Bitcoin Table of contents expand: 1. What is Bitcoin? 2. Understanding Bitcoin 3. How Bitcoin Works 4. What's a Bitcoin Worth? 5. How Bitcoin Began 6. Who Invented Bitcoin? 7. Before Satoshi 8. Why Is Satoshi Anonymous? 9. The Suspects 10. Can Satoshi's Identity Be Proven? 11. Receiving Bitcoins As Payment 12. Working For Bitcoins 13. Bitcoin From Interest Payments 14. Bitcoins From Gambling 15. Investing in Bitcoins 16. Risks of Bitcoin Investing 17. Bitcoin Regulatory Risk 18. Security Risk of Bitcoins 19. Insurance Risk 20. Risk of Bitcoin Fraud 21. Market Risk 22. Bitcoin's Tax Risk What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a digital currency created in January 2009. It follows the ideas set out in a white paper by the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto, whose true identity is yet to be verified. Bitcoin offers the promise of lower transaction fees than traditional online payment mechanisms and is operated by a decentralized authority, unlike government-issued currencies.
There are no physical bitcoins, only balances kept on a public ledger in the cloud, that – along with all Bitcoin transactions – is verified by a massive amount of computing power. Bitcoins are not issued or backed by any banks or governments, nor are individual bitcoins valuable as a commodity. Despite it not being legal tender, Bitcoin charts high on popularity, and has triggered the launch of other virtual currencies collectively referred to as Altcoins.
Understanding Bitcoin Bitcoin is a type of cryptocurrency: Balances are kept using public and private "keys," which are long strings of numbers and letters linked through the mathematical encryption algorithm that was used to create them. The public key (comparable to a bank account number) serves as the address which is published to the world and to which others may send bitcoins. The private key (comparable to an ATM PIN) is meant to be a guarded secret and only used to authorize Bitcoin transmissions. Style notes: According to the official Bitcoin Foundation, the word "Bitcoin" is capitalized in the context of referring to the entity or concept, whereas "bitcoin" is written in the lower case when referring to a quantity of the currency (e.g. "I traded 20 bitcoin") or the units themselves. The plural form can be either "bitcoin" or "bitcoins."
How Bitcoin Works Bitcoin is one of the first digital currencies to use peer-to-peer technology to facilitate instant payments. The independent individuals and companies who own the governing computing power and participate in the Bitcoin network, also known as "miners," are motivated by rewards (the release of new bitcoin) and transaction fees paid in bitcoin. These miners can be thought of as the decentralized authority enforcing the credibility of the Bitcoin network. New bitcoin is being released to the miners at a fixed, but periodically declining rate, such that the total supply of bitcoins approaches 21 million. One bitcoin is divisible to eight decimal places (100 millionths of one bitcoin), and this smallest unit is referred to as a Satoshi. If necessary, and if the participating miners accept the change, Bitcoin could eventually be made divisible to even more decimal places. Bitcoin mining is the process through which bitcoins are released to come into circulation. Basically, it involves solving a computationally difficult puzzle to discover a new block, which is added to the blockchain and receiving a reward in the form of a few bitcoins. The block reward was 50 new bitcoins in 2009; it decreases every four years. As more and more bitcoins are created, the difficulty of the mining process – that is, the amount of computing power involved – increases. The mining difficulty began at 1.0 with Bitcoin's debut back in 2009; at the end of the year, it was only 1.18. As of February 2019, the mining difficulty is over 6.06 billion. Once, an ordinary desktop computer sufficed for the mining process; now, to combat the difficulty level, miners must use faster hardware like Application-Specific Integrated Circuits (ASIC), more advanced processing units like Graphic Processing Units (GPUs), etc.
What's a Bitcoin Worth? In 2017 alone, the price of Bitcoin rose from a little under $1,000 at the beginning of the year to close to $19,000, ending the year more than 1,400% higher. Bitcoin's price is also quite dependent on the size of its mining network since the larger the network is, the more difficult – and thus more costly – it is to produce new bitcoins. As a result, the price of bitcoin has to increase as its cost of production also rises. The Bitcoin mining network's aggregate power has more than tripled over the past twelve months.
How Bitcoin Began
Aug. 18, 2008: The domain name bitcoin.org is registered. Today, at least, this domain is "WhoisGuard Protected," meaning the identity of the person who registered it is not public information.
Oct. 31, 2008: Someone using the name Satoshi Nakamoto makes an announcement on The Cryptography Mailing list at metzdowd.com: "I've been working on a new electronic cash system that's fully peer-to-peer, with no trusted third party. The paper is available at http://www.bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf." This
link leads to the now-famous white paper published on bitcoin.org entitled "Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System." This paper would become the Magna Carta for how Bitcoin operates today.
Jan. 3, 2009: The first Bitcoin block is mined, Block 0. This is also known as the "genesis block" and contains the text: "The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks," perhaps as proof that the block was mined on or after that date, and perhaps also as relevant political commentary.
Jan. 8, 2009: The first version of the Bitcoin software is announced on The Cryptography Mailing list.
Jan. 9, 2009: Block 1 is mined, and Bitcoin mining commences in earnest.
Who Invented Bitcoin?
No one knows. Not conclusively, at any rate. Satoshi Nakamoto is the name associated with the person or group of people who released the original Bitcoin white paper in 2008 and worked on the original Bitcoin software that was released in 2009. The Bitcoin protocol requires users to enter a birthday upon signup, and we know that an individual named Satoshi Nakamoto registered and put down April 5 as a birth date. And that's about it.
