Categories
Crypto

Altcoins: What You Need to Know

The world of cryptocurrency is full of jargon. And one of the most often-seen terms in this sphere is altcoins. If you’re wondering what exactly altcoins are, you’ve come to the right place. In this quick definition, we’ll explain what you need to know.

What Are Altcoins?

Believe it or not, the basic definition of altcoins is pretty simple.
In a nutshell, an altcoin is any cryptocurrency that is not Bitcoin. Yes, that includes Ether, the second most popular cryptocurrency.

See, back in the day, Bitcoin was the only cryptocurrency available. When other cryptos came onto the scene, they were viewed mostly (and some would say, dismissively) as alternatives to Bitcoin.

Hence, altcoins.

But now altcoins have started to come into their own. As of February 2022, there were more than 17,000 of them.
And while Bitcoin is still the largest cryptocurrency by market value, it’s possible — and even likely — that these altcoins will replace it in the top spot. But it won’t happen today.

As I write, one Bitcoin (BTC) is valued at just north of $44,000. Its market cap is more than $816 billion.
By comparison, Ether’s (ETH) price is currently just over $3,110, and its market cap is just over $373 billion.
Together, Bitcoin and Ether account for roughly 60% of the total crypto market.

Because most altcoins are derived from Bitcoin, their prices tend to move in tandem with Bitcoin’s. However, analysts expect that future developments in the crypto market as it matures will cause altcoin’s prices to break away from the fluctuations of the larger coin.

What Are the Most Popular Altcoins?

Here’s a rundown of five top altcoins:
1. Ether (ETH): Ether can be a little confusing, because the coin is sometimes referred to as Ethereum. However, Ethereum is the decentralized software platform the Ether exists on. Ether facilitates transactions on the Ethereum network. The Ethereum platform operates with a proof-of-stake (PoS) algorithm. This allows the network to run more efficiently and use far less energy than Bitcoin.

2. Litecoin (LTC): Litecoin was among the first altcoins. It was created by Charlie Lee, a former engineer at Google. Litecoin’s transaction confirmation system is faster than Bitcoin’s, making it a favorite among a growing number of online retailers.

3. Dogecoin (DOGE): Dogecoin was the first of what have come to be known as “memecoins.” It was created as a joke and was originally intended to tip Reddit users for amusing posts. Now the coin, which has a Shiba Inu dog as its mascot, has come to be accepted as a form of payment by a handful of major companies. Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, is DOGE’s most vocal fan.

4. Cardano (ADA): Like Ether, Cardano operates with an efficient and more environmentally friendly PoS algorithm. It was designed by a team of academics and has the goal of becoming the globally accepted financial operating system (sort of like SWIFT).

5. Polkadot (DOT): DOT is a cryptocurrency that was developed to connect other blockains. It allows different crypto platforms to work together. Developers can use DOT to create their own blockchains while using Polkadot’s security protocols. This makes DOT especially safe from hacking.

Should You Invest in Altcoins?

Altcoins are like the penny stocks of the crypto world. With the exception of Ether, they haven’t established themselves quite as well as Bitcoin and are therefore a bit more volatile.

Still, a lot of investors are buying altcoins that they believe will be the next top cryptocurrency. And because some of them are quite cheap, they might be a fun speculation. However, never bet any money you can’t afford to lose into risky plays like altcoins (or crypto as a whole, for that matter).

For more advice and education on trading altcoins, Bitcoins, NFTs, and everything else cryptocurrency-related, check out Titan Alerts. A basic membership is 100% free, and you’ll receive daily trading intel and education.

Categories
Stocks

3 Meme Stocks That Don’t Suck

An unexpected phenomenon happened in the stock market in January 2021.

Shares of GameStop (GME), a video game retail store battered by the COVID pandemic, shot skyward. This was despite a large amount of short interest — mainly institutional investors betting that GME shares would plunge.

The rise of GameStop shares wasn’t due to any major positive change in the company’s business fundamentals or exciting plans for the future.

Instead, it was due to a number of retail investors — many of them young and new to trading — who conspired on Reddit threads to boost GME shares and outwit the short sellers.

It worked. GameStop shares skyrocketed from below $20 to above $300 in a matter of days.

GME was the first so-called “meme stock.” Other companies have followed — AMC Entertainment (AMC), BlackBerry (BB), Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY), among them. Meme stocks are often companies that mainstream Wall Street is predicting will crash. But they’re cult favorites among investors online, especially on Reddit.

Now, a lot of these stocks are rated poorly by Wall Street because they deserve it.

And lately, many meme stocks have plunged in value as speculative stocks have taken a beating in the stock market.
But there are a few meme stocks that are actually halfway decent portfolio holdings.

Here are three meme stocks that aren’t crazy-risky and actually have genuine growth potential.

