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What is an ETF?

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  ETF stands for "exchange traded fund" which tells us a bit of what it is - so yes it is a fund and yes it is traded on an exchange exactly like a share is. The difference between an ETF and a normal share though is that a share typically just gives you exposure to one company - ie. if you buy shares in MTN you are exposed only to MTN. However, ETFs are made up of a basket of assets (most often shares) - so when you buy an ETF, it is almost the same as you buying all of the shares that are in the basket. 
ETFs are generally constructed so that they replicate the performance of a specific index. For example the Satrix 40 ETF replicates the performance of the JSE Top 40 Index - the aggregate performance of the 40 largest companies listed on the JSE. Larger companies carry more weight than smaller companies in the index, so when they move up or down, they generally have a bigger impact on the fund price. 
What is an index? 
So lets say we have 3 companies - XL Ltd, ABC Ltd and DEF Ltd and we want to
construct an index that replicates the share price movements of these 3 companies. To make it easy, lets say that XL is worth R50m and the other 2 are worth R25m each. In total they are worth R100m. On this day we can say the index which tracks their movement has a value of 100. 
The next day, the values of these companies change as their share prices change. Let's say that after the market closes, XL is now worth R45m, ABC is worth R27m and DEF is worth R30m. In total they are now worth R102m. This means the index now has a value of 102. XL was initially 50% of the index (R50m/R100m) but as it lost value, it became only 44% (R45m/R102m). Companies weightings in the index will fluctuate over time as they become bigger or smaller relative to the others in the index. 
What do I own when investing in an ETF? 
You will own shares or units in the fund itself. The fund then owns shares in the underlying companies which are part of the index. So if you are invested in the Satrix 40 ETF through Franc, you own units in the fund. The Satrix 40 ETF will own shares in Naspers, Standard Bank, MTN etc and its share price will move up or down as the share prices of the shares it owns move up or down. Indices are rebalanced quarterly which is when the weightings are updated. This also means that sometimes companies fall off the index and are replaced by companies that have become larger than them over the quarter. As the companies pay dividends, the fund collects these and pays out to unit holders over the course of the year. Franc reinvests these dividends for its investors. 
Why are ETFs good? 
Diversification - investing through an ETF can give you
access to a diversified portfolio of assets even though you are buying just
once. Have a look at this article to learn about the benefits of having
diversified investments. You also don't need to try pick what individual shares
to buy - this can be time consuming and risky if you don't know what you are
doing! Low cost - ETFs are generally low cost because they are
passively managed. This means that the shares held by the fund just have to
follow the composition of the index and there aren't people who are employed to actually pick what shares the fund should hold (this is called active
management and these products are generally more expensive as these fund
managers are not cheap to employ!). Transparency - given you will know what index the fund is
tracking, you will always know what shares the fund is holding.   Any cons? 
Trading costs and spread - depending on who you buy your ETFs through, there can be trading costs incurred on your trade. If you are buying and holding for the long term these are less important as you only incur when you are buying or selling (they are once off costs). You should also be aware that when you are buying or selling, the price you will trade at will have to match with someone on the opposite end - ie. if you are buying, someone must be selling. Smaller ETFs can have large gaps between what a buyer wants to buy at and what the seller wants to sell at (bid/offer spread). This can sometimes be a hidden "cost" as you could end up paying a higher price or selling at a lower price but can be avoided if you stick to the larger more liquid ETFs like the Satrix 40. 
What is it tracking? - not all ETFs are good, a major part of the appeal is what index the fund is tracking and how well it actually tracks the index. ETFs can also be high risk, for example if you invest in a gold ETF, it will go up or down with the gold price which can be very volatile!  Sebastian PatelSebastian is an investment actuary with more then 15 years of financial services experience. Outside of Franc he likes sports, traveling and trying out new wines (as long as they're Shiraz!)Missed the last blog? Catch up nowHow to Save for Your Next Trip to Bali (or Anywhere Really)Travelling has always been in Thobi Rose's blood. However, becoming an adult she realised that when traveling you need to plan for the financial impact.7 Debt Traps and How to Avoid ThemLike all traps, debt traps are tricky to get out of so it is best to avoid them altogether. That's why this article is about common debt traps and how to avoid them.
So, Those Markets Hey...Q1 '21Last quarter the markets continued their historic rise. This article is a simple breakdown of the Top 40 JSE listed companies Q1 for 2021.Click here to start investing



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While picking a brokerage and a of couple stocks to get started are key on your investment journey, understanding how to actually read a stock or stock chart is just as vital. 

