Fortune 1000 uses Iron Mountain. They also mention a range of geological samples to fine art as storage capabilities they offer. These are storied in over 1,400 facilities, covering 87.5 million square feet of storage around the world, including a legit underground vault.

Digital Storage Items

Iron Mountain also has extensive digital storage systems that allow companies to electronically back up their systems. These are both in the form of storing disk drives of important systems, as well as their “Iron Cloud” as their enterprise cloud-storage platform. As cybercrime continues to become a bigger and bigger problem, companies are paying big money to have several working copies of their systems backed up. They expect their cloud storage to produce 7% of their total revenue in 2020. The total revenue for 2017 was 3.8 billion.

Why I Personally Like Iron Mountain

Reoccurring Revenue

I’m a huge fan of companies with reoccurring revenue because it’s dependable. Iron Mountain as a storage company holds company records for quite a long time. In fact, they’re still holding onto 50% of the boxes that were stored in their facilities over 15 years. As more legislature mandates companies to store physical copies for longer and longer. Iron Mountain is an ideal, service for these needs. Plus as their cloud business continues to grow, people continue to pay large contracts for years at a time to continue and hold their back up needs.

Technical Analysis

Technical Analysis is looking at their past performance to indicate how they will do in the future. Of course, past performance doesn’t guarantee future results, but I like to see that a company is consistently doing well. I usually do this by looking at their stock price over the max course of their life. Here is the trending graph for Iron Mountain (IRM). I typically like to see this chart shoot up and to the right. Despite some bumps, it continues to move in that direction.

Low Beta

I like safe stocks, so I always look at a stock’s beta. The beta will tell me how likely the stock price will swing with a market correction, or the overall stock market drops/raises. If the Beta is 1, the stock will rise and lower pretty equally with the overall market. If the Beta is over 1, it’ll swing more rapidly in either direction. The lower the Beta under 1, the less likely the stock will be as affected by the overall market. The beta for Iron Mountain is 0.54, meaning it’s relatively safe during large market swings. This is because most of Iron Mountain contracts are locked in for long periods of time, and short-term swings won’t affect them as much. I love that!

Dividend Rate – 7.01%

Yes, that’s right. It’s a high dividend, even for a REIT. I would be concerned if they didn’t have so many facilities around the world locked in long term contracts. A quarterly dividend of 7.01% is pretty great!

Diversified Revenue

For all of their storage capabilities for both physical and digital storage, no one customer makes up more than 1% of their revenue. That means even if one customer for some reason pulls out, it isn’t a big hit on their overall revenue.

Experts Also Consider IRM a Buy

Before I make a purchase, even after all of my data and research, I always do a double check to see what the “professionals” are doing with this stock. If they suggest “buy” then I know they are aligned with my research. If they say “sell” then I dig a little deeper to see what they are looking at, that I may have missed. Just because they say “sell” doesn’t mean I won’t buy, I just want to make sure I know everything before investing. In the case of Iron Mountain, the “experts” say “buy” via Yahoo Finance.

Iron Mountain isn’t all Sunshine & Rainbows

The biggest thing against Iron Mountain is their debt. Similar to most REITs, they have a considerable amount of debt that has helped them grow. They pay for this debt with a portion of the revenue made through their storage leasing in these facilities both physical and digital storage. At the end of 2017, their debt was $7.1 billion, which is a lot. However it’s still under the $10.9 billion in total assets. Plus most REITs have a sizeable chunk of debt. So this is something I’ll continue to monitor.

Conclusion

In the end, I ended up purchasing 2 shares of IRM at $32.73 per share. Why so little? Mainly because I’m broke, but try to buy stock whenever I can. I’ll continue to buy more of IRM as cash becomes available because so far, I’m a fan of the stock.

Do you own any IRM?

