FACEBOOK LIBRA

Since Facebook announced its planned Libracurrency June 18, the bitcoin market has gone haywire. The original cryptocurrency surged from $9,000 to $11,000 this past week, as investors perceived Facebook’s crypto initiative as a vote of confidence in blockchain-based assets.

https://qz.com/1651598/how-to-make-money-off-facebooks-libra/

HOT CRYPTOCURRENCY 2020

The cryptocurrency world has seen many ups and downs, and there are certainly more to come. But now the latest “crypto winter” is over and a “crypto spring” has begun. In other words, cryptocurrency markets are heating up again. This makes it a good time to invest in tokens and coins before prices rise too high. Below I discuss three projects I think are great options for investing right now.

How to Choose?

First and foremost, I have chosen the altcoins below because I think each project has tremendous potential to be successful. The second consideration is affordability. Each coin or token below is very inexpensive right now. In some cases, several thousand can be bought with just a few dollars. The low price represents a lower barrier to entry for those without much income or who are new to cryptocurrency. In fact, many people first acquire crypto through <a class="da by il im in io" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://medium.com/coinmonks/bitcoin-faucets-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly-a8687c2a2e72&quot; style="box-sizing: inherit; color: inherit; text-decoration: none; -webkit-tap-highlight-color: transparent; background-image: url("data:image/svg+xml; utf8, “); background-size: 1px 1px; background-position: 0px calc(1em + 1px); background-repeat: repeat no-repeat”>faucets and <a href="https://hackernoon.com/how-i-got-over-11-000-in-free-bitcoin-af21a734f45d&quot; class="da by il im in io" target="_blank" rel="noopener nofollow noreferrer" style="box-sizing: inherit; color: inherit; text-decoration: none; -webkit-tap-highlight-color: transparent; background-image: url("data:image/svg+xml; utf8, “); background-size: 1px 1px; background-position: 0px calc(1em + 1px); background-repeat: repeat no-repeat”>microtasks, which results in only a few dollars worth of BTC at best. The great thing about the altcoins discussed below is you do not need much more than that to buy in.

BitTorrent (BTT)

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In July 2018, TRON acquired BitTorrent, the biggest peer-to-peer file sharing protocol in the world. It currently has over 100+ million users and makes up 33% of the total internet traffic. TRON’s plan is to combine its blockchain network and BitTorrent’s P2P network to create an infrastructure for a decentralized content distribution platform (akin to a new Internet) for a global user base. The partnership between TRON and BitTorrent has been dubbed ‘<a class="da by il im in io" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://medium.com/swlh/blockchain-torrent-tron-project-atlas-internet5a6bfc0b5e89-5a6bfc0b5e89&quot; style="box-sizing: inherit; color: inherit; text-decoration: none; -webkit-tap-highlight-color: transparent; background-image: url("data:image/svg+xml; utf8, “); background-size: 1px 1px; background-position: 0px calc(1em + 1px); background-repeat: repeat no-repeat”>Project Atlas.’

The TRON network will infuse the torrent ecosystem with storage and bandwidth. And while BitTorrent has always had an incentive model built into it in that users who upload faster can download more quickly — with TRON’s blockchain technology BitTorrent will now be able to compensate users with TRX tokens for participating and contributing. Users can use TRX to access special features, such as getting faster downloads by bidding with TRX tokens. BitTorrent peers will also be able to offer TRX as an incentive to other users to run clients on faster networks and to seed torrents for more extended periods of time.

Given the strength of TRON and how established BitTorrent already is, it is unlikely Project Atlas is going to fail anytime soon. The BTT token has not been trading for long and it is at a very low price at the time of this writing. With these two factors in mind, I cannot imagine BTT will not rise in value quite a bit in the next crypto bull run.

Buy BTT on <a href="https://bit.ly/2EqGqdZ&quot; class="da by il im in io" target="_blank" rel="noopener nofollow noreferrer" style="box-sizing: inherit; color: inherit; text-decoration: none; -webkit-tap-highlight-color: transparent; background-image: url("data:image/svg+xml; utf8, “); background-size: 1px 1px; background-position: 0px calc(1em + 1px); background-repeat: repeat no-repeat”>Binance or <a href="https://bit.ly/2uhEX0V&quot; class="da by il im in io" target="_blank" rel="noopener nofollow noreferrer" style="box-sizing: inherit; color: inherit; text-decoration: none; -webkit-tap-highlight-color: transparent; background-image: url("data:image/svg+xml; utf8, “); background-size: 1px 1px; background-position: 0px calc(1em + 1px); background-repeat: repeat no-repeat”>Kucoin

IoTeX (IOTX)

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<a href="https://bit.ly/2VRG9o1&quot; class="da by il im in io" target="_blank" rel="noopener nofollow noreferrer" style="box-sizing: inherit; color: inherit; text-decoration: none; -webkit-tap-highlight-color: transparent; background-image: url("data:image/svg+xml; utf8, “); background-size: 1px 1px; background-position: 0px calc(1em + 1px); background-repeat: repeat no-repeat”>IoTeX is an open-source project founded in 2017 that is building a new privacy-oriented blockchain platform to enable the Internet of Things (IoT). The IoT refers to the possibility of digital communication and interaction beyond computers and personal devices to encompass all of the various devices around us with digital capabilities. The number of IoT devices is expected to <a href="https://www.juniperresearch.com/press/press-releases/iot-connections-to-grow-140-to-hit-50-billion&quot; class="da by il im in io" target="_blank" rel="noopener nofollow noreferrer" style="box-sizing: inherit; color: inherit; text-decoration: none; -webkit-tap-highlight-color: transparent; background-image: url("data:image/svg+xml; utf8, “); background-size: 1px 1px; background-position: 0px calc(1em + 1px); background-repeat: repeat no-repeat”>surpass 50 billion by 2022. This mass of Internet-connected devices will need secure methods of communication and automation in real-time. This is the niche that IoTex is planning to fill.

The architecture of IoTeX is based on a root blockchain that provides security and governance for the network, while also managing various sidechains to carry out specific functions. These sidechains can connect IoT devices based on specific parameters, such as working in similar environments, having similar trust levels, or having a similar function. IoTex is also focussed on privacy. Two of the privacy mechanisms it has developed are ring signatures and a relayable payment code that hides the address of a transaction receiver.

IoTeX’s most direct competitor is IOTA. The main difference between the two is that IOTA uses <a href="https://www.coinbureau.com/education/directed-acyclic-graphs-dags/&quot; class="da by il im in io" target="_blank" rel="noopener nofollow noreferrer" style="box-sizing: inherit; color: inherit; text-decoration: none; -webkit-tap-highlight-color: transparent; background-image: url("data:image/svg+xml; utf8, “); background-size: 1px 1px; background-position: 0px calc(1em + 1px); background-repeat: repeat no-repeat”>Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG) technology to address scalability. However, this requires global consensus. IoTeX is opting for another solution, called <a href="https://iotex.io/yellow-paper&quot; class="da by il im in io" target="_blank" rel="noopener nofollow noreferrer" style="box-sizing: inherit; color: inherit; text-decoration: none; -webkit-tap-highlight-color: transparent; background-image: url("data:image/svg+xml; utf8, “); background-size: 1px 1px; background-position: 0px calc(1em + 1px); background-repeat: repeat no-repeat”>Roll-DPoS, which uses a randomized and scalable variant of the delegated proof of stake framework.