But, how do you read stocks? And what are some easy takeaways that can make investing more simple and less confusing? 

How to Read Stocks

Reading stock charts, or stock quotes, is a crucial skill in being able to understand how a stock is performing, what is happening in the broader market and how that stock is projected to perform. Knowing the basics can help investors make better decisions and are a vital first step in getting into and understanding investing.

Stocks have quote pages or charts, which give both basic and more detailed information about the stock, its performance and the company on the whole. So, what makes up a stock chart? 

What Is a Stock Chart?

A stock chart or table is a set of information on a particular company's stock that generally shows information about price changes, current trading price, historical highs and lows, dividends, trading volume and other company financial information. 

52-Week High and Low

The 52-week high and low are key metrics when looking at the trajectory of a stock in a given period (in this case, one year). The 52-week high and low show the highest and lowest prices at which the stock traded in that time period, although they don't often show the previous day's trading price.

Ticker Symbol

The ticker symbol is the symbol that is used on the stock exchange to delineate a given stock. For example, Apple's ticker is (AAPL) - Get Report on Nasdaq, while Snapchat's ticker is (SNAP) - Get Report on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). The ticker is usually found under a column titled "ticker," or, in some cases, right next to the name of the stock in parentheses. 

However, while some tickers look a lot like the company name - like Microsoft and MSFT -  (MSFT) - Get Report , not all companies' tickers do, so be sure to make sure you are looking up the right company when searching for tickers. 

Dividend per Share

Not all companies pay out dividends - which are essentially small payouts of company profits to shareholders. But for the ones that do, the dividend per share - or the annual dividend payment per share for investors - will be represented on the stock chart. 

Dividend Yield

The dividend yield, then, is the percentage return on that dividend, and is calculated by dividing the annual dividend by the current stock price. 

P/E Ratio

The P/E ratio, or price-to-earnings ratio, is a key metric when looking at a stock chart. The P/E ratio is found by dividing the current stock price by the earnings per share for the past year (four quarters). 

Day High and Low 

The day high and low simply show the highest and lowest prices at which the stock traded throughout the day, from market open to market close. However, the day high and low may not be the open and close prices - those are separate figures. 

Open Price

The open price is simply the price at which the stock opened trading on any given day. 

Close Price

The close price is perhaps more significant than the open price for most stocks. The close is the price at which the stock stopped trading during normal trading hours (after-hours trading can impact the stock price as well). If a stock closes above the previous close, it is considered an upward movement for the stock (and will impact things like candlestick charts, which we'll get to later). Vice versa, if a stock's close price is below the previous day's close, the stock is showing a downward movement.  

Prev. Close

The prev. close, or previous close, is the price at which the stock closed the previous day (24 hours before). 

Net Change

If a stock is "up for the day" or "down for the day," it has to do with the net change. The net change in a stock is a dollar value change from the previous close price of the day before. A positive net change will have the stock "up," while a negative one will have the stock be considered "down" for that day. 

How to Read a Stock Chart

A stock chart is a little different than the basic information on a stock - stock charts include charting, or plot lines, which represent the price movements of the given stock. While you can customize how the chart is drawn (once you get more advanced), price lines are generally represented in a line or mountain chart form. The thin line represents the price movements over a given period, generally six months or one year. If you are working with an interactive chart, you can set the chart to different time frames, from five years back to one day. 

However, when actually reading and interpreting a stock chart, there are a few things you should do to start. 

1. Observe the Price and Time Axes

Every stock chart has two axes - the price axis and the time axis. The horizontal (or bottom) axis shows the time period selected for the stock chart. This can generally be customized to show anything from a year time period (or even multiple years) to a day. 

The vertical (or side) axis shows the price of the stock. These two axes help plot the trend lines that represent the stock's price over time, and are the framework for the whole stock chart. 

2. Look for the Trend Line

This should be pretty obvious, but a good bit of the information you can glean from a stock chart can be found in the trend line. 

Depending on the type of chart you're looking at, you can choose different chart styles including the traditional line, mountain, bar, candlestick and other chart styles.

Line charts simply track the price movements of a stock using the last price of that stock.

Bar charts take the highest and lowest prices of the day plus the closing price of a stock to chart its trend.

Candlestick charts look a bit more complex, but typically use clear or green boxes to indicate periods when the price of the stock closed higher (bullish) and red or pink boxes when the stock closed lower (bearish) than the previous day. The candlestick chart uses the stock's open, high, low and close prices to chart trends. For candlestick charts, the open and close prices are the most important when determining if there was upward or downward momentum for the stock. 

