Crypto Gamblers: How Are the Firms Who Bet Big in Digital Assets Doing?

Key Points

  • Firms who have made big bets on crypto got burnt in Q2, recent corporate earnings releases have revealed.
  • Coinbase, Block and MicroStrategy all declared significant impairment charges on their crypto investments in Q2.
  • But with crypto’s long-term prospects looking healthy, analysts suspect better times lay ahead.

Crypto Winter Chills Industry

While the cryptocurrency market rally over the past few weeks has lifted spirits, 2022 has so far undoubtedly been an ugly year for the crypto industry. At just under $1.15 trillion, the total market capitalization of cryptocurrency markets is still over 60% down from its November 2021 peaks above $3 trillion. At current levels in the $24,000s, Bitcoin is close to 65% down versus its 2021 highs around $69,000.

The drawdown in prices, largely as a result of a deterioration in macroeconomic factors (elevated inflation forcing central banks like the Fed to pursue aggressive monetary tightening), has had a chilling impact across an increasingly leveraged cryptocurrency space.

The collapse of Terra’s algorithmic stablecoin UST and LUNA token in June resulted in the blow-up of one of the largest crypto hedge funds Three Arrows Capital, which was subsequently followed by a chain of crypto lending services halting withdrawals due to market conditions, the most high profile of which being now bankrupt Celsius Network.

According to court filings made in Celsius’ bankruptcy proceedings, the sharp decline in crypto prices has inflicted a more than $1 billion hole on the company’s balance sheet. But should cryptocurrency prices post a sharp recovery into the year’s end, Celsius could easily see its balance sheet return to the green.

Big Crypto Bets: Are They Paying Off?

A series of publicly traded US crypto firms have been reporting earnings as of late and the picture has, unsurprisingly, been ugly. According to earnings released earlier this week, the largest US-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase saw its revenues plunge 61% in Q2 given a sharp decline in trading volumes as well as the decline in prices. Coinbase reported an after-tax loss of $1.1 billion in Q2.

A large portion of this loss was a result of a $446 million impairment charge on its crypto and venture investments. Coinbase is not the only crypto firm to have revealed significant losses on its crypto investments in Q2.

Jack Dorsey’s digital-payments-focused company Block saw profits surge 29% YoY to $1.47 billion in the second quarter. However, the Bitcoin payments side of the business performed poorly. Cash App which supports BTC saw revenues fall 34% YoY to $1.79 billion, with profits coming in at just $41 million.

The company’s quarterly accounts revealed a $36 million impairment charge on its Bitcoin holdings in Q2 and said that it ended the quarter holding Bitcoin worth $160 million (as of 30 June).

Coinbase’s share price is down 65% this year, while Block’s is down 45%.

But Coinbase and Block’s crypto impairment charges pale in comparison with the losses reported by business software development and Bitcoin hodling firm MicroStrategy. The company lost $1.062 billion in Q2, with $917 million of this coming as a result of its paper losses on its Bitcoin holdings.

At the end of Q2, MicroStrategy was holding $1.988 billion worth of Bitcoin (129,699 BTC). Former MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor essentially turned the company into a Bitcoin holding vehicle when he announced the company’s first $250 million Bitcoin purchase back in 2020.

He has since stepped down from his role as head of the company in order to take on the role of executive chairman and focus on the firm’s Bitcoin acquisition strategy. MicroStrategy’s share price is down around 37% this year.

Long story short, crypto firms’ big digital asset bets haven’t gone well so far this year. But for most involved, the current cryptocurrency bear market isn’t their first rodeo. Global crypto adoption trends continue to move in a positive direction and regulations that will help crypto become “legit” in key markets like the US, EU and UK seem only a few years away at most.

Business strategists at the likes of Coinbase, Block and MicroStrategy, as well as their investors, will likely remain confident that better times are coming as macroeconomic conditions improve in 2023 and beyond.

Bitcoin (BTC) Price Prediction 2030: Is $1,000,000 Too Conservative?

Key Insights:

  • On November 10, bitcoin (BTC) struck an all-time high of $68,979 before sliding to a June 18 current year low of $17,601.
  • However, an extended crypto winter has not materially impacted BTC price projections, despite crypto market defaults and bankruptcies.
  • More hawkish projections have bitcoin at just shy of $1 million by 2030.

Since the early days, the bitcoin (BTC) story has been one of highs and lows. However, not too dissimilar to other riskier assets, the general trend has been upwards, with bitcoin printing new highs while avoiding new lows.

In December 2017, BTC struck a high of $19,871. A year-long bull run, driven by a hot ICO market, saw BTC surge from a January low of $740. BTC ended the year up by 1,338% to $13,850.

A late December pullback marked the beginning of the first real crypto winter, with BTC tumbling to a December 2018 low of $3,170.

However, the great bull run of 2020 that culminated in the November 2021 ATH followed an uneventful 2019.

From a March 2020 low of $3,949, BTC surged by an impressive 1,648% to the ATH $68,979 before the latest sell-off.

The great bull run was pivotal for bitcoin and the crypto market. Bitcoin etched its name into the list of great investment stories alongside names such as Intel (INTC) and Microsoft (MSFT). Significantly, the bull run also led to a material shift in sentiment towards bitcoin and the broader market.

Stickier institutional money entered the space, delivering a downside cushion once missing. This cushion supported a jump in interest from the retail side, comforted with the knowledge that even institutional investment strategies have embraced the digital asset space.

While bitcoin price projections over shorter time horizons are abundant, there are fewer projections looking further out.

Bitcoin (BTC) Price Action

For the current year, BTC is down 53% to $21,909. Four months in the red from six that included a 37.4% slump in June delivered the downside, with BTC falling to a low of $17,601 before finding support.

Technical Indicators for 2022

Looking at the Major Support and Resistance Levels calculated based on calendar year movements, BTC needs to move through the First Major Support Level (S1) at $26,800 and the $47,900 pivot to target the First Major Resistance Level (R1) at $67,280 and the ATH $68,979.

A sustained market rebound is needed to support a return to $50,000.

In the event of a momentum-driven rebound and extended rally beyond R1, the bulls will target the Second Major Resistance Level (R2) at $88,374.

A run at R2 aligns with the FX Empire price prediction for 2022, which pointed to a move beyond $80,000 by year-end.

Failure to move through S1 and the pivot would bring the sub-$10,000 and the Second Major Support Level (S2) at $7,420 into play.

However, a drop below $10,000 would unlikely have a material impact on 2030 price projections.

BTCUSD 190722 Monthly

Looking at the EMAs and the daily candlestick chart (below), it is a bearish signal. This month, bitcoin sits below the 50-day EMA, currently at $23,366.

The 50-day EMA pulled back from the 100-day EMA, with the 100-day EMA falling back from the 200-day EMA, both negative BTC indicators.

A BTC move through the 50-day EMA and S1 would bring the 100-day EMA, currently at $27,800, into play. From $27,800, BTC will need to break out from the 200-day EMA, currently at $33,600, to target the pivot and bring about a bearish trend reversal.

Key resistance levels, therefore, include $23,366, $26,800, $27,800, and $33,600.

BTC EMAs bearish
BTCUSD 190722 Daily EMA Chart

On a trend analysis basis, bitcoin would need a move through S1 to target the June high of $31,956. From $32,000, BTC should have a clear run at the May high of $40,004 to target the start of the year open of $46,197.

However, breaking resistance down at the above levels would be the key to supporting a sustained BTC uptrend.

For the bears, the June 18 low of $17,601 would be the next target, with a fall through the July low of $18,919 likely to test investor resilience.

BTCUSD 190722 Trend Analysis

Bitcoin 2030 Price Prediction Bullish with $1,000,000 the Target Price

By carrying out a rudimentary extrapolation of BTC price movements since 2017, BTC is on a run rate to hit $191,000 by January 2030.

BTC Price Extrapolation
BTC Monthly Chart 2030 Price Extrapolation

When considering the price impact of bitcoin halving on a four-yearly basis, a step mechanism needs to be included in the extrapolation to reflect the impact of each event on BTC.

Between now and 2030, two halving events will occur, one in May 2024 and the second in May 2028.

Looking at the historical halving events,

First Halving – November 28, 2012 – BTC surged from $12 to a November 28, 2013, high of $1,050 (+8,650%).

Second Halving – July 9, 2016 – BTC surged from $664 to a July 9, 2017, high of $2,556 (+285%).

Third Halving – May 11, 2020 – BTC surged from $8,721 to a May 11, 2021, high of $55,831 (+540%).

Based on the above, bitcoin has surged by an average of 3,158% in the one year after each halving event. By removing the 2012 anomaly, the average increase is 412.5%.

