Cryptocurrency mining is a computationally intensive task, which requires electricity and computing power.
Miners solve complex mathematical problems by using computers to process transactions on the blockchain or other digital ledger in exchange for payment in cryptocurrency. The process is also known as crypto-extraction because it involves extracting data from blocks of information that are then used to mint new coins.
Cryptocurrency mining has become increasingly popular in recent years, but it also comes with its own set of risks and potential for malware infection.
Cryptocurrency mining is the process of verifying transactions on a blockchain network, like Bitcoin and earning rewards for doing so. The process involves using computer hardware to solve complex mathematical equations that validate transactions and add them to the blockchain ledger. Mining is crucial to the operation of Bitcoin and some other cryptocurrencies because it creates new tokens and releases them into circulation.
Bitcoin mining refers to the process by which Bitcoins are created or generated - through solving complex math problems. These cloud miners also serve to verify transaction records - cryptocurrencies are created through mining.
If you're interested and want to know how to buy Bitcoin, you can purchase it from a cryptocurrency exchange or an individual seller. There are many reputable exchanges available, such as KuCoin, Coinbase, and Binance, that allow individuals to buy Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies with fiat currency or other cryptocurrencies.
Cryptocurrency mining is an energy-intensive process, and malware can make it even more so. Malware that mines cryptocurrencies uses your computer's resources to generate digital currency for the person who installed it on your machine. This means that you'll have slower performance and possibly even overheating issues if you have a laptop or other portable device.
Cryptocurrency mining malware is a type of malware that uses your computer's processing power to mine cryptocurrency. It can be installed through phishing emails, malicious ads, and fake apps.
Malware can also steal personal information from your devices, which could be used for identity theft or other nefarious purposes. And because it's stealing resources from multiple computers at once, this kind of malware makes them more vulnerable to other attacks while they're being used by hackers to mine crypto coins.
Cryptocurrency mining malware is not always malicious; it can be used for legitimate purposes as well (for example, in the case of Monero). However, if you notice your computer slowing down or overheating while it seems like nothing is running on your machine--that might be an indication that you have crypto-mining malware installed on it.
Malware Infections: Cybercriminals can infect your computer with malware, such as viruses or Trojans, which can be used to steal your cryptocurrency or personal information. To avoid this, make sure to use reputable mining software and keep your anti-virus software updated.
Overheating: Cryptocurrency mining can put a heavy strain on your computer's hardware, causing it to overheat and potentially fail. To avoid this, make sure to monitor your computer's temperature regularly and invest in proper cooling systems if necessary.
Electricity Costs: Cryptocurrency mining requires a lot of electricity, which can drive up your electricity costs. To avoid this, consider the cost of electricity before starting to mine and make sure to choose an energy-efficient setup.
Legal Risks: Cryptocurrency mining is not legal in all countries, and some countries have strict regulations regarding cryptocurrency mining. To avoid legal risks, make sure to research and comply with the laws in your country.
Ponzi Schemes: Some cryptocurrency mining schemes are Ponzi schemes, where investors are promised high returns but the profits are generated by new investors. To avoid this, make sure to research and invest only in reputable mining operations.
Cryptocurrency mining malware is a type of malware that uses a computer's resources to mine for cryptocurrency. The process involves solving complex math problems and producing new coins in return.
Cryptojacking malware is similar to crypto-mining malware, except it doesn't require any user interaction or consent. It runs in the background, mining cryptocurrencies from unsuspecting users' computers without their knowledge or permission.
Cryptojacking is a method of cyberattack in which malware is used to gain control of a computer and use its resources to mine cryptocurrency. Cryptojacking can be done by installing malicious software on the victim's system, or by compromising a website with code that hijacks visitors' computers for mining purposes.
Cryptojacking can happen with any type of cryptocurrency, but it's most common with Monero (XMR) because it's an anonymous currency and has more privacy features than other coins like Bitcoin or Ethereum
Cryptojacking malware can be installed through phishing emails containing links to infected websites or files. Alternatively, it may come bundled with other software downloads that users don't realize contain malicious code until it's too late (e.g., fake Adobe Flash Player installers).
Here are some tips on how to avoid these risks and protect your computer:
By following these tips, you can help minimize the risks associated with cryptocurrency mining and protect your computer from malware infections.
The cryptocurrency mining craze has taken over the internet, and it's not hard to see why. It seems like everyone and their mother has started investing in Bitcoin or another altcoin, hoping that they'll strike gold with their next investment. However, while these virtual currencies may be great for making money or trading with friends, they can also be harmful if used improperly--especially on university-owned computers.
Cryptojacking malware can infect your computer without your knowledge by injecting code into web pages that run quietly in the background while consuming processing power needed for other tasks like homework assignments or projects at work (and sometimes even stealing information). Make sure that if someone offers free money today; just say no because there are some serious risks involved when dealing with cryptocurrencies.
Staking has several definitions. This is an alternative to cryptocurrency mining, which involves receiving a reward for the fact that the user blocks or holds an asset in a crypto wallet.