The first token to be issued on the IoTex chain is <a class="da by il im in io" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://medium.com/@iotex/vitality-vita-token-launch-faqs-9304d6ed8193&quot; style="box-sizing: inherit; color: inherit; text-decoration: none; -webkit-tap-highlight-color: transparent; background-image: url("data:image/svg+xml; utf8, “); background-size: 1px 1px; background-position: 0px calc(1em + 1px); background-repeat: repeat no-repeat”>VITA, which is being distributed free through airdrops to those who stake their IOTX. Visit <a class="da by il im in io" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://medium.com/@minadown/iotex-delegates-election-kicks-off-with-early-bird-staking-bonuses-e4a714a24f3d&quot; style="box-sizing: inherit; color: inherit; text-decoration: none; -webkit-tap-highlight-color: transparent; background-image: url("data:image/svg+xml; utf8, “); background-size: 1px 1px; background-position: 0px calc(1em + 1px); background-repeat: repeat no-repeat”>here to learn more about this.

Buy IOTX on <a href="https://bit.ly/2EqGqdZ&quot; class="da by il im in io" target="_blank" rel="noopener nofollow noreferrer" style="box-sizing: inherit; color: inherit; text-decoration: none; -webkit-tap-highlight-color: transparent; background-image: url("data:image/svg+xml; utf8, “); background-size: 1px 1px; background-position: 0px calc(1em + 1px); background-repeat: repeat no-repeat”>Binance or <a href="https://bit.ly/2uhEX0V&quot; class="da by il im in io" target="_blank" rel="noopener nofollow noreferrer" style="box-sizing: inherit; color: inherit; text-decoration: none; -webkit-tap-highlight-color: transparent; background-image: url("data:image/svg+xml; utf8, “); background-size: 1px 1px; background-position: 0px calc(1em + 1px); background-repeat: repeat no-repeat”>Kucoin

PundiX (NPXS)

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<a href="https://pundix.com/&quot; class="da by il im in io" target="_blank" rel="noopener nofollow noreferrer" style="box-sizing: inherit; color: inherit; text-decoration: none; -webkit-tap-highlight-color: transparent; background-image: url("data:image/svg+xml; utf8, “); background-size: 1px 1px; background-position: 0px calc(1em + 1px); background-repeat: repeat no-repeat”>PundiX is a new blockchain project that aims to use cryptocurrency to create a global cashless payment system. Its blockchain-enabled Point-of-Sale (XPoS) devices let shops, cafes and convenience stores sell cryptocurrency and accept cryptocurrency payments. All a merchant has to do is have an XPoS in their store. The device works with a simple mobile wallet (XWallet) that customers use to make payments in physical stores. It has a simple interface for buying and selling BTC, ETH, XEM, and QTUM. It also has a check-out menu to execute purchases with cryptocurrencies. With every transaction, the XPoS prints a receipt for the customer and tracks orders and inventory for the store owner.

PundiX is an exciting project because it already delivered its first 500 units to participating businesses in Hong Kong in June 2018. Pundi is now accepting orders from merchants for the XPoS system and plans to deliver 100,000–700,000 devices to at least 12 different countries over the next three years. The PundiX project builds on the success of Pundi-Pundi, which is already a popular (non-blockchain-based) cashless payment app in Indonesia that uses smartphones to make instant payments in retail and restaurant outlets. The price of NPXS is also extremely low at the moment, which is one reason to consider buying some.

TECH STOCK 2020

Tech stocks have been massive wealth creators over the years. Stocks like Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon have generated huge returns. Tech stocks have a high beta, which means they outperform indices in a bull run but are also subject to volatility in a downturn.

We know the yield curve has inverted. The yield curve has been a recessionary indicator for five decades now. The inverted yield curve tends to precede a recession by 12 to 24 months. So investors still have time to play the market, and they can pick tech stocks with significant upside potential. Here we look at three tech stocks trading at attractive valuations. All three should move higher before the next recession annihilates the stock market.

Amazon, a giant among tech stocks

Yes, Amazon (AMZN) is still trading at a cheap valuation despite gaining 454% in the last five years. This tech heavyweight continues to fire on all cylinders. It’s expected to grow sales 19.8% in 2019 and 18.9% in 2020. While earnings per share are expected to grow 17% this year, they should grow by a robust 40.8% in 2021 and at an annual rate of 83% over the next five years.

Compare these numbers to Amazon’s forward PE multiple of 55x. You can see that the stock has significant upside potential. Amazon should continue to gain traction in the highly profitable cloud business. And the company’s eyeing e-commerce expansion in emerging economies. It might very well be the first public company to be valued at $2 trillion.

RBC Capital has increased its 12-month price target on Amazon from $2,600 to $2,250. The investment bank is optimistic about Amazon’s one-day delivery for its Prime members. Over 90% of analysts covering AMZN recommend a “buy.” They have a 12-month average price target of 2,269 for Amazon, which indicates upside potential of 23.7%.

AMZN stock has gained 22% year-to-date. It’s trading at $1,835 per share.

Alibaba, a Chinese monolith

China’s (FXI) Alibaba (BABA) is a stock that has outperformed the broader indices since its IPO. The Alibaba stock has returned over 100% since it was publicly listed in September 2014. After a disappointing 2018, Alibaba has made a strong comeback and gained 30% year-to-date.

While China’s economy is in a slowdown, Alibaba investors will be banking on high growth in e-commerce to drive sales. Alibaba has plenty of growth drivers since China’s middle class will continue to expand—as will the country’s internet users and consumer spending over the next few years. The stock will also get a boost if the trade war comes to an end or if tensions manage to recede, according to this Investor Place report.

Alibaba’s sales are expected to rise 30.4% to $71.38 billion in 2019 and 29.2% to $92.21 billion in 2020. Analysts expect earnings per share to rise 22.2% in 2019 and 25.7% in 2020. Alibaba stock is trading at a forward PE multiple of 20, and we can see that it’s undervalued, given the company’s growth rates.

Currently, 98% of analysts covering Alibaba recommend a “buy.” They have a 12-month average target price target of $222 for the stock, which indicates upside potential of 25%.

Autodesk, another strong bet

Autodesk (ADSK) stock has gained 173% over the last five years. The stock is up 14.3% year-to-date. Despite the impressive returns, ADSK investors have lost 15.5% since July 2019. Autodesk announced its second-quarter results for fiscal 2020 last week. It also reported revenue of $797 million, a rise of 30% year-over-year.

ADSK shares have seen a pullback recently. The company lowered its EPS estimates for 2020. Investors chalked up the revised outlook to trade tensions and macro uncertainty. ADSK stock is trading at a cheap valuation, and it should move higher over the next 12 months.

Autodesk’s sales are expected to rise 26.7% to $3.26 billion in 2020 and 21.8% to $3.96 billion in 2021. Analysts expect earnings per share to rise 173.3% in 2020 and 63% in 2021. Autodesk stock is trading at a forward PE multiple of 32.6x, and you can see that it’s grossly undervalued, given the company’s growth rates.

Currently, 82% of analysts covering Autodesk recommend a “buy.” They have a 12-month average target price target of $174 for the stock, which indicates upside potential of 18.4%.

Tech stocks for rising uncertainty

These tech stocks are a safe bet, given the market uncertainty and rising trade tensions between the US and China. We’ve seen tech stocks rally significantly before a recession only to undergo a massive correction when the economy tanks.

On September 4, cybersecurity company Palo Alto Networks (PANW) reported its fourth-quarter and fiscal 2019 financial results. The company reported Q4 revenues of $805.8 million, a YoY (year-over-year) rise of 22%. This was higher than the consensus estimate by $2.24 million.

PANW also reported non-GAAP EPS (earnings per share) of $1.47, a YoY rise of 9.7%. This is higher than the consensus estimate by $0.05. The company’s GAAP EPS of -$0.22, however, missed the consensus estimate by $0.22.

According to Palo Alto Networks’ fourth-quarter earnings press release, billings represent an important metric for the company, including product revenues and subscription and support revenues. In the fourth quarter, the company reported total billings of $1.06 billion, a YoY rise of 22.5%.

