Keeping Your Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrency Taxes Current

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Taxes, everything Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum stand against. A centralized tax on a deregulated currency sounds oxymoronic to the ears. Despite this, I get asked about the new taxes the United States Internal Revenue Service recently announced and can understand the confusion. The truth is that tax and cryptocurrency are nothing new and the IRS has had a Frequently Asked Questions about cryptocurrency since 2014. Since these are relatively new laws, it is much less complicated than to backtrack and find what rules are current.

The Federal government recognizes virtual currency as property and is treated as such. As far your own Bitcoin spending and crypto-based taxable responsibilities are concerned, the IRS expects you to treat it as any other domestic property exchanged for goods or services, and or, sold for loss or profit. Before you get ready to file your tax returns as normal, there are some critical distinctions that the IRS has made about reporting investment income activity the selling of virtual currency in regards to this 2014 IRS Notice.

In general, the sale or exchange of convertible virtual currency, or the use of convertible virtual currency to pay for goods or services in a real-world economy transaction, has tax consequences that may result in a tax liability. This notice addresses only the U.S. federal tax consequences of transactions in, or transactions that use, convertible virtual currency, and the term “virtual currency” as used in Section 4 refers only to convertible virtual currency. No inference should be drawn with respect to virtual currencies not described in this notice.

The IRS expects you to keep accurate investing records. So if you are one of the thousands of people who joined the cryptocurrency community within the past three years, Uncle Sam expects you to amend your previous year’s return for the last three years, or from two years to the date of final payment on that year’s tax liability.  To do this, just file Form 1040X, Amended Tax Return, along with the corrected or additional documents you did not originally file with your return. If you think that this may be a big bother over nothing, maybe I should remind you of this.

Most people are finally asking questions about virtual currency tax liabilities because of the profits made from the recent swelling of Bitcoin and Ethereuem market caps. The Federal Government knows that these markets are stabilizing at these historic highs, giving early investors ample opportunity to convert those extremely high returns to U.S. Dollars. As Fortune reported, Through an Investigation and federal summons and ugly lawsuits with the exchange Coinbase, the IRS found out that less 1,000 people were actually following through on their crypto-tax responsibilities.

IRS agent David Utzke reveals additional information about how the agency is conducting the investigation. Specifically, Utzke explains he ran a computer analysis against the IRS’s repository of hundreds of millions of tax records, and found fewer than a thousand people filed a Form 8949 to account for a “property description likely related to bitcoin.

Fortune.com – Jeff John Roberts -” Only 802 People Told the IRS About Bitcoin”

Mar 19, 2017
Regardless of the outcome of the IRS’s probe into Coinbase or other cryptocurrency exchanges, the intent of government seems to point at more transparency in cryptocurrency transactions as well as building cases against tax evaders and money launderers. In one sense, these actions may lead to a more trusted outlook on bitcoin from tradition investors as the eventual death of the historic bull market looms, but that remains to be seen. While we wait for the outcome of the battle for centralized control over deregulated markets, the best we can do is keep accurate records and stayed informed. Coinbase offers its users a tool to help comply with IRS reporting regulations by exporting all transactions. The exhange also goes so far to give taxpayers the link to to the above-sourced notice from 2014, in this article. So one can logicly assume that these laws are current.
It breaks down to this. If you pay someone in virtual currency or receive income based on a convertible virtual currency, meaning trades like a currency on an exchange like, Coinbase, Kraken, etc. you should report the item accordingly as a capital gain or loss on a form Schedule D, or in the case of income from non-employee compensation, Forms and Associated Taxes for Independent Contractors.  Many Independent and Third-Party Contractors are adapting virtual currencies to either pay for labor or allow customers to tip for services or to pay for in-app purchases. I feel these, tax laws will be necessary to know for both small business owners and freelance contract labor as I am of the personal opinion that tradition brick and mortar retailers will have to adopt these virtual currencies to curve the overall decline in physical sales lost to online transactions.
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2016 Filing Status And Income

As with most investment income, profits from selling or converting virtual currency or stock held less than a year are considered short-term and typically taxed at the taxpayer’s Ordinary Tax Rate *see above.  In the Case of Long-Term holdings, or more than one-year, The levy on the sell-for-profit of cryptocurrency is  10% to 15%, unless the filer is classified a High-Income Taxpayer, then the tax becomes 25% to 28%