Sometimes staking is also called mining without much difficulty. Its popularity began to grow rapidly with the spread of blockchain technology, the emergence of a large number of exchanges and projects offering to engage in staking.
As a rule, the staking service is offered by leading crypto exchanges, since they have the appropriate technical base. Also, you can stake coins on DecimalChain. In addition, staking helps to increase the value of domestic currencies of crypto exchanges. Currently, staking has several varieties.
It is characterised by the fact that users pre-indicate for what time period they will place tokens. You can choose different dates, but then it is forbidden to change them. This type of staking involves a fixed passive income. As a rule, the percentages of fixed staking are higher than those of other types.
The deadline for the token blocking period is not specified. Users can unlock tokens at any time. Percentage is accrued as long as the tokens are on the balance. Most often, in this type of staking, the reward is awarded a day after the contract was opened. The reward is paid once every few weeks. Most often, such staking is preferred by those who do not want to freeze digital assets for a long time.
Its difference from all the others is that other subjects take part in it. For example, it can be a company or a user who takes an asset from the holder at a certain percentage. In fact, they are given a loan. Such staking is attractive because you can quickly withdraw funds, passive income is higher, it can exceed 90% per annum, and a low entry threshold. Payments are guaranteed to everyone since smart contracts are used.
Every year the number of users using staking as a way of passive earnings is growing. This is due to the complex advantages of staking.
The user needs to register on a platform offering staking. Next, you should purchase a certain number of coins, accept the terms of the site, set a staking period and keep cryptocurrencies in your wallet. Moreover, you can do it alone or become a member of the staking pool.
Pools are advantageous because they allow you to stake if you need to invest a significant amount in the purchase of assets. With the help of a pool, the entry threshold becomes lower. At the same time, it should be noted that the pool charges a commission fee.
Everyone who is engaged in trading on the cryptocurrency market knows that digital currencies are quite volatile. Therefore, the task of traders and investors is to minimise the risk of losing a deposit during trading sessions. Staking differs from all other types of income generation in that the risk of losing invested funds is extremely low. If the user participates in several betting pools at once, then the risk of losing profit is actually zero.
Thus, staking as a passive income tool is becoming more and more popular among participants of the cryptocurrency market. Minimal risk, regular payments, a large selection of platforms and conditions, high profitability exceeding bank deposits at times, and ease of use make staking one of the best and safest tools for making a profit.
Users can engage in staking on their own or enter into staking pools, thereby further increasing passive income. The number of platforms offering staking is constantly growing.
Cryptocurrencies have dominated the growth conversation in recent years, with their promise of rapid and high increases. For example, Bitcoin and Ethereum have grown astronomically in recent years. While five years ago a single Bitcoin could be purchased for around US$500, by the end of March 2022, one Bitcoin cost over US$45,000, representing growth of about 9,000%. Likewise, Ethereum saw its price increase by more than 500% when it peaked earlier this year.
However, cryptocurrencies can also be very volatile, as evidenced by the recent dramatic price drops. As of 30th June 2022, Bitcoin’s value stood at $19,985 – a price decrease of over US$25,000 in the space of three months. What’s more, Ethereum’s value fell by 6% in just one day (30th June).
Stocks have the potential for rapid growth, just like crypto, but with far less risk. Following the outbreak of Covid-19 in March 2020, Zoom quickly became a household name. Communication suddenly went fully online and the demand for video calling skyrocketed. This demand remained high throughout 2020 with shares in Zoom peaking at around US$560. At the beginning of March 2020, they were around US$110 per share, compared to just US$36 per share the year before – a remarkable price increase.
But Zoom is not an outlier. The video conferencing tool is just one of many stocks to have seen price increases so high that they wouldn’t look out of place in the cryptocurrency market. 2022 has been a strong year for energy companies to date, oil and gas giants Exxon Mobil (39.96%) and Shell (20.48%) have both seen their share prices rise significantly in 2022. Elsewhere, drug manufacturers have performed well so far this year, with AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly and Merck all seeing their share prices increase by more than 13%.
While both crypto and stocks have a lot of potential for growth, there is a key difference – risk. With stocks, investors are better protected against downside risks, which makes them a comparatively safer investment. The same cannot be said for cryptocurrencies. In part, this is because crypto is still relatively new. As such, if confidence drops in the coin or a regulatory barrier is created, users are deterred and any investment could quickly go up in smoke. Furthermore, however high the value of one Bitcoin is, its inherent value is zero. Therefore, even if the price surges due to high demand and speculation of further price rises, there is no protection against loss. Crypto exists in a continual cycle whereby all these factors lead to rapid rises in price, but also rapid falls.
Crypto may not be like this forever – it is still in the early stages. As time goes on, investors are gaining a greater understanding of what factors influence the market and prices, and this will only continue as crypto gains more popularity and becomes more widely accepted. But, on the other side of the coin, the volatility – and therefore the potential gains – may also be significantly reduced. Ultimately, cryptocurrencies, for all their upside, come with considerable risks. Investing is inherently a risk-based exercise but even then, crypto is particularly risky. Consequently, a diversified range of stocks is a better route for the more risk-averse. There remains scope for significant growth, just in a less risky context.