Using the extrapolation from January 2017 to an extrapolated May 2024 projected price of $108,000 and incorporating a 1-year price increase of 413% between May 2024 and May 2025, BTC could hit $446,000.

Incorporating the estimated 413% increase between May 2028 and May 2029, BTC would be on target to hit $2.08 million by May 2029, giving BTC a January 2030 value of $2.11 million.

2030 Price Prediction
BTC Monthly Chart 2030 Price Extrapolation and Steps

The projection considers the following assumptions:

  • Bitcoin mining support remains firm.
  • Crypto market regulatory framework supports innovation and the evolution of cryptos as an alternative asset class.
  • Bitcoin Whales numbers hold steady while increasing bitcoin holdings.
  • Crypto asset adoption continues to grow at current rates.
  • There is no catastrophic crypto market event.

Upward Trend in Bitcoin Whale Numbers Support Bullish Projections

Over the years, Bitcoin Whales have been the key to the sustainability of bitcoin and the broader market.

Prominent companies are also among the largest hodlers of bitcoin, including MicroStrategy Inc (MSTR), Tesla (TSLA), and Block Inc (SQ).

An increasing number of Bitcoin Whales favor the more hawkish price projections floating around the crypto market.

Two reasons for this include,

  • A higher number of Bitcoin Whales holding more BTC means lower BTC supply. Stable or increasing demand supports a continued upward trend in BTC price.
  • Bitcoin Whales provide investor comfort by providing price support and strength in numbers. Whales deliver price support by not flooding the market with BTC during bearish trends.

Therefore, the downside support and continued upward trends support the loftier projections, which aren’t as unreasonable as the more skeptical investor may suggest.

Could Pot Stocks Light Up In 2022

It’s been a big couple of months for cannabis stocks as state-level legalization is finally starting to ramp up. In a recent victory, the MORE Act finally passed the House of Representatives, which would see the prohibition of cannabis being removed from the banned substances list.

Although the outlook is currently leaving a positive mark on the industry, a Senate vote could still take months before legalization efforts come into full effect. This is now the second time the MORE bill passed the house, but Majority Leader, Chuck Schumer is still pushing back on the introduction, which could pose additional threats to the overall cannabis industry in the year ahead.

Cannabis stocks, also sometimes referred to as pot stocks, are still facing a boom or bust, even as legal cannabis sales topped more than $20 billion in 2020 according to a data provided by Statista. Further projections estimate that the industry could rank in more than $40.5 billion by 2025 if legalization efforts get the green light from the federal government.

Traders and investors have posed bullish sentiments over cannabis stocks, but the year ahead could reveal a different picture.

Ongoing scrutinization, state-level regulations and jurisdictions, and controlling policies are putting the industry in a modern-day democratic chokehold.

Whether the Senate pushes forward with the introduction of the MORE Act in the following months, and if the bill finally passes on the floor; investors should consider how these stocks could light up their portfolios, perhaps not in the coming months, but for long term gains.

The Green American Dream

Looking at the financial prospects of the cannabis industry, for those products and services which are legally sold on the market, 2019 saw the industry rank at more than $13.6 billion, creating more than 340,000 jobs.

So far around 35 states, including the District of Columbia have legalized the sale of medical marijuana, and as of April 2021, some 16 of these states allow the recreational use thereof.

Sentiment over the legalization of marijuana has also been on the rise, with 68% of American adults in favor of federal-level legalization.

But legalization does not only open the floodgates for traders who are looking to jump onto hot stocks that can reap major gains, some policies and lawmakers feel that banning the prohibition thereof could also assist those who have been somewhat unlawfully or unjustly convicted of possession, use, and sale of the substance.

Whether the House can see this through, and the American Green Dream can finally become a reality is only something that time can tell.

There is however a host of new possibilities that could come from federal legalization, it’s a matter of how well traders and investors align their strategies with what market sentiment currently presents.

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

According to a March 2022 report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment levels were seen declining to 3.6%, as employment figures rose by 431,000 in March.

Some industries that were most severely affected by the temporary closures of facilities such as hospitality, retail trade, manufacturing, and related business services were among the sectors that acquired the most notable job gains in the same month.

While job increases are holding steady, even as the Great Resignation still holds a firm grip on American employers, the marijuana industry offers something else than well-priced stocks, and recreational products favored by millions – job creation.

An industry-related jobs report published by Leafly, in partnership with Whitney Economics reported that the marijuana industry currently holds more than 428,059 full-time employees as of January 2022, the fifth year of consecutive growth higher than 27%.

The same report mentioned that in 2021, it was estimated that the industry produced about 280 new jobs per day, and full-time positions were able to increase by 33% in a single year.

The 2022 Leafly Jobs Report found 428,059 full-time equivalent jobs supported by legal cannabis as of January 2022. Last year, the cannabis industry created an average of 280 new jobs per day.

These jobs are however spread across the industry, from agriculture, production, and manufacturing, retail and sales, legal services, consumer goods, and media relations to maintenance and construction.

Job growth has been steadily on the rise, even as some major companies are struggling to see business take shape in states where recreational use is still barred.

But there is still a lot of work that needs to go into full-scale legalization, even as a Republican-backed bill in Congress that could perhaps see the legalization of the plant for adults 21 and older is receiving minimal traction.

These low-lying efforts are holding the industry back, slowing potential job growth, and cutting veins for cross-state sales and transactions.

Are these efforts helping the industry

While many other industries have been struggling to break through inflammatory conditions and supply chain worries, cannabis has remained somewhat prevalent against all odds. Even with market demand increasing, and efforts towards legalization taking shape, manufacturers, and producers are looking for new channels through which they cultivate innovative products.

Better use of technology application through the means of AgTech could mean that producers can increase crop yields which can lead to more profitable margins. Furthermore, as competition rises, various companies look to develop tech and software capabilities that could lower operational costs, and energy consumption and produce a more reputable market influence.

But these efforts, although positive, still require time and necessary resources. Information provided by Capital Funding revealed that those entrepreneurs and startup owners who deem their companies as “Direct Cannabis Businesses” are still ineligible for an SBA loan.

Although financially, businesses in the cannabis industry have been battling major headwinds to obtain proper recognition, and government financial aid – these factors, among regulatory conditions, are becoming major hurdles that are slowing down industry progress.

Bullish market stocks to consider

As support for the legalization of cannabis continues, and businesses can see overall demand and support growth, what could traders and investors expect from the stock market in 2022?

Block Inc (NYSE: SQ)

Block Inc. which is formerly known as Square has seen a tough trading year, hitting an all-time low on February 22, as shares tumbled to $82.72. Now SQ has been ranking in new returns for investors, with prices zig-zagging between$113.00 and $120.00 per share.

Nonetheless, block Inc. which provides POS solutions and payment infrastructure for businesses has been experiencing positive growth and earnings, as SQ is currently ranked #3 on the Zacks Rank.

Curaleaf (OTC: CURLF)

Even as consumer habits are changing, and some states struggle to adopt a more progressive take on marijuana-based products and services, Curaleaf, one of America’s largest operators, saw revenues soar by 39% in fourth-quarter earnings for 2021.

Over the last five years, revenue has been growing steadily at 250% year-over-year, with stock trades seeing some headwinds in recent weeks, as the company’s second-largest shareholder, Andrey Blokh, a holder of a Russian passport, has placed the company in a tight lock over consumer sanctions.

Perhaps the low-priced stocks could attract more potential buyers, as the company has seen share prices average between $3.99 and $6.50.

Even with this, some investors remain bearish, predicting that CURLF will still take some time to adjust itself after the recent backlash from the consumer market. On the other hand, there’s a positive side to low-priced and well-positioned stock such as CURLF that could make lucrative returns in the next few months.

Tilray, Inc. (NASDAQ: TLRY)

Tilray, which manufacturers cannabis-based medicine and drugs, has provided traders and investors with a different take on the market, as TLRY is currently ranked as a stronghold on the Zacks Rank.

The reason behind the sudden hold is that TLRY is projected to grow more than 44.4% in the next year, which makes the stock quite bullish.

The company is not only in the market of drugs and pharmaceuticals, but it has developed a range of wellness-based products, beverages, and hemp food. These products, while still considered a niche have gained major traction as more and more consumers are looking to adopt sustainable lifestyles.

Cresco Labs (OTC: CRLBF)

Cresco is perhaps one of the leading cross-state cannabis operations in America, as the company has been witnessing exponential growth in the last couple of years.