In fiscal 2019, Palo Alto Networks reported revenues of $2.90 billion, a YoY rise of 27.5%. The company reported non-GAAP EPS of $5.45, a YoY rise of 29.8%. The company also reported total billings of $3.49 billion in fiscal 2019, a YoY rise of 22.2%.

Yesterday, Palo Alto Network stock closed at $200.49, 0.68% higher than its previous closing price. The company’s stock is currently trading at $214.95, 7.11% higher than the previous closing price. To learn more about the company’s performance in yesterday’s after-market trading session, please read Why Is PANW Stock Gaining in After-Hours Trading?

Analysts’ recommendations for Palo Alto Networks

The 37 analysts tracking Palo Alto Networks have an average target price of $264.18 on its stock. This indicates a potential upside of 22.1% in the next 12 months based on the current trading price.

Today, BMO Capital Markets and Maxim Group reiterated their “outperform” ratings and set a target price of $245 for the stock. Maxim Group also reiterated its “buy” rating and raised its target price from $304 to $316. On August 20, Bank of America/Merill Lynch reiterated its “buy” rating and raised its target price from $275 to $307.

Market opportunity

According to IndustryARC, the global cybersecurity market was worth $140 billion–$150 billion in 2018. The market is expected to grow at a CAGR (compound average growth rate) of 8% from 2019 to 2025.

According to Palo Alto Networks’ fourth-quarter earnings presentation, the cloud security market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 21.2% from 2018 to 2022. According to Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research, the public cloud disruption opportunity could exceed $850 billion in 2022 and about $1 trillion in 2023. Plus, Palo Alto Networks expects the cloud security market to grow in line with the overall public cloud market.

In its fourth-quarter earnings presentation, the company has estimated the TAM (target addressable market) in enterprise and cloud to be worth $72.6 billion in 2022. This is significantly higher than the company’s TAM of $19.1 billion in 2017.

Palo Alto Networks expects its network security TAM and automation opportunity TAM to be worth $26.5 billion and $14.1 billion, respectively, in 2022. Palo Alto Networks estimated its cloud security TAM and automation opportunity TAM to be worth $7.8 billion and $4.1 billion, respectively, in 2022.

By 2022, Palo Alto Networks expects its endpoint protection, analytics, and automation TAM to be worth $13.1 billion. It expects its automation opportunity TAM to be worth $7.0 billion in 2022.

Market growth rates

Palo Alto Networks forecast a 9.2% CAGR for its overall TAM from 2018 to 2022. The company expects its cloud security TAM and network security TAM to grow respective CAGRs of 21.2% and 6.9% from 2018 to 2022.

The company expects its endpoint protection, analytics, and automation TAM and its Future Security Automation TAM to grow CAGRs of 10.2% and 8.4%, respectively, from 2018 to 2022.

Long-term revenue and billing targets

In its fourth-quarter earnings presentation, Palo Alto Networks guided for fiscal 2020 revenues of $3.4 billion–$3.5 billion and fiscal 2022 revenues of $5.0 billion. This implies a CAGR of 20% from fiscal 2019 to fiscal 2022.

Plus, the company guided for total billings of $4.1 billion–$4.2 billion in fiscal 2020 and around $6.0 billion in fiscal 2022. This implies a CAGR of 20% from fiscal 2019 to fiscal 2022.

According to its fourth-quarter earnings presentation, Palo Alto Networks has focused on positioning the firewall as a platform to integrate and simplify security. The company’s next-generation firewalls offer customers subscriptions for features such as threat prevention, URL filtering, Global–Protect, WildFire, and DNS Security.

The company plans to integrate IoT (Internet-of-Things) security in its firewall platform from 2020 to 2022. Notably, Palo Alto Networks expects its firewall platform billings to rise at CAGR of 23% from 2019 to 2022. This is lower than its CAGR of 27% reported from 2017 to 2019.

Palo Alto Networks’ next-generation security business, comprising its Prisma and Cortex platforms, reported billings of $452 million in fiscal 2019. This accounted for 13% of the company’s total billings.

The company expects next-generation security billings to be worth $800 million–$810 million in fiscal 2020 and $1.75 billion in fiscal 2022. As a result, this implies a CAGR of 57% from fiscal 2019 to fiscal 2022.

The company expects its next-generation security business billings to be around 30% of the company’s billings in fiscal 2022. Plus, PANW guided for next-generation security business revenues of $1.0 billion in fiscal 2022.

Margin and cash flow targets

In its fourth-quarter earnings presentation, Palo Alto Networks set the target for a long-term operating margin of more than 25%. The company has guided for an investment of $100 million–$125 million in its next-generation security business in fiscal 2020. Subsequently, the company expects to report operating margin leverage of 150 basis points each in fiscal 2021 and fiscal 2022.

In fiscal 2019, Palo Alto Networks reported adjusted FCF (free cash flow) of $1.06 billion. The company expects to generate adjusted FCF of around $4.0 billion by fiscal 2022. Plus, the company also set a long-term FCF margin target of more than 30%.

CARA DELEVINGNE TAKES EARNINGS CROWN

Cara Delevingne has earned the title of the UK’s highest paid supermodel by raking in a staggering £21.5million in the last year.

The catwalk queen, 27, has earned over double the salary of her closest competitors, including Kate Moss, 45, who made £9m, and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, 32, who took home £8m. 

Multi-talented Cara, has nearly doubled her income in the past 12 months with her range of endeavours which has seen her making £59,164 per day via her company, Cara & Co.  

Making bank: Cara Delevingne, 27, has earned the title of the UK’s highest paid supermodel by raking in a staggering £21.5million in the last year

In her company’s latest accounts by Companies House obtained by The Sun, Cara’s work commitments have made her profit of £21,594,838, with £20,694,684 being ‘cash in the bank’.

AUTUMN STOCK TO WATCH

Wizz Air (LSE: WIZZ) has only been around for 10 years, but it is already a force to be reckoned with in the European airline market. Since 2014, revenue has risen nearly 200% and net profit is up 234%.

City analysts are expecting a similar performance over the next two years. They’ve pencilled in earnings growth of 16% for fiscal 2020 and 21% for 2021.

Based on these targets, Wizz is trading at a forward P/E of 12.1 and PEG ratio of 0.5, which looks cheap compared to the firm’s projected growth rate. That’s why I think it could be worth adding this fast-growing airline to your portfolio today.

Rupert Hargreaves owns no share mentioned.


Karl Loomes: Bunzl

A FTSE 100 stock you may never have heard of, the London-based distribution firm Bunzl (LSE: BNZL) looks like it may have good prospects to me. The company in effect supplies other firms with all those small but essential things they need, from loo roll to hard hats, meaning that even when economies start to slow, its products are still essential.

Of even greater benefit at the moment is the weak pound brought about by Brexit concerns. Bunzl gets about 60% of its revenues from the US, but has to repatriate those dollars into sterling. While Brexit troubles keep the pound under pressure, now is the perfect time to buy this defensive stock.

Karl owns shares of Bunzl


Royston Wild: Unilever

Unilever’s (LSE: ULVR) not had the best of things in September, its share price slumping from record peaks above £53.20 printed at the start of the month and curtailing its stratospheric rise in 2019.

This recent weakness is likely nothing more than a blip in the household good’s manufacturer’s ascent, however — it’s gained 85% in value over the past five years — and I reckon that third-quarter financials scheduled for mid-October could prompt fresh waves of buying.

Last time out it advised that underlying sales continued to grow despite challenging markets (up 3.3% in the first half), with volumes actually picking up in the latter part of the period. I’m expecting signs of more resilience in that upcoming release.

Royston Wild owns shares in Unilever.


Thomas Carr: Cineworld

Cineworld (LSE: CINE) shares have disappointed so far this year, but I fancy that trend to reverse. Whilst admissions were down in the first half of the year, the film slate in the second half is much stronger, including the likes of The Lion King, Avengers and Star Wars.

