Bitcoin price surges. Is Coronavirus behind it?

Bitcoin price surges. Is Coronavirus behind it?

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Bitcoin price surges. Is Coronavirus behind it?
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A Buoyant Digital coin at a tender age – Ndau

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A Buoyant Digital coin at a tender age – Ndau
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Does Life Insurance Cover Deaths From Coronavirus?

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Does Life Insurance Cover Deaths From Coronavirus?
Thousands of people worldwide have already died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. For those who have life insurance, in almost all cases, they are covered, and insurance will likely pay out for deaths from COVID-19. There are a few exceptions, according to representatives from life insurance companies and industry organizations. Potential... Kayda Norman is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: knorman@nerdwallet.com. The article Does Life Insurance Cover Deaths From Coronavirus? originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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Coronavirus will shape the next decade. Will we prep before the next one?

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Coronavirus will shape the next decade. Will we prep before the next one?
Everywhere people are dying, global lockdown and massive government intervention. The coronavirus pandemic is disrupting global industries and supply chains, causing disastrous problems for businesses, consumers and the global economy. Just like the disease is killing older people at high rates, it is also about to kill mature western economies. Businesses are struggling to produce and distribute products and services, that consumers depend on. The coronavirus outbreak has limited our ability to produce and consume goods. Its financial ramifications are already severe and will only get worse. The COVID-19 pandemic will change this decade, just like 9/11 changed the 2000s. The impact from pandemic on global economy will be severe, but eventually the crisis will all end and life will resume. The question what direction will we follow and how prepared will we be when the next one comes along? Ilias Louis Hatzis is the Founder at Mercato Blockchain Corporation AG and a weekly columnist at DailyFintech.com. When businesses are unable to make money, they can’t pay employee wages and operating expenses. As business revenues decline, employee layoffs accelerate, which eventually leads to people not being able to pay their rent, mortgage and loans, buy goods and services or spend money at restaurants, sporting events, vacations. This is not just a health pandemic, it’s a pandemic of fear and mistrust that is hitting advanced economies in Western Europe and the United States. Governments are announcing travel restrictions within their borders and from outside, and are shutting down businesses everywhere. In mature economies, when people become fearful for their lives, they withdraw and stop spending money on things they frequently do. Businesses that operate in face-to-face service industries, which usually dominate high-income economies, are the one’s that get hit the hardest, when people are in lockdown. This is not to minimize the damage the pandemic is causing to the global product supply chain. The production around the world is out of action for an indefinite period of time. We are already seeing shortages for things like auto-parts, electronics and products like iPhones, and Diet Coke and don’t be surprised when we see disruptions for food, condoms and so many other basic things we take for granted. In 2015, the year after West Africa’s Ebola outbreak, Bill Gates gave a TED talk called “The next outbreak? We’re not ready.” Gates saw the COVID-19 outbreak coming and he knew we weren’t prepared for it. “If anything kills over 10 million people in the next few decades, it’s likely to be a highly infectious virus rather than a war,” Gates said during the Ted Talk. “Not missiles, but microbes.”     Authorities around the world are doing their best to contain the coronavirus pandemic. Disease outbreaks can happen at any time and anywhere, with little or no warning. These are events that have occurred in the past and will occur again in the future. We are facing an uphill battle, but blockchain can help. Blockchain will not prevent new viruses, but it can help create a first line of defense, through a network of connected devices with a single purpose: to alert us about disease outbreaks. The use of blockchain can help prevent pandemics by enabling early detection, fast-tracking drug trials, and impact management of outbreaks and treatment. Blockchain platforms could help connect local hospitals and health organizations. Local hospitals could record medical data about patients with flu- or virus-like symptoms. The data could be used by health organizations to predict the spread of the virus, to help them take preventive measures (increase medical staff, supply medical equipment) in the areas where the virus could spread. Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO), IBM and Oracle teamed up to create an open-data hub that will use blockchain technology to check the veracity of data relating to the coronavirus pandemic. Blockchain based livestock tracking could help to better trace an outbreak at the source, before it becomes impossible to contain. Deadly viruses have originated by contaminated livestock, that made it into our food supply. Imagine how many lives and resources we could save, if we could collect and analyze data to assess livestock risks for various regions. We could also improve the medical supply chain for products and vaccines. It’s vital to be able to track where things are and where they came from and ensure they are genuine. Researchers, biotech and pharmaceutical firms are racing against time to create the vaccine for this virus, as well as develop potential treatments for COVID-19. Blockchain based platforms could help vaccine development across various stages starting from exploration to pre-clinical stage, clinical development, regulatory approval to production and distribution and continuous quality control & monitoring. Like the September 11 terrorist attacks, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the financial collapse of Lehman Brothers, the coronavirus pandemic is a world-shattering event that will lead to permanent shifts in political and financial power. Many, fear the pandemic will strengthen state control and reinforce nationalism. Governments everywhere are adopting measures to deal with the health and financial crisis, and some governments will find it difficult to give up these new powers, when the crisis is over, similarly to what happened in the wake of 9/11, when civil liberties around the world were trampled. More than a hundred years ago, in the “The Machine Stops“, E. M. Forster wrote about a dystopian future where humans relied on a machine to provide food, clothing, shelter, and interaction with each other, using audio and visual devices. This story sounds like the present, and the pandemic is pushing us even more in that direction, to become more reliant on the “machine”. But the coronavirus pandemic is also causing everything to come to a grinding halt. Health care, government and business “machines” are breaking down and stopping. Maybe this is a wake up call, that pushes in the exact opposite direction, away from centralized machines and structures. The coronavirus global health crisis has the potential to massively disrupt our lives, both economically and socially. I can only hope, we move in the right direction. Image Source Subscribe by email to join the other Fintech leaders who read our research daily to stay ahead of the curve. Check out our advisory services (how we pay for this free original research) The post Coronavirus will shape the next decade. Will we prep before the next one? appeared first on Daily Fintech. [...]
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Stimulus Boosts Coronavirus Unemployment Benefits $600/Week

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Stimulus Boosts Coronavirus Unemployment Benefits $600/Week
Tucked in the sprawling $2 trillion federal stimulus package, which aims to stem the rampant economic damage caused by the new coronavirus, is a dramatic expansion of benefits available to workers who have lost work or income because of the pandemic. The measure, dubbed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, passed the Senate unanimously Wednesday, cleared the House Friday and is expected to receive President Trump’s signature. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer described the expanded benefits as “unemployment insurance on steroids” because it provides an extra $600 a week to those who are out of work due to the coronavirus – with a 13-week extension to every state’s unemployment program for a maximum of 39 weeks. It also covers, for the first time, gig workers and freelancers who normally do not qualify for unemployment compensation. Here’s all of our coverage of the coronavirus outbreak, which we will be updating every day. Here’s what you need to know about how the legislation can help if you’ve been financially impacted by the coronavirus. How Coronavirus Unemployment Benefits Work The $600 weekly boost to unemployment benefits comes in addition to current state-level benefits. Depending on the state, existing unemployment benefits can range from $213 to $546 per week, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The average weekly benefit is $385. The additional $600 comes from the federal government in direct response to the economic fallout of the pandemic. It may be included with the state unemployment benefit check or arrive separately, but it must come weekly.  Pro Tip The filing process for unemployment benefits varies by state. Use Career Stop One, a resource sponsored by the Department of Labor, to find out how to apply to your state’s program. The duration of unemployment benefits also varies by state.CBPP data show most states provide benefits for up to 26 weeks. The bill extends that timeframe by 13 weeks to a maximum of 39 weeks. Some states provide unemployment assistance for as few as 12 weeks. In that case, unemployment benefits – with the extension from the coronavirus bill – would be available for 25 weeks. Though once benefits expire, unemployed Americans may reapply. The CARES Act also widely expands the definition of “unemployed.” Any worker who was laid off, furloughed or has material proof of missed employment or income due to a variety of other coronavirus-related reasons is now eligible. This expanded definition includes freelancers, gig workers and part-timers, too.  Because gig workers’ income fluctuates week by week, it’s unclear how much states will contribute to the unemployment benefit, though unemployed gig workers can expect at least $600 a week if their normal weekly earnings exceed that amount. No one will receive unemployment benefits that exceed their normal weekly earnings. Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Initial claims were 3,283,000 for the week ending 3/21 (+3,001,000). Insured unemployment was 1,803,000 for the week ending 3/14 (+101,000).https://t.co/ys7Eg5LKAW — US Labor Department (@USDOL) March 26, 2020 What’s also unclear is how quickly states will be able to process the coming influx of unemployment claims. While the CARES Act removes red tape to expedite the process, unemployment offices across the nation were already slammed before the bill came to a vote. The Department of Labor reported 3.3 million new unemployment claims the third week of March, just days after Trump declared a national emergency. The CARES Act also includes direct monetary aid to most adults in the form of a $1,200 check. Here’s everything we know about the stimulus checks so far. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the surge in claims shattered the previous record, which was 695,000 weekly claims in October 1982 when the stock market crashed. “While the record number of claims is shocking, it is not totally surprising,” said Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate, in a statement. “For days now, we’ve heard how state systems were overwhelmed by the rush to file claims after people were separated from work.” While white-collar employees nationwide transition to remote work in droves, service industry, retail and gig workers by and large have fewer options. While some gig companies and retailers are ramping up hiring in response to a surge in demand for services such as grocery delivery, the impact on workers in industries like restaurants and hospitality is expected to be punishing.  That’s what makes their eligibility for unemployment compensation significant.  In a tweet, the EPI called the CARES Act “a good first step” for part-time and self-employed workers but noted that the unemployment expansion doesn’t go far enough in helping low-wage earners who may not qualify for assistance. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act is a good first step—expanding unemployment benefits to workers who are self-employed, are seeking part-time work, or do not have sufficient work history.#StimulusPlan #stimulusbill — Economic Policy Institute (@EconomicPolicy) March 26, 2020 Adam Hardy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. He covers the gig economy, entrepreneurship and unique ways to make money. Read his ​latest articles here, or say hi on Twitter @hardyjournalism. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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Coronavirus Stimulus Checks FAQ: 15 Answers We Know So Far

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Coronavirus Stimulus Checks FAQ: 15 Answers We Know So Far
One piece of good news in a time of coronavirus doom: You’re probably getting a $1,200 check if you’re single or a $2,400 check if you’re married to help you deal with the fallout of COVID-19. The Senate unanimously passed a $2 trillion bill late Wednesday night aimed at providing relief from the financial impact of the pandemic. In addition to the $1,200 payments for most adults in the U.S., the bill massively expands unemployment benefits for those impacted by the virus. It also provides hundreds of billions in loans to struggling small businesses and larger companies. The bill is expected to be approved by the House of Representatives on Friday and then be signed into law by President Trump. We’ll update this post as the story develops. Coronavirus Stimulus Check FAQs: 15 Questions Answered Here’s what we know so far about the coronavirus relief checks that will be going out soon. This is a developing story, and there are a lot of details that we still don’t know. We’ll answer more questions as information becomes available. The bill is expected to be approved by the House of Representatives on Friday and then be signed into law by President Trump. We’ll update this post as the story develops. 1. Will I get a check? How much will I get? If you’re single with an adjusted gross income (AGI) of $75,000 or less, you’ll get $1,200. If you’re married and file a joint return, you’ll receive $2,400 if your combined income is $150,000 or less.  For each child 16 or younger in your household, you’ll get another $500. If you file as head of household (usually that means you’re a single parent with at least one child who lives in your home for more than half the year), you’ll get $1,200 if your income isn’t over $112,500. If you’re single and make more than $75,000 or if you’re married and make over $150,000, your check will be phased out by 5 cents for every $1 you earn above these amounts. That means once your income reaches $99,000 if you’re a single filer or $198,000 if you’re married, you don’t get a check. For people who file as head of household, the phase-out ends at $136,500. Pro Tip Calculate your stimulus payment with the Washington Post’s online calculator. 2. What tax return will be used to determine my eligibility? If you’ve already filed your taxes, your 2019 return will be used. Otherwise, your 2018 return will determine your eligibility. Reminder: This year’s tax filing deadline has been pushed back 90 days to July 15. 3. Who WON’T qualify for the stimulus checks? If the income on your 2018 or 2019 return is higher than the thresholds listed above, you won’t get a stimulus check. You also won’t get one if you’re a nonresident alien, you don’t have a Social Security number or if someone else claims you as a dependent. 4. I haven’t lost my job or had my hours cut due to coronavirus. Will I still get a check? Yes. Eligibility is based on your 2018 or 2019 income. Your current employment status isn’t a factor. 5. What if I have lost my job? Does that mean I get extra? No, you won’t get a larger stimulus check. But you will benefit from the “unemployment on steroids” expansion of benefits for workers who lost their jobs or experienced major loss of income due to the pandemic. The package gives workers who lost their jobs for reasons related to coronavirus up to $600 per week of additional unemployment benefits on top of their state benefits for 13 weeks. What’s especially unusual about this bill is that it extends unemployment benefits to gig workers, contractors and freelancers who usually don’t qualify. 6. Will I have to pay taxes on the check? Probably not. It’s a tax credit and isn’t treated as income. If you qualify for $1,200, you’ll receive the full $1,200; no taxes will be deducted. Where it gets confusing is that the check is actually a credit for your 2020 taxes — but since no one knows how much we’ll earn or how much they’ll owe for 2020, the payments are based on your 2019 return if you’ve already filed it or your 2018 return if you haven’t. So what happens if you’re single and earned $70,000 in 2019 and your income suddenly soars to $100,000 in 2020? We don’t really know. Technically, you’d be ineligible for the relief check… but there’s nothing in the bill that requires you to pay back the money or even report it as income. Here’s all of our coverage of the coronavirus outbreak, which we will be updating every day. 7. What if I made too much in 2019 to qualify, but my 2020 income has taken a hit? If you didn’t qualify because you earned too much in 2018 or 2019, but your income dips below the thresholds in 2020, you won’t get a stimulus check, though you’ll probably benefit from the expanded unemployment benefits if you’ve lost your job due to the pandemic.  While the bill wouldn’t allow you to receive a check based on your 2020 income right now, you would most likely be able to receive the payment as a tax credit when you file your 2020 tax return in early 2021. 8. Where do I find my AGI? To find your AGI on your 2018 return, look at Line 7 of your 1040. For your 2019 return, you can find it on Line 8b of your 1040 or 1040-SR. 9. What if I didn’t file a tax return in 2018 or 2019? If you received Social Security benefits, the IRS can use information from your benefits statement to process your check. But things could get tricky if you didn’t file a tax return and also didn’t receive Social Security benefits for 2018 and 2019. The solution: File a tax return ASAP. While the IRS website says it doesn’t have any information about stimulus checks yet, it urges non-filers to take action right away. “Pending legislation includes certain potential credits and rebates for those who have filed a return for 2018 and/or 2019,” it says. “Those without 2018 tax filings on record could potentially affect mailings of stimulus checks.”  Pro Tip If you need to file a tax return for 2019 or a previous year, check out these free tax-filing resources on the IRS website. 10. Do I still get a check if I’m retired? Yes, as long as your income isn’t above the limits listed above and you meet the other criteria. If you didn’t make enough money during either year to file a tax return, the government can use your Social Security benefits form to process your payment. 11. Will I still get a check if I owe back taxes? Yes. Delinquent taxes won’t affect stimulus checks.  12. I already got my relief check in the mail. Is it legit? No! Any check you’ve already received is fraudulent. Remember: This hasn’t even been signed into law yet. A few things to remember for when checks are issued: You’ll never have to pay anything upfront to receive a check from the U.S. government, and you’ll never have to provide your Social Security number, credit card number or bank account number to receive your check. The FTC has more information here.  13. How will I get my check? If the IRS has your bank account information from your past tax returns, it will use that and pay you via direct deposit. If it doesn’t have your bank account info, you’ll get your benefit by mail, but there’s a good chance it will be in the form of a prepaid debit card, rather than a paper check. 14. When will I get my check? Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said he hopes to get payments out in two to three weeks. However, many observers say it’s highly unlikely that the IRS can make this happen that quickly. Last time the government sent out stimulus checks in 2008, the process took about three months. 15. Is this a one-time deal? The Senate has only authorized one payment, so for the moment, yes.  What Do You Want to Know About the Coronavirus Stimulus Checks? There are a lot of things we still don’t know about the coronavirus stimulus checks.  Even the IRS doesn’t have all the answers. Remember, this hasn’t been signed int [...]
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Coronavirus To Kill Cash For Good

