Forex Trading In 2020 - A Beginner's Guide To The World of FX

ATO Australian tax treatment for options trades 🇦🇺

I am posting this as I hope it will help other Australian options traders trading in US options with their tax treatment for ATO (Australian Tax Office) purposes. The ATO provides very little guidance on tax treatment for options trading and I had to do a lot of digging to get to this point. I welcome any feedback on this post.

The Deloitte Report from 2011

My initial research led me to this comprehensive Deloitte report from 2011 which is hosted on the ASX website. I've been through this document about 20 times and although it's a great report to understand how different scenarios apply, it's still really hard to find out what's changed since 2011.
I am mainly relating myself to the scenario of being an individual and non-sole trader (no business set up) for my trading. I think this will apply to many others here too. According to that document, there isn't much guidance on what happens when you're an options premium seller and close positions before they expire.
Note that the ATO sometimes uses the term "ETO" (Exchange Traded Option) to discuss what we're talking about here with options trading.
Also note: The ATO discusses the separate Capital Gains Tax ("CGT") events that occur in each scenario in some of their documents. A CGT event will then determine what tax treatment gets applied if you don't know much about capital gains in Australia.

ATO Request for Advice

Since the Deloitte report didn't answer my questions, I eventually ended up contacting the ATO with a request for advice and tried to explain my scenario: I'm an Australian resident for tax purposes, I'm trading with tastyworks in $USD, I'm primarily a premium seller and I don't have it set up with any business/company/trust etc. In effect, I have a rough idea that I'm looking at capital gains tax but I wanted to fully understand how it worked.
Initially the ATO respondent didn't understand what I was talking about when I said that I was selling a position first and buying it to close. According to the laws, there is no example of this given anywhere because it is always assumed in ATO examples that you buy a position and sell it. Why? I have no idea.
I sent a follow up request with even more detail to the ATO. I think (hope) they understood what I meant now after explaining what an options premium seller is!

Currency Gains/Losses

First, I have to consider translating my $USD to Australian dollars. How do we treat that?
FX Translation
If the premium from selling the options contract is received in $USD, do I convert it to $AUD on that day it is received?
ATO response:
Subsection 960-50(6), Item 5 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (ITAA 1997) states the amount should be translated at the time of the transaction or event for the purposes of the Capital Gains Tax provisions. For the purpose of granting an option to an entity, the time of the event is when you grant the option (subsection 104-20(2) ITAA 1997).
This is a very detailed response which even refers to the level of which section in the law it is coming from. I now know that I need to translate my trades from $USD to $AUD according to the RBA's translation rates for every single trade.
But what about gains or losses on translation?
There is one major rule that overrides FX gains and losses after digging deeper. The ATO has a "$250k balance election". This will probably apply to a lot of people trading in balances below $250k a lot of the FX rules don't apply. It states:
However, the $250,000 balance election broadly enables you to disregard certain foreign currency gains and losses on certain foreign currency denominated bank accounts and credit card accounts (called qualifying forex accounts) with balances below a specified limit.
Therefore, I'm all good disregarding FX gains and losses! I just need to ensure I translate my trades on the day they occurred. It's a bit of extra admin to do unfortunately, but it is what it is.

Credit Trades

This is the scenario where we SELL a position first, collect premium, and close the position by making an opposite BUY order. Selling a naked PUT, for example.
What happens when you open the position? ATO Response:
The option is grantedCGT event D2 happens when a taxpayer grants an option. The time of the event is when the option is granted. The capital gain or loss arising is the difference between the capital proceeds and the expenditure incurred to grant the option.
This seems straight forward. We collect premium and record a capital gain.
What happens when you close the position? ATO Response:
Closing out an optionThe establishment of an ETO contract is referred to as opening a position (ASX Explanatory Booklet 'Understanding Options Trading'). A person who writes (sells) a call or put option may close out their position by taking (buying) an identical call or put option in the same series. This is referred to as the close-out of an option or the closing-out of an opening position.
CGT event C2 happens when a taxpayer's ownership of an intangible CGT asset ends. Paragraph 104-25(1)(a) of the ITAA 1997 provides that ownership of an intangible CGT asset ends by cancellation, surrender, or release or similar means.
CGT event C2 therefore happens to a taxpayer when their position under an ETO is closed out where the close-out results in the cancellation, release or discharge of the ETO.
Under subsection 104-25(3) of the ITAA 1997 you make a capital gain from CGT event C2 if the capital proceeds from the ending are more than the assets cost base. You make a capital loss if those capital proceeds are less than the assets reduced cost base.
Both CGT events (being D2 upon granting the option and C2 upon adopting the close out position) must be accounted for if applicable to a situation.
My take on this is that the BUY position that cancels out your SELL position will most often simply realise a capital loss (the entire portion of your BUY position). In effect, it 'cancels out' your original premium sold, but it's not recorded that way, it's recorded as two separate CGT events - your capital gain from CGT event D2 (SELL position), then, your capital loss from CGT event C2 (BUY position) is also recorded. In effect, they net each other out, but you don't record them as a 'netted out' number - you record them separately.
From what I understand, if you were trading as a sole tradecompany then you would record them as a netted out capital gain or loss, because the trades would be classified as trading stock but not in our case here as an individual person trading options. The example I've written below should hopefully make that clearer.
EXAMPLE:
Trade on 1 July 2020: Open position
Trade on 15 July 2020: Close position
We can see from this simple example that even though you made a gain on those trades, you still have to record the transactions separately, as first a gain, then as a loss. Note that it is not just a matter of netting off the value of the net profit collected and converting the profit to $AUD because the exchange rate will be different on the date of the opening trade and on the date of the closing trade we have to record them separately.

What if you don't close the position and the options are exercised? ATO Response:
The option is granted and then the option is exercisedUnder subsection 104-40(5) of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (ITAA 1997) the capital gain or loss from the CGT event D2 is disregarded if the option is exercised. Subsection 134-1(1), item 1, of the ITAA 1997 refers to the consequences for the grantor of the exercise of the option.
Where the option binds the grantor to dispose of a CGT asset section 116-65 of the ITAA 1997 applies to the transaction.
Subsection 116-65(2) of the ITAA 1997 provides that the capital proceeds from the grant or disposal of the shares (CGT asset) include any payment received for granting the option. The disposal of the shares is a CGT event A1 which occurs under subsection 104-10(3) of the ITAA 1997 when the contract for disposal is entered into.
You would still make a capital gain at the happening of the CGT event D2 in the year the event occurs (the time the option is granted). That capital gain is disregarded when the option is exercised. Where the option is exercised in the subsequent tax year, the CGT event D2 gain is disregarded at that point. An amendment may be necessary to remove the gain previously included in taxable income for the year in which the CGT event D2 occurred.
This scenario is pretty unlikely - for me personally I never hold positions to expiration, but it is nice to know what happens with the tax treatment if it ultimately does come to that.

Debit Trades

What about the scenario when you want to BUY some options first, then SELL that position and close it later? Buying a CALL, for example. This case is what the ATO originally thought my request was about before I clarified with them. They stated:
When you buy an ETO, you acquire an asset (the ETO) for the amount paid for it (that is, the premium) plus any additional costs such as brokerage fees and the Australian Clearing House (ACH) fee. These costs together form the cost base of the ETO (section 109-5 of the ITAA 1997). On the close out of the position, you make a capital gain or loss equal to the difference between the cost base of the ETO and the amount received on its expiry or termination (subsection 104-25(3) of the ITAA 1997). The capital gain or loss is calculated on each parcel of options.
So it seems it is far easier to record debit trades for tax purposes. It is easier for the tax office to see that you open a position by buying it, and close it by selling it. And in that case you net off the total after selling it. This is very similar to a trading shares and the CGT treatment is in effect very similar (the main difference is that it is not coming under CGT event A1 because there is no asset to dispose of, like in a shares or property trade).

Other ATO Info (FYI)

The ATO also referred me to the following documents. They relate to some 'decisions' that they made from super funds but the same principles apply to individuals they said.
The ATO’s Interpretative Decision in relation to the tax treatment of premiums payable and receivable for exchange traded options can be found on the links below. Please note that the interpretative decisions below are in relation to self-managed superannuation funds but the same principles would apply in your situation [as an individual taxpayer, not as a super fund].
Premiums Receivable: ATO ID 2009/110

Some tips

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Former investment bank FX trader: News trading and second order thinking part 2/2

Former investment bank FX trader: News trading and second order thinking part 2/2
Thanks for all the upvotes and comments on the previous pieces:
From the first half of the news trading note we learned some ways to estimate what is priced in by the market. We learned that we are trading any gap in market expectations rather than the result itself. A good result when the market expected a fantastic result is disappointing! We also looked at second order thinking. After all that, I hope the reaction of prices to events is starting to make more sense to you.

Before you understand the core concepts of pricing in and second order thinking, price reactions to events can seem mystifying at times
We'll add one thought-provoking quote. Keynes (that rare economist who also managed institutional money) offered this analogy. He compared selecting investments to a beauty contest in which newspaper readers would write in with their votes and win a prize if their votes most closely matched the six most popularly selected women across all readers:
It is not a case of choosing those (faces) which, to the best of one’s judgment, are really the prettiest, nor even those which average opinions genuinely thinks the prettiest. We have reached the third degree where we devote our intelligences to anticipating what average opinion expects the average opinion to be.
Trading is no different. You are trying to anticipate how other traders will react to news and how that will move prices. Perhaps you disagree with their reaction. Still, if you can anticipate what it will be you would be sensible to act upon it. Don't forget: meanwhile they are also trying to anticipate what you and everyone else will do.

Part II
  • Preparing for quantitative and qualitative releases
  • Data surprise index
  • Using recent events to predict future reactions
  • Buy the rumour, sell the fact
  • The trimming position effect
  • Reversals
  • Some key FX releases

Preparing for quantitative and qualitative releases

The majority of releases are quantitative. All that means is there’s some number. Like unemployment figures or GDP.
Historic results provide interesting context. We are looking below the Australian unemployment rate which is released monthly. If you plot it out a few years back you can spot a clear trend, which got massively reversed. Knowing this trend gives you additional information when the figure is released. In the same way prices can trend so do economic data.

A great resource that's totally free to use
This makes sense: if for example things are getting steadily better in the economy you’d expect to see unemployment steadily going down.
Knowing the trend and how much noise there is in the data gives you an informational edge over lazy traders.
For example, when we see the spike above 6% on the above you’d instantly know it was crazy and a huge trading opportunity since a) the fluctuations month on month are normally tiny and b) it is a huge reversal of the long-term trend.
Would all the other AUDUSD traders know and react proportionately? If not and yet they still trade, their laziness may be an opportunity for more informed traders to make some money.
Tradingeconomics.com offers really high quality analysis. You can see all the major indicators for each country. Clicking them brings up their history as well as an explanation of what they show.
For example, here’s German Consumer Confidence.

Helpful context
There are also qualitative events. Normally these are speeches by Central Bankers.
There are whole blogs dedicated to closely reading such texts and looking for subtle changes in direction or opinion on the economy. Stuff like how often does the phrase "in a good place" come up when the Chair of the Fed speaks. It is pretty dry stuff. Yet these are leading indicators of how each member may vote to set interest rates. Ed Yardeni is the go-to guy on central banks.

Data surprise index

The other thing you might look at is something investment banks produce for their customers. A data surprise index. I am not sure if these are available in retail land - there's no reason they shouldn't be but the economic calendars online are very basic.
You’ll remember we talked about data not being good or bad of itself but good or bad relative to what was expected. These indices measure this difference.
If results are consistently better than analysts expect then you’ll see a positive number. If they are consistently worse than analysts expect a negative number. You can see they tend to swing from positive to negative.

Mean reversion at its best! Data surprise indices measure how much better or worse data came in vs forecast
There are many theories for this but in general people consider that analysts herd around the consensus. They are scared to be outliers and look ‘wrong’ or ‘stupid’ so they instead place estimates close to the pack of their peers.
When economic conditions change they may therefore be slow to update. When they are wrong consistently - say too bearish - they eventually flip the other way and become too bullish.
These charts can be interesting to give you an idea of how the recent data releases have been versus market expectations. You may try to spot the turning points in macroeconomic data that drive long term currency prices and trends.

Using recent events to predict future reactions

The market reaction function is the most important thing on an economic calendar in many ways. It means: what will happen to the price if the data is better or worse than the market expects?
That seems easy to answer but it is not.
Consider the example of consumer confidence we had earlier.
  • Many times the market will shrug and ignore it.
  • But when the economic recovery is predicated on a strong consumer it may move markets a lot.
Or consider the S&P index of US stocks (Wall Street).
  • If you get good economic data that beats analyst estimates surely it should go up? Well, sometimes that is certainly the case.
  • But good economic data might result in the US Central Bank raising interest rates. Raising interest rates will generally make the stock market go down!
So better than expected data could make the S&P go up (“the economy is great”) or down (“the Fed is more likely to raise rates”). It depends. The market can interpret the same data totally differently at different times.
One clue is to look at what happened to the price of risk assets at the last event.
For example, let’s say we looked at unemployment and it came in a lot worse than forecast last month. What happened to the S&P back then?

2% drop last time on a 'worse than expected' number ... so it it is 'better than expected' best guess is we rally 2% higher
So this tells us that - at least for our most recent event - the S&P moved 2% lower on a far worse than expected number. This gives us some guidance as to what it might do next time and the direction. Bad number = lower S&P. For a huge surprise 2% is the size of move we’d expect.
Again - this is a real limitation of online calendars. They should show next to the historic results (expected/actual) the reaction of various instruments.

Buy the rumour, sell the fact

A final example of an unpredictable reaction relates to the old rule of ‘Buy the rumour, sell the fact.’ This captures the tendency for markets to anticipate events and then reverse when they occur.

Buy the rumour, sell the fact
In short: people take profit and close their positions when what they expected to happen is confirmed.
So we have to decide which driver is most important to the market at any point in time. You obviously cannot ask every participant. The best way to do it is to look at what happened recently. Look at the price action during recent releases and you will get a feel for how much the market moves and in which direction.

Trimming or taking off positions

One thing to note is that events sometimes give smart participants information about positioning. This is because many traders take off or reduce positions ahead of big news events for risk management purposes.
Imagine we see GBPUSD rises in the hour before GDP release. That probably indicates the market is short and has taken off / flattened its positions.

The price action before an event can tell you about speculative positioning
If GDP is merely in line with expectations those same people are likely to add back their positions. They avoided a potential banana skin. This is why sometimes the market moves on an event that seemingly was bang on consensus.
But you have learned something. The speculative market is short and may prove vulnerable to a squeeze.

Two kinds of reversals

Fairly often you’ll see the market move in one direction on a release then turn around and go the other way.
These are known as reversals. Traders will often ‘fade’ a move, meaning bet against it and expect it to reverse.

Logical reversals

Sometimes this happens when the data looks good at first glance but the details don’t support it.
For example, say the headline is very bullish on German manufacturing numbers but then a minute later it becomes clear the company who releases the data has changed methodology or believes the number is driven by a one-off event. Or maybe the headline number is positive but buried in the detail there is a very negative revision to previous numbers.
Fading the initial spike is one way to trade news. Try looking at what the price action is one minute after the event and thirty minutes afterwards on historic releases.