In general, a simple line chart will be able to give you basic information about the trend of a stock. But it's not the only important metric to look at. 

3. Identify Trading Volume

In addition to just the trend of the stock's prices, the stock's trading volume is another key factor to look at when reading a stock chart.

The volume is generally indicated on the bottom of the stock chart in green and red bars (or sometimes blue or purple bars). The key thing to look out for when examining trading volume is spikes in trading volume, which can indicate the strength of a trend - whether it is high trading volume down or up. If a stock's price drops and the trading volume is high, it might mean that there is strength to the downward trend on the stock as opposed to a momentary blip (and vice versa if the price moves up). 

4. Identify Lines of Support and Resistance 

Still, another important aspect to examine on a stock chart are lines of support and resistance. Whenever a stock trades up or down, it generally falls within what are called support and resistance lines. Essentially, the support line is a certain price that the stock generally doesn't drop beneath - it "supports" the stock upward and keeps it from trading below that price given market signals. Conversely, the resistance line is a certain price that the stock typically doesn't trade above - it "resists" the stock pushing through that top price. 

Stock prices generally bounce between these support and resistance lines, but if the stock pushes through the resistance line, that previous resistance line becomes the stock's new support line, and the stock may go higher from there. However, the opposite is true if a stock dips below the support line. 

Tracking support and resistance lines is important in predicting or understanding the overall trend of a stock, and when it might go down or up. 

There are plenty of other slightly more complicated ways and metrics to look at when reading a stock chart, so it is important to educate yourself on technical analysis to get the most of the stock's information when investing. But, what else can you glean from a stock chart in general? Stock Chart Information Stock charts may also have additional information about the company and the stock's historical performance. Earnings per Share (EPS) Earnings per share, or EPS, can be found on many stock charts, and is a good indicator of how well the company is doing. EPS measures the

here are plenty of other slightly more complicated ways and metrics to look at when reading a stock chart, so it is important to educate yourself on technical analysis to get the most of the stock's information when investing. 

But, what else can you glean from a stock chart in general? 

Stock Chart Information

Stock charts may also have additional information about the company and the stock's historical performance.

Earnings per Share (EPS)

Earnings per share, or EPS, can be found on many stock charts, and is a good indicator of how well the company is doing. EPS measures the

amount of net profits a company has earned per share of their stock. For investors, EPS essentially represents the portion of the company's profits that their shares have a stake in. 

A company's EPS is generally among other information on its stock chart, and is updated every quarter after the company reports earnings. 

Market Cap

A company's market capitalization is calculated by multiplying the company's total number of shares outstanding (shares of stock the company has issued to the public) by the current share price of one share of stock. 

Most stock charts include this information. Most stock charts include this information. 

1 yr Target Est

While slightly less common on a basic stock chart, the 1 year target estimate is an analyst estimate of what one share of stock will be worth in one year. However, because analysts tend to have different (sometimes drastically) estimates, it is generally not considered a solid metric to use when reading a stock chart. 

Why she became a Millionare?

ask it shall given
ask it shall given

        What are the four main investments type?

There are four main investments types, or asset classes that you can choose from, each with distinct characteristics, risks and benefits. Once you are familiar with the different types of assets you can begin to think about piecing together a mix that would fit with your personal circumstances and risk tolerance.