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Coronavirus To Kill Cash For Good
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Coronavirus and Negative Interest Rates: What It Means for You

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Coronavirus and Negative Interest Rates: What It Means for You
Thanks to the coronavirus-related financial crisis, we’ve broken more records in U.S. financial markets: Interest rates on some government securities have now dropped below zero, with one hitting a new low. As of this morning, three-month Treasury bills on the secondary market were paying negative 0.036% — a record low. One-month Treasury bill rates also went negative. This is the first time since... [...]
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NerdWallet Experts’ Tips on Handling Finances During Coronavirus

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NerdWallet Experts’ Tips on Handling Finances During Coronavirus
The economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak may have you thinking about — and let’s be real, losing sleep over — your finances now more than ever. With bills, investments and mortgage payments to consider, as well as looming fears about a recession, you may need an expert opinion to cut through the noise and... Valerie Lai is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: vlai@nerdwallet.com. The article NerdWallet Experts’ Tips on Handling Finances During Coronavirus originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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What to Do if Your College Closed Due to the Coronavirus

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What to Do if Your College Closed Due to the Coronavirus
School’s out for many colleges and universities that have closed in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.  That can create a dire problem if you depend on your school for housing, food and on-campus jobs. And what does it mean for your student loans? Here’s all of our coverage of the coronavirus outbreak, which we will be updating every day. Although some schools have contemplated refunding some charges for room and board, according to The Wall Street Journal, the fact is you’re unlikely to receive a refund for the tuition and fees you’ve already paid. We’re here to help you navigate these unchartered waters — including what to do to avoid racking up student loans. How to Avoid Racking Up Student Loan Debt Due to the Coronavirus Whether your college is closing its campus or you need to quarantine yourself, here’s how you can avoid taking on extra student loan debt. An important note: If you need to reach your school, you may need to try multiple avenues. Remote-working staff may be able to assist, but expect longer waits if you’re calling the financial aid office, for instance.  Alternatively, your school’s official social media sites might provide more immediate guidance for how to contact specific offices or departments. If Your College Campus Closes  Beyond the take-home tests and online classes, there’s the real cost associated with planning to live in one place and then being told to go away. Some colleges are offering at least temporary shelter in dorms, but you’ll need to reach out to your college’s housing services to let them know your situation. If you’re displaced because of your college’s closing, you may need someplace to store all your stuff — U-Haul is offering a free month of self-storage at U-Haul owned and operated facilities. You must be a new customer, but you only need to show your college ID to get the deal. Pro Tip If you have a Federal Work-Study job, your school may let you to work remotely or pay you for scheduled hours if you can’t make it in due to coronavirus-related disruptions, according to the DOE. Some hotels — the ones that have remained open — are also offering discounts to students who need a place to stay before booking arrangements to get back home. The Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, Chicago, for instance, is offering a discounted rate of $99/night plus taxes and fees for displaced college students, according to Laura Langemo, senior specialist, public relations for Radisson Americas. The rate is available through April 30 and you’ll need to show your college ID at check-in.  Hotels near your college may be offering deals to make up for their own cancellations, but call ahead to confirm. FROM THE DEBT FORUM Payday loans 3/11/20 @ 1:50 PM School Loan Forgiveness 3/9/20 @ 6:57 PM L Credit cards 3/4/20 @ 2:43 PM Student Loan - Public Service Loan Forgiveness (Income-Based) - Payment Decrease? 3/4/20 @ 4:15 PM L See more in Debt or ask a money question If You Can’t Attend Class If you can’t get back to school because you’re under quarantine, the Department of Education’s financial aid website recommends that you reach out to your school’s financial aid office and academic adviser.  If the person responsible for your tuition payments — you, your parents, your grandparents — lost their source of income, ask your school’s financial aid office about alternative payment options and potential emergency funding to cover costs.  Pro Tip If you’re currently repaying student loans held by the federal government, you’re eligible for an interest waiver. Check the Department of Education website for details and updates. If you’re sick or must care for a family member, reach out to your academic advisor and the financial aid office for a potential leave of absence. The thing you shouldn’t do: simply stop going to class. If your school has moved to online classes, you must participate in them to remain eligible for financial aid.  If you don’t have the money to continue full time, at least consider cutting back to attending online classes part time. By maintaining half-time status, you can continue deferring your student loans. Tiffany Wendeln Connors is a staff writer/editor at The Penny Hoarder. Read her bio and other work here, then catch her on Twitter @TiffanyWendeln. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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How to Book Future Air Travel Amid Coronavirus Uncertainty

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How to Book Future Air Travel Amid Coronavirus Uncertainty
The coronavirus pandemic has brought air travel to a screeching halt. Flights are cancelled, borders are closed, and now one of the big questions is: When will we travel again? Airlines are offering flexible travel policies to help with this uncertainty. For example, if you’re set to attend a wedding this summer but are unsure... Sam Kemmis is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: skemmis@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @samsambutdif. The article How to Book Future Air Travel Amid Coronavirus Uncertainty originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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A Bug Is Crashing The Financial System And Decentralization Is The Best Way To Fix It

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A Bug Is Crashing The Financial System And Decentralization Is The Best Way To Fix It
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Dear Penny: I’m Retired. What Will Coronavirus Do to My Savings?

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Dear Penny: I’m Retired. What Will Coronavirus Do to My Savings?
Dear B., The truth is that nobody knows. Sure, we’ve survived downturns before. They’ve been painful and scary. But retirement portfolios have bounced back. In all likelihood, that’s what will happen this time. Yet we’ve also never seen a situation like coronavirus in our lifetimes. No one really knows how deep the pain can get or how recovery starts to happen when we’re all being told not to leave our homes for the foreseeable future. That uncertainty is less of a problem for people who have decades left until retirement, but it’s especially scary for people like you, whose working years are behind them. So let’s acknowledge what we don’t know. We have to work with the information we do have about what happened to retirement accounts in past bear markets, even though the situation we’re in is unique in so many ways. I reached out to several financial advisers about the best course of action for retirees dealing with the market fallout. Note that what they told me is general financial advice. You should always consult with a pro before making major financial decisions.  The most important piece of advice is the part that’s hardest to follow, and it applies to retirees and working-age people alike: Do not panic and sell off major assets right now. “One of the worst things a retiree could do in this situation is to sell the stocks after they’ve decreased so much in price,” said Andy Panko, a certified financial planner who owns Tenon Financial LLC in Iselin, New Jersey. “Selling stocks at the current low prices will lock in those losses and leave retirees with less shares left to rebound when the economy and stock prices eventually turn around. This will permanently reduce a retiree’s wealth.” One good thing about your situation is that you aren’t living off your retirement accounts right now. The longer you can avoid making withdrawals, the better. That gives more of your money time to rebound. If you have enough non-retirement savings to live off of in the short term, using that money for your expenses is ideal.  Alternatively, if you have cash value in a life insurance policy or access to a line of credit, these could help you meet your needs in times of temporary market stress, according to Colin B. Exelby, a CFP and president/founder of Celestial Wealth Management. “This provides relief and time for those risk assets to potentially recover,” Exelby said. “The key is, assuming they do that, you then pay back the credit line or permanent insurance policy as the risk assets recover.” But if you don’t have access to a lot of cash and need to start withdrawals sooner, try to withdraw the absolute minimum you need to stay afloat so you have more money invested whenever recovery starts to happen. Getting your mix of assets right when you’re retired or approaching retirement is also essential because you’re kind of at a Catch-22: You want lower-risk investments, but they still need to have enough risk to earn a decent amount. Otherwise, you risk chipping away at your principal balances and outliving your retirement savings. This is important enough that it’s worth the cost of working with a financial planner, even if it’s just for the short term. You don’t say how old you are, but if you haven’t started taking Social Security benefits yet and are eligible to do so, this should be part of the discussion. In an ideal world, you’d wait as long as possible to start taking benefits to get the maximum monthly payment. But that’s in an ideal world — as in, one without coronavirus. In the real world, you have to use the resources that are available. So taking Social Security early to avoid selling investments at bottom prices may be something to consider. These are scary times for everyone right now. The fact that many of us are dealing with this in relative isolation makes it that much harder not to dwell on the uncertainty. If you’re constantly monitoring your retirement accounts… stop it! Log out of your accounts and try FaceTiming with a friend or family member instead.  Just talking about your fears can provide some relief. We’re all experiencing this together — even if we are in quarantine.  Robin Hartill is a senior editor at The Penny Hoarder and the voice behind Dear Penny. Send your tricky money questions to AskPenny@thepennyhoarder.com. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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What do you want a post #Coronavirus world to look like?