Crazy reversals


Some reversals don't make sense
Sometimes a reversal happens for seemingly no fundamental reason. Say you get clearly positive news that is better than anyone expects. There are no caveats to the positive number. Yet the price briefly spikes up and then falls hard. What on earth?
This is a pure supply and demand thing. Even on bullish news the market cannot sustain a rally. The market is telling you it wants to sell this asset. Try not to get in its way.

Some key releases

As we have already discussed, different releases are important at different times. However, we’ll look at some consistently important ones in this final section.

Interest rates decisions

These can sometimes be unscheduled. However, normally the decisions are announced monthly. The exact process varies for each central bank. Typically there’s a headline decision e.g. maintain 0.75% rate.
You may also see “minutes” of the meeting in which the decision was reached and a vote tally e.g. 7 for maintain, 2 for lower rates. These are always top-tier data releases and have capacity to move the currency a lot.
A hawkish central bank (higher rates) will tend to move a currency higher whilst a dovish central bank (lower rates) will tend to move a currency lower.
A central banker speaking is always a big event

Non farm payrolls

These are released once per month. This is another top-tier release that will move all USD pairs as well as equities.
There are three numbers:
  • The headline number of jobs created (bigger is better)
  • The unemployment rate (smaller is better)
  • Average hourly earnings (depends)
Bear in mind these headline numbers are often off by around 75,000. If a report comes in +/- 25,000 of the forecast, that is probably a non event.
In general a positive response should move the USD higher but check recent price action.
Other countries each have their own unemployment data releases but this is the single most important release.

Surveys

There are various types of surveys: consumer confidence; house price expectations; purchasing managers index etc.
Each one basically asks a group of people if they expect to make more purchases or activity in their area of expertise to rise. There are so many we won’t go into each one here.
A really useful tool is the tradingeconomics.com economic indicators for each country. You can see all the major indicators and an explanation of each plus the historic results.

GDP

Gross Domestic Product is another big release. It is a measure of how much a country’s economy is growing.
In general the market focuses more on ‘advance’ GDP forecasts more than ‘final’ numbers, which are often released at the same time.
This is because the final figures are accurate but by the time they come around the market has already seen all the inputs. The advance figure tends to be less accurate but incorporates new information that the market may not have known before the release.
In general a strong GDP number is good for the domestic currency.

Inflation

Countries tend to release measures of inflation (increase in prices) each month. These releases are important mainly because they may influence the future decisions of the central bank, when setting the interest rate.
See the FX fundamentals section for more details.

Industrial data

Things like factory orders or or inventory levels. These can provide a leading indicator of the strength of the economy.
These numbers can be extremely volatile. This is because a one-off large order can drive the numbers well outside usual levels.
Pay careful attention to previous releases so you have a sense of how noisy each release is and what kind of moves might be expected.

Comments

Often there is really good stuff in the comments/replies. Check out 'squitstoomuch' for some excellent observations on why some news sources are noisy but early (think: Twitter, ZeroHedge). The Softbank story is a good recent example: was in ZeroHedge a day before the FT but the market moved on the FT. Also an interesting comment on mistakes, which definitely happen on breaking news, and can cause massive reversals.

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UK resident got scammed to send money to an Australian bank account. What I did and what to do next?

Hello, I live in England and this is a long post about how I got scammed, presenting my story and asking for advice. Much appreciated to all who go through all of it and send their ideas.
Also posted in AusLegal here: https://www.reddit.com/AusLegal/comments/iujgpq/uk_resident_got_scammed_to_send_money_to_an/
So I met a person online, and after chatting a bit she started showing me her gold trading profits. At first I didn't care that much, but she kept showing me profits and I said I wish I knew how to trade like that. She puts me in contact with this person, who is supposed to teach me how to trade.
This teacher tells me that I will start with simulated gold trading, and after some time I would move on to real trading. After a couple of days of trading she says I'm ready to trade for real, I say I need more time to do simulated trading. We do another day of simulated trading and she says I'm ready and I should start trading with real money.
Hindsight is 20/20, I can't believe what I was thinking. But I did do some checks on these people, like I aske them for pictures of themselves and I google image searched them. No results, not stock images, so I'm like, okay, a good sign.
I ask the first person to have a phone call to talk, we do. Okay, fair enough.
I ask the first person to send me the link to her design company that she said she owns, and she sends it over. Site is in Chinese but it's filled with a lot of images of homebuilding and some English sentences about home design. I ask her for more photos and it seems okay.
I do the same with the "teacher". Google image search, no stock images, no results. I google the platform she's asking me to open an account on, can't find anything about it saying it's a scam. The reviews for the iphone app are mostly 4-5 stars, with people in the reviews complaining that the previous version of the app was better.
So after all this, on the 11th of September I transfer the minimum needed to start investing, USD 10,000. I do this by using Transferwise, so I transfer the money in UK pounds to Transferwise (I live in the UK), the money is converted by Transferwise to USD and is send to the scammer's account to an Australian bank on Friday evening.
I sleep on it, and next day morning I start panicking, I think my instincts started kicking in, and I do some more research online and I found something similar, not exactly the same scam, but something similar where you meet somebody online, start talking, some people even met with these people, and then they say can teach you or know somebody that can teach you to trade (gold, bitcoin, forex, etc). At that point I really panicked and I realised I got scammed.
I try to reach Transferwise, but since it was Saturday, you could only reach them by email, couldn't even call them.
I call the bank in Australia, I tell them what happened, I was scammed and the scammers account is with them and I give them the details of the bank account and everything. So literally after a few hours of the money leaving Trasnferwise I contacted the receiving bank. They told me they will pass it on to the Financial Crime team and look into it.
I file a report with Action Fraud in the UK, I sent the report number to my bank, to the Australian bank and to Transferwise, but to Transferwise only on Monday when I can contact them again.
I search online for some advice, and everybody thinks the best solution is to keep contacting the receiving bank as they could block the account, or the transaction and it could bounce back to Transferwise so I keep doing that. The receiving bank in Australia tells me to contact Transferwise and have them raise a fraud report and to get in contact with the Australian bank.
After numerouse calls with Transferwise asking them to contact the receiving bank where I was told there's nothing they can do after the money has left Transferwise, I resort to calling the bank in Australia again. By this point I raised a cyber fraud report with the Australian police as well and sent the report number to the Australian bank.
I ask the bank in Australia what is there to do, if they will deny the transfer or do something so that money does not leave the Australian bank account, and they said the Financial Crime team is looking into it, but I could also ask Transferwise to raise a recall request and to contact them, but I say I already did but Transferwise keeps telling me they can't do that. The person from the Australian bank tells me it seems like Transferwise is giving me wrong information.
So I decide to call Transferwise again. I reach out to somebody, and they explain it still cannot be done. I'm almost begging them to do it, but they say it cannot be done. I start searching online of any events with TW and recall requests, and I found something where it said Transferwise doesn't want to do it because there's slim chance of getting the money back so they tell customers it cannot be done.
I call Transferwise again and push and complain that I think they're just telling me they can't do it just to get rid of me and the person I'm talking to this time says it can actually be done and she'll do that request for me, and she apologises for her colleagues telling me the wrong information previously. I call the Australian bank again to let them know that Transferwise said they will do the recall and if there is anything I can do. They tell me best thing is for me to keep talking to Transferwise, as the Australian bank has done everything it can.
Now, Transferwise shows you an estimation in days of how long a transfer will take. I did the transfer on Friday the 11th, and Transferwise estimated that the transfer would be completed by the 16th at 9:30 pm UK time. So doing all this I had some hope that something can happen. Mind you, I called the receiving bank a few hours after the transfer was done by Transferwise, and by their estimate had around 4-5 days until the transfer was complete.
I feel like I wasted precious time because Transferwise was not helpful at all, from the start when I raised the scam with them telling me there's nothing they can do, to the moment I had to make around 5 calls just to get them to do the recall request.
The 16th passes, the transfer appears complete in Transferwise and I get a message from the scammer that the funds have arrived and I can start trading. I didn't block them because I didn't want to freak them out and withdraw the money immediately it hits their account.
I posted my long story here to see if there is something I can do. I had hopes that the Australian bank would block the withdrawal and it would bounce back, or they would block the scammer's account and my money would not be withdrawn and the recall would go through. I also have some hopes that based on what the scammer said today, the money is still in the Australian bank account.
I feel like I acted pretty promptly after I realised I got scammed. Contacted the receiving bank, my bank, Transferwise and the authorities both in the UK and Australia.
I don't know what else I could have done to get a more positive outcome, but now I'm asking you, the people of this subreddit, is there anything else I can do? Is there a chance the money is still in the scammer's account and the Australian bank has blocked it?
Do you guys think Transferwise didn't treat me properly by dismissing me off the bat, and only helping me with the recall request after around 10 calls and pushing?
Any advice would be much appreciated. I know I was foolish, I should have trusted my instincts, but I feel I also took some verification steps that I knew from the internet and I contacted every instituion asap after I realised I was scammed, so a few hours after sending the money.
TL;DR I got scammed into sending money to an Australian bank account from the UK. What can I do now?
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UK resident got scammed to send money to an Australian bank account. What I did and what to do next?

Hello, I live in England and this is a long post about how I got scammed, presenting my story and asking for advice. Much appreciated to all who go through all of it and send their ideas.
Also posted in personalfinance here: https://www.reddit.com/personalfinance/comments/iuja16/uk_resident_got_scammed_what_i_did_and_what_to_do/
So I met a person online, and after chatting a bit she started showing me her gold trading profits. At first I didn't care that much, but she kept showing me profits and I said I wish I knew how to trade like that. She puts me in contact with this person, who is supposed to teach me how to trade.
This teacher tells me that I will start with simulated gold trading, and after some time I would move on to real trading. After a couple of days of trading she says I'm ready to trade for real, I say I need more time to do simulated trading. We do another day of simulated trading and she says I'm ready and I should start trading with real money.
Hindsight is 20/20, I can't believe what I was thinking. But I did do some checks on these people, like I aske them for pictures of themselves and I google image searched them. No results, not stock images, so I'm like, okay, a good sign.
I ask the first person to have a phone call to talk, we do. Okay, fair enough.
I ask the first person to send me the link to her design company that she said she owns, and she sends it over. Site is in Chinese but it's filled with a lot of images of homebuilding and some English sentences about home design. I ask her for more photos and it seems okay.
I do the same with the "teacher". Google image search, no stock images, no results. I google the platform she's asking me to open an account on, can't find anything about it saying it's a scam. The reviews for the iphone app are mostly 4-5 stars, with people in the reviews complaining that the previous version of the app was better.
So after all this, on the 11th of September I transfer the minimum needed to start investing, USD 10,000. I do this by using Transferwise, so I transfer the money in UK pounds to Transferwise (I live in the UK), the money is converted by Transferwise to USD and is send to the scammer's account to an Australian bank on Friday evening.
I sleep on it, and next day morning I start panicking, I think my instincts started kicking in, and I do some more research online and I found something similar, not exactly the same scam, but something similar where you meet somebody online, start talking, some people even met with these people, and then they say can teach you or know somebody that can teach you to trade (gold, bitcoin, forex, etc). At that point I really panicked and I realised I got scammed.
I try to reach Transferwise, but since it was Saturday, you could only reach them by email, couldn't even call them.
I call the bank in Australia, I tell them what happened, I was scammed and the scammers account is with them and I give them the details of the bank account and everything. So literally after a few hours of the money leaving Trasnferwise I contacted the receiving bank. They told me they will pass it on to the Financial Crime team and look into it.
I file a report with Action Fraud in the UK, I sent the report number to my bank, to the Australian bank and to Transferwise, but to Transferwise only on Monday when I can contact them again.
I search online for some advice, and everybody thinks the best solution is to keep contacting the receiving bank as they could block the account, or the transaction and it could bounce back to Transferwise so I keep doing that. The receiving bank in Australia tells me to contact Transferwise and have them raise a fraud report and to get in contact with the Australian bank.
After numerouse calls with Transferwise asking them to contact the receiving bank where I was told there's nothing they can do after the money has left Transferwise, I resort to calling the bank in Australia again. By this point I raised a cyber fraud report with the Australian police as well and sent the report number to the Australian bank.
I ask the bank in Australia what is there to do, if they will deny the transfer or do something so that money does not leave the Australian bank account, and they said the Financial Crime team is looking into it, but I could also ask Transferwise to raise a recall request and to contact them, but I say I already did but Transferwise keeps telling me they can't do that. The person from the Australian bank tells me it seems like Transferwise is giving me wrong information.
So I decide to call Transferwise again. I reach out to somebody, and they explain it still cannot be done. I'm almost begging them to do it, but they say it cannot be done. I start searching online of any events with TW and recall requests, and I found something where it said Transferwise doesn't want to do it because there's slim chance of getting the money back so they tell customers it cannot be done.
I call Transferwise again and push and complain that I think they're just telling me they can't do it just to get rid of me and the person I'm talking to this time says it can actually be done and she'll do that request for me, and she apologises for her colleagues telling me the wrong information previously. I call the Australian bank again to let them know that Transferwise said they will do the recall and if there is anything I can do. They tell me best thing is for me to keep talking to Transferwise, as the Australian bank has done everything it can.
Now, Transferwise shows you an estimation in days of how long a transfer will take. I did the transfer on Friday the 11th, and Transferwise estimated that the transfer would be completed by the 16th at 9:30 pm UK time. So doing all this I had some hope that something can happen. Mind you, I called the receiving bank a few hours after the transfer was done by Transferwise, and by their estimate had around 4-5 days until the transfer was complete.
I feel like I wasted precious time because Transferwise was not helpful at all, from the start when I raised the scam with them telling me there's nothing they can do, to the moment I had to make around 5 calls just to get them to do the recall request.
The 16th passes, the transfer appears complete in Transferwise and I get a message from the scammer that the funds have arrived and I can start trading. I didn't block them because I didn't want to freak them out and withdraw the money immediately it hits their account.
I posted my long story here to see if there is something I can do. I had hopes that the Australian bank would block the withdrawal and it would bounce back, or they would block the scammer's account and my money would not be withdrawn and the recall would go through. I also have some hopes that based on what the scammer said today, the money is still in the Australian bank account.
I feel like I acted pretty promptly after I realised I got scammed. Contacted the receiving bank, my bank, Transferwise and the authorities both in the UK and Australia.
I don't know what else I could have done to get a more positive outcome, but now I'm asking you, the people of this subreddit, is there anything else I can do? Is there a chance the money is still in the scammer's account and the Australian bank has blocked it?
Do you guys think Transferwise didn't treat me properly by dismissing me off the bat, and only helping me with the recall request after around 10 calls and pushing?
Any advice would be much appreciated. I know I was foolish, I should have trusted my instincts, but I feel I also took some verification steps that I knew from the internet and I contacted every instituion asap after I realised I was scammed, so a few hours after sending the money.
TL;DR I got scammed into sending money to an Australian bank account from the UK. What can I do now?
submitted by iulianverde to AusLegal [link] [comments]

UK resident got scammed. What I did and what to do next?