Robinhood Crypto Lets Anyone Buy Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies

Robinhood Crypto Pinterest Vertical Header Image You may not know, but I’ve been a long time user of the Robinhood App. I did a review of the Robinhood App three years ago, and still, continue to use it. That’s why I am SO excited that they are now releasing Robinhood Crypto to buy and sell Bitcoin, Ethereum and monitor 14 other cryptocurrencies. At least starting off…

What is Robinhood Crypto?

Robinhood Crypto will let you buy and sell Bitcoin and Ethereum without any transaction fees. The free transaction feature has traditionally made the Robinhood App popular among millennials. While the Robinhood already allows anyone to buy and sell stocks, Robinhood Crypto will allow anyone to get in on cryptocurrency social phenomenon!

While the app will initially allow you only to trade Bitcoin and Ethereum, it will allow you to monitor 14 other cryptocurrencies. These are Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Ripple, Ethereum Classic, Zcash, Monero, Dash, Stellar, Qtum, Bitcoin Gold, OmiseGo, Neo, Lisk, and Dogecoin. Hopefully, eventually, you’ll be allowed to trade these in the future.

While the Robinhood App only lets you trade stocks during market hours. Robinhood Crypto will be available 24/7. You can tell this by their 80’s Tron graphic design styling on their Learn More Page.

Robinhood Crypto Will Be Available In February

Currently, all the company says about the release date is February 2018. They currently have a wait list for users and as of Monday night, January 2018, it has exceeded over 1 million users on the waitlist for Robinhood Crypto (join the waitlist here).

We expect Robinhood Crypto to be released in waves throughout February.

Only certain states will get it starting off, the new feature first be available in California, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire and Montana in the beginning. They haven’t released the following states.

What Does This Mean For Cryptocurrencies?

Robinhood is one of the first stock trading platforms to break into cryptocurrency trading scene. This gives some legitimacy to cryptocurrencies as they have often been seen as a joke. The Robinhood App will be a multipurpose marketplace for people to buy both stocks and cryptocurrencies. This isn’t something any other traditional stock brokers are is doing right now.

Currently, the biggest marketplace where you can buy and sell cryptocurrency is Coinbase. Coinbase only deals with cryptocurrency (no stocks like Robinhood) and charges a 1.5% – 4% transaction fee. This in addition to the negative media attention Coinbase has received for crashing during peak hours, lends itself as an easy target for Robinhood Crypto which has shown reliability, oh and it’s free.

It’s anticipated that the legitimacy the Robinhood App brings to cryptocurrency, free trading and it’s current millennial market. Robinhood Crypto will introduce many more people to an easy way to buy and sell bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The waitlist alone for Robinhood Crypto is over 1 million people or 1/3 of the current Robinhood App’s user base. That’s 1 million people jumping into cryptocurrencies.

Why Is The Robinhood App Doing This?

Well, Robinhood isn’t doing this for the money. Co-Founder of Robinhood, Baiju Bhatt expects “We are going to break-even on this” he followed “But it could dramatically increase our user growth”. Considering the Robinhood App has 3 million users, and the waitlist for Robinhood Crypto is already over 1 million. That’s pretty good user growth (plus lots of media attention as a legitimate place to buy Bitcoin). Here’s how Robinhood actually makes money since they don’t charge fees.

How To Buy And Sell Cryptocurrency?

Robinhood Crypto will function similarly to how you would buy stocks through their app.

You will search for the cryptocurrency symbols Bitcoin (BTC) or Ethereum (ETH) where you can see their price and follow the history over 1 day, 1 week, 1 month, 3 months, 1 year or over the entire history of the cryptocurrency.

Robinhood Crypto Screenshot

When you want to “buy”, Robinhood will give you an estimated price. Since cryptocurrencies are known to have dramatic price swings in a day, Robinhood Crypto will put a “collar” around your buy price. So if the sale can’t execute at the price you agreed to, it waits for the price to return to what you wanted or notifies you of the price change.

In times of rocket price rises or drops, you can always set limits on your orders to automatically buy/sell where you want. This will help on those crazy price swing days we hear about in the news.

Will You Try Robinhood Crypto? I am

I’m currently on the list, just behind 97,296 people. Here is the signup to join the Robinhood Crypto Waiting List.