From a retail and manufacturing viewpoint, all aspects have seen major expansion, which has helped the company generate strong margins and revenue returns. Proper gains from a demanding market are now helping the company lead a new approach in the cannabis market, growing its dominance and influence in the U.S. consumer market.

Its market capitalization of $2 billion does rank it along with other big players but considering its EBITDA growth has exploded by more than 1,000% in the last year, the low-priced stocks make for a solid foundation that could drive up strong gains for investors.

Green Thumb Industries (OTC: GTBIF)

The company which recently opened its 77th retail location in America is becoming a household name among cannabis consumers. Green Thumb also holds more than 96 cannabis retail licenses, so the next few months could perhaps see more of its stores popping up across the country,

Green Thumb focuses on bringing well-priced products to their consumer market, which has enabled them to establish a reputable presence in major cities, with plans on the table to expand in New York and New Jersey.

The latest share prices averaged below $20,00, with April so far looking to average between $15,00 and $17,00 per share, with a market capitalization of more than $4 billion as of 2021.

GrowGeneration (NASDAQ: GRWG)

While other companies named on our list are more focused on the supply chain and direct-to-consumer business, GrowGeneration has been seeing steadfast demand for their hydroponic innovation.

The GrowGeneration business has been able to cater to producers and manufacturers for quite some time, while also being able to benefit from the pandemic, as more and more consumers were looking to tap into the organic gardening market while in isolation.

GRWG has been zig-zagging between sell and hold positions, with prices averaging below $10,00 per share. There has also been an uptick in interest from brokers and investors, who see a lot in the potential that GRWG can grow into this year.

The Bottom Line

It has not been an easy road getting here, as cannabis companies had to face severe financial scrutiny throughout the height of the pandemic, and also seeing minimal financial or government aid.

Now as the tides are starting to turn, and the federal government looks to lift the ban on recreational use of marijuana on a national level, perhaps these companies could see revenues soar over the next few years.

For the most part, 2022 has proved to be another challenging time, as supply chain issues and rising consumer inflation have wiped much of the progress from the board.

But on the stock market, the road forward can present itself as somewhat promising, it’s just a case of whether traders and investors will remain bullish over the future sentiment of the industry.

Why Bitcoin’s Navigation of Recent Global Economic Downturns Shows that Crypto is Here to Stay

Around the world, venture capitalists have collectively invested $30 billion in cryptocurrency or Web 3.0 startups throughout 2021, with institutions like Tesla, Block, and MicroStrategy all incorporating Bitcoin into their balance sheets.

These astronomical figures are made all the more impressive considering that Bitcoin, the world’s first cryptocurrency, has only existed since 2008 – and has since accumulated a value of $41,000 per coin, at the time of writing.

2021 represented a boom period for Bitcoin, as decentralized finance and NFTs grew into the ecosystem, presenting fresh opportunities for investors and enterprises alike, but the year also ended with brand new challenges for the asset as global inflation rates hit the pockets of investors hard.

(Image: CoinGecko)

As geopolitical tensions in Eastern Europe spilled over, it represented an unprecedented test for the staying power of Bitcoin. Although it’s early days, we can see evidence of Bitcoin trending upwards in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – suggesting that the asset is still regarded as a safe haven asset for investors amidst a testing economic landscape.

Institutional Interest Ensures Growth Prospects Stay Intact

Institutional interest in Bitcoin and the wider cryptocurrency landscape is rife. Besides leading trading platforms like Coinbase, a growing number of institutions are investing in various crypto projects. In the case of software developer MicroStrategy, the company is simply purchasing BTC with the intention of holding it on its balance sheet.

Others have developed tools to enable the broader integration of cryptocurrency into the economy. Silvergate Capital, for instance, operates a network that enables the around-the-clock remittance of dollars and euros – a key capability as cryptocurrency markets never close. To facilitate this, Silvergate acquired the stablecoin assets from Diem Association.

Elsewhere, financial services company, Block, has been looking at developing applications for everyday use as a digital alternative to fiat currency. Google Cloud also launched its own blockchain division to help customers accommodate the emerging technology.

As more institutions look to develop blockchain and cryptocurrency solutions, it’s highly likely that it will result in considerably better staying power for the likes of Bitcoin and other crypto. In turn, better institutional interest is likely to help to keep cryptocurrencies anchored in spite of their famous levels of extreme volatility.

Emerging use cases in the field of blockchain have also paved the way for NFTs and DeFi projects to gain prominence, broadening how cryptocurrencies can influence the world.

Bitcoin’s Utility Amidst Geopolitical Tensions

Perhaps most significantly of all is how Bitcoin has recently demonstrated that its technology is capable of becoming a mitigating force against factors that can cause economic downturns.

To illustrate this, Maxim Manturov, head of investment advice at Freedom Finance Europe, notes how Bitcoin was swiftly made legal tender in Ukraine in the wake of the Russian invasion in February 2022:

“Ukraine has legalised cryptocurrency. President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed the law ‘on virtual assets’ adopted by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on 17 February 2022,” Manturov noted.

“The National Commission on Securities and Stock Market (NSSM) and the National Bank of Ukraine will regulate the market of virtual assets. What provision does the adopted law on virtual assets make? Foreign and Ukrainian companies will be able to work officially with crypto-assets, open bank accounts, pay taxes and provide their services to the people.”

Significantly, the move also helped Ukraine to set up an avenue to receive humanitarian aid in BTC.

Due to Bitcoin’s decentralized nature, the asset may help during national emergencies throughout countries around the world – particularly when economic complications lead to the devaluation of fiat currencies through hyperinflation.

The Road to the Mainstream

Despite Bitcoin still sitting some 40% adrift from its all-time high from November 2021 today, institutional faith in the cryptocurrency remains. Deloitte figures suggest that 88% of senior executives believe that blockchain technology will eventually achieve mainstream adoption.

It’s worth remembering that it wasn’t until recently that Bitcoin’s blockchain framework finally began to achieve the levels of global recognition for its technological framework that it deserved. Since then, we’ve seen the rise of DeFi and NFTs as a taster of what distributed digital ledgers can achieve.

Although it’s hard to predict just how the adoption of cryptocurrency will grow, and whether it may take another NFT-style emergence to act as a catalyst for more mainstream applications, the fact that Bitcoin’s technology is playing an active role in aiding economies in the face of an economic crisis shows that there’s enough potential for the asset to not only outlast its expectations but to outperform its benchmarks during downturns.

Although there are likely to be more twists ahead before the global economic outlook recovers, Bitcoin is already showing that its use cases can ensure that crypto is very much here to stay in one form or another.

Can Morgan Stanley Be the Largest Bitcoin Owning Institution in 2022?

Key Insights

– Analysts’ speculations suggest that Morgan Stanley may be planning to increase exposure to Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency market.
– Morgan Stanley could potentially become the largest Bitcoin-owning institution in 2022.
– However, the American multinational investment bank’s stance on BTC and BTC mining counters the claims of stacking more Bitcoin.

Despite concerns around BTC’s energy consumption, American multinational investment bank Morgan Stanley could be inching closer to becoming the largest Bitcoin-owning institution, as per speculations.

MacroScope’s Twitter account claims that as per data, Morgan Stanley could potentially become the largest Bitcoin-owning institution in the industry by the end of this year.

Institutional Interest in Bitcoin Grows

The year 2021 was a stellar time for BTC as institutional money poured in with firms like Microstrategy, Tesla, Galaxy Digital Holdings, and others stacking SATS. In addition, over the last year, several major firms, like Square and Coinbase, have collectively purchased hundreds of millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency.

On February 28, analyst MacroScope highlighted that in 2021, Morgan Stanley purchased millions of shares in the Grayscale BTC (GBTC) fund. Notably, GBTC was one of the first instruments that gave exposure to the digital assets market for institutional players like Morgan Stanley.

The analyst further suggested significant increases in Morgan Stanley’s ownership in many of its institutional funds. According to balance sheets, the gains are primarily double-digit, with up to a 26% increase on the high end.

Data from December 31, 2021, highlights that the investment bank’s growth portfolio had 4.29 million shares, an 18% increase. Since then, Morgan Stanley has added more GBTC shares to its balance sheet, increasing its exposure.

Morgan Stanley is already one of the largest institutional Bitcoin investors, and they are most likely to increase their exposure. For now, however, there was no clear indication from the firm about adding more BTC to their wallet.

A Perplexing Stance

While according to speculations, Morgan Stanley was preparing to add more BTC to their account. A recent report stressed how ‘Bitcoin cannot escape energy requirements.’

The American banking giant further said that mining for cryptocurrencies could be highly energy-intensive.