Though it is tempting to believe the media's spin that Satoshi Nakamoto is a solitary, quixotic genius who created Bitcoin out of thin air, such innovations do not happen in a vacuum. All major scientific discoveries, no matter how original-seeming, were built on previously existing research. There are precursors to Bitcoin: Adam Back’s Hashcash, invented in 1997, and subsequently Wei Dai’s b-money, Nick Szabo’s bit gold and Hal Finney’s Reusable Proof of Work. The Bitcoin white paper itself cites Hashcash and b-money, as well as various other works spanning several research fields.
Why Is Satoshi Anonymous?
There are two primary motivations for keeping Bitcoin's inventor keeping his or her or their identity secret. One is privacy. As Bitcoin has gained in popularity – becoming something of a worldwide phenomenon – Satoshi Nakamoto would likely garner a lot of attention from the media and from governments.
The other reason is safety. Looking at 2009 alone, 32,489 blocks were mined; at the then-reward rate of 50 BTC per block, the total payout in 2009 was 1,624,500 BTC, which at today’s prices is over $900 million. One may conclude that only Satoshi and perhaps a few other people were mining through 2009 and that they possess a majority of that $900 million worth of BTC. Someone in possession of that much BTC could become a target of criminals, especially since bitcoins are less like stocks and more like cash, where the private keys needed to authorize spending could be printed out and literally kept under a mattress. While it's likely the inventor of Bitcoin would take precautions to make any extortion-induced transfers traceable, remaining anonymous is a good way for Satoshi to limit exposure.
Numerous people have been suggested as possible Satoshi Nakamoto by major media outlets. Oct. 10, 2011, The New Yorker published an article speculating that Nakamoto might be Irish cryptography student Michael Clear or economic sociologist Vili Lehdonvirta. A day later, Fast Company suggested that Nakamoto could be a group of three people – Neal King, Vladimir Oksman and Charles Bry – who together appear on a patent related to secure communications that were filed two months before bitcoin.org was registered. A Vice article published in May 2013 added more suspects to the list, including Gavin Andresen, the Bitcoin project’s lead developer; Jed McCaleb, co-founder of now-defunct Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox; and famed Japanese mathematician Shinichi Mochizuki.
In December 2013, Techcrunch published an interview with researcher Skye Grey who claimed textual analysis of published writings shows a link between Satoshi and bit-gold creator Nick Szabo. And perhaps most famously, in March 2014, Newsweek ran a cover article claiming that Satoshi is actually an individual named Satoshi Nakamoto – a 64-year-old Japanese-American engineer living in California. The list of suspects is long, and all the individuals deny being Satoshi.
Can Satoshi's Identity Be Proven?
It would seem even early collaborators on the project don’t have verifiable proof of Satoshi’s identity. To reveal conclusively who Satoshi Nakamoto is, a definitive link would need to be made between his/her activity with Bitcoin and his/her identity. That could come in the form of linking the party behind the domain registration of bitcoin.org, email and forum accounts used by Satoshi Nakamoto, or ownership of some portion of the earliest mined bitcoins. Even though the bitcoins Satoshi likely possesses are traceable on the blockchain, it seems he/she has yet to cash them out in a way that reveals his/her identity. If Satoshi were to move his/her bitcoins to an exchange today, this might attract attention, but it seems unlikely that a well-funded and successful exchange would betray a customer's privacy.
Receiving Bitcoins As Payment
Bitcoins can be accepted as a means of payment for products sold or services provided. If you have a brick and mortar store, just display a sign saying “Bitcoin Accepted Here” and many of your customers may well take you up on it; the transactions can be handled with the requisite hardware terminal or wallet address through QR codes and touch screen apps. An online business can easily accept bitcoins by just adding this payment option to the others it offers, like credit cards, PayPal, etc. Online payments will require a Bitcoin merchant tool (an external processor like Coinbase or BitPay).
Working For Bitcoins
Those who are self-employed can get paid for a job in bitcoins. There are several websites/job boards which are dedicated to the digital currency:
Work For Bitcoin brings together work seekers and prospective employers through its websiteCoinality features jobs – freelance, part-time and full-time – that offer payment in bitcoins, as well as Dogecoin and LitecoinJobs4Bitcoins, part of reddit.comBitGigs
Bitcoin From Interest Payments
Another interesting way (literally) to earn bitcoins is by lending them out and being repaid in the currency. Lending can take three forms – direct lending to someone you know; through a website which facilitates peer-to-peer transactions, pairing borrowers and lenders; or depositing bitcoins in a virtual bank that offers a certain interest rate for Bitcoin accounts. Some such sites are Bitbond, BitLendingClub, and BTCjam. Obviously, you should do due diligence on any third-party site.
Bitcoins From Gambling
It’s possible to play at casinos that cater to Bitcoin aficionados, with options like online lotteries, jackpots, spread betting, and other games. Of course, the pros and cons and risks that apply to any sort of gambling and betting endeavors are in force here too.
Investing in Bitcoins
There are many Bitcoin supporters who believe that digital currency is the future. Those who endorse it are of the view that it facilitates a much faster, no-fee payment system for transactions across the globe. Although it is not itself any backed by any government or central bank, bitcoin can be exchanged for traditional currencies; in fact, its exchange rate against the dollar attracts potential investors and traders interested in currency plays. Indeed, one of the primary reasons for the growth of digital currencies like Bitcoin is that they can act as an alternative to national fiat money and traditional commodities like gold.
In March 2014, the IRS stated that all virtual currencies, including bitcoins, would be taxed as property rather than currency. Gains or losses from bitcoins held as capital will be realized as capital gains or losses, while bitcoins held as inventory will incur ordinary gains or losses.