Recently, more and more brokers have started to offer risk management tools for those wishing to engage in high-risk trading. Although not yet widely available across the retail market, these management tools, such as AvaProtect, can offer further protection against potential risk. Not unlike an insurance policy, these tools generally require a small fee. Traders are then able to stay in the trade and ride out any short-term drops in value, and therefore benefit from a positive overall momentum of the position. What this means is that if the market moves in a different direction than what was originally expected, traders can recover their losses, only minus the cost of purchasing the protection – a significantly better option than losing their whole investment.
Another option to protect against significant loss is a ‘take profit’ order together with a ‘stop loss’ order. Both tools allow traders to set limits on profit and on loss, so they are not exposed to more risk than they are comfortable with. In the case of a take profit order, the trader can specify the exact price at which they would like their open position to be closed out. This enables them to make a profit without the risk of subsequently losing it. A stop loss order works in a similar way, with the trader being able to set the limit at which they would like to buy or sell a stock once it reaches a certain price. This ensures that they are not exposed to more risk of loss than they want.
Investing is inherently a risky practice but those traders who have taken the time to understand these risks and review the options available to them may find that investing in stocks is the best option for them. Stocks offer high growth and there are ways to protect against rapidly losing these gains. As more and more people begin using trading platforms to invest in stocks, brokers will embrace risk management tools to attract and retain new users, making investing in stocks even more appealing.
About the author: Dáire Ferguson is CEO at AvaTrade.
Our experts have found that the top 10 equity release companies have made it foolproof for customers to get scammed and ensure property and release plans are in the right hands.
Are those options safe? Let’s take a look.
No, equity release is not a scam or a rip-off. According to our equity release expert, Jason Stubbs, equity release has many lucrative advantages. You can pay for education, a holiday or pay off old debt. There are no limits to how you can spend your money.
An equity release is money released from your home, which weakens your property value and decreases the amount of money your beneficiaries receive once the property is sold to recover the costs. A lifetime mortgage allows you to live in the home until you die, and your beneficiaries can decide to sell the property on their own or pay back the money with other financial means.
If you are concerned about equity release or value for money, it is good to note that the amount you get for your equity release plan is lower than what you would have received on the open market. There are also interest rates between 3 - 7% attached for life. If you want to avoid high costs and choose the wrong lender, you could be stuck.
You will know that an equity release is suitable for you if you have your home evaluated and agree to the amount you will get. If you are happy with the outcome of your evaluation and the means to get equity fits your standards to your lifestyle, then you can manage both.
If you need to cover the outstanding debt that has become too high or cannot afford to take care of yourself independently but have a home worth equity release, then it is right for you.
Fact Find is a great way to determine if you should release equity from your home. It will give you an idea of what you may need the money for and if you could do without an equity release mortgage. Financial advisors also help you understand if you need to release equity to cover any outstanding costs or just need a better lifestyle plan.
The risk in equity release is that you will get a smaller amount paid than you would have received if you had sold your house on the open market. Your beneficiaries stand a chance to lose their inheritance if you default on your repayments. You will have to pay whatever the interest rate is for the rest of your life.
1. What Is Fact Find For Equity Release?
Fact find is advice on equity release, lifetime mortgages, retirements, and much more. It is a way to get clarity on taking out equity releases before deciding to go through with it.
2. What Do I Need To Qualify For Equity Release?
To qualify for equity release, you will have to do the following:
Although equity release is not a scam, it is still advisable for you to seek financial advice about your choice to release equity.
You want to make sure that you can repay the money and that your family is aware of the risks that you are taking. They may stand to lose their inheritance if you opt for a home reversion plan and may stick with the repayments if you choose a lifetime mortgage. Either way, it is better to seek advice and to be sure before releasing equity.
With the biometrics market expected to be worth $18.6 billion by 2026, the potential for this technology is huge.
However, opponents point out that while the convenience of waving a hand or smiling at a camera has potential, there are still big risks if the technology goes wrong – foremost among them are concerns over privacy, security and cost.
While facial recognition has improved over the last few years, there are still errors. For instance, we are all familiar with those frustrating moments when our phones do not recognise our faces for some reason, requiring a PIN to open instead. While this is a minor inconvenience to get access to a text message, when it comes to paying a bill, it could cause huge problems.
Error rates are now less than 0.1%, an impressively low number, but when partnered with the millions of transactions that happen every day that is still hundreds, if not thousands, of moments where biometric authentication could fail.
To reduce the chance of failure, companies will need to have access to several different forms of authentication, such as fingerprints, vein patterns, iris scanning, facial recognition and more. While reducing the risk of errors and fraud, each system has its own accuracy rates and problems that firms need to be aware of. For example, facial recognition can sometimes be thrown off by glare from glasses, and vein pattern relies on high-quality photos in the first instance and ensuring that subsequent scans are not affected by different light conditions.
