Magic: The Gathering is a trading card game that began in 1993. The releases of Alpha, Beta, and Unlimited (ABU) card sets created the foundations for a game that has lasted over 25 years. Many cards in these first few sets are sought after by collectors and players. One MTG card has sold for over $100,000.
Individuals do not just buy cards to collect and play, they also purchase cards as an investment vehicle. Other alternative investments that people participate in are cars, artwork, and Bitcoin. The rising price of Bitcoin in 2017 to almost $20,000 captured the world’s attention. Early investors reaped huge returns upon selling near Bitcoin’s high. There were stories of people that spent their new wealth from Bitcoin on collectibles like MTG. In particular, Reddit users in the r/mtgfinance subreddit shared information on buying and selling Bitcoin for MTG cards. As information spread on Bitcoin being used to buy MTG cards, it was perceived that prices for MTG’s most valuable cards were affected by cryptocurrency.
In order to better understand the magnitude Bitcoin had on the price of MTG’s first three sets, I ran a regression analysis. For those unfamiliar with regression, you can find some basic information here. I recommend watching the video in the link for a better understanding of regression output. This analysis attempts to comprehend the relationship between Bitcoin and ABU from July 2017 to March 2019. I used the Bitcoin USD (BTC-USD) for historical Bitcoin prices. The S&P 500 was added to see if a relationship existed between ABU as well. I pulled pricing history from Yahoo Finance and MTGGoldfish. Data used in this analysis can be found here. The first two worksheets in the data file contain historical data. The remaining worksheets contain regressions.
Establishing the Null Hypothesis
In this analysis, I attempt to find statistically significant relationships between Bitcoin, S&P 500, and ABU. This analysis uses the ANOVA method to test significance. The null hypothesis for this analysis is that no statistically significant relationship exists between variables. The F-value must be larger than the Significance F (also the P-value) to reject the null hypothesis. In addition, I used an alpha level (significance level) of 0.05. If the P-value is less than or equal to 0.05 (or 95% confidence), the null hypothesis can be rejected. The F-value and P-value must pass each hypothesis test to fully reject the null hypothesis. To explain variability of the data, I am looking for an R-squared value close to 100. In addition, the Pearson correlation coefficient was calculated at the top of each linear regression worksheet. In the linear regressions analyzed, the Pearson correlation coefficient matches the value of Multiple R. I tried to avoid overfitting by using 33 observations.
Analyzing Bitcoin on S&P 500
Before diving into MTG sets, I wanted to analyze the potential relationship between Bitcoin and the S&P 500. Bitcoin historical data includes the time period it hit peak pricing at the end of 2017. The data shows large price fluctuations for Bitcoin over time. This price movement is much more erratic than the S&P 500. The image above includes a basic comparison of the historical price curves. Regression results for Bitcoin on the S&P 500 display an R Square of 0.165 and a Multiple R of 0.405. The regression is saying that 16.5% of the Bitcoin variability can be explained by the S&P 500. The F-value of 6.12 is larger than Significance F of 0.019. Finally, the P-value is less than 0.05 at 0.019. Since the F-value and P-value passed the significance level tests, the null hypothesis can be rejected.
Alpha, Beta, and Unlimited
The above graph illustrates price trends over time for ABU. Visually, Alpha and Beta follow similar price movement. A regression analysis of Alpha on Beta is available in the data file. The results showed statistical significance between Alpha and Beta. Even though Unlimited has a different value level than Alpha and Beta, it does have a similar price curve. The regression analyses for Unlimited on Alpha and Unlimited on Beta also showed statistical significance.
The regression for Alpha on Bitcoin produced interesting results. When looking at the Bitcoin related regression, the F-value is larger than Significance F. Unfortunately, the P-value of 0.55 is not less than or equal to 0.05. Note also that the R Square value is only 0.011. The null hypothesis cannot be rejected for the Alpha on Bitcoin regression.
When looking at the regression for Alpha on S&P 500, the null hypothesis can be rejected. The F-value of 28.90 is larger than Significance F. The P-value is lower than 0.05. In addition, R Square is 0.482. Almost half of the variance can be explained.
The Beta on Bitcoin regression produced similar results to Alpha on Bitcoin. When looking at the Bitcoin related regression, the F-value is slightly larger than Significance F. The P-value of 0.42 is not less than or equal to 0.05. In addition, the R Square value is only 0.021. The null hypothesis cannot be rejected for the Alpha on Bitcoin regression.