I’m not a major advocate of cryptocurrencies, in fact, I don’t think they’re a big deal or will ever replace actual currency. I’ll only invest around $100 to say I’ve tried it and get my feet wet in the cultural phenomenon of cryptocurrencies. I’ll ride some of the hype and then exit without any qualms. It’s just nice that a stockbroker I trust and currently use is now making cryptocurrencies even easier to buy and sell, I have to try it.

Yes, We Actually Gave Someone $100 To Start Investing

If you’ve seen our little pop-up or emails, we made a deal with our readers. We promised if you signed up for our email list, we’d do a drawing and a lucky person would win $100 to start investing. We’re doing this!

Remember these pop-ups?

Why Are We Doing This?

Lots of websites do different give-a-ways to encourage people to join their email newsletter. We wanted to try this, but actually, do something cool.

We didn’t want to create a “90 Ways To Save Money” pdf to give away or anything like that for new sign-ups. Frankly it was overdone and in reality, the easiest way to save money is not to spend it. There, that’s my free pdf.

So I asked myself, what do our readers actually want. Well, they want more money to invest with and pay off bills. So what if we gave (PayPal) someone $100 to use to invest. If they used that money to invest, it would grow to a lot more than $100.

I liked this idea.

How The Competition Worked

It was easy, if you signed up for our email list at any point, and still a member by the end of 2017, you would be eligible to win. We would do a drawing at the end of 2017 (actually this week) and whoever was selected, we would PayPal you $100 to do whatever they wanted.

Yes, you could use that $100 to invest, pay down bills or buy new shoes. We obviously can’t control what you will spend that money on, but we will STRONGLY encourage you to invest it. Investing is cool!

Either buy stocks with the Robinhood App, have all your investing done automatically with Betterment or lend it and make interest with Lending Club. It’s completely up to you!

How We Selected A Winner

I’m going to do something no one ever does. Share how many email subscribers they have. It’s a bit scary sharing this because if it doesn’t seem like a lot, you can easily judge us based on how many other people subscribe. So vulnerable moment, go!

We currently have 290 email subscribers to Wallet Squirrel. All of them are eligible to win the $100!

To select a winner, I went to Mailchimp and reviewed the complete list of email addresses we had. This is how I discovered we had 290 email sign-ups. That is freaking awesome!!!!!

Then I went to Google’s Random Generator, basically, just typed “Random Number Generator” in Google, try it here! At the top of the page, there is a generator where you enter the min/max amount and hit “GENERATE. I got “17”.

So at this point, I scrolled down Mailchimp’s list to locate number #17.

 

I’m now shooting them an email to let them know they won! Plus to see if this email works for their Paypal account. So check your email because I may have money for you!

Is The Competition Now Over?

Not even close, I REALLY like this idea. It’s a great way to encourage people to sign up for our email list and everyone gets a chance to win some money to do what you want (investing suggested). =P

In 2018, we’re doing this again but it’s for a chance to win $200 at the end of the year. Sign up and enter!

I Started Investing 3 Years Ago, Best Decision I Ever Made

In the beginning of 2015 I paid off my credit card debt for the first time and started to learn about investing.

It was terrifying, but so totally worth it!

How I Perceived Investing As A Kid

Up until 3 years ago (I was 28), I knew NOTHING about investing. To me, investing was some insane, chaotic spree that made rich people rich and the middle class poor. I didn’t know how it worked, but I knew tons of people who lost money during the recession.

If you’ve ever watched any movie that talks about Wall Street or Investing, it’ll have your brain swimming in confusion trying to understand it. Were they just trying to make it look hard and impressive? (Yes).

I was terrified of investing, I just shut down anytime someone talked about investing and assumed they were a financial genius if they owned stock. Someone who had enough money to pay their bills, live their life and put something extra away investing for retirement was a financial god to me.