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What do you want a post #Coronavirus world to look like?
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13 Free, Easy Strategies for Coronavirus Stress Management

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13 Free, Easy Strategies for Coronavirus Stress Management
We’re living in scary, uncertain times, and for a lot of us, that translates into high levels of stress and anxiety. But as natural as these responses may be, chronic stress and anxiety pose their own threats. Chronic stress has been linked to many serious health conditions, and it has also been shown to depress immune function, which is something none of us need right now. That’s why we’ve put together a list of 13 things you can do to help you cope during this time. None of these things cost money, and you can do them all at home (or at least in your neighborhood).    13 Ways to Manage Your Coronavirus-Related Stress Right Now The next time you’re feeling swept up in counterproductive thoughts, try one of these tactics. 1. Take a Few Deep Breaths If you’re like most people, you probably respond to feelings of emotional distress by taking shorter, shallower, more rapid breaths. This means your body gets less oxygen, which in turn affects your ability to think clearly and function — and that can exacerbate that tangle of emotions. Taking a few deep breaths will replenish your body’s oxygen supply, and as a bonus, it will give you a few moments to pause, which can also help you calm down.  When you feel yourself getting stressed out, stop and breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose, then exhale through pursed lips. Do this several times until you feel yourself calm down.   Several variations of this exercise exist, so play around until you find something that works best for you. 2. Try a Grounding Technique If stress and anxiety are threatening to overwhelm you, try one of these grounding techniques. They work by pulling you away from your anxiety-producing thoughts, most of which either dwell on the past or ruminate on the unknown future, and bringing you back into the present.  An easy one to remember is the “five senses” technique. Here’s how you do it: Stop for a moment and think about what all of your five senses are experiencing at that precise moment.  What do you hear? What are you smelling? What do you feel on your skin? What do you see? What do you taste?  Whenever you catch your thoughts spiraling out of control, take a minute to pause and do one of these exercises, and hopefully you will feel better quickly.  3. Limit Your Time Online Many researchers have found a strong connection between heavy social media use and a higher likelihood of experiencing anxiety and depression. The same is true for your smartphone.  This is the case even without the threat of global pandemic hanging over our heads, so imagine how much more intense that dynamic is right now, where every push alert to our phone could bring news of another border closure or federal emergency measure. Mix the unrelenting flood of news about these unprecedented events with the stress of watching political arguments unfold in comments sections, attempting to sort out the nuggets of truth from the fire hose of misinformation and trying to block out the increasingly panicked posts from family members and friends, and you have a recipe for lots and lots of anxiety. This is not an argument for complete abstinence from using social media, smartphones and the internet, by the way.  These things can bring great value to our lives, especially now more than ever, when we need both the social connections and the critical information they bring to us. (Not to mention deliveries of food and supplies while social distancing!)  However, even good things can be bad for us if we don’t put limits on our consumption, so if you find that being online is causing you a lot of stress, put some parameters in place.   One option is to give yourself an hour to check in the morning and in the evenings. Another option is to institute no-phone hours after a certain time. A third option is to take a few minutes to turn off your phone’s alerts and notifications.  None of those work for you? Here are seven other ideas for you to try. 4. Spend Time in Nature Sometimes the cure for what ails you is right outside your front door.  Researchers have found that spending time in nature can reduce anxiety, stress and depression. It seems to reduce the levels of cortisol, which is released in response to stress, and the prefrontal cortex — aka the area of the brain that’s active when you’re engaged in repetitive, negative thinking — shows lower amounts of activity. They’re not exactly sure why this happens, just that it does. City dwellers (and anyone else who doesn’t have access to green spaces due to social distancing and shelter-in-place restrictions), we still have good news for you: Researchers found that listening to calming outdoor sounds or looking at trees and other greenery can have the same effect as spending time in nature.  So fire up a playlist of ambient ocean sounds, gaze at some photos of Canadian forests and feel your stress slowly melt away. 5. Write Your Feelings Down Journaling is one of the most common strategies for dealing with mental health challenges, and for good reason. Researchers say writing down your feelings can help you make better sense of them. Instead of rushing around your body and mind in a confusing whirl of stimuli, the feelings become understandable, clearer and easier to manage. Want to try this out but not sure where to start? This post has seven good prompts for you to try. 6. Meditate Meditation has gotten a lot of press in recent years as a one-size-fits-all solution for everything from a lack of focus to anxiety to boosting your productivity.   But what makes meditation so potent in a time like this is that it helps you develop awareness of your own thoughts, which is the first step to being able to manage them more effectively. If you have the ability to catch yourself getting carried away by your anxiety-producing thoughts, then you’ll also have the ability to redirect them in ways that are more productive and useful for you. So you want to try meditation but you’re not sure where to begin? Try one of these five free meditation apps and use the guided meditations. Make an effort to meditate at least once a day for a few days, and see if it works for you. FROM THE SAVE MONEY FORUM Saving at the Grocery Store 3/4/20 @ 9:43 AM Energy saving -- via Arcadia Power or any other similar service? 1/24/19 @ 11:10 AM Emergency fund 3/6/20 @ 9:59 AM See more in Save Money or ask a money question 7. Drink Some Water Feeling anxious? Stop what you are doing, go to the fridge, pour yourself a glass of water and drink it down. Researchers have found that drinking water can lower a person’s stress and anxiety levels. Our bodies are primarily made of water, and when we’re dehydrated, we don’t function as well as we could. So if you’re feeling panicky, take a moment to drink a cool glass of water, and see if that helps you calm down. 8. Learn a New Skill You probably noticed your friends’ lists are full of posts about people taking up baking or gardening or cross-stitching right now.  There’s a good reason for that: Learning a new skill can occupy your brain so thoroughly that it leaves little room for the rumination that can lead to anxiety and stress. Researchers have found that learning a new skill can be a great buffer against workplace stress, and that holds true in our day-to-day life as well.   So if you’ve wanted to learn to play a new instr [...]
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This Week in Fintech ending 20 March 2020

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This Week in Fintech ending 20 March 2020
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4 Things We Know So Far About the Coronavirus Tax Extension

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4 Things We Know So Far About the Coronavirus Tax Extension
If you owe taxes for 2019, you just got an extra 90 days to pay up as part of the federal government’s coronavirus relief efforts. Most taxpayers who owe the IRS will now have until July 15 to make their payments, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said at a press conference Tuesday. During the 90-day window, taxpayers won’t be charged interest or penalties for what they owe from last year. Wondering if you’ll qualify for the extended timeline? You probably will, as the extension applies to individuals who owe up to $1 million and corporations that owe up to $10 million. 4 Things to Know About the 2020 Tax Extension The IRS hasn’t released the full details of the extension, but we’ll update this post as more information becomes available. Here are a few things to keep in mind, though, if you haven’t filed your return. 1. You Still Need to File a Return by April 15 Sorry, procrastinators: Mnuchin only announced an extension to pay your tax bill, but didn’t announce any change to the filing deadline.  So for now, plan on filing your return by April 15, as you would have in a normal (read: pre-coronavirus) year. The July 15 extension will only come into play if you owe money. You can also ask for an extension for filing your return on April 15 — just as you would during any other year — which would allow you to move your filing deadline to Oct. 15. Just know that your taxes will still be due on July 15; they’d normally be due on April 15, even if you filed for the six-month extension. 2. The IRS Is Still Processing Refunds as Usual The average tax refund is $3,012 for 2020, according to the latest IRS stats, and despite coronavirus, refunds are still being processed. So if you’re getting a refund, go ahead and file that tax return, particularly if you’re worried about losing your job or a significant chunk of income. Pro Tip It takes more time to get your refund the longer you wait. That means that if you’re anticipating a refund and you expect you’ll need cash soon, you should file ASAP. 3. Your State Income Taxes Could Be Due Sooner If you live in one of the 43 states with its own income taxes, you’ll need to check with your state about its deadline, because the 90-day extension applies to federal taxes only. Check out the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ list of state tax deadlines for the latest information. 4. If You Can’t Afford to Pay in July, You’ll Still Need to File The idea of owing the IRS when you can’t afford to pay may send shivers down your spine, but the situation probably isn’t as bad as you think. If you file your return on time but can’t make the payment, you’ll owe 0.5% per month of your unpaid taxes, up to 25% of what you owe. But if you don’t file a return? The penalty increases 5% per month, up to 25% of the unpaid bill. Should You Take Advantage of the 90-Day Extension? If you can’t afford your tax bill and you’re worried about your job or paying bills as coronavirus havoc continues, it absolutely makes sense to keep the cash in your pocket for as long as possible.  If you’re still experiencing hardship come July, it might even make sense not to pay the full amount you owe and work out a payment plan with the IRS instead. Think about it: If you’re hit with a 0.5% a month penalty, that amounts to 6% per year. That’s a lot less than what you’d likely pay in interest for a credit card or loan. But if paying your tax bill now won’t put your finances in jeopardy, you might as well pay up. Coronavirus or not, if you owe money, the IRS will never forget. Robin Hartill is a senior editor at The Penny Hoarder.   This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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Niche Fintech Could Catch The Coronavirus Bug

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Niche Fintech Could Catch The Coronavirus Bug
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Coronavirus Hotel Cancellation and Change Policies: Updates

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Coronavirus Hotel Cancellation and Change Policies: Updates
As the COVID-19 virus continues to disrupt travel for the foreseeable future, hotel brands have begun offering flexible change and cancellation policies, similar to those offered by airlines. These policies are evolving and expanding by the day, so make sure to check the hotel brand website for the latest information. Nerd Tip: “Free” change policies... Sam Kemmis is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: skemmis@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @samsambutdif. The article Coronavirus Hotel Cancellation and Change Policies: Updates originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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How the Coronavirus Is Changing the Gig Economy

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How the Coronavirus Is Changing the Gig Economy
The new coronavirus is shaking things up in the gig economy. Gig companies and their workers are reacting to the spread of COVID-19 in light of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines for employers and businesses, which recommend workers stay home when they’re sick or work from home if the company’s tech infrastructure permits. Due to being classified as independent contractors, gig workers typically don’t receive benefits – including sick leave. And because of the very nature of gig services, they can’t simply bring their work home. Over the past week, some well-known gig companies have announced changes to their policies and app features that are aimed at curbing the spread of illnesses — with some companies announcing paid leave under certain conditions. Here’s what’s changing. Delivery Gigs Delivery orders are surging nationwide. Grocery delivery company Instacart has seen a 10-fold increase in recent orders and 20-fold increases in California and Washington, Reuters reported. The company announced a “Leave it at my door” feature to limit interactions between the customer and delivery worker. Postmates and Doordash followed suit. “We know there are always people who, for health and other reasons, might prefer a non-contact delivery experience and we believe this will provide customers with that option,” Postmates said in an announcement of the feature. The bills don’t stop just because you’re ill. Here are six ways to make quick money if you need to take unpaid sick leave. The contactless delivery features are also appealing to some health-conscious ride-share drivers who would rather avoid having customers in their vehicle. For Uber drivers, the transition to food-delivery gigs is pretty seamless. Once workers are approved for the ride-sharing service, they’re eligible to start taking orders on Uber Eats using the same driver app. But there are also unforeseen hiccups. In advice groups on Facebook and Reddit, grocery delivery drivers have been venting frustrations about item shortages at grocery stores, saying that many customers’ orders include items that are out of stock. Freelance Gigs For freelancers, who are best suited for remote work, not a whole lot is changing. Projects may even increase in the short term. Several staffing agencies and freelance platforms, including TopTal and Outsize, told Forbes that freelance business is up. To stay productive, traditional businesses may turn to freelancers as they implement remote work policies and accommodate higher rates of sick leave. Pro Tip Uninsured or underinsured? Try one of these affordable health care options for freelancers (gig workers, too). Professional freelancers are also better in control of their workload and earnings than typical gig workers, and may have better luck negotiating deadlines if they fall ill. But they still don’t get paid sick days and have to foot medical costs themselves. Freelance photographers, however, are particularly vulnerable since the job often requires field work. How many freelance photographers have lost jobs due to the coronavirus? — Kacy Burdette (@KacyBurdette) March 9, 2020 Kacy Burdette, photo editor of Adweek, tweeted to her freelance photography followers, asking how the coronavirus is affecting their gigs. Scores of freelancers replied, reporting lost or delayed contracts – especially international- and event-related gigs – due to travel restrictions and cancelations of major conferences and festivals like SXSW. Ride-Share Gigs Ride-share apps and workers are perhaps most affected by recent developments with the coronavirus. Uber and Lyft encouraged their drivers and passengers to stay home if they contract the coronavirus, a potentially unworkable solution for drivers who can’t afford to go without a week or more of wages. Then, in an unprecedented development among gig companies, both ride-share providers announced that they will offer paid sick leave for quarantined or infected gig workers. “Any driver or delivery person who is diagnosed with COVID-19 or is individually asked to self-isolate by a public health authority will receive financial assistance for up to 14 days while their account is on hold,” Uber said in an announcement. Doordash announced a similar policy shortly afterward. In all three cases, drivers’ accounts are suspended until they recover. Several drivers told The Penny Hoarder they are concerned that the changes in people’s traveling habits will impact their earnings. Drivers who rely on airport fares seem disproportionately affected. Other drivers decried the cancellation of large events, which are usually ripe for picking up fares and increasing their earnings through surge pricing. Many colleges and universities are implementing online classes for the remainder of the semester, further impacting drivers’ income. “Here in New Orleans the mayor just cancelled all events this weekend,” ride-share driver June Erie said. “Drivers are worried about [the cancellation of] even bigger events coming up” such as French Quarter Fest and Jazz Fest. A fearless variety of ride-share drivers see the pandemic as an opportunity to earn more money, as some competing drivers in their area may decide to stay home. Some say the hype is to blame.  “No issues. No fear either. I’m just working as normal,” said Illinois-based ride-share driver Kristin Eiswert. Other drivers are fearful and keep driving nonetheless. Reports and videos depicting drivers in makeshift hazmat suits and bubble-like contraptions that separate them from their passengers are flooding ride-share advice groups. New York Lyft driver seals himself in airtight bubble to protect himself from the Coronavirus https://t.co/oIgHDVA3sa — Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) March 10, 2020 While most drivers share such photos for comic relief, the phenomenon seems to highlight a unique sense of unease for gig workers.  It’s true that the coronavirus may not directly impact their health. The effects on their bottom line are another story. Adam Hardy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. He covers the gig economy, entrepreneurship and unique ways to make money. Read his ​latest articles here, or say hi on Twitter @hardyjournalism. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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This Week in Fintech ending 13 March 2020

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This Week in Fintech ending 13 March 2020
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4 Steps You Must Take Now to Financially Prepare for the Coronavirus

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4 Steps You Must Take Now to Financially Prepare for the Coronavirus
It’s official: The World Health Organization has officially declared the current coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic. That doesn’t mean it’s time to panic. That’s neither necessary nor advisable. But a little planning now will really pay off if things take a turn for the worse later. There’s plenty of information circulating about how to protect yourself and your loved ones from the virus... [...]
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Does My Travel Insurance Cover the Coronavirus?

