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MARKETS: Let’s talk about Bitcoin

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Crypto is everywhere, the marmite of the investing world.

You need to have an opinion on Crypto these days if you want to avoid being an outcast. Nobody wants to be the one being shunned at the water cooler. Not having a two-sentence quip on Crypto puts you in the same bracket as those lunatics following soccer who say, "Na, I don't really support any team; I just like to watch". These are people you can't be seen to affiliate with.

After 2017, we saw the crypto winter, where the entire space fell nearly 90%. Again, in March 2020, we saw Bitcoin lose half its value over a two-day period and most recently, we have witnessed the crypto world crash once again as Bitcoin fell from highs of $65,000 to $30,000 a coin.

There are multiple reasons for the most recent sell-off. China banned the use of cryptocurrencies for financial institutions. Other countries might be considering tighter regulation, particularly as cryptos become the currency of choice for ransomware hackers. Tesla stopped accepting Bitcoin as payment for vehicles, and Binance, a popular crypto exchange, is currently under probe by the US justice department and the IRS. All valid reasons for concern. Now investors fear that there is no telling when the selling might stop, given that there is no true intrinsic value in the crypto space.

My opinion: there are too many investors willing to buy it at a price far above $0 for this 'going to zero' argument to make sense. Not every financial asset will hold tangible intrinsic value. Take gold for instance, a 10 Trillion-dollar market built on socially constructed value; the belief that this will be worth more in the future than it is today.

My bull case for Bitcoin is probably somewhat different to the Bitcoin Ultras of the world. The Bitcoin true believers will tell you that it's more than an asset. It is the only monetary asset that survives and thrives – the cockroach in the financial nuclear winter of money printing, societal collapse and Government intrusion.

Don't get me wrong, the narrative is very compelling in a 'rage against the machine' sort of way but I fail to see any possible scenario where we all move to a decentralized world of the people, where governments politely step aside and the entire financial system as we know it dissolves.

But just because I am not entirely sold on the most bullish Bitcoin scenarios doesn't mean that I see no utility. I believe Bitcoin is a truly amazing breakthrough for the financial architecture of the world that will see more and more adaption from the institutional players in the years ahead.

You now have large investment banks like Citi Bank coming out as bullish on Bitcoin, Invesco setting up crypto custodian arms and the likes of PayPal setting up wallets. The more this happens the more you will see the real institutional money being pushed into this space. The recent market environment has function as a catalyst for change. High equity valuations and limited upside in bonds are forcing investors to look deeper into the potential of alternative asset classes such as Bitcoin.

In short, there is undoubtedly some significant regulatory hurdles ahead, and the 'Bitcoin as a currency replacement' argument still seems far-fetched to me. With that said, I believe it is a financial asset that is here to stay; continued adaption from the institutional space could well see demand run higher, but don't be fooled. Bitcoin is a speculative asset that will see mind-boggling volatility for some time to come. If you are looking to invest in the crypto space, do your research, start small and Hold on for Dear Life (H.O.D.L.)

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Get your vehicle winter ready

By John Healy of Healy Insurances As we approach October it is a good time to get your vehicle ready for the winter and the change in conditions on the roads. Here is a checklist of the common items to help you prepare: * Check your liquid levels, screen wash, anti-freeze, coolant, oil, and fuel* […]

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By John Healy of Healy Insurances

As we approach October it is a good time to get your vehicle ready for the winter and the change in conditions on the roads.

Here is a checklist of the common items to help you prepare:

* Check your liquid levels, screen wash, anti-freeze, coolant, oil, and fuel
* Check your car battery
* Clean your windows inside and out
* Clean your lights
* Check your tyres
* Consider fitting winter tyres
* Check your wiper blades
* Clear leaves from under your bonnet
* Ensure your car has a phone charger
* Make a winter survival kit

Many car garages and dealers will offer a winter service so it is worth checking locally.
In addition, here is a checklist of the items you should keep in your car this winter:

* Ice scraper and de-Icer
* Torch and spare batteries
* In-car phone charger or a power pack
* A road atlas in case you don’t have GPS
* First Aid kit
* Empty fuel can
* Hi-vis jacket/warning triangle
* Jump leads
* Spare clothes

Many insurers now include breakdown cover as standard on your motor insurance policy. Keep this number in your phone and in your vehicle.

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Mortgage approval received, what next?

By Ted Healy of DNG TED HEALY Once your mortgage application is approved, you should look for mortgage protection cover which is insurance that will pay off your mortgage if you die within the term of the policy. You should not wait until you have made an offer on a house or apartment before shopping […]

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By Ted Healy of DNG TED HEALY

Once your mortgage application is approved, you should look for mortgage protection cover which is insurance that will pay off your mortgage if you die within the term of the policy.

You should not wait until you have made an offer on a house or apartment before shopping around and applying for mortgage protection insurance. It can take some time to get approval, particularly if you have had poor health in the past. This could delay the sale as, by law, your lender must make sure that you have this cover before giving you a mortgage.

Most mortgage lenders offer to arrange mortgage protection insurance for you when you apply for a mortgage. You do not have to take your lender’s insurance, you are free to shop around for better value or a more suitable policy with other providers and brokers.

Another important element is appointing a solicitor to act on your behalf in the conveyancing – this is the legal work to transfer ownership of the property from the seller to you. It is a good idea to choose a solicitor before you start looking at properties, because as soon as your offer is accepted, the estate agent will ask for your solicitor’s details to pass onto the seller’s solicitor. Your solicitor will also check that the sale of the property is legal – that the person who is selling the property owns it and has the right to sell it, and that nobody else could claim to own it.

Your solicitor will also liaise with your mortgage provider at this point and help you through the whole process of mortgage drawdown, when the time is right.
You are now ready to look at properties and place bids with mortgage approval in place.

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