Like any other asset, the principle of buying low and selling high applies to bitcoins. The most popular way of amassing the currency is through buying on a Bitcoin exchange, but there are many other ways to earn and own bitcoins. Here are a few options which Bitcoin enthusiasts can explore.
Risks of Bitcoin Investing
Though Bitcoin was not designed as a normal equity investment (no shares have been issued), some speculative investors were drawn to the digital money after it appreciated rapidly in May 2011 and again in November 2013. Thus, many people purchase bitcoin for its investment value rather than as a medium of exchange.
However, their lack of guaranteed value and digital nature means the purchase and use of bitcoins carries several inherent risks. Many investor alerts have been issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and other agencies.
The concept of a virtual currency is still novel and, compared to traditional investments, Bitcoin doesn't have much of a long-term track record or history of credibility to back it. With their increasing use, bitcoins are becoming less experimental every day, of course; still, after eight years, they (like all digital currencies) remain in a development phase, still evolving. "It is pretty much the highest-risk, highest-return investment that you can possibly make,” says Barry Silbert, CEO of Digital Currency Group, which builds and invests in Bitcoin and blockchain companies.
Bitcoin Regulatory Risk
Investing money into Bitcoin in any of its many guises is not for the risk-averse. Bitcoins are a rival to government currency and may be used for black market transactions, money laundering, illegal activities or tax evasion. As a result, governments may seek to regulate, restrict or ban the use and sale of bitcoins, and some already have. Others are coming up with various rules. For example, in 2015, the New York State Department of Financial Services finalized regulations that would require companies dealing with the buy, sell, transfer or storage of bitcoins to record the identity of customers, have a compliance officer and maintain capital reserves. The transactions worth $10,000 or more will have to be recorded and reported.
Although more agencies will follow suit, issuing rules and guidelines, the lack of uniform regulations about bitcoins (and other virtual currency) raises questions over their longevity, liquidity, and universality.
Security Risk of Bitcoins
Bitcoin exchanges are entirely digital and, as with any virtual system, are at risk from hackers, malware and operational glitches. If a thief gains access to a Bitcoin owner's computer hard drive and steals his private encryption key, he could transfer the stolen Bitcoins to another account. (Users can prevent this only if bitcoins are stored on a computer which is not connected to the internet, or else by choosing to use a paper wallet – printing out the Bitcoin private keys and addresses, and not keeping them on a computer at all.) Hackers can also target Bitcoin exchanges, gaining access to thousands of accounts and digital wallets where bitcoins are stored. One especially notorious hacking incident took place in 2014, when Mt. Gox, a Bitcoin exchange in Japan, was forced to close down after millions of dollars worth of bitcoins were stolen.
This is particularly problematic once you remember that all Bitcoin transactions are permanent and irreversible. It's like dealing with cash: Any transaction carried out with bitcoins can only be reversed if the person who has received them refunds them. There is no third party or a payment processor, as in the case of a debit or credit card – hence, no source of protection or appeal if there is a problem.
Some investments are insured through the Securities Investor Protection Corporation. Normal bank accounts are insured through the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) up to a certain amount depending on the jurisdiction. Bitcoin exchanges and Bitcoin accounts are not insured by any type of federal or government program.
Risk of Bitcoin Fraud
While Bitcoin uses private key encryption to verify owners and register transactions, fraudsters and scammers may attempt to sell false bitcoins. For instance, in July 2013, the SEC brought legal action against an operator of a Bitcoin-related Ponzi scheme.
Like with any investment, Bitcoin values can fluctuate. Indeed, the value of the currency has seen wild swings in price over its short existence. Subject to high volume buying and selling on exchanges, it has a high sensitivity to “news." According to the CFPB, the price of bitcoins fell by 61% in a single day in 2013, while the one-day price drop in 2014 has been as big as 80%.
If fewer people begin to accept Bitcoin as a currency, these digital units may lose value and could become worthless. There is already plenty of competition, and though Bitcoin has a huge lead over the other 100-odd digital currencies that have sprung up, thanks to its brand recognition and venture capital money, a technological break-through in the form of a better virtual coin is always a threat.
Bitcoin's Tax Risk
As bitcoin is ineligible to be included in any tax-advantaged retirement accounts, there are no good, legal options to shield investments from taxation.
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The satoshi is the smallest unit of the bitcoin cryptocurrency. It is named after Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of the protocol used in block chains and the bitcoin cryptocurrency.
Chartalism Chartalism is a non-mainstream theory of money that emphasizes the impact of government policies and activities on the value of money.
Satoshi Nakamoto The name used by the unknown creator of the protocol used in the bitcoin cryptocurrency. Satoshi Nakamoto is closely-associated with blockchain technology.
Bitcoin Mining, Explained Breaking down everything you need to know about Bitcoin Mining, from Blockchain and Block Rewards to Proof-of-Work and Mining Pools.
Understanding Bitcoin Unlimited Bitcoin Unlimited is a proposed upgrade to Bitcoin Core that allows larger block sizes. The upgrade is designed to improve transaction speed through scale.
A guide to help you understand what blockchain is and how it can be used by industries. You've probably encountered a definition like this: “blockchain is a distributed, decentralized, public ledger." But blockchain is easier to understand than it sounds.
By Satoshi Nakamoto
Read it once, go read other crypto stuff, read it again… keep doing this until the whole document makes sense. It’ll take a while, but you’ll get there. This is the original whitepaper introducing and explaining Bitcoin, and there’s really nothing better out there to understand on the subject.
“What is needed is an electronic payment system based on cryptographic proof instead of trust, allowing any two willing parties to transact directly with each other without the need for a trusted third party
Section 1 – What does a stock trader actually do
The life of a trader is often glamorised by films such as The Wolf of Wallstreet and Margin Call – a view that is shared by many who have no direct experience with the wider investment industry. It is also true that different types of traders have very different workloads. Trading emerging markets is not the same as trading FTSE stocks or the forex markets.