Furthermore, the firm noted that ‘Bitcoin mining alone requires the same amount of electricity as the Netherlands’ annual total power generation, or 0.5% of total global electricity consumption.’ Seemingly, the bank’s stance around cryptocurrencies appears skewed.

That said, institutional interest in BTC has kept on rising. Large firms’ first significant steps towards BTC adoption happened when cloud software company MicroStrategy bought $425 million worth of Bitcoin in August and September 2020. Soon after, other firms followed suit, including payments processor Square and EV manufacturer Tesla.

Why Block Stock Is Up By 24% Today

Key Insights

  • Block’s earnings exceed analyst expectations
  • The company’s growth stays strong, despite worries triggered by the disappointing PayPal report at the beginning of February
  • Block stock will have a good opportunity to gain additional upside momentum in case general risk appetite continues to grow

Block Stock Rallies After Strong Quarterly Report

Shares of Block gained strong upside momentum after the release of its fourth-quarter report.

Block reported revenue of $4.08 billion and adjusted earnings of $0.27 per share, beating analyst estimates on both earnings and revenue.

The company’s gross profit totaled $657 million in Q4 2021, while the Cash App Gross Profit was $518 million, up by 37% on a year-over-year basis. In the full year 2021, Block generated gross profit of $4.42 billion and adjusted EBITDA of $1.01 billion.

The company’s shares touched highs near the $290 level in August 2021 and have been moving lower for many months. In recent days, the stock moved below the $100 level amid a global rush out of riskier assets. However, the strong report helped Block stock to move back above the $100 level. Currently, it is trying to settle above $120.

What’s Next For Block Stock?

Analysts expect that Block will report earnings of $1.71 per share in 2022, so the stock is trading at 69 forward P/E. This is not cheap, and the key question is whether the market is ready to pay hefty premiums for growth.

Today’s trading action indicates that the market feared the worst and that the report has greatly exceeded traders’ expectations. Most likely, the near-term direction of Block stock will depend on general risk appetite.

In case risk appetite continues to grow despite the war in Ukraine and worries about inflation, Block stock will have a good chance to attract more investors as the company showed strong growth in its fourth-quarter report.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Block Nets $1.18B While Coinbase Revenue Crosses $2.5B in Q4 ’21

Key Insights

  • Block’s overall revenue crossed $1.18 billion while its Bitcoin revenue for the year almost hit $2 billion
  • Coinbase, on the other hand, witnessed a year on year growth of 676%, with revenue touching $4 billion
  • Bitcoin played a significant role in both the companies’ revenue this year

While the world dabbles about the merits and demerits of cryptocurrencies, crypto companies continue to provide solid answers. Bitcoin-based revenue of both the companies exceeded expectations in the last quarter of 2021

Bitcoin in the Block

Block (previously Square) and Coinbase posted their fourth quarter’s financial report for 2021. CashApp, the payment service from Block, managed to rake in a gross profit of $518 million which marked a 37% year-on-year increase.

On the other hand, the Cash Card witnessed over 13 million actives in December, which accounted for 30% of their monthly 44 million transacting active base.

This revenue added to the company’s overall gross profit of $4.4 billion for the entire year, significantly higher than the 2020s $2.73 billion marking a 62% YoY increase.

CashApp, on the other hand, registered a gross profit of $2.07 billion, 69% higher than the previous year’s $1.23 billion.

Block also stated that Bitcoin revenue almost touched $2 billion in the fourth quarter and crossed $10 billion in the entire year, significantly growing from the previous year’s $4.5 billion.

Bitcoin revenue in 2021 for Block | Source: Block

Coinbase’s 2021

Coinbase, on the other hand, while having a good year, witnessed a decrease in Bitcoin and crypto-based transactions.

Of the $1.6 trillion of volume traded throughout the year, Bitcoin only accounted for 24% of it ($401 billion).

This figure was quite a reduction compared to the previous year’s 41%. Although the total volume did increase, the contribution came down.

Contribution of crypto trading in the $1.6 trillion total volume | Source: Coinbase

Regardless the company had a successful year of transactional revenue, making $6.8 billion. Compared to 2020s $1.096 billion, 2021 witnessed a 523.8% growth.

Crypto Market in 2021

Looking at the profits of such crypto companies in the fourth quarter is surprising since the crypto market had a rather interesting end to the year.

Between October to December 2021, the market first rallied by 47.57%, during which the overall market cap rose by $935 billion.

However, halfway through November, the market took a turn for the worse and slipped by 24.71% by December 31, causing a loss of $717 billion.

The entire crypto market’s performance in 2021 | Source: TradingView

Nevertheless, even at $2.185 trillion, the market registered a 193.23% ($1.44 trillion) rise in 2021.

After FINRA Approval, Gemini Now Joins the Crypto Council for Innovation

Key Insights

  • The Crypto Council for Innovation announced that Gemini would be joining them this week
  • The Council aims to lead global efforts to promote responsible advocacy and education about crypto
  • This is Gemini’s second major membership this year after receiving FINRA membership approval

As one of the top 10 cryptocurrency exchanges globally, Gemini is a well-known name in the crypto space. However, its influence extends beyond just being a medium of exchange, evident with its growing associations.

Gemini in the CCI

The Crypto Council for Innovation (CCI) is an alliance of crypto space leaders worldwide.

These leaders work together to exhibit the true strength of crypto and how important it is in the future of finance.

For the same reason, it tasks itself with communicating with the policymakers and regulators worldwide. It further aims to eliminate the general lack of awareness and understanding of crypto.

While Gemini is its latest addition, the Council already boasts of some notable industry leaders as its members.

These include Block (formerly Square), Coinbase, Fidelity Digital Assets, Paradigm, Andreessen Horowitz, and Ribbit Capital.

Per the announcement, the Chief Executive Officer of the Council, Sheila Warren, said:

“We welcome Gemini as a trusted and knowledgeable stakeholder to help accelerate our growth and global leadership, we look forward to increasing awareness of digital assets and driving the evolution of financial systems to bring greater choice, agency, and opportunity to individuals and communities around the world.”

Since its launch in 2014 by the Winklevoss brothers Tyler and Cameron, Gemini has significantly grown as an organization.

Last month, the company received its Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) approval.

This approval allowed the Gemini Galactic Markets to operate a broker-dealer registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Regarding the CCI joining, Gemini’s Head of Policy and Regulatory Affairs Ji Kim stated:

“We are fully aligned with CCI’s mission in ensuring the continued responsible growth of crypto in a way that unlocks its potential to improve the lives of many. As a CCI member, we will continue to partner closely with policymakers and regulators around the world to help build a bridge to the future of cryptocurrency,”

SEC Inquires Gemini

While the exchange stands for one of the industry leaders, it is not surprising that the SEC found a way to hassle them.

Last month major crypto firms – Gemini, Celsius Network, Voyager Digital were all inquired concerning their lending policies.

These platforms pay higher interest rates than most banks do, which the SEC has been wary of citing investment risks.

Although the regulatory authority took no action, the incident did demonstrate how Gemini’s growth is being watched by investors and bodies alike.

Super Bowl Host’s CEO: “Crypto Adoption Necessary in Public Companies”

The 10-year-old personal finance company gained the attention of the masses thanks to the Super Bowl LVI.

During the event, many cryptocurrencies witnessed rallies for different reasons and now the very host of the Super Bowl SoFi Technologies Inc.’s CEO also made a comment about cryptocurrencies.

SoFi Says Yes to Crypto

In an interview with CNBC’s ‘Squawk Box’, CEO of SoFi Anthony Noto made some definitive statements about his perspective on cryptocurrencies and what role they play in the bigger picture.

He said that going forward it is important for companies to integrate cryptocurrencies into their system since these digital assets could determine the dynamics of businesses in coming years. Adding to the same notion, he said:

“If you don’t innovate, and you don’t use cryptocurrency as a technology platform, you’ll get left behind. Your business will be smaller. You’ll be less competitive. You will have less innovation and less of a value proposition for consumers and you lose ground.”

When asked about whether or not SoFi itself practiced the preach, Noto said:

“We’re invested in cryptocurrency. We own Bitcoin, we own Ethereum, we own some of the more obscure and different cryptocurrencies, but it’s a very small part of what we own”

But Noto did not disregard the potential drawbacks that crypto investments stir up. He said that while cryptocurrencies are an incredible technology, ensuing volatility is always a significant concern.

For the same reason, every purchase from SoFi comes with a warning that cryptocurrency is an “unproven asset”, “highly volatile” and that “you can lose all your money”.

Crypto in Public Companies

While SoFi revealed its ownership of cryptocurrencies yesterday, there are many major public corporations that have been forthrightly buying cryptos.