 Paying back your loans. For the full explanation of a debt trap you can read this article. Like all traps they are tricky to get out of so it is best to avoid them altogether. That's why this article is about common debt traps and how to avoid them.
Debt Trap #1: Credit Cards
Credit cards are a double-edged sword, they can be very helpful when you need cash, but if you don’t manage your accounts wisely, credit cards can make your financial situation a lot worse. I learnt this lesson the hard way. Here’s how you can make sure you don’t get cut:
Avoid late payment fees by making sure you monthly payment is not even one day late.
Know your limit and never exceed it to prevent further charges.
Most companies charge 2-4% for cash withdrawals from your credit card.
Avoid credit cards with high annual fees and high interest rates - some accounts start at 9% and can rise to as much as 30% per year.
As a rule of thumb, avoid “Rewards” programmes that you have to pay for. If it’s free—take it! If not—stay away!
Debt Trap #2: Overdraft Facility
Although having an overdraft facility on your debit card may give you peace of mind knowing that you won’t be caught without cash at the supermarket, it can be an expensive form of debt.
Some banks charge an overdraft fee every time the facility is accessed or charge you just to have the facility in place.
Know how long you have to clear your overdraft - it can be anywhere from 15 to 30 days. You will likely be charged a late fee if you’re even 1 day late. Some banks even charge a daily fee until you have repaid the overdraft amount.
Debt Trap #3: Mortgage Refinancing 
When interest rates are low, it’s tempting to refinance your home. After all, your monthly payments will go down or you can get some extra cash, right? Not necessarily.
Only people with the best credit qualify for the lowest rates.
Even if you qualify for a low rate, there are still costs and other considerations, such bond origination fees and other closing costs.
Your house is not an ATM machine! The purpose of a 20-year mortgage is to have it paid off when you retire, to reduce your expenses when your income decreases.
Debt Trap #4: Payday Loans
These loans are some of the most expensive debt in the market with annual interest rates as high as 600%, despite the typical loan period being only a few months.
Try and avoid payday loans, but if you do take one out make sure you pay it off in the first month and don’t let it roll-over into a second loan.
Debt Trap #5: Car Loans
These loans are secured by your car, if you default on your payment the lender can take your car.
Read the terms of the loan agreement so you know what the consequences are of late or non-payment
Balloon payments may look enticing and allow you to buy a car you wouldn't otherwise be able to afford but they just delay the pain, avoid this at all costs!
Debt Trap #6: Pawnshop Loans
These are usually small, short-term loans intended to be quick fixes for those in a financial bind. The terms are 1 - 4 months and secured by some piece of property, despite only getting half of the item’s resale value.
Interest rates can vary from 2 - 25% per month and can be negotiated.
If you don’t settle the loan by the agreed date, your property will be sold and you would have lost not only the amount you already repaid but your property as well.
Debt Trap #7: Lay-by or Rent-to-own
These companies allow you to buy appliances, furniture, and even computers, through a weekly rental payment plan.
The total amount you end up paying for the appliance can be as much as 5 times as much as the normal price.
If you miss a payment, the store will take the merchandise back, no matter how much you’ve already paid for it.
Let’s Recap…
In this article, we’ve discussed some common debt traps. And although these debt facilities can help you when you’re experiencing financial problems, they can also make your problems worse. So to ensure you don’t get caught out -
Pay off your credit cards every month and carefully read the agreement so you can avoid any hidden costs
Overdrafts are never free so make sure you repay your overdraft amount immediately to minimize fees.
Mortgage refinancing doesn’t make sense for everyone, so think carefully about the long term impact before you do so.
Steer clear from high-interest loans such as payday loans, pawnshop loans and lay-by or renting-to-own - rather save up for a big purchase.

    What is LiteCoin?

Peer-to-peer (P2P) computing or networking divides tasks or workloads between peers using distributed application architecture. This is a system where components are located on a computer network system which allows communication and the coordination of actions to pass from one member of the network to another member.
The peer-to-peer network is comprised of nodes (each peer) and each node processes actions independently without working through a central server or host. Peers both supply and consume resources while collaborating on the peer-to-peer network which creates what is known as a virtual community.
What is open-source software?
Open-source software (OSS) is a form of computer software where source code is released under a license that is copywritten by the license holder. The license gives users the right to study, change and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose.
It has created a culture of community sharing which differs to the early days of computing. Programmers have for decades collaborated on software development but the open-source license system has given rise to the commercialisation of software.
Instead of feeling threatened by freely distributing their software and allowing universal access to the application’s source code, the new-age commercial software vendors are harnessing the power of collaboration. The free-software movement means anyone can create modifications, port it to new operating systems and instruction set architectures, share it and market it.