Let’s start by defining what traders, broadly speaking actually are:
“Professionals in finance who buy and/or sell assets on the financial markets.”
A day in the life of a trader: Behind the scenes
These are people who usually have a background in finance, either through traditional education (think degrees in finance, accounting, economics, investment management etc) or through practical experience at companies working within financial services.
This is to say that the day-to-day activities of a trader is to either buy assets (such as stocks, futures, commodities) or to sell assets (such as stocks, forex, bonds). Two distinct roles in trading can be summed up in the Buy side, and the Sell side in terms of execution.
A broader categorisation would include participants within the financial markets who trade securities. This encompasses independent traders working from home to large multinational financial institutions which see billions of dollars a day flow from and to their order books.
The Buy Side
The Buy side is concerned with purchasing assets, and this generally involves taking orders from management or clients and then sending those orders to the broker to be executed. This role is being gradually replaced by technology, specifically automation and AI, and its hard to see a future for buy side traders 20 years from now. There is also a distinctly bad reputation associated with buy side traders, these are often just messengers, and have been known to treat brokers with incredible hostility and bitterness over recent years.
The Sell Side
Alternatively, the Sell side is just the opposite – these traders are only concerned with selling positions either the firm or the firms clients holds. Again technology is eliminating this role over time, and today both buy and sell side traders simply take message, and pass it along either electronically through an online platform or via telephone for the perhaps more traditional establishments.
Private Hedge fund managers
Many successful traders have gone on to start hedge funds with private companies and from private investors. This is a highly privileged position to be in, as hedge fund managers are in control of both the broad strategy for the investments and receives the greatest compensation should the strategy be profitable.
Private Portfolio Managers
Portfolio managers working at a private company (such as a large hedge fund) is again a much sought after position. Portfolio managers generally create a positive or negative selection portfolio, which allows them to implement their own strategy to make the best returns with the lease risk – although these parameters are often set outside the control of the individual portfolio manager. The same also exists within commercial banking, but it is usually more focused on creating a very balanced portfolio that exists to hedge risk as opposed to making real returns.
Analysts do the number crunching and quantitative prep work for the portfolio or hedge fund managers. This role involves applied finance and taking a close look at various assets fundamentals. This includes the balance sheet, income statement and cashflow statement for analysts looking at stocks. This is usually a relatively junior role, and those who are successful here tend to become traders, portfolio managers and eventually hedge fund managers over the course of a successful career.
There are still plenty of traders left at investment banks, despite the decline over the last few decades. As much as 90% of the time is spent dealing with clients such as Hedge and Pension Funds.
Investment Bank Traders
As much as 90% of the time is spent dealing with clients such as Hedge and Pension Funds.
The trader is then Making Markets in Assets the clients want to buy/sell, such as stocks, currencies, commodities and bonds.
The other 10% of time is Proprietary trading, utilising the banks large balance sheet to create a positive selection portfolio.
Market Makers (Agency)
Market making is the primary task of an investment trader (~80% of market making business)
Split into two sections:
Agency Business – Client holds risk
Risk business – Investment Bank holds risk
Investment Bank charges commission on these activities at a typical rate of 5 basis points or 0.05%
Example – Buy £10,000,000 of BP stock at £100 per share = 100,000 BP shares.
Commission for bank - £10,000,000 X 0.005 = £5,000
Risk free for bank – algorithm executes trades based on client orders
In terms of basis points, 100 = 1%
This type of trading can happen in two ways, the first where small investors at home use their own capital to trade for a direct gain or commercially where a firm uses its own capital to make trades to be the prime beneficially of the rewards should the trade go well. This is in contrast to how hedge funds would normally just earn a commission, by also utilising internal capital the firm is able to take larger risks, which tend to come with the larger rewards.
Here’s another interesting fact:
“Only 6% of candidates end up making it as a professional trader” (Business Insider, 2011)
This statement alone shows just how competitive the industry is, and to make a successful career is even harder, with only ~5% of traders ever making it to a managerial level.
A day in the life of a trader: Behind the scenes
Section 2 – How does 8 hours day break down?
Traders usually start the day at 6.30 AM and start to catch up on news that broke overnight that may A) affect current positions or B) provide opportunities for new positions. These changes are digested, and areas of special interest are noted for further analysis later.
Arrive at trading floor at 7:30, 30 minutes before markets open. This is the time where traders prepare themselves for the day. It also serves as an opportunity to talk to colleagues. For most hedge funds and other long-term traders, team meetings will happen in the morning to ensure all traders are up to speed and playing from the same game plan.
Markets open: based on overnight news there may be buying / selling activity to adjust the traders portfolio based on the latest information. Many traders prefer not to trade at the market open due to higher volatility as traders from around the world react to overnight news.
A common task around 9:00 AM would be to scan the market for short term opportunities, or to catch up on fundamental company analysis of companies in the watch list.
Continuation of analysis or opportunity seeking based on the traders own intuition, experience and judgement. This is also prime time for internal meetings with the team and meetings with clients, potential clients etc.
Here we see lower volume and volatility, and so short-term opportunities diminish, traders are thinking about lunch at this point. Finishing up financial models and analysis done in the morning. Another prime time for meetings with the team and clients.
Most long-term traders take lunch, some short-term traders will stay at the desk as timing can be critical to a successful day.
As investment banks and other major institutions return from lunch volatility in the markets increases and short-term traders get back to work. Long-term traders generally get back to analysis, risk management or strategy functions with only a cursory interest in the current market prices and volatility.