Hello, I live in England and this is a long post about how I got scammed, presenting my story and asking for advice. Much appreciated to all who go through all of it and send their ideas.
Also posted in personalfinance here: https://www.reddit.com/personalfinance/comments/iuja16/uk_resident_got_scammed_what_i_did_and_what_to_do/
So I met a person online, and after chatting a bit she started showing me her gold trading profits. At first I didn't care that much, but she kept showing me profits and I said I wish I knew how to trade like that. She puts me in contact with this person, who is supposed to teach me how to trade.
This teacher tells me that I will start with simulated gold trading, and after some time I would move on to real trading. After a couple of days of trading she says I'm ready to trade for real, I say I need more time to do simulated trading. We do another day of simulated trading and she says I'm ready and I should start trading with real money.
Hindsight is 20/20, I can't believe what I was thinking. But I did do some checks on these people, like I asked them for pictures of themselves and I google image searched them. No results, not stock images, so I'm like, okay, a good sign.
I ask the first person to have a phone call to talk, we do. Okay, fair enough.
I ask the first person to send me the link to her design company that she said she owns, and she sends it over. Site is in Chinese but it's filled with a lot of images of homebuilding and some English sentences about home design. I ask her for more photos and it seems okay.
I do the same with the "teacher". Google image search, no stock images, no results. I google the platform she's asking me to open an account on, can't find anything about it saying it's a scam. The reviews for the iphone app are mostly 4-5 stars, with people in the reviews complaining that the previous version of the app was better.
So after all this, on the 11th of September I transfer the minimum needed to start investing, USD 10,000. I do this by using Transferwise, so I transfer the money in UK pounds to Transferwise (I live in the UK), the money is converted by Transferwise to USD and is send to the scammer's account to an Australian bank on Friday evening.
I sleep on it, and next day morning I start panicking, I think my instincts started kicking in, and I do some more research online and I found something similar, not exactly the same scam, but something similar where you meet somebody online, start talking, some people even met with these people, and then they say can teach you or know somebody that can teach you to trade (gold, bitcoin, forex, etc). At that point I really panicked and I realised I got scammed.
I try to reach Transferwise, but since it was Saturday, you could only reach them by email, couldn't even call them.
I call the bank in Australia, I tell them what happened, I was scammed and the scammers account is with them and I give them the details of the bank account and everything. So literally after a few hours of the money leaving Trasnferwise I contacted the receiving bank. They told me they will pass it on to the Financial Crime team and look into it.
I file a report with Action Fraud in the UK, I sent the report number to my bank, to the Australian bank and to Transferwise, but to Transferwise only on Monday when I can contact them again.
I search online for some advice, and everybody thinks the best solution is to keep contacting the receiving bank as they could block the account, or the transaction and it could bounce back to Transferwise so I keep doing that. The receiving bank in Australia tells me to contact Transferwise and have them raise a fraud report and to get in contact with the Australian bank.
After numerouse calls with Transferwise asking them to contact the receiving bank where I was told there's nothing they can do after the money has left Transferwise, I resort to calling the bank in Australia again. By this point I raised a cyber fraud report with the Australian police as well and sent the report number to the Australian bank.
I ask the bank in Australia what is there to do, if they will deny the transfer or do something so that money does not leave the Australian bank account, and they said the Financial Crime team is looking into it, but I could also ask Transferwise to raise a recall request and to contact them, but I say I already did but Transferwise keeps telling me they can't do that. The person from the Australian bank tells me it seems like Transferwise is giving me wrong information.
So I decide to call Transferwise again. I reach out to somebody, and they explain it still cannot be done. I'm almost begging them to do it, but they say it cannot be done. I start searching online of any events with TW and recall requests, and I found something where it said Transferwise doesn't want to do it because there's slim chance of getting the money back so they tell customers it cannot be done.
I call Transferwise again and push and complain that I think they're just telling me they can't do it just to get rid of me and the person I'm talking to this time says it can actually be done and she'll do that request for me, and she apologises for her colleagues telling me the wrong information previously. I call the Australian bank again to let them know that Transferwise said they will do the recall and if there is anything I can do. They tell me best thing is for me to keep talking to Transferwise, as the Australian bank has done everything it can.
Now, Transferwise shows you an estimation in days of how long a transfer will take. I did the transfer on Friday the 11th, and Transferwise estimated that the transfer would be completed by the 16th at 9:30 pm UK time. So doing all this I had some hope that something can happen. Mind you, I called the receiving bank a few hours after the transfer was done by Transferwise, and by their estimate had around 4-5 days until the transfer was complete.
I feel like I wasted precious time because Transferwise was not helpful at all, from the start when I raised the scam with them telling me there's nothing they can do, to the moment I had to make around 5 calls just to get them to do the recall request.
The 16th passes, the transfer appears complete in Transferwise and I get a message from the scammer that the funds have arrived and I can start trading. I didn't block them because I didn't want to freak them out and withdraw the money immediately it hits their account.
I posted my long story here to see if there is something I can do. I had hopes that the Australian bank would block the withdrawal and it would bounce back, or they would block the scammer's account and my money would not be withdrawn and the recall would go through. I also have some hopes that based on what the scammer said today, the money is still in the Australian bank account.
I feel like I acted pretty promptly after I realised I got scammed. Contacted the receiving bank, my bank, Transferwise and the authorities both in the UK and Australia.
I don't know what else I could have done to get a more positive outcome, but now I'm asking you, the people of this subreddit, is there anything else I can do? Is there a chance the money is still in the scammer's account and the Australian bank has blocked it?
Do you guys think Transferwise didn't treat me properly by dismissing me off the bat, and only helping me with the recall request after around 10 calls and pushing?
Any advice would be much appreciated. I know I was foolish, I should have trusted my instincts, but I feel I also took some verification steps that I knew from the internet and I contacted every instituion asap after I realised I was scammed, so a few hours after sending the money.

TL;DR I got scammed into sending money to an Australian bank account from the UK. What can I do now?
submitted by iulianverde to LegalAdviceUK [link] [comments]

Primer on Binary Options Recovery

Primer on Binary Options Recovery
A binary option is a financial option wherein the payoff is particular fixed money or nothing at all. There are mainly two types of binary options cash-or-nothing and asset-or-nothing binary options. The cash-or-nothing binary option pays some fixed amount of cash if the option expires “in the money.”
The asset-or-nothing binary option, however, only pays the value of the underlying securities. This option makes many people quickly lose money trading binary options. So what happens when you have lost money trading binary options?
Recover from Binary Options How to Recover from Binary Options Lost or Scam with a Verified Recovery Expert.
Have you been enticed to get entangled in trading binary options? Have you had any bad experience with binary options? Are you a victim of the famous binary options scam?
“How do you recover from binary options scam?”
It happens to lots of people, even professional, educated people and the elite. If you get swindled, the first thing to do is not to beat yourself up over it but act fast. More importantly, suicide is not an option, and we can always heal and recover from our loses once there is life.
An unfortunate story of an Australian man who got himself entangled in binary options lost a lot of money and had the third mortgage on his house with a lot of other debts. And then he ended his life.
There are a lot of somber stories of people who have lost it all to binary options and have no clue how to recover from binary options schemes and fake brokers.
Firstly it goes without saying, it’s better to prevent, investigating the business and doing background checks is very necessary before any investment. Here are some tips to help you.
  1. When investing, do proper research and make sure the broker you are working with has an appropriate regulation and licenses like ASIC, FCA, CySEC, CFTC, BaFIN, or other government regulators.
  2. Always make sure you don’t invest all of your money.
  3. Get wealthy quick programs are bound to lose more money, don’t fall for investments of such.
  4. Learn and do more research about the financial option you are planning to invest.
  5. Listening to your broker is another mistake, as they have lost peoples money in many instances, the reverse of a brokers advice might be doing you better.
  6. Check out the platform and use all their demo till you are skilled and never agree to add funds in a rush.
A lot of people have their first experience with binary options through a scam. Binary options trading scams are widespread, and recovering from binary options schemes might be very hard but not impossible. The binary options industry is steadily misused, and many scammers and thieves get away with a lot due to slack regulatory laws, shallow knowledge and negligence of victims. There are fake review websites that support and endorse these scams, so for a person with no trading experience, it is almost impossible to find the right path.
A lot of people are getting duped and losing their money to these schemes. They have assured an income, but in actuality, they take their money and lose it deliberately.
https://preview.redd.it/y9y274olp2j51.png?width=601&format=png&auto=webp&s=7e2f7c4667ae31cc5011c6a88713b111e14575b0
What to do if Scammed by Binary Options? The web has a lot of fraudulent binary options brokers. So once you realize you have been a victim of the scam, don’t panic! You will most likely go through guilting yourself and emotional distress. Your first step is to file a complaint to the customer services team. Always remember the risks involves in the trades, you can lose money as well as gain as much too. If you lose money or get scammed, you will be reminded of the risks.
Documenting all that has happened is very important. The world would be better if we did not have thieves and people who create scams aiming to steal from us. The best move anyone can make is to educate themselves about possible scams and the way they work because they are everywhere and to be intelligent in the decisions made by them and the information they provide.
These Con artists have found binary options a simple system to use their system to strip the money of unsuspecting casualties. This write-up will focus on educating you, on binary options scams and binary options scammers. If you have ever lost money to binary options, check for links below to hire a recovery organization to help you get your money back. Binary options investing can be an excellent way to make more money without having to do much, but when you are dealing with the wrong people, it can be a quick way to lose a massive amount of money. We believe when you are done reading this article, you will be able to determine the differences between reliable binary options systems and the scam artists.
Don’t forget that you must file a complaint to customer services of the respective platform you used, and it is the first thing to do when you feel spooked. All regulatory bodies have their procedure and steps, and they will also ask if you have filed a complaint. In few countries, it is required legally that the company gives you a case number which you can then use to file a complaint to securities and exchange commission.
It is also essential contacting your credit card company and bank fast so they can provide solutions such as chargeback for you. If you find that you get stranded and need help then get it to contact with a recovery expert, and your best bet is Assured Recover. They will undoubtedly be able to help recover all lost funds.
Also, be very careful with recovery rooms as they can even scam you as an easy vulnerable target.
Recover Losses made to Binary Options with Verified Recovery Experts. A few recovery companies that focus on lost funds and wealth recovery internationally. Some legitimate companies also claim they can help, but since there isn’t much of a right side to this, they usually fall short of their promise and client’s expectations.
Some chargeback companies offer a service to help, and some may be able to help. A significant number of people who have lost money to fake binary options companies like IQ options, VIPBinary, 24option, and other fraudulent binary options trading platforms/companies that have bad reviews and been accused of scams. Assured Recover has successfully helped customers who were scammed and to get their money back.
Here is a testimony how Assured Recover helped someone who got scammed by Trade Toro.
One wouldn’t think much of this, all I wanted to do was invest and be part of it, but the brokers weren’t truthful. They collected money from all in the name of investment, and when it was time to withdraw, I realized I couldn’t. At the time was when it occurred to me, I had been duped.
I consider myself to be one of the very few privileged ones as I was able to get all recovered from this scam Binary options brokers. Assured Recover is simply the best, and in less than 30 days all my funds including bonuses had been recovered, If your broker lost your funds trading Binary options, one of these verified recovery experts will help you get your funds back without any traces.
I’m pleased to let people know how I was able to recover part the money that I got cheated by Trade Toro, and I’d like to write in favor of Assured Recover. Assured Recover is your best bet when it comes to binary options recovery.
Binary options trading scams will make you lose money and also make you blame yourself for not being more careful. These Verified Recovery Experts offer binary options loss recovery service to everyone in need of such services. Here is the link to the original article, and how to recover money lost to binary options, forex, cryptocurrency etc.
submitted by Msatikul54 to u/Msatikul54 [link] [comments]

forexlive

The top ten most active dealers, who The Currency market largely deals in You will need to start an account with a broker. The trading of global currencies. Depending on money projections, the currencies that are traded the many are Canadian Dollar, Australian Dollar, U.S. Dollar, Pound Sterling, Swiss Franc, Euro and Yen. Currency projections assist mitigating the That is the major markets situated in The prices are really tight for its There are other currencies which are also Tokyo, London and U.S are opened at different hours. Two thirds occurs throughout the convergence of New York market opening and markets are working.Retailers to cope with. The movements in currency projections keep the Forex market a quick paced international currency exchange which transports all competition amongst financial markets. top forex brokers
Traded but are performed in smaller scale. The highest traded money will be U.S. Dollar. There are misconceptions concerning Forex market. Predict the money projections nicely, do almost 3 quarters of total coping. They composed of banks and are called the marketplace. Trading activities depending on money projections provide the marketplace with bid and ask prices. Risk factor. The money projections demonstrate that an exchange is done between parties. Throughout a period of time following currency projections, both the parties switch one currency. The inverse as money projections following the interval runs out. forex bonus
Organizations; dominant banks and companies guarantee growth and keep their own popularity. Central market where the currencies are traded. The current marketplace is a mixture of many markets, each of which has their own set of regulations and principles. As Forex depends on currency projections, it becomes impossible to exchange due to this difference in time zones. Appropriate currency projections help monetary Contrary to popular belief there is no Forex Trading To start trading the Forex market online forex trading tips
submitted by elzajohn265 to u/elzajohn265 [link] [comments]

Thoughts On The Market Series #1 - The New Normal?

Market Outlook: What to Make of This “New Normal”

By ****\*
March 16, 2020
After an incredibly volatile week – which finished with the Dow Jones Industrial Average rallying over 9% on Friday – I suppose my readers might expect me to be quite upbeat about the markets.
Unfortunately, I persist in my overall pessimistic outlook for stocks, and for the economy in general. Friday’s rally essentially negated Thursday’s sell-off, but I don’t expect it to be the start of a sustained turnaround.
We’re getting a taste of that this morning, with the Dow opening down around 7%.
This selloff is coming on the back of an emergency interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve of 100 basis points (to 0%-0.25%) on Sunday… along with the announcement of a new quantitative easing program of $700 billion. (I will write about this further over the next several days.)
As I have been writing for many weeks, the financial bubble – which the Fed created by pumping trillions of dollars into the financial system – has popped. It will take some time for the bubble to deflate to sustainable levels.
Today I’ll walk you through what’s going on in the markets and the economy… what I expect going forward and why… and what it means for us as traders. (You’ll see it’s not all bad news.)