The most famous name on the list is MicroStrategy which holds the highest number of Bitcoin (125, 051) which are presently worth about $5.5 billion. 

Other well-known names include Tesla, Square, Galaxy Digital Holdings, etc. Although not a public company per se the most recent well-known name to join the mix was the Canadian arm of one of the ‘Big Four’ organizations, KPMG.

Earlier this month the company announced the allocation of crypto assets to its treasury marking the first direct crypto investment by the firm.

What Happens to Altcoins if JPMorgan Is Right About Bitcoin?

JPMorgan has recently moved its long-term Bitcoin target from $150,000 to $38,000. Accidentally, that’s where Bitcoin is trading right now. Analysts have focused on whether JPMorgan is right about Bitcoin, but we’ll look at this story from another angle – what happens to the other 17,000+ coins if JPMorgan is correct?

Bitcoin Still Determines the Size of the Crypto Market

The rise of major projects like Ethereum, Cardano, Solana or Terra led to a material decline in Bitcoin’s share of the total crypto market cap.

Bitcoin Dominance, which measures Bitcoin’s market cap as a percentage of total crypto market cap, declined from 2021 highs at the 72% level to the 42% level.

While this decline is material, current numbers higlight Bitcoin’s complete dominance as just one cryptocurrency out of more than 17,000 holds a 42% market share.

The liquidity of Bitcoin attracts institutional investors who move markets. When JPMorgan lowered its long-term forecast for Bitcoin, it highlighted the coin’s volatility as a reason for smaller Bitcoin allocations in investor portfolios.

Can the Market Grow Without Bitcoin?

Bitcoin has grown into a symbol of the crypto world, and any problems of Bitcoin will hurt other projects as well. Here’s why.

Those institutional investors who have already allocated funds to crypto have started with Bitcoin. Companies with cryptocurrencies on the balance sheet, like Tesla or Block, have chosen Bitcoin as well. If their Bitcoin holdings cause losses, they will have trouble explaining to their investors why they need to increase allocation to other cryptocurrencies.

While fans of other crypto projects may argue that they are better than Bitcoin and can take its market share, the current reality is simple – Bitcoin’s success is very important for the success of other projects.

If Bitcoin stagnates near current price levels, other projects may have trouble growing as big players will not increase allocations to the crypto segment in this scenario. Put simply, if institutional investors are not ready to increase Bitcoin allocations, they will not increase altcoin allocations as well, which will be bearish for altcoins.

If Bitcoin fails, it will lead to losses for institutional investors and high-profile companies and make the whole crypto market segment toxic.

Choosing Between Ethereum and Bitcoin Amid Heightened Macroeconomic Risks

As for cryptos, while it’s hard to know where prices will end up over the short to medium-term, not all of them have been impacted in the same way. This is evident by comparing the one-year price performances of the two with the largest market cap, namely Bitcoin and Ethereum. For this purpose, instead of looking at individual companies, I analyze the performance of the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) and the Grayscale Ethereum Trust (ETHE).

Here, the Ethereum trust has been outperforming its Bitcoin peer by nearly 50%.

Source: Trading View

With assets under management of $23 Billion, GBTC tracks the Bitcoin (BTC) market price and charges fees of 2%. As for ETHE, it covers Ethereum (ETH), exhibits $7.5 billion of assets and carries 2.5% of fees. Both are investment vehicles which have attained the status of an SEC reporting company, with one of their advantages being ability to provide investors with exposure to BTC or ETH in the form of securities while avoiding the challenges of buying, storing, and safekeeping cryptocurrencies directly.

Coming back to the difference in price actions, this needs to be understood in the context of their individual uses, but, first, I bring some clarifications as to the concept.

Analyzing the cryptocurrency concept

Although the concept of the cryptocurrency shines with its allure, it remains obscure for many people until they hear about its aptitude at providing sky-high gains, and, conversely, also suffering from vertiginous drops. For this matter, there is also a lot of publicity around crypto being a Ponzi scheme, which is far from the truth.

Had this been true, reputable institutions would not have invested their money in digital coins. Moreover, in contrast with Ponzi schemes that require a constant flow of new money to survive, Bitcoin and Ether have not only survived several crashes but there are other new coins that are minted every single day.

Pursuing further, those who have put their money into Bitcoin in mid-2021 and before are still up, despite all the latest volatility. Still, people primarily invest in cryptocurrency due to its high-growth feature and thus its ability to multiply the value of their financial assets in terms of dollars rapidly. This said, Bitcoin still has to strike the right balance between a means of payment and a financial asset. This virtual currency is above all a potentially profitable investment.

Gauging the marketplace, Bitcoin remains very popular with retail investors who, in addition to the ETF or trust formulae, can buy it from dedicated cryptocurrency platforms or mainstream brokers, just like the purchase of shares on the stock exchange. Looking further, FinTechs like PayPal (NASDAQ:PYPL) also offer services like crypto wallets.

Scanning the corporate space, Bitcoin has been adopted by some financial institutions for boosting up their balance sheets. Aware that the risk factor is inseparable from Bitcoin as evidenced by the current volatility, these institutions including Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) have not sold their crypto assets. Others like MicroStrategy (NASDAQ:MSTR) have even bought the dip. This shows a high level of trust.

Now, the crypto market is a large one, and, as shown in Coinmarketcap, there are hundreds of coins, with those boasting the ten largest market cap listed below.


As for Ethereum, it is used for a variety of innovative applications in finance, gaming, Non Fungible Tokens (NFTs), and supply chain management.

The investment case for Ethereum

With its ability to be used in smart contracts, Ethereum enables decentralized apps which are at the base of DeFi or decentralized finance. Thus Ethereum offers more relative value compared to Bitcoin and other altcoins.

Exploring further, DeFi offers another opportunity where value-oriented, low-multiple, strong cash-flow generating financial institutions exist, with one of them being Silvergate Capital (SI) for example. This crypto bank has been out of favor over recent months but could benefit from the rising rate environment in the same way as the traditional financial sector. However, regulatory risks exist as lawmakers increasingly want to regulate the crypto space having in mind the interest of investors.

In this case, the boom in companies offering cryptocurrency loans and high-yield deposit accounts like for staking USDC and USDT is viewed as disrupting the banking industry and leaving lawmakers scrambling to catch up.

Remaining with financials, DeFi eliminates human intermediaries like brokers, bank clerks, and traders, and instead uses algorithms to execute financial transactions, such as lending and borrowing. As such, it is largely immune to the problems being faced by many Wall Street banks currently. These may have to increase fees to justify raising the bankers’ remunerations in order to hold onto talent in a labor market where inflation has made the cost of living expenses.

Now, as opposed to previous periods of high inflation when there were only banks, in the current one there are also FinTechs now using a higher dose of technology in financial transactions as well as blockchain-based solutions to reduce costs. Consequently, it would be difficult for regulators to remove them completely out of the equation, but, we cannot rule out more stringent rules.

Thinking green, with rising energy costs, crypto miners that are not highly efficient will be gradually pushed out of business. This brings us to another advantage of Ethereum: it is less energy-intensive than Bitcoin. Thus, with more uses as well as being more energy-efficient, it is Ethereum that should eventually benefit from more cryptocurrency demand in the future. For this matter, again consulting the price action, it is ETHE has shown more progress during the last five days when compared to GBTC, with some respite also observed for the wider tech sector (QQQ).

Investing In Long-Term Innovation

I see crypto innovation continuing to accelerate around Ethereum and believe that it remains in its early innings. Volatility will continue to be challenging though, but crypto investors are accustomed to wild fluctuations in prices, and know how to search for opportunities when they occur. At current levels, an investment into Ethereum through Grayscale makes sense.

As for Bitcoin, its future trajectory will depend on the Bitcoin for Corporations panel to be hosted by MicroStrategy’s CEO Michael Saylor on February 1, an event which will also include Block’s (SQ) Jack Dorsey and Silvergate Capital’s Alan Lane.

Finally, it is interesting to note that geopolitical risks like for Russia-Ukraine and China-Taiwan have been historically beneficial for cryptos, despite their typical behavior as risk-on assets.

Disclosure: I/We are long SI. This is an investment thesis and is intended for informational purposes. Investors are kindly requested to do additional research before investing.


Top Cryptocurrency Stocks for 2022

That’s why they’re the best, they’re the positive outliers relative to the rest of the market. These types of stocks have three traits: strong fundamentals, great technicals, and a history of Big Money activity in the shares. Outlier stocks see a lot of Big Money buying.

Oftentimes, that can be institutional activity. We’ll go over what that looks like in a bit. For MAPsignals, we believe that Big Money trading can alert you to the forward fundamental picture of a stock. In other words, Big Money moves markets.