Please remember that this is not investment or tax advice. You should check with your own tax professional in regards to converting between other virtual currencies or the Treasury Department and IRS, who understand that taxpayers may have questions. The appropriate contact information for an IRS opinion on this topic is, Notice.Comments@irscounsel.treas.gov. Taxpayers should include “Notice 2014-21” in the subject line. OR alternatively:

Internal Revenue Service Attn: CC:PA:LPD:PR (Notice 2014-21)

Room 5203 P.O. Box 7604

Ben Franklin Station Washington, D.C. 20044

Thank you for reading, I plan to follow this up with another installment soon, soon please follow this blog and leave your questions in the comments section below. If you feel like this has helped you and you would like to support this blog.

Bitcoin: 1Q5v1vUT9YXMB9aWz85HfYrpBeGywH3bxk.

Ethereum: 0x13cF24A3636568Bd0f15CFDdDEaE3D8d6261aeb2

Follow me on Twitter.  @a_m_faulkner

and check our cryptocurrency discussion group on facebook.

Happy Mining, Good Luck Trading Everyone.  

-AMF 

 

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Ether Euphoria fades as I am Cutoff by Coinbase! Drats!

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coinbaseWhat could be worse than your current speculative cryptocurrency investment suddenly seeing the micro-bubble pop out from underneath it? How about your wallet and exchange suddenly changing policies and forcing you to update your bank and identification information through a live webcam. That is apparently what has just happened to be as  Ethereum has fallen from the massive rally on Thursday that saw the price soar as high as $50 early Friday morning. When the price suddenly fell later into the pre-dawn hours, the exchange stopped allowing me to do my regular traded between Bitcoin and Ether and promoted me with the now

When the price suddenly fell later into the pre-dawn hours, the exchange stopped allowing me to do my regular traded between Bitcoin and Ether and promoted me with the now notorious update screen!

I will keep you updated on the events to come but remember that this is an example of why we not to give your personal information to centralized exchange!

 

Is It The Right Time To Invest In Bitcoin?

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Q:  Is it the right time to invest in Bitcoin?

Close up 3D illustration of paneled golden Bitcoins

 A: 1.4 billion invested in 2016. Thinks investment will slow down this year. Will be worth millions each or nothing. But thinks it is here to stay.

Commentary: Is buying anything at its peak ever the right time to buy? This is the test of the truly disciplined investor. A key reason Bitcoin saw so much interest in 2016 is global economic uncertainty throughout the past decade and the global proliferation of the blockchain through the efforts of individual activist investors and entrepreneurs.

If by attempting to chase the ensuing record-breaking market-cap rally in 2017 you believe that by “now” being “the right time” is due to a break out in mainstream acceptance in bitcoin then the question is a fair one. The answer attempts to give confidence in the current sentiment that bitcoin investments will continue to grow more lucrative despite the “slow down” the author is probably inferring to sourced here by CB Insights.

Now is Definitely A Historic Moment That Requires Examing

The author of this bullish thesis chooses to interrupt the data optimistically as Blockchain backed technologies and Bitcoin startups have thus been able to penetrate the moat surrounding the financial technology industry.This is in fact, true, in 2016 investing among those startups did increase %5 from $524 million to $550 million, with Blockchain backing new ventures on the Australian Stock Exchange, and a breakthrough innovation in providing the transaction ledger for the NYSE traded company Overstock.

But despite these innovations, nobody is exactly sure why the rate of startup investing has slowed from the previous boom felt in 2013. Before 2013 there was virtually no interest backing these ventures alone from the first entrepreneurs like Roger Ver. With the public aware of gaining attention through the U.S. government’s seizure of millions of dollars in Bitcoin from the dark web marketplace “The Silk Road,” global investing in Blockchain and Bitcoin boomed to $93M that year and exponentially swelled nearly four times in 2014 to $357M. It was then when Bitcoin saw its historical high that we have only recently begun to recover from the pursuing sell-offs. This is why 2013 in my opinion, is a key factor in understanding the dynamics of investing in today’s cryptocurrency market.

