• On Tulips and Bitcoin: Financial Bubbles Then and Now

    The more I hear Bitcoin discussed in everyday conversation as I'm standing in line at the store, the more I am convinced we've gotten ourselves stuck in a crazy time machine and have been plunked down onto the streets of Amsterdam in the 17th...
  • What Are Bitcoin Futures?

    The Bitcoin futures contract is traded on the CME and can be traded daily. This video explains the contract specifications of the Bitcoin futures contract. For discussion : 1. What is one contract worth in US dollars? 2. What causes the value...
  • What is Bitcoin?

    Bitcoin seems to be all the rage at the moment. Is this fake money, or is it a legitimate method of payment? This video from the CME answers the following questions: 1. What is Bitcoin? 2. How is Bitcoin created? 3. How can individuals and institutions...
  • How Do Investment Banks Make Money?

    This video explains how Goldman Sachs made money back in 2010. Several financial issues are raised here: 1. What is the goal of the firm? What is the goal of an investment banking firm like Goldman Sachs? 2. What does it mean for Goldman Sachs to...
  • How Options Work

    Option contracts are agreements between a buyer (holder of the option) and a seller (writer of the option). The agreements give the holder the right to buy or sell an underlying asset at a predetermined strike price on or before a future expiration date...
  • The Greeks and Option Pricing

    Option contracts are "derivative" contracts that give the holder the right to buy or sell an underlying asset on or before a future strike date at a predetermined exercise price. The right to buy is called a "call option" while the...
  • How and Why To Invest In Commodities

    The best assets to add to an investment portfolio are those that increase the portfolio expected return while reducing the total volatility. To find such assets, investors seek those whose returns are not perfectly correlated with the returns of the existing...
  • What is a Futures Contract

    A futures contract is an agreement between two parties to buy or sell some asset at a pre-specified price on a future settlement date. The video below provides a little more detail about what goes into a futures contract. For discussion 1. What is...
  • What Is The Fear Index

    This video describes the relationship between stock prices and the volatility index called the VIX. This index tracks volatility based on the current prices for options on the CBOE. Call options allow holders to buy shares at a predetermined strike price...
  • Trading the U.S. Treasury Yield Curve

    If we collect the yield-to-maturity of each of the U.S. Treasury notes in a table and put them in order of maturity, we'd have the "Term structure of interest rates." If we go one step further and graph the data, putting the maturities along...
  • Currency Trading Today

    In the video below, currency trading is described as the "Wild West" of financial markets. There's been a shift in the industry, and many former traders have changed jobs. Still, it is a busy and active market: Here's a look at a...
  • Black Swan Events in Recent History

    According to Nassim Taleb, people had always believed that swans were white. That is, until the discovery of Australia, when the first black swan was sighted. Taleb uses the metaphor of the bird to describe events that are so improbably, no one would...
  • Trading Corn Futures and Options

    Corn is grown all over the world and is an important crop for consumers and producers. The supply and demand for corn can push prices to unexpected highs and lows, and so this price risk or volatility needs to be managed by those who rely on the price...
  • What's Happening to Hedge Funds

    In this interview with Ken Griffin, CEO of Citadel, we see that second-tier hedge funds are closing due to competition. Everyone is seeking to beat the market and generate "alpha," but alpha is hard to find. For discussion : 1. How can investment...
  • The Story of Silver Thursday

    The Hunt brothers started trading silver in 1973, and by 1979 had amassed a fortune in silver. This video tells the story of Nelson Bunker Hunt, and how they tried to corner the market. For discussion: 1. Who were the Hunt brothers, and what was their...
  • Mathematics, Cryptography, and Finance

    "That's the thing about mathematics. You never know where it's going to go." ~Jim Simons, The mathematician who cracked Wall Street
  • The Importance of Cyber Security

    The CME Group is the global exchange for derivatives. From the CME website : CME Group is the world's leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace, handling 3 billion contracts worth approximately $1 quadrillion annually (on average). The company...
  • What is Forex?

    The foreign exchange or "forex" market is where foreign currencies are traded. From FXCM : Forex, also known as foreign exchange, FX or currency trading, is a decentralized global market where all the world's currencies trade. The forex...
  • Trading the EUR USD Exchange Rate

    With all the political uncertainty we've faced in recent weeks and months, beginning with Brexit and ending most recently with the U.S. presidential election, the price of the U.S. dollar (USD) relative to other currencies such as the euro (EUR) have...
  • Forex Trading

    With a new administration transitioning in the U.S., uncertainty in the currency markets is running high. The consensus that the Federal Reserve will soon raise interest rates coupled with the possibility that a Trump administration will deregulate and...
  • Working at the CME Group

    From the CME Website : CME Group is the world's leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace, handling 3 billion contracts worth approximately $1 quadrillion annually (on average). The company provides a marketplace for buyers and sellers, bringing...
  • Where is the Money?

    The infographic below compares the world's financial markets by size. Courtesy of: The Money Project For discussion : What surprises you the most about the data presented here?
  • More Fear According to CNN Index

    CNN's Fear & Greed Index is showing more fear over the last few weeks, but fear in financial markets is not as high as it was earlier in 2016. source: CNN Money Fear & Greed Index as of 22 Oct 2016 The factors driving the index are...
  • The Story of Oil and Exchanges

    This video from the CME group explains the pricing of oil, and how investors can use exchanges to manage their financial risk. Two concepts are touched on here: Price discovery which is defined by Investopedia as a method of determining the price...
  • Taxing Trades

    Taxes serve two purposes: (1) raise government revenue, and (2) discourage specific behaviors. The problem is that goal number 2 erodes the impact of goal number 1. This is likely to be the outcome of recent proposals to tax trading. One proposal focuses...