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Finance

Blockchain & Cryptocurrencies What’s All the Fuss About

cryptocurrencies

“Blockchain” and “cryptocurrency” are among some of the most-searched terms in Google recently thanks to news about BitCoin’s price surging. Most people don’t have a clue about what these terms are (hence the searches) but they do know that cryptocurrencies are a form of investment like forex. Unfortunately, while the principle is similar because cryptocurrencies are a traded form of currency, the way BitCoin works is completely different to any kind of currency pair that you can find.

To help you out, we’re going to talk about blockchains and cryptocurrencies to help you achieve a better understanding of what it’s all about.

Defining Blockchains and Cryptocurrencies

Let’s start with the basics and explain what these two terms mean.

  • Blockchains are essentially digital edgers where transactions in cryptocurrencies are recorded. It’s a form of technology that enables cryptocurrencies to exist in the first place. Think of it as a gigantic database where every single transaction is kept in chronological order. You don’t need to understand how it works if you’re interested in BitCoin or another cryptocurrency, but it’s nice to get a general overview of what it implies.
  • Cryptocurrencies are digital currencies that utilize encryption techniques to safely regulate their value and also validate transfers. These cryptocurrencies are independent of banks and they’re generated digitally. Two good examples of popular cryptocurrencies are BitCoin and Ethereum. There are many different advantages to both the currencies and their values fluctuate drastically over the years. Ethereum, for instance, was worth $10 per unit in 2017. Currently, they are quoted at around $800. Ripple is another popular cryptocurrency that has recently grown in popularity.

Now that you have a basic understanding of blockchains and cryptocurrencies, let’s see what the fuss is all about and why it’s making waves in the news.

Advantages of Cryptocurrencies

So why use cryptocurrencies over regular currency? Here are just a couple of the most popular advantages:

  • Lower transaction fees. Unlike other currencies, there are lower fees involved when making payments with cryptocurrencies.
  • Immediate transactions. Transactions are immediately resolved when using cryptocurrencies unless a third-party is involved.
  • No risk of fraud. Cryptocurrencies are completely digital and, unlike paper money, cannot be counterfeited.
  • No risk of identity theft. Since your personal information isn’t handed out when making payments with cryptocurrencies (unlike credit and debit cards) you’re not at risk of identity theft.
  • Decentralized currencies. Cryptocurrencies are decentralized which means that there isn’t a single source or authority that governs it.
  • Universal use. Virtually every country can adopt cryptocurrencies because they are not bound by various rates like exchange rates. They can be universally used as long as a cash system supports it.

Industries That Use Cryptocurrencies

As you might expect, cryptocurrencies are slowly becoming more mainstream and being used in all kinds of different industries. One of the first industries to adopt the use of cryptocurrency is the technology industry. Early uses of cryptocurrencies involved being able to purchase goods on the internet or trade digital items and pay for services. There are now many uses for cryptocurrency on the web, such as being able to make donations with it or accept crowdfunding payment.

Nowadays, the use of cryptocurrency is widespread and marketers are all over it, using social media, blogs, lead generation pages to spread the word. So which industries are using it right now? Some car dealerships offer vehicles for BitCoins and there are even some realtors that accept BitCoin payments. With the use of BitCoin expanding so rapidly, don’t be surprised to see your local coffee shop offering goods for cryptocurrency in a few years or even months.

Here’s some information on two of the most popular cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin and Etherum and why you should take notice of Ripple…

Bitcoin

Bitcoin is the world’s first and top cryptocurrency that had gained popularity and a huge increase in value. It was created in 2009 by a person under the alias Satoshi Nakamoto. Its main feature is that transactions can be made without the middle man – meaning that no banks are involved!

You can use Bitcoin to book hotels, pay for Xbox games, and buy furniture. But most of its hype has recently come from people trading it. As of now, its price is $8207.77 whose price used to be past the $10,000 mark in 2017.

Another reason why Bitcoin is amazing is because it can be mined. A person (company or group) can mine Bitcoin through record-keeping and advanced math. This is how it works, when someone sends Bitcoin to someone else, the network records it and then records the other transactions and places them on a “block.”

Miners use powerful hardware and specialized software to convert the blocks into code sequences known as “hash.” Once a new has is made, the miners who found it are awarded in Bitcoin. As of now, miners can obtain 12.5 Bitcoins which worth around $225,000 at this time.

Bitcoin is ranked first because it started new concepts such as “decentralization” and “peer to peer trading.” We would see other cryptocurrencies, such as Ethereum use this concept to help users make apps and trade their currencies at a rate that’s faster than Bitcoin.

Speaking of Ethereum…

Ethereum

Ranked second on our list is Ethereum. Like Bitcoin, Ethereum is running on a public blockchain network. While Bitcoin and Ethereum are completely different in technology, their largest distinction is their difference in capability and purpose.

Ethereum’s blockchain is used to run program code for any decentralized application. Instead of miners obtaining Bitcoin, they receive Ether, the main currency that fuels the network.