The trade-off in ensuring success for biometric payments is that companies will have to store more personal data of their customers. This is fundamental to how the technology operates and will reduce the chances of errors, but it also raises the stakes for the company holding the data.
For instance, while a data breach today may result in passwords and usernames being leaked, this information can be changed and updated relatively quickly and easily. Biometric data is much harder to change, and although the processes of using that data may be harder, the rewards are greater – where people might have different passwords for various systems, biometric data would in theory give access to any account where this information is used as a means of entry. Securing these databases is essential.
As well as security concerns, consumers may be reluctant to share such sensitive information with large companies, with ongoing questions around privacy and rights on how those companies use the data of their users. For example, in countries with less protection for individual rights, such as China, a facial database could be used to identify and target certain groups of people by the state authorities, as has already been seen with the Uighur people. If the public becomes distrustful and refuses to share information with payment firms, any biometric technology beyond just unlocking a smartphone will struggle to get off the ground in a meaningful way.
If this is to be overcome, it will be essential for firms and governments to work together to improve regulations and processes. This will help build trust in the new technology, and create conformity across countries on how data should be handled and secured. Firms in turn will benefit from being able to focus on one set of rules, in the knowledge that the rights of people in different locations are being protected.
Any deployment of new technology comes with a cost. In this case, it will require new devices that can read biometric information to be installed in every shop, restaurant and hospitality location, potentially costing billions.
At the moment some high-end biometric systems can cost up to $10,000, a significant cost if you run a small business. After all, it is not the kind of investment that can justify itself through additional business – payments can still be made by other means. It needs consumer behaviour and expectation to reach a point of critical mass where biometric payment becomes expected rather than a novelty. But until the technology reaches an affordable price where it is feasible for businesses to make this investment, there is no way for it to enjoy widespread adoption. It's a ‘chicken and egg’ situation – one of widespread availability and mainstream adoption will drive the other but if neither comes first, biometric payments will continue to struggle.
There is no doubt that schemes like Mastercard’s are going to start happening more frequently, and likely do offer a snapshot of what the future of payments will look like. It is also not as much of a leap in technology as some people believe. For instance, platforms such as Apple Pay already use facial recognition to authorise payments. Bringing in other forms of Biometric payments will remove friction from the authentication process, and no doubt when the technology is ready, customers will love it if it is user friendly enough.
However, we are still a distance away from this becoming a mainstream form of transaction. A lot of work needs to be done to reduce the cost of the technology itself so that everyday businesses can afford it, while serious conversations need to take place to ensure regulations are in place to protect individuals’ data and rights. Otherwise, it will struggle ever to be a viable option.
About the author: Ashish Bhatnagar is Client Partner at Cognizant.
Football clubs generate their revenue through several different sources, including matchday sales, stadium hiring fees, sponsorship deals, merchandise sales, TV broadcasting deals, prize money, and player transfers. The primary source of income naturally varies from club to club. Though, as an example, FC Barcelona’s primary income for the past three years has come from media and commercial sources, according to Statista. FIFA also reported that, between 2011 and 2020, the football transfer market saw spending of $48.5 billion.
While football clubs are businesses, their top priority is success on the pitch. Vast sums of money are spent on boosting chances of winning trophies, league promotions, and avoiding relegation — though these efforts don’t always materialize into success. However, this isn't to say that all football clubs are unprofitable and incapable of returning to shareholders via dividends. Manchester United, for example, has awarded a dividend of 14p per share in each of its past four financial years, paying out £23.3 million to shareholders in 2020 alone. But, with a revenue of £835 million, Manchester United is one of the highest-earning clubs in Europe. A club with lower earnings may not be able to deliver the same returns.
Image source: https://sqaf.club/most-profitable-football-clubs/
Many institutional investors, including fund manager Nick Train, have chosen to include football clubs in their portfolios.
“The value of sports franchises is going up and up, and it's easy to understand why when you see the billions of dollars or billions of pounds being pumped into the sports industry by these big media companies, and now by these giant internet companies all looking to muscle in onto televising live sports,” Nick Train said in a 2020 interview with Interactive Investor.
“When I look at the investments that we have in these franchises, the three that you've mentioned, I mean actually they've been pretty good investments over the period that we've owned them despite ups and downs of their performance on the pitch. And I guess I'd also say, just repeating the three that you mentioned, Manchester United, Celtic, Juve, Juventus, you know, they are pretty high calibre, pretty high calibre sports franchises.”
Football is, and will likely always be, an incredibly popular sport with strong underlying demand. But, nonetheless, most people choose to invest in a football club simply as another way of supporting their team. Generally, an investment in a football club is seen as a novelty, despite your money being invested in a company that is very much real.
This is largely because there’s no real way of forecasting how shares are going to perform. The figures vary massively from one club to another. For example, Manchester United gained just 4.47% in value over the past 5 years, while Juventus has experienced gains of 156.25% over the same period. Other clubs have gone the other way entirely. Borussia Dortmund, for example, made a loss of 14% over a 5-year period.