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Does My Travel Insurance Cover the Coronavirus?
If you’ve got some travel planned soon and you’re considering rescheduling because of the novel coronavirus, you might think that your travel insurance will cover you. So will it? As with many things in life, the short answer is “it depends.” And the long answer is that it truly depends on what type of coverage... Jon Nickel-D'Andrea is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: travel@nerdwallet.com. The article Does My Travel Insurance Cover the Coronavirus? originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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What if Satoshi was a woman?

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What if Satoshi was a woman?
Satoshi Nakamoto is considered a masculine name in Japan. This is the pseudonym used by the mysterious creator of Bitcoin. Many of the popular figures in today’s crypto world are also men. There’s no surprise that there is a male-centric perception of the the blockchain revolution. But all we know about Satoshi, who has never been identified, is that he created Bitcoin. Is Satoshi black or white? Is he American, European, Asian or an alien? Is Satoshi male or female?  Ilias Louis Hatzis is the Founder at Mercato Blockchain Corporation AG and a weekly columnist at DailyFintech.com. Throughout human history, cultures around the world have celebrated women. International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate gender equality and women’s empowerment worldwide. It’s a day to recognize the extraordinary acts of women and to stand together. While the numbers of women are relatively small in the crypto industry, Bitcoin and blockchain have a very feminine approach. Women approach solutions to problems very differently than men. Women tend to be more collaborative, inclusive and team-oriented, All of these characteristics are fundamental elements of blockchain and cryptocurrencies and are particularly effective, in today’s less-hierarchical, fast-paced, innovation-driven world. But just like the rest of the tech sector, blockchain and cryptocurrency have been predominantly dominated by men. Women have struggled to compete in crypto’s male-dominated culture, protected by cliques like the “blockchain bros”. Cryptocurrency combines finance and tech, two male-dominated sectors. According to the World Economic Forum, only 16% of female students graduate from science and technology subjects compared to 47% of men. Gender disparity predates blockchain. It has been prevalent in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, math) for decades. So far, women have played a minor role in shaping cryptocurrency and blockchain. According to a survey by Quartz, only 8.5% of venture-backed cryptocurrency startups founded between 2012 and 2018, were founded or co-founded by a woman. In 2017, investors in Bitcoin witnessed wealth creation of approximately $85 billion, only $5 billion, or a mere 5.88%, of this was obtained by women. Last year on its blog, Binance posted some myths about blockchain and women. I will elaborate on couple of points. #1: Women are not interested in blockchain and cryptocurrency The numbers have been changing. In 2018, female representation in the Bitcoin community stood at just 5% in 2018. Today it’s at 12.8%, according to recent data from CoinDance. Also a report published late in 2019, by Bitcoin fund Grayscale Investments, showed that 43% of investors interested in Bitcoin are women. #2: Women are not skilled in investing in crypto Studies suggest men are predisposed towards bubbles in a way that women are not. The most comprehensive study on gender and the stock market, shows that women who invest their own money or on behalf of an organization, take a more cautious approach but tend to outperform their male peers in the long run. #3: Women cannot contribute to blockchain development Most of us believe that men invented computers and the internet. However, women have played and important role with pioneers such as Ada Lovelace and Grace Hopper, the world’s first computer programmer. Without the input of remarkable Women in Crypto, we may not have made the breakthroughs that have paved the current landscape. Gender inequality deprives societies from wealth. The power of blockchain has the potential to reshape the financial world, but also affect the wider social context such as promoting gender equality. Cryptocurrency and blockchain can boost women’s economic opportunities and encourage engagement. Crypto needs more women in order to create the new financial technology that works for everyone. Now if Satoshi was a woman, I couldn’t think of a better message to empower young women to enter the computer science world, and have a huge impact in making the world a much better place. Image Source Subscribe by email to join the other Fintech leaders who read our research daily to stay ahead of the curve. Check out our advisory services (how we pay for this free original research) The post What if Satoshi was a woman? appeared first on Daily Fintech. [...]
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This Week in Fintech ending 6 March 2020

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This Week in Fintech ending 6 March 2020
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Coronavirus Travel Guide: Choose Your Own (Re)Booking Adventure

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Coronavirus Travel Guide: Choose Your Own (Re)Booking Adventure
You pick up the phone, dial the customer service number and ask to speak to a representative. You get put on hold for two hours. Welcome to the world of coronavirus travel. The now-global outbreak has upended the travel industry (airlines are already projected to lose $63 billion to $113 billion in 2020, according to... Sam Kemmis is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: skemmis@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @samsambutdif. The article Coronavirus Travel Guide: Choose Your Own (Re)Booking Adventure originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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How to Change/Cancel Existing Bookings Due to Coronavirus

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How to Change/Cancel Existing Bookings Due to Coronavirus
The outbreak of COVID-19 illness caused by a novel coronavirus has continued to grow, with seemingly new cases and travel advisories popping up on a regular basis. Companies have canceled employee travel plans, and the Summer Olympics in Tokyo could possibly be postponed to later in 2020. Given the uncertainty surrounding the potential pandemic, airlines,... Elina Geller is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: egeller@nerdwallet.com. The article How to Change/Cancel Existing Bookings Due to Coronavirus originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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Why Bitcoin is Eating the Software World

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Why Bitcoin is Eating the Software World
Back in 2011, Marc Andreessen famously wrote “Why Software is Eating the World“. Today the idea that every company needs to become a software company has seeped into every aspect of our lives, changing the way we live, eat, interact, and commute. We shop on Amazon, we ride Uber to get around, we order food with efood, we find places to stay with Airbnb and we search on Google when we have a question. Few of us could have imagined the impact software would have on our day-to-day lives. Along with this innovation, we’ve seen some side effects. Some of the biggest companies own almost nothing and employ almost nobody. First it was software, then it was mobile, and now its bitcoin, blockchain and decentralization. Ilias Louis Hatzis is the Founder at Mercato Blockchain Corporation AG and a weekly columnist at DailyFintech.com. We are at the start of a cryptocurrency paradigm shift, that will bring a wave of decentralised networks. This movement has been building over the past few years and goes beyond Bitcoin, other cryptocurrencies or even open source software and blockchains. Bitcoin is just one use case. Ten years ago there were no alternatives to government issued currencies. In 2008, Satoshi gave us Bitcoin and last year Facebook introduced Libra. Critics became advocates with JP Morgan Chase leading the pack. JP Morgan may be cautioning their clients against crypto, but they are simultaneously one of the largest corporate leaders in this space, launching the JPM Coin and their Quorum blockchain project, which may soon merge  with ConsenSys. Almost every sector is looking at blockchain, with governments terrified of being left behind and are scrambling to catch up. Maybe it’s because they understand that if they don’t scramble new countries will emerge. Yes, new countries. Balaji S. Srinivasan, in his conceptual model “The Network State” has a basic idea: “Just like every company is becoming a software company, every country will be forced to become a software country.”  Srinivasan explains that eventually we’ll see new countries emerge from crypto-communities: “Same people, different places, same beliefs”. Interesting! Blockchains that are capable of deploying smart contract, will digitize just about every asset and process. We will have digital versions of everything, stocks, bonds, fiat currencies, loyalty points, software licenses, concert tickets, insurance policies, derivatives and things we haven’t even thought of yet. This is a $90 trillion dollar opportunity. The tools and infrastructure that’s needed by developers to build, deploy, and scale blockchain products is in place. Unless you are building a blockchain or consensus algorithms, using blockchain technology is well within reach of any developer. Seventy-five percent (75%) of the respondents in the State of Enterprise Blockchain Study, think blockchain will be as ubiquitous as cloud by 2025. But, just like software continues to eat the world, blockchain and decentralization could end up eating software. Bitcoin and Ethereum could make Uber look like Pong. You could have a smart contract handle the money and do the payouts. While blockchain technology relies on software, it offer a new level of durability, interconnectivity, and most importantly, processing power. Because it uses open protocols, anyone can connect, participate, and innovate. That means that with a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, which was designed to be a peer-to-peer electronic cash system, you can extend the technology to do other interesting things. Bitcoin introduced two things: digital scarcity and decentralized computing that requires minimal-trust. The significance of Bitcoin’s core technological innovations go beyond the creation of a digitally native money. They enable a new, structurally superior economic model for the software industry. While, software, the cloud and apps are amazing platforms to scale technology, cryptocurrencies provide a radical new layer of transactions and trust on top of these new connections. Bitcoin and blockchain can enable new forms of governance that decentralize business hierarchies, disrupt the decision making process and organizations , forcing them to be more transparent and accountable. It is too often the case, that the organizations we trust, let us down. Trust in software services from companies like Facebook, Google, Amazon, Microsoft and others will be come under the microscope. Think of the drama about user data over at Facebook. Say what you will about crypto, but I think you’ll agree that there’s a lot of room for improvement, especially when it comes to software. While software has been immeasurably successful at improving a lot of things, it has only barely started to scratch the surface of the world of trust. Establishing a web of trust, that is programmable and its guarantees come from something more fundamental than a human institution, a mathematical guarantee, is the most important piece of the crypto puzzle. Image Source Subscribe by email to join the other Fintech leaders who read our research daily to stay ahead of the curve. Check out our advisory services (how we pay for this free original research)       The post Why Bitcoin is Eating the Software World appeared first on Daily Fintech. [...]
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Concerned About Coronavirus? How to Prepare Your House, Mind and Bank Account

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Concerned About Coronavirus? How to Prepare Your House, Mind and Bank Account
Coronavirus. It’s all over the news. It’s trending on Twitter. It’s on your TV. And it’s dominating the push alerts on your phone. Coronavirus disease 2019 (abbreviated COVID-19) is a respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus that was first identified in Wuhan, China. Cases have now been detected in at least 50 locations internationally,... Courtney Jespersen is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: courtney@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @CourtneyNerd. The article Concerned About Coronavirus? How to Prepare Your House, Mind and Bank Account originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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Security Token news for Week Ending Friday 28 February 2020

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Security Token news for Week Ending Friday 28 February 2020
  Here is our pick of the 3 most important Security Tokens news stories during the week: Commercial Real Estate Marketplace Red Swan Tokenizes $2.2 billion In Real Estate Through Security Token Platform Polymath  Red Swan CEO Ed Nwokedi:  “…in the past [real estate tokenization was attempted on] platforms like Harbor, Propellr and Fluidity, which were really tech companies…They didn’t really have the real estate background or the expertise to understand how the private real estate market works.” New York-based Red Swan says it has tokenized $2.2 billion in commercial real estate representing 16 different Class A commercial properties based in Texas, California and Ontario, Canada. CEO Nwokedi disclosed Red Swan is in the process of becoming a registered investment adviser, which will allow it to manage assets for accredited investors. The tokens are ST-20 tokens running on Ethereum.   Security Token Platform Dusk Network Says It Will Tokenize Shares For Thousands Of SMEs In The Greater Benelux Region The Amsterdam-based company announced Thursday it has partnered with Firm24, one of the region’s largest shareholder registries, and will use blockchain for an automated infrastructure that could introduce market efficiencies and transform how shares, that are not publicly listed, are traded. Firm24 has more than 35,000 SMEs from Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg (known as the Benelux region).  Firm24 hopes to deploy a tokenized share register to automate corporate actions and connect customers directly, creating tokenized representatives of share certificates that are freely tradable. LuxTag Claims First Successful Security Token Offering in Malaysia LuxTag announced it has closed on a $360,000 token offering. The crowdfunding round saw 51% of the funds denominated in Bitcoin and XEM (NEM).  LuxTag claims to be Malaysia’s very first successful token offering. The securities offering was hosted on PitchIn. LuxTag is an anti-counterfeit, track and trace and anti-theft solution provider. LuxTag utilizes the NEM blockchain platform and NEM’s native tokens (XEM) to run its blockchain operations. The service revolves around digitized certificates of authenticity for tangible products, linking to brands and owners through multi-signature smart contracts and the IoT (Internet of Things) elements. The company included among its customers Chronoswiss, a Swiss watchmaker, the International Islamic University of Malaysia (for securing authenticity of graduation certificates) and Defeet International, a sports apparel brand based in the US. We have a self-imposed constraint of 3 news stories each week because we serve busy senior leaders in Fintech who need just enough information to get on with their job. For context on Security Tokens please read the chapter on Security Tokens in our Blockchain Economy book and read articles tagged Security Tokens in our archives.  You get 3 free articles on Daily Fintech. After that you will need to become a member for just US$143 a year (= $0.39 per day) and get all our fresh content and our archives and participate in our forum. The post Security Token news for Week Ending Friday 28 February 2020 appeared first on Daily Fintech. [...]
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This Week in Fintech ending 21 February 2020

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This Week in Fintech ending 21 February 2020
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`NonTransparent ETFs` one step forward and two steps backward

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`NonTransparent ETFs` one step forward and two steps backward
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The Digital Wallets of the Future: Money and Identity