Day traders will spend this time monitoring positions and executing trades as necessary. Long-term traders use this period in a variety of ways, as mentioned above.
Short-term traders now think about closing existing positions and stop looking for new opportunities. This is also where the administrative functions of cancelling unfilled orders, or for long term traders, finalising analysis of the day and presenting it to stakeholders. This is the last chance to exit positions for the trading day.
The markets are now closed. Traders often look back at the day, seeing what went well (and what didn’t). Management will often check in and with-it bureaucracy and paperwork.
Time to leave the office and go home. The advent of mobile internet means most traders are now reading the latest financial news, following commentary and thinking about the strategy for tomorrow.
If all went well arrive home, if not then its likely the trader will still be at the office working to meet the deadline of the day, from financial models to briefing management and clients.
Outside of the general workday, traders will spend much of the evening doing research and analysis – everything from learning about the markets to experimenting with financial models to taking an advanced excel course.
Section 3 – Why you might want to be a stock trader
We meet a lot of traders, its what we do – and here are a few of the top reasons traders we spoke to continue to do what they do.
Love the Game
Many traders are extremely fond of the game that is the financial markets. Day traders talk about the rush as fast-paced action that runs from 8am to 4pm 5 days a week. The same holds true for long-term traders, and while lacking the constant adrenaline of day trading the highs of closing a trade that’s been on-going for months is just as great a feeling – the analogy one trader used was whereas day traders get Christmas every day, long-term traders get all of their Christmases at once, 4-5 times a year.
This is not just about the ability to make a living from trading and the financial markets, but from having the knowledge and understanding of the world of finance to make sound financial decisions, whether that be in deciding between a fixed or variable mortgage, or the best ways to allocate capital to save for school fees.
There is undoubtedly both an intellectual and an emotional challenge in trading successfully. While it is said that day traders trade emotion, long term portfolio managers trade on intellect and sound financial decision making.
Style & Expression
Traders all trade differently, from value investors to crypto speculators each trader develops a style and method of trading that fits their way of life and the perception they have of the world around them. If you are emotional in-tune with the wider world, then day trading can be exceptionally profitable. The same holds true for value investors like Warren Buffet, a trader who enjoys digesting and analysing reams of company reports to find what Buffet calls “Great companies at fair prices”.
This post has hopefully given you an understanding of the typical day in the life of a trader. If you feel your ready to take the next step towards a career in trading and finance, Horizon provides a comprehensive introductory course on Investing for Beginners. https://blog.hioim.com/post/a-day-in-the-life-of-a-stock-trade
kshay Kumar, 25, knew his journey would be tough. But he thought he was prepared.
Kshay Kumar, 25岁，他知道自己的旅途会很艰难，但他认为他已经做好了准备。
In 2012, after an engineering degree and a oneyear stint with a multinational, Kumar felt he needed a makeover. "I didn't want to be stuck with civil engineering all my life. I also wanted to see the world and explore new options," he recalls. Doing an MBA from a premier institute was on his mind.
He did think of the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and the Xavier School of Management, but the desire for global exposure pushed him to explore options overseas. Kumar settled for a oneyear post-graduate course at the Imperial University in the UK, which he financed via an education loan. "Visa rules and the bleak job market there did weigh on my mind. But I had a feeling I could manage it," he says. He had confidence in Imperial's good global ranking, its alumni network and his own hard work.
Kumar began his hunt for a job virtually from the day he landed in the UK. He studied hard to get good grades but worked even harder to find a good job. By tapping into networks of his alumni, friends and family, Kumar reckons he would have reached out to over 200 firms during that year. "It didn't work. My good grades made me eligible for plenty of jobs, but my non-European Indian passport was the problem," he shrugs.
Kumar moved back to India late last year and has just landed a job with a private equity firm. "All my plans have been delayed by five years," he says. Close to half his salary today goes in paying monthly instalments on his education loan.
The World isn't Flat
The West has a problem. Its economy is in a funk, not enough jobs are being created, cautious companies aren't hiring too many, and worried governments — from the US to the UK — are raising visa barriers for foreigners to work in their countries.
Young Indians, who went overseas for education, are facing a tough time finding a job. Many like Kumar have returned home. And some are now casting the net wider — looking for jobs from the US to Hong Kong and Singapore — or settling for sub-optimal options. Rupa Chanda, professor, IIM-Bangalore, who has worked on reports on international student mobility, says visa and immigration is the biggest factor affecting Indian students' decisions.
The US, the UK and Australia — the three most popular destinations for Indians seeking global education — have seen the number of Indian students come down over the past few years (see Out of Favour?). Remember, many Indian students take hefty education loans to finance their studies abroad. While many would find decent jobs back in India that would not help much as these students need dollar salaries to comfortably service their loan. This is taking its toll. "Overseas education is costly. Many Indian students are doing a cost-benefit analysis to figure how to recoup their investments overseas and putting off their plans ," explains New York-based Rahul Choudaha, chief knowledge officer, World Education Services (WES), a non-profit organization that provides credential evaluations for international students planning to study or work in the US and Canada.
美国、英国、澳大利亚，印度人寻求全球教育的最火的三大目的地，已经发现印度学生数量在过去几年持续下降（或者三大目的地已经不受青睐？）。记住，许多印度学生都背负着高额的教育贷款来资助他们的海外求学。虽然回到印度他们都能找到体面的工作，但是这些都没有太大的帮助，因为学生们需要一份用美元支付的薪水来帮助他们更轻松的偿还贷款。这就是造成的影响。“海外教育非常昂贵，许多印度学生都正在进行成本效益分析，以找出如何收回其海外投资，推迟他们（去海外就读）的计划，” 坐落于纽约的世界教育服务中心的知识总监Rahul Choudaha解释道。 这一非营利性组织为准备在美国和加拿大学习或工作的国际学生提供认证评估。
But to be fully able to understand how this trend will play out, one must understand the backdrop. A big generational shift is taking place among the students looking for overseas education. Many of them now are India's liberalization children, who have grown up post-1991 and lived in an increasingly global world with fewer barriers.
