Pulling back the curtain to shine light on ‘scary’ insurance phrases

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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Flood insurance- where the rising tide has NOT raised all ships

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Flood insurance- where the rising tide has NOT raised all ships
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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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Bitcoin price surges. Is Coronavirus behind it?

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Bitcoin price surges. Is Coronavirus behind it?
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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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It’s Back!! Buy 2, Get 1 Free Books on Amazon {Includes Many of My Favorite Reads!}

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It’s Back!! Buy 2, Get 1 Free Books on Amazon {Includes Many of My Favorite Reads!}
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Wow! If you love reading, don’t miss this HOT deal on Amazon where you can score Buy 2, Get 1 Free books! Woohoo! This HOT deal is back!! For a limited time, Amazon is running a big Buy 2, Get 1 Free Sale on a huge selection of books! No promo code needed. Just add three books to your cart and one of them will automatically be free. This is a RARE offer and is a perfect time to grab some of your favorite books or a few to give as gifts! There are over 1200 book titles to choose from. The offer also includes movies, music, toys, and games. You can click on “books” on the left sidebar to see just the book titles. Looking for book recommendations? Here are some books included in the sale that I’ve read and enjoyed in the past: Before We Were Yours — This was one of my top 10 favorite reads from 2019. Daring Greatly — This book impacted me deeply and has forever changed how I think and live. Atomic Habits — This is one of the best books on habits that I’ve ever read. I listened to the audiobook for free on Libby and loved it so much that I bought a hard copy — something I rarely do! The Tattooist of Auschwitz — This true story really drew me in and was a beautiful and heart-wrenching story. Rhythms of Renewal — I loved this book enough to ask Rebekah Lyons (the author) to join me on a podcast episode! Wonder — This was one of my top 10 favorite reads in 2017. This book is such a worthwhile read! I read it in two days and can’t recommend it highly enough — especially if you have kids around ages 9-12 Parenting — I really enjoyed this book and appreciated the author’s strong emphasis on the Gospel as that is often missing in parenting books. The Giver — I absolutely loved this story and it was one of my top 10 favorite reads in 2017. Present Over Perfect — This book is one I savored slowly and it was the perfect book for me during my Year of Rest in 2018. The Road Back to You — If you’re interested at all in the Enneagram, I highly recommend this book as a starting place! Hillbilly Elegy — This was a really interesting read, if you can get through all the language. You can see my complete honest thoughts here. The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up — I thought I was a minimalist. Then I read this book. And the question, “Does it spark joy?” really changed how I approached so much of life! Read more of my honest thoughts here. Uninvited — If you struggle with feeling lonely, left out, or like you don’t belong, please do yourself a favor and get a copy of this book. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way — If you’re going through a difficult time in life, this book might be a real encouragement for you. Lilac Girls — This is a really compelling, tragic, and gripping story of the horrors of concentration camps. It was one of my top 10 favorite books from 2017. Crazy Love — If you’re a Christian, I cannot recommend this book highly enough. I read it years ago, and it challenged me to pull out of my complacency as a follower of Christ. Big Magic — While I strongly disagree with much of the author’s worldview and some of her insights, her book really challenged me as a creative. I especially loved her thoughts on fear. All The Light We Cannot See — This is a well-written and deeply moving book. I really enjoyed it! The Jesus Storybook Bible — This is our family’s favorite children’s Bible story book. It’s accurate, doctrinally sound, and not filled with nonsense and fluff. We read it out loud to our children when they were younger over and over again. Here are some other popular books included in the sale: The 5 Love Languages The Total Money Makeover The Complete Ketogenic Diet for Beginners The Whole30 Jesus Calling Magnolia Table The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl Oh, The Places You’ll Go! The Giving Tree There are also several popular children’s books to choose from: Llama Llama I Love You The Very Hungry Caterpillar Giraffes Can’t Dance Are You My Mother? The Day the Crayons Quit The Pout-Pout Fish Press Here God Gave Us You Love You Forever Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Dr. Seuss Beginner Book Collection Go here to browse all the books included in this sale. Sign up for a free trial of Amazon Prime to get guaranteed FREE two-day shipping (and possibly one-day or same-day shipping!). And don’t forget you can sign up for Swagbucks to earn free gift cards to use on deals on Amazon. [...]
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*HOT* FREE $10 purchase at Chewy after cash back!!

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*HOT* FREE $10 purchase at Chewy after cash back!!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Calling all pet owners! This is a RARE deal that TopCashBack is offering right now! You’ll get a $10 purchase at Chewy for FREE after rebate! Are you a pet owner? You won’t want to miss this RARE offer from TopCashBack!! TopCashBack is offering $10 cash back on ANY $10 purchase at Chewy, making it FREE! Here’s how to get your FREE $10 Chewy purchase: 1. Head here for the special Chewy offer and sign up for a new Top Cash Back account. 2. Make a purchase valued at $10 or higher. 3. Within 21 days, your TopCashBack account will be credited with $10 — enough to cover your purchase! 4. After you receive the $10 payment in your Top Cash Back account, you can choose to transfer it to your bank account or request a Paypal payment. This is for new Top Cash Back members only. If you are already a member, you are allowed to sign up another adult in your household. This deal is valid through February 27, 2020. [...]
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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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Speaking of Blockchain, what of its place in insurance?

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Speaking of Blockchain, what of its place in insurance?
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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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Nimbla To Take Invoice Insurance Mainstream With Barclays Deal

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Nimbla To Take Invoice Insurance Mainstream With Barclays Deal
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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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FREE Month of Disney Plus after cash back! {HOT}

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FREE Month of Disney Plus after cash back! {HOT}
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Looking for a way to get Disney Plus for FREE? Don’t miss this deal! If you’re excited about Disney Plus and you’re looking for a way to try it for free for a while, don’t miss this HOT deal! TopCashBack is offering new members $12.99 cash back on your purchase of one month of Disney+ right now, making it FREE! Here’s how to get your FREE month of Disney Plus: 1. Head here for the special Disney+ offer and sign up for a new Top Cash Back account. 2. Purchase a month of Disney Plus for $12.99. 3. Within 21 days, your TopCashBack account will be credited with $12.99 — enough to cover your purchase! 4. After you receive the $12.99 payment in your TopCashBack account, you can choose to transfer it to your bank account or request a Paypal payment. This is for new TopCashBack members only. If you are already a member, you are allowed to sign up another adult in your household. This deal is valid through February 3, 2020 — or while supplies last. [...]
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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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Can industry changes soften a hard property insurance market in California?

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Can industry changes soften a hard property insurance market in California?
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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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Is Lack of Trust a First Order Function in Narrowing the Insurance Protection Gap?

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Is Lack of Trust a First Order Function in Narrowing the Insurance Protection Gap?
image The Geneva Association released an ambitious discussion of trust and its effect on insurance transactions, particularly in the perspective of well-known ‘protection gaps’ that are pervasive across many lines of insurance within mature economies.  Is, as Jad Ariss, Association Managing Director notes in the publication’s foreword, a “lack of trust fundamentally impeding insurance demand,” […] The post Is Lack of Trust a First Order Function in Narrowing the Insurance Protection Gap? appeared first on Daily Fintech. [...]
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What is the future of insurance?