As the cinema operator progresses with the refurbishment and integration of its newly acquired American business, there is the prospect for meaningful synergies and operational improvements. Considering the renewed focus on shareholder returns and a generous dividend, I think these shares are too cheap and reckon they will push on from here.

Thomas Carr owns shares in Cineworld.


Tom Rodgers: Aviva

Insurance giant Aviva (LSE: AV) has a hugely tempting 7.7% dividend yield and the share price is recovering nicely from an early September dip. Dividend growth over the last five years is also up an average 15%. That makes Aviva a sensible buy with the prospect of great returns.

Looking longer term, credit ratings agencies give Aviva a clean bill of health when it comes to meeting policyholder obligations.

New CEO Maurice Tulloch says slashing debt is top of his to-do list, so I’m confident the share price will gain strongly, too.

Tom Rodgers does not own shares of Aviva.


Kevin Godbold: Reckitt Benckiser

New chief executive Laxman Narasimhan started on 1 September at FTSE 100 fast-moving goods stalwart Reckitt Benckiser (LSE: RB), and I reckon refreshed leadership can be positive for businesses.

With July’s half-time report, the company said it’s been working to make its two divisions structurally independent. To me, separating the Health and Hygiene Home divisions looks like a move designed to add value. It could even lead to one unit spinning off from the other as a separate company.

I reckon there’s a chance of the shares rising in anticipation of enhanced value ahead, perhaps as early as during October.

Kevin Godbold does not own shares in Reckitt Benckiser.


Edward Sheldon: Sage Group

My top stock for October is accounting solutions provider Sage Group (LSE: SGE). Its share price has pulled back significantly over the last two months, and right now I think the stock offers value.

What I like about Sage is that it’s a high-quality company. Recurring revenue is high, return on equity is excellent, and debt is low. The company also has a great dividend growth track record.  

Sage has been a 200-bagger since it listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1989; however, portfolio manager Nick Train recently said in an interview that he’s “hoping that the growth story is only just getting started.” With that in mind, I think the stock is worth a closer look.

Edward Sheldon owns shares in Sage.


Fiona Leake: Redrow

Redrow (LSE: RDW) is currently a steal in my opinion, with a P/E ratio of just 6.8 and a dividend yield of over 5%. I believe that now is the time to buy, with shares up 18% in just the last month alone and revenue jumping 10% in the past financial year.

Despite the growing economic and political uncertainty, the UK still has a huge shortage of homes. New-build sales continue to be through the roof and show no signs of slowing down any time soon. I think that Redrow will continue to grow in October and, at such a criminally cheap price, I wouldn’t say no to investing.

Fiona Leake does not own shares in Redrow.


Paul Summers: Biffa

With most of the largest one-day falls since 1984 occurring in the month, October has a poor reputation among investors. This year’s added ingredient of Brexit coming to a head could make it another volatile one. 

Right now, I’m favouring companies with defensive qualities. That’s why my pick is waste management and recycling firm Biffa (LSE: BIFF). Regardless of what happens politically over the next few weeks, the mid-cap will continue to provide the essential service of collecting our bins.

It won’t shoot the lights out in terms of growth, but a valuation of 11 times earnings takes account of this. At almost 3.2% at the time of writing, the dividend is both decent and safely covered by profits.

Paul Summers has no position in Biffa.


Kirsteen Mackay: BAE Systems

The share price of FTSE 100 defence giant BAE Systems (LSE:BA) has risen over 20% in the past six months.

Its trailing price-to-earnings ratio is 14, which is reasonable for its sector and earnings per share are 41p. It has a trailing dividend yield of 3.35% and the next dividend will be announced in October.

At the end of September, it was awarded a £2.2bn US defence contract to support the US military and its foreign military sales. It also agreed to acquire Prismatic, a UK solar drone maker.

In this volatile political climate, I think this is a solid company with further prospects ahead. 

Kirsteen Mackay owns no share mentioned.


Andy Ross: Hastings Group 

With a trading update due towards the end of the month, the insurer Hastings Group Holdings (LSE: HSTG) could be a top riser in October. I think the key driver for the share price will be the effect the change to the Ogden rate is having. Hastings has already said it is setting aside an extra £8.4m in its calculations to meet the cost.

I expect with the shares now providing a high yield (over 6%) and a low P/E of around nine, any good news could see the share price bounce back. In the last results, live customer policies increased 4% to 2.81m, so there is momentum from that perspective.

Andy Ross does not hold shares in Hastings Group Holdings.


Stepan Lavrouk: JD Sports

Shares of JD Sports (LSE: JD) have been on a great run over the course of the last month, returning almost 18% to shareholders. However, there are reasons to be optimistic that this excellent performance may continue going forward.

For one thing, I like that JD has been able to expand its retail footprint, even as the high street as a whole has been losing ground. For another, I believe that its expanding international presence gives it a good advantage relative to rival retailers who are more focused on the domestic market in today’s Brexit climate. 

Stepan Lavrouk does not own shares of JD Sports.


Roland Head: IG Group

Very few stocks benefit directly from volatile market conditions. One company that does is FTSE 250 financial trading specialist IG Group Holdings (LSE: IGG). Customers of the online CFD and spread betting provider tend to trade more heavily when markets are rising or falling than when market are flat.

IG shares are unloved following regulatory changes last year. But a recent trading update suggests to me that this highly profitable business will continue to grow.

The shares are trading on 16 times earnings and offer a 6.8% dividend yield. I think that’s too cheap and rate IG as a buy.

Roland Head owns shares of IG Group Holdings.


Peter Stephens: Sainsbury’s

Sainsbury’s (LSE: SBRY) recent trading update highlighted an improvement in its performance relative to the wider market. Its refreshed growth strategy will focus on cost reduction and improving the customer experience. This could begin the process of delivering a successful turnaround for the retailer following a prolonged decline in its share price.

Although its net profit growth may be limited in the near term, Sainsbury’s overall strategy and price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 10 suggest that it could be undervalued at the present time. With a dividend yield of 5%, it could offer long-term turnaround potential.

Peter Stephens does not own shares in Sainsbury’s.


Manika Premsingh: BAE Systems

Since a share price crash at the end of May this year, aerospace and defence solutions provider BAE Systems (LSE: BA) has risen a sharp 30%. That it has just won a $2.7bn US defence contract is likely to keep the price buoyed, given that the deal size amounts to over 13% of last year’s revenue.

It’s a financially healthy company in a defensive sector, which can be relied upon at a time when the outlook for global macros is relatively uncertain. I don’t see any structural risks from a long-term perspective either. To me it looks like the price will rise higher, and it’s better to buy it before it does.

Manika Premsingh has no position in BAE Systems.


G A Chester: Barclays

Barclays (LSE: BARC) continues to be the most unloved of the big FTSE 100 banks. Last month’s news that it’ll book an additional provision of £1.2bn-£1.6bn for PPI in Q3 (results due 25 October) won’t have done anything to win over sceptics.

However, I expect its capital position to still be strong, and with it trading at a deep discount to book value, on a low P/E and high dividend yield, I see it as a compelling contrarian ‘buy’. I think the reward for holding through Brexit volatility could be a very nice upward rerating of the shares further on.

THE ART OF MAKING MONEY

Have you had a business idea in your head for a long time but haven’t acted on it yet?

Have you started an idea (be it a blog, a business, a service, etc.) but can’t seem to make it take off?

Are you a wantrepreneur who wants to become a profit-generating entrepreneur?

This is for you.

Over the years, I’ve launched, scaled and failed with a variety of online businesses. Some took off and are thriving to this day, and others didn’t exactly work out. I have learned firsthand and from my mentors what the art of making money is all about.

My experience with bringing ideas to life and turning them into profitable business has taught me one valuable lesson:

You have to spend money to make money.