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Blockchain and Bitcoin Investing Startup Plateau  and Inflection Point

Despite 2013 and 2017 seeing the market capital and price of Bitcoin expand exponentially due to comparable interest and organic growth, it seems that 2017 will now break the trend as the price of Bitcoin battles to maintain its recent returns this year.  Although Bitcoin and cryptocurrency have found wider usage because of this decade’s global economic turmoil, we are venturing into uncharted waters.

What I mean is that while the price of Bitcoin continues to soar in a post-Trump presidency as it did in late 2013, global investing increased in 2014 to help the cryptocurrency gain acceptance. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to maintain the historical high, and the price dramatically fell off. But even in 2015, at a time that Bitcoin’s price went virtually sideways for the year, global startup investing managed to increase around one-third.

The positive trend in growth has already shown signs of reversing when you consider that last year Individual investment opportunities were down from 161 in 2015 to 132 in 2016.Keeping this in mind, it is hard to be optimistic about 2017’s projected startup investing when you consider that most of last year’s $550M was funded during the first two-quarters of 2016. Last years %5 bump only indicates that a recession of venture capital within the niche market while global investors seek to shelter from economic strife.

This could be seen as a reliable indicator of a broader market slowing down because of more competition among the industry. The more options that have become available in the fin-tech marketplace may stabilize the price of services rendered. Another possible explanation for the slowdown could be that people are investing in bitcoin itself rather than the start-ups or even that consolidation has begun to occur within the industry. No matter the reason for the lack of startup funding, the bitcoin community has reaped the benefits of an alternative investment in an uncertain global environment.histoicbit

Key macroeconomic events have driven interest in bitcoin past the concept and novelty stage and attempt to place it in the mainstream. From European economic isolationist to the Asian Subcontinent and Greater Eastern economies faltering on debt and inflation, Bitcoin has continued to draw investors to the table despite the current lack of venture capital heat. It will take a comprehensive look at local bitcoin economies in places with a dense population, like India where there are millions of potential user that may supply the catalyst to push this inflection of technological funding into new rounds of financing. The growing acceptance of cryptocurrency still provides ground-zero growth opportunities like the increasing need for a cashless solution for the population of India or the citizens of state-controlled economies like China only further complicates the question of timing when it comes to investing in the crypto market-place.

Ultimately, it isn’t a question of is now a “make or break” moment for bitcoin and Investors are not in much risk of missing of continued growth and high returns, it is in my opinion still a “wait and see” opportunity. That may not sound like much fun for the moment, but it gives a chance to better understand all the moving pieces to questions you have asked. In my next update, we look at the differences between Blockchain and Bitcoin along with potential competitors and complimentary cryptocurrencies and digital ledger systems. I hope to illustrate the while we wait to see if the Bitcoin does become more valuable as the demand increases, we can profit from other cryptocurrencies. This will help lay the path to better understand the security features of blockchain and bitcoin. Eventually, my goal is to educate you to the point of understanding the various ways in investing in cryptocurrency, whether it is trading Bitcoin understanding the cost associated with mining.

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Google AI Can Create Its Own Crpyto

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Recently it was discovered that the artificial intelligence experts of The Google’s Brain project were able to create A.I. that is capable of developing its own secure secret language or cryptography.

The accomplishment is leaving some with more questions than answers currently available.

It seems that nobody at Google has any idea how this extra layer of encryption actually works, not even the A.I.

In an experiment, the A.I. networks were created, two were instructed to communicate securely with each other using a shared secret key, while the third was assigned the task of intercepting and decrypting those communications.

The result, the two communicating networks were able to develop their own crypto layer that the third network was unsuccessful at cracking.

Importantly, the AIs were not told how to encrypt stuff, or what crypto techniques to use: they were just given a loss function (a failure condition), and then they got on with it. In Eve’s case, the loss function was very simple: the distance, measured in correct and incorrect bits, between Alice’s original input plaintext and its guess. For Alice and Bob the loss function was a bit more complex: if Bob’s guess (again measured in bits) was too far from the original input plaintext, it was a loss; for Alice, if Eve’s guesses are better than random guessing, it’s a loss. And thus an adversarial generative network (GAN) was create

via Google AI invents its own cryptographic algorithm; no one knows how it works | Ars Technica UK

Bitcoin $1000 – Third Time Is A Charm

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If you have been following cryptocurrency this month then no doubt you have been keeping a close eye on the price of Bitcoin($BTC). For a third time, the electronic currency has a market price of over $1000.