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What is the future of insurance?
image Have we seen the future of insurance? No, unless you have conquered the whole space-time continuum thing, or yours is a parallax view of the insurance industry to come.  Is there good discussion and collaboration addressing what that future might be? Yes, if this week’s buffet of InsurTech news pieces is any indication, and […] The post What is the future of insurance? appeared first on Daily Fintech. [...]
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Comparing Travel Insurance Options: Airline or Credit Card?

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Comparing Travel Insurance Options: Airline or Credit Card?
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the various travel insurance options, from coverage offered by rewards credit cards to the kind you can purchase separately. But that doesn’t mean you should go into your next trip sans travel insurance. You just need to pick the best option for you. In this post, we’ll compare the... Rachel Morgan Cautero is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: travel@nerdwallet.com. The article Comparing Travel Insurance Options: Airline or Credit Card? originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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Two insurance innovations roads to be taken- it’s not all tech

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Two insurance innovations roads to be taken- it’s not all tech
image The Innovation road diverged in an InsurTech wood, And while I wanted to travel both And be one searcher, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it was lost in unknown techo growth;   Then took the other, as just as fair, And an improving process that […] The post Two insurance innovations roads to be taken- it’s not all tech appeared first on Daily Fintech. [...]
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7 Debit Cards That’ll Give You Cash Back (and More!) for Swiping

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7 Debit Cards That’ll Give You Cash Back (and More!) for Swiping
Debit cards are popular. Like, really popular. Nearly 43% of adult Americans reported using debit cards as their main form of payment, according to a 2017 LendEDU study. And each year, people make billions (with a big ol’ b) of transactions using one. As a bonus, some debit cards offer rewards, similar to credit cards. So, if you’re one of the many using a debit card — or looking to upgrade yours — keep reading. We’ll explore why you might consider getting one, plus we’ll look at the best cards available today. Why Some Bank Debit Cards Don’t Offer Rewards (Anymore) After the 2008 financial crisis, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was signed into law in 2010. The goal was to stabilize and reform the financial industry. Before it passed Congress, lawmakers added the Durbin Amendment — named after Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois — to the act. This amendment was introduced to curb processing fees for debit card purchases. When you use a debit card to make a purchase, the merchant pays an interchange or swipe fee. This fee goes to the bank that issued the debit card. Banks said these fees covered the costs of providing debit cards and monitoring accounts for fraudulent activity. However, retailers argued they were too high. Before the act’s passage, retailers paid up to 44 cents per debit card transaction, according to Reuters, which made it difficult for some businesses to accept them. After Dodd-Frank passed, the cap fee was reduced to 21 cents. (It’s worth noting credit card interchange fees were not affected.) As a result, the financial incentive for banks to offer debit card rewards just isn’t what it used to be. Why You Should Consider a Debit Card That Offers Rewards Just because debit card rewards aren’t flowing like they used to doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep your eyes peeled for them. Debit cards that offer rewards are appealing for a few reasons: Your bank may only charge a small — or no — monthly (or annual) fee to use it. They’re good if you want to monitor your spending and find credit cards too tempting. Since it’s money from your account, there’s no monthly balance owed or accumulated interest to worry about. The REWARDS: anything from cash back to points to discounts on qualified purchases. 7 Debit Cards That Offer Rewards (Plus a Bonus!) We picked several options that could work for you. 1. American Express Serve® Cash Back The American Express Serve Cash Back option is a prepaid debit card. (To be clear, it’s not connected to a checking account.) When shopping online or in stores, you can earn unlimited 1% cash back on your purchases. Bonus: The cash back is immediately available to use after you earn it. Other features include free ATM withdrawals at over 30,000 locations, fraud protection and 24/7 customer service. Card price: $0 online or $3.95 in stores Monthly or annual fee: $7.95 a month (no fee in Texas, New York or Vermont) 2. Bank of America BankAmeriDeals® Bank of America has a program called BankAmericaDeals for BoA card holders. Existing customers can log into online banking or use the mobile app to see available deals (for example, 15% cash back at Petco). You’ll earn cash back on these deals when they use an eligible BoA debit or credit card to make a purchase. You can also earn BankAmeriDeals Coins for qualifying purchases to earn more rewards. Other features include 24/7 account monitoring, fee-free BoA ATM usage and the ability to add your debit card to a digital wallet for easier checkout. Card price: $0 Monthly or annual fee: $0 3. Discover® Cashback Debit With Cashback Debit, users can earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in purchases per month. So, if you make $500 worth of purchases monthly with your debit card, you’ll earn back $5 a month, or $60 a year. Other features include 24/7 customer service and access to over 60,000 surcharge-free ATMs. Also, if you lose your debit card, Discover will replace it for free. Card price: $0 Monthly or annual fee: $0 4. Axos Bank CashBack Checking Axos offers CashBack Checking for customers who want to earn rewards with a debit card. You can earn up to 1% cash back on signature-based purchases (so, something routine like grocery shopping doesn’t count) and earn up to $2,000 cash back per month. However, you’ll also need to maintain a daily balance of $1,500 to earn the 1% cash back. Other features include reimbursement for over 60,000 ATMs worldwide, and no balance or activity requirements to maintain the account. Card price: $0 Monthly or annual fee: $0 5. PayPal Business Debit Mastercard® Once you activate the cash-back program, PayPal Business Debit Mastercard users can get unlimited 1% cash back on qualifying purchases. The cash back is added to your PayPal account each month. Note that business owners face a $1.50 domestic ATM usage fee, and have a daily limit of $3,000 in purchases and $400 in cash withdrawals. Other features include a free additional card for the account and no liability for unauthorized charges. Card price: $0 Monthly or annual fee: $0 6. Consumers Credit Union Rewards Checking CCU offers rewards in the form of annual percentage yield (APY). There are three rewards tiers with varying requirements to earn 3.09% APY, 4.09% APY or even 5.09% APY on account balances up to $10,000. For the first tier, you must make at least 12 debit card purchases that equal $100 or more a month as one of the qualifications, so you’ll need to be organized to reap these rewards. Other features include over 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs and no minimum balance requirement. Card price: $0 Monthly or annual fee: $0 7. Empower Empower is an app and bank account. You can get 1% cash back on the first $1,000 you spend per month with your debit card, earn 1.65% APY on your money and even snag cash back when you refer your friends. You’ll have access to over 25,000 fee-free ATMs and even get reimbursed for one out-of-network ATM use per month. You can fund your account in a number of ways, though it does not support cash or check deposits. Other features include no account fees or required minimum balances. Accounts are also FDIC-insured up to $250,000. Card price: $0 Monthly or annual fee: $0 Bonus: Your Local Credit Union Check out your neighborhood credit union for other reward-card options. Many institutions offer debit card rewards in the form of redeemable points or cash back. Some even allow you to support a local charity or cause if you choose to make a donation when you open an account. Contact your local credit union online or in person to see what costs and conditions may apply. Card price: Varies Monthly or annual fee: Varies FROM THE BANKING FORUM Social security Representative Payee bank account 9/26/19 @ 5:16 PM L How to find a checking account that displays scheduled transaction on account activinty view? 9/4/19 @ 2:05 PM ONLINE BANKS 8/26/19 @ 6:54 PM Best bank to use? 7/12/19 @ 2:52 PM See more in Banking or ask a money question What About Credit Card Rewards? When it comes to serious rewards, credit cards typically offer better ones — think, a higher percentage of cash back on purchases or larger sign-up cash bonus — and may provide perks such as price-matching and [...]
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Insurance- not all fun and game theory