Now before I get into tactics to help you make your money work for you, I think it’s important to caveat that spending more money DOES NOT mean you’re going to make more money. It certainly does not.

In fact, I’ve seen some real bozos use the “you have to spend money to make money” line of thinking to help them rationalize some silly, non-essential business expenses. You should have patience when it comes to spending money and should not rush to spend (more on that later)

With that being said, spending money does indeed help you make money – or at minimum, it puts you in a position to do so.

For those of you who are entrepreneurs, you know what I mean. For those of you who are considering starting a business or launching a creative endeavor I want to encourage you to do the following with your next paycheck: spend it.

Yes, I said it.

Instead of investing that one paycheck into your 401K, putting it into that mutual fund, saving it for that trip or sliding it under the mattress, I want you to spend it.

I want you to spend it on something specific and something strategic. I want you to spend it on something that will not only help bring that idea of yours to life, but also scale it to make you some serious money.

Now, before you do that, I want you to keep reading.

Here are the 4 things you need to realize about how to turn money into more money.

The art of making money - wad of money

1. Breaking even can be extremely profitable.

Whenever I start and begin scaling a new business, my first goal is to get to a point to where I am spending as much money as possible. Usually that goal is within the context of marketing or advertising, but I suppose it could extend to other aspects of a business.

Here’s what I mean.

When launching my first side hustle, for example, I was focused on selling an online course product. A large aspect of my marketing strategy was to establish an email relationship with potential customers. To do that, I needed to catch the eyes of folks who might be interested in my product and would be willing to provide me with their email address in exchange for something for free and then an opportunity to sell them something.

To catch their eye (I had a following of zero), I needed to SPEND MONEY! I started with some simple ads running on Facebook, Instagram, etc. and soon realized something very important:

The more I spent, the more I made. (duh!) But there’s more to it.

While my efforts were not profitable (my ads were costing me more than I was grossing with sales), over the course of 30 days I came to see that the more I spent – the more I made over time and the more brand awareness I created that ultimately grossed me sales. Key word here is: over time.

Here’s how it looked.

$200 in ads per day.

$150-$200 in sales per day.

100 new emails per day.

The value of that ad spend wasn’t the sales but rather the emails! Those 100 emails turned into 20-30 sales a couple of weeks later. Flash-forward a couple of months and this is how things netted out:

$25K in ad spend.

$70K in sales.

That’s a 3x return on ad spend (decent) and as you can see with the daily revenue being breakeven or under, the value of that ad spend came from the emails I was able to acquire and then eventually convert to sales down the line.

The lesson here is that sometimes the money you spend doesn’t net immediate return, but if you are strategic with what you are collecting/garnering, then it absolutely can be extremely profitable down the line (as long as you are strategic and have connected these dots). I proved this 100% with my efforts and have since ramped up this strategy even more… the more I spend the more I make.

2. Patience = old school money making

While I am all for spending money to make money STRATEGICALLY… don’t spend just yet!

I didn’t ramp up my spend until I knew exactly what I wanted to garner and how I was going to eventually convert these new assets.

The key with the “spend money to make money” line of thinking is to look beyond where the puck is now to where it will be.

If you can connect the dots and be forward thinking, spending money will bring more money.

For example, I have recently spent more and more money on the PRSUIT Facebook pageto boost our content to get it exposure to more people. This has resulted in over 30,000 new followers in less than 2 months and over 400,000 new visitors to PRSUIT.com. While this has not resulted in immediate 1:1 revenue, it has enabled me to close a deal with Staples, connect with Jake Paul, make an appearance on E! Entertainment, get accepted into several premium ad networks (from which we are now making positive revenue), and have several other large 5-6 figure deals on the table. Spend money to make money.

3. Don’t spend needlessly.

I have been successful with my “spend money to make money” strategy by being patient with it.

The majority of the thousands and thousands of entrepreneurs and small businesses that fail each year are those that spend money needlessly and do so time and time again.

Be strategic with WHERE you decide to spend money and realize that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to make money!

If you are selling a physical product, you don’t necessarily need to spend more on manufacturing. Spend more on marketing or faster fulfillment.

If you are an artist, don’t spend more on a fancy exhibition space or pop up shop. Spend, instead on influencer marketing.

If you are a musician, don’t spend money on producing swag to hope that gets the word out. Instead, spend on ads targeting journalists, influencers, etc.

I am not an expert on all things marketing by any means, but I have learned that before you start spending money, you need to know where to spend it for most effect. Once you figure that out, I am confident that it will start provide ROI.

4. Use it intangibly.

Outside of spending money to make money by dumping it into awareness creating tactics like marketing, etc., the biggest lesson I’ve learned when it comes to the art of making money, it’s this: hiring the right people can make all the difference.

The right people can make you millions. The right people can also cost you millions.

The right people can take your business from the garage to the top floor.

Hiring the right employees is everything.

When you are a young entrepreneur just starting out, there is an inherent knowledge and experience gap you will need to overcome. Hiring the right person can do just that.

I have hired amazing people and I have hired horrible ones. Hire someone who has experience and is willing to put in the hours. This frees you up to do more for other aspects of your business, and I promise you that will it feels horrible to part with money each month, but it will come back in folds if you hire the right person.

What to do with your next paycheck.

When you get your next paycheck, take it (or a portion of it) and set it aside with the above in mind. Sit down and map out a strategy of how to spend that money and how that will help take your idea to the next level.

The other aspect of spending money to make money is that as you spend, you also become dedicated to your creation. When you spend, you commit yourself and the process of going “all in” begins. It means you are serious about making your passion project/business a reality. It means you are stepping off of the sidelines and into the game. Spend, but spend patiently and strategically.

LONDON TRAVEL TIPS

1.Travel around London with a Visitor Oyster card
A Visitor Oyster card is a smartcard with pay as you go credit that allows you to travel on most public transport in London. Buy one online and have it delivered to your home so that it’s ready to use as soon as you arrive in London. That way, you won’t have to queue to get one. 

Pay as you go fares are cheaper than buying paper single tickets. You can also use your contactless debit or credit card to pay as you go on London’s public transport, although overseas transaction fees may apply.

2. Touch in and out on the yellow card readers
Remember to touch your Visitor Oyster card in at the yellow card reader at the start of your journey and to touch out at the end on Tube, DLR, London Overground, TfL Rail and most National Rail services in London. On buses and trams, just touch your card on the yellow reader at the start of your journey – you don’t need to touch out when you get off.

3. Travel outside the busiest times
The busiest times to travel are 08:30 – 09:00 and 17:30 – 18:30, Monday to Friday. If you are able to travel outside these times, you could enjoy a quicker, more comfortable journey, especially if you’re carrying heavy luggage/a rucksack, or travelling in a group.

4. Stand on the right
Always stand on the right when using the escalators at Tube stations, leaving enough space free for passengers in a hurry. Once you get onto the platform, always stand behind the yellow line and move along the platform where more space is available so it’s easier to board the next train.

5. Travel differently
See a different side to London. You can hire a bike for as little as £2 with Santander Cycles, London’s self-service, bike-sharing scheme, take to the air with Emirates Air Line, London’s cable car or take a scenic boat trip along the River Thames. Alternatively, walking in central London is a great way to get around and experience the city. You’ll find that there are plenty of street maps to help you get around and it could be quick than taking the Tube or the bus.