 

Some had guessed that this occurrence would happen last night but the rally was delayed and waited until early today break past this crucial resistance.

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12 hours chart via coindesk

Will this current rally hold or will Bitcoin be made to collect more solid support before these recent gains can be looked at as a win for the community of bitcoin enthusiast and investors?

Beware of Crypto-MLMs and High Return Investments on Social Media

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via Beware of Crypto-MLMs and High Return Investments on Social Media – Bitcoin News

Unfortunately, the world of cryptocurrency has seen a bunch of people running scammy ‘investments’ preying on people’s lack of knowledge. Over the past couple of years, shady organizations such as Onecoin, MMM Global and others have brought a slew of shady characters operating get-rich-quick schemes and Multi-Level Marketing scams. It’s good to know how to spot these types of sketchy operations and refrain from participating.

Also Read: How Sustainable Will Bitcoin Be After the Apocalypse?

Beware of So-Called Online Investments

Beware of Crypto-MLMs and High Return Investments on Social MediaBitcoin.com has done extensive reporting on the likes of the so-called digital currency Onecoin. We’ve also covered a few other MLM operations that use virtual currencies and have uncovered many red flags associated with these businesses and their employees. Besides Onecoin, there is a vast amount of other scams that people should be aware of so they can better protect themselves and their legitimate investments.

Social media has a broad array of groups that pay particular attention to the cryptocurrency landscape. However, when following these groups on Facebook, Google Plus and many others, there is a ton of scammers preying on visitors. They offer unheard-of returns on investments for those wanting to join their ‘club’ as well as promises that will never materialize. Here are some promises from people offering ‘investment opportunities’ within crypto-groups on social media:

31 days online, 30 days paying. 0.3% hourly forever, 7.5% daily forever, 60% weekly forever. 0.001 BTC minimum, and automatic withdrawals.

OMG! Just signed up.. $4 bonus… with potential income of $100 a week or less.. Completing simple tasks, no investment, totally free… just sign up.

New Doubler Investment Site!!! 0 running days, 200% hourly for 50 hours, 240% after one day, 355% after two days, 470% after three days, 585% after four days, 600% after five days, Min deposit:$1, we accept bitcoin.

Beware of Crypto-MLMs and High Return Investments on Social Media
There is a lot of shady investment opportunities on Facebook, Google Plus, Linkedin, Twitter and more.

‘Scam Artists: the Evil Cousins of Genuine Entrepreneurs’

Many of these types of investment scams ask for people to send a minimum of bitcoin so they can expect a bigger payout in the future. Furthermore, a lot of these shady organizations run under a Multi-Level-Marketing (MLM) business model. MLMs consist of people who are selling in a pyramid or referral type of marketing system. The business model requires recruiting more people to fund the entire network and has always been a controversial business plan. Companies can often be seen operating in this manner using bitcoin within their operations and accrue revenue from direct sales and downline distribution. And yes, there are legal MLM structures in many markets that run legitimate business operations and should not be considered Ponzi schemes.

However, a large portion of MLMs associated with Bitcoin (if not all) are shady operations, so buyers and potential registrants should beware. Scams in relation to Bitcoin mean the community must continuously be on top of its game to expose such operations. Austrian economist Jeffrey Tucker believes scams are a form of flattery and a bullish sign for the digital currency. Tucker explains this rationale in 2015 stating:

Let’s ask a deeper question: why are scam artists so attracted to Bitcoin? The answer is actually flattering. Scam artists are the evil cousins of genuine entrepreneurs. They are alert to new opportunities. They are attracted to ventures that are popular among the smart set. They are profoundly aware of what people imagine to be the next big thing. Their interest in Bitcoin, then, is actually a bullish sign. I would be more worried about this market if scam artists were not interested in it.  

If it’s Too Good to Be True, It Probably Is

A lot of online resources and consumer reports may help distinguish whether or not an ‘investment operation’ is a scam. It’s safe to assume that most of the MLMs and significantly ‘high investment’ return opportunities associated with Bitcoin are not legitimate operations. Most of these scam artists and fake investments are pretty easy to spot, and people should be very cautious when approached by individuals soliciting money on the internet. If the investment sounds too good to be true with wild promises of daily payouts, or you need to recruit hundreds of people to earn income, then it’s probably not in your best interest.

