HempWire Editorial Coverage: As one of the oldest means of exchange in the world, gold is always on the radar of the investment community. However, with gold currently valued at roughly $1,286.10 per ounce following a steep decline in the wake of the U.S. Presidential election, many investors are seeking out more fruitful investment options. In a November 2016 article titled “Bitcoin Might Be A Better Investment Than Gold” (http://cnw.fm/Yrb1K), a contributor to Seeking Alpha praised bitcoin’s recent flourish, and the cryptocurrency has continued to climb in the months since. On August 6, 2017, bitcoin soared to a new record of $3,000. Just a week later, it eclipsed the $4,000 mark, more than quadrupling its value since January. Bitcoin continued its blockbuster climb in recent weeks, hitting $6,147.07 on October 21, 2017, as the cryptocurrency busted out another record high, according to data from industry website Coindesk. For prospective investors, this climb has created an opportunity to capitalize on the most significant evolution of the global currency landscape in decades. Companies like SinglePoint, Inc. (SING) (SING Profile), Bitcoin Services, Inc. (BTSC), Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC), Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) and Nvidia Corp. (NVDA), by targeting various niches within the larger cryptocurrency space, are positioned to reap the benefits of bitcoin’s climb.
Gold’s recent performance highlights the current demand for alternative investment options. For more than half a century beginning in 1879, Americans had the option to trade in U.S. dollars for gold. This all changed in 1933, when the United States went off the gold standard following a joint resolution, eliminating the right of creditors to demand payment in the precious metal. In 1971, President Richard Nixon completely severed the link between the dollar and gold, transforming the greenback into a fiat currency, invalidating the Bretton Woods Agreement, and effectively driving the nail into the coffin of the so-called gold standard around the world. Today, Federal Reserve notes are backed solely by the “full faith and credit” of the U.S. government, but a shifting political landscape has created demand for decentralized monetary systems that operate independently of federal institutions. In January 2009, rapidly advancing technology facilitated the next evolution of currency when bitcoin, recognized as the first decentralized digital currency (http://cnw.fm/HcH24), hit the international stage. By 2015, more than 100,000 merchants and vendors (http://cnw.fm/n9QNB) around the globe were accepting bitcoin as payment.
To date, 2017 has proven to be a landmark year for the cryptocurrency landscape. Back in April, the Japanese government amended a bill to officially recognize bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as legal tender, and other countries are beginning to follow suit. This rising wave of global acceptance isn’t going unnoticed in North America. Bank of America is one of several Fortune 500 companies strengthening its intellectual property portfolio (http://cnw.fm/kEVV3) as it relates to cryptocurrencies and their underlying blockchain technology. In addition to filing nine blockchain patent applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in February alone, Bank of America is also working with Microsoft on a joint venture aimed at applying blockchain technology to the area of trade financing.
In the U.S., the burgeoning cannabis industry is, perhaps, one of the most promising applications for bitcoin and blockchain technology. Despite being on course to record sales of $13.3 billion in 2020, according to research by New Frontier Data (http://cnw.fm/9yFTv), the U.S. cannabis market is currently plagued with banking issues stemming from the Controlled Substances Act. This decades-old statute classifies marijuana as a schedule I controlled substance. As such, businesses operating in states that have legalized cannabis for either medicinal or recreational use are often unable to access traditional banking services offered by financial institutions operating at the interstate level. SinglePoint, Inc. (SING) is attempting to remedy the concerns presented to these currently all-cash businesses by providing a cryptocurrency alternative (http://cnw.fm/G7es0) to traditional banking solutions.
As CEO Greg Lambrecht stated in a recent news release, “There is now tremendous momentum and demand for bitcoin acceptance as an alternative form of payment.”
SinglePoint has entered a period of rapid development aimed at executing on its bitcoin payments solution. The company’s management team noted that a recently announced new round of funding would play a key role in SinglePoint’s efforts to “move very quickly to develop a cryptocurrency solution and continue acquisitions in the cannabis space.” In early August, SinglePoint confirmed (http://cnw.fm/RPwq4) the swiftness of its development efforts by announcing the commencement of development for its in-house solution enabling consumers to “obtain bitcoin at any point of sale.” While this new payment exchange is expected to be particularly useful to the maturing cannabis sector, its potential applications could extend well beyond the bounds of marijuana. As SinglePoint noted in a news release, its new product will be “a payment service to make instant bitcoin powered purchases possible when all you have is a credit (or debit) card,” presenting upside for a wide variety of businesses, most notably in high risk markets.
On October 18, 2017, SinglePoint’s evolution was featured in an article published by Equities.com in which Lambrecht discussed the company’s two booming industries: cannabis and cryptocurrency (http://cnw.fm/0Jwtu). “We believe that when we get through with our cryptocurrency product, we’re going to have a huge first mover advantage to be able to go into the dispensary and let the customers use Bitcoin or other coins to pay for cannabis,” Lambrecht said in the interview. “It’s just a huge opportunity and with our technical expertise we feel like we’re if not the absolute best, one of the best companies to pull this off.”