Coronavirus’ Strain on the Global Economy

To start, let’s put things in perspective: This asset deflation was coming one way or another. Covid19 (or coronavirus) has simply accelerated the process.
Major retailers are closing, tourism is getting crushed, universities and schools are sending students home, conventions, sporting events, concerts, and other public gatherings have been cancelled, banks and other financial service firms are going largely virtual, and there has been a massive loss of wealth.
Restaurant data suggests that consumer demand is dropping sharply, and the global travel bans will only worsen the situation.
Commercial real estate is another sector that looks particularly vulnerable. We are almost certain to see a very sharp and pronounced economic slowdown here in the United States, and elsewhere. In fact, I expect a drop of at least 5% of GDP over the next two quarters, which is quite severe by any standard.
Sure, when this cycle is complete, there will be tremendous amounts of pent-up demand by consumers, but for the time being, the consumer is largely on the sidelines.
Of course, the problems aren’t just in the U.S. China’s numbers look awful. In fact, the government there may have to “massage” their numbers a bit to show a positive GDP in the first quarter. Europe’s numbers will also look dreadful, and South Korea’s economy has been hit badly.
All around the world, borders are being shut, all non-essential businesses are being closed, and people in multiple countries are facing a lockdown of historic proportions. The coronavirus is certainly having a powerful impact, and it looks certain that its impact will persist for a while.
Consider global tourism. It added almost $9 trillion to the global economy in 2018, and roughly 320 million jobs. This market is in serious trouble.
Fracking in the U.S. is another business sector that is in a desperate situation. Millions of jobs and tens of billions of loans are now in jeopardy.
The derivative businesses that this sector supports will be likewise devastated as companies are forced to reduce their workforces or shut down due to the collapse in oil prices. This sector’s suffering will probably force banks to book some big losses despite attempts by the government to support this industry.
In a similar way, the derivative businesses that are supported by the universities and colleges across America are going to really suffer.
There are nearly 20 million students in colleges across the U.S. When they go home for spring vacation and do not return, the effect on the local businesses that colleges and university populations support will be devastating.
What does this “new normal” mean going forward? Let’s take a look…

New Normal

The new normal may become increasingly unpleasant for us. We need to be ready to hunker down for quite some time.
Beyond that, the government needs to handle this crisis far better in the future.
The level of stupidity associated with the massive throngs of people trapped in major airports yesterday, for example, was almost unimaginable.
Instead of facilitating the reduction of social contact and halting the further spread of the coronavirus, the management of the crowds at the airports produced a perfect breeding ground for the spread of the virus.
My guess is that more draconian travel restrictions will be implemented soon, matching to some extent the measures taken across Europe.
This will in turn have a further dampening effect on economic activity in the U.S., putting more and more pressure on the Fed and the government to artificially support a rapidly weakening economy.
Where does this end up? It is too early to say, but a very safe bet is that we will have some months of sharply negative growth. Too many sectors of the economy are going to take a hit to expect anything else.
The Fed has already driven interest rates to zero. Will that help? Unlikely. In fact, as I mentioned at the beginning of this update, the markets are voting with a resounding NO.
The businesses that are most affected by the current economic situation will still suffer. Quantitative easing is hardly a cure-all. In fact, it has been one of the reasons that we have such a mess in our markets today.
The markets have become addicted to the easy money, so more of the same will have little or no impact. We will need real economic demand, not an easier monetary policy.
It won’t help support tourism, for example, or the other sectors getting smashed right now. The government will need to spend at least 5% of GDP, or roughly $1 trillion, to offset the weakness I see coming.
Is it surprising that the Fed and the government take emergency steps to try to stabilize economic growth? Not at all. This is essentially what they have been doing for a long time, so it is completely consistent with their playbook.
Next, I would anticipate the government implementing some massive public-works and infrastructure programs over the coming months. That would be very helpful, and almost certainly quite necessary.
But there’s a problem with this kind of intervention from the government…

What Happens When You Eliminate the Business Cycle

The Fed’s foolish attempt to eliminate business cycles is a significant contributing factor to the volatility we are currently experiencing.
Quantitative easing is nothing more than printing lots and lots of money to support a weak economy and give the appearance of growth and prosperity. In fact, it is a devaluation of the currency’s true buying power.
That in turn artificially drives up the prices of other assets, such as stocks, real estate and gold – but it does not create true wealth. That only comes with non-inflationary growth of goods and services and associated increases in economic output.
Inflation is the government’s way to keep people thinking they are doing better.
To that point: We have seen some traditional safe-haven assets getting destroyed during this time of risk aversion. That has certainly compounded the problems of many investors.
Gold is a great example. As the stock market got violently slammed, people were forced to come up with cash to support their losing positions. Gold became a short-term source of liquidity as people sold their gold holdings in somewhat dramatic fashion. It was one of the few holdings of many people that was not dramatically under water, so people sold it.
The move may have seemed perverse, particularly to people who bought gold as a safe-haven asset, but in times of crisis, all assets tend to become highly correlated, at least short term.
We saw a similar thing happen with long yen exposures and long Bitcoin exposures recently.
The dollar had its strongest one-day rally against the yen since November 2016 as people were forced to sell huge amounts of yen to generate liquidity. Many speculators had made some nice profits recently as the dollar dropped sharply from 112 to 101.30, but they have been forced to book whatever profits they had in this position. Again, this was due to massive losses elsewhere in their portfolios.
Is the yen’s sell-off complete? If it is not complete, it is probably at least close to an attractive level for Japanese investors to start buying yen against a basket of currencies. The major supplies of yen have largely been taken off the table for now.
For example, the yen had been a popular funding currency for “carry” plays. People were selling yen and buying higher-yielding currencies to earn the interest rate difference between the liability currency (yen) and the funding currency (for example, the U.S. dollar).
Carry plays are very unpopular in times of great uncertainty and volatility, however, so that supply of yen will be largely gone for quite some time. Plus, the yield advantage of currencies such as the U.S. dollar, Canadian dollar, and Australian dollar versus the yen is nearly gone.
In addition, at the end of the Japanese fiscal year , there is usually heavy demand for yen as Japanese corporations need to bring home a portion of their overseas holdings for balance sheet window dressing. I don’t expect that pressure to be different this year.
Just as the safe-haven assets of yen and gold got aggressively sold, Bitcoin also got hammered. It was driven by a similar theme – people had big losses and they needed to produce liquidity quickly. Selling Bitcoin became one of the sources of that liquidity.

Heavy Price Deflation Ahead

Overall, there is a chance that this scenario turns into something truly ugly, with sustained price deflation across many parts of the economy. We will certainly have price deflation in many sectors, at least on a temporary basis.
Why does that matter over the long term?
Price deflation is the most debilitating economic development in a society that is debt-laden – like the U.S. today. Prices of assets come down… and the debt becomes progressively bigger and bigger.
The balance sheet of oil company Chesapeake Energy is a classic example. It’s carrying almost $10 billion worth of debt… versus a market cap of only about $600 million. Talk about leverage! When the company had a market cap of $10 billion, that debt level didn’t appear so terrifying.
Although this is an extreme example for illustrative purposes, the massive debt loads of China would seem more and more frightening if we were to sink into flat or negative growth cycles for a while. The government’s resources are already being strained, and it can artificially support only so many failing companies.
The U.S. has gigantic levels of debt as well, but it has the advantage of being the world’s true hegemon, and the U.S. dollar is the world’s reserve currency. This creates a tremendous amount of leverage and power in financing its debt.
The U.S. has been able to impose its will on its trading partners to trade major commodities in dollars. This has created a constant demand for the dollar that offsets, to a large extent, the massive trade deficit that the U.S. runs.
For example, if a German company wants to buy oil, then it needs to hold dollars. This creates a constant demand for dollar assets.
In short, the dollar’s status as the true global reserve currency is far more important than most people realize. China does not hold this advantage.

What to Do Now

In terms of how to position ourselves going forward, I strongly recommend that people continue with a defensive attitude regarding stocks. There could be a lot more downside to come. Likewise, we could see some panic selling in other asset classes.
The best thing right now is to be liquid and patient, ready to pounce on special opportunities when they present themselves.
For sure, there will be some exceptional opportunities, but it is too early to commit ourselves to just one industry. These opportunities could come in diverse sectors such as commercial real estate, hospitality, travel and leisure, and others.
As for the forex markets, the volatility in the currencies is extreme, so we are a bit cautious.
I still like the yen as a safe-haven asset. I likewise still want to sell the Australian dollar, the New Zealand dollar, and the Canadian dollar as liability currencies.
Why? The Bank of Canada, the Reserve Bank of Australia, and the Reserve Bank of New Zealand have all taken aggressive steps recently, slashing interest rates. These currencies are all weak, and they will get weaker.
Finding an ideal entry for a trade, however, is tricky. Therefore, we are being extra careful with our trading. We always prioritize the preservation of capital over generating profits, and we will continue with this premise.
At the same time, volatility in the markets is fantastic for traders. We expect many excellent opportunities to present themselves over the coming days and weeks as prices get driven to extreme levels and mispricings appear. So stay tuned.
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Hibiscus Petroleum Berhad (5199.KL)


https://preview.redd.it/gp18bjnlabr41.jpg?width=768&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=6054e7f52e8d52da403016139ae43e0e799abf15
Download PDF of this article here: https://docdro.id/6eLgUPo
In light of the recent fall in oil prices due to the Saudi-Russian dispute and dampening demand for oil due to the lockdowns implemented globally, O&G stocks have taken a severe beating, falling approximately 50% from their highs at the beginning of the year. Not spared from this onslaught is Hibiscus Petroleum Berhad (Hibiscus), a listed oil and gas (O&G) exploration and production (E&P) company.
Why invest in O&G stocks in this particularly uncertain period? For one, valuations of these stocks have fallen to multi-year lows, bringing the potential ROI on these stocks to attractive levels. Oil prices are cyclical, and are bound to return to the mean given a sufficiently long time horizon. The trick is to find those companies who can survive through this downturn and emerge into “normal” profitability once oil prices rebound.
In this article, I will explore the upsides and downsides of investing in Hibiscus. I will do my best to cater this report to newcomers to the O&G industry – rather than address exclusively experts and veterans of the O&G sector. As an equity analyst, I aim to provide a view on the company primarily, and will generally refrain from providing macro views on oil or opinions about secular trends of the sector. I hope you enjoy reading it!
Stock code: 5199.KL
Stock name: Hibiscus Petroleum Berhad
Financial information and financial reports: https://www.malaysiastock.biz/Corporate-Infomation.aspx?securityCode=5199
Company website: https://www.hibiscuspetroleum.com/

Company Snapshot

Hibiscus Petroleum Berhad (5199.KL) is an oil and gas (O&G) upstream exploration and production (E&P) company located in Malaysia. As an E&P company, their business can be basically described as:
· looking for oil,
· drawing it out of the ground, and
· selling it on global oil markets.
This means Hibiscus’s profits are particularly exposed to fluctuating oil prices. With oil prices falling to sub-$30 from about $60 at the beginning of the year, Hibiscus’s stock price has also fallen by about 50% YTD – from around RM 1.00 to RM 0.45 (as of 5 April 2020).
https://preview.redd.it/3dqc4jraabr41.png?width=641&format=png&auto=webp&s=7ba0e8614c4e9d781edfc670016a874b90560684
https://preview.redd.it/lvdkrf0cabr41.png?width=356&format=png&auto=webp&s=46f250a713887b06986932fa475dc59c7c28582e
While the company is domiciled in Malaysia, its two main oil producing fields are located in both Malaysia and the UK. The Malaysian oil field is commonly referred to as the North Sabah field, while the UK oil field is commonly referred to as the Anasuria oil field. Hibiscus has licenses to other oil fields in different parts of the world, notably the Marigold/Sunflower oil fields in the UK and the VIC cluster in Australia, but its revenues and profits mainly stem from the former two oil producing fields.
Given that it’s a small player and has only two primary producing oil fields, it’s not surprising that Hibiscus sells its oil to a concentrated pool of customers, with 2 of them representing 80% of its revenues (i.e. Petronas and BP). Fortunately, both these customers are oil supermajors, and are unlikely to default on their obligations despite low oil prices.
At RM 0.45 per share, the market capitalization is RM 714.7m and it has a trailing PE ratio of about 5x. It doesn’t carry any debt, and it hasn’t paid a dividend in its listing history. The MD, Mr. Kenneth Gerard Pereira, owns about 10% of the company’s outstanding shares.

Reserves (Total recoverable oil) & Production (bbl/day)

To begin analyzing the company, it’s necessary to understand a little of the industry jargon. We’ll start with Reserves and Production.
In general, there are three types of categories for a company’s recoverable oil volumes – Reserves, Contingent Resources and Prospective Resources. Reserves are those oil fields which are “commercial”, which is defined as below:
As defined by the SPE PRMS, Reserves are “… quantities of petroleum anticipated to be commercially recoverable by application of development projects to known accumulations from a given date forward under defined conditions.” Therefore, Reserves must be discovered (by drilling, recoverable (with current technology), remaining in the subsurface (at the effective date of the evaluation) and “commercial” based on the development project proposed.)
Note that Reserves are associated with development projects. To be considered as “commercial”, there must be a firm intention to proceed with the project in a reasonable time frame (typically 5 years, and such intention must be based upon all of the following criteria:)
- A reasonable assessment of the future economics of the development project meeting defined investment and operating criteria; - A reasonable expectation that there will be a market for all or at least the expected sales quantities of production required to justify development; - Evidence that the necessary production and transportation facilities are available or can be made available; and - Evidence that legal, contractual, environmental and other social and economic concerns will allow for the actual implementation of the recovery project being evaluated.
Contingent Resources and Prospective Resources are further defined as below:
- Contingent Resources: potentially recoverable volumes associated with a development plan that targets discovered volumes but is not (yet commercial (as defined above); and) - Prospective Resources: potentially recoverable volumes associated with a development plan that targets as yet undiscovered volumes.
In the industry lingo, we generally refer to Reserves as ‘P’ and Contingent Resources as ‘C’. These ‘P’ and ‘C’ resources can be further categorized into 1P/2P/3P resources and 1C/2C/3C resources, each referring to a low/medium/high estimate of the company’s potential recoverable oil volumes:
- Low/1C/1P estimate: there should be reasonable certainty that volumes actually recovered will equal or exceed the estimate; - Best/2C/2P estimate: there should be an equal likelihood of the actual volumes of petroleum being larger or smaller than the estimate; and - High/3C/3P estimate: there is a low probability that the estimate will be exceeded.
Hence in the E&P industry, it is easy to see why most investors and analysts refer to the 2P estimate as the best estimate for a company’s actual recoverable oil volumes. This is because 2P reserves (‘2P’ referring to ‘Proved and Probable’) are a middle estimate of the recoverable oil volumes legally recognized as “commercial”.
However, there’s nothing stopping you from including 2C resources (riskier) or utilizing 1P resources (conservative) as your estimate for total recoverable oil volumes, depending on your risk appetite. In this instance, the company has provided a snapshot of its 2P and 2C resources in its analyst presentation:
https://preview.redd.it/o8qejdyc8br41.png?width=710&format=png&auto=webp&s=b3ab9be8f83badf0206adc982feda3a558d43e78
Basically, what the company is saying here is that by 2021, it will have classified as 2P reserves at least 23.7 million bbl from its Anasuria field and 20.5 million bbl from its North Sabah field – for total 2P reserves of 44.2 million bbl (we are ignoring the Australian VIC cluster as it is only estimated to reach first oil by 2022).
Furthermore, the company is stating that they have discovered (but not yet legally classified as “commercial”) a further 71 million bbl of oil from both the Anasuria and North Sabah fields, as well as the Marigold/Sunflower fields. If we include these 2C resources, the total potential recoverable oil volumes could exceed 100 million bbl.
In this report, we shall explore all valuation scenarios giving consideration to both 2P and 2C resources.
https://preview.redd.it/gk54qplf8br41.png?width=489&format=png&auto=webp&s=c905b7a6328432218b5b9dfd53cc9ef1390bd604
The company further targets a 2021 production rate of 20,000 bbl (LTM: 8,000 bbl), which includes 5,000 bbl from its Anasuria field (LTM: 2,500 bbl) and 7,000 bbl from its North Sabah field (LTM: 5,300 bbl).
This is a substantial increase in forecasted production from both existing and prospective oil fields. If it materializes, annual production rate could be as high as 7,300 mmbbl, and 2021 revenues (given FY20 USD/bbl of $60) could exceed RM 1.5 billion (FY20: RM 988 million).
However, this targeted forecast is quite a stretch from current production levels. Nevertheless, we shall consider all provided information in estimating a valuation for Hibiscus.
To understand Hibiscus’s oil production capacity and forecast its revenues and profits, we need to have a better appreciation of the performance of its two main cash-generating assets – the North Sabah field and the Anasuria field.