Other travel tips

  • Luggage and rucksacks
    When carrying luggage on the Tube, look out for the raised platform areas to board and, where possible, avoid travelling during the busiest times: you may have an easier journey. Although staff will be present they may not be able to assist you with luggage as a result of carrying out other duties. If you’re carrying a rucksack, remove it when you board a train and place it by your feet
  • Travel by bus
    Try travelling by bus; it’s one of the cheapest and most scenic ways to travel. Use our Central London bus and attractions map to help you plan your way around the city and its landmarks. Remember, you cannot pay for your London bus fare in cash. You will need an Oyster or contactless payment card, or a valid ticket, to pay for your bus journey.
  • Don’t rush for the train
    The Tube operates a very frequent service, so there’s no need to rush for the first train. This allows you time to move down the platform where more space might be available.
  • Get expert advice – go to a visitor centre
    Visit a TfL visitor centre to plan your London visit. There you can buy tickets for travelling around London, getting to the airport or tickets for many of London’s major attractions and shows.

CRYPTOCURRENCY FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is cryptocurrency mining?

  2. Without Miners, cryptocurrency market would not work.

  3. Miners provide a two-fold role in cryptocurrency. Firstly, they process complex mathematical problems to “unlock” new coins. Secondly, they validate transactions on the network.

  4. They must have consensus on any change to the network for the blockchain to remain consistent. Non-consensus can lead to forks in the network. Forks are incredibly difficult to make happen on the Bitcoin network, and for many this is one of its strongest attributes.

  5. What’s the difference between a broker and exchanges?

  6. Cryptocurrency exchanges are all those platforms that allow traders to buy and sell cryptocurrencies. Because it’s a very recent – and booming – market, most of these platforms are quite new. But, of course, one of the most relevant questions people ask is how to know if a certain platform is safe or not.

  7. The only way to find out is to check whether the exchange provides transparent data of coins in cold storage. In other words, whether it has the reserves needed to provide liquidity to its activities. This can be easily checked by checking whether an exchange is regulated or not.

  8. The other relevant information to extract is to look at reviews and comments that people are making about the platform. Are they positive or negative?

  9. But we have simplified this research for you: the platforms suggested in this page are all fully registered and highly recommended.

  10. What is difference between bitcoin and ethereum?

  11. All cryptocurrencies have their own characteristics but recently one coin has come to challenge more than ever before bitcoins. This new player on the market is Ethereum and the reasons for the challenge are easy to understand.

  12. Ethereum emerged to try to correct some of the main criticisms that were made towards bitcoin – especially in terms of security.

  13. What it accomplished to do was to provide safer transactions, more flexible contracts that are compatible with any wallet, with short block times to negotiate (where confirmations are easier). Ethereum is more available than bitcoin as well. Whereas more than two thirds of bitcoins have already been mined, access to ethereum is still widely available. Another core difference between these two coins is that Ethereum allows different developers to raise funds for their own projects. It can therefore be in itself a Kickstarter for a number of projects.

  14. The main advantage of Ethereum is that it is a more secure, flexible, easy to use and transact coin. It has also brought innovations in terms of investment and entrepreneurship. And this is posing a serious challenge to bitcoin’s market cap.

  15. Bitcoin market cap is …

  16. … the relative importance this coin has on the overall market. Market capitalization is the ratio of importance that each cryptocurrency individually on the crypto market. It ranges, therefore, from 0 to 100% and is used to understand who is gaining more relative dominance.

  17. Bitcoin used to dominate this market cap – for many years it maintained 80% of the ratio. But recent changes have been challenging this dominance. It is expected that other coins like ethereum, ripple or litecoin start gaining importance.

  18. What is the hottest coin to invest in?

  19. Defining a single “best” coin is difficult. There are over a thousand different offerings in the space, and the various prices assigned to them is more than simply a reflection of their popularity. Each token has a different total circulating supply meaning that any changes in market cap will affect them all differently.

  20. Right now, the most popular crypto currency is Bitcoin. This might not be the case in a few years. There are many supposed weaknesses with the current scaling debate being the manifestation of one such issue. Other more modern efforts have focused on tackling problems perceived with the Bitcoin network, whilst some offer entirely new potential – the Ethereum network, for example.

  21. How to trade bitcoins?

  22. Bitcoin trading the process by which we speculate on future price moves of this coin.

  23. it’s not difficult to trade bitcoins. As with all other financial markets prices have rationalities of their own – controlled by good technical analysis – and the moves in the currencies themselves follow well understood “fundamentals” (total coin supply, technical details, development plans, mission statements, general speculation). To keep track of these moves websites and twitter are essential tools.

  24. What is cryptocurrency used for?

  25. Being such a new technology, it may be that cryptocurrency has not been used for its eventual use case. Still, today it is used for many purposes. These include, but are not limited to the following: remittances, trading, investment, payment for goods and services, private monetary transactions, gambling, and as a hedge against national currencies suffering rapid devaluation (Venezuela, Greece for example).

  26. As the entire cryptocurrency space expands, it is likely that we’ll see additional uses joining this list. Already there are young services like SteemIt, which sets to revolutionise the way content is paid for on social media, as well as services like Musicoin which seeks to find a more equitable way of paying artists without the need of middlemen.

  27. What is cryptocurrency?

  28. The inventor of the most famous cryptocurrency today – Bitcoin – attempted to build a “peer-to-peer electronic cash system”. This had been tried many times before but the main point of difference between Bitcoin and previous efforts like Digicash was that it was to be entirely decentralised. Without an overarching entity controlling the currency, the notion of “trust” would be removed from the system.

  29. To combat “double spending”, the major flaw in all digital cash systems at that point, Bitcoin inventor Satoshi Nakamoto proposed a revolutionary technology known as the blockchain to record all the transactions made with his currency.

  30. For any single balance, transaction, or change to the network to take place, there would need to be consensus amongst those validating the network – the miners. Since Bitcoin’s invent, many other programmers have attempted to use the model and tweak it to provide what they consider to be a more functional form of digital cash.

  31. Other cryptocurrencies include Litecoin, Monero, Ether, and New Economy Movement. Many of these efforts tailor their currency for a special purpose. Speed, price, and privacy, are among the most common.

WHICH CRYPTO?

Bitcoin has not just been a trendsetter, ushering in a wave of cryptocurrencies built on a decentralized peer-to-peer network, it’s become the de facto standard for cryptocurrencies, inspiring an ever-growing legion of followers and spinoffs.

What Are Cryptocurrencies? 

Before we take a closer look at some of these alternatives to bitcoin, let’s step back and briefly examine what we mean by terms like cryptocurrency and altcoin. A cryptocurrency, broadly defined, is virtual or digital money which takes the form of tokens or “coins.” While some cryptocurrencies have ventured into the physical world with credit cards or other projects, the large majority remain entirely intangible.

The “crypto” in cryptocurrencies refers to complicated cryptography which allows for a particular digital token to be generated, stored, and transacted securely and, typically, anonymously. Alongside this important “crypto” feature of these currencies is a common commitment to decentralization; cryptocurrencies are typically developed as code by teams who build in mechanisms for issuance (often, although not always, through a process called “mining”) and other controls.

KEY TAKEAWAYS 

  • A cryptocurrency, broadly defined, is virtual or digital money which takes the form of tokens or “coins.” 
  • Beyond that, the field of cryptocurrencies is always expanding, and the next great digital token may be released tomorrow, for all anyone in the crypto community knows.
  • Bitcoin continues to lead the pack of cryptocurrencies, in terms of market capitalization, user base, and popularity. 
  • Virtual currencies such as ethereum and ripple, which are being used more for enterprise solutions, are becoming popular.
  • Some altcoins are being endorsed for superior or advanced features vis-à-vis bitcoins.

Cryptocurrencies are almost always designed to be free from government manipulation and control, although as they have grown more popular this foundational aspect of the industry has come under fire. The currencies modeled after bitcoin are collectively called altcoins and have tried to present themselves as modified or improved versions of bitcoin. While some of these currencies are easier to mine than bitcoin is, there are tradeoffs, including greater risk brought on by lesser liquidity, acceptance and value retention.