So in many ways this is their first brush with a world with barriers. Many are also children of globetrotting well-paid senior corporate executives who think differently about education, exposure and investing in a world-class education. "These parents understand the long-term rewards of a world-class education. I see many of my friends taking their children to these top campuses after they pass out from school to give them a first-hand feel," says Hema Ravichandar, strategic HR expert and a former HR head of Infosys.
所以从许多方面来说，这是他们第一次面对来自世界的阻碍。他们中也有许多是环游世界的、对教育、经历以及投资世界级教育有着不同看法的高薪企业的高管们的小孩。 “这些父母明白世界一流教育的长期回报。我看到我的许多朋友带着他们的小孩去顶尖的校园，让小孩们领略这些高等学府给他们的切身感受，”战略人力资源管理专家、Infosys 公司前人力资源主管 Hema Ravichandar说道。
Woes on Foreign Shores
Both of Ravichandar's children have studied overseas. Her daughter, Aditi, is doing her MBA from Wharton in the US and her son Nikhil, 22, completed his Bachelor's in economics from Warwick in the UK. Nikhil chose the UK over India because of the flexibility available in picking courses — he wanted to do economics with law which was impossible in India with its rigid course structures. "Education in India is not very research-driven and multicultural," he adds.
But during his stay there, the UK revoked the two-year work permit for foreign graduates. Thus he needed a firm job offer to stay on after graduation. This was difficult since he was particular about the kind of work. "I wanted a job in economic consulting," he says. Unable to get that he preferred to do a postgraduate programme instead. While he did not take any loan, for many of his classmates, who had taken a hefty education loan, things were difficult.
Now, Nikhil is back in India getting some interesting exposure at a few start-ups in Bangalore, India's Silicon Valley. He is contemplating a startup of his own. "This is the best time to take the risk and explore it," he says.
现在 Nikhil 已经回到了印度并且在印度的硅谷，班加罗尔与一些新兴企业进行了接触。他正在考虑自己创办一个公司。“这是最好的冒险和探索的时候”他说。
Across the Atlantic, Sujoyini Mandal, in her 20s, offers another peek into the odds that Indian students face overseas. After her graduation from Jadavpur University, Mandal went to Singapore for her postgrad and worked with a think-tank there. Life was good but since she had always yearned for a degree from a world-class university, she applied for a Master's at Harvard's Kennedy School.
For two years, she deferred her admission as she did not get any financial aid. She saved some money and, with a bit of aid, finally took the plunge in 2011. Foreign students in her college face an education loan cap of $30,000 ($15,000 a year), she says, making things even more difficult Mandal started looking for a job when she graduated in May 2013. But mandates that fitted her needs and aspirations were not easy to come by. She did land a contract with the World Bank but that was short term, uncertain and had no medical cover. Last month Mandal finally landed a job with an investment bank.
Despite such struggles, there are many reasons why the pursuit of overseas education among young Indians is unlikely to die down any time soon.
The Demographic Bulge
Every year, around 800,000 Indian students reportedly go overseas for their education. This costs the country close to $15 billion of forex annually, estimates industry lobby Assocham. If students are going overseas for education, it's because India has a problem of both capacity and quality. The country has one of the world's largest education infrastructures: 600 universities and 34,000 colleges with 17 million students enrolled and 5 million students graduating every year. But India is also witnessing a demographic bulge — it has perhaps the world's largest young population. Experts estimate that some 100-million-odd students will seek higher education over the next decade.
据报道,每年大约有800000名印度学生出国留学,，据印度工商业联合会估计这将耗费每年近150亿美元的外汇。学生们出国留学是因为印度不管是在教育容量还是教育质量上都有问题。印度的教育基础设施是世界上最大的教育设施之一，600所大学和34,000学院每年接受1700多万新生并输出500多万毕业生，但是我们也正见证着印度人口的爆炸性增长，印度或许有着世界上最庞大的年轻人群，专家估计在未来十年里，将有一亿多的学生寻求更高的教育。The capacity problem is compounded by the quality issue. About 70% of the capacity in India is of poor standards. At the other end of the spectrum, competitive intensity at the premier colleges is so stiff that it is often easier for bright students to get admission in Ivy League colleges in the US and the UK than in the IITs, IIMs and even top colleges in Delhi University.
All this coincides with the rise of India's aspirational upper middle class. Over the past two decades, many first-generation Indians have risen up the corporate hierarchy and are financially well-off. These welltravelled, financially stable corporate executives desire the best for their children. "They are looking for the best educational experience. They know it is a life-long asset. Indian premier colleges do not have the capacity and are very rigid," says TV Mohandas Pai, chairman, Manipal Global Education. Pai's son studied at Stanford University in the US and now works for a start-up in Silicon Valley.
这些现象与印度上层中产阶级不断上涨的雄心壮志密切相关。在过去的二十几年里，许多第一代移民创立了自己的事业，相当富裕。这些经济稳定，见多识广的公司高管希望把最好的东西给予他们的子女。Manipal全球教育主席 Mohandas Pai说他们在为孩子寻找一流的教育，这是孩子一生的财富，印度的一流大学不能给予这些而且这些大学要求过于死板。他的孩子曾在美国斯坦福大学学习，现在在硅谷工作。
This aligns well with the global trend of rising international mobility of students. According to Institute of International Education (IIE), since 2000, the number of students leaving home in pursuit of higher education has increased by 65%, totalling about 4.3 million students globally. What is more interesting is that the share of students from the developing countries in this pie is rising — it moved up from 54.8% to 69% between 1999 and 2009.