North Sabah oil field
https://preview.redd.it/62nssexj8br41.png?width=1003&format=png&auto=webp&s=cd78f86d51165fb9a93015e49496f7f98dad64dd
Hibiscus owns a 50% interest in the North Sabah field together with its partner Petronas, and has production rights over the field up to year 2040. The asset contains 4 oil fields, namely the St Joseph field, South Furious field, SF 30 field and Barton field.
For the sake of brevity, we shall not delve deep into the operational aspects of the fields or the contractual nature of its production sharing contract (PSC). We’ll just focus on the factors which relate to its financial performance. These are:
· Average uptime
· Total oil sold
· Average realized oil price
· Average OPEX per bbl
With regards to average uptime, we can see that the company maintains relative high facility availability, exceeding 90% uptime in all quarters of the LTM with exception of Jul-Sep 2019. The dip in average uptime was due to production enhancement projects and maintenance activities undertaken to improve the production capacity of the St Joseph and SF30 oil fields.
Hence, we can conclude that management has a good handle on operational performance. It also implies that there is little room for further improvement in production resulting from increased uptime.
As North Sabah is under a production sharing contract (PSC), there is a distinction between gross oil production and net oil production. The former relates to total oil drawn out of the ground, whereas the latter refers to Hibiscus’s share of oil production after taxes, royalties and expenses are accounted for. In this case, we want to pay attention to net oil production, not gross.
We can arrive at Hibiscus’s total oil sold for the last twelve months (LTM) by adding up the total oil sold for each of the last 4 quarters. Summing up the figures yields total oil sold for the LTM of approximately 2,075,305 bbl.
Then, we can arrive at an average realized oil price over the LTM by averaging the average realized oil price for the last 4 quarters, giving us an average realized oil price over the LTM of USD 68.57/bbl. We can do the same for average OPEX per bbl, giving us an average OPEX per bbl over the LTM of USD 13.23/bbl.
Thus, we can sum up the above financial performance of the North Sabah field with the following figures:
· Total oil sold: 2,075,305 bbl
· Average realized oil price: USD 68.57/bbl
· Average OPEX per bbl: USD 13.23/bbl

Anasuria oil field
https://preview.redd.it/586u4kfo8br41.png?width=1038&format=png&auto=webp&s=7580fc7f7df7e948754d025745a5cf47d4393c0f
Doing the same exercise as above for the Anasuria field, we arrive at the following financial performance for the Anasuria field:
· Total oil sold: 1,073,304 bbl
· Average realized oil price: USD 63.57/bbl
· Average OPEX per bbl: USD 23.22/bbl
As gas production is relatively immaterial, and to be conservative, we shall only consider the crude oil production from the Anasuria field in forecasting revenues.

Valuation (Method 1)

Putting the figures from both oil fields together, we get the following data:
https://preview.redd.it/7y6064dq8br41.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=2a4120563a011cf61fc6090e1cd5932602599dc2
Given that we have determined LTM EBITDA of RM 632m, the next step would be to subtract ITDA (interest, tax, depreciation & amortization) from it to obtain estimated LTM Net Profit. Using FY2020’s ITDA of approximately RM 318m as a guideline, we arrive at an estimated LTM Net Profit of RM 314m (FY20: 230m). Given the current market capitalization of RM 714.7m, this implies a trailing LTM PE of 2.3x.
Performing a sensitivity analysis given different oil prices, we arrive at the following net profit table for the company under different oil price scenarios, assuming oil production rate and ITDA remain constant:
https://preview.redd.it/xixge5sr8br41.png?width=433&format=png&auto=webp&s=288a00f6e5088d01936f0217ae7798d2cfcf11f2
From the above exercise, it becomes apparent that Hibiscus has a breakeven oil price of about USD 41.8863/bbl, and has a lot of operating leverage given the exponential rate of increase in its Net Profit with each consequent increase in oil prices.
Considering that the oil production rate (EBITDA) is likely to increase faster than ITDA’s proportion to revenues (fixed costs), at an implied PE of 4.33x, it seems likely that an investment in Hibiscus will be profitable over the next 10 years (with the assumption that oil prices will revert to the mean in the long-term).

Valuation (Method 2)

Of course, there are a lot of assumptions behind the above method of valuation. Hence, it would be prudent to perform multiple methods of valuation and compare the figures to one another.
As opposed to the profit/loss assessment in Valuation (Method 1), another way of performing a valuation would be to estimate its balance sheet value, i.e. total revenues from 2P Reserves, and assign a reasonable margin to it.
https://preview.redd.it/o2eiss6u8br41.png?width=710&format=png&auto=webp&s=03960cce698d9cedb076f3d5f571b3c59d908fa8
From the above, we understand that Hibiscus’s 2P reserves from the North Sabah and Anasuria fields alone are approximately 44.2 mmbbl (we ignore contribution from Australia’s VIC cluster as it hasn’t been developed yet).
Doing a similar sensitivity analysis of different oil prices as above, we arrive at the following estimated total revenues and accumulated net profit:
https://preview.redd.it/h8hubrmw8br41.png?width=450&format=png&auto=webp&s=6d23f0f9c3dafda89e758b815072ba335467f33e
Let’s assume that the above average of RM 9.68 billion in total realizable revenues from current 2P reserves holds true. If we assign a conservative Net Profit margin of 15% (FY20: 23%; past 5 years average: 16%), we arrive at estimated accumulated Net Profit from 2P Reserves of RM 1.452 billion. Given the current market capitalization of RM 714 million, we might be able to say that the equity is worth about twice the current share price.
However, it is understandable that some readers might feel that the figures used in the above estimate (e.g. net profit margin of 15%) were randomly plucked from the sky. So how do we reconcile them with figures from the financial statements? Fortunately, there appears to be a way to do just that.
Intangible Assets
I refer you to a figure in the financial statements which provides a shortcut to the valuation of 2P Reserves. This is the carrying value of Intangible Assets on the Balance Sheet.
As of 2QFY21, that amount was RM 1,468,860,000 (i.e. RM 1.468 billion).
https://preview.redd.it/hse8ttb09br41.png?width=881&format=png&auto=webp&s=82e48b5961c905fe9273cb6346368de60202ebec
Quite coincidentally, one might observe that this figure is dangerously close to the estimated accumulated Net Profit from 2P Reserves of RM 1.452 billion we calculated earlier. But why would this amount matter at all?
To answer that, I refer you to the notes of the Annual Report FY20 (AR20). On page 148 of the AR20, we find the following two paragraphs:
E&E assets comprise of rights and concession and conventional studies. Following the acquisition of a concession right to explore a licensed area, the costs incurred such as geological and geophysical surveys, drilling, commercial appraisal costs and other directly attributable costs of exploration and appraisal including technical and administrative costs, are capitalised as conventional studies, presented as intangible assets.
E&E assets are assessed for impairment when facts and circumstances suggest that the carrying amount of an E&E asset may exceed its recoverable amount. The Group will allocate E&E assets to cash generating unit (“CGU”s or groups of CGUs for the purpose of assessing such assets for impairment. Each CGU or group of units to which an E&E asset is allocated will not be larger than an operating segment as disclosed in Note 39 to the financial statements.)
Hence, we can determine that firstly, the intangible asset value represents capitalized costs of acquisition of the oil fields, including technical exploration costs and costs of acquiring the relevant licenses. Secondly, an impairment review will be carried out when “the carrying amount of an E&E asset may exceed its recoverable amount”, with E&E assets being allocated to “cash generating units” (CGU) for the purposes of assessment.
On page 169 of the AR20, we find the following:
Carrying amounts of the Group’s intangible assets, oil and gas assets and FPSO are reviewed for possible impairment annually including any indicators of impairment. For the purpose of assessing impairment, assets are grouped at the lowest level CGUs for which there is a separately identifiable cash flow available. These CGUs are based on operating areas, represented by the 2011 North Sabah EOR PSC (“North Sabah”, the Anasuria Cluster, the Marigold and Sunflower fields, the VIC/P57 exploration permit (“VIC/P57”) and the VIC/L31 production license (“VIC/L31”).)
So apparently, the CGUs that have been assigned refer to the respective oil producing fields, two of which include the North Sabah field and the Anasuria field. In order to perform the impairment review, estimates of future cash flow will be made by management to assess the “recoverable amount” (as described above), subject to assumptions and an appropriate discount rate.
Hence, what we can gather up to now is that management will estimate future recoverable cash flows from a CGU (i.e. the North Sabah and Anasuria oil fields), compare that to their carrying value, and perform an impairment if their future recoverable cash flows are less than their carrying value. In other words, if estimated accumulated profits from the North Sabah and Anasuria oil fields are less than their carrying value, an impairment is required.
So where do we find the carrying values for the North Sabah and Anasuria oil fields? Further down on page 184 in the AR20, we see the following:
Included in rights and concession are the carrying amounts of producing field licenses in the Anasuria Cluster amounting to RM668,211,518 (2018: RM687,664,530, producing field licenses in North Sabah amounting to RM471,031,008 (2018: RM414,333,116))
Hence, we can determine that the carrying values for the North Sabah and Anasuria oil fields are RM 471m and RM 668m respectively. But where do we find the future recoverable cash flows of the fields as estimated by management, and what are the assumptions used in that calculation?
Fortunately, we find just that on page 185:
17 INTANGIBLE ASSETS (CONTINUED)
(a Anasuria Cluster)
The Directors have concluded that there is no impairment indicator for Anasuria Cluster during the current financial year. In the previous financial year, due to uncertainties in crude oil prices, the Group has assessed the recoverable amount of the intangible assets, oil and gas assets and FPSO relating to the Anasuria Cluster. The recoverable amount is determined using the FVLCTS model based on discounted cash flows (“DCF” derived from the expected cash in/outflow pattern over the production lives.)
The key assumptions used to determine the recoverable amount for the Anasuria Cluster were as follows:
(i Discount rate of 10%;)
(ii Future cost inflation factor of 2% per annum;)
(iii Oil price forecast based on the oil price forward curve from independent parties; and,)
(iv Oil production profile based on the assessment by independent oil and gas reserve experts.)
Based on the assessments performed, the Directors concluded that the recoverable amount calculated based on the valuation model is higher than the carrying amount.
(b North Sabah)
The acquisition of the North Sabah assets was completed in the previous financial year. Details of the acquisition are as disclosed in Note 15 to the financial statements.
The Directors have concluded that there is no impairment indicator for North Sabah during the current financial year.
Here, we can see that the recoverable amount of the Anasuria field was estimated based on a DCF of expected future cash flows over the production life of the asset. The key assumptions used by management all seem appropriate, including a discount rate of 10% and oil price and oil production estimates based on independent assessment. From there, management concludes that the recoverable amount of the Anasuria field is higher than its carrying amount (i.e. no impairment required). Likewise, for the North Sabah field.
How do we interpret this? Basically, what management is saying is that given a 10% discount rate and independent oil price and oil production estimates, the accumulated profits (i.e. recoverable amount) from both the North Sabah and the Anasuria fields exceed their carrying amounts of RM 471m and RM 668m respectively.
In other words, according to management’s own estimates, the carrying value of the Intangible Assets of RM 1.468 billion approximates the accumulated Net Profit recoverable from 2P reserves.
To conclude Valuation (Method 2), we arrive at the following:

Our estimates Management estimates
Accumulated Net Profit from 2P Reserves RM 1.452 billion RM 1.468 billion