What is the MIT/X11 license?
The MIT license originated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the late 1980s. It is a permission-driven license that grants users free access to software. MIT puts very limited restrictions on the reuse of the MIT license.
The MIT license can be re-licensed under other licenses and also permits reuse within proprietary software with conditions. It’s compatible with many copyleft licenses such as the GNU General Public License (GPL).
What is the difference between Litecoin and Bitcoin?
Litecoin is essentially an off-shoot of Bitcoin. It was released by Charlie Lee who was previously employed by Google. It’s known in cryptocurrency circles as a hardfork of Bitcoin.
The main difference between Litecoin and Bitcoin is Litecoin’s block generation time is significantly shorter than Bitcoin (down to 2.5 minutes). It has a different hashing algorithm (scrypt instead of SHA-256) and a slightly modified graphical user interface (GUI).
The revolutionary technology that Charlie Lee used to hardfork from Bitcoin has created a digital coin that is more useful as an affordable payment mechanism. Lee’s objective was to put cryptocurrency into the hands of the average man-in-the-street and create a coin that can be used on a daily basis.
Block generation time
The Litecoin network has the capabilities to process a block in the blockchain every 2.5 minutes. This is significantly faster than Bitcoin where a block is typically processed in about 10 minutes.
The benefit of this fast processing time is it allows merchants to confirm Litecoin transactions much faster than they can confirm Bitcoin transactions. This is why Litecoin has gained a lot of ground as a ‘transaction coin’ where Bitcoin is still largely viewed as an ‘investment coin’.
Scrypt algorithm
Litecoin uses scrypt in its proof-of-work algorithm while Bitcoin uses SHA-256. Scrypt is a sequential memory-hard function and a password-based derivation function.
The hard-form memory function requires a large amount of memory (thus energy) and was designed specifically to make it costly to perform large-scale hardware attacks.
Bitcoin SHA-256 versus Litecoin Scrypt
Bitcoin uses the SHA-256 algorithm to create hashes. The hashes represent the data held in blocks on the blockchain. SHA-256 is multi-faceted and more difficult to mine because the algorithm requires a very high hash rate.
On the plus side, SHA-256 makes the network system highly secure and accurate. On the downside, the processing time is slow where it can take up to 10 minutes to generate each block. This puts Bitcoin at a disadvantage where the coin is not suitable for day-to-day commercial transactions.
The Scrypt algorithm takes full advantage of Bitcoin’s slow processing weakness. It’s a less complex algorithm and does not require such a high hash rate as SHA-256.

