“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 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…
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 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.
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.
How to double business profits and pay no federal tax
Increasing profits and paying nothing in federal tax may sound like a pipe dream. Surely it’s impossible, right? Wrong, a company is already leading the way here and has provided