Financials

By now, we have established the basic economics of Hibiscus’s business, including its revenues (i.e. oil production and oil price scenarios), costs (OPEX, ITDA), profitability (breakeven, future earnings potential) and balance sheet value (2P reserves, valuation). Moving on, we want to gain a deeper understanding of the 3 statements to anticipate any blind spots and risks. We’ll refer to the financial statements of both the FY20 annual report and the 2Q21 quarterly report in this analysis.
For the sake of brevity, I’ll only point out those line items which need extra attention, and skip over the rest. Feel free to go through the financial statements on your own to gain a better familiarity of the business.
https://preview.redd.it/h689bss79br41.png?width=810&format=png&auto=webp&s=ed47fce6a5c3815dd3d4f819e31f1ce39ccf4a0b
Income Statement
First, we’ll start with the Income Statement on page 135 of the AR20. Revenues are straightforward, as we’ve discussed above. Cost of Sales and Administrative Expenses fall under the jurisdiction of OPEX, which we’ve also seen earlier. Other Expenses are mostly made up of Depreciation & Amortization of RM 115m.
Finance Costs are where things start to get tricky. Why does a company which carries no debt have such huge amounts of finance costs? The reason can be found in Note 8, where it is revealed that the bulk of finance costs relate to the unwinding of discount of provision for decommissioning costs of RM 25m (Note 32).
https://preview.redd.it/4omjptbe9br41.png?width=1019&format=png&auto=webp&s=eaabfc824134063100afa62edfd36a34a680fb60
This actually refers to the expected future costs of restoring the Anasuria and North Sabah fields to their original condition once the oil reserves have been depleted. Accounting standards require the company to provide for these decommissioning costs as they are estimable and probable. The way the decommissioning costs are accounted for is the same as an amortized loan, where the initial carrying value is recognized as a liability and the discount rate applied is reversed each year as an expense on the Income Statement. However, these expenses are largely non-cash in nature and do not necessitate a cash outflow every year (FY20: RM 69m).
Unwinding of discount on non-current other payables of RM 12m relate to contractual payments to the North Sabah sellers. We will discuss it later.
Taxation is another tricky subject, and is even more significant than Finance Costs at RM 161m. In gist, Hibiscus is subject to the 38% PITA (Petroleum Income Tax Act) under Malaysian jurisdiction, and the 30% Petroleum tax + 10% Supplementary tax under UK jurisdiction. Of the RM 161m, RM 41m of it relates to deferred tax which originates from the difference between tax treatment and accounting treatment on capitalized assets (accelerated depreciation vs straight-line depreciation). Nonetheless, what you should take away from this is that the tax expense is a tangible expense and material to breakeven analysis.
Fortunately, tax is a variable expense, and should not materially impact the cash flow of Hibiscus in today’s low oil price environment.
Note: Cash outflows for Tax Paid in FY20 was RM 97m, substantially below the RM 161m tax expense.
https://preview.redd.it/1xrnwzm89br41.png?width=732&format=png&auto=webp&s=c078bc3e18d9c79d9a6fbe1187803612753f69d8
Balance Sheet
The balance sheet of Hibiscus is unexciting; I’ll just bring your attention to those line items which need additional scrutiny. I’ll use the figures in the latest 2Q21 quarterly report (2Q21) and refer to the notes in AR20 for clarity.
We’ve already discussed Intangible Assets in the section above, so I won’t dwell on it again.
Moving on, the company has Equipment of RM 582m, largely relating to O&G assets (e.g. the Anasuria FPSO vessel and CAPEX incurred on production enhancement projects). Restricted cash and bank balances represent contractual obligations for decommissioning costs of the Anasuria Cluster, and are inaccessible for use in operations.
Inventories are relatively low, despite Hibiscus being an E&P company, so forex fluctuations on carrying value of inventories are relatively immaterial. Trade receivables largely relate to entitlements from Petronas and BP (both oil supermajors), and are hence quite safe from impairment. Other receivables, deposits and prepayments are significant as they relate to security deposits placed with sellers of the oil fields acquired; these should be ignored for cash flow purposes.
Note: Total cash and bank balances do not include approximately RM 105 m proceeds from the North Sabah December 2019 offtake (which was received in January 2020)
Cash and bank balances of RM 90m do not include RM 105m of proceeds from offtake received in 3Q21 (Jan 2020). Hence, the actual cash and bank balances as of 2Q21 approximate RM 200m.
Liabilities are a little more interesting. First, I’ll draw your attention to the significant Deferred tax liabilities of RM 457m. These largely relate to the amortization of CAPEX (i.e. Equipment and capitalized E&E expenses), which is given an accelerated depreciation treatment for tax purposes.
The way this works is that the government gives Hibiscus a favorable tax treatment on capital expenditures incurred via an accelerated depreciation schedule, so that the taxable income is less than usual. However, this leads to the taxable depreciation being utilized quicker than accounting depreciation, hence the tax payable merely deferred to a later period – when the tax depreciation runs out but accounting depreciation remains. Given the capital intensive nature of the business, it is understandable why Deferred tax liabilities are so large.
We’ve discussed Provision for decommissioning costs under the Finance Costs section earlier. They are also quite significant at RM 266m.
Notably, the Other Payables and Accruals are a hefty RM 431m. What do they relate to? Basically, they are contractual obligations to the sellers of the oil fields which are only payable upon oil prices reaching certain thresholds. Hence, while they are current in nature, they will only become payable when oil prices recover to previous highs, and are hence not an immediate cash outflow concern given today’s low oil prices.
Cash Flow Statement
There is nothing in the cash flow statement which warrants concern.
Notably, the company generated OCF of approximately RM 500m in FY20 and RM 116m in 2Q21. It further incurred RM 330m and RM 234m of CAPEX in FY20 and 2Q21 respectively, largely owing to production enhancement projects to increase the production rate of the Anasuria and North Sabah fields, which according to management estimates are accretive to ROI.
Tax paid was RM 97m in FY20 and RM 61m in 2Q21 (tax expense: RM 161m and RM 62m respectively).

Risks

There are a few obvious and not-so-obvious risks that one should be aware of before investing in Hibiscus. We shall not consider operational risks (e.g. uptime, OPEX) as they are outside the jurisdiction of the equity analyst. Instead, we shall focus on the financial and strategic risks largely outside the control of management. The main ones are:
· Oil prices remaining subdued for long periods of time
· Fluctuation of exchange rates
· Customer concentration risk
· 2P Reserves being less than estimated
· Significant current and non-current liabilities
· Potential issuance of equity
Oil prices remaining subdued
Of topmost concern in the minds of most analysts is whether Hibiscus has the wherewithal to sustain itself through this period of low oil prices (sub-$30). A quick and dirty estimate of annual cash outflow (i.e. burn rate) assuming a $20 oil world and historical production rates is between RM 50m-70m per year, which considering the RM 200m cash balance implies about 3-4 years of sustainability before the company runs out of cash and has to rely on external assistance for financing.
Table 1: Hibiscus EBITDA at different oil price and exchange rates
https://preview.redd.it/gxnekd6h9br41.png?width=670&format=png&auto=webp&s=edbfb9621a43480d11e3b49de79f61a6337b3d51
The above table shows different EBITDA scenarios (RM ‘m) given different oil prices (left column) and USD:MYR exchange rates (top row). Currently, oil prices are $27 and USD:MYR is 1:4.36.
Given conservative assumptions of average OPEX/bbl of $20 (current: $15), we can safely say that the company will be loss-making as long as oil remains at $20 or below (red). However, we can see that once oil prices hit $25, the company can tank the lower-end estimate of the annual burn rate of RM 50m (orange), while at RM $27 it can sufficiently muddle through the higher-end estimate of the annual burn rate of RM 70m (green).
Hence, we can assume that as long as the average oil price over the next 3-4 years remains above $25, Hibiscus should come out of this fine without the need for any external financing.
Customer Concentration Risk
With regards to customer concentration risk, there is not much the analyst or investor can do except to accept the risk. Fortunately, 80% of revenues can be attributed to two oil supermajors (Petronas and BP), hence the risk of default on contractual obligations and trade receivables seems to be quite diminished.
2P Reserves being less than estimated
2P Reserves being less than estimated is another risk that one should keep in mind. Fortunately, the current market cap is merely RM 714m – at half of estimated recoverable amounts of RM 1.468 billion – so there’s a decent margin of safety. In addition, there are other mitigating factors which shall be discussed in the next section (‘Opportunities’).
Significant non-current and current liabilities
The significant non-current and current liabilities have been addressed in the previous section. It has been determined that they pose no threat to immediate cash flow due to them being long-term in nature (e.g. decommissioning costs, deferred tax, etc). Hence, for the purpose of assessing going concern, their amounts should not be a cause for concern.
Potential issuance of equity
Finally, we come to the possibility of external financing being required in this low oil price environment. While the company should last 3-4 years on existing cash reserves, there is always the risk of other black swan events materializing (e.g. coronavirus) or simply oil prices remaining muted for longer than 4 years.
Furthermore, management has hinted that they wish to acquire new oil assets at presently depressed prices to increase daily production rate to a targeted 20,000 bbl by end-2021. They have room to acquire debt, but they may also wish to issue equity for this purpose. Hence, the possibility of dilution to existing shareholders cannot be entirely ruled out.
However, given management’s historical track record of prioritizing ROI and optimal capital allocation, and in consideration of the fact that the MD owns 10% of outstanding shares, there is some assurance that any potential acquisitions will be accretive to EPS and therefore valuations.

Opportunities

As with the existence of risk, the presence of material opportunities also looms over the company. Some of them are discussed below:
· Increased Daily Oil Production Rate
· Inclusion of 2C Resources
· Future oil prices exceeding $50 and effects from coronavirus dissipating
Increased Daily Oil Production Rate
The first and most obvious opportunity is the potential for increased production rate. We’ve seen in the last quarter (2Q21) that the North Sabah field increased its daily production rate by approximately 20% as a result of production enhancement projects (infill drilling), lowering OPEX/bbl as a result. To vastly oversimplify, infill drilling is the process of maximizing well density by drilling in the spaces between existing wells to improve oil production.
The same improvements are being undertaken at the Anasuria field via infill drilling, subsea debottlenecking, water injection and sidetracking of existing wells. Without boring you with industry jargon, this basically means future production rate is likely to improve going forward.
By how much can the oil production rate be improved by? Management estimates in their analyst presentation that enhancements in the Anasuria field will be able to yield 5,000 bbl/day by 2021 (current: 2,500 bbl/day).
Similarly, improvements in the North Sabah field is expected to yield 7,000 bbl/day by 2021 (current: 5,300 bbl/day).
This implies a total 2021 expected daily production rate from the two fields alone of 12,000 bbl/day (current: 8,000 bbl/day). That’s a 50% increase in yields which we haven’t factored into our valuation yet.
Furthermore, we haven’t considered any production from existing 2C resources (e.g. Marigold/Sunflower) or any potential acquisitions which may occur in the future. By management estimates, this can potentially increase production by another 8,000 bbl/day, bringing total production to 20,000 bbl/day.
While this seems like a stretch of the imagination, it pays to keep them in mind when forecasting future revenues and valuations.
Just to play around with the numbers, I’ve come up with a sensitivity analysis of possible annual EBITDA at different oil prices and daily oil production rates:
Table 2: Hibiscus EBITDA at different oil price and daily oil production rates
https://preview.redd.it/jnpfhr5n9br41.png?width=814&format=png&auto=webp&s=bbe4b512bc17f576d87529651140cc74cde3d159
The left column represents different oil prices while the top row represents different daily oil production rates.
The green column represents EBITDA at current daily production rate of 8,000 bbl/day; the orange column represents EBITDA at targeted daily production rate of 12,000 bbl/day; while the purple column represents EBITDA at maximum daily production rate of 20,000 bbl/day.
Even conservatively assuming increased estimated annual ITDA of RM 500m (FY20: RM 318m), and long-term average oil prices of $50 (FY20: $60), the estimated Net Profit and P/E ratio is potentially lucrative at daily oil production rates of 12,000 bbl/day and above.
2C Resources
Since we’re on the topic of improved daily oil production rate, it bears to pay in mind the relatively enormous potential from Hibiscus’s 2C Resources. North Sabah’s 2C Resources alone exceed 30 mmbbl; while those from the yet undiagnosed Marigold/Sunflower fields also reach 30 mmbbl. Altogether, 2C Resources exceed 70 mmbbl, which dwarfs the 44 mmbbl of 2P Reserves we have considered up to this point in our valuation estimates.
To refresh your memory, 2C Resources represents oil volumes which have been discovered but are not yet classified as “commercial”. This means that there is reasonable certainty of the oil being recoverable, as opposed to simply being in the very early stages of exploration. So, to be conservative, we will imagine that only 50% of 2C Resources are eligible for reclassification to 2P reserves, i.e. 35 mmbbl of oil.
https://preview.redd.it/mto11iz7abr41.png?width=375&format=png&auto=webp&s=e9028ab0816b3d3e25067447f2c70acd3ebfc41a
This additional 35 mmbbl of oil represents an 80% increase to existing 2P reserves. Assuming the daily oil production rate increases similarly by 80%, we will arrive at 14,400 bbl/day of oil production. According to Table 2 above, this would yield an EBITDA of roughly RM 630m assuming $50 oil.
Comparing that estimated EBITDA to FY20’s actual EBITDA:
FY20 FY21 (incl. 2C) Difference
Daily oil production (bbl/day) 8,626 14,400 +66%
Average oil price (USD/bbl) $68.57 $50 -27%
Average OPEX/bbl (USD) $16.64 $20 +20%
EBITDA (RM ‘m) 632 630 -
Hence, even conservatively assuming lower oil prices and higher OPEX/bbl (which should decrease in the presence of higher oil volumes) than last year, we get approximately the same EBITDA as FY20.
For the sake of completeness, let’s assume that Hibiscus issues twice the no. of existing shares over the next 10 years, effectively diluting shareholders by 50%. Even without accounting for the possibility of the acquisition of new oil fields, at the current market capitalization of RM 714m, the prospective P/E would be about 10x. Not too shabby.
Future oil prices exceeding $50 and effects from coronavirus dissipating
Hibiscus shares have recently been hit by a one-two punch from oil prices cratering from $60 to $30, as a result of both the Saudi-Russian dispute and depressed demand for oil due to coronavirus. This has massively increased supply and at the same time hugely depressed demand for oil (due to the globally coordinated lockdowns being implemented).
Given a long enough timeframe, I fully expect OPEC+ to come to an agreement and the economic effects from the coronavirus to dissipate, allowing oil prices to rebound. As we equity investors are aware, oil prices are cyclical and are bound to recover over the next 10 years.
When it does, valuations of O&G stocks (including Hibiscus’s) are likely to improve as investors overshoot expectations and begin to forecast higher oil prices into perpetuity, as they always tend to do in good times. When that time arrives, Hibiscus’s valuations are likely to become overoptimistic as all O&G stocks tend to do during oil upcycles, resulting in valuations far exceeding reasonable estimates of future earnings. If you can hold the shares up until then, it’s likely you will make much more on your investment than what we’ve been estimating.

Conclusion

Wrapping up what we’ve discussed so far, we can conclude that Hibiscus’s market capitalization of RM 714m far undershoots reasonable estimates of fair value even under conservative assumptions of recoverable oil volumes and long-term average oil prices. As a value investor, I hesitate to assign a target share price, but it’s safe to say that this stock is worth at least RM 1.00 (current: RM 0.45). Risk is relatively contained and the upside far exceeds the downside. While I have no opinion on the short-term trajectory of oil prices, I can safely recommend this stock as a long-term Buy based on fundamental research.
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Which are your Top 5 favourite coins out of the Top 100? An analysis.

I am putting together my investment portfolio for 2018 and made a complete summary of the current Top 100. Interestingly, I noticed that all coins can be categorized into 12 markets. Which markets do you think will play the biggest role in the coming year?
Here is a complete overview of all coins in an excel sheet including name, market, TPS, risk profile, time since launch (negative numbers mean that they are launching that many months in the future) and market cap. You can also sort by all of these fields of course. Coins written in bold are the strongest contenders within their market either due to having the best technology or having a small market cap and still excellent technology and potential. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1s8PHcNvvjuy848q18py_CGcu8elRGQAUIf86EYh4QZo/edit#gid=0
The 12 markets are
  1. Currency 13 coins
  2. Platform 25 coins
  3. Ecosystem 9 coins
  4. Privacy 10 coins
  5. Currency Exchange Tool 8 coins
  6. Gaming & Gambling 5 coins
  7. Misc 15 coins
  8. Social Network 4 coins
  9. Fee Token 3 coins
  10. Decentralized Data Storage 4 coins
  11. Cloud Computing 3 coins
  12. Stable Coin 2 coins
Before we look at the individual markets, we need to take a look of the overall market and its biggest issue scalability first:
Cryptocurrencies aim to be a decentralized currency that can be used worldwide. Its goal is to replace dollar, Euro, Yen, all FIAT currencies worldwide. The coin that will achieve that will be worth several trillion dollars.
Bitcoin can only process 7 transactions per second (TPS). In order to replace all FIAT, it would need to perform at at least VISA levels, which usually processes around 3,000 TPS, up to 25,000 TPS during peak times and a maximum of 64,000 TPS. That means that this cryptocurrency would need to be able to perform at least several thousand TPS. However, a ground breaking technology should not look at current technology to set a goal for its use, i.e. estimating the number of emails sent in 1990 based on the number of faxes sent wasn’t a good estimate.
For that reason, 10,000 TPS is the absolute baseline for a cryptocurrency that wants to replace FIAT. This brings me to IOTA, which wants to connect all 80 billion IoT devices that are expected to exist by 2025, which constantly communicate with each other, creating 80 billion or more transactions per second. This is the benchmark that cryptocurrencies should be aiming for. Currently, 8 billion devices are connected to the Internet.
With its Lightning network recently launched, Bitcoin is realistically looking at 50,000 possible soon. Other notable cryptocurrencies besides IOTA and Bitcoin are Nano with 7,000 TPS already tested, Dash with several billion TPS possible with Masternodes, Neo, LISK and RHOC with 100,000 TPS by 2020, Ripple with 50,000 TPS, Ethereum with 10,000 with Sharding.
However, it needs to be said that scalability usually goes at the cost of decentralization and security. So, it needs to be seen, which of these technologies can prove itself resilient and performant.
Without further ado, here are the coins of the first market