Why is Litecoin a hardfork Bitcoin?
Are you wondering what a hardfork is? A hardfork is when a new blockchain takes the original code from a previous blockchain but improves the technology. Charlie Lee who created Litecoin had one goal in mind; to make the original Bitcoin blockchain quicker and easier to use.
Mining Litecoin
Mining Bitcoin has become very difficult and is only done by individuals who have their own expensive hardware. You need a supercomputer with extra power to solve difficult mathematical problems to generate Bitcoin. This also means that you need a lot of expensive electricity.
To mine Litecoin, you only need a graphic processing unit (GPUs) which is much cheaper to purchase and uses less energy. This means that anyone can mine Litecoin.
Transaction speed and fees
The average transaction speed for Litecoin is about 2.5 minutes. A Bitcoin transaction takes about 10 minutes. GPUs speed up the network and this in turn, reduces the average cost to send a Litecoin transaction.
Threat of attack
Charlie Lee addressed the problem of flood attack when he created Litecoin. He did this by adopting Scrypt as its proof-of-work algorithm. A flood attack is where hundreds of thousands of spam transactions are sent to the network. It’s similar to a virus where dodgy people try to destroy the system.
open a litecoin account
How popular is Litecoin?
Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin are the most popular cryptocurrencies with Ripple coming in at fourth place purely on market capitalisation. Bitcoin remains by far the most popular choice but Ethereum and Litecoin have gained ground more recently.
Litecoin was launched in October 2011 and in November 2013 the digital coin experienced massive growth in its aggregate value. This included a 100% leap within 24 hours.
Litecoin was predicted to trade close at USD 250 by 31 December 2019. The coin is predicted to range between USD1 000 and USD1 200 in five years.
There are three factors that make Litecoin attractive to investors:
Litecoin uses Scrypt to mine units. This software algorithm eliminates the need for powerful custom computers designed specifically to mine Litecoin.
Litecoin has one of the fastest transaction times of the virtual currencies which makes it far more attractive as a payment currency. Litecoin’s processing time clocks in at 2.5 minutes, compared to 10 minutes for Bitcoin.
Litecoin is still the cheapest of the three major cryptocurrencies.
Is Litecoin a good investment?
Buying any cryptocurrency comes with its risks and the different coins spike and crash so often, it’s hard to know which one is best or if any digital currency can be trusted. As an example, in 2017, Litecoin increased its value by more than 5000% in just 12 months.
One of the main advantages of investing in Litecoin is it is so much easier to buy using fiat money than Bitcoin and Ether. You can use your debit or credit card, do a bank transfer or use PayPal. You can buy Litecoin with any fiat currency such as the US Dollar, Euro, Pound Sterling and even Rands.
This gives Litecoin an advantage over Bitcoin and Ether where you have to exchange one cryptocurrency to get another one.
That being said, it’s not fair to compare Bitcoin and Ethereum to Litecoin. Bitcoin is viewed as the ‘gold currency’ of the virtual money world and speculative investors typically hang onto their Bitcoin for a long time. Litecoin is viewed as the ‘silver currency’ where investors typically favour it for daily transactions. Litecoin’s advantages over Bitcoin currently make it a great alternative for payment transactions.
Litecoin versus Bitcoin Cash
Bitcoin has a long way to go and many obstacles to overcome before it becomes an acceptable means of payment for everyday commercial products and services. Bitcoin’s scalability is an issue. The transaction times are too slow for Bitcoin to be used as a method of payment for daily transactions. Bitcoin can only manage about 7 transactions per second where Litecoin can do up to 56 transactions per second.
Enter Bitcoin Cash.
Bitcoin Cash was created to overcome weaknesses that Litecoin has capitalised on, such as slow processing time, higher transaction fees, expensive processing protocol and scalability.
Bitcoin Cash increased the block size limit of Bitcoin from 1MB to 8MB. This means the transaction volume of Bitcoin is between 4 to 8 times that of Bitcoin. The fight for the leader position for electronic cash is now between Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash.
Bitcoin or Litecoin: which is a better investment?
Altcoin (alternative coins) is a term that started doing the rounds when new cryptocurrencies were launched on the market. Bitcoin was regarded as the ‘holy grail’ of cryptocurrencies and anything else was a ‘copycat’.
This broad generalization is fast becoming old news and Altcoins are giving Bitcoin a run for its money. Here’s why it’s a good idea to invest in a combination of Bitcoin and Altcoins such as Litecoin.
open a litecoin account
Litecoin has intrinsic value
The value of a cryptocurrency is based on two things:
intrinsic value – the value the coin gains from its credibility and usefulness
speculative value – the value the coin gains from speculative traders who expect the price to fluctuate in the near future
Bitcoin up until now is priced purely on its speculative value which means it is often overvalued. Litecoin, on the other hand, is gaining popularity because of its intrinsic value (a useful coin for daily payments).
Due to the highly speculative nature of Bitcoin, the minute the market criticizes Bitcoin or cryptocurrencies in general receive negative press; investors get jittery and sell their Bitcoin. This is what causes the extreme crashes and spikes.
Litecoin has secured top spot as a trustworthy coin for daily transactions and people who buy Litecoin want the digital currency because of what it can be used for rather than what it might be worth in the future. This makes Litecoin a more stable alternative to Bitcoin which is more volatile.
Bitcoin is ‘expensive’ and Altcoins are ‘cheaper’
The price of Bitcoin is overinflated at the moment largely due to pure speculation. This makes it difficult for your average man-in-the-street to make a meaningful investment in Bitcoin because the cryptocurrency is expensive.
Altcoins such as Litecoin trade at very low prices compared to Bitcoin. It’s also easier to buy Litecoin with fiat money and the transaction fees are lower.
The barrier to entry into cryptocurrencies is lower if you enter through the Altcoin door but don’t be mistaken… Litecoin is not the ‘poor man’s’ cryptocurrency. It has great value as a payment transaction coin and if you invest now in Litecoin, you’ll benefit from its upside potential.
Litecoin is more than just a digital coin
As mentioned a few times in this article, Litecoin was designed by Charlie Lee to meet the market’s need for a secure payment mechanism for day-to-day transactions. Litecoin and a few other newbie cryptocurrencies adopted some impressive technology when they took a hardfork from Bitcoin and it’s changing the way the world views virtual money.
Litecoin has new competition in the form of Bitcoin Cash and might battle to hold onto its position on the leader board as the best digital payment method. Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash both provide fast peer-to-peer transactions globally and are gaining traction as a popular way to transfer money. However, Litecoin transactions are still a lot faster than Bitcoin Cash.
Litecoin is easier and cheaper to mine
If cryptocurrency mining interests you, Litecoin is an easier and cheaper alternative to Bitcoin.
Litecoin uses the Scrypt algorithm which requires less computer processing power and the transaction speed is faster. Bitcoin uses the SHA-256 hashing algorithm which requires expensive mining hardware, a lot of processing power (electricity) and the mining process is more complex.

How to buy Litecoin in South Africa
You can buy Litecoin in South Africa in 5 easy steps:
Get a Litecoin wallet
Find an exchange that sells Litecoin
Deposit money into your Litecoin remote
Place a trade order
Transfer the Litecoins to your Litecoin wallet
CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 72% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs, FX or any of our other products work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.