1. Nokia

Nokia (NOK) is a Finnish mobile phone company. But it became a meme stock last year as Wall Street began betting against its growth.

Nokia bears argued that the company’s future relied too much on 5G technology. The COVID pandemic slowed the global rollout of 5G networks, leading institutional investors and hedge funds to add Nokia’s stock to the “shorting list.”

However, retail investors pushed into NOK in January 2021, causing its share price to rise by more than 100%.
Now that the spread of 5G is starting again, analysts are beginning to be bullish on Nokia stock. They’re expecting improved sales growth and efficiency, as well as expanded profit margins.

In addition, Nokia has teamed up with Kyndryl (KD), a spinoff of IBM (IBM) to build out private 5G services (like what you’d get on a college campus, for example).

We wouldn’t be surprised to see Nokia’s stock grow by 50% in the next 12 months, making it a meme stock worth taking seriously.

2. Snap

Snap (SNAP) is a social media company that owns Snapchat. Now, Snapchat has recently fallen out of favor in the U.S. as Millennials and Gen Zers have turned to Meta’s (FB) Instagram and TikTok.

However, it’s still in the game.

That’s largely because Snapchat is a favorite social media app in other parts of the world — in particular, in India.
And during the last quarter, Snap recorded its first-ever quarterly profit.

The company even provided guidance that was more exciting than Meta’s. These announcements sent shares of SNAP skyrocketing 60%.

Snap’s stock is still cheap, having lost more than 23% year-to-date. But now some analysts are changing their tune and saying it could shoot up nearly 160% in 12 months.

That makes right now the perfect time to snap up shares (sorry, not sorry).

3. Tesla

Tesla (TSLA) is the world’s most valuable automaker. So it’s odd that it would be a meme stock.
But there are plenty of Tesla naysayers on Wall Street. That’s largely because the company has typically been valued based on its potential and technology, rather than on its actual production.

But that’s starting to change.

After years of stalling, Tesla is actually making products and profits now. In the fourth quarter of 2021, the company delivered 308,500 vehicles — versus analyst estimates of 267,000.

Tesla shares can be volatile, largely thanks to sometimes controversial remarks made by its CEO, Elon Musk. But underneath all the buzz is an actual EV company.

That makes Tesla worth considering.

Categories
Stocks

Best Cybersecurity Stocks: 4 Stocks to Buy in March

Remember the TV show Mr. Robot, in which hackers teamed up in an attempt to free the world of evil corporations?

Well, in reality, hackers tend not to be so benign. Most criminal cyber activity targets companies. But individuals can fall victim too.  

In recent years, there have been cyberattacks on hospitals and schools, as well as on banks and even energy pipelines. On average, hackers cost victims about $40,000 per hour. And they end up causing nearly half a million people in the U.S. to lose their jobs each year.

The threat of ransomware and other attacks has grown since the COVID pandemic, when a growing number of employees began working from home. 

In addition, Russia, which has apparently allowed or even sponsored cyberattacks on the U.S. and Europe, is expected to step up its hacking activity in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine.

With cyberthreats on the rise, it looks like a great time to invest in companies that work to thwart online criminals. Overall, the cybersecurity market is expected to generate $146 billion annual revenue in 2022 and as much as $211 billion in 2026.

Here are four stocks worth checking out.

1. Cloudflare

Cloudflare (NET) is a web infrastructure and security company based in San Francisco. Its main product is the Cloudflare network, which manages and protects data and code for companies around the world. 

One of the main goals of the Cloudflare platform is to prevent the kind of cyberattacks that easily affect companies and institutions that operate on their own servers. 

Recently, Cloudflare spent $162 million to acquire Area 1 Security Inc. This company specializes in combating socially engineered cyberattacks and provides cloud email security.

Area 1 reports that it is 30% more efficient at preventing email phishing attacks than other methods, such as email gateways and cloud email suites. Its services also thwart malware and ransomware attacks by eliminating them before they start causing damage.

In full-year 2021, Cloudflare grew revenue 52%, to $656.4 million. The company also grew its comfortable cash pile to $1.82 billion. Like many tech companies, Cloudflare hasn’t been profitable yet. It’s using its money to develop products and make strategic additions, like the Area 1 purchase.

However, management is expecting sales to increase more than 40% in fiscal 2022. 

Like practically all technology and growth stocks, Cloudflare shares are down year-to-date — by roughly 20% on macroeconomic concerns. That means right now is a great time to get in.

2. CrowdStrike

CrowdStrike (CRWD) is another company that provides users with a protective cloud-computing platform.

Called Falcon, in a nutshell, it protects computers, smartphones, tablets, etc., from cyberattacks. That’s called “endpoint protection.” 

The company offers more than 20 different software-as-a-service (SaaS) modules that clients can subscribe to. In its most recent quarter, CrowdStrike reported 68% of its clients used at least four modules – a 61% increase from the previous year.