India vs China
Not surprisingly, the world's two most populous and powerful emerging countries — China and India — send the largest number of students overseas. But China has rapidly shifted gears to overtake India.
Consider what's taking place in the US. In 2000-01, India topped the list of international students by country, with 66,836 against China's 63,211. But by 2009-10 China had overtaken India. In 2012-13, China sent 236,000 students; India was nudging the 97,000 mark. While the number of Chinese students has been growing in double digits of late, that of Indian students has been sliding. To understand why that is happening, it is important to analyze the profile of students going overseas from both the countries. 2000-2001年，美国的外国留学生中印度学生是最多的，66836人，而中国学生为63211人。但是在2009-2010年时，中国超越了印度。2012-2013年，中国向美国派遣的留学生
Chinese students going to the US are evenly split between undergraduate (40%) and postgraduate programmes (44%). But Indian students are heavily skewed towards postgraduate programmes (55%) with just 13% at the undergraduate level. Indian students are also unique as over 60% are in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, maths) category. Bear in mind that historically, postgraduate and STEM programmes offer more financial support than undergraduate and non-STEM programmes.
"The decline in Indian students is directly related to the 'Strivers' , who have been putting their plans on hold due to increasing cost of studying abroad which in turn was triggered by economic uncertainty and currency devaluation," says Choudaha.
A majority of Indian students arrives at the Master's level and funds education by taking loans as financial aid from colleges has dried up. So, while the majority of Indian students go for education loans, Chinese students are supported by their families. According to a research by WES, 47% of Indian respondents report loans as one of the primary sources of funding as compared with only 3% of Chinese.
Chinese students, in contrast, are "explorers" (experience seekers), says Choudaha. Often the only-child of financially well-off parents, they have the financial wherewithal to study abroad and are under less pressure to find a job there. But change may be afoot. Some Indian students could make the transition from 'strivers' to 'explorers' and Choudaha expects more and more Indian students — most of them children of well-off senior executives — to go overseas at the undergraduate level. Not so dependent on financial aid, he also sees many more Indians exploring new interdisciplinary fields, beyond STEM. Even in the STEM category, experts feel that Indian students will be the biggest beneficiary as the Obama government eases rules for this critical segment in future.
Lessons from China
Two decades back, China faced problems similar to those India faces today — its higher education had both capacity and quality issues. Since then China has worked hard to upgrade its educational institutions. It has two programmes — Project 211 and Project 985. The former aims to make 100 Chinese universities world class in the 21st century; this will help China churn out world-class trained professionals to push economic growth. These universities are expected to set national standards for education quality that can be replicated by others.
Project 985 started more than a decade back and is an attempt to build China's own Ivy League colleges in the 21st century. In the first phase the project included nine universities. The second phase, launched in 2004, includes 40-odd universities. The projects have been backed by significant investments. According to a New York Times report, China is investing $250 billion a year in human capital.
The dragon country's efforts are now bearing fruit. Many Chinese universities are climbing up the global ranks. Two Chinese universities have made it to the top global 50 in the Times Higher Education report. India has none. In the top 500, 16 Chinese universities make the cut against seven from India. Mobile international students are taking note. A decade back, China was hardly on anybody's radar.
Today, it is the third largest education hub in the world after the US and the UK with 3.28 lakh international students, according to IIE. By 2020, it hopes to host 500,000 international students. Even Singapore is targeting 1.5 lakh foreign students by 2015. In contrast, India was home to just 27,000 international students in 2012. China is aware that to push innovation and realize its economic ambitions, it must be able to attract top talent — in its colleges and workforce.
Also, in virtually every key statistic, the world today is seeing a shift from the West to the East. From economic GDP to consumption power, MNCs across the board are looking at Asia and the world's two most populous nations. This shift is happening demographically too. But in the education space, the West still dominates.
Of the world's top 100 universities, 46 are in the US. Seven of top 10 universities are in the US. Asia has just 11 in the top 100. "It is difficult to replicate what US has done with its universities to 2emerge as an innovation hub," says Pai. So, ambitious and aspirational Indians will continue to look overseas for education. But if India has to realize its potential, it must invest heavily in building world-class institutions in the country — the China way.
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Skhey Mobile (Gurgaon) 22 Hours ago Foreign degree is no more a guarantee card for success.
Neil M (pune-mumbai) 22 Hours ago Finding a good university and a good course is important. I know many guys select short courses which are not recognized world wide and specially in India find it difficult to get a job. Also, dream america is not true for everyone. All the best to seekers.
Rajesh Thambala (Hyderabad, India) 23 Hours ago Very informative article.
Partha (Bangalore) 1 Day ago Nice Article. Much Appreciated
SAMAD (India) 1 Day ago right choice....
Tempcool Mukhopadhyay (India) 1 Day ago An excellent article. Appropriate and very well timed. Issue lies with inadequate job creation in India compared to passing out rate and all sorts of reservation quota for the "privileged" groups. Also unscrupulous marketing by planting misleading information by the education institutes of developed countries and their Indian agents.