I’ve spent my career in Big Money, primarily focused on stocks. If we can measure where demand is flowing for shares, that’s an edge worth tracking. We want the odds on our side when looking for the highest quality investments.

Well, can we use the same framework with crypto? Our data point to yes. Below are six-month charts of Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH), the two largest cryptocurrencies, with Big Money activity overlayed:

And here are multiyear charts:

Many investors are watching crypto with a close eye. The space has been walloped. And that means stocks whose businesses are exposed to crypto have suffered. But if the crypto pullback is over, those same stocks should bounce. Five stocks we think could benefit are TSLA, COIN, SQ, PYPL, & NVDA.


Up first is Tesla, Inc. (TSLA), the electric vehicle company. In addition to vehicles, Tesla also owns crypto and accepts it as payment.

The stock has been on a pullback. Great companies on pullbacks are worthy of attention. Check out TSLA:

  • Year-to-date performance (+0.1%)
  • Historical Big Money signals

Just to show you what our Big Money signal looks like, have a look at the top buy signals Tesla has made the past few years. Blue bars are showing that TSLA was likely being bought by a Big Money player, according to MAPsignals.

When you see a lot of them, I call it the stairway to heaven:


But, what about fundamentals? As you can see, Tesla’s sales and earnings have grown at double-digit rates:

  • 3-year sales growth rate (+41.8%)
  • 3-year earnings growth rate (+33.3%)

Next up is Coinbase Global, Inc. (COIN), which is a crypto exchange.

Check out these technicals for COIN:

  • 1-month performance (-12.0%)
  • Historical Big Money signals


There’s been a price dip, but let’s look long-term. This is the Big Money action in COIN. Clearly the Big Money likes it:


Let’s look at fundamentals. As you can see, Coinbase has had huge revenue growth. I see that continuing in the years ahead:

  • 1-year sales growth rate = (+649.5%)
  • 3-year sales growth rate = (+139.3%)

Another crypto stock name for 2022 is Block Inc. (SQ), formerly Square, which is a payment processing company. It owns crypto, allows users to trade it, and changed its name to reflect its crypto-focused future.

Strong candidates for growth usually have Big Money buying the shares. Block has that. Also, the stock has been sold heavily of late:

  • 1-month performance (-20.3%)
  • Historical Big Money signals


Below are the Big Money signals Block has made since 2015. That’s JUICE!


Now let’s look a bit closer. The growth is impressive, and I expect more of the same in the future:

  • 1-year sales growth rate = (+118.8%)
  • 1-year earnings growth rate = (+5.3%)

Number four on the list is payment processor PayPal Holdings Inc. (PYPL). It too allows users to trade crypto and is developing its own stablecoin. PYPL has been on a sell streak lately.

Here are the technicals important to me:

  • 1-month performance (-2.9%)
  • Historical Big Money signals


Below are the Big Money signals for PYPL since 2015 – JUICE:


Let’s look under the hood. Despite recent price volatility, the fundamentals indicate PayPal has been growing nicely:

  • 3-year sales growth rate = (+18.0%)
  • 3-year earnings growth rate = (+36.1%)

Our last 2022 crypto stock candidate is computer hardware maker NVDIA (NVDA). The company’s graphics cards are popular gamers. They’re also popular with crypto miners, who use computers to solve complex problems to “mine” new crypto coins, since high-end graphics cards are part of the backbone of crypto mining operations.

NVDA has been on a sell streak lately. Check out these technicals:

  • 1-month performance (-9.3%)
  • Historical Big Money signals


NVDIA is a high-quality stock and has several Big Money buys (blue bars) since 2016:


Now look at the fundamentals. Sales and earnings have been rock-solid, with both growing at double-digit rates:

  • 3-year sales growth rate = (+22.2%)
  • 3-year earnings growth rate = (+18.0%)

The Bottom Line

TSLA, COIN, SQ, PYPL, & NVDA represent top crypto stocks for 2022. Strong fundamentals, future prospects, ample crypto exposure, and Big Money buy signals make these stocks worthy of extra attention, especially if crypto prices stage a turnaround.

To learn more about MAPsignals’ Big Money process please visit:

Disclosure: the author holds long positions in COIN & PYPL in managed accounts.

Investment Research Disclaimer


IPAY: An ETF to Profit From International Air Travel Recovery in 2022, With Some Risk Protection

More than one and a half years after closing its borders with most of Europe including the U.K., South Africa, Brazil, India, and China due to the pandemic, the U.S. opened them to fully vaccinated passengers from November 2021, thus paving the way for families and friends to be reunited, businessmen to finally have a face to face meeting with colleagues and travelers to explore new destinations.

Despite some pandemic uncertainty persisting whereby some U.S. airlines and other businesses reported a pullback in October, the travel sector is bouncing back from 2020 lows with the number of international flight departures steeply inching back up to 2019 levels as shown by the green chart below.

Source: Bureau of Transportation statistics

Now, to profit from more international business travel, you can invest in airlines or in payment processors like American Express (AXP) whose revenues were severely impacted from mid-2020 after the cancellation of trans-Atlantic flights (as shown in the pale blue chart below) and has still not yet recovered from its pre-pandemic highs.

Using the ETF option instead of investing individually

Easing restrictions on international travelers should also be beneficial to Discover Financial (DFS), another company that has not regained its 2019 revenue levels, as well as MasterCard (MA) and Visa (V). These two companies, whose share prices have been rising since December, underwent a faster recovery by taking advantage of the move to cashless payment, a secular trend accelerated by the pandemic. This consists of effecting electronic payments instead of using paper notes and has been accelerated by the availability of smartphones using QR (Quick Response) codes. Supported by smartphone devices, the value of global mobile payments is forecast to climb from $1.5 trillion in 2020 to $5.4 trillion by 2026, according to data by Mordor Intelligence.


Now, instead of individually investing in all the companies I have mentioned, there is the ETFMG Prime Mobile Payments ETF (IPAY) option. Incepted in 2015, it provides exposure to 55 stocks in the payments industry, which, through companies like Block (SQ) and PayPal (PYPL), is experiencing a shift from credit card and cash transactions to digital and electronic methods. As shown in the chart above, these two companies have enjoyed the largest quarterly revenue growth at 192% and 24.6% for Block and PayPal respectively.

Going deeper, the fund tracks the Prime Mobile Payments Index and the top ten holdings in its portfolio adding up to 53.29%, up from 48.62% in mid-2019. With its top ten holdings constituting more than 50%, this means that IPAY is subject to more concentration risks, which the fund managers have mitigated to some extent by adding 15 holdings to the 40 the fund included back in 2019.

The volatility impacting IPAY

Still, this has not prevented IPAY to be highly volatile in the last six months as shown in the green chart below with the ETF losing 19.99% of its value. Some analysts tend to associate this fall with the Nasdaq as payment processors that make use of financial technology are also referred to as FinTechs. However, this is not true as the woes of the NASDAQ date back to more recently, or November. The real reasons for IPAY’s fall seem to be related to two of its main holdings: PayPal and Square which both lost over 37% since August, thus dragging IPAY.

Source: Trading View

The market correction impacting these two stocks seems to have been due to their rich valuations, which were 161 (Block) and 61 (PayPal) in August as investors, increasingly aware of the growth-value rationale, have discarded high-valued stocks. Additionally, there are also fears that due to their advanced venture into blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, these two stocks may be in the sights of regulators who have shown some signs of increasingly wanting to reign in the crypto world.

Lower valuations and timely portfolio adjustment

As per MorningStar, these two stocks are currently at half their August valuations. Furthermore, IPAY’s price-to-earnings ratio is currently at 20.47, which is below the category average value of 25.76.

Additionally, the fund managers who charge an expense ratio of 0.75% for this actively managed ETF have proceeded to a portfolio adjustment from August 25, 2021, to January 8, 2022, which I find to be appropriate. This consisted of increasing the relative percentage of MasterCard, American Express, and Visa shares held as part of total assets, at the expense of Block. These three companies should profit the most from the recovery in international travel as cross-border payments tend to be more lucrative than domestic payments for their payment processing businesses. Furthermore, after having been travel-constrained for the last one and half years and with a lot of savings at their disposal, both tourists and businessmen are likely to spend more.


Pursuing on a cautionary note, there may be some headwind in case there are some interruptions in the momentum for digital payment adoption as seen in parts of Europe last year and in the event that consumer spending growth stalls in 2022 as a result of product prices increasing because of inflation. Hence, volatility may persist and investors may have to hold to the ETF for a longer time. Thus, scanning the industry, I came across the Tortoise Digital Payments Infrastructure Fund (TPAY) offering the same payment processing stocks, but with a lower expense ratio of only 0.4%. However, its three-year, one-year, and one-month price performances have been worse than IPAY.