Ethereum also has smart contracts, which acts like a self-ran computer program that automatically execute once specific guidelines are met. Since they are running on the blockchain, the code can run without downtime, third party interference, and without censorship.

What makes Ethereum a top cryptocurrency is its ability to let startups create decentralized apps. They can receive funding from other Ether owners to help power their app without the long process of seeking a venture capitalist to invest in them. Ethereum is now priced at $857.70, which we can only expect it to grow due to the development apps on its platform.

Ripple

Ripple is the third top cryptocurrency on our list. Like other cryptos, Ripple has a distributed ledger network that allows users to help each other validate transactions. This makes it more efficient and faster than traditional centralized authorities.

What stands Ripple apart is its transaction speed. On average, Bitcoin takes about 10 minutes to complete a transaction. Ripple can accomplish this task in under 60 seconds. This makes Ripple more appealing to a mass market, who needs a faster network to help them pay for goods.

Ripple is currently developed by Ripple Labs. As of now, they have of 100 billion XRP available, as its unable to be mined. Ripple’s current price is now $.73, making it the cheapest option on this list.

While other cryptos are used for separating financial transactions from centralized banking, Ripple seems to do the opposite.

Closing Thoughts

To conclude, we believe that each of these cryptocurrencies provides a lot of value into today’s current market. Not only are they bringing in new financial options for users, but their combined technology helps make transactions safer and faster. Ultimately, it will be interesting to see how these cryptocurrencies will act as blockchain technology continues to evolve.

Disclaimer: This post was made to educate users on cryptocurrency. Don’t take it as investment advice.

Sources:
https://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/what-is-ripple/
https://www.coindesk.com/information/what-is-ethereum/
http://money.cnn.com/infographic/technology/what-is-bitcoin/
https://www.cnet.com/how-to/what-is-bitcoin/
https://www.mirror.co.uk/tech/what-is-bitcoin-currency-crash-10409961

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Finance

Making Money With Short Term Rentals

apartment

Investors love investing in real estate as it usually outperforms other investment types like shares and managed funds. There are many ways to make a profit for your business with real estate too including ‘flipping’. This term refers to purchasing a revenue-generating asset and then shortly thereafter selling it again for a profit. In the US, the two asset classes mostly used for flipping are initial public offerings and real estate.

The longer-term real estate investing strategy that’s prevalent is buying homes to rent out on long term tenancies. It’s not just businesses that invest in rental properties, as a retirement strategy workers also look to have one or two investment properties in their portfolio for the weekly income and the long term capital gain on resale.

What’s also caught the attention of businesses and workers alike is the option to make money from short term rentals. Generating more income with short term rentals and by listing these properties on Airbnb is disrupting the accommodation sector and anyone with a home can do it. AirBnB is a disrupter and it has changed the way we travel. Staying in a spare room for a night or two, rather than a hotel is now accepted as the norm among all types of holidaymakers.

If you want to know how you can earn money with short term rentals, here is a quick guide.

What Is Airbnb?

Airbnb is an online marketplace for lodging around the world. It is popular among travelers who want to save money on accommodation. Because hotel rates are getting expensive, solo and group travelers are looking for more affordable options. Property rental listings on Airbnb can be a whole apartment, one room, or villas. Users can input the location and dates of arrival and departure to look for available properties.

The company started in 2008, and since then, it has reached worldwide popularity. Not only travelers are using this app, but also business-minded individuals take advantage of Airbnb’s technology to generate more money.

In the United States, there was a 45 percent increase in year-to-year bookings. Airbnb attracts millions of users worldwide, which comprises of frequent travelers and individuals who travel for work. About 700,000 companies are now using Airbnb for work-related purposes.

Earning Money with Short Term Rentals

You do not need to buy a property to list it on Airbnb. You can go for short term rentals to gain a more significant profit from daily or weekly rentals. Some people are already doing this strategy for years now, and you can also do the same if you find a property in a prime location.

Because this venture requires capital in the form of deposits, you need to be ready. Some property owners require bigger deposits, especially if the unit or apartment has appliances and furniture. Ensure that you have enough money to cover for deposits to get the business rolling. Once the apartment is ready for occupancy, you need to create an Airbnb account and list the property.

Other considerations you need to know:

  • Property Maintenance
  • Property Rating
  • Security
  • Facilities

Studying the market and how the business works can help you optimize the trade. Create a checklist to go through the essentials every time before a guest checks in. Besides, you can also connect with other people who do this business in different areas.

Technology opened up more profit opportunities for people. In hospitality, even you, who do not have much experience in property rentals, can earn money. Listing your extra room in the apartment can be a good start, but you can always experiment with making more profit. By short term rental, you can get access to excellent properties that can be listed on Airbnb.

Continue exploring the real estate market and make sure to learn new knowledge from experienced individuals. Who knows, you might gain financial freedom by being successful with this Airbnb venture. Check how other hosts present the properties, so you can have an idea of how to operate yours.