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Insurance- not all fun and game theory
Economic game theory has resided at the core of insurance underwriting for some time but might be losing its luster through the advent of price aggregators. ‘Gamification’ through behavioral economics is gaining traction concurrently in the industry, that is, devising schemes to engage insureds more often with their policy than simply at annual renewal.  More […] The post Insurance- not all fun and game theory appeared first on Daily Fintech. [...]
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5 Types of Car Insurance Coverage That May Be a Waste of Money

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5 Types of Car Insurance Coverage That May Be a Waste of Money
The cost of owning a car goes well beyond the sticker price at the dealership. There are fuel costs, routine maintenance and, of course, car insurance.  The seemingly endless options for car insurance can be overwhelming, so many drivers end up opting for coverage they don’t actually need. Liability coverage is the most basic form of car insurance and is absolutely necessary. Should you be deemed at fault for an accident, liability coverage will take care of the medical costs for other people injured and costs of repairs for other vehicles — but not yours. Some states require additional types of coverage beyond liability.  However, there are certain types of coverage that you can and potentially should opt out of, depending on the value of your car, your current finances, your health insurance policy and more. So what types of car insurance can you skip?  1. Do I Need Collision Insurance and Comprehensive Coverage? When to Skip Collision insurance covers damage to your car in the event of an accident, whether you were at fault or not.  Comprehensive instead covers damage to your car outside of an accident, like flood damage due to a hurricane, vandalism, theft or fire.  If your car is worth a lot of money, you should absolutely carry these coverages, and if your car is financed, your lender may require you to. But you may be wondering: Do I need collision insurance, especially if my car is old? If your car is old or you paid a small amount of cash for a used car that may only last for a few months, you’d be wasting your money to get collision and comprehensive. “Your reward is diminished greatly once your vehicle has depreciated over the course of time,” said Melanie Musson, insurance writer for CarInsuranceComparison.com. “So, if you’re paying monthly for coverage that’s going to provide you with minimal payment should you total your vehicle, and then you’ll face higher rates after making a claim, it’s just not worth it.” One caveat: Be prepared to pay out of pocket to fix the car or, more likely, to purchase a replacement vehicle. But if your vehicle is only valued at $1,000, it may be better to put money each month into savings for a replacement vehicle than to shell out money for coverage on that low-value vehicle. Chris Tepedino, also of CarInsuranceComparison.com, warns that bundling uninsured motorist and collision is often a mistake.  “Uninsured motorist protects your car if it’s hit by someone who doesn’t have insurance,” he said. “Collision, well, protects your car. Don’t be suckered into thinking you have to buy both. Overlapping generally doesn’t help.” 2. GAP Insurance: It Depends on Your Down Payment Vehicle depreciation can be a major detriment to your finances, especially if you wreck your vehicle shortly after financing it.  Because a car loses about 20% of its value when you drive it off the lot, insurance will only cover 80% of the initial sticker price should you get in an accident on your way home. That means you will be responsible for the other 20%. With the average new vehicle costing $37,401, that could mean you lose out on nearly $7,500. That’s where gap insurance (guaranteed asset protection) comes in, covering the difference between what you paid for a new car and how much your regular insurance is willing to pay for the totaled vehicle. But depending on how much you put down for the car versus how much you financed and how much that car is worth, you might not need gap insurance. “Gap coverage isn’t necessary if you’re able to financially handle the risk of paying the difference between what you owe and what your vehicle is worth when you’re upside down on a vehicle loan,” Musson said. “If you make a 20% or greater down payment, your risk for needing the coverage is greatly lowered, and you may be able to forgo that coverage.” Similarly, you don’t need gap coverage if you’ve paid off your vehicle or if you purchase an old vehicle that won’t depreciate as quickly, Tepedino said. FROM THE INSURANCE FORUM Self Employed Medical Insurance 10/12/19 @ 10:52 AM Car Insurance 9/28/19 @ 7:33 AM Total loss valuation 9/16/19 @ 10:40 AM What happens to my FSA if I leave a job? 8/5/19 @ 9:37 AM I See more in Insurance or ask a money question 3. Rental Car Reimbursement: Probably Not Worth It A luxury option you can add to your policy is rental car reimbursement. If your vehicle is damaged and must be repaired, this coverage gets you a rental car to use while your vehicle is out of commission. However, the cost of paying for this each month would likely exceed the cost of a rental vehicle, unless you crash frequently or need a rental for multiple weeks.  Even then, you may be better off relying on friends and family for temporary transportation, if possible. If you live in a two-vehicle household, consider getting by on one vehicle temporarily instead of opting for this coverage. 4. Roadside Assistance: Check Your Warranty First Similarly, you can opt for roadside assistance for help with jump-starts, flat tires and more serious problems that leave you stranded. However, many new cars come with roadside assistance, often throughout the length of the warranty. “You can skip roadside assistance, as long as you realize you’ll have to pay for a tow out of pocket,” Musson said. “You may even be able to find it cheaper from AAA or a similar service.” If you live paycheck to paycheck, this additional insurance expense is one to avoid. 5. MedPay: Depends on Your Health Insurance Medical payments coverage, also known as MedPay, is an optional coverage that assists with medical expenses after an accident. However, if you have decent health insurance, you can likely skip this coverage. Want to Save Money on Car Insurance? Proceed With Caution The cost of your insurance is proportional to the deductible and coverage limits you choose. The lower your deductible and higher your coverage limits, the more you’ll pay in insurance premiums. “This is a little dangerous, but if someone is wanting to save money, going with lower coverage limits may help,” Tepedino said.  But Tepedino warns that this is a risky way to save money. “The average cost of an accident with property damage alone is $7,500,” he said. “That number obviously jumps with a death or severe injury, so go at your own peril.” Brent Weiss, a certified financial planner and co-founder of Facet Wealth, believes there are some types of coverage you can consider avoiding, but he urges caution when you’re shopping for car insurance. “I am not a fan of simply meeting state minimums,” Weiss said. “It puts too many families at risk of a financial loss they cannot cover. In general, I recommend having liability coverage for bodily injury and personal property, underinsured and uninsured motorists, and collision and comprehensive coverage for most cars. There are some personal injury coverages that may be required, but limits are typically low. The bottom line is that you want to get the right coverage with the right limits and not simply shop for the lowest premium. You often get what you pay for.” Timothy Moore leads a team of editors and graphic designers at a ma [...]
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Own a Home? This One Step Could Get You a $974 Discount on Insurance