This interview follows Lambrecht’s appearance on “MoneyTV with Donald Baillargeon” (http://cnw.fm/1DoOV), during which he discussed SinglePoint’s upcoming bitcoin payments solution. “We’ve hired some of the leading bitcoin programmers in the world to go ahead and build us a program,” he stated. “What this program is going to do (it’s going to be very similar to the Starbucks wallet), you’re going to have bitcoin on your wallet and when you go to the dispensary you’re going to be able to buy cannabis with your bitcoin wallet. That’s how we’re going to solve the fact that the banks won’t give these dispensaries bank accounts. We’re going to be unleashing this product at the cannabis show in Las Vegas (http://cnw.fm/Q34He). When we solve this problem (and we’re very confident that we can) … This is the perfect storm for SinglePoint.”
Year-to-date, shareholders have taken note of SinglePoint’s sustained growth and aggressive acquisition strategy. The company’s price per share hit $0.0586 on October 20, 2017, up from $0.01 in early January. An updated investor kit detailing the company’s products, leadership team and investor highlights provides readers with essential insights into the company’s goals.
Joining SinglePoint in the cryptocurrency market and achieving similarly promising growth is Bitcoin Services, Inc. (BTSC). The company’s PPS hit $0.06669 October 20, 2017, up from $0.01 in March of this year. BTSC originally unveiled plans to develop a blockchain software of its own in June 2016, noting its intention to emphasize online marketplace, file storage and identity management applications of the currency. The company reiterated these plans in October 2016 before turning its attention toward mining digital currency at the beginning of 2017. According to its recently updated website (http://cnw.fm/x6vZO), BTSC is currently focused on both bitcoin mining (http://cnw.fm/5Wnns), the means by which new bitcoin are introduced into circulation, and blockchain software development.
Of course, not every investment opportunity in the cryptocurrency market is related to the development of payment software. Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC) enables investors to gain exposure to the often significant price gains recorded by bitcoin through a traditional investment vehicle, eliminating the need to face the challenges of buying, storing and safekeeping the cryptocurrency. GBTC’s shares are noteworthy in that they are “the first publicly quoted (on OTCQX® under the Alternative Reporting Standards) securities solely invested in and deriving value from the price of bitcoin.” In an August 2017 report titled “Why GBTC Is Better Than Bitcoin” (http://cnw.fm/rAV8k), a contributor to Seeking Alpha provided some insight into the pros and cons of investing in Bitcoin Investment Trust instead of purchasing bitcoin directly. While GBTC shares are eligible for tax-advantaged accounts and supported by a network of trusted service providers, it’s important to consider that the current premium of GBTC over bitcoin is roughly 85 percent. As such, existing digital currency wallet platforms, as well as those in development by market innovators like SinglePoint, likely present a more enticing option for the majority of investors.
Yet another way to capitalize on the cryptocurrency boom is to target ancillary markets, particularly those related to currency mining hardware, such as Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) and Nvidia Corp. (NVDA). A July article published by Business Insider (http://cnw.fm/WE1ae) called Nvidia and AMD “the only sure bets” in the volatile cryptocurrency space, and their share prices have echoed that sentiment. AMD’s PPS rose from $5.74 in September 2016 to $13.81 on October 20, 2017. Meanwhile, NVDA shares hit $196.90 on October 20, up from $59.52 in September 2016. While these companies aren’t directly involved with bitcoin or the ongoing cryptocurrency boom, many players in the emerging industry rely on AMD and Nvidia hardware (http://cnw.fm/6JD5g) for the blockchain technology that underpins cryptocurrencies, and that’s paying off for the GPU makers. RBC Capital Markets analyst Mitch Steves, in a June 26, 2017, interview with TheStreet (http://cnw.fm/zM5Xq), stated that the growing cryptocurrency mining market contributed “$100 million worth of GPU sales for Nvidia in the last 11 days alone.”
With bitcoin hitting record highs in recent weeks, investors are frantically searching for ways to capitalize on the emergence of both bitcoin and the wider cryptocurrency market. While ancillary service providers like AMD and Nvidia offer intriguing and diversified footholds in the industry, SinglePoint’s position as an early-mover combining the recent performance of both cryptocurrencies and legal cannabis makes it an exciting investment opportunity, particularly as it prepares for the November launch of its cannabis-facing bitcoin payment solution. Look for SinglePoint to stake its claim as cryptocurrencies continue their march toward ubiquity. As Ronnie Moas of Standpoint Research told Bloomberg in an August interview (http://cnw.fm/5vAo4), “It looks to me as though we are at the same point in the adoption curve as we were in 1995” with the Internet. “Cryptocurrency is becoming more widely accepted by the day.”
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