In his book The Price of Football, Kieran Maguire notes that football is a high-risk investment with relatively low returns, and goes on to note that many investors invest from an emotional perspective rather than a financial one. Fans may be keen to support their favourite club, but the decision to invest in a football club is one that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
This article does not constitute financial advice. The author and Universal Media Ltd. are not qualified financial advisers. All investments are made at the reader’s own risk.
Digital transformation for businesses includes introducing new technology and software, as well as adapting organisational structures and mindsets to the modern digital culture. What are the potential benefits that make digital transformation so valuable, and are there any downsides?
The ever-evolving digitisation of our society is no new phenomenon. Our hobbies, social lives, education, and jobs are shifting more and more into virtual spaces. While many of us still remember life before the internet as it is today, the new generation of digital natives grew up with the internet and all its perks and pitfalls. They are navigating modern technology with ease akin to breathing.
Naturally, young people are a huge target market and the newest or next additions to the workforce. When trying to appeal to them or fully make use of their potential, any business – whether it is part of the IT sector or not – is forced to adapt and use modern tools such as management software and apps. And yet many small- to mid-sized companies still struggle with the implementation of digital strategies and digital transformation is one of the biggest risk factors in the eyes of directors, CEOs and senior executives.
Many traditionalists are still wary of digital solutions to long-established methods. They are getting in the way of their own company’s potential to work more effectively and cut costs. Digital staff management tools, such as online staff rota management, allow employees easy and intuitive ways to take part in their schedule planning.
Even a simple tool like this can have unexpected impacts:
If so many executives consider digital transformation a risk factor, that means there must be a potential for negative consequences when introducing digital strategies to a business. Business owners who still refuse to commit to digitalisation fear the fallout of their digital transformation efforts failing. What exactly are the negative effects they worry about?
Digital transformation is no longer an option but a necessity. Modern software and the accompanying technology are important for companies to remain competitive and gain attractiveness in the eyes of the next generation. When used correctly, digital assets optimise a businesses’ efficiency. Automated processes, intelligent software and connected workflows can minimise the time wasted on menial tasks. Happier employees, efficient planning and reduced mistakes maximise a company’s potential.
Potential risks can be avoided with a bit of careful consideration. An employee’s willingness to learn and use new tech can be increased. There needs to be enough time set aside for appropriate amounts of schooling. Additionally, the acceptance of the new tool will rise when it’s made clear how it can positively affect both the company and the employees themselves.
Expert advice and software reviews will help to find the right solution for the specific company. Most governments offer financial aid for small businesses' digitisation efforts. These are often combined with educational support. This kind of coaching can help to choose the right tech and implement it smoothly.
Businesses use invoice finance as a means of raising capital without giving up equity or other collateral, and it's also the only form of business loan available in many markets across the world. This guide will help you understand what business invoice finance is, how it works, and whether or not this business funding option could work for your business.
Invoice finance (also called accounts receivable financing) is a type of finance that allows businesses to borrow money against the money they are owed from customers. Banks and other lenders are often unwilling to lend to small businesses because the business's credit history is not as strong as a bigger business. Invoice finance allows businesses to get the cash they need by borrowing against the invoices they have already sent out. This means that even if the business has not yet been paid for the services or goods it has provided, it can still get a loan based on those invoices.
The lender will advance a percentage of the total invoice value to the business, and then collect repayment plus interest once the customer pays their invoice.
Invoice financing can help your business by providing quick and easy access to cash. This type of financing allows businesses to borrow money against the value of their outstanding invoices. This can provide a much-needed cash infusion when you need it most, helping you to grow your business and maintain liquidity.
Business invoice finance can also help you improve your company's cash flow by accelerating the collection process on outstanding invoices. Funds are typically available within 24 hours of submitting an invoice for financing, so you can get the working capital you need quickly. And because there are no lengthy application processes or credit checks involved, this type of financing is a great option for businesses of all sizes.
Getting started with invoice finance is quite easy. First, you need to find a reputable company that deals with business invoice finance lending. Next, the application process needs to be completed which includes providing personal and financial information relevant to your creditworthiness. Thirdly you will receive an email confirming acceptance into their program and once approved they will send you detailed instructions on how to use the service in exchange for an agreed down payment at closing plus interest over a time period dictated by terms of agreement upon purchase or lease agreements made prior to invoice finance transaction taking place.
Invoice financing is a type of short-term loan that can be used to cover current expenses. It's also an excellent way to finance new or expanding businesses, as the funds are provided on an invoice basis with no collateral required. The lender doesn't care about your credit rating, so you don't need to go through the hassle of applying for a conventional loan. You'll get your money quickly and easily without any fuss — just how it should be.
Businesses who use invoicing financing often find themselves with more cash on hand than they had before because they're able to get quick access to funds when needed without having too much debt hanging over them at any one time.