How Gold Became One of the Most Important Commodities Today
Gold: a brief history
Gold has been a part of the human consciousness since the time of the early hominids, when it was dispersed in streams and in the ground across the ancient world.
This lustrous metal occurred widely across the geological world, where it was first discovered by many different cultural groups, becoming the most recognized metal to the human race.
Apart from its natural beauty, gold is also the most workable metal due to its pure state, making it easy to smelt. As a result, gold became widely used for ornamental purposes, and through this use gained great cultural significance for many ancient peoples.
As a metal which cannot rust or become eroded, gold was broadly associated with deities and royalty in early civilizations, forming an important link to the idea of permanence, and even immortality.
In this way, gold attained an intrinsic value for cultural groups around the world before it became a representation of monetary value, and there is much historical data which attests to the great lengths to which ancient cultures would go in order to mine this precious metal.
Some of the most prominent ancient civilizations, such as the Phoenicians, Egyptians, Indians, Hittites, Chinese, and others, would send their prisoners of war to work in gold mines to excavate the metal that had become the earthly manifestation of deific power.
Gold was used to beautify shrines, and the idols of the ancient gods were erected in gold, while kings were crowned in gold and their queens were adorned in marvellous golden jewellery.
As early as 2600 BC, the ancient Mesopotamians forged gold jewellery, paving the way for a variety of aesthetic decorative uses, while in 1223 BC the iconic boy pharaoh, Tutankhamen, was entombed in a magnificent shrine made primarily of gold.
A fascinating aspect of this early global quest for gold amongst ancient civilizations is that it occurred before gold had any official monetary value, so that it was highly sought after for its rarity and desirability as a commodity alone.
As such, the cultural value of gold was recognized around the world, where it became inherently associated with the notion of royalty and power.
As a result, the value of gold was intuitively recognized as an intrinsic emblem of status, a significance which has been retained throughout the ages, and is still present in most cultural groups today.
This desire for gold in turn furthered many of the technological advancements of the ancient world.
The Roman Empire greatly expanded their mining capabilities as a result of their global search for gold, advancing the science of gold mining considerably.
The Romans were the first to develop hydraulic mines in order to excavate gold present in streams and rivers, and introduced sluices, water-wheels and the so-called ‘roasting’ of gold-bearing ores to separate the gold from rock.
In this way, the search for gold became largely responsible for many developments in early human history, and later became the basis upon which global economic expansion could occur.
How gold became a store of monetary value
The first known record of the use of gold as a currency was found in Lydia, located in Asia Minor around 600 BC, when the Lydians began to strike gold into coins which were called ‘talents’.
As such, the measuring out of gold became inextricably linked to the first concept of ‘money’ as it is understood today.
Apart from the rarity and beauty of the metal, the natural properties of gold which allowed it to be easily melted made it an obvious medium of trade.
Where gold had furthered technological advancements in the ancient mining industry, it also gave rise to the very concept of trade as a portable, private and permanent means of exchanging goods.
Payment in gold coins was an easier and more convenient means of determining the value of an item than the earlier bartering system, and facilitated the rise of global trade during the Classic period.
This new monetary system made possible the existence of a world economy, allowing local economies to expand and prosper significantly.
Gold was recognized as a more valuable currency than silver due to its greater weight, giving rise to the notion of an item being ‘worth its weight in gold.’
During the Classic period of Greek and Roman rule in the western world, gold and silver both flowed to India for spices, and to China for silk. At the height of the Empire (A.D. 98-160), Roman gold and silver coins reigned from Britain to North Africa and Egypt.
As such, money had been invented, and money was gold.
During the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, European economies restructured their minting system from the earlier preference of silver to gold.
This developed from the recognition that the inherent permanence and desire for gold made for a more stable means of determining the purchasing value of traded goods.
In 1300, the first hallmarking practice for determining and verifying the quality of precious metals was established at Goldsmith’s Hall in London.
By 1422 the state of Venice had minted a record of 1.2 million gold ducats coins which were easily minted and carried a high value.
One of the mist significant developments in the use of gold as a currency occurred with the establishment of the Gold Standard by the United Kingdom in 1717, when the British government linked the value of 77 shillings to gold at mint price.
The Gold Standard created a monetary system whereby a country’s currency or paper money value was directly linked to gold.
Across the global economy, countries agreed to convert paper money into a fixed amount of gold, allowing these countries to set a fixed price for gold which was bought and sold at that price.
This price was then used to determine the value of a country’s currency, which would either increase or decrease according to that country’s gold stores.
One of the benefits of the Gold Standard was that the physical quantity of gold acted as a limit to the issuance of currency, thereby allowing these economies to avoid the effects of inflation, promoting a stable monetary environment.