For the regression of Beta on S&P 500, the null hypothesis can be rejected. The F-value of 51.25 is larger than Significance F. The P-value is lower than 0.05 and the R Square is 0.623. Over half of the variance can be explained.
The results of Unlimited on Bitcoin cannot reject the null hypothesis. While the F-value for Alpha and Beta on Bitcoin was higher than Significance F, it was lower for Unlimited. The P-value of 0.657 is not less than or equal to 0.05. Surprisingly, the R Square value was under 0.01 at 0.006.
Regarding the regression of Unlimited on S&P 500, the null hypothesis can be rejected. The F-value of 53.18 is larger than Significance F. The P-value is lower than 0.05 and the R Square is 0.632. Over half of the variance can be explained.
In all three regressions for ABU on Bitcoin, the null hypothesis cannot be rejected. This means that the results showed no significant relationships between ABU and Bitcoin. However, the null hypothesis can be rejected for all regressions regarding ABU and S&P 500. The highest statistical significance shown was Unlimited on S&P 500 followed by Beta on S&P 500. Multiple regression analyses for Bitcoin on ABU and S&P 500 on ABU are available in the data file. Their results were comparable to the single variable regressions.
What the analyses show is that Bitcoin may not have a strong relationship with ABU prices. Additionally, the S&P 500 is statistically significant with ABU sets. The results of these analyses do not disprove that Bitcoin affects MTG card prices for ABU. It is important to remember that correlation does not imply causation. Unfortunately, these models suffer from a few issues regarding regression data. The r/mtgfinance subreddit community shared feedback with issues regarding autocorrelation, time series issues, and large residuals. In addition, the values could be standardized with z-scoring. One possible solution is limiting the time frame the model captures by using values on a daily or weekly basis rather than monthly. The anecdotal evidence points to people buying ABU cards with Bitcoin near Bitcoin's peak price. It was suggested measure data between late 2017 and early 2018. While the data has flaws, the idea of measuring Bitcoin and ABU pricing is worth exploring further (Updated March 30th, 2020).
*The information in this article is of my own knowledge and opinion. It is meant for informational purposes only. I am not a registered financial professional or trying to act as one.*
Hello everyone, Ashley here providing a guest post this week. I am excited Landon asked me to guest write about Italy. Before I dive into the details, let me share a little about myself. I am originally from the Pinehurst area of North Carolina and have lived in Charlotte, North Carolina since 2003. I am a connoisseur of wine, a lover of socializing, and a travel enthusiast. When I’m not busy at the hospital, I am planning my next trip. To put it simply, I love to travel.
I have visited over 13 different countries and have been to Italy four times. I am by no means an expert, but I have learned a few tips to share with you.
Italy, oh Italy…. where do I even start. To say I love Italy is an understatement. The food, wine, people, scenery…it is just pure magic. It was wonderful to share this special place with Landon on our delayed honeymoon in 2019.
When to Visit Italy
Great times to visit Italy are during the spring (April - May) or fall (September - October). These months allow you to avoid the summer heat. I cannot say that there is a down time to avoid the crowds in Italy. These days, it seems that Italy is always crowded with tourists.
How to Plan Your Time
Travel to Italy with the mindset that you will be back. It is a large country and you cannot see it all unless there are no time constraints. I always recommend open-jaw tickets, flying into one city and out of another to maximize your time.
Here are a few examples of itineraries that have I done in the past. You can use these as a guide to plan a trip to different parts of Italy.
Fly to Rome (3 nights in Rome) -> Rent a car and drive through Tuscany. A few home base ideas would be Siena, Pienza, Montalcino, Montalpuciano (spend at least 4 nights in Tuscany as a home base to travel around) -> Florence (2 nights)
-> Train to Milan then to Lake Como (Stay in Bellagio, at least 3 nights to slow down and enjoy your time) -> train to Milan (2 nights in Milan) -> Fly home from Milan.
Fly to Naples -> take a bus or hire a car to the Amalfi Coast (Sorrento/Positano 4 nights) -> train to Rome (at least 3 nights in Rome) -> Siena (3 nights, rent a car and travel throughout Tuscany) -> Florence (2 nights) -> Cinque Terre (2 nights, can do 3 if you plan to hike the towns) -> Venice (at least 2 nights with a side trip to Morano) -> Fly home from Venice.