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The Digital Wallets of the Future: Money and Identity
Cryptocurrency wallets have been closely linked to other transactional services. A digital wallet refers to an electronic device or online service that allows someone to make electronic transactions. Usually they are bundled with other services, like exchanges (Coinbase, Binance), physical devices (Trezor, Ledger), or other services (Casa). What if cryptocurrency wallets weren’t just about storing digital assets, but were about identity, serving as a single passport to both the physical and digital world? Ilias Louis Hatzis is the Founder at Mercato Blockchain Corporation AG and a weekly columnist at DailyFintech.com. In the cryptocurrency world, wallets act as a gateway to access a service. A crypto wallet, unlike a physical wallet, a custodial or exchange wallet, or bank account, doesn’t control currency. It moves money between two parties, similar to services like Paypal.   Cryptocurrency wallets let people connect to services to buy and sell cryptocurrencies. They also act a way to store the user’s cryptographic private key, needed to perform these transactions. In essence, your cryptocurrency wallet holds the private keys to your assets sitting on a blockchain and lets you transact by “signing” orders. Crypto wallets have become very popular in recent years. Over 36 million crypto wallets have been created since 2012.   Also a study from Juniper Research found that the number of people using digital wallets will increase from 2.3 billion to nearly 4 billion, or 50% of the world’s population, by 2024. This in turn will push wallet transaction values up by more than 80% to more than $9 trillion per annum. Usually, when users signup to use a cryptocurrency wallet, they validate their identities, before being able to transact. If you live in the US, you were most likely asked to provide your social security number and license or equivalent if you’re outside the US. Depending on other factors, the cryptocurrency wallet provider may have also ask for more information in alignment with KYC regulation. The world’s economy is built by institutions that collect our data, such as banks, telecoms, insurance companies, brokers, drug companies, governments, online services and others. Every year, hackers steal billions of dollars worth of data. Our data, not just the data we give voluntarily but also data collected as we interact with the services we use, is harvested and processed by few huge centralized companies and organizations. Our data is trapped inside accounts on services and apps. Companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon Microsoft,, LinkedIn, Experian, and Visa, all exist collect and monetize our data. The need to decentralized our data is an absolute necessity. As we move from accounts to wallets, we will be able to manage our data, just like we manage Bitcoin, Ethereum and other digital assets, being able to switch between vendors easily and freely. Wallets will evolve beyond the simple function of buying and selling digital assets. Our wallets will become our primary identity authentication platform, that will contain everything we carry in our physical wallets and more. A wallet in the physical world contains multiple pieces of your identity. Imagine your passport, drivers license, medical card, and other types of IDs being replaced by a single digital wallet on your phone. A driver’s license can is used to prove your ability to drive, to buy alcoholic drinks or accessing identity-specific services like opening a new bank account. Most of us have debit cards that allow us to access funds from our bank accounts and use them wherever we want to buy things, with our pin that validates our identity to merchants. Our wallets will be able to store everything related to our identities along with cryptocurrencies and tokenized assets (stocks, bonds, etc). Since crypto wallets already validate our identity, they could act as a third party references of our identity for others. One of the biggest pain points is that every we sign up for a service we need to verify our identities, uploading passports or other documents. It’s not far-fetched to think that companies might be willing to accept a trusted wallet verification, instead of conducting their own independent checks. The internet was not built to transfer value. It was built to transfer information which didn’t need as much security, as value does. Today, blockchain technology allows us to store and keep our data and assets in our own secure wallets, with absolute control over how and when they’re used. Being in full control of your own identity and assets in a decentralized way makes a lot of sense. The future wallet will be an interface to protocols and services, and will represent our professional financial status, and personal identity. Wallets will change from something we use sometimes, when we want to buy and sell things, to something we use all the time. Our digital wallets will become the single most important place, where we store everything, from our money, to our identity. Image Source Subscribe by email to join the other Fintech leaders who read our research daily to stay ahead of the curve. Check out our advisory services (how we pay for this free original research) The post The Digital Wallets of the Future: Money and Identity appeared first on Daily Fintech. [...]
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Pulling back the curtain to shine light on ‘scary’ insurance phrases

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Pulling back the curtain to shine light on ‘scary’ insurance phrases
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This Week in Fintech 7th February 2020

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This Week in Fintech 7th February 2020
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Cryptocurrency religions: Will altcoins survive?

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Cryptocurrency religions: Will altcoins survive?
Bitcoin was the first and every other cryptocurrency came from it. Will Bitcoin survive? Will altcoins survive? This has been a heated debate with one side predicting the demise of the other. Bitcoin maximalists claim that we are heading to Bitcoin dominance and that altcoins are dying, urging the people to sell their positions in other crypto assets to put it all in Bitcoin. In a tweet last year, Charlie Lee wrote: “Some self-proclaimed Bitcoin Maximalists, are actually Bitcoin Extremists. They think all other coins are scams and will go to zero. Maximalists think Bitcoin is and will remain the dominant cryptocurrency, but there is room for altcoins to exist and even do well. What are you?” Ilias Louis Hatzis is the Founder at Mercato Blockchain Corporation AG and a weekly columnist at DailyFintech.com. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have become a belief system. Faith in the value and power of cryptocurrencies is good. But just like different religions, every cryptocurrency is on its own path to the truth. On January 2019, Roger Ver, posted: Coinism is the new nationalism. pic.twitter.com/v4RP2swRre — Roger Ver (@rogerkver) January 5, 2019 Like Orthodoxy in some religions, people tend to become extreme and intolerant to any other faith and deviation from the original. In the cryptocurrency world, these people are called “maximalists”. A maximalist is a person that has extreme views and is not prepared to compromise. In his tweet Ver, a Bitcoin Cash evangelist, posted a picture of two identical sides, where “ours” has only good attributes, and “theirs” is shit. Bitcoin’s dominance is unquestionable, its market cap is 8 times bigger from Ethereum, the second cryptocurrency. Yet, there’s not one truth in the path to enlightenment. The fact is that as blockchain and cryptocurrency technology develops, we’re going to see many alternatives. As different cryptocurrencies make technology choices and trade-offs, trying to solve problems, we will see different coins occupy different niche markets. Even at the top it’s it’s going to be crowded, with at least two or three competitors in every application you can imagine. We’re not going to end up with one system that does everything. That doesn’t make sense with this technology. When you look at the evolution of cryptocurrencies, initially we had one, Bitcoin. Since we’ve seen the appearance of hundreds of coins, now thousands and in the future we will even see tens of thousands. The growth of new blockchains and tokens, doesn’t seem to be slowing down. In the last decade a thousand coins died, while close to 3,000 are still in existence. Number of cryptocurrencies You can expect to see more failures and initiatives come and go, just like we saw in the 90s dotcom market.  But this is great from a technology perspective, because it only contributes to the evolution of the industry. Keep in mind that just because there are many alternatives, it doesn’t mean that every coin listed on Coinmarketcap.com is worth looking at or even buying. In the crypto market there are no barriers that would stop someone from building something different or allow someone to build a monopoly. That’s one of the great aspects of this market, its openness. The competition to create the best cryptocurrency has sparked an evolution that led to forks, birthing new cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin SV and Bitcoin Gold, to name a few. The idea that an environment of multiple competing cryptocurrencies is undesirable, is just wrong. While Bitcoin has clearly outperformed most cryptocurrencies, to expect that this will always be the case strikes me as stupid. Cryptocurrencies keep on increasing because of our desire for constant improvement. Having several thousand cryptocurrencies isn’t a bad thing. Each represents a solution to a different problem. While many are still ahead of their time, as technologies and communities mature, they will begin to disrupt industries like never before. IOTA, which uses a blockchain-like variation, is working to connect IoT devices. Using this network, your car will be able to interact with sensors and devices all around the city you live in. The “Ethereum Virtual Machine” (EVM) is capable of running smart contracts that represent financial agreements, employment contracts, and act as trusted escrow for the purchase of high value items. Even if some coins don’t stand the test of time, they will surely influence the direction of cryptocurrencies to come. We love some and hate others. Freedom offers choices and this is what cryptocurrency is all about. Image Source Subscribe by email to join the other Fintech leaders who read our research daily to stay ahead of the curve. Check out our advisory services (how we pay for this free original research) The post Cryptocurrency religions: Will altcoins survive? appeared first on Daily Fintech. [...]
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From ICOs to STOs and IEOs. What is next in the evolution of crypto fundraising?

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From ICOs to STOs and IEOs. What is next in the evolution of crypto fundraising?
Funding is a prerequisite for any new crypto project or startup. At the dawn of the new decade, we’ve seen a decline in token sales as source of funding. Where is the capital for crypto projects going to come from? Will traditional investment vehicles, like venture capital become more significant or will we see another evolution in crypto fundraising? Ilias Louis Hatzis is the Founder at Mercato Blockchain Corporation AG and a weekly columnist at DailyFintech.com. In 2017, ICOs were the most popular cryptocurrency trend. During that year 875 projects sold $6 billion worth of their tokens. In 2018, 1253 ICOs raised $7.8 billion, but 2019 was a completely different story. In 2019, we saw the introduction of the IEO. In total, token generation events during 2019 raised $3.2 billion (ICOs raised less than $370 million). But very few IEOs last year were able to raise a decent amount capital and only on selected exchanges. The drop can all be attributed to lack of regulatory oversight, a large number of exit scams, failed projects and delayed developments, severely damaging investor sentiment around token sales. While the price of Bitcoin bounced back after the first quarter of 2019, the fate for most of the other coins, like Ethereum, EOS and Tron, was not the same. The introduction of IEOs provided an extra layer of trust and security, when compared to ICOs. An IEO is very similar to an ICO. Investors receive tokens at a discounted price, in exchange for investment. IEOs are conducted on cryptocurrency exchanges, that claim to perform strict due diligence checks, to filter out any bad actors and protect their users. At a first glance IEO figures are impressive. The launch of BitTorrent on Binance in January ended in 15 minutes with over $17 million worth of tokens sold. But only a small number of IEOs have been able to get this kind of activity. IEOs have their own share of problems and many are still skeptical. For the most part, IEOs were more secure than the conventional ICOs. While the IEO experiment showed that ICOs can be rebranded, it also showed that some of the inherent flaws couldn’t be evaded. As smaller exchanges, with more lax requirements, launched their own IEO launchpads, once again fraudulent token sales appeared With declining ICOs and IEOs, blockchain startups are looking for other ways to raise money. Even when ICOs were red hot, there was venture capital investment in crypto companies. Companies like Coinbase and Circle raised money from VCs. In 2018, VCs invested around $3 billion in crypto and blockchain-related startups, around 40% of what was raised by ICOs. In 2019, venture capital investment took a step back. By the middle of 2019, VC funding in cryptocurrency startups accounted for USD 822 million. Security Token Offerings (STOs) have emerged as an alternative. While launching an STO is a complicated process, in 2019 they gained more traction and capital, with 64 STOs, collectively raising almost $1 billion. STOs were born out of the need to raise money in a more regulated way, while keeping the flexibility that tokenized assets offer. Only a few platforms are licensed to host STOs, but a huge surge in interest has led many to seek licenses. Because of this, 2020 will likely bring a new wave of STOs, though these will mostly only be offered to accredited investors, while a regulatory framework evolves. We are also seeing another trend, the Initial DEX offering (IDO). Very similar to IEOs, IDOs are conducted on decentralized exchanges, instead of centralized exchanges used IEOs. Last year, Raven Protocol (RAVEN) conducted an IDO on Binance’s DEX. But for now decentralized exchanges still need to mature in terms of users and volume. For example, Binance’s DEX has a daily trading volume that is under $2 million. When ICOs first came out, I thought they were revolutionary. The IEO model fixed some of the flaws that plagued ICOs and gave developers an effective and faster way to get to market. Even though IEOs started early last year with some fireworks, they did not completely resolve the trust issues, so the investor enthusiasm quickly fizzled out. To make investors feel comfortable again, we need more than ease and accessibility, that ICOs and IEOs offer. We also need to offer IPO-grade regulation and compliance. But most startups are not able to do that. So what’s the middle ground? Well, maybe the solution is STOs, tokenized securities that comply with regulations. But for now STOs are still a hard route, that lacks liquidity and regulatory clarity. Image Source Subscribe by email to join the other Fintech leaders who read our research daily to stay ahead of the curve. Check out our advisory services (how we pay for this free original research) The post From ICOs to STOs and IEOs. What is next in the evolution of crypto fundraising? appeared first on Daily Fintech. [...]
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This Week in Fintech 24 Jan

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This Week in Fintech 24 Jan
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Blockchain Thematic ETFs from the West to the East

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Blockchain Thematic ETFs from the West to the East
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This Week in Fintech 10 Jan

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This Week in Fintech 10 Jan
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Ethereum Strikes Back