In the decades prior to the First World War, international trade was conducted on the basis of what has come to be known as the classical gold standard.
Using this system, trade between countries was settled using physical gold, so that countries with trade surpluses accumulated gold as payment for their exports.
Conversely, nations with trade deficits saw their gold reserves decline, as gold flowed out of those nations as payment for their imports.
The use of the Gold Standard began to deteriorate with the onslaught of the First World War, as global alliances began to change and more countries became indebted to one another.
The Gold Standard was suspended during the war, leading to a lack of confidence in its reliability and the recognition of the need for a more flexible monetary system.
As the gold supply continued to fall behind the growth of the global economy, the British pound sterling and U.S. dollar became the global reserve currencies.
After the Second World War, the leading Western powers met to develop the Bretton Woods Agreement, whereby all national currencies were valued in relation to the U.S. dollar.
The dollar, in turn, was convertible to gold at the fixed rate of $35 per ounce. Today, the global financial system continues to operate using a gold standard, which is now indirectly linked to the dollar as a reserve currency.
The role of the gold price in the global economy today
As a result of the agreement to link global currencies to the dollar, the relationship between gold and the dollar has gained particular significance in the global economy today.
Gold prices are an indication of the overall state of the US economy, so that when gold prices are high, it means that the economy is struggling.
Conversely, low gold prices mean that the economy is doing well, which makes stocks, bonds or real estate more profitable investments.
Why gold has become a popular investment
With the gold price acting as the barometer for economic performance, investors buy gold as a protection from both economic crisis and inflation.
The gold price is also a reliable means of measuring market sentiment, as the gold price reflects the confidence of commodities traders.
If these traders believe that the economy is suffering, they will buy more gold as protection, and conversely buy less gold when the economy is doing well.
As an example of this process in action, in 2016, the U.S. stock market entered a stock market correction. As the Dow Jones Averages fell, gold prices rose.
From an investment perspective, gold is always a good hedge when other investments appear too risky.
Typically, investors will buy gold for three reasons, namely to offset market declines, to counteract a declining dollar, and as already noted, to hedge against inflation.
However, while gold is considered a safe haven investment, the commodity is also susceptible to sudden market movements, and the higher the gold price, the riskier the investment.
To this end, gold is an excellent diversifier in a well-balanced portfolio, as it typically demonstrates almost no correlation to equities.
Therefore, the gold price will not necessarily fall in a stock market crash, and its value is likely to rise as interest rates fall.
At lower levels of interest rates, investors have a lower cost of carry (or opportunity cost) for holding gold.
For South African investors, the prevalence of the mining industry has created an environment in which shareholders benefit from a high US$ gold price and a weak rand.
This in turn creates the potential for higher corporate profitability and above-average share price gains over time in the mining industry.
That said, this potential will also be determined by how much production is possible under prevailing market conditions.
In the global economy, gold has remained one the few stable assets which has remained strong in value during the global coronavirus pandemic and its resultant market sell-off.
The commodity gained 8% in the three months to 30 April 2021 and nearly 34% over the last year.
As a safe-haven asset, its price has risen from around US$1,280 per ounce at the start of 2019 to trade around US$1,717 per ounce at 30 April.
Economic analysts anticipate that the gold price is set to rise significantly as the global pandemic continues, making it a good investment for later profitable sell-offs.
Price momentum resulting from the economic impact of the pandemic caused the yellow metal to have an exceptional performance in the first half of 2021, increasing by 16.8 per cent in US-dollar terms and significantly outperforming all other major asset classes.
The high uncertainty stemming from the pandemic coupled with positive price momentum is expected to have a positive impact on gold investment going forward.
This has already been seen towards the end of June 2021, when the gold price was trading at levels not seen since 2012, and escalating to near-record highs in all other major currencies.
As has been witnessed during most other historical times of uncertainty, gold benefited from investors’ need to reduce risk, with the recognition of gold as a hedge further underscored by the record inflows seen in gold-backed ETFs.
As such, gold’s effectiveness as a hedge may help mitigate risks associated with equity volatility, and investors may consider gold as a viable substitute for part of their bond exposure.
In this event, the detrimental fall out of the coronavirus pandemic could be the very reason why gold is an excellent investment option for the foreseeable future, with gold prices edging higher after every spike in coronavirus cases.
All told, the gold price is likely to remain a well-supported investment going forward, bolstered not only by ongoing economic uncertainty over global growth, but also by the massive amount of monetary stimulus put in place.
These stimulus packages are likely to keep interests very low for the foreseeable future, making gold a good investment option today.

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