CrowdStrike reports that its system captures more than 1 trillion events daily and uses artificial intelligence (AI) to continuously learn and evolve. When the company’s AI fights a particular kind of hack attack on one client, it learns how to prevent similar attacks on all of its clients.

CrowdStrike was founded in 2011 and is headquartered in Austin, Texas. It has an impressive roster of clients, including 63 of the members of the Fortune 100 and 14 major banks. All told, CrowdStrike has nearly 15,000 customers — an roughly 75% increase from last year.

In the third quarter of CrowdStrike’s fiscal 2022 (which ended in October 2021), the company’s annual revenue grew 67% year-over-year to $1.51 billion.

We can expect to see this kind of growth continue.

As with Cloudflare (and the rest of the tech sector), CrowdStrike’s stock has been beaten down recently. And it’s likely we could see more volatility in its stock. However, this remains a very strong play to profit from the growing cybersecurity market.

3. Fortinet

Based in Sunnyvale, California, Fortinet (FTNT) develops and sells cybersecurity products, including antivirus software, firewalls, endpoint security parts, and intrusion prevention systems.

Fortinet has more than 550,000 customers around the world. Its most popular product is the FortiGate next-generation firewall (NGFW), which protects clients’ networks from unwanted traffic.

Unlike some of the other picks on this list — and unlike many tech stocks in general! — Fortinet is profitable. The company reported a GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) operating margin of 19.5%.

The company also delivered impressive sales in fiscal 2021 that grew 29% year-over-year. Total revenue came in at $3.34 billion. Cash from operations also increased from $1.08 billion in 2020 to $1.5 billion in 2021.

Because of its actual profitability — not just the promise of prophets — Fortinet’s stock has actually grown 100% in value over the last 12 months. But that’s not to say there’s no growth left in this stock. 

4. Okta

San Francisco-based Okta (OKTA) is a company that provides clients security by focusing on identity management. Its multifactor authentication services have been a hit with employers that let workers go remote during the COVID pandemic. 

The company’s fiscal 2022 third quarter wrapped up in October. Revenue increased 61% year-over-year, to $351 million. And Okta’s remaining performance obligations were worth $2.35 billion.

Okta’s management expects revenues to grow over the coming years, too. It issued guidance for fiscal year 2026 (which will end on January 31, 2026) that projects annual revenue north of $4 billion and with a free-cash flow margin of 20%.

So why not get in on this stock now?

Categories
Stocks

War in Europe: What Investors Should Do Now

It’s something many of us thought we’d never witness: an all-out assault on a country in Europe. Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began last week, we’ve seen the most land combat in the continent since the end of World War 2.

And thanks to the internet, the war is all too real for people around the world. We can follow along minute by nail-biting minute.

As you can imagine, that’s made the stock market pretty tense. And it’s not like we needed more volatility in stocks already this year.

During the month of February, each of the major indexes fell more than 3%, marking the second straight month of losses.

Since the invasion began, stocks have largely recovered. But it’s likely we’ll see more volatility in the markets as this situation plays out.

So what’s an investor to do?

In reality, the answer is: Not much.

Don’t Be Fearful

When you trade stocks, you should always be careful to keep your emotions out of the way. Easier said than done, right?

However, emotions can cloud your logical thinking. And when you’re dealing with your money, you want to be as logical as possible.

Fear and panic are among the most potentially destructive emotions when it comes to investing. They can hold you back from great gains.

For instance, say you panicked last week when Russia began its invasion and pulled out of your money out of stocks.

Although the markets were down Thursday morning, by the end of the day, they were back on the rise.

You would have lost out on the pleasant gains your portfolio could have made Friday morning, all because of fear.

Should You Change Your Investing Strategy?

In times of crisis, historically, people have gone to extremes such as burying gold coins in their backyard.

Although it always makes sense to have a diversified investment portfolio and not put 100% of your cash into stocks, this kind of extreme behavior won’t do you any good.

The best thing to do right now is to continue with your main investing strategy and focus on holding for the long term, beyond the current volatility.

That said, be sure to be on the lookout for great investment ideas along the way.

Along with defense companies, cybersecurity stocks look like good themes to add to your portfolio now — especially given Russia’s penchant for ransomware attacks. I would also recommend looking into energy stocks without exposure to that country.

In addition, given that it’s likely we’ll see gas prices on the rise, consider investing in electric vehicles (EVs). Already a hot investing trend, demand for EVs could grow faster and stronger than we previously expected.

How to Help

And if you’re feeling helpless and looking for the best ways to help in the current crisis, consider donating some of your investment gains to those who need it the most: the children of Ukraine. Save the Children and Voices of Children are two legit organizations that are currently working to help kids affected and displaced by the war.