What do you think about MLMs, doubler investments, and scam artists using Bitcoin in the backdrop? Let us know in the comments below.


Images via Shutterstock, Pixabay and various Facebook groups.


Whether you’re a beginner or a long-time bitcoin player, there’s always something interesting going on in the bitcoin.com Forums. We are proud free speech advocates, and no matter what your opinion on bitcoin we guarantee it’ll be seen and heard here. We don’t censor.

What is Preferred Stock?

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For anyone attempting to do their due diligence on a potential investment opportunity, the task can be a daunting experience. Many investors often misunderstand the confusing legal speak within the SEC filings that publicly traded companies are required to issue. This guide is intended to help investors better comprehend the practice of a preferred stock issuance.

Preferred Stock is something of a hybrid between common stock and bonds or debt. Typically, those shares are paid a regular cash dividend, regardless of company’s financial position to issue a regular dividend to the common shares. Commonly, these types of stocks sell in large blocks, purchased by financial institutions who has several tax advantages over retail investors.

When an investor buys preferred shares, they do so at the par value, a set price that determines the amount the issuer is obligated to pay as a preferred dividend. To determine the preferred dividend’s annual payout, multiply the dividend’s percentage by the par value.

5% preferred stock x $100 par = $5 per year annual dividends

Although preferred shares typically do not show much appreciation they can provide financial institutions with an incentive to stay vested in the underlying security. This type of scenario is the most common example of a Non-Participating Preferred Stock. What this means for the above example is that if 10,000 non-participating shares were issued, regardless of the company’s performance the annual dividend payout will never yield more than the set $50,000. Sounds boring, right?

A simple way to understand the difference between preferred stock and other investment vehicles is to look at how shareholders get treated if the issuer becomes financially distressed. If an issuer does file for bankruptcy and their assets are liquidated to satisfy the bondholders, the preferred stockholders are entitled to any left-over monies before the common shareholders.

Publicly traded companies often need flexibility when it comes to acquiring capital. Preferred stock is issued based on the issuer’s creditworthiness and other related factors. Preferred stock serves as a middle-ground between equity-based common shares, and the debt obligations to bond holders.

Sometimes to entice buyers and compensate for the lack of appreciation in the par value, Participating Preferred Stock is issued for dividend payments more than the price set by the par value.

All preferred stock is either Cumulative or Non-Cumulative. Cumulative is the most characteristic of the preferred stock and derives its name from the accumulation of all delinquent dividend payments owed to the owner

While it is non-cumulative dividends are rare, they do get produced in situations where a company has a previously established history of making the regular dividend payments to the common shareholders.If the issuer cannot pay the preferred dividend, those shareholders are owed their dividend before the common shareholders can receive any expected profit sharing. Those missed payments are known as “in arrears”  and take priority to the common shares claim to the issuer’s assets.

This financial instrument gives investors the opportunity to be shareholder and creditor.The promise of a preferred dividend entitles the preferred stockholders to preferential treatment, second only to the bondholders. Unlike bonds, failure to pay the dividend does not result in default or bankruptcy.

Preferential Treatment Where it Gets Tricky

The motivations for a publicly traded company to issue preferred shares can lead to uncommon occurrences in the issuing terms.

Preferred shareholders can also be granted votings rights if the dividends are in jeopardy of being paid. Often these rare occurrences can lead investors to a better insight into the overall financial picture of a potential investment. That is why it is important always to investigate the motivates of the issuer for offering the preferred shares.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Camping World IPO Holding Early Returns

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Camping World Holdings met Friday’s opening bell with its IPO that placed 11.4 million shares placed at $22, raising $251 million.

At its peak, the stock reached $24.35 but by 2 P.M, the company’s ticker, CWH, was holding a %5 return on 10 million in volume but closed at $2.50 or %2.27.

The company believes they have a competitive edge due to their diverse holdings and claims says to the largest network of RV-focused retail locations in the U.S.