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Own a Home? This One Step Could Get You a $974 Discount on Insurance
Some of the links in this post are from our sponsors. We provide you with accurate, reliable information. Learn more about how we make money and select our advertising partners. Homeowners: What if we said you could save $974 on your homeowners and auto insurance this year? Wait! Before you roll your eyes and mutter “Yeah, right,” hear us out. One of the easiest ways to save on insurance is to bundle your homeowners and auto insurance policies. But before you pick up your phone and call your current provider, we have an easier — and more effective — solution: Use a free online service called Gabi, which will automatically find you the best prices. The Best Way to Bundle Your Insurance (It’s Not What You Think) When it comes to bundling, your first inclination might be to pick up the phone and call your current insurance provider — “Hey, tack on my auto insurance, will ya?” But that’s not always the best approach when it comes to saving money. For starters, when’s the last time you explored your insurance options? You might be able to find a better deal if you switch companies. Instead of calling up dozens of companies — or worse, getting quotes online and subsequently wading through an inbox full of spammy emails — you can get a free quote comparison with Gabi. It takes all of two minutes. We’ll walk you through the process really fast: Head over to Gabi's website. Answer some basic questions about yourself, and connect your insurance accounts or upload a PDF of your policy details. By doing this, Gabi can better understand your coverage and give you a true apples-to-apples comparison — without shorting you on coverage. Explore your options. Find something you like? You can easily buy the new policy directly through Gabi.  Here’s another cool part: If Gabi finds that you can actually save the most money by splitting your homeowners and auto insurance between two companies (not bundling), it’ll let you know. Oh, and if you already have the best price? Gabi will tell you that, too. Then it’ll continue to keep an eye on other options and let you know if something better pops up. Using this strategy, Gabi says it’s saved its users an average of $974 each year on auto and home insurance. Think about it: That could potentially cover your mortgage payment for this month. Go ahead and grab your free quote. You have nothing to lose — except potentially hundreds of dollars to your current insurance providers. Carson Kohler (carson@thepennyhoarder.com) is a staff writer 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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Why You Might Need Long-Term Care Insurance

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Why You Might Need Long-Term Care Insurance
Do you ever think about who is going to take care of you when you can’t take care of yourself? Is it something you want your family or kids to have to do? What if you don’t have family close by?  According to an April 2019 report by the Urban Institute and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 70% of adults over 65 will develop a need for some kind of long-term services and support. Nearly half will receive some paid care during their lifetime, with 24% needing more than two years of care. Home health care, assisted living facilities and nursing homes are expensive, and most health and disability insurance policies won’t help pay for them.  Long-term care insurance is one way to defray the — often exorbitant — cost. Long-Term Care Costs How Much?  Each year, Genworth, a company that sells long-term care insurance, conducts a survey of more than 49,000 providers to find out how much different types of care cost. Results from the 2018 survey showed the annual median costs for various services. Adult day care: $18,720 Assisted living: $48,000  Homemaker services: $48,048, or $21 an hour Home health aide: $50,336, or $22 an hour Semi-private room in a nursing home: $89,297 Private room in a nursing home: $100,375  During the 15 years of the study, the cost of care in an assisted living facility, also known as a residential care facility, has gone up 67%, and private rooms in nursing homes have increased 54%. What is Long-Term Care Insurance? Long-term care insurance covers the things regular health insurance or Medicare does not, like nursing home care, assisted living facilities, in-home medical care, in-home assistance for routine daily activities, adult day care, home modification and more.  “Most people actually get family or friends to do the helping, so there’s no money changing hands in that case. But many times, people who need this help don’t have family or friends who are available to do this, or don’t want to do it. And so if they do need help, they have to hire someone,” said Steven Weisbart, senior vice president and chief economist of the Insurance Information Institute. In a 2016 study, The National Association of Insurance Commissioners and the Center for Insurance Policy Research reported 7.2 million long-term care insurance policies were in effect in 2014.   Benefits kick in when the covered person suffers from dementia or another cognitive impairment or can no longer do at least two of six “activities of daily living” on their own such as bathing, dressing, eating, getting out of bed and using the toilet. A doctor usually needs to show that a patient needs long-term care before a policy would kick in. Each policy has an elimination period before benefits begin, a monthly maximum benefit and a total benefit period. Some policies include inflation protection and a lifetime maximum. Once you buy a policy, as long as you pay your premiums, the company cannot cancel it.  How Much is Long-Term Care Insurance? There is no way around it. Long-term care insurance can be pricey. According to 2019 data from the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, about 350,000 Americans bought some type of long-term care protection in 2018. They paid an average annual premium of $2,050 for a 55-year-old single male, $2,700 for a 55-year-old single female and $3,050 for a male and female married couple, both age 55. The same data shows long-term care insurance companies paid out $10.3 billion in claims in 2018. Most were for home care followed by assisted living care. Premiums depend on a variety of factors. Age and health: The older you are and the health problems you have impact the price. Gender: Women usually pay more because they often live longer and therefore have a greater chance of making a claim.  Marital status: Single people pay more than married couples. Couples can also get a shared rider allowing them to share a pool of benefits, lowering the individual cost for both.  The insurance company: Companies charge different prices for similar policies.  Coverage: You’ll pay more for a shorter elimination period, higher daily and monthly limits, longer coverage period, inflation adjustments, etc. Once you have a policy, the insurance company cannot raise the premium just for you, but they can raise it for everyone in a particular classification, and they often do.  During the past several years, the number of companies selling long-term care policies has dwindled, and companies have increased rates on older policies as they made assumptions about how people would use their policies. Many companies thought people would progress from living at home and needing care, to assisted living, to nursing care. Instead most claims are ending in the same place where they began. Also, fewer people dropped policies and insurance companies paid out more claims than they expected. The one good thing about long-term care insurance premiums is they are tax deductible. The amount you can deduct depends on your age, increasing as you get older. Medicare and Medicaid Limitations For people age 65 and over, Medicare covers only short nursing home stays, mainly for rehabilitation, and limited home health care options. It does not pay for long-term care.  Medicaid will pay for some long-term care, but only kicks in if a person has depleted financial resources. It does not pay for assisted living and there are long waiting lists and limited availability for nursing homes because low reimbursement rates make care facilities reluctant to accept Medicaid patients.  Some states have what they call partnership plans with insurance companies to encourage people to plan for the expenses that go along with long-term care. These plans often involve a way to keep some assets and still quality for Medicaid. Call your state’s insurance department to find out if your state has a partnership plan.  Should I Buy Long-Term Care Insurance? Thinking through how you will pay for long-term care is an important part of any financial plan. Don’t wait until you need care to figure it all out.  Long-term care insurance can protect your savings and give you more choices for care. In the bigger picture, it can provide peace of mind knowing that you won’t be putting the burden of your care on family or friends.  If you feel you can cover the cost of long-term care, you might not want to buy long-term care insurance. You can probably afford to self-insure if you use less than 4% of your savings each year for living expenses.  If you have no assets, Medicaid might provide you the care you need.  “So all of us who are in the middle, not too poor, and not too rich, are the potential long-term care [insurance] audience,” Weisbart said. “If long-term care services can be provided by family and friends, then you don’t need long-term care insurance. But, if there is no family or friends, if there isn’t a way that you can be sure that you will be able to handle these things, or if you’re in the middle income group, those kinds of conditions suggest that you might take a shot at some long-term care insurance.” In addition to looking at finances, assess your risk by looking at your health, hereditary conditions, and longevity in your family. FROM THE INSURANCE FORUM Total loss valuation 9/16/19 @ 10:40 AM What happens to my FSA if I leave a job? 8/5/19 @ 9:37 AM I 8/19/19 article about Life Insurance 8/19/19 @ 1:08 PM [...]
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Is Your Car Loan Upside-Down? How to Steer Back to Safety