The risks involved with invoice financing are typically the same as any other form of business credit. The lender will want to know what you plan to do with the money, and there may be some restrictions on how it can be used depending on the terms of your agreement with the lender. There is always a chance that an invoice won't get paid, which could result in liens being placed against personal property or even bankruptcy if it's a corporation.
Inflation has consistently been on the rise, with little positive signs of things to come. The Consumer Price Index (CPI), an instrument that measures inflation by averaging change over time in prices, surged 6.2% in October, marking the largest monthly rise in 30 years.
Meanwhile, economic risks, including supply chain bottlenecks and soaring unemployment, have only gotten worse recently. This has prompted Fed Chair Jerome Powell, who still uses the term "transitory" when addressing inflation, to voice concern over persistently high inflation.
“The risks are clearly now to longer and more persistent bottlenecks, and thus to higher inflation,” Powell said last month when revealing that the Fed intends to begin tapering its bond purchases. “I do think it’s time to taper and I don’t think it’s time to raise rates,” he added, insisting that the central bank does not plan to raise rates in the short term.
The US Federal Reserve has been keeping its benchmark interest rate near zero to support the economic recovery, which was badly hurt due to the pandemic. Currently, the highest paying saving accounts in the US, which are considered high-yield savings accounts, offer around 0.50% APY. However, the national average interest rate on savings accounts stands at 0.06% APY, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). At times, some banks even pay less than that average.
All of this has led investors to search for alternative methods that offer higher interest rates, in an attempt to match the rising inflation and prevent their wealth from depreciating.
DeFi, short for decentralised finance, is an entire ecosystem of smart-contract powered apps that are largely built on the Ethereum blockchain and enable users to lend, secure loans, and trade digital assets - without the need for any intermediaries. This largely differs from the traditional world of finance, where even the top forex brokers need to rely on a number of middlemen to facilitate transactions.
DeFi lending protocols offer a variety of APY rates based on the digital assets users provide as collateral. Normally, the rates are much higher than those offered by banks — and they sometimes even reach triple-digit figures. However, such protocols come with a number of bold drawbacks.
For one, since DeFi is still in the experimental phase, there is the risk of hacking and exploitation, which can lead to users losing all of their deposited funds. Other forms of concerns include scalability, which is particularly true for newer protocols that boast high APY, liquidity, and a lack of legal protection.
To address these issues and offer a more convenient method for accessing crypto investment opportunities, CeFi (centralised finance) projects have emerged. In simple terms, CeFi protocols are centralised crypto exchanges like Coinbase and Binance that share some aspects of traditional financial services, as referred to as TradeFi.
There is also another category of financial order dubbed hybrid finance (HyFi). Combining some elements of DeFi and CeFi, HyFi offers a robust solution by integrating the strengths of both sides while eliminating their shortcomings.
HyFi platforms like BlockFi and Celsius, which claim to be fully regulated, offer notably high APY rates when compared to a traditional, FDIC-insured savings account. A BlockFi Interest Account (BIA) can offer up to 9.5% APY, for example. So, what’s the catch?
At a time when interest rates by banks are anchored near zero, the fact that hybrid platforms offer near double-digit interest rates might stir up scepticism. However, some of these platforms have built an impressive user base.
BlockFi, for instance, boasts more than 1 million unique users with over $10 billion in assets under management (AUM). Celsius, similarly, boasts more than 1 million users and more than $28 billion in AUM. The latter also claims to have paid more than $946 million in rewards since its launch in 2018.
Nevertheless, there are still a set of unique risks associated with these platforms. In the first place, unlike FDIC-insured savings accounts, hybrid platforms offer no insurance. While they might take additional measures to protect funds, like keeping crypto holdings in cold storage, there is still the possibility of losing all capital.
Moreover, users need to probe the reputation of the platform they are considering to deposit funds. Gemini Earn, BlockFi, and Celsius stand among the more popular options. Despite their popularity, some may face legal issues, which prospective users need to research. Further, newly established platforms, especially if they are offering above-average rates, should not be easily trusted.
It is worth noting that these platforms offer yields on crypto-assets, particularly on stablecoins. Stablecoins are fiat-pegged digital assets that strive to hold their prices stable. USDT and USDC, pegged to the US dollar, are the two most popular stablecoins, with USDT commanding the lion's share of the market. These stablecoins themselves, also require scrutiny.
Many stablecoins originally hit the markets alleging that they are 100% backed by cash reserves. However, as transparency around these digital assets increased, it became apparent that they might be backed by some illiquid assets. For instance, USDT is largely backed by commercial papers and fiduciary deposits. The quality of these assets is unknown, making them exposed to unknown levels of liquidity risk. Therefore, in the event of a run on USDT, if Tether fails to provide enough cash, USDT tokens would crash.
Stablecoins are also exposed to regulatory risks. Back in July, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen voiced concern around stablecoins, saying they should be “quickly” regulated. At the time, Powell also scrutinised stablecoins, arguing that the US could undercut the need for these digital assets by issuing a CBDC.