Driven by top and bottom line growth spread throughout 36 states with a total 120 outlets the company has increased its annual revenue to $3.33 billion in 2015. With less consistent growth, Net Profit has also shown a steady annual increase, up from $5.4 million in 2011, to $178 million in 2016.

The Recreational Vehicles market has seen steady growth as recession-riddled millennials and retired baby boomers look for alternative leisure activities.

While it is estimated that in the largest transfers of wealth the baby boomer generation will be left behind $30 trillion to their Gen X and Millennial children.

This may help CPW begin to look like a candidate for a potential Millennial themed portfolio and we will continue to watch this one from the sidelines.

 

A Review of The Intelligent Investor – By Matthew Waterman

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Book Review: “The Intelligent Investor”, by Benjamin Graham 4th edition with liner notes by Jason Zweig.

I believe I first read “The Intelligent Investor” at some point around 2005. It was really an incredible coincidence that I ran across it during the time I did. I was looking to expand my own knowledge base, and at the same time, I just happened to be working at Countrywide financial, which ended up being one of the largest players in the mortgage meltdown in 2007.

I was just so perfectly prepared for that bear market because of that. I had very recently taken my first two accounting courses in college as well, and had been tinkering with individual stocks before that. What happened was that I was working this part time gig for a few hours each night with this accounting firm, because I didn’t feel like I had a good understanding with what my teacher had taught vs. what made an investment successful .

There used to be an older gentleman who would be in that office from time to time, and I remember that I found out he was into the stock market, and I mentioned how well my Sirius Sattellite Radio had done that day, up something like 5%. The response he gave was something I’ll never forget: “Do you really think that 5 or 10 years down the road, that number would be meaningful?”. Answered honestly, I couldn’t say that I had any idea. He directed me to start reading about Warren Buffett.

So I did. The first book I read about Buffett was a biography, “Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist” by Roger Lowenstein, and the other was Mary Buffett’s “Buffetology”. Those two books overwhelmingly pointed to Benjamin Graham as the source of Warren’s investment mentality, and so I picked up the 4th edition of “The Intelligent Investor”. I took to the material immediately, and had never seen anything else like it. Inside of just a couple of pages I understood what I was doing incorrectly. I was chasing momtentum and news, and what Graham taught me to do instead was look at the business as if I were the owner, and try to estimate it’s intrinsic worth from there.

Graham changed everything for me. I immediately understood where both my strengths and weaknesses were, and when the 2007 housing market crash hit, I was so well prepared that I took in more than a 400% gain before 2008 ended. That volatility continued well into the next year, and I doubled my holdings inside nearly every couple of weeks during that madness. I haven’t tracked my performance for a while now, but I know that by 2012 I was sitting an an increase approaching 50,000% of my initial capital.

What Graham really hit home with in his writing was on buying companies that earned profits. To that point I had been purchasing stocks on news, and on dips in their charts. I had thought that was what “Buying Low” was. Graham tought me to think about the future of a business, not it’s past, but by using the businesses’ past as your guide.

Graham ‘s core concept is centered around a “Return to mean”. A business that’s been doing the same things for a long time tends to keep doing them, so you get in there and buy them when they are having a temporary, but solvable problem. Alternatively, he gives you tips on how to value the assets on a company’s balance sheet, so that you can know if a true catastrophe is in the cards for a struggling company. You learn to find greater chances for rewards with substantially less risk involved.

More than anything, he teaches you to be fearless in the face of a fearful, easy dismayed stock and bond market. You learn to prepare for these times, and how to hedge your losses when there is risk involved. Best of all, you learn that all of these things are entirely within yourself to control. Graham’s book is so complete that you could probably never read any other and outperform at least 80% of the market easily. With a bit of fine tuning that comes from practice, I think I’ve got this number into a range of 98%.

Since that time, I’ve become a contributor for Seeking Alpha as well as a few smaller sites, and have introduced a couple of new concepts to the field. I have a chart named after me called the “Waterman Life Cross”, and am developing a new method around what I call “Insult Theory”, which is a way of using investor sentiment to guage if there is serious interest in a stock, or if the owners don’t understand the business at all. Graham was the foundation for both methods, and I believe that anything good that comes in the future will also be due to his writings.

Matthew Waterman, Contributor at Seeking Alpha

If you would like to read more please follow Matthew on Seeking Alpha and Twitter.