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Is Your Car Loan Upside-Down? How to Steer Back to Safety
Without even knowing it, you may have put yourself in a financially precarious position: being upside-down on your car loan. Maybe you bought a new car without making a down payment. Or perhaps you opted for low, “easy” monthly payments by stretching your loan to 72 or even 84 months. However you got there, it’s... Philip Reed is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: preed@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @AutoReed. The article Is Your Car Loan Upside-Down? How to Steer Back to Safety originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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Good2Go Auto Insurance Review 2019

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Good2Go Auto Insurance Review 2019
NerdWallet is a free tool to find you the best credit cards, cd rates, savings, checking accounts, scholarships, healthcare and airlines. Start here to maximize your rewards or minimize your interest rates. Lisa Green Specializes in selling minimum required car insurance.Focuses on high-risk drivers.Can help provide SR-22 forms for drivers who need one. Good2Go has... Lisa Green is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: lgreen@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @lisaccgreen. The article Good2Go Auto Insurance Review 2019 originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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Sign up for the 14-day Back to School Fitness Challenge for just $7! {last chance!}

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Sign up for the 14-day Back to School Fitness Challenge for just $7! {last chance!}
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Need some motivation to workout, get a little more fit, and feel more energized? Join the 14-day Back to School Fitness Challenge! It’s just $7 through the end of today! If you’ve been following me on Instagram recently, you know that I finished a 21-Day Squat Challenge. I have never done squats for 21 days in a row. In fact, I thought I despised squats. But I decided to challenge myself to sign up and do it anyway when I saw my friend, Sarah Haley, was running the challenge online. To my great surprise, I ended up actually sort of falling in love with squats. And I even got some of my best friends to join me in the challenge, too! I think my favorite part about challenge was that it pushed me but it was something I could easily fit into my life. And it made me feel so accomplished and energized. Plus, I loved the accountability of the worksheets, the videos, and the Facebook Group of women who were doing it alongside me, too. When the 21 Days of Squats Challenge was almost done, I realized that I was going to really miss having the accountability and the daily workouts planned out for me. So I reached out to Sarah Haley and said, “What’s next?? Can you please offer another similar challenge? Because I loved this one so much!” 14-Day Back to School Fitness Challenge And that’s when she told me about her 14-Day Back to School Fitness Challenge she was working on. I was all YES! YES! YES! She just launched it and I already signed up! If you need some inspiration and motivation to get in a little exercise each day, I’d love to have you sign up and join me! The workouts can be done in just 10 minutes a day — and right now, it’s only $7 to sign up for the Back to School Fitness Challenge (the price goes up tonight to $14)! When you sign up for the Back to School Fitness Challenge, here’s what you get: Downloadable Print Outs that you can print out (or save to your phone) to help you remember all the exercises and keep track of your progress. Video tutorials to teach you the correct way to perfect each exercise as well as follow-along workouts Daily accountability through check-ins on the private Facebook Group where you can share your progress and struggles with all the participants. Music playlists to keep you motivated THIS YEAR’S BONUSES: Self Care Snacks e-Book & Sweat Stretch Download (an additional $10 value) Go here to sign up for the 14-Day Back to School Challenge. But hurry, because it’s just $7 through midnight tonight on August 30, 2019! Let me know if you sign up! I’ll make sure to look for you in the Facebook Group! The workout challenge officially begins on September 4, 2019. [...]
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Blow Your Budget? 5 Things to Do — and Not to Do — to Get Back on Track