"You wouldn’t need stablecoins, you wouldn’t need cryptocurrencies if you had a digital U.S. currency – I think that’s one of the stronger arguments in its favour,” Powell said, though he later made it clear there is no intention to ban stablecoins. "If they’re going to be a significant part of the payments universe…then we need an appropriate framework, which frankly we don’t have."
Echoing the same point of view, SEC Chair Gary Gensler has asked for stablecoin regulation. In September, he likened stablecoins to "poker chips," claiming that people will "get hurt" without stronger oversight. More recently, Gensler insisted that the SEC would "be very active" in regulating stablecoins.
The rise of hybrid platforms has opened up new horizons for investors seeking high returns. However, before jumping in, users need to consider the risks associated with these platforms — and decide whether or not it is worth it to move forward.
Stablecoins are a digital currency pegged to a “stable” reserve asset such as the US dollar or gold, designed to reduce volatility relative to unpegged cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. Because the price of stablecoins is pegged to a reserve asset, they bridge the worlds of crypto and fiat currency, such as the pound sterling, the euro, or the US dollar, significantly lowering the volatility of stablecoin when compared to a cryptocurrency such as bitcoin. Consequently, some consider stablecoins to be better suited to almost everything, including everyday commerce and making transfers between exchanges.
As the name suggests, stablecoins are designed to function with stability. Multiple sources back stablecoins, including fiat currency, but also other cryptocurrencies, precious metals and algorithmic functions. However, a crypto’s backing source can influence its risk level. For example, a fiat-backed stablecoin may have greater stability because it is linked to a centralised financial system that has an authority figure, such as a central bank, that can control prices when valuations become volatile. However, a stablecoin that isn’t linked to a centralised financial system, such as a bitcoin-backed stablecoin, may change dramatically because, in part, there isn’t a regulating body to control what the coin is pegged to.
Fiat-backed stablecoins: Investors use their fiat currency, whether it be US dollars or euros, to buy stablecoins that they are later able to redeem for their original currency. Unlike other cryptocurrencies that can fluctuate dramatically, fiat-backed stablecoins aim to have limited price fluctuations. However, this does not mean that there is no risk involved. It’s important to note that they are still relatively new and have a limited track record.
Crypto-backed stablecoins: This type of stablecoin is backed by other crypto assets, and because this backing asset can be volatile, crypto-backed stablecoins are overcollateralized to ensure the coin’s value. These assets are more volatile than fiat-backed stablecoins. Consequently, as an investor, it’s wise to keep an eye on how the coin’s underlying crypto asset is performing.
Precious metal-backed stablecoins: These coins use precious metals, such as gold, to help maintain their value. They are centralised, which may be considered a disadvantage by some. However, this also protects the coins from crypto volatility.
Algorithmic stablecoins: Algorithmic stablecoins are often considered to be the most difficult to understand as they aren’t backed by any asset. Instead, they use a computer algorithm to prevent the coins’ value from over-fluctuating. For example, if the price of an algorithmic stablecoin is pegged to $1 but the stablecoin becomes higher, then the algorithm would release more tokens automatically to bring the price back down. Similarly, if the value drops below $1, then the algorithm would reduce the supply to bring the price up again.
As well as reduced volatility, there are several benefits to stablecoins:
Despite the benefits of stablecoin, there are nonetheless several risks to be aware of:
While there are many great benefits to stablecoin, there are also significant risks that need to be thoroughly researched and considered. Additionally, there are also many different issuers of stablecoins, with each offering its own policy and varying degrees of transparency. Stablecoin may be highly appealing, but it’s important to tread as carefully as you would with any other type of investment.
This article does not constitute financial advice. The author and Universal Media Ltd. are not qualified financial advisers. All investments are made at the reader’s own risk.
The emergence of bitcoin private in the industry has expanded the opportunities among many traders. They are able to have multiple investment options depending on their goals and priorities. But deciding which crypto asset to take is not always an easy choice. There has to be a proper assessment of the pros and cons, taking into account the market stability and potential growth. A good choice for your trading and investment journey is the Bitcoin Evolution app.
As of January 2021, there are more than 4,000 cryptocurrencies in existence. Each one has its own unique advantages from the developer’s perspective. But the truth is, standing in the market would distinguish profitable crypto from a losing one. For investors, it is very crucial to exercise prudence when making such a decision. It’s like any other business venture, and you have to be certain that the risks are manageable and the gains are high.
Essentially, bitcoin private was born out of community-driven initiatives way back in March 2018 from the existing bitcoin and Zclassic hard fork. The developer’s main goal for introducing this new crypto in the market is to combine the inherent privacy features of the Zclassic crypto with the security, flexibility, and popularity of bitcoin. These combined features enhance the network by having transparent and shielded transactions. For instance, the sources and destinations of all funds and amount values are transparently and securely stored on the blockchain. On the other hand, the shielded transactions keep the data into a special section of a block, allowing verification among users but very difficult to decode for any third party.