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Ethereum Strikes Back
Decentralized finance (DeFi) has literally exploded this year. 2020 is set to be even bigger. DeFi offers a unique way to earn interest on digital assets without a middleman taking a cut. Decentralized finance is evolving and Ethereum based DeFi is at the forefront. While several other smart contract platforms have been taking pot shots at Ethereum’s lead, none of Ethereum’s would be killers have been able to gain significant traction this year. When we look at the Ethereum ecosystem, 2019 was a year of continued growth and innovation.  Looking at the numbers: 80m+: Total Ethereum accounts 4 million: New active Ethereum addresses 4.7 million: Ether issued his year from block rewards. 8,516: Live Ethereum nodes 520: New decentralized applications in 2019 If you’ve have followed Ethereum’s narrative in 2019, you have likely noticed the growth of the Decentralized Finance ecosystem. DeFi brought in hundreds of millions of dollars in value into the Ethereum ecosystem. The first killer app for Ethereum was ICOs and raising money for cryptocurrency projects. The ICO was a revolutionary shift in fund raising, which drove a massive bull market. The ICO craze in 2017 raised billions of dollars, peaking in January 2018, and launched the programmable money race and the crypto app ecosystem, we have today. DeFi is Ethereum’s second killer app. In 2019, the DeFi was the most impactful trend in the crypto ecosystem. I expect that will continue to be the story in 2020, as DeFi could be worth $5 billion this year. The traditional banking system on the verge of collapse, interest rates are negative and people that save are penalized for putting money aside. The story use to be that when you would give your money to the bank, to keep it safe, the bank would lend it to others and charge them interest on the money they borrowed and in turn the bank would pay you interest for using your money, minus the cost of running the bank account. Well, DeFi lets people earn interest again, this time from their crypto assets. DeFi is an umbrella concept describing financial services built on top of public blockchains like Bitcoin and Ethereum. DeFi runs on trustless protocols, without the need for financial intermediaries. It lets individuals and businesses borrow, lend, trade, invest, exchange, hedge, and store crypto assets. DeFi includes things like Maker which is both a stablecoin and a collateralized lending system. Today, just about all DeFi projects are built on Ethereum, making it the gold standard for dApps. DeFi accounts for a substantial share of Ethereum’s ecosystem, with applications like: Lending: Dharma Lever, Compound, Celsius Network. Margin Trading: dYdX, Nuo Derivatives: dYdX, MARKET Protocol Tokenization: Abacus, Centrifuge, Harbor Insurance: CDx Prediction markets: Augur   Today most of these projects aren’t making money. For example MetaMask processes thousands of transactions every day, but doesn’t have a way to monetize. The way to measure DeFi’s growth is by the Ether (ETH) that’s locked in smart contracts. Currently it’s worth over $680 million (around 2.5 million ETH), with MakerDAO dominating across the major apps. This year several contenders have tried to unthrone Ethereum, like Waves, Cardano, EOS and Tron, but Ethereum’s, network effects and abundance of developers (Ethereum has 4x more developers than any other crypto ecosystem), make it very difficult for other smart contract platforms to sway away DeFi apps. What about Bitcoin, can DeFi be replicated on Bitcoin? DApps are possible on Bitcoin, but coding them is much more complicated, than on Ethereum. So far, Bitcoin’s most successful DeFi application is the Lightning Network. In 2019, the Lightning Network had impressive growth, with more than 6,000 active users and $6.2 million locked in the network. Other Bitcoin dApps are decentralized exchanges like Bisq or Sparkswap. Ethereum is growing and getting stronger. Network activity is up, development is on track, and DeFi is hitting record figures. The only thing not so positive, is Ethereum’s  price. You would expect the price to follow suit as DeFi has been growing and it probably will in 2020. With Ethereum becoming a programmable store of value, it’s well on track to find the niche that will fuel the next bull run. Because the last bull run was based on ICO speculation, some had written off Ethereum based finance. DeFi could provide a tangible value and an opportunity to build financial infrastructure that is open to everybody, and starts to change how we interact with markets. This is nothing to take lightly and I am excited to watch this growth and the applications that will develop in the coming months and years. Image Source Subscribe by email to join the other Fintech leaders who read our research daily to stay ahead of the curve. Check out our advisory services (how we pay for this free original research) The post Ethereum Strikes Back appeared first on Daily Fintech. [...]
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Decentralized discovery is the missing piece in the blockchain economy

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Decentralized discovery is the missing piece in the blockchain economy
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Why London could become the Bitcoin capital of the world

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Why London could become the Bitcoin capital of the world
Editor’s Note: this is the 8th post on Daily Fintech, written in 2014 – before all the political craziness of Brexit To give our authors a break over the holidays, we are re-posting from our archive of over 1,000 articles. Rather than pick favourites we elected to simply repost the first 8 articles (as that was over 5 years ago you may have missed them; we were pretty unknown then).  As we close out 2019, make a resolution to be smarter about Fintech in 2020 by subscribing for just US$143 a year (= $0.39 per day). You will get all our fresh daily insights and participate in our forum. You can also read our archives with over 1,000 articles, an example of which you are reading from over 5 years ago. We look forward to welcoming you to the Daily Fintech membership community today! Fresh insights will be coming from our knowledge bakery tomorrow. This is one of a series called Explorations down the Bitcoin rabbit hole. First, my bias. I am a Brit. When I left the UK in 1990, the start up scene was dismal, new ideas were greeted with skepticism and the status quo was glorified. It is a great pleasure to see that point of view so totally reversed now. There is a vibrancy, optimism and big ambition change-the-world thinking that is “oh dear, so Unbritish”. The UK tech scene has had false starts before. 8 years ago I was writing about how innovation was going global and yet Silicon Valley still dominates to an extent that I did not envisage when I wrote this post on ReadWrite in 2007. I think this story about London as a leading global Fintech/Bitcoin center has legs for 3 reasons: Critical mass of techies and rich people. Paul Graham of Y Combinator fame famously said that all you need for an innovation center is (i paraphrase) techies and rich people. There is one caveat. The rich people must have made their money from the domain you are asking them to invest in. If the rich person made their money in property or manufacturing, a digital startup just looks ridiculous. London has plenty of people who made their money in Finance. They know that even the most venerable institutions are “data centers with fancy lobbies”, so a new tech powered innovation is not too big a stretch for them. A light regulatory touch. Compare what the Cameron government is proposing vs what the New York State Department of Financial Services has proposed. It is clearly a fine line to walk. It is counterproductive if a center becomes a haven for scamsters and consumers to lose a lot of money. Bitcoin is a global phenomenon and many Bitcoin startups have global teams who can decide where they want to be based and regulation (along with talent and capital) is key to that decision. Regulation to protect consumers is good. Regulation to protect incumbents from competition is bad. New York has a lot of incumbents that certainly want protection; if they succeed in getting it, London will have a playing field tilted in their favor. Talent with the right mix of domain expertise and deep tech. Fintech needs both. Deep tech expertise can be found in any location with good Computer Science colleges. Fintech startups need those engineers in the same room with people who understand the nuances of things like credit rating, derivatives, exchanges, asset management and so on. The devil is in the details that sit at the intersection of both deep tech and. domain expertise. I see three “straws in the wind” to indicate that this is happening now: MeetUp attendance for hot new Bitcoin 2.0 platforms such as Ethereum. These could be huge or they could be flashes in the pan. What matters is how the techies are voting with their time. London is doing well on that score. The VC funding for Bitcoin startups. The numbers from Coinbase show Europe ahead of Asia in Q2 ($30.9 vs $20.8). This is still a long, long way from the $186m for America and I would like to see the regional numbers (e.g NY vs Valley and London vs Berlin) but I suspect that London is far ahead of any other European center. The Valley will always score on access to big Funds. What matters is London vs New York i.e two centers with deep Financial Services domain skills and networks. Big Silicon Valley Funds such as Accel see the trend lines and are setting up in London or strengthening their operations. This is one of a series called Explorations down the Bitcoin rabbit hole   As we close out 2019, make a resolution to be smarter about Fintech in 2020 by subscribing for just US$143 a year (= $0.39 per day). You will get all our fresh daily insights and participate in our forum. You can also read our archives with over 1,000 articles, an example of which you are reading from over 5 years ago. We look forward to welcoming you to the Daily Fintech membership community today! The post Why London could become the Bitcoin capital of the world appeared first on Daily Fintech. [...]
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Bitcoin VC Funding is now over 30% of Fintech and catching up fast

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Bitcoin VC Funding is now over 30% of Fintech and catching up fast
Editor’s Note: this is the 7th post on Daily Fintech, written in 2014 – to close out 2019. Happy New Year to our Western readers To give our authors a break over the holidays, we are re-posting from our archive of over 1,000 articles. Rather than pick favourites we elected to simply repost the first 8 articles (as that was over 5 years ago you may have missed them; we were pretty unknown then).  As we close out 2019, make a resolution to be smarter about Fintech in 2020 by subscribing for just US$143 a year (= $0.39 per day). You will get all our fresh daily insights and participate in our forum. You can also read our archives with over 1,000 articles, an example of which you are reading from over 5 years ago. We look forward to welcoming you to the Daily Fintech membership community today! This is one of a series called Explorations down the Bitcoin rabbit hole. Actually this understates it, but more on that later. First the basics. I looked at data from Coindesk on Bitcoin VC funding and data from CB Insights on Fintech. The Coindesk data is for Q2 and the CB Insights data is for 2013, so I multiplied the Coindesk data by 4 to get an annual run rate of $960m vs total Fintech over $3,000m. Thus the 30% headline number. This understates the Bitcoin number. Where would we record the pre-mining that funds a lot of Bitcoin 2.0 start-ups? However the bigger story is around momentum. Bitcoin startups only started to get serious money in the last 12-18 months. As some of these like Coinbase and Bitpay get real traction, this will pull in more funding. More importantly, the Bitcoin 2.0 platforms such as Ethereum, Maidsafe and Counterparty are getting funded through pre-mining and they are platforms to attack Fintech markets well beyond what we narrowly think of as Bitcoin today. My guess is that if did the same analysis in Q4 of 2014, the Bitcoin run rate would be closer to 50% of total Fintech. Some time during 2015, this analysis will no longer be useful as most Fintech startups will use Blockchain technology in some way. By 2016, it will be like saying “we use the cloud”. This is one of a series called Explorations down the Bitcoin rabbit hole. As we close out 2019, make a resolution to be smarter about Fintech in 2020 by subscribing for just US$143 a year (= $0.39 per day). You will get all our fresh daily insights and participate in our forum. You can also read our archives with over 1,000 articles, an example of which you are reading from over 5 years ago. We look forward to welcoming you to the Daily Fintech membership community today! The post Bitcoin VC Funding is now over 30% of Fintech and catching up fast appeared first on Daily Fintech. [...]
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What will trigger Wall Street Adoption of Bitcoin?

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What will trigger Wall Street Adoption of Bitcoin?
Editor’s Note: this is the 6th post on Daily Fintech, written in 2014 – well before the ICO wild days of 2017. To give our authors a break over the holidays, we are re-posting from our archive of over 1,000 articles. Rather than pick favourites we elected to simply repost the first 8 articles (as that was over 5 years ago you may have missed them; we were pretty unknown then).  As we close out 2019, make a resolution to be smarter about Fintech in 2020 by subscribing for just US$143 a year (= $0.39 per day). You will get all our fresh daily insights and participate in our forum. You can also read our archives with over 1,000 articles, an example of which you are reading from over 5 years ago. We look forward to welcoming you to the Daily Fintech membership community today! This is one of a series called Explorations down the Bitcoin rabbit hole. Bitcoin is: 1. A payment network 2. A currency 3. A store of value. So far I have focused on 1 & 2. In this post, I am focused on 3. Call it a currency or call it a commodity (as the IRS does), the store of value question is simply “will I get a better risk-adjusted total return than other alternatives?” Let’s parse that question for Bitcoin: “Total return”. This means capital appreciation PLUS Interest (Bonds) and Dividends (Equity). You receive no Interest or Dividends if you hold Bitcoin. Indeed the cost of Cold Storage makes it a cost to own Bitcoin. “risk-adjusted”. Bitcoin is more like Gold, which also pays no Interest or Dividend and you pay to store it in a vault. Gold has thousands of years of price history, Bitcoin about 5. It is inconceivable that Gold value will decline to zero. It is possible that Bitcoin will decline to zero; unlikely but possible. It is inconceivable to forecast a 10x or 100x return for Gold but one can paint many scenarios in which the price of Bitcoin will be 10x more than it is today (which makes it a 100x return for early speculators and miners). So, you might lose everything or you might get a 10x or 100x return. Does that sound familiar? Or course it does, this is like investing in tech startups. If this is like investing in startups, what stage is the deal? Is this Seed or Series A or B or C or is it IPO stage? I don’t think it is Seed stage. That was investing in Bitcoin in 2010. Today it is more like a Series A deal. You probably won’t lose everything at a Series A stage (a lot of the risk has been taken out by the time a venture gets to Series A). So the upside is also more constrained. Some ventures do get a 100x return from Series A valuation but 10x is a more reasonable expectation. It is easy to paint the scenario in which Bitcoin declines to zero. Merchant adoption stalls and a better cyber currency emerges to replace Bitcoin. To paint the 10x or more picture, we have to imagine things like: People in a significant sized economy with a failing currency (think Argentina, more than Zimbabwe which is too small an economy to make a difference) decide to use Bitcoin rather than US$. This sounds plausible enough until you try to imagine the actual scene where the black market guys exchange tourist dollars for Bitcoins and then the tourist offers Bitcoins to the vendor. Rich people worried about taxation, store their money offshore in Bitcoin rather than in US$. Again this sounds plausible, except for one inconvenient fact, which is that this is viewed as money laundering in most jurisdictions i.e. illegal. If somebody does this illegally, they won’t want to keep it in Bitcoin, they will want to turn it back to Fiat and get Interest and Dividends. Gold bugs become Bitcoin hoarders. Despite a libertarian bent to both communities, I see this as unlikely. Gold bugs love the fact that it is physical and has thousands of years of history. If any of the above scenarios pans out, fast money such as Hedge Funds and retail currency speculators will pile into Bitcoin and then there will be “meltup” in price. That will lead to more hoarding and so more price rises. What I find hard to see is what sort of investor will feel drawn to this type of risk/return. If you like 10x or 100X upside with the possibility of 100% loss, you will be drawn to investing in startups. If Bitcoin succeeds as a payment network, it won’t have much impact on the price, it will just be an enabler for lower cost payments. For bitcoin to succeed as a currency it needs to become boring and non-volatile, floating up a down compared to Fiat currencies like USD floats up and down compared to EUR. Speculators will find something else to play with. For Wall Street to get really comfortable with investing in bitcoin, they will want an ability to short bitcoin. That of course will help to stabilize the price and ensure that it is less volatile, which will make it less attractive to speculators. Of course, the reality is that Wall Street does not need to get comfortable with investing in Bitcoin, they just need others to get comfortable. If Wall Street firms can earn fees and commissions from selling Bitcoin, they will do so and many will become rich from doing this even if investors actually lose money (“where are the customer’s yachts?”). These periods of irrational investing last longer than a rational person might expect, but they do eventually implode. Personally, I prefer the risk/reward of tech startups and I think that Bitcoin the payment network and bitcoin the currency is fundamentally at odds with the volatility that speculators love. If Bitcoin does become a viable currency, it can be traded just like any other currency and will have similar levels of volatility, which still leaves plenty of room for intra day trading to make money. This is one of a series called Explorations down the Bitcoin rabbit hole. As we close out 2019, make a resolution to be smarter about Fintech in 2020 by subscribing for just US$143 a year (= $0.39 per day). You will get all our fresh daily insights and participate in our forum. You can also read our archives with over 1,000 articles, an example of which you are reading from over 5 years ago. We look forward to welcoming you to the Daily Fintech membership community today! The post What will trigger Wall Street Adoption of Bitcoin? appeared first on Daily Fintech. [...]
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Bitcoin transaction volume through merchants is the single most important metric in the Bitcoin economy