As a player of the Magic: The Gathering trading card game, I spend most of my hobby funds on single cards and sealed product. To play MTG, you are required to build a deck of MTG cards and play against an opponent. Competitive decks require particular cards that align with a strategy. However, I do occasionally purchase MTG related items not found in a deck. Players can purchase non-gaming MTG merchandise featuring symbols and characters from the game. Some of my favorite MTG items are not trading cards or gaming supplies.
I love my pair of MTG crew socks. The charcoal gray socks contain a vibrant orange Planeswalker logo. There are socks available from the MTG Pro Shop, Toywiz, and other retailers. I have also seen ankle length MTG socks previously for sale.
Planeswalker Symbol Shirt
One of my favorite gaming related shirts has the MTG Planeswalker symbol. While the one I own was a giveaway from a store event in 2011, this gray shirt is also nice. You can get a matching hoodie as well.
Magic: The Gathering Art Prints
I have art prints of my favorite land art by John Avon and Johannes Voss. Many artists, including Avon, sell prints from their own website. Voss only sells art prints through an annual Kickstarter campaign. These are much more affordable options to display your favorite MTG artwork than acquiring original pieces.
Mana Symbol Pint Glasses
One item I like, but do not own is a set of MTG drinkware. I have seen pint glasses online with etched mana symbols. This item is available from various stores such as Amazon and Etsy. You may find colored glasses and shot glasses as well. I personally prefer the etched look over other options.
Indaco is an Italian cuisine restaurant located in Charlotte, North Carolina’s South End neighborhood. It is part of the Atherton Mill shopping and dining center. Indaco offers lunch and dinner daily with a full bar. According to their website, a half-priced pizza happy hour is available Monday through Friday from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
I had the opportunity to dine at Indaco during Charlotte's Restaurant Week. Indaco was offering items on their normal menu as part of three courses for $35. My wife and I, along with another couple, visited Indaco for dinner on Thursday January 23rd, 2020. We were promptly greeted at the entrance and was informed of a small wait. The hostess recommended we grab a drink at the bar and thanked us for our patience. Once a table opened, we were seated in the upper level of the restaurant.
Ashley and I choose different items to try per our server's recommendations. We ordered the Fried Artichokes and Calabrese-Style Sausage pizza as our first course. The artichokes were flavorful, but not as outstanding as I had hoped. However, our Calabrese-Style Sausage pizza was great and something I would order again. Ashley and I also thought the Calabrese-Style Sausage was a better choice that the Littleneck Clams pizza our friends ordered. In addition, our friends ordered the Burrata as a first course option. It was a delightful dish with fresh burrata cheese, butternut squash puree, and prosciutto. The bowl was empty by the time our second course arrived at the table.
Each person had a choice among pastas and other entrées for their second course. Ashley ordered the Agnolotti; a pasta dish consisting of braised pork shoulder, mozzarella, and Pecorino in a red sauce. I ordered the Squid Ink Orecchiette with shrimp, saffron, and Parmesan in a red sauce. Both pasta dishes contained rich flavors and aroma. I would recommend either pasta dish depending on personal preference for meat or seafood. Our friends ordered two of the Pappardelle. This pasta option contains ragu alla bolognese, Parmesan, and parsley. They thoroughly enjoyed it as well. All the pasta dishes I saw served around us looked fantastic. Next time, Ashley wants to try the Bucatini. This pasta is Indaco's version of a Cacio e Pepe.
Indaco offered five different dessert options for restaurant week. Ashley ordered the Chocolate Budino; a combination of caramel, whipped cream, and a sweet biscuit. I asked for only Limoncello Sorbet, while our friends tried the Panna Cotta. None of us typically order desserts, but we all thought they contained fresh and flavorful ingredients.
There are many affordable options on Indaco’s wine list. Wine by the glass and bottle are available. Most wine bottles on the list are Italian. There are wines available for pairing with many Italian dishes on the menu. We ordered two bottles of the 2016 Melini Terrarosa Chianti Classico DOCG. This Chianti is ruby-red with hints of dark cherry and raspberry. I would recommend this wine to anyone looking for an all-around solid choice at Indaco.
The service we received at Indaco exceeded expectations; especially, during restaurant week. Our server listened to our questions and provided excellent recommends. We were not disappointed in anything brought to the table. Our server checked on us intermittently and never left glasses empty. We enjoyed our dining experience and plan to return soon.