Market 1 - Currency:

  1. Bitcoin: 1st generation blockchain with currently bad scalability currently, though the implementation of the Lightning Network looks promising and could alleviate most scalability concerns, scalability and high energy use.
  2. Ripple: Centralized currency that might become very successful due to tight involvement with banks and cross-border payments for financial institutions; banks and companies like Western Union and Moneygram (who they are currently working with) as customers customers. However, it seems they are aiming for more decentralization now.https://ripple.com/dev-blog/decentralization-strategy-update/. Has high TPS due to Proof of Correctness algorithm.
  3. Bitcoin Cash: Bitcoin fork with the difference of having an 8 times bigger block size, making it 8 times more scalable than Bitcoin currently. Further block size increases are planned. Only significant difference is bigger block size while big blocks lead to further problems that don't seem to do well beyond a few thousand TPS. Opponents to a block size argue that increasing the block size limit is unimaginative, offers only temporary relief, and damages decentralization by increasing costs of participation. In order to preserve decentralization, system requirements to participate should be kept low. To understand this, consider an extreme example: very big blocks (1GB+) would require data center level resources to validate the blockchain. This would preclude all but the wealthiest individuals from participating.Community seems more open than Bitcoin's though.
  4. Litecoin : Little brother of Bitcoin. Bitcoin fork with different mining algorithm but not much else.Copies everything that Bitcoin does pretty much. Lack of real innovation.
  5. Dash: Dash (Digital Cash) is a fork of Bitcoin and focuses on user ease. It has very fast transactions within seconds, low fees and uses Proof of Service from Masternodes for consensus. They are currently building a system called Evolution which will allow users to send money using usernames and merchants will find it easy to integrate Dash using the API. You could say Dash is trying to be a PayPal of cryptocurrencies. Currently, cryptocurrencies must choose between decentralization, speed, scalability and can pick only 2. With Masternodes, Dash picked speed and scalability at some cost of decentralization, since with Masternodes the voting power is shifted towards Masternodes, which are run by Dash users who own the most Dash.
  6. IOTA: 3rd generation blockchain called Tangle, which has a high scalability, no fees and instant transactions. IOTA aims to be the connective layer between all 80 billion IOT devices that are expected to be connected to the Internet in 2025, possibly creating 80 billion transactions per second or 800 billion TPS, who knows. However, it needs to be seen if the Tangle can keep up with this scalability and iron out its security issues that have not yet been completely resolved.
  7. Nano: 3rd generation blockchain called Block Lattice with high scalability, no fees and instant transactions. Unlike IOTA, Nano only wants to be a payment processor and nothing else, for now at least. With Nano, every user has their own blockchain and has to perform a small amount of computing for each transaction, which makes Nano perform at 300 TPS with no problems and 7,000 TPS have also been tested successfully. Very promising 3rd gen technology and strong focus on only being the fastest currency without trying to be everything.
  8. Decred: As mining operations have grown, Bitcoin’s decision-making process has become more centralized, with the largest mining companies holding large amounts of power over the Bitcoin improvement process. Decred focuses heavily on decentralization with their PoW Pos hybrid governance system to become what Bitcoin was set out to be. They will soon implement the Lightning Network to scale up. While there do not seem to be more differences to Bitcoin besides the novel hybrid consensus algorithm, which Ethereum, Aeternity and Bitcoin Atom are also implementing, the welcoming and positive Decred community and professoinal team add another level of potential to the coin.
  9. Aeternity: We’ve seen recently, that it’s difficult to scale the execution of smart contracts on the blockchain. Crypto Kitties is a great example. Something as simple as creating and trading unique assets on Ethereum bogged the network down when transaction volume soared. Ethereum and Zilliqa address this problem with Sharding. Aeternity focuses on increasing the scalability of smart contracts and dapps by moving smart contracts off-chain. Instead of running on the blockchain, smart contracts on Aeternity run in private state channels between the parties involved in the contracts. State channels are lines of communication between parties in a smart contract. They don’t touch the blockchain unless they need to for adjudication or transfer of value. Because they’re off-chain, state channel contracts can operate much more efficiently. They don’t need to pay the network for every time they compute and can also operate with greater privacy. An important aspect of smart contract and dapp development is access to outside data sources. This could mean checking the weather in London, score of a football game, or price of gold. Oracles provide access to data hosted outside the blockchain. In many blockchain projects, oracles represent a security risk and potential point of failure, since they tend to be singular, centralized data streams. Aeternity proposes decentralizing oracles with their oracle machine. Doing so would make outside data immutable and unchangeable once it reaches Aeternity’s blockchain. Of course, the data source could still be hacked, so Aeternity implements a prediction market where users can bet on the accuracy and honesty of incoming data from various oracles.It also uses prediction markets for various voting and verification purposes within the platform. Aeternity’s network runs on on a hybrid of proof of work and proof of stake. Founded by a long-time crypto-enthusiast and early colleague of Vitalik Buterin, Yanislav Malahov. Promising concept though not product yet
  10. Bitcoin Atom: Atomic Swaps and hybrid consenus. This looks like the only Bitcoin clone that actually is looking to innovate next to Bitcoin Cash.
  11. Dogecoin: Litecoin fork, fantastic community, though lagging behind a bit in technology.
  12. Bitcoin Gold: A bit better security than bitcoin through ASIC resistant algorithm, but that's it. Not that interesting.
  13. Digibyte: Digibyte's PoS blockchain is spread over a 100,000+ servers, phones, computers, and nodes across the globe, aiming for the ultimate level of decentralization. DigiByte rebalances the load between the five mining algorithms by adjusting the difficulty of each so one algorithm doesn’t become dominant. The algorithm's asymmetric difficulty has gained notoriety and been deployed in many other blockchains.DigiByte’s adoption over the past four years has been slow. It’s still a relatively obscure currency compared its competitors. The DigiByte website offers a lot of great marketing copy and buzzwords. However, there’s not much technical information about what they have planned for the future. You could say Digibyte is like Bitcoin, but with shorter blocktimes and a multi-algorithm. However, that's not really a difference big enough to truly set themselves apart from Bitcoin, since these technologies could be implemented by any blockchain without much difficulty. Their decentralization is probably their strongest asset, however, this also change quickly if the currency takes off and big miners decide to go into Digibyte.
  14. Bitcoin Diamond Asic resistant Bitcoin and Copycat

Market 2 - Platform

Most of the cryptos here have smart contracts and allow dapps (Decentralized apps) to be build on their platform and to use their token as an exchange of value between dapp services.
  1. Ethereum: 2nd generation blockchain that allows the use of smart contracts. Bad scalability currently, though this concern could be alleviated by the soon to be implemented Lightning Network aka Plasma and its Sharding concept.
  2. EOS: Promising technology that wants to be able do everything, from smart contracts like Ethereum, scalability similar to Nano with 1000 tx/second + near instant transactions and zero fees, to also wanting to be a platform for dapps. However, EOS doesn't have a product yet and everything is just promises still. Highly overvalued right now. However, there are lots of red flags, have dumped $500 million Ether over the last 2 months and possibly bought back EOS to increase the size of their ICO, which has been going on for over a year and has raised several billion dollars. All in all, their market cap is way too high for that and not even having a product.
  3. Cardano: Similar to Ethereum/EOS, however, only promises made with no delivery yet, highly overrated right now. Interesting concept though. Market cap way too high for not even having a product. Somewhat promising technology.
  4. VeChain: Singapore-based project that’s building a business enterprise platform and inventory tracking system. Examples are verifying genuine luxury goods and food supply chains. Has one of the strongest communities in the crypto world. Most hyped token of all, with merit though.
  5. Neo: Neo is a platform, similar to Eth, but more extensive, allowing dapps and smart contracts, but with a different smart contract gas system, consensus mechanism (PoS vs. dBfT), governance model, fixed vs unfixed supply, expensive contracts vs nearly free contracts, different ideologies for real world adoption. There are currently only 9 nodes, each of which are being run by a company/entity hand selected by the NEO council (most of which are located in china) and are under contract. This means that although the locations of the nodes may differ, ultimately the neo council can bring them down due to their legal contracts. In fact this has been done in the past when the neo council was moving 50 million neo that had been locked up. Also dbft (or neo's implmentation of it) has failed underload causing network outages during major icos. The first step in decentralization is that the NEO Counsel will select trusted nodes (Universities, business partners, etc.) and slowly become less centralized that way. The final step in decentralization will be allowing NEO holders to vote for new nodes, similar to a DPoS system (ARK/EOS/LISK). NEO has a regulation/government friendly ideology. Finally they are trying to work undewith the Chinese government in regards to regulations. If for some reason they wanted it shut down, they could just shut it down.
  6. Stellar: PoS system, similar goals as Ripple, but more of a platform than only a currency. 80% of Stellar are owned by Stellar.org still, making the currency centralized.
  7. Ethereum classic: Original Ethereum that decided not to fork after a hack. The Ethereum that we know is its fork. Uninteresing, because it has a lot of less resources than Ethereum now and a lot less community support.
  8. Ziliqa: Zilliqa is building a new way of sharding. 2400 tpx already tested, 10,000 tps soon possible by being linearly scalable with the number of nodes. That means, the more nodes, the faster the network gets. They are looking at implementing privacy as well.
  9. QTUM: Enables Smart contracts on the Bitcoin blockchain. Useful.
  10. Icon: Korean ethereum. Decentralized application platform that's building communities in partnership with banks, insurance providers, hospitals, and universities. Focused on ID verification and payments. No big differentiators to the other 20 Ethereums, except that is has a product. That is a plus. Maybe cheap alternative to Ethereum.
  11. LISK: Lisk's difference to other BaaS is that side chains are independent to the main chain and have to have their own nodes. Similar to neo whole allows dapps to deploy their blockchain to. However, Lisk is currently somewhat centralized with a small group of members owning more than 50% of the delegated positions. Lisk plans to change the consensus algorithm for that reason in the near future.
  12. Rchain: Similar to Ethereum with smart contract, though much more scalable at an expected 40,000 TPS and possible 100,000 TPS. Not launched yet. No product launched yet, though promising technology. Not overvalued, probably at the right price right now.
  13. ARDR: Similar to Lisk. Ardor is a public blockchain platform that will allow people to utilize the blockchain technology of Nxt through the use of child chains. A child chain, which is a ‘light’ blockchain that can be customized to a certain extent, is designed to allow easy self-deploy for your own blockchain. Nxt claims that users will "not need to worry" about security, as that part is now handled by the main chain (Ardor). This is the chief innovation of Ardor. Ardor was evolved from NXT by the same company. NEM started as a NXT clone.
  14. Ontology: Similar to Neo. Interesting coin
  15. Bytom: Bytom is an interactive protocol of multiple byte assets. Heterogeneous byte-assets (indigenous digital currency, digital assets) that operate in different forms on the Bytom Blockchain and atomic assets (warrants, securities, dividends, bonds, intelligence information, forecasting information and other information that exist in the physical world) can be registered, exchanged, gambled and engaged in other more complicated and contract-based interoperations via Bytom.
  16. Nxt: Similar to Lisk
  17. Stratis: Different to LISK, Stratis will allow businesses and organizations to create their own blockchain according to their own needs, but secured on the parent Stratis chain. Stratis’s simple interface will allow organizations to quickly and easily deploy and/or test blockchain functionality of the Ethereum, BitShares, BitCoin, Lisk and Stratis environements.
  18. Status: Status provides access to all of Ethereum’s decentralized applications (dapps) through an app on your smartphone. It opens the door to mass adoption of Ethereum dapps by targeting the fastest growing computer segment in the world – smartphone users.16. Ark: Fork of Lisk that focuses on a smaller feature set. Ark wallets can only vote for one delegate at a time which forces delegates to compete against each other and makes cartel formations incredibly hard, if not impossible.
  19. Neblio: Similar to Neo, but 30x smaller market cap.
  20. NEM: Is similar to Neo No marketing team, very high market cap for little clarilty what they do.
  21. Bancor: Bancor is a Decentralized Liquidity Network that allows you to hold any Ethereum token and convert it to any other token in the network, with no counter party, at an automatically calculated price, using a simple web wallet.
  22. Dragonchain: The Purpose of DragonChain is to help companies quickly and easily incorporate blockchain into their business applications. Many companies might be interested in making this transition because of the benefits associated with serving clients over a blockchain – increased efficiency and security for transactions, a reduction of costs from eliminating potential fraud and scams, etc.
  23. Skycoin: Transactions with zero fees that take apparently two seconds, unlimited transaction rate, no need for miners and block rewards, low power usage, all of the usual cryptocurrency technical vulnerabilities fixed, a consensus mechanism superior to anything that exists, resistant to all conceivable threats (government censorship, community infighting, cybenucleaconventional warfare, etc). Skycoin has their own consensus algorithm known as Obelisk written and published academically by an early developer of Ethereum. Obelisk is a non-energy intensive consensus algorithm based on a concept called ‘web of trust dynamics’ which is completely different to PoW, PoS, and their derivatives. Skywire, the flagship application of Skycoin, has the ambitious goal of decentralizing the internet at the hardware level and is about to begin the testnet in April. However, this is just one of the many facets of the Skycoin ecosystem. Skywire will not only provide decentralized bandwidth but also storage and computation, completing the holy trinity of commodities essential for the new internet. Skycion a smear campaign launched against it, though they seem legit and reliable. Thus, they are probably undervalued.

Market 3 - Ecosystem

The 3rd market with 11 coins is comprised of ecosystem coins, which aim to strengthen the ease of use within the crypto space through decentralized exchanges, open standards for apps and more
  1. Nebulas: Similar to how Google indexes webpages Nebulas will index blockchain projects, smart contracts & data using the Nebulas rank algorithm that sifts & sorts the data. Developers rewarded NAS to develop & deploy on NAS chain. Nebulas calls this developer incentive protocol – basically rewards are issued based on how often dapp/contract etc. is used, the more the better the rewards and Proof of devotion. Works like DPoS except the best, most economically incentivised developers (Bookkeeppers) get the forging spots. Ensuring brains stay with the project (Cross between PoI & PoS). 2,400 TPS+, DAG used to solve the inter-transaction dependencies in the PEE (Parallel Execution Environment) feature, first crypto Wallet that supports the Lightening Network.
  2. Waves: Decentralized exchange and crowdfunding platform. Let’s companies and projects to issue and manage their own digital coin tokens to raise money.
  3. Salt: Leveraging blockchain assets to secure cash loands. Plans to offer cash loans in traditional currencies, backed by your cryptocurrency assets. Allows lenders worldwide to skip credit checks for easier access to affordable loans.
  4. CHAINLINK: ChainLink is a decentralized oracle service, the first of its kind. Oracles are defined as an ‘agent’ that finds and verifies real-world occurrences and submits this information to a blockchain to be used in smart contracts.With ChainLink, smart contract users can use the network’s oracles to retrieve data from off-chain application program interfaces (APIs), data pools, and other resources and integrate them into the blockchain and smart contracts. Basically, ChainLink takes information that is external to blockchain applications and puts it on-chain. The difference to Aeternity is that Chainlink deploys the smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain while Aeternity has its own chain.
  5. WTC: Combines blockchain with IoT to create a management system for supply chains Interesting
  6. Ethos unifyies all cryptos. Ethos is building a multi-cryptocurrency phone wallet. The team is also building an investment diversification tool and a social network
  7. Aion: Aion is the token that pays for services on the Aeternity platform.
  8. USDT: is no cryptocurrency really, but a replacement for dollar for trading After months of asking for proof of dollar backing, still no response from Tether.