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Bitcoin transaction volume through merchants is the single most important metric in the Bitcoin economy
Editor’s Note: this is the 5th post on Daily Fintech, written in 2014 – sadly not much progress on this front in 5 years. To give our authors a break over the holidays, we are re-posting from our archive of over 1,000 articles. Rather than pick favourites we elected to simply repost the first 8 articles (as that was over 5 years ago you may have missed them; we were pretty unknown then).  As we close out 2019, make a resolution to be smarter about Fintech in 2020 by subscribing for just US$143 a year (= $0.39 per day). You will get all our fresh daily insights and participate in our forum. You can also read our archives with over 1,000 articles, an example of which you are reading from over 5 years ago. We look forward to welcoming you to the Daily Fintech membership community today!   The future of Bitcoin as an alternative currency is tied to one simple metric – merchant acceptance and the velocity of money through those merchants.   Bitcoin has potential as a) a payment network, b) a store of value that you can invest/speculate in and c) a currency. This article is only about bitcoin as a currency.   Like others before me, I have become more positive about the future of bitcoin the more that I learn about it. A few months ago I would have leaned to the view that Bitcoin the payment network had a great future but that bitcoin the currency would be a footnote in history. Today I am more positive, because the trend lines and motivations around merchant acceptance are positive.   If mainstream merchants accept bitcoin, it will thrive. If not, anybody owning bitcoin will need to first transfer bitcoin into Fiat currency and the regulatory off ramp problem will kill it as an alternative currency. Without mainstream merchant acceptance, bitcoin the currency will live on only in the shadow economy and become a footnote in history. Forget the headlines about bitcoin price fluctuations or the latest VC deal; these are “noise on the line” compared to merchant acceptance.   We have been through two phases of merchant acceptance and we may be about to start the third phase (phases overlap i.e. one does not have to end before another one begins):   Phase 1. Illegal online transactions, made famous by Silk Road. This got some media attention and confirms the old saying that, “there is no such thing as bad press”.   Phase 2. Attracting rich Bitcorati for legal products. This is the phase we are in today. The merchant logic here is very simple. If a rich person wants to pay me in some unusual currency, I am motivated to accept that currency. Enough people got rich speculating in bitcoin or mining bitcoin in the early days for this to be a real niche market. These Bitcorati are bitcoin enthusiasts, so if they see two objects they desire equally and one says “we accept bitcoin” then that rich Bitcorati will choose the merchant who accepts bitcoin. This is fundamentally different from phase 1 because a) it is legal and b) we will start to see merchant success stories akin to the merchants who were early adopters on the Internet.   The enabler for phase 2 is the elimination of the volatility problem. The same volatility that is a boon for speculators is a showstopper issue for merchants. There is no value in getting rid of those hated 2-3% Credit Card fees if the bitcoin price moves more than that before you can use it to pay your suppliers and live your life.   The two leaders in processing Bitcoin for merchants are Coinbase and Bitpay. At time of writing both claim 35,000 merchants. Both have raised a lot of money from top tier investors. Their pitch to merchants is that accepting Bitcoin is as easy as accepting a credit card – with lower fees. Coinbase’s pitch to merchants for example:   “When a sale is made, you can instantly sell the bitcoin received to Coinbase to avoid exposure to bitcoin volatility.”   A leader in merchant adoption could be the first VC backed Bitcoin success, analogous to the Netscape moment. An IPO would give the venture mainstream visibility and kick-start the next wave of Bitcoin innovation, funding and adoption. It’s a pity that the bar is so much higher for an IPO than it was 20 years ago, but that is another story.   The tipping point is simple. It comes when merchants switch from asking, “why should I bother accepting bitcoin?” to, “is there any good reason not to accept bitcoin?” When that happens and consumers see the bitcoin symbol on more merchants checkout (online or offline) they will be more interested in paying by bitcoin.   2014 has been a good year so far for merchant adoption with the following big e-commerce players announcing that they are accepting Bitcoin – Overstock, Dell, DISH, TigerDirect and Newegg. Overstock was the bridge from Phase 1 to Phase 2. Patrick Byrne, the founder CEO of Overstock is known as a critic of the establishment while running a large mainstream business.   We have to move beyond the Bitcorati to get to the tipping point. Somebody who has not got Bitcoins from mining or speculating early in the game has to be motivated to buy using bitcoin instead of a credit card. I have been talking to some small merchants to ask them what might trigger them to accept bitcoin. These are merchants who do not have an obvious Bitcorati customer base; some may do so and the merchant won’t know until they try which speaks to the “is there any good reason not to accept bitcoin?” story. Most had been totally put off Bitcoin due to the volatility issue and the story that the volatility problem has been fixed has not yet reached them.   However in their busy lives, there still has to be a good reason to take the time and trouble to accept bitcoin. One story that made these merchants think about accepting bitcoin came up a couple of times and this could become Phase 3 of bitcoin merchant adoption:   Phase 3. Micro-multinationals who want to accept international customers. Big businesses have already got doing business globally nailed. Small businesses don’t have very good solutions that are a) easy to implement b) inexpensive. Getting international payments via credit cards is easy but expensive; you pay a lot for the currency transfer back to your home currency. You could accept payment in foreign currencies but that gets complex. First, you have to decide which foreign currencies to offer and Murphy’s Law says that the one currency that you omitted is the one that your ideal customer wants to use (an American merchant may enable EUR and GBP and miss the Swiss customer who really wanted that high margin upmarket product as long as she can pay in CHF). Then you will have the hassle of getting your bank to accept multiple deposits in foreign currencies and when they do that you will find that you lose a lot when your bank converts it back to your home currency.   Doing this via bitcoin won’t be simple, but at least Bitcoin will be solving a real problem for merchants. Nobody has sized the micro-multinational market, but anecdotally it is large and tools such as VOIP now make it more natural to transact across borders, so this is likely to increase. This Phase is important because it will get more consumers (who have not mined or speculated) to use bitcoin. Lets say a consumer wants to buy something online that is priced in a foreign currency. If consumers see a simple calculator that tells them how much cheaper it is to pay via bitcoin than their credit card or debit card and it looked as easy as using their credit or debit card, consumers may give it a go. Phase 4. When Bitcoin becomes universal, just another option alongside cash and the usual Credit Cards in main street shops and e-commerce sites. To look at how could Bitcoin to cross the chasm from early adopters (Bitcorati and Micro-multinationals) to a universal payment option, we need to move into some spec [...]
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The real value of Bitcoin is in the P2P stack

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The real value of Bitcoin is in the P2P stack
Editor’s Note: this is the 4th post on Daily Fintech, written in 2014 – well before the ICO wild days of 2017. To give our authors a break over the holidays, we are re-posting from our archive of over 1,000 articles. Rather than pick favourites we elected to simply  repost the first 8 articles (as that was over 5 years ago you may have missed them; we were pretty unknown then).  As we close out 2019, make a resolution to be smarter about Fintech in 2020 by subscribing for just US$143 a year (= $0.39 per day). You will get all our fresh daily insights and participate in our forum. You can also read our archives with over 1,000 articles, an example of which you are reading from over 5 years ago. We look forward to welcoming you to the Daily Fintech membership community today! This is one of a series called Explorations down the BItcoin rabbit hole. Will developers use Ripple, Ethereum, Maidsafe or Open Transactions or some combination to build the killer apps of the Bitcoin era? As I started down the road to understanding Bitcoin, one of the most confusing things was distinguishing between a payment network (“Bitcoin” upper case) and a currency unit (“bitcoin” lower case). That is now the first thing I explain to people who ask me about bitcoin. It is lower case bitcoin – the currency – that has the media attention. It is simple enough to understand; it could be like gold or tulips or a reserve currency that replaces the US$ for international trade. It could be a currency or a commodity. Whatever it turns out to be (probably none of the above because the future always surprises) everybody understands the concept of a currency or a commodity. It is possible that lower case bitcoin – the currency – may not change the world. For the bear case, read Felix Salmon’s post and for the bull case read Ben Horowitz’s rebuttal annotated to his post. They set up a bet: Five years from now, in January, 2019, we’ll poll a representative sample of Americans. If 10 percent or more say they have used Bitcoin to buy something in the past month, Ben wins. If it’s fewer than 10 percent, Felix wins. Even if bitcoin the currency becomes a footnote in history, it is possible that Bitcoin the payment network based on Blockchain technology may change the world. This is what has VCs excited. A new payment network could not only disrupt the global financial services business (for good or bad depending on your point of view). It could also return the Internet to its roots as a decentralized P2P system (aka “re-decentralization”). A decade from now, centralized cloud servers may be seen as a footnote in the history of the Internet. For this to happen, we will need to see platforms that make it really simple for developers to create applications that reside on the unused cycles of all of our machines in order to deliver value to us in the way that Skype or Bit Torrent does. The emerging P2P Blockchain technology stack This got me exploring technologies that are sometimes tagged Crypto 2.0 or Bitcoin 2.0, such as Ripple, Ethereum, Maidsafe and Open Transactions. I prefer to think of them as an emerging Bitcoin stack (capital B, used for more than bitcoin the currency). If Bitcoin is as revolutionary as many believe, this stack will be at least as important as the Wintel stack that ushered in the modern digital age. Before diving into these platforms and the sometimes-heated debates between the adherents, it is worth reading the original Satoshi White Paper. He envisaged: “a solution to the double-spending problem using a peer-to-peer network” “Double-spending” is the problem created by the fact that anything digital can be copied (for almost no cost). Many ventures have used this perfect copy machine capability; it’s great for communications and media. However, for anything involving financial assets, this is a problem; if I own this asset, you do not own it. If you can simply copy the record that says that I own it, then I regard that as stealing. As anybody involved in cybersecurity will tell you, anything digital that is connected to the Internet can be copied i.e. stolen. Satoshi’s solution was to have a cryptographically verified record of each transaction stored on every computer in a P2P network, which he called the “Blockchain”. The Blockchain is fully distributed; it sits on every machine in the network. That is how the double-spending problem is solved and trust is enabled. You can “see” all the transactions. The “mining” concept is simply a way to financially motivate people to use their compute cycles to verify transactions. Many consumers have a strange image of peer-to-peer networks. They either see something illegal and piratical like Napster or they use something every day like Skype without realizing that it is peer-to-peer. That is probably the way that the Internet will return to its peer-to-peer roots; consumers will trust the Cloud and the Cloud will move from centralized servers to peer-to-peer networks. What is a seamless transition for consumers – the same product but just cheaper – will be a revolutionary change in the IT industry. Bitcoin and the Blockchain will play a key role in this as people start to grasp the strange notion that it is trustworthy precisely because it is peer to peer. This goes against all our 20th century faith in centralized institutions. Who will be the Red Hat of the Blockchain era? Any platform will have to be open source. Thus the question is who will be the Red Hat of the Blockchain era? Nobody wants “one Blockchain to rule them all”. Nobody wants to see this critical layer of the new financial services stack dominated by one company. Yet the logic of peer to peer will tend towards network effects and a winner takes all market (just like it did in the Wintel, Google and Facebook eras). Consumers will have to trust something enough to accept a download of code that will have control over their machine; this is a scary proposition and a level of trust that people won’t give to many companies. So the prize at this platform layer is huge. Building Internet scale decentralized P2P systems is technically really, really hard. Ask the guys who built Skype. Building a payment system is far harder than a VOIP system because the risk of loss is so much higher. Some noise on the line that forces you to ask your buddy to repeat something is OK and a small price to pay for getting something free; losing some money through a technical glitch is not OK. It is a hard technical problem because you have to deploy to millions of machines of varying power and type that are only intermittently connected to the Internet and deliver a service that is as fast and reliable as the centralized server based competition. This is not something that your average Ruby on Rails or Javascript developer can do. Yet, for the Internet to return to its roots as a decentralized P2P system, we will need the platforms and tools that make it as easy to build and deploy to a decentralized P2P network as it is to build and deploy to AWS or the machine in your closet. To understand this emerging stack, I started by interviewed people from two decentralized development platforms that use Blockchain concepts: Ethereum and Maidsafe. Warning, bleeding edge alert, these platforms are not yet ready for live applications; despite this they have many developers spending time on them because the prize, if they can deliver on the promise, is very big. First, I wanted to know if Ethereum and Maidsafe are competitors. It’s an obvious question that is being asked in Google searches and Bitcoin related forums, because they are both positioned as Blockchain related tools. Ethereum pitches itself as a full stack platform with a “logic layer” and a “storage layer”. However, as the Ethereum storage layer is based on Bit Torrent, Ethereum see their core competency in the logic layer and so the [...]
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The Bitcoin off-ramp regulatory problem.