Consequently, with a better track record, IPAY should profit from international air travel recovery in 2022, while at the same time, its fund managers should partially mitigate any uncertainty due to the emergence of a new and more dangerous Covid variant through holdings which already play key roles in digital transformation of the payment industry.

Disclosure: This is an investment thesis and is intended for informational purposes. Investors are kindly requested to do additional research before investing.


N26 Should Have Prioritized Cryptocurrency Services, Says CEO

The past two years have seen some traditional fintech companies such as PayPal, Robinhood, and others delve into the cryptocurrency space. Now German internet banking giant N26 wished it had followed the same route sooner.

N26 Should Have Focused on Crypto Instead of Global Expansion

The co-founder of N26, Max Tayenthal, told Financial Times in a recent interview that the company had rushed its global expansion. The company is currently closing its operations in the United States after exiting the United Kingdom in 2020.

Tayenthal said, “Should we have built trading and crypto instead of launching in the US? In hindsight, it might have been a smart idea.”

N26 is now planning to launch a cryptocurrency trading business later this year. This would be followed by the launch of an equities brokerage in 2023. “We really want to expand our product universe, and we have to,” the co-founder added.

N26 is one of the leading internet banking companies in Germany. Last year, N26 was valued at €7.8bn ($8.7 billion) after it raised €780m. However, rival fintech platform Revolut, which offers cryptocurrency trading, is valued at $33 billion.

Despite the company’s recent troubles with German financial regulators, Tayenthal said N26 is exploring the possibility of going public before the end of the year.

Fintech Companies are Expanding their Presence in the Crypto Space

PayPal, Revolut, and Square (now known as Block) are becoming heavily involved in the cryptocurrency space. Revolut and PayPal allow their customers to buy and sell cryptocurrencies on their platforms.

Jack Dorsey resigned from his role as Twitter boss to focus on Block. The company wants to provide Bitcoin-focused financial services to its customers. PayPal, meanwhile, is reportedly close to launching its own stablecoin.

In September 2021, Revolut paid for its office space in the United States with Bitcoin. According to the company, the move was to showcase its growing belief in cryptocurrencies as a method of payment.

Best Stocks, Crypto, and ETFs to Watch – JETS, Disney, Block, and Bitcoin in Focus

U.S. Global Jets ETF (JETS) turned sharply lower in the mid-20s in November, more than two weeks before Omicron hit the newswires. The fund posted a 13-month low at 19.52 on Dec. 20th and bounced into Christmas, reversing at 50-day moving average resistance last week. A third trip into this critical level appears likely, raising odds for a breakdown that stretches into July 2020 support between 15 and 16. That could mark a low-risk buying opportunity, with the fast-moving infection generating massive herd immunity.

The January Effect will be in full swing this week, potentially lifting a basket of 2021’s biggest losers, especially at the beginning of this annual phenomenon. Dow component Walt Disney Company (DIS) looks like a great play in this regard, dropping to the bottom of the Dow performance list with a 15% annual loss. If you’re looking for even more risk, take a shot at fallen angel Block Inc. (SQ), formerly known as Square, which has punished shareholders with a 26% annual loss and swift decline to a 14-month low.

Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) kicks off January earnings in Thursday’s pre-market, reporting Q1 2022 results. The pharmacy chain is expected to report a profit of $1.32 per-share on a $32.7 billion in revenue. The stock ended 2021 on a high note, attracting strong foot traffic as a provider of COVID-19 vaccines and boosters. However, Morgan Stanley downgraded WBA just two weeks ago, projecting zero earnings-per-share (EPS) growth through 2023.

Bitcoin cycles are slowly turning in favor of buyers, raising odds for an oversold bounce that could generate intermediate profits. The crypto king has been holding support at 46,000 for five weeks, right at the .786 Fibonacci retracement of the June into November uptick. Two bounces have faded above 51,000, carving a rectangular pattern that could yield a breakout and short squeeze toward 58,000. However, aggressive profit-taking is advised because longer-term sell cycles remain in place, threatening another leg down after sellers get flushed out of the system.

Banking stocks have performed admirably in 2021 and should gain additional ground in 2022. The best play in this group is north of the border in Canada, where The Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS) has posted a 33% annual return.  Better yet, the $62.5 billion financial institution just completed a 7-year cup and handle breakout above resistance in the upper 60s, forecasting a long-term price target above 100.  And that’s not all because the stock also pays an outstanding 4.38% dividend yield.

Catch up on the latest price action with our new ETF performance breakdown.

Disclosure: the author held no positions in aforementioned securities at the time of publication. 

Best ETFs for 2022

Despite the S&P 500 rising, Big Money has been selling more than buying in December. Going to, we can scan Big Money ETF Buys and Sells. Recent big selling, indicated by the deep red lines in the chart below, led to choppy markets. But the selling shrank to practically nothing in late December. When selling dries up, it’s a bullish sign.


Long-term investors should look for ETFs (and their stocks), with great setups.

Remember: ETFs are just baskets of stocks, so we need to look at them in detail. MAPsignals specializes in scoring more than 6,500 stocks daily. If I know which stocks compose the ETFs, I can apply stock scores to the ETFs. Then I can rank them all from strongest to weakest.

Let’s get to the five best ETF opportunities for 2022.

#1 iShares Semiconductor ETF (SOXX)

Semiconductor stocks had a good year overall. Big Money has been buying SOXX in chunks for most of 2021. Considering semiconductors’ widespread use and scarcity, it makes a lot of sense.

Below you can see the Big Money buys for SOXX:

SOXX holds several solid stocks; one example is Broadcom, Inc. (AVGO). Here are Big Money signals for AVGO:

#2 iShares Russell 1000 Growth ETF (IWF)

This ETF is all about growth. IWF holds some of the largest stocks out there – big, well-known names. There were washouts around March and October (red bars), but look closely and you’ll see how big dips have preceded big rises:

One great stock IWF holds is Microsoft Corporation (MSFT). It’s a long-time Big Money favorite with awesome fundamentals. As the multi-year chart below shows, it’s been a monster stock for years:

#3 Vanguard Dividend Appreciation Index Fund ETF Share (VIG)

Dividend stock exposure is part of a diversified portfolio, and VIG is sort of a “best of” ETF of dividend-paying stocks. The companies it contains are huge, household names across many industries. It’s been a solid performer all year:

One of many big winners within VIG is Abbott Laboratories (ABT). It’s an outlier stock that pays a huge dividend:

#4 Invesco NASDAQ Next Gen 100 ETF (QQQJ)

The first three ETFs were from the stronger part of my ranked list. Now we look for bargains by identifying weaker ETFs holding stocks with strong fundamentals. QQQJ fits the bill. It’s been under lots of recent selling pressure. Near-term weakness can be an opportunity:

One winner within this ETF is Fortinet (FTNT). Big Money loves it. The multi-year chart says don’t bet against it:

#5 ARK Next Generation Internet ETF (ARKW)

This pick is from the “bargain bin,” but don’t let that throw you off to its potential in 2022 and beyond. Many ARK funds have been under pressure, ARKW included. While it has fallen significantly, ARKW holds great companies that are a big part of the business world. So, it could be a potential outlier.

One great stock in ARKW is Block Inc Class A (SQ), formerly known as Square. It’s been hit hard lately, but Big Money has shown interest in SQ because of its solid fundamentals. Given the firm’s future focus, I’m a believer that it could thrive (as it has since Big Money dove in):

Here’s a Big Money recap:

  • When Big Money buying pours in, stocks tend to go up
  • Red selling on great quality can be a great opportunity
  • Repeated buying usually means outsized gains

Let’s summarize here:

Graphical user interface, text Description automatically generated

SOXX, IWF, and VIG rank high. QQQJ and ARKW, however, rank lower on our list, due to weaker technicals. That’s why I think these weaker ETFs represent great potential bargains.

The Bottom Line

SOXX, IWF, VIG, QQQJ, and ARKW are my top ETFs for 2022. Sticking with quality funds holding top stocks is a winning recipe long-term.

To learn more about MAPsignals’ Big Money process please visit:

Disclosure: the author holds no positions in SOXX, IWF, VIG, QQQJ, ARKW, AVGO, MSFT, ABT, FTNT, or SQ in managed or personal accounts at the time of publication.

Investment Research Disclaimer


Best Oversold Stocks to Buy for December 2021

Let’s face it, stocks have been under a lot of pressure lately. Markets are reaching oversold levels.