I Started to Learn About Money On My Own

Like I said before, at the beginning of 2015 (3 years ago) I paid off my credit card debt after paying countless $70 monthly payments. So once I paid it off, I wanted to use that $70 for something else, something reasonable.

I will admit my company did have a financial planner come into our office and talk about our 401(k) plan. While the company plan was pretty awful, the financial planner did a great job at terrifying me to death.

I will always remember their words “Running out of money in retirement is worse than death”

Well f*&k, that was more terrifying than Halloween. So I started to learn more about money and how it worked.

I started reading finance books like “Total Money Make Over” by Dave Ramsey. I consumed it in a day.

I started listening to finance podcasts. Not the hardcore stock analysis ones, but the more Investing for Dummies type of podcasts like “Listen, Money, Matters”. I LOVED that podcasts and in my mind, being surrounded by those announcers talking about money and finance as a regular thing, I began thinking of money in a different way.

After reading books and listening podcasts. I started to view money not as static thing to sit in my bank account, but more as income streams.

Understanding how much money I had in my bank account mattered less than how much I had coming in each month. That’s why investing became a fascination because it’s one of the most common income streams for people.

I Tried Investing $100 To See What Happens

On the podcast “Listen, Money, Matters” they raved about the investing app “Betterment” (Adam uses Betterment and did a review). They brought the Betterment team on the podcast and explained it and how it’s meant for people who know nothing about investing but want to start. That was me!

I remember how nervous I was signing up. I had to put in my info and social security number. I was convinced that I would immediately lose all my money straight away and because they knew my social security number, the IRS would start to hunt me down.

This was a legit fear I had.

Since I had so much anxiety, I only invested $100 to see what happened. I invested in a “moderate risk” portfolio which they automatically invested for me. All I did was put in $100 and waited to see what happens.

They say not to check it daily, but I did. Oh my goodness, for the first week I checked it hourly. I wanted to see EXACTLY how the stock market worked. After a week I limited myself to daily. So for 5 months, I checked my Betterment account every day, scruitinizing everything that happened.

However, I found that my money fluctuated. One day it went down to $99 then up to $102 and slowly kept rising. This helped me understand how the market moved (at least during those 5 months), how it worked and it slowly became less mysterious.

In fact, I started to notice little things like every once in a while, I would receive extra lumps of change in my account. Just a few pennies, but they were dividends. I received money just from owning certain stocks. I couldn’t tell which stocks with Betterment because it doesn’t show that amount of micro detail, but it was a great feeling.

Then I started to invest more and look at other stockbrokers (companies which you need to invest) like the Robinhood App (I still use Robinhood, here’s my full review on how it works). With Robinhood I could start to pick my individual stocks and it was amazing! I chose stocks that were on the safe side such as Apple, Realty Income and Johnson & Johnson that were well known and established. I knew if these companies tanked, there was something seriously wrong with our economy, so I felt comfortable.

I Wasn’t Addicted, But I Was Obsessed

After I learned how the stock market worked, I felt comfortable but wanted to see more gains than the couple of cents I had been earning. So I could have gone in two different directions. I could have started to invest in risky stocks for bigger gains (don’t recommend) or find new ways to earn money so I could buy more stocks. I did the latter.

Now I write articles online for money, use interest checking accounts, sell stock photos, sell things on Craigslist, use a cashback credit card and more to earn extra money each month and invest it!

Today, It Absolutely Was Worth It.

I’m not advocating for a certain investing approach, but I do want you to see money as income streams rather than a lump sum. It absolutely changed my life.

Before I was happy with $2,500 in my bank account. It was more than any of my friends had. I now keep $4,000 in both my checking and savings account as an Emergency Fund and invest the extra money each month in my investment portfolio.

Knowing I have the extra money and extra streams of income each month gives me SO MUCH more confidence to know I’ll be OK if an emergency comes up or I want to go on a vacation. That piece of mind is one of the greatest feelings ever.

Happy Holidays from Wallet Squirrel – A Look Back at 2017

Happy Holidays from Wallet Squirrel – A Look Back at 2017

Fun fact. Did you know there are a total of 29 holidays celebrated between Thanksgiving and New Years Eve?