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Blow Your Budget? 5 Things to Do — and Not to Do — to Get Back on Track
In budgeting, all it takes is one ill-timed expense to send the best-laid plans into a tizzy. Maybe you blew your budget for reasons out of your control: a sick pet, a car breakdown or a dreaded dental emergency.  Or maybe your shortfall happened because you made a mistake: You overindulged on your vacation, or you didn’t plan for an irregular expense that’s very much expected. Hey, it happens to the best of us. 5 Moves to Make After You’ve Blown Your Budget When you blow your calorie count by splurging on dessert, it’s tempting to say you’ve blown it for the day/week/month — even though the obvious solution is to cut back the next couple of days and schedule extra gym time. With budgeting, it’s the same. When you’ve spent too much, the worst thing you can do is give up and start plopping down the credit card just because you’re over budget. You can bounce back with a little self-reflection and discipline. Follow these five tips for how to get back on track with a budget. 1. Identify the Problem If your budget shortfall was the result of a one-time emergency expense, this one is so obvious. But if you blew your budget because you simply spent too much, or if blowing your budget is a regular occurrence, it’s time to take a hard look at your spending. Did you overspend on a one-time event, like back-to-school shopping or a birthday gift? Were impulse purchases a factor? Or maybe your budget has slowly been creeping up month after month, and you’ve just now realized you’re spending too much. We’ll discuss how to combat these budget-busting habits later. Your first step is to diagnose the problem. 2. Pay Off Your Bills Now, if You Can If you charged the expenses you didn’t budget for to a credit card and you can afford to pay it off now, do it. If that means you don’t add money to your savings account this month, that’s OK. Your goal is to get back on track.  If the expense was for a true emergency — meaning it was unexpected, urgent and necessary — and you have money set aside in a rainy day fund, you have our permission to tap into it if you need to. Of course, if you can make extra money on the side, pick up extra shifts or sell stuff online to cover your shortfall without touching your savings, that’s even better. 3. Adjust Your Budget if You Incurred Debt If you weren’t able to pay down your extra expenses immediately and have a lingering credit card balance as a result, you need a plan to pay it off as soon as possible. If you don’t have a monthly budget, it’s time to change that.  One of our favorite budgeting methods is zero-based budgeting, which makes you give every cent of income a job — whether it’s for needs, wants, saving, investing or paying off debt. Look at your past three months’ worth of bills to determine your normal spending habits and figure out where you can cut back to put as much toward paying off your credit card debt as you can. 4. Look at Past Spending to Find Overspending Patterns Let’s face it: A lot of times you blow your budget because you’ve developed bad habits. Looking back at your past spending can help you identify patterns. Here’s what to look for and how to curb your budget-busting behavior. Impulse Spending Look through your recent transactions for purchases you didn’t plan to make: the Uber Eats meals you ordered at the end of a long day, the shoes you had to have because they were 20% off, the trip to Target for paper towels that somehow turned into a $200 shopping spree.  If you find a lot of these, you’re probably prone to impulse buying, especially when you’re feeling anxious or down. The key is to make it harder for yourself to spend money on a whim. Delete shopping and food delivery apps. Unsubscribe from emails from your favorite store. If you want to spend money on something that isn’t a need, try a cooling off period of at least a week. If you still want the item after that and it won’t break your budget, then you’re allowed to buy it. Incomplete Budgeting Of course you know to budget for your rent or mortgage, car payment and groceries. But a lot of expenses occur regularly — but not monthly — and they’re easy to forget about when you’re budgeting. Your cat’s annual vet checkup, your driver’s license and tag renewal, and the hair cut you get every two or three months, to name a few. Here’s a complete list of 101 budgeting categories you can use to make sure you’re not leaving anything out.  Another common mistake: failing to account for variable expenses, i.e., the ones that fluctuate. If you live in a warm area, you probably need to budget extra for the summer months when your A/C is cranking. Lifestyle Inflation If your spending is slowly creeping up month after month, or if you see that your spending for each given month is significantly higher than it was for the same month last year, you may be succumbing to lifestyle inflation, which happens when you increase your spending as your income goes up. Some lifestyle inflation is inevitable, but it’s important not to put every cent of each pay raise or bonus toward upgrades like a fancier apartment or more dining out. You’ll only get ahead and prevent future budgeting mishaps if you divert some of that cash to savings. 5. Give Yourself Room to Make Mistakes If you want to never go over budget, you need to predict the future, have perfect luck and morph into a budgeting robot that never makes a mistake. Since that’s not happening, you need a safety cushion so that an unexpected expense or a little overspending doesn’t cause a crisis. The first goal to work toward is building an emergency fund with three to six months’ worth of living expenses that you can dip into as a last resort. No, it’s not easy — if you’re not swimming in disposable cash, this is a long-term goal. Just remember if you get frustrated that even saving a few hundred dollars could stave off a crisis. For major expenses that you can plan for, you may want to start a sinking fund, which you contribute to over time to spread out the cost. FROM THE BUDGETING FORUM How do you distribute your income? 8/5/19 @ 1:38 PM T Budgeting Apps? 3/18/19 @ 12:42 AM Is there a particular budgeting booklet 8/19/19 @ 2:14 PM A Have you tried the Zero Based budgeting method? 6/7/19 @ 1:58 PM See more in Budgeting or ask a money question 5 Things Not to Do After Overspending The most important thing to remember when you blow your budget is that it’s a temporary setback. Your bank account will recover. But if you do any of the following, you risk making a short-lived problem into a long-term one. 1. Take Out a Payday Loan The annual interest rates for payday loans are often upward of 300%, and about 70% of borrowers need a second loan within a month. That means you’re likely to keep blowing your budget as you struggle to pay back the loan. 2. Get a Cash Advance The interest rate for the average credit card cash advance is about 6 percentage points higher than credit card interest rates, plus they usually have fees of about 5%. You’ll almost always pay less by charging a purchase to your credit card. 3. Borrow From Your 401(k) Not only will you miss out on potential g [...]
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NJM Insurance Review 2019: Complaints, Ratings and Coverage

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NJM Insurance Review 2019: Complaints, Ratings and Coverage
NerdWallet is a free tool to find you the best credit cards, cd rates, savings, checking accounts, scholarships, healthcare and airlines. Start here to maximize your rewards or minimize your interest rates. Lisa Green 5.0 NerdWallet rating Places first out of 24 insurers for auto insurance in NerdWallet's rankings.Had far fewer than the median number... Lisa Green is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: lgreen@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @lisaccgreen. The article NJM Insurance Review 2019: Complaints, Ratings and Coverage originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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Root Insurance Review 2019: How It Works and Who It’s For

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Root Insurance Review 2019: How It Works and Who It’s For
NerdWallet is a free tool to find you the best credit cards, cd rates, savings, checking accounts, scholarships, healthcare and airlines. Start here to maximize your rewards or minimize your interest rates. Lacie Glover Root sets rates based primarily on your driving behavior.Root can provide an SR-22.Tech-savvy customers will like that you can do just... Lacie Glover is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: lacie@nerdwallet.com. The article Root Insurance Review 2019: How It Works and Who It’s For originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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5 Things to Know About the Rakuten Cash Back Visa Card

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5 Things to Know About the Rakuten Cash Back Visa Card
Virtual window shoppers who use Rakuten.com — formerly known as the cash-back shopping website Ebates — could be earning even more cash back on their purchases with the Rakuten Cash Back Visa credit card. Image courtesy of Synchrony In 2019, Ebates rebranded as Rakuten, but the $0-annual-fee credit card’s rewards structure remained the same. The new name, which means... Melissa Lambarena is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: mlambarena@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @LissaLambarena. The article 5 Things to Know About the Rakuten Cash Back Visa Card originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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Collision Insurance: What It Covers and Who Needs It

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Collision Insurance: What It Covers and Who Needs It
Collision insurance sounds pretty straightforward, but it won’t cover every bill after a crash. Collision coverage pays to repair your own car’s damage when you hit another vehicle or object such as a lamppost or fence. It may also pay if another driver hits your car and doesn’t have enough insurance to pay for the... Lacie Glover is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: lacie@nerdwallet.com. The article Collision Insurance: What It Covers and Who Needs It originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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Delta SkyMiles Cards Add Cash Back to Welcome Offers (Limited Time)

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Delta SkyMiles Cards Add Cash Back to Welcome Offers (Limited Time)
American Express is offering a chance for new cardholders to earn extra cash back on top of the welcome offers for two co-branded airline cards: the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express and the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express. Through Aug. 15, 2019, you can apply for either of these cards... Sara Rathner is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: srathner@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @sarakrathner. The article Delta SkyMiles Cards Add Cash Back to Welcome Offers (Limited Time) originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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Free Printable Back to School Shopping Planner

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Free Printable Back to School Shopping Planner
Grab this free planner to help with all your Back To School shopping! Download a free printable Back to School Shopping Planner! It includes budget pages, sales trackers, price trackers, shopping lists, and more. 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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Cheapest Auto Insurance in Houston for 2019

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Cheapest Auto Insurance in Houston for 2019
If you’re looking for cheap auto insurance in Houston, Texas, shopping around can really pay off. Rates vary by driver, vehicle and company, so you can only predict which will be cheapest for you by comparing quotes. To help simplify your search, we analyzed rates from several car insurance companies in the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land... Lacie Glover is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: lacie@nerdwallet.com. The article Cheapest Auto Insurance in Houston for 2019 originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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Office Depot/Office Max Back to School Deals for the week of July 21-27, 2019

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Office Depot/Office Max Back to School Deals for the week of July 21-27, 2019
The Back to School deals have started! Check out these amazing deals Office Depot/Office Max is offering this week. Here are the back to school deals at Office Depot/Office Max for the week of July 21-27, 2019: Office Depot JustBasics Spiral Notebook – $0.10 Office Depot Composition Books – $0.50 Office Depot 3 x 5 Index Cards, 100 ct – $0.50 Office Depot 2-Hole Manual Pencil Sharpener – $0.50 Pencil Boxes – $1.50 Westcott Printed & Jelly Scissors – $2 Sharpie Highlighters 4 pk – $2.99 Pencil Accesory Value Pack 110 ct – $4 Paper Mate Flair Porous-Point Pens 12-pack – $9.99 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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Whole Life Insurance 101: A Simple Guide to These Complicated Policies

