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Introduction to Crypto Investment

CoinDesk Research’s Introduction to Crypto Investment is a series of research papers about the facts and ideas that are drawing institutional investors into crypto. Those new to crypto will find needed resources and a map of future obstacles. Those already active in crypto will find a guide to the path ahead for colleagues and clients.

  • In “Crypto in Context,” we talk about the value proposition, who is buying bitcoin, and correlations with more traditional assets.
  • In “Custody,” we look at bitcoin’s bearer asset qualities, and the challenges and opportunities it presents.
  • In “Valuation,” we introduce some of the fundamental metrics that analysts are developing in order to value crypto assets.
  • In “Is Bitcoin a Safe Haven?” we critically examine one of bitcoin’s dominant narratives, as “digital gold,” i.e., a store of value in times of economic instability.
  • In “Crypto Derivatives,” we cover why bitcoin futures and other crypto derivatives matter to bitcoin and other crypto assets; what makes them different from traditional derivs; and where to find liquid and regulated markets.
  • In “Crypto Liquidity,” we look at the concept of liquidity in crypto markets: what it means, why it matters and where it’s heading.

CoinDesk Monthly Review, February 2020

Bitcoin’s “digital gold” narrative took a hit in February; as we cautioned in our January Monthly Review, those who saw positive correlations were thinking wishfully. We continue to look for secular trends and treat bitcoin and other crypto assets as a venture investment in a technology that is still experimental. Cash onramps are critical data collection points. In this presentation, we look at Binance, Cash App and Coinbase fiat onramps. We also update an earlier research note on crypto interest rates and adoption of DeFi lending, and its potential to make a break-out use case for ethereum, and look at “criminality” as a use case for crypto networks. Finally, we look ahead (and back) to bitcoin halving impacts, and show returns in bitcoin and other crypto assets for the month of February.

CoinDesk Research takes a monthly look at metrics critical to crypto asset adoption, including bitcoin's digital gold narrative and fiat onramps, DeFi lending, criminal activity, enforcement, the bitcoin halving and the crypto assets with the best returns and lowest volatility for the month of February.

CoinDesk Monthly Review, January 2020

In our Quarterly Review at the end of 2019, we looked for metrics that signal two things: institutional participation in crypto assets and adoption of fundamental user narratives. January 2020 saw some metrics that are positive for both. The market for regulated bitcoin derivatives expanded rapidly; the case for bitcoin as “digital gold” got a brief boost from events in Iran. Crypto assets continue to offer global access to speculative instruments. However, so-called “exchange tokens” have failed to capture that narrative. Finally, one month in, the SEC is on pace for a banner year in enforcement. Download the full report here and sign up for our weekly newsletter, Institutional Crypto.

Cover slide of CoinDesk Research's quarterly review for January 2020; we look at metrics measuring bitcoin adoption, exchange tokens, SEC enforcement actions and top-performing crypto assets of January 2020.

Crypto Lending 101

The crypto lending sector has evolved to include a range of businesses, some now well-established and many trying to get off the ground, with a range of services covering a broadening array of assets. Sector data shows considerable growth in demand for these services, which in turn are adding depth and complexity to an already complicated concept. In this report, we aim to introduce the concept of crypto lending: who participates, as well as the advantages and risks of crypto lending. We also look at what the near future could hold for the service, and the impact this could have on the sector as a whole.

Crypto Lending 101 cover page

CoinDesk Quarterly Review Q4 2019

In the first of a new Quarterly Review series, CoinDesk Research features a set of metrics for investors in bitcoin, ethereum and other crypto assets, looking for indications that those assets’ critical use cases are gaining real-world traction. We’ll revisit developments in these and new metrics on a monthly and quarterly basis, documenting evidence of whether crypto assets and decentralized technologies are fulfilling their promise. Our aim is to contribute to investors’ understanding of signals that indicate value in these novel economic systems and enterprises. You can download the full review, here.

Slide shows institutional inflows as measured by the size of low-leverage, regulated derivatives markets, and the importance of leverage to attracting non-fiduciary investors.

Crypto Fundamentals

Here we introduce some of the fundamental metrics that analysts are developing in order to value crypto assets

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Is Bitcoin a Safe Haven?

Here we critically examine one of bitcoin’s dominant narratives, as “digital gold,” i.e., a store of value in times of economic instability

Calling bitcoin “digital gold” implies it is a safe haven. But bitcoin is still a high-risk investment. Is there evidence or data that bitcoin is becoming a “risk-off” asset, drawing investors in times of flight to safety?

Crypto Liquidity

In this report, we look at the concept of liquidity in crypto markets: what it means, why it matters and where it’s heading.

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Crypto in Context

Here we talk about the value proposition, who is buying bitcoin, and correlations with more traditional assets

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Crypto Derivatives

In “Crypto Derivatives,” we cover why bitcoin futures and other crypto derivatives matter to bitcoin and other crypto assets; what makes them different from traditional derivs; and where to find liquid and regulated markets.

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Crypto Custody

Here we look at bitcoin’s bearer asset qualities, and the challenges and opportunities it presents

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