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Finance

Home Appraisal Tips for a Successful Refinancing

shaking hands

The appraisal value for your home significantly impacts a refinancing application. New paint, upgraded flooring, renewed fixtures, and proper sanitation also contribute towards a satisfactory appraisal. Refinancing a home requires several necessary measures. However, the appraisal of the estate is perhaps the most significant.

If a real estate appraiser provides an assessment on the equity in your home, it can make – or break – the chance to refinance mortgage. You need the value to suit your refinancing targets, and what better way to achieve that than to improve your home?

What is a Home Appraisal?

An appraisal is a qualified and accredited professional assessment on the value of a property given by a third party. The appraiser will get paid by appraising your home with no incurred risk on whether you can refinance a mortgage or not because of the value they provide.

In a refinancing deal, an appraisal safeguards the lender by guaranteeing that it does not loan the applicant more than the value of the property. If the estate is subsequently foreclosed for any cause, the borrower will want to resell it and get their money back.

Tips to get a high-end appraisal:

The cost that the appraiser assigns your property mainly relies on the latest selling values of similar houses. However, you can definitely make sure that your property is appraised to its maximum value.

Having your house appraised is like meeting a potential partner. Although you do not know what the person likes and how they will judge you, dressing well improves your chances. Your estate must be clean and organized, tidy, and comfortable to examine. Pets should be kept in place, and the scent blocked. You will not want to rush the appraiser before inspecting everything.

Appraisers are especially particular about:

  • External and internal condition
  • Overall room number
  • Features, including layout design and functionality
  • Kitchen and bathroom upgrades, walls, roofing, and home systems (air conditioning, plumbing, and electrical) throughout the past 15 years that have made the house updated, usable and livable for current standards
  • State and condition of the house’s structures
  • External facilities, including garages, stairs, and balconies location

It’s also wise to emphasize characteristics that might not be readily noticeable, which might contribute to the value of the property. If there are any upgrades that are not seen, it would be good to let the appraiser know.

After securing a reasonable appraisal, you have achieved a significant step toward refinancing your loan. You can now proceed to the next steps with your mortgage lender. If you have received a good value, use a resource such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Mortgage Calculator to check interest rates on refinanced loans with the same pricing for your house. Coming equipped with these statistics will provide you more negotiating power once you face your lender. It will also help you feel confident in asking for the rate that you deserve.

Knowing how appraisals work will provide you with the strongest shot of getting an appraiser to award the maximum value for your estate. Appraisals may not always arrive with the ideals that applicants aim for, and they are a subjective method with room for human error. You can appeal if you have a low rating, but you will only survive with reliable information to back you up.

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Finance

Commercial Loans: Options and Benefits for Start-ups

money

Running a business requires working capital to hire staff, buy equipment, and cover for utility bills.

For start-up firms, having a huge capital is not always guaranteed, and commercial loans provide funding to get the business rolling. The problem is, not a lot of business owners are confident and educated enough to borrow money from lenders.

In case you are wondering how the commercial loan works, here is a guide to help you understand how the process, options, and why your business needs it.

What are Commercial Loans?

A commercial loan is a type of financial assistance that helps businesses address everyday costs and begin the next stage in their business journey. Most of these loans have fixed rates and monthly payments but require collateral that should be equal or greater than the loan amount.

The most common types of financing options are:

Small Business Administration Loans

SBA loans are similar to traditional loans but with longer terms and lower interest rates. The only downside is, borrowers need to wait for long to get the funding. Loan terms can be a minimum of 5 to a maximum of 15 or 30 years.

Business Line of Credit

This type of commercial loan gives a borrower more flexibility in borrowing money. The lender will provide a pool of funding that you can draw from whenever you need it. You will only pay the interest of the money you take out.

Traditional Term Loans

Traditional term loans are the most basic of all, wherein a business owner borrows a specific amount and payback with interest. Lenders charge rates depending on the creditworthiness of a business.

Benefits of Commercial Loans

Capital Availability

Easy access to funds can help you focus on improving your services and gaining more clients. Loans provide a breathing space for you to focus on your business and not think about money. As you work on expanding your reach, hiring talented people, and boosting marketing, you can expect growth.

Commercial loans provide credits up to $25 million and help you increase working capital and create more jobs. Also, long-term loans are easier to pay back while you are still building your business.

Build Credit

If you are planning to apply for a large-scale loan in the future, starting with short-term loans can help you build a business credit card. Start-ups usually don’t qualify for larger loans because of the risks involved and lack of credit history. Try going low first to build up your report and increase the loan amount eventually.

Go After a Business Opportunity

Got a new idea to grow your business but lacks funding? Consult a financial advisor to know your options and get a low-interest commercial loan. Weigh your options carefully and go directly to a reliable lender for secure loans.

Taking risks is part of running a business. If you believe in what you are selling or providing to customers, then consider commercial loans to take your business to a new level. Contact North Avenue Capital to learn your options for business and industry loan programs.

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