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Whole Life Insurance 101: A Simple Guide to These Complicated Policies
Life insurance is one of those touchy subjects no one likes to talk about, let alone research or recognize its existence. In a world that’s all about living your best life, life insurance just doesn’t fit.  We’re here to tell you that not only is it OK to talk about life insurance, but finding the right type of policy can provide you with peace of mind. One option to consider is whole life insurance. What Is Whole Life Insurance, and How Does Cash Value Work? So what is whole life insurance? Whole life insurance is a type of permanent life insurance that pays out a benefit to the individual(s) you list as the recipients for your policy when you die.  But part of your policy goes toward a cash value component, which is basically a tax-deferred savings account you can take advantage of later in life. You can use the cash value to: Pay your premiums. Take out loans at lower interest rates than you’d get from a bank. Supplement your income, especially in retirement. Create a new investment portfolio. Whole life insurance is a guaranteed payout that you can’t outlive. Your beneficiaries will receive the payout upon your death unless you fail to make payments or cancel your policy (and pay expensive cancellation costs), or if your cause of death is excluded in your policy.  When you die, your heirs receive the listed death benefit — but not the cash value that rose while you were alive and making payments. Any remaining cash value goes to the insurance company, so it’s a benefit to take advantage of while you’re still alive. Term vs. Whole Life Insurance The biggest difference between term and whole life insurance policies is the amount of time that you are covered. Term life insurance provides coverage for specific amounts of time, usually for set periods of anywhere from five to 30 years. But whole life insurance, as discussed above, is going to pay out eventually when you die as long as your premiums are paid.  When you choose term life insurance, you can get more coverage for lower premiums. Why? Because you’ll likely outlive your term, and the insurance company won’t have to pay out a death benefit. It also has no cash value. Most people choose a set term life insurance, knowing they are paying a low premium purely on a policy that’s solely for financial protection in the case of their untimely death. If you look at it from a purely insurance standpoint, it’s like buying car insurance your whole life but never using it because you were never in a car wreck.  Pro Tip Many term life insurance policies allow you to convert your policy to whole life insurance, but you’ll typically pay a costly fee. Try to do your homework first and stick with the policy you pick.  Your premiums for personal whole life insurance are considered a personal expense, so they aren’t tax-deductible. 5 Types of Whole Life Insurance Policies There are five main types of whole life insurance. Here’s a brief overview: Traditional whole life insurance: Your premiums stay the same as long as you keep making them.  Single premium whole life insurance: One large lump payment you make upfront takes care of this policy.  Limited whole life insurance: You pick a set period, such as 20 years, for this whole life insurance option. You’ll still be insured your whole life, but you’ll only make payments during the set period, which means your payments are higher than they would be for traditional whole life insurance. Modified premium whole life insurance: You pay lower premiums upfront, but they get more expensive as you age.  Survivorship life insurance: These policies allow you to insure two people and are popular among spouses. The catch? It pays out only after both policyholders have died. The benefit? It’s less expensive than paying for two separate whole life insurance policies.  FROM THE INSURANCE FORUM Life Insurance, Disability Insurance, Wills, etc 1/31/19 @ 10:21 PM Stride Health with Etsy 6/10/19 @ 5:18 PM How much car insurance do I need? 4/18/19 @ 3:28 PM Pet Insurance 4/18/19 @ 3:28 PM See more in Insurance or ask a money question What Happens When a Whole Life Insurance Policy Lapses or Is Surrendered?  A whole life insurance policy lapses when the policyholder stops making monthly premium payments on time. The life insurance contract is labeled as no longer active, and the cash value built up on the policy is surrendered. Death benefits will no longer be paid out for these surrendered policies.  Some companies allow policyholders to restart their policies within a certain grace period and get their lapsed payments paid within this time frame. Read the fine print to make sure you understand the rules of your whole life insurance policy lapse clause. Typically, reinstatements cost more than one month’s premium payment.  Whole Life Insurance Pros and Cons When you’re deciding whether a whole life insurance policy works for you, you have to weigh the pros and cons. The hard part? Decide what works best for you in your current financial situation while also weighing what works best in the long term for your beneficiaries. What’s Good About Whole Life Insurance Whole life insurance is appealing for several reasons, including: It’s guaranteed and permanent. That means your beneficiary will receive a payout upon your death, no matter when you die, as long as you’ve made your payments and your cause of death isn’t excluded from the policy. It’s a good option if you have dependents who will need a source of income after you die. The guaranteed payout makes it an appealing option for people with a disabled child, for example. Your payments are usually fixed throughout the life of the policy. There are options to choose limited whole life insurance policies that have a set term limit or policies that change once you turn 65.  You can take advantage of the cash value while you’re still alive. Just keep in mind that the cash value takes a long time to build up, meaning you’ll likely be much older before you can take advantage of this benefit. What’s Bad About Whole Life Insurance Here are a few drawbacks to consider if you’re thinking about whole life insurance: Higher premiums: You pay more for the guaranteed payout and lifelong coverage than you would for a term life policy. The cash value is lost upon your death. While some people make the case that whole life insurance can be used as a long-term personal finance retirement planning tool, the fact that money is lost when you die doesn’t help this argument. You’ll pay large fees to cancel the policy and withdraw the cash value. You’ll also pay income taxes on any earnings on the policy beyond what you paid for your premiums. How to Choose Between Whole Life Insurance vs. Term Insurance We get it. This is a difficult task no matter what. Life insurance company terms and conditions and the products and services they offer are complicated and difficult to digest. But here’s a quick summary of when to consider whole life insurance vs. term insurance. Consider term insurance if: You want to replace your income during a specific amount of time, e.g., while you’re raising children, paying off your mortgage, etc. Need the lowest pre [...]
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Should You Consider Medi-Share for Health Insurance? Here’s Our Take