Guramandeep Singh (Mexico) 1 Day ago 67 years after Independence, we are still stuck to providing reservation quotas in institutes of higher education. The recent Supreme Court order puts 27% reservation for OBCs which along with that of SCs and STs brings the total reservation to 49.5%. Here is the breakup of IIM-A seats: General 182 Non creamy OBC 104 ---- Schedule caste 58 ---- Schedule tribe 29 ---- Differently-abled 12 ---- Total 385 --- I have read various comments touching upon patriotism towards India to youngsters being crazy and the need to enlighten them. Reservation for a certain group is discrimination against the other groups. So ask yourself, is our system really fair? Should we not be looking at this objectively and trying to solve the root cause of the problem instead of commenting upon the phenomenon which is a result of a messed up education system at the behest of corrupt politicians?
ILA (Chennai) replies to Guramandeep Singh 1 Day ago Dear Learned Singh. This article has nothing to do with reservation. Reservation is about affirmative action (in US parlance). Trying to give some sort of equal opportunity to people (98%) who were subjugated, denied education, and exploited by so called Forward Castes in India who constitute only 2% of the total population for millenium. This reservation is in vogue for only 60 years how can this equation be achieved in such a short span of time. Now the Forward Castes are slowly waking up and cramming for their share in the available piece of cake. If heat is felt for this itself then what should the subjugated feel for having been so for a millenium in the name of MANU SMRITIs laws? People who believe so are as you had rightly (?) pointed out are HYPROCRITS and prisoners of their own conscience.
RM (MN) replies to ILA 9 Hours ago Excuses, excuses. Sixty years after Independence you're still making excuses for a quota system that has made Indian education into a pile of rubbish.
Athena (London) 1 Day ago It is Imperial College and not Imperial University. Perhaps ET must invest in better human capital!
(Hyderabad) 1 Day ago Same thing happened with me as well like akshay kumar. I thought i am reading my story.
Nihar (Mumbai) 1 Day ago It completely depends on which institution a person is studying in abroad. It is not so that somebody got a degree in a well recognized institution in foreign and unable to get a job in India. So I request "The Economic Times" to provide a proper interpretation to the reader.
kshi S (Bhopal) 1 Day ago coming to US was the worst decision of my life
B Venky Venky (Bangalore) 1 Day ago Very informative article. To have world class universities in India, the government should get out of the way. The quota raj in higher education has to stop. More and more private funds has to be garnered towards higher education by giving tax sops. But all this remains in the realm of fiction at the moment.
ketan m (mumbai) 1 Day ago study there, work here. sounds great!
thomas (india) 1 Day ago Yes, every Indian should go overseas for education - build up net work..learn how other s think..their style-quality etc. come back and start self employed business ... it will flourish. take example from china who are into A to Z of business and industries ,they make impossible happen...of course duly and completely supported by their govt..
Saswata mandal (kolkata) 1 Day ago still every good student wants to go abroad.. why is it like that??
Nanda Kumar (Chennai, Tamil Nadu) replies to Saswata mandal 1 Day ago ET pointed it out already..Global Exposure! and Farther mountains always seem smoother :)
Anupam (Bangalore) replies to Saswata mandal 1 Day ago Quick money
Mumbaikar (Mumbai) 1 Day ago It's not entirely the kids fault - some ambitious parents push out the kids too - 'we don't think there is a future here', they say. Now, some are stuck abroad and need to return home, as countries are on an economic downturn and/or are looking more inward now, . Complicated situation - but opportunities are here too, if you want to grab them. Not everything here is as bad as you may think.
Bharath Selvan Sukumaran (Chennai) 1 Day ago Good news for India. Let their knowledge be used for Indians in India
jgsemig (Delhi110007) 2 Days ago what about large numbers of foreign students studying in India? How could IIM-B professor be so insensitive? In a global world does this mean that Indian educational Institutions have already thrown in their towels? Does it also mean that Universities like SAARC and others have no futures?
也有很多外国学生在印度留学啊。 为什么印度管理学院班加罗尔分校(Indian Institutes of Management) 的教授们这么愚钝。从全球范围来看，是不是这就意味着印度的教育机构已经宣布投降了？类似南亚区域合作联盟（South Asian Association For Regional Cooperation）这类的学校就没有前途了吗？
Sriram B (Bharat) 2 Days ago Learn Globally and be back to improve India. Just as they say wait till the last ball is bowled in a cricket frenzy country; do not lose hope till you have tried your hands on what you want to transform the country into.
Ajay Kumar (NYC) 2 Days ago Only the people who have earned admissions into Indian Universities based on reservations, face problems studying abroad, as they are looking for concessions always. People who have earned admissions throughout based on their capability and knowledge, do not face any problem. Such students do not come back.
Ayush Jha (NOIDA) 2 Days ago Study in the US(OUT OF INTEREST in the field and/or spectrum, NOT parental pressure/peer pressure) , Work to repay the loans & then do your own startup in India. All the best :)
Mukesh Mishra (Haridwar) 2 Days ago It didn't work. My good grades made me eligible for plenty of jobs, but my non-European Indian passport was the problem," he shrugs.
Ashwani Kaushal (New Delhi) 2 Days ago righly said, getting an addmission in DU colleages are like dreaming in day time.... it is always good to go abroad and get certification and return back... but once the indian student get a better envoironment and facility abroad why they come back to corrupt indian culture, only few with family business background will come to share the same plateform with their parental company ....shamful for Indian corruption
Parthipan K (Chennai) 2 Days ago I agree with the fact that Indian Universities are not flexible. But intelligent students can acquire knowledge of any subjects of their own. So they should not blame Indian Universities. More over, not all institutes in abroad are of high standards. Even in Ivy schools, the standards are coming down like our IITs. My opinion is that if one works hard in Indian top universities, they can acquire global standards. Also all the premier institutes in US are putting their course material in the web and hence, by going thru them one can acquire high knowledge.
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