At my research firm, MAPsignals, we track oversold markets by following the Big Money Index (BMI). It tracks Big Money buying and selling in stocks. Look how it’s at the lowest level since the pandemic in March 2020:

Chart, histogram Description automatically generated A lot of this selling is institutional activity. And inside of this sea of red are great stocks getting sold unfairly…more on that in a bit. The five stocks we see as nearing oversold levels are: APPS, CELH, FB, UPST & SQ.

At MAPsignals, we believe Big Money trading can alert you to the forward fundamental picture of a stock. We want the odds on our side when looking for the highest quality stocks.

Up first is Digital Turbine, Inc. (APPS), which is a digital advertising specialist.

Even though great companies’ stocks can be volatile, like APPS this year, they’re worthy of attention. Check out APPS:

  • 1-month performance (-24.1%)
  • Historical Big Money signals

Just to show you what our Big Money signals looks like, have a look at the top buy signals Digital Turbine has made the past few years in the chart below – the blue bars show that APPS was likely being bought by a Big Money player, according to MAPsignals.

When you see a lot of them, like APPS did in 2020 (when it hovered around 1/6 of its current price), I call it the stairway to heaven:


But, what about fundamentals? As you can see, Digital Turbine’s numbers have been strong:

  • 3-year sales growth rate (+66.2%)
  • 3-year earnings growth rate (+183.5%)

Next up is Celsius Holdings (CELH), which is an energy drink maker.

Check out these technicals for CELH:

  • 1-month performance (-19.3%)
  • Recent Big Money signals

Let’s look long-term. These are the top buy signals Celsius has made since 2015. The Big Money may have found a new gem:


Let’s look under the hood. As you can see, Celsius has had rock-solid revenue growth, which could be more important than earnings growth since it’s a small company:

  • 3-year sales growth rate = (+54.1%)
  • 3-year earnings growth rate = (-23.06%)

Another growth name is Meta Platforms Inc. (FB), formerly Facebook, which is a social media and advertising giant.

Strong candidates for growth usually have Big Money buying the shares. Meta has that. Also, the stock has dipped a bit recently, which could be an opportunity:

  • 1 month performance (-4.0%)
  • Historical Big Money signals

Below are the Big Money signals Meta has made since 2015. That’s the JUICE!


Now let’s look under the hood. Meta’s sales growth is impressive. I expect more growth in the coming years:

  • 3-year sales growth rate = (+28.5%)
  • 3-year earnings growth rate = (+27.3%)

Number four on the list is Upstart Holdings, Inc. (UPST), which is a cloud-based artificial intelligence banking platform.

Here are the technicals important to me:

  • 1 month performance (-38.0%)
  • Historical Big Money signals

Below are the Big Money signals for UPST since it’s 2020 trading debut:


Let’s look under the hood. Upstart Holdings has been growing nicely:

  • 3-year sales growth rate = +60.3%
  • 3-year earnings growth rate = +18.3%

Our last growth candidate is Block, Inc. (SQ), formerly Square, which is a top payment processing platform.

Check out these technicals:

  • 1-month performance (-26.8%)
  • Historical Big Money signals

Block is a high-quality stock since it’s made my Top 20 report:


Now look under the hood. Sales have been growing quite well, and I expect earnings to pick up too:

  • 3-year sales growth rate = (+64.5%)
  • 3-year earnings growth rate = (-0.7%)

The Bottom Line

APPS, CELH, FB, UPST & SQ represent the top oversold stocks for December 2021. Strong fundamentally sound stocks seeing near-term sell signals make these stocks worthy of extra attention.

To learn more about MAPsignals’ Big Money process please visit:

Disclosure: the author holds long positions in APPS, CELH & UPST in managed accounts and APPS & SQ, in personal accounts.

Investment Research Disclaimer


Jack Dorsey’s Square Pivots Focus to Blockchain, Changes Name to “Block”

Days after Jack Dorsey resigned from his position as CEO of Twitter, his payments company, Square, has announced that it’ll be changing its name to Block Inc as it looks to focus more on the blockchain and other technologies.

The payments company where Jack Dorsey remains the CEO claims that it is rebranding to distinguish its corporate entity from its businesses.

Square Becomes Block

Similar to what Facebook did last month when it rebranded as Meta, the company said the name ‘Square’ has become associated with its payment business. It seeks to establish a brand and identity that goes beyond offering payments services.

According to the company, its different business units will continue to function without any organizational change. This means that the payments business Square, peer to peer payments service Cash App, Bitcoin-focused financial service, TBD54566975, and music streaming service, Tidal, will continue to function independently under their brands.

In its statement about the rebranding, Square stated that the name Block has several meanings for the company. It represents building blocks, whether it’s through local businesses in neighbourhood blocks, people coming together for block parties, an obstacle to surmount, or the blockchain.

Square’s Crypto Adventure

Before now, Square has shown interest in cryptocurrency as its CEO, Jack Dorsey, is a top crypto advocate. Early this year, it bought $50 million worth of Bitcoin, becoming one of the first institutions to own the digital currency. It also invested $170 million later in February.

Beyond buying crypto, the company is also considering creating a hardware Bitcoin wallet that will make custody more mainstream and further drive the adoption of cryptocurrencies. 

Block will effectively replace Square as the new name from around December 10. But the name change will not affect the “SQ” ticker used to list the company on the New York Stock exchange.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is Expected to Step Down: Report

Jack Dorsey has been in charge of Twitter since he founded the company for more than a decade and has built one of the most powerful social media companies in the world. Dorsey had expanded into other areas, with a recent interest in Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.

Twitter Might Be Getting a New Boss

Jack Dorsey, the founder of social media giant Twitter, has been at the helm for more than a decade now. However, a recent CNBC report suggests that Dorsey might step down soon and hand the reins to another person.

Sources close to the matter told CNBC’s David Faber that Dorsey is expected to step down from his CEO role soon. However, they didn’t give a definite timeline as to when he will step down from the position or who will be tasked with running the affairs of the social media giant.

Twitter stakeholder Elliott Management had previously wanted to replace Dorsey as CEO last year but ultimately backed out after reaching an agreement with the company’s management. Dorsey is also the CEO of Square, a payment company.

The concerns have centered on Dorsey running two public companies. Some investors had called for Dorsey to resign as CEO of one of them so he could focus on the other. Dorsey’s recent interest in Bitcoin could see him focus on Square if he resigns as Twitter CEO.

TWTR Rallies by Over 3%

The shares of Twitter have been rallying since the reports suggest that Jack Dorsey Could be stepping down as the company’s CEO. At press time, TWTR is trading at $48 per share, up by 3.3% over the past 24 hours.

TWTR stock chart. Source: FXEMPIRE

The shares of the company have underperformed since the start of the year. Year-to-date, TWTR is down by over 10%, underperforming against other social media companies such as Meta. The news could send TWTR’s price higher over the coming hours and days.

Twitter is yet to comment on this latest development.

NFL’s OBJ Joins Growing List of Players to Be Paid in Bitcoin

NFL wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who is widely known as OBJ, is joining a growing list of professional athletes who want to be paid in bitcoin. OBJ has partnered with Square’s Cash App to take his new salary in bitcoin. The star athlete recently signed a one-year deal to play for the LA Rams after he was released from the Cleveland Browns.

To commemorate the Cash App deal, and do his part to accelerate wide-scale adoption, OBJ has pledged to give out $1 million in bitcoin to his followers on Twitter. His announcement has received thousands of retweets, likes and comments, including those from the cryptocurrency community welcoming him to the team.


Bitcoin Pay

OBJ is the latest NFL player to flock to bitcoin, but chances are he won’t be the last. The trend is catching on like wildfire. Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers recently partnered with Cash App to be paid in bitcoin. Rodgers said he would take “a portion” of his pay in bitcoin. OBJ’s announcement cuts right to the crypto chase and makes no mention of partial payment, suggesting that 100% of his compensation will be paid in BTC.

NFL free agent Russell Okung was a first-mover for bitcoin pay. He took 50% of his $13 million salary in bitcoin from the Carolina Panthers last year. The repeat pro-bowler was pushing for it even longer.

Mainstream Adoption

Not to be outdone, MLB players are also jumping into the crypto fray. Baseball sensation Shohei Ohtani, who pitches and hits for the Los Angeles Angels, inked a sponsorship deal with crypto exchange FTX as the global ambassador. Shotime, as he’s known, has agreed to be paid for the contract in equity and crypto. He was recently named the MVP of the MLB’s American League in a unanimous vote.

In yet another sign of the times,’s name will appear on the LA sports and entertainment venue that has been known as Staples Center for the past two decades plus.