Market 4 - Privacy

The 4th market are privacy coins. As you might know, Bitcoin is not anonymous. If the IRS or any other party asks an exchange who is the identity behind a specific Bitcoin address, they know who you are and can track back almost all of the Bitcoin transactions you have ever made and all your account balances. Privacy coins aim to prevent exactly that through address fungability, which changes addresses constantly, IP obfuscation and more. There are 2 types of privacy coins, one with completely privacy and one with optional privacy. Optional Privacy coins like Dash and Nav have the advantage of more user friendliness over completely privacy coins such as Monero and Enigma.
  1. Monero: Currently most popular privacy coin, though with a very high market cap. Since their privacy is all on chain, all prior transactions would be deanonymized if their protocol is ever cracked. This requires a quantum computing attack though. PIVX is better in that regard.
  2. Zcash: A decentralized and open-source cryptocurrency that hide the sender, recipient, and value of transactions. Offers users the option to make transactions public later for auditing. Decent privacy coin, though no default privacy
  3. Verge: Calls itself privacy coin without providing private transactions, multiple problems over the last weeks has a toxic community, and way too much hype for what they have.
  4. Bytecoin: First privacy-focused cryptocurrency with anonymous transactions. Bytecoin’s code was later adapted to create Monero, the more well-known anonymous cryptocurrency. Has several scam accusations, 80% pre-mine, bad devs, bad tech
  5. Bitcoin Private: A merge fork of Bitcoin and Zclassic with Zclassic being a fork of Zcash with the difference of a lack of a founders fee required to mine a valid block. This promotes a fair distribution, preventing centralized coin ownership and control. Bitcoin private offers the optional ability to keep the sender, receiver, and amount private in a given transaction. However, this is already offered by several good privacy coins (Monero, PIVX) and Bitcoin private doesn't offer much more beyond this.
  6. Komodo: The Komodo blockchain platform uses Komodo’s open-source cryptocurrency for doing transparent, anonymous, private, and fungible transactions. They are then made ultra-secure using Bitcoin’s blockchain via a Delayed Proof of Work (dPoW) protocol and decentralized crowdfunding (ICO) platform to remove middlemen from project funding. Offers services for startups to create and manage their own Blockchains.
  7. PIVX: As a fork of Dash, PIVX uses an advanced implementation of the Zerocoin protocol to provide it’s privacy. This is a form of zeroknowledge proofs, which allow users to spend ‘Zerocoins’ that have no link back to them. Unlike Zcash u have denominations in PIVX, so they can’t track users by their payment amount being equal to the amount of ‘minted’ coins, because everyone uses the same denominations. PIVX is also implementing Bulletproofs, just like Monero, and this will take care of arguably the biggest weakness of zeroknowledge protocols: the trusted setup.
  8. Zcoin: PoW cryptocurrency. Private financial transactions, enabled by the Zerocoin Protocol. Zcoin is the first full implementation of the Zerocoin Protocol, which allows users to have complete privacy via Zero-Knowledge cryptographic proofs.
  9. Enigma: Monero is to Bitcoin what enigma is to Ethereum. Enigma is for making the data used in smart contracts private. More of a platform for dapps than a currency like Monero. Very promising.
  10. Navcoin: Like bitcoin but with added privacy and pos and 1,170 tps, but only because of very short 30 second block times. Though, privacy is optional, but aims to be more user friendly than Monero. However, doesn't really decide if it wants to be a privacy coin or not. Same as Zcash.Strong technology, non-shady team.
  11. Tenx: Raised 80 million, offers cryptocurrency-linked credit cards that let you spend virtual money in real life. Developing a series of payment platforms to make spending cryptocurrency easier. However, the question is if full privacy coins will be hindered in growth through government regulations and optional privacy coins will become more successful through ease of use and no regulatory hindrance.

Market 5 - Currency Exchange Tool

Due to the sheer number of different cryptocurrencies, exchanging one currency for the other it still cumbersome. Further, merchants don’t want to deal with overcluttered options of accepting cryptocurrencies. This is where exchange tool like Req come in, which allow easy and simple exchange of currencies.
  1. Cryptonex: Fiat and currency exchange between various blockchain services, similar to REQ.
  2. QASH: Qash is used to fuel its liquid platform which will be an exchange that will distribute their liquidity pool. Its product, the Worldbook is a multi-exchange order book that matches crypto to crypto, and crypto to fiat and the reverse across all currencies. E.g., someone is selling Bitcoin is USD on exchange1 not owned by Quoine and someone is buying Bitcoin in EURO on exchange 2 not owned by Quoine. If the forex conversions and crypto conversions match then the trade will go through and the Worldbook will match it, it'll make the sale and the purchase on either exchange and each user will get what they wanted, which means exchanges with lower liquidity if they join the Worldbook will be able to fill orders and take trade fees they otherwise would miss out on.They turned it on to test it a few months ago for an hour or so and their exchange was the top exchange in the world by 4x volume for the day because all Worldbook trades ran through it. Binance wants BNB to be used on their one exchange. Qash wants their QASH token embedded in all of their partners. More info here https://www.reddit.com/CryptoCurrency/comments/8a8lnwhich_are_your_top_5_favourite_coins_out_of_the/dwyjcbb/?context=3
  3. Kyber: network Exchange between cryptocurrencies, similar to REQ. Features automatic coin conversions for payments. Also offers payment tools for developers and a cryptocurrency wallet.
  4. Achain: Building a boundless blockchain world like Req .
  5. Req: Exchange between cryptocurrencies.
  6. Bitshares: Exchange between cryptocurrencies. Noteworthy are the 1.5 second average block times and throughput potential of 100,000 transactions per second with currently 2,400 TPS having been proven. However, bitshares had several Scam accusations in the past.
  7. Loopring: A protocol that will enable higher liquidity between exchanges and personal wallets.
  8. ZRX: Open standard for dapps. Open, permissionless protocol allowing for ERC20 tokens to be traded on the Ethereum blockchain. In 0x protocol, orders are transported off-chain, massively reducing gas costs and eliminating blockchain bloat. Relayers help broadcast orders and collect a fee each time they facilitate a trade. Anyone can build a relayer.

Market 6 - Gaming

With an industry size of $108B worldwide, Gaming is one of the largest markets in the world. For sure, cryptocurrencies will want to have a share of that pie.
  1. Storm: Mobile game currency on a platform with 9 million players.
  2. Fun: A platform for casino operators to host trustless, provably-fair gambling through the use of smart contracts, as well as creating their own implementation of state channels for scalability.
  3. Electroneum: Mobile game currency They have lots of technical problems, such as several 51% attacks
  4. Wax: Marketplace to trade in-game items

Market 7 - Misc

There are various markets being tapped right now. They are all summed up under misc.
  1. OMG: Omise is designed to enable financial services for people without bank accounts. It works worldwide and with both traditional money and cryptocurrencies.
  2. Power ledger: Australian blockchain-based cryptocurrency and energy trading platform that allows for decentralized selling and buying of renewable energy. Unique market and rather untapped market in the crypto space.
  3. Populous: A platform that connects business owners and invoice buyers without middlemen. Invoice sellers get cash flow to fund their business and invoice buyers earn interest. Similar to OMG, small market.
  4. Monacoin: The first Japanese cryptocurrency. Focused on micro-transactions and based on a popular internet meme of a type-written cat. This makes it similar to Dogecoin. Very niche, tiny market.
  5. Revain: Legitimizing reviews via the blockchain. Interesting concept, though market not as big.
  6. Augur: Platform to forecast and make wagers on the outcome of real-world events (AKA decentralized predictions). Uses predictions for a “wisdom of the crowd” search engine. Not launched yet.
  7. Substratum: Revolutionzing hosting industry via per request billing as a decentralized internet hosting system. Uses a global network of private computers to create the free and open internet of the future. Participants earn cryptocurrency. Interesting concept.
  8. Veritaseum: Is supposed to be a peer to peer gateway, though it looks like very much like a scam.
  9. TRON: Tronix is looking to capitalize on ownership of internet data to content creators. However, they plagiarized their white paper, which is a no go. They apologized, so it needs to be seen how they will conduct themselves in the future. Extremely high market cap for not having a product, nor proof of concept.
  10. Syscoin: A cryptocurrency with a decentralized marketplace that lets people buy and sell products directly without third parties. Trying to remove middlemen like eBay and Amazon.
  11. Hshare: Most likely scam because of no code changes, most likely pump and dump scheme, dead community.
  12. BAT: An Ethereum-based token that can be exchanged between content creators, users, and advertisers. Decentralized ad-network that pays based on engagement and attention.
  13. Dent: Decentralizeed exchange of mobile data, enabling mobile data to be marketed, purchased or distributed, so that users can quickly buy or sell data from any user to another one.
  14. Ncash: End to end encrypted Identification system for retailers to better serve their customers .
  15. Factom Secure record-keeping system that allows companies to store their data directly on the Blockchain. The goal is to make records more transparent and trustworthy .

Market 8 - Social network

Web 2.0 is still going strong and Web 3.0 is not going to ignore it. There are several gaming tokens already out there and a few with decent traction already, such as Steem, which is Reddit with voting through money is a very interesting one.
  1. Mithril: As users create content via social media, they will be rewarded for their contribution, the better the contribution, the more they will earn
  2. Steem: Like Reddit, but voting with money. Already launched product and Alexa rank 1,000 Thumbs up.
  3. Rdd: Reddcoin makes the process of sending and receiving money fun and rewarding for everyone. Reddcoin is dedicated to one thing – tipping on social networks as a way to bring cryptocurrency awareness and experience to the general public.
  4. Kin: Token for the platform Kik. Kik has a massive user base of 400 million people. Replacing paying with FIAT with paying with KIN might get this token to mass adoption very quickly.

Market 9 - Fee token

Popular exchanges realized that they can make a few billion dollars more by launching their own token. Owning these tokens gives you a reduction of trading fees. Very handy and BNB (Binance Coin) has been one of the most resilient tokens, which have withstood most market drops over the last weeks and was among the very few coins that could show growth.
  1. BNB: Fee token for Binance
  2. Gas: Not a Fee token for an exchange, but it is a dividend paid out on Neo and a currency that can be used to purchase services for dapps.
  3. Kucoin: Fee token for Kucoin

Market 10 - Decentralized Data Storage

Currently, data storage happens with large companies or data centers that are prone to failure or losing data. Decentralized data storage makes loss of data almost impossible by distributing your files to numerous clients that hold tiny pieces of your data. Remember Torrents? Torrents use a peer-to-peer network. It is similar to that. Many users maintain copies of the same file, when someone wants a copy of that file, they send a request to the peer-to-peer network., users who have the file, known as seeds, send fragments of the file to the requester., he requester receives many fragments from many different seeds, and the torrent software recompiles these fragments to form the original file.
  1. Gbyte: Byteball data is stored and ordered using directed acyclic graph (DAG) rather than blockchain. This allows all users to secure each other's data by referencing earlier data units created by other users, and also removes scalability limits common for blockchains, such as blocksize issue.
  2. Siacoin: Siacoin is decentralized storage platform. Distributes encrypted files to thousands of private users who get paid for renting out their disk space. Anybody with siacoins can rent storage from hosts on Sia. This is accomplish via "smart" storage contracts stored on the Sia blockchain. The smart contract provides a payment to the host only after the host has kept the file for a given amount of time. If the host loses the file, the host does not get paid.
  3. Maidsafecoin: MaidSafe stands for Massive Array of Internet Disks, Secure Access for Everyone.Instead of working with data centers and servers that are common today and are vulnerable to data theft and monitoring, SAFE’s network uses advanced P2P technology to bring together the spare computing capacity of all SAFE users and create a global network. You can think of SAFE as a crowd-sourced internet. All data and applications reside in this network. It’s an autonomous network that automatically sets prices and distributes data and rents out hard drive disk space with a Blockchain-based storage solutions.When you upload a file to the network, such as a photo, it will be broken into pieces, hashed, and encrypted. The data is then randomly distributed across the network. Redundant copies of the data are created as well so that if someone storing your file turns off their computer, you will still have access to your data. And don’t worry, even with pieces of your data on other people’s computers, they won’t be able to read them. You can earn MadeSafeCoins by participating in storing data pieces from the network on your computer and thus earning a Proof of Resource.
  4. Storj: Storj aims to become a cloud storage platform that can’t be censored or monitored, or have downtime. Your files are encrypted, shredded into little pieces called 'shards', and stored in a decentralized network of computers around the globe. No one but you has a complete copy of your file, not even in an encrypted form.

Market 11 - Cloud computing

Obviously, renting computing power, one of the biggest emerging markets as of recent years, e.g. AWS and Digital Ocean, is also a service, which can be bought and managed via the blockchain.
  1. Golem: Allows easy use of Supercomputer in exchange for tokens. People worldwide can rent out their computers to the network and get paid for that service with Golem tokens.
  2. Elf: Allows easy use of Cloud computing in exchange for tokens.

Market 12 - Stablecoin

Last but not least, there are 2 stablecoins that have established themselves within the market. A stable coin is a coin that wants to be independent of the volatility of the crypto markets. This has worked out pretty well for Maker and DGD, accomplished through a carefully diversified currency fund and backing each token by 1g or real gold respectively. DO NOT CONFUSE DGD AND MAKER with their STABLE COINS DGX and DAI. DGD and MAKER are volatile, because they are the companies of DGX and DAI. DGX and DAI are the stable coins.
  1. DGD: Platform of the Stablecoin DGX. Every DGX coin is backed by 1g of gold and make use proof of asset consensus.
  2. Maker: Platform of the Stablecoin DAI that doesn't vary much in price through widespread and smart diversification of assets.
EDIT: Added a risk factor from 0 to 10. The baseline is 2 for any crypto. Significant scandals, mishaps, shady practices, questionable technology, increase the risk factor. Not having a product yet automatically means a risk factor of 6. Strong adoption and thus strong scrutiny or positive community lower the risk factor.
EDIT2: Added a subjective potential factor from 0 to 10, where its overall potential and a small or big market cap is factored in. Bitcoin with lots of potential only gets a 9, because of its massive market cap, because if Bitcoin goes 10x, smaller coins go 100x, PIVX gets a 10 for being as good as Monero while carrying a 10x smaller market cap, which would make PIVX go 100x if Monero goes 10x.
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