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The Bitcoin off-ramp regulatory problem.
Editor’s Note: this is the 3rd post on Daily Fintech, written in 2014. How things have NOT changed! To give our authors a break over the holidays, we are re-posting from our archive of over 1,000 articles. Rather than pick favourites we elected to simply  repost the first 8 articles (as that was over 5 years ago you may have missed them; we were pretty unknown then).  As we close out 2019, make a resolution to be smarter about Fintech in 2020 by subscribing for just US$143 a year (= $0.39 per day). You will get all our fresh daily insights and participate in our forum. You can also read our archives with over 1,000 articles, an example of which you are reading from over 5 years ago. We look forward to welcoming you to the Daily Fintech membership community today! Will the Bitcoin off-ramp regulatory problem limit it to transactions within national borders? Technically, converting Fiat to Bitcoin (on-ramp) and converting Bitcoin to Fiat (off-ramp) is easy. This is an Exchange function and the Internet is perfect for setting up Exchanges. So, the problem is almost entirely a regulatory problem. I don’t think there is an on-ramp problem. Regulators want to protect consumers against scams and frauds; they want to make sure that your grandmother does not buy fake Bitcoins. However it is hard to argue that one should prohibit the purchase of any commodity. The American tax authority, IRS, has declared that Bitcoin should be treated like a commodity. You can buy gold or wheat or tulips, so you can buy Bitcoin. Bitcoin is of course different from all other commodities, because Bitcoin is a digital commodity that can be transferred as easily as an email or any other digital file. Which leads us to the off-ramp, converting Bitcoin to Fiat. There are legitimate reasons for regulators to control the off-ramp. This is far too easy for money launderers and other bad actors to abuse. Libertarians can rant against this, but entrepreneurs and investors are wise to treat it as a fact of life. Betting against regulatory control of the off-ramp is a huge speculative risk. Regulators tend to be happy with a digital currency that only works within the borders of the nation state that they control. There are many of these already such as M-Pesa and and Dwolla. Google has their own currency which you can send as an email attachment – within the US only. So, regulators will be comfortable with the idea that you can buy Bitcoins in US$ for example and then convert those Bitcoins back to US$. This will be a way for traders/investors to buy Bitcoins in the hope that the price will go up and then sell them for a profit – just like any other commodity. Regulators are more keen to stop cross border transactions. That is hard for regulators because digital bits don’t stop at borders and present their passport. That is why regulators seek to control the off ramp. It is possible to imagine a fully regulated global money transfer business that allows you, for example: 1. Buy Bitcoins with US$ 2. Send those Bitcoins to the UK. 3. Convert the Bitcoins into UK £ This hypothetical fully regulated global money transfer business would have to go through all the usual KYC (Know Your Customer) checks that regulators have put in place to prevent money laundering and other illegal activity. In that case it cannot offer free exchange and existing money transfer businesses will be able to do exactly the same thing. Consumers who want to change currency only care about a) price and b) speed/convenience. If adding Bitcoins as an intermediate step makes it cheaper and quicker to change currency then this will happen. However, given a regulator/KYC level playing field, it is unclear how adding Bitcoin as an intermediate step makes the transaction cheaper/easier. This is one of a series called Explorations down the Bitcoin rabbit hole. As we close out 2019, make a resolution to be smarter about Fintech in 2020 by subscribing for just US$143 a year (= $0.39 per day). You will get all our fresh daily insights and participate in our forum. You can also read our archives with over 1,000 articles, an example of which you are reading from over 5 years ago. We look forward to welcoming you to the Daily Fintech membership community today! The post The Bitcoin off-ramp regulatory problem. appeared first on Daily Fintech. [...]
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Five Crypto Predictions for 2020

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Five Crypto Predictions for 2020
Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house Not a trader was trading, not even a mouse; The stocking were hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that Saint Nicholas and Trezor were there; Investors were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of Bitcoins danced in their heads; The sell orders were posted on exchanges with care, In hopes that a Bull Rally soon would be there; More rapid than lightning, the rallies they came, And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name; “Now Bitcoin! Now Litecoin! Now Ether and Ripple! If Monero can double, then you can triple; The mining rigs hummed in the cellar with clatter, In hopes that new bitcoins would soon be there; From Papa John’s pizza all the way to the moon, You all will be riding the rocket ship soon; I heard him exclaim as he checked coin market cap, Merry Crypto to all and HODL for now! Ilias Louis Hatzis is the Founder at Mercato Blockchain Corporation AG and a weekly columnist at DailyFintech.com This year, 2019 was a decent ride picking up steam after the first quarter, while 2020 doesn’t seem ready to slow down or put on the brakes. Instead 2020, might be a breakaway year, especially after the halving in May. Who would of guessed that Libra’s wheels would come off? That Wyoming would be the only US state with friendly regulations for digital assets and digital-banking? That Bitcoin would have triple-digit gains since December 2018, when the market bottomed out? That cyberattackers compromised the Binance and made off with $41 million in Bitcoin? That Wall Street moved in with J.P. Morgan rolling out their own coin? That China went from a complete ban of cryptocurrencies to a highly publicized all in attitude on the blockchain? That crypto index funds and ETFs, among other things, would show us that with crypto, wealth building is for everybody? Nevertheless, 2020 is swiftly approaching and it’s time to start the crypto predictions. #1 Libra: Will go live, but with limited functionality Governments worldwide work overtime to regulate the rapid emergence of cryptocurrencies and companies in the industry. Facebook has faced enormous hurdles from regulators across the globe, for Libra. It’s not even certain whether the project will be launched at all, if regulators are fully in line with it. But iteration is part of Facebook’s core fabric. Nine years ago Zuckerberg said at a press conference, “We’re trying to be innovative and iterative with our development”. I think this will be how they approach the regulatory problems. An iterative approach can result in ever-closer approximations of a solution, as accuracy improves with each step. Most likely, Libra will go live in one jurisdiction and with very limited scope, partners and functionality, as Facebook iterates everything. #2 Digital yuan to be followed by digital euro and dollar While in recent years, China has moved to regulate the cryptocurrency industry, it has been avid supported of blockchain and has been developing its own digital currency, that it will launch in 2020. There has been a consensus among central banks that they need to control money. Mark Carney of the Bank of England, was probably the first leading central banker to talk about the importance for the West to embrace crypto and digitally-enabled money. Christine Lagarde, the ECB chief and former Managing Director of the IMF, thinks a digital euro is a good thing for the EU. It is very likely that Steve Mnuchin, US secretary of the treasury, will announce the digital dollar in 2020, continuing his past narrative about tracking cryptocurrencies. #3 Developing nations will embrace Bitcoin While the big global economies are working on the their own versions of fiat backed cryptocurrencies, there are three billion people around the world that don’t trust in their government issued money. Across developing nations in South America and Africa (Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Zimbabwe etc) , we’ve seen rapid adoption for Bitcoin. I expect that across many developing nations in the world, people will want to have a form of digital money that they can rely on. #4 Stablecoin heaven The stablecoin trend will continue. While stablecoins are still in the discovery stage, they have become the holy grail, with dozens of projects trying to develop a digital currency with low-volatility, that can withstand speculative attacks and debasement. In 2019, the stablecoin market cap grew from $3.3 to $5 billion. In 2020, the stablecoin market will exceed $20 billion, as we see the launch of Libra and a few others and multi-collateral DAI, accepting BTC and other assets as collateral. #5 The Lightning Network will do great things The existence of the Lightning Network on top of the Bitcoin blockchain, already enables cheap, private and instant transactions and payments. The current number of nodes are 10,861 and the number of channels is at 35,000, with the network capacity at 859 BTC (or $6.5 million). In December 2019, Bitfinex announced that their exchange would support Lightning Network transactions. Now even Airbnb allows customers to book stays using the Lightning Network via the Fold App. In 2020, we will see an increased number of applications like the Breez app, created on the Lightning Network. The new year, we will see crypto and blockchain move from away from something that’s trying to disrupt the old, into mainstream and becoming a bigger part of daily lives. With China’s digital currency set to be rolled out in 2020, digital money will come to the front and center stage. As global governments embark on a new moon race, to launch their own cryptocurrencies, mainstream adoption is set to accelerate. Subscribe by email to join the other Fintech leaders who read our research daily to stay ahead of the curve. Check out our advisory services (how we pay for this free original research) The post Five Crypto Predictions for 2020 appeared first on Daily Fintech. [...]
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Low Price on Elle Magazine Subscription!

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Low Price on Elle Magazine Subscription!
Here’s a great deal for the popular Elle Magazine, get it for only $4.99 per year. That’s a savings of 89%! Just enter coupon code PENNYPINCH at checkout and watch the price drop! Elle Magazine is the ultimate shopping and lifestyle guide for today’s modern woman. Devoted to the sophisticated and well-traveled woman, Elle features the hottest ... Read More about Low Price on Elle Magazine Subscription! The post Low Price on Elle Magazine Subscription! appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom. [...]
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Garden & Gun Magazine | Low Price!

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Garden & Gun Magazine | Low Price!
We’ve tracked down a new discount offer for Garden & Gun Magazine! for only $4.99! GARDEN & GUN SUBSCRIPTION DISCOUNT For a limited time, you can save 89% off your subscription to Garden & Gun magazine!  Now through 7/27/19 (11:59 pm EST), you can order this popular title for just $4.99 per year.  Enter the coupon ... Read More about Garden & Gun Magazine | Low Price! The post Garden & Gun Magazine | Low Price! appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom. [...]
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The Staples Price Match Guarantee — Even on Back To School Supplies!

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The Staples Price Match Guarantee — Even on Back To School Supplies!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Did you know about Staples Price Match Guarantee? This is especially useful during back to school season! {Be sure to check out all the best Back to School Deals that we’re posting each week!} Staples Price Match Guarantee Staples offers a 110% price match on just about everything in-store — which means they’ll match any competitor’s price plus give you an extra 10% savings! (Note: this is valid in-store only, not online.) It’s super easy to take advantage of their price matching: Find a lower price at one of their competitors. Bring in proof of the lower price. Present it to a Staples associate to receive that item at 10% lower than the competitor’s price. The Staples Price Match Guarantee also allows you to be refunded the difference of an item if you find a lower price within 14 days of your purchase! You can go HERE for more information and fine-print details on how their price matching works. Back to School Shopping at Staples This is super helpful during the Back to School season, as it basically allows you to shop all the ads at various stores, find the best deals, and then price match them at Staples for the absolute lowest price!! If you’re willing to take the time to take advantage their price matching, it can really save you money to buy all your Back to School Supplies at Staples! Have you ever tried this at Staples? Let us know in the comments how it worked out for you! Be sure to check out all of the Best 2019 Back To School Deals! Don’t forget you can also sign up for our daily email newsletter to get all of the best back to school deals emailed to you every week! And be sure to check out my post on 5 Simple Ways to Save on Back to School Deals. [...]
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Citi to End Price Rewind, Multiple Side Perks Across All Cards

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Citi to End Price Rewind, Multiple Side Perks Across All Cards
Say it isn’t so, Citibank! The issuer is the latest to announce that it’s eliminating a variety of credit card benefits. Perks being discontinued across its lineup of Citi credit cards include Citi Price Rewind, as well as trip cancellation and interruption protection. Depending on what Citi card you have, you could be losing a lot more, too.  The... Robin Saks Frankel is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: rfrankel@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @robinsaks. The article Citi to End Price Rewind, Multiple Side Perks Across All Cards originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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Low price on Esquire Magazine Subscription

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Low price on Esquire Magazine Subscription
We have found another deal for you!  This time it is for Esquire Magazine! ESQUIRE MAGAZINE DISCOUNT OFFER Now through 6/11/19 (11:59 pm EST), you can get Esquire Magazine delivered to your mailbox for just $4.95 per year!  That is a savings of  88%!! Make sure you enter the coupon code PENNYPINCH at checkout to get ... Read More about Low price on Esquire Magazine Subscription The post Low price on Esquire Magazine Subscription appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom. [...]
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Low Price on Subscription to Popular Mechanics Magazine!

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Low Price on Subscription to Popular Mechanics Magazine!
Today only, subscribe to Popular Mechanics Magazine for only $6.99 per year (83% off)! You can order up to 4 years at this price! Just enter coupon code PENNYPINCH Popular Mechanics is a magazine devoted to science and technology. Each issue is packed with informative articles on automotives, home electronics, science, technology, outdoors, world news, ... Read More about Low Price on Subscription to Popular Mechanics Magazine! The post Low Price on Subscription to Popular Mechanics Magazine! appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom. [...]
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Entrepreneur Magazine | Low Price!

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Entrepreneur Magazine | Low Price!
Great magazine for all you entrepreneurs! ENTREPRENEUR SUBSCRIPTION DISCOUNT Until 6/6/19, subscribe to Entrepreneur Magazine for only $4.95 per year (91% off)! You can order up to 4 years at this price! Just enter coupon code PENNYPINCH when you get to check out. If you already subscribe, you can extend your current subscription at this ... Read More about Entrepreneur Magazine | Low Price! The post Entrepreneur Magazine | Low Price! appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom. [...]
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