Below, we’ll examine some of the most important digital currencies other than bitcoin. First, though, a caveat: it is impossible for a list like this to be entirely comprehensive. One reason for this is the fact that there are more than 1,600 cryptocurrencies in existence as of this writing, and many of those tokens and coins enjoy immense popularity among a dedicated (if small, in some cases) community of backers and investors.

Beyond that, the field of cryptocurrencies is always expanding, and the next great digital token may be released tomorrow, for all anyone in the crypto community knows. While bitcoin is widely seen as a pioneer in the world of cryptocurrencies, analysts adopt many approaches for evaluating tokens other than BTC. It’s common, for instance, for analysts to attribute a great deal of importance to the ranking of coins relative to one another in terms of market cap. We’ve factored this into our consideration, but there are other reasons why a digital token may be included in the list as well.

1. Litecoin (LTC) 

Litecoin, launched in 2011, was among the initial cryptocurrencies following bitcoin and has often been referred to as “silver to bitcoin’s gold.” It was created by Charlie Lee, an MIT graduate, and former Google engineer. Litecoin is based on an open-source global payment network that is not controlled by any central authority and uses “scrypt” as a proof of work, which can be decoded with the help of CPUs of consumer-grade. Although Litecoin is like bitcoin in many ways, it has a faster block generation rate and hence offers a faster transaction confirmation. Other than developers, there are a growing number of merchants who accept Litecoin. As of February 9, 2019, Litecoin had a market cap of $2.63 billion and a per token value of $43.41.

2. Ethereum (ETH) 

Launched in 2015, Ethereum is a decentralized software platform that enables Smart Contracts and Distributed Applications (DApps) to be built and run without any downtime, fraud, control or interference from a third party. The applications on ethereum are run on its platform-specific cryptographic token, ether. Ether is like a vehicle for moving around on the ethereum platform and is sought by mostly developers looking to develop and run applications inside ethereum, or now by investors looking to make purchases of other digital currencies using ether.

During 2014, ethereum launched a pre-sale for ether which received an overwhelming response; this helped to usher in the age of the initial coin offering (ICO). According to ethereum, it can be used to “codify, decentralize, secure and trade just about anything.” Following the attack on the DAO in 2016, Ethereum was split into Ethereum (ETH) and Ethereum Classic (ETC). As of February 9, 2019, Ethereum (ETH) had a market cap of $12.49 billion and a per token value of $118.71.

3. Zcash (ZEC) 

Zcash, a decentralized and open-source cryptocurrency launched in the latter part of 2016, looks promising. “If bitcoin is like HTTP for money, zcash is HTTPS,” is one analogy zcash uses to define itself. Zcash offers privacy and selective transparency of transactions. Thus, like https, zcash claims to provide extra security or privacy where all transactions are recorded and published on a blockchain, but details such as the sender, recipient, and amount remain private.

Zcash offers its users the choice of “shielded” transactions, which allow for content to be encrypted using an advanced cryptographic technique or zero-knowledge proof construction called a zk-SNARK developed by its team. As of February 9, 2019, Zcash had a market cap of $291.25 million and a value per token of $49.84.

4. Dash (DASH) 

Dash (originally known as darkcoin) is a more secretive version of bitcoin. Dash offers more anonymity as it works on a decentralized master code network that makes transactions almost untraceable. Launched in January 2014, dash experienced an increasing fan following in a short span of time. This cryptocurrency was created and developed by Evan Duffield and can be mined using a CPU or GPU. In March 2015, ‘Darkcoin’ was rebranded to Dash, which stands for “digital cash” and operates under the ticker DASH. The rebranding didn’t change the functionality of any of its technological features including DarkSend and InstantX. As of February 9, 2019, Dash had a market cap of $640.76 million and a per token value of $74.32.

5. Ripple (XRP) 

Ripple is a real-time global settlement network that offers instant, certain and low-cost international payments. Launched in 2012, ripple “enables banks to settle cross-border payments in real-time, with end-to-end transparency, and at lower costs.” Ripple’s consensus ledger (its method of conformation) is unique in that it doesn’t require mining. In this way, ripple sets itself apart from bitcoin and many other altcoins. Since Ripple’s structure doesn’t require mining, it reduces the usage of computing power and minimizes network latency. 

Ripple believes that “distributing value is a powerful way to incentivize certain behaviors” and thus currently plans to distribute XRP primarily “through business development deals, incentives to liquidity providers who offer tighter spreads for payments, and selling XRP to institutional buyers interested in investing in XRP.” So far, ripple has seen success with this model; it remains one of the most enticing digital currencies among traditional financial institutions looking for ways to revolutionize cross-border payments. As of February 9, 2019, ripple had a market cap of $12.69 billion and a per token value of $0.308.

6. Monero (XMR) 

Monero is a secure, private and untraceable currency. This open-source cryptocurrency was launched in April 2014 and soon spiked great interest among the cryptography community and enthusiasts. The development of this cryptocurrency is completely donation-based and community-driven. Monero has been launched with a strong focus on decentralization and scalability, and it enables complete privacy by using a special technique called “ring signatures.”

With this technique, there appears a group of cryptographic signatures including at least one real participant, but since they all appear valid, the real one cannot be isolated. Because of exceptional security mechanisms like this, monero has developed something of an unsavory reputation; it has been linked to criminal operations around the world. Nonetheless, whether it is used for good or ill, there’s no denying that monero has introduced important technological advances to the cryptocurrency space. As of February 9, 2019, Monero had a market cap of $808.50 million and a per token value of $48.18.

7. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) 

Bitcoin Cash holds an important place in the history of altcoins because it is one of the earliest and most successful hard forks of the original bitcoin. In the cryptocurrency world, a fork takes place as the result of debates and arguments between developers and miners. Due to the decentralized nature of digital currencies, wholesale changes to the code underlying the token or coin at hand must be made due to general consensus; the mechanism for this process varies according to the particular cryptocurrency.

When different factions can’t come to an agreement, sometimes the digital currency is split, with the original remaining true to its original code and the other copy beginning life as a new version of the prior coin, complete with changes to its code. Bitcoin cash began its life in August of 2017 as a result of one of these splits. The debate which led to the creation of BCH had to do with the issue of scalability; bitcoin has a strict limit on the size of blocks, 1 megabyte. BCH increases the block size from 1 MB to 8 MB, with the idea being that larger blocks will allow for faster transaction times. It also makes other changes, too, including the removal of the Segregated Witness protocol which impacts block space. As of February 9, 2019, BCH had a market cap of $2.23 billion and a value per token of $126.49.

8. NEO (NEO) 

NEO began life in 2014. Originally called AntShares, the coin was later rebranded by creator Da Hongfei. To date, it is the largest cryptocurrency which has emerged from China and is sometimes referred to as a “Chinese Ethereum” because of its similar use of smart contracts. In 2017, NEO experienced its most successful year to date. From a value of $0.16 per token in January of 2017, NEO climbed to about $162 per token by one year later. This constitutes a return of more than 111,000%. One key to NEO’s success has been its support of programming in many existing languages, including Go, Java, C++, and others.

Further, NEO has experienced benefits as a result of its positive relationship with the Chinese government, which is generally known for its harsh positions on cryptocurrencies. As of February 9, 2019, NEO had a market cap of $492.48 million and a value per token of $7.58.

9. Cardano (ADA) 

Charles Hoskinson, one of the co-founders of ethereum, launched cardano in September of 2017. For supporters of this digital currency, ADA offers all of the benefits of ethereum, as well as many others. Cardano offers a platform for Dapps and smart contracts, like ethereum before it. Beyond that, ADA aims to solve some of the most pressing problems plaguing cryptocurrencies everywhere, including interoperability and scalability.

Cardano also hopes to tackle issues related to international payments, which are typically both timely and expensive. Thanks to its focus on this area, ADA was able to take international payment processing times from days down to just seconds. As of February 9, 2019, cardano had a market cap of $1.16 billion and a per token value of $0.041.