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Should You Consider Medi-Share for Health Insurance? Here’s Our Take
If you’ve heard ads for Medi-Share, you might be intrigued by its promises to cover your health care costs. Curious? We looked into the details to find out how Medi-Share works — and whether it’s a good option for you. Here’s our honest, unbiased review of the program. What is Medi-Share? Medi-Share is a health-care sharing ministry made up of members united by their faith. This program and similar medical-sharing ministries rely on their members to take care of one another through financial contributions, as well as prayer.  The details work much like typical health insurance. Like having a deductible, members choose an amount they’ll contribute as a household before they can submit bills to the community for payment assistance.  A monthly share payment works like a premium, ensuring your eligibility for assistance, should you need it. There’s no guarantee your medical expenses will be covered through Medi-Share, and there are plenty of exemptions to consider before you apply.  But if you’re particularly religious — and healthy — you may want to consider this alternative to traditional health insurance. How Much Does Medi-Share Cost? First, the up-front costs: It costs $50 to apply, and you’ll pay a $120 one-time member fee with your first monthly payment. You’ll pay another one-time fee of $2 to set up your “sharing account.”  As for your monthly payment options, Medi-Share’s system is sort of like choosing a health insurance deductible and monthly premium.  As an example, we calculated costs for a 30-year-old woman seeking membership for herself only. Share amounts change annually, based on the oldest member of the household. If she chose a $1,750 annual household portion — the amount of medical bills you have to pay completely before you’re eligible for sharing — her standard monthly share would be $311.  If she met certain health and fitness requirements, she could qualify for a Healthy Monthly Share, which would lower her cost to $277 per month.   When you need medical care and visit a Medi-Share provider, you pay $35 for doctor visits and hospitalizations, and $200 for emergency room visits.  You submit the rest of your bills to Private Healthcare Systems (PHCS) for payment consideration.  “We do not collect premiums, make promise of payment, or guarantee that your medical bills will be paid,” the Medi-Share website explains. “Sharing of medical bills is completely voluntary.”  Christian Care Ministry, which operates Medi-Share, is a 501(c)3, but your payments aren’t tax-deductible.  Do You Need to Be Religious to Use Medi-Share? Just as Medi-Share embraces the idea of a community of members supporting one another, it also believes in having a membership that embraces Christian lifestyles. The organization may even interview a church leader to verify your involvement before granting you membership. In addition to eschewing tobacco and illegal drug use, applicants “must only engage in sexual relations within a Biblical Christian Marriage.”  And as you might suspect, Medi-Share doesn’t cover abortions or treatment for sexually transmitted infections.  Medi-Share also assumes that if you’re willing to take care of your Christian community by sharing the burden of medical bills, you’ll do your best to take pretty good care of yourself. Some health conditions, like obesity, high cholesterol or diabetes, put applicants in the mandatory Health Partnership Program, which pairs you with a health coach and costs an extra $99 per month.  What If You Have an Ongoing Health Condition? While this might be an appealing option if you’re healthy, anyone who suffers from a chronic health issue is probably better off turning to an ACA health insurance program for coverage.  “The primary purpose of Medi-Share is to help share members’ burdens,” the program explains. “Burdens are those unexpected medical bills you are unable to plan for (ie. broken bones, cancer, etc). Low monthly share amounts enable you to budget for your family’s routine care, which can be planned.”  Prescription drugs can be eligible for cost-sharing, but only for up to six months for the lifetime of the member. Behavioral and mental health care are also ineligible for coverage. This includes psychiatric or psychological care, as well as “counseling or care for learning deficiencies or behavioral problems,” such as ADD or autism. But here’s the big catch: Routine health screenings aren’t eligible for cost-sharing either.  Well-patient care like annual physicals, pap smears and well-child checkups aren’t included. Dental and vision care aren’t eligible, either.  For instance, if your doctor recommends getting a colonoscopy because you’ve reached a certain age, you can’t submit the test for Medi-Share payment. If you have symptoms warranting the same test, the program might grant payment.  FROM THE SAVE MONEY FORUM do it yourself 7/19/19 @ 1:16 AM Summer Is Here: Is Your Electric Bill Affected by Running the AC? 7/17/19 @ 12:08 PM Do You Ever Pick up A Stray Penny? 2/7/19 @ 12:27 PM Do drive-in movie theaters save you money? 7/1/19 @ 3:38 PM See more in Save Money or ask a money question So, Is Medi-Share Legit? Here’s our conclusion: Medi-Share isn’t a scam.  It’s totally legal and there’s a strong membership base to support it and similar programs. But it’s likely not the most affordable health care option for most people. The ideal candidate for Medi-Share is in excellent health and also has a robust savings account to pay out of pocket for routine medical care. One risk: Medi-Share and other cost-sharing programs aren’t subject to regulation like typical ACA programs.  So while a typical health insurance benefits booklet might clearly explain what’s covered and guarantee coverage up to a certain amount or percentage, Medi-Share participants might not be able to figure out ahead of time which medical bills will be paid by the program. While Medi-Share probably isn’t the best financial choice for most people, it does at least serve as an option for anyone who doesn’t have access to a job-sponsored health insurance plan or who finds individual ACA coverage options prohibitively expensive. 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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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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Here’s How You Could Get Homeowners Insurance for $25/Month (Seriously)

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Here’s How You Could Get Homeowners Insurance for $25/Month (Seriously)
Fires, lightning and hail. Windstorms, vandals and burglars. If you own a home, you need insurance to protect it from threats like these. Heck, if you have a mortgage on your home — like almost all of us do — you’re required to have homeowners insurance. And if you have homeowners or renters insurance, it’s a fact that you might be paying too much for it. That’s because insurance companies are notorious for charging wildly varying rates. Try shopping around. Start by getting a free quote. You literally have nothing to lose by doing this. We recommend checking out the online insurance company Lemonade, where renters insurance starts at $5 a month and home insurance starts at $25 a month. While homeowners insurance starts at $25, that doesn’t mean you’re skimping on coverage. Your ultimate price will depend on factors such as your home’s size, location and age; and the coverage amounts you choose. It’s just that Lemonade starts out at an affordable level. Here’s how easy it is to get a quote. You can do it all online, and it won’t hurt your credit score. Click “Check Our Prices.” Meet Maya, Lemonade’s friendly bot, who will ask you a few questions. Once you complete the application, you’ll receive a quote within a minute or two. Lemonade is a Transparent Beverage Beyond affordable rates, Lemonade adds a layer of transparency you don’t often see in the insurance world. Instead of profiting extra when it doesn’t have to pay out claims, the company keeps a set 20% of your premium for itself, and 80% goes into a pool for paying claims. Money left over after paying claims each year goes to a charitable cause of your choice. That also means Lemonade isn’t going to be conflicted about granting customers the claims they deserve — because the money isn’t going into its pockets. Homeowners insurance covers the cost of repairing or rebuilding your home if it gets damaged by fire or the kind of natural disaster insurers call “acts of God.” When you borrow money from a bank to buy a house, it’ll require you to insure that asset. Renters insurance covers the cost of replacing your possessions if they’re stolen or damaged by fire or vandalism. Most don’t cover flooding. Exactly what it covers depends on the policy. Here’s what else to know about Lemonade: There are no insurance agents. You do the whole thing online through Lemonade’s website or through its Apple or Android apps. You sign up and make claims online. It’s available in Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and Wisconsin. You can get discounts for having safety equipment, such as fire and burglar alarms. It’s easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy. Mike Brassfield (mike@thepennyhoarder.com) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. When life gives him lemons, he squeezes them in people’s eyes. 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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Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Projectables LED Plug-In Night Light

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Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Projectables LED Plug-In Night Light
Night lights are so much fun for kids, and this one looks really awesome! You can get the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Projectables LED Plug-In Night Light for only $8.47. You will be saving 47% on this purchase because it is normally 14.99. This night light provides a soft red glow while projecting a Mickey Mouse ... Read More about Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Projectables LED Plug-In Night Light The post Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Projectables LED Plug-In Night Light appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom. [...]
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