For users who value privacy and anonymity, bitcoin private can be the best choice. It has specific technology that guarantees better security and quicker processing than other cryptos like bitcoin. Despite this tight protection, the coin’s database remains open-source, allowing viewing and verification among participants. There are also no intermediaries during transactions between users, given the decentralised system where it operates.
Enhanced security and privacy is what bitcoin private offers among crypto traders. It gained much prominence in the middle of the 2010s, but eventually, some technical issues led to the decline of transactions. Problems on speed, cost, and energy consumption have arisen as higher transaction volume resulted in backlogs. Some analysts have considered this dilemma as evidence that bitcoin cannot still stand to become a unit of exchange in its current state. Like bitcoin, the total coin supply for bitcoin private is also set at 21 million. While its platform maintains anonymity, all transactions can still be traced in actual scenarios. Likewise, despite keeping all the data private, it is possible to identify users with their public keys. To address this matter, bitcoin private worked on merging bitcoin’s protocol with the privacy features of Zclassic. Presently, users can generate either public or private addresses, allowing redemption of transactions to either address type.
During its initial year in the industry, bitcoin private was widely welcomed due to its privacy and security features. It ranked 46th when it was launched and had a market share of around $550 million. Eventually, it struggled to make progress for several factors, such as pre-mining of 96.6% of its total amount of tokens with only 3.4% remaining for miners.
The present status of bitcoin private on smaller exchanges is not as good as it was then. In fact, just a year after its launching, it already faced struggles to survive in the industry. According to recent reports, the crypto was given an “F” rating on the industry’s asset score. However, it confronts uncertainty with several delistings from its remaining exchanges.
Bitcoin private is one of the thousands of cryptocurrencies in circulation today. Like other virtual assets, it confronts issues affecting its stability and growth in the market. Investors have to acknowledge that the crypto industry is highly speculative and unpredictable. Meaning that the value of digital currencies may spike or plunge over time depending on several factors. Exercising prudence in crypto investment is always a good idea.
The use of robots in the workplace has helped to increase numbers at workplaces and also in society. Robots nowadays have increased capabilities. This has led to a rise in the need to ensure that this robotic evolution isn’t the “beginning of the end” for the human race. However, there is an even more pressing and immediate need to ensure that the growth in the use of robots doesn’t mean a risk for the human workforce. This need is further increased by the stories highlighted of workers getting killed by robots.
Presently, robots are re-categorised into three, i.e., collaborative robots, personal and professional robots, and industrial robots. There is now an emerging fourth category of robots popularly referred to as managerial robots.
The first wave was introduced back in the ’70s, and they were used in the car manufacturing industry to assemble automobiles. The second wave started in the early 21st century, and that’s when service robots were introduced to the world. This second wave was expedited by the increasing sensory and anatomy capabilities robots had. This, coupled with the small size and cost of microprocessors’ controllers, paved the way for the creation of mobile robots.
These mobile robots were able to perform autonomous operations even in unfamiliar environments like disaster zones. Thanks to the availability of collaborative robots, which can directly work with humans, the third wave of robotic workers are now in progress.
According to the ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation), industrial robots are programmable, multipurpose manipulators, and re-programmable. They can either be fixed in mobile or placed to be used in automation applications.
These robots are characterised by precision, endurance, and high strength and are mainly used for testing, moving, assembling, painting and welding.
Many industrial robots aren’t aware of their environment and, as such, pose a risk to people. Some of the hazards they pose include:
According to the ISO, service robots are robots that perform useful tasks for humans. Professional service robots can be even further differentiated as being service robots used to conduct commercial tasks. On the other hand, personal service robots are used to perform non-commercial services.
Physical propinquity between human workers and professional service robots is expected because both share a workspace. As such, worker isolation cannot be considered as a safety measure in such a scenario. Moreover, the complex environments pro service robots operate in require more mobility and autonomy. This mobile and autonomous behaviour can create dangerous situations for the human workforce. That is why robot designers are required to consider the ethical, social, and physical implications of that autonomy.
According to the ISO, collaborative robots are specially designed to have direct human interaction. They aim to combine the precision, endurance and strength mechanical robots have. Considering that they work alongside human workers, isolation is still also not a viable option. That is why safety measures such as the use of proximity sensors, software tools, and other appropriate materials must be considered.
Robots have been used in assembly lines for over 50 years. Some of their uses include:
The automotive industry has fully embraced the use of robots in its assembly lines. Deploying and programming the robotic workforce is now more possible than it was some few years back. Their use has resulted in the creation of better quality products.
Each vehicle comes with thousands of parts and wires. This means that the process of getting many components to work together is a complex one. Even with its complexity, the processes require the same quality standards when assembling all parts. That is why robots are perfect for these jobs. They can work even in lights out situations but still give out the high-quality standards set for production.
These are some of the many different ways robots are used in the manufacturing industry. There have been whispers of there being more projects in the works aimed at enhancing productivity, security, and reliability. The expected outcome is reduced prices and fast-paced delivery times.