10. EOS (EOS) 

One of the newest digital currencies to make our list is EOS. Launched in June of 2018, EOS was created by cryptocurrency pioneer Dan Larimer. Before his work on EOS, Larimer founded the digital currency exchange Bitshares as well as the blockchain-based social media platform Steemit. Like other cryptocurrencies on this list, EOS is designed after ethereum, so it offers a platform on which developers can build decentralized applications. EOS is notable for many other reasons, though.

First, its initial coin offering was one of the longest and most profitable in history, raking in a record $4 billion or so in investor funds through crowdsourcing efforts lasting a year. EOS offers a delegated proof-of-stake mechanism which it hopes to be able to offer scalability beyond its competitors. EOS consists of EOS.IO, similar to the operating system of a computer and acting as the blockchain network for the digital currency, as well as EOS coins. EOS is also revolutionary because of its lack of a mining mechanism to produce coins. Instead, block producers generate blocks and are rewarded in EOS tokens based on their production rates. EOS includes a complex system of rules to govern this process, with the idea being that the network will ultimately be more democratic and decentralized than those of other cryptocurrencies. As of October 5, 2018, EOS had a market cap of $2.49 billion and a per token value of $2.74.

The Bottom Line 

Bitcoin continues to lead the pack of cryptocurrencies, in terms of market capitalization, user base, and popularity. Nevertheless, virtual currencies such as ethereum and ripple, which are being used more for enterprise solutions, are becoming popular, while some altcoins are being endorsed for superior or advanced features vis-à-vis bitcoins. Going by the current trend, cryptocurrencies are here to stay but how many of them will emerge as leaders amid the growing competition within the space will only be revealed with time.

PROPERTY HOT SPOTS 2019

Greater Manchester

You should know by now that property prices in Manchester city centre have exploded over the last few years. And it’s not just property: the city has been transformed, and is now one of the most vibrant and exciting places to live in the whole country.

The city centre is still a strong place to invest in property now, but it also opens up opportunities in the surrounding areas.

This is the same “ripple effect” (which we’ve covered on our Property Podcast) that we’ve seen in London in the past. After the last crash, prime London was the first to recover – and as prices rose, the growth gradually rippled further out until it reached the Home Counties.

We believe the same will happen in Manchester – and there are so many areas set to benefit. From Wythenshawe to Stockport to Bolton, there are places to keep your eye on all around Greater Manchester. Look for places on the tram network for easy commuting into the centre to benefit the most.

Of all the areas we’ve identified, Greater Manchester property investment seems like the safest bet for investors in 2019: it’s already moving, but there’s a lot further to go.

Liverpool

Liverpool rightly takes one of the top spots in our best places to invest in property, particularly if you’re focused on investing in the North. It’s a city with loads to offer in its own right, and will also benefit from the Manchester ripple effect.

Despite massive regeneration of the city centre, prices in many areas haven’t recovered past their 2008 prices – meaning that in real terms, you can buy in at a lower price than you could have done over a decade ago.

As a result, yields for investors are strong too. They vary by area of course, but on the whole yields are higher than in Manchester or Leeds.

And there’s more regeneration in Liverpool still to come. Not only is Liverpool part of the Northern Powerhouse, the Liverpool Waters project is finally starting to move after being talked about for years: along with the Wirral Waters scheme on the other side of the Mersey, it will be one of the UK’s biggest regeneration projects. It will transform a huge area surrounding the old docks, and include a new port and cruise terminal.

The company behind Liverpool Waters is The Peel Group, who are responsible for The Trafford Centre and Salford Quays in Manchester – so their pedigree couldn’t be much higher.

As with all cities there are still areas you’ll want to avoid, but we see big opportunities for property investors in Liverpool in 2019.

Liverpool property meetups are held every month and they’re a great way to discover more about this cracking location.

Leeds

House prices in Leeds haven’t picked up as much as some other areas (most noticeably Manchester) since the last crash. Largely, this is due to a myth that’s affected the city since 2008.

Around 2006 and 2007 there was a construction boom in Leeds, with thousands of new apartments being built. Unfortunately, most were completed around 2008 just as the economy collapsed – so the anticipated demand wasn’t there, and prices collapsed too.

This led to the persistent idea that there’s an over-supply of accommodation in Leeds – so very little has been built since. This was true 10 years ago, but the population of Leeds has grown faster than any city other than Manchester.

A fast-growing population (seven times faster than London, in fact) and very little construction means that an over-supply has become an under-supply.

So far, pension companies are the only people building at scale in the city – but we believe it won’t be long until other developers and investors catch on.

On top of that, there’s over £7 billion of development in the pipeline for Leeds which makes it a great place to invest – including an enormous regeneration project on the South Bank around the future HS2 station.

Sheffield

Sheffield is another contender for the Manchester ripple effect. Of all the cities we’ve looked at so far, it’s probably the furthest behind in the property cycle.

This means that prices are low – shockingly low, when you look at what you can buy an apartment for in the city centre. The centre itself has already improved dramatically, and there’s a lot more on the way: The Moor shopping centre alone is having £480 million spent on it, HSBC is opening new offices, and there are two luxury hotels being developed.

Is 2019 too early for significant price movement in Sheffield? You’re unlikely to see big gains this year, but it offers the opportunity to buy in at a great price – locking in strong yields, and allowing you to benefit from the growth that we believe is ahead. Sheffield is a buy to let property investment hotspot to watch!

Nottingham

Nottingham is bizarrely missing from the radar of most property investors. When you look at its central location and what it has to offer in terms of employment and leisure, its prices are just too low.

The city centre is a great place to live, and – much like Leeds – there has been minimal new construction. It also has a well-balanced economy with major employers in multiple industries, as well as having two major universities with tens of thousands of students.

The effective and extensive tram network offers opportunities outside the city centre too. Yields are strong both in and out of the centre, but price growth is likely to be strongest in the city itself.

Birmingham

Over the past 12 months, house prices in Birmingham have risen faster than any other UK region, so it’s only right that it makes our list as we highly rate Birmingham as a great location for investment. Once the eagerly awaited HS2 makes its debut, Birmingham will easily be one of the most well-connected cities in the UK. Add this to a 1.1 million population which is expected to grow to 1.3 million by 2039, and you have a pretty top-notch location on your hands.

The amount of action in this vibrant city is positioning Birmingham for some incredible capital growth over the next few years too – it’s already benefitted from a £600 million reopening of New Street Station, a £50 million redevelopment of The Mailbox and the £150 million Grand Central shopping centre. Not to mention the fact that the city is also home to over 32,000 businesses making it a major player in the employment stakes – this is a hotspot which ticks every single box.

Manchester city centre

We’ve already mentioned Greater Manchester on this list but we also had to include Manchester city centre as a great place to invest this year.

The city centre has had a vast transformation over the past few years and low stock levels coupled with such high demand have made Manchester a desirable place to invest. House prices here have continued to rise and rental yields are great due to the high tenant demand.

It’s a thriving employment hub which, combined with fantastic transport links, makes for a vibrant and bustling city centre with a great social scene – something in high demand, particularly with young working professionals.

Manchester city centre has appeared in many buy to let hotspot lists over the years and 2019 is no different – there’s plenty more to come from this thriving location.

But beware!

Not any property in any part of these cities will be a good investment in 2019. Buying in a location that’s primed to do well gives you a big head-start – but that doesn’t mean you can over-pay or scrimp on your research.

Most importantly, don’t chase the highest yields and target the cheapest properties you can find. They’re likely to be in less desirable areas that will have below average growth, and could well appeal to tenants who’re more more likely to cause you trouble too.

Identifying the right city to buy in is important, but this is just the first step: don’t relax your standards, especially in an area you’re not familiar with.