So on that note, we at Wallet Squirrel, would like to wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Hannuka, or any other holiday you might be celebrating!

Andrew and I personally would like to thank every single one of you for an awesome 2017!

Because of you, in 2017 we saw a tremendous amount of growth of interest in our journey to becoming financial guru’s, investing ninjas, and financially free. You all have decided to join us on this journey as we all learn together from our personal experiences.

Today, I would like to take a look back at our more popular and well-liked posts of 2017. Let the reminiscing commence!

Side Hustling

We, like everyone else, love to find new ways to earn more money and to see how others are making money. This is why we started searching around the globe for new awesome ways to earn more money outside of our 9 to 5 jobs.

How Andrew made $1.88 Selling Stock Photography in 10 Days – Both Andrew and I wrote several articles about stock photography throughout the year. His about how he made $1.88 within 10 Days of being accepted performed the best. I still own the title for making the most money off of one photograph though, $1,000 and counting.

Earn Money While Working Out With the Achievement App – Achievement is a fun application that syncs up with all of your activities, including your tweets. You earn more points the more you walk, workout, sleep, tweet healthy thoughts, and so on. Let the point earning begin!

How to Sell Something on Craigslist and Make Money – Andrew was able to sell some old stuff on Craigslist. He walks us through the whole process from posting his items to meeting up with the buyer. Pretty cool!

I believe he sold his old guitar. Now that he has a girlfriend, I guess he doesn’t need to walk the streets of Denver serenading women anymore.

Investing

3 Reasons Why Monthly Dividends are Better – Andrew talks about why he believes that monthly dividends are better than other dividend stocks. He walks you through why you should think they are awesome too and how to find those stocks that hand out monthly dividends.

Come learn how you can learn extra money on top of the normal gains of investing.

Cost-Benefit Analysis Example to either Pay Off My Car or Invest? – Andrew was not sure if he should pay off his car or invest the extra money he had. Enter the cost-benefit analysis. He walks through his thought process and how to properly perform a cost-benefit analysis. Check out the article to

see what he ended up doing.

Latest Stock Purchases – Andrew informs us throughout the year about the latest stock purchases he makes. This is intended to help inform us all about new stocks that might interest you. This is one example of those articles.

You can look at his entire portfolio in the investments page.

Personal Finance

How to Pay Off Your Car Loan Faster – Paying off our car early freed up $405 a month! This money has been great so we can be more aggressive at paying off our student loans. This article walks through the different ways we were able to apply to pay off $7,000 in only three months.

How and What to Teach Your Kids About Money – A lot of us have young kids. One question I had was, “How should we go about teaching them about money?” So I did some research and this is what I found out.

9 Bad Spending Habits that are Killing Your Budget – We all have bad spending habits that we need to drop ASAP. For me, I had a lot! Luckily, I have a loving and patient wife that has helped me break most of these bad spending habits.

What are your bad spending habits?

Blogging

How to Start a Blog – I could not believe blogging was still so hot! I thought I was caught in an episode of How I Met Your Mother where Barney was only focused on his own blog. Well, the blogging world is still massive and still hot! It is time for you to start your very own blog!

50 Amazon Affiliate Website Examples – The money that can be made off of affiliate marketing is amazing! This article provides 50 examples to get the ideas flowing in your mind.

Are you planning on starting an affiliate niche website in 2018? Andrew is doing one!

An SEO Strategy – What Works and What Does Not – We saw a 1,500% in traffic growth during 2017. This growth mainly comes from our SEO strategy (also our Marketing Strategy). This is the perfect next step after you start your very own blog!

A New Year

I love the end of a year as it is a great time to look back on the goals you succeeded at and failed. This is the time of the year to prepare how you will concur the upcoming year.

For me personally, I do not succeed at every goal on my list. I am alright with that as long as I learn from my mistakes to make the next year the best year yet!

Next week I will dive more into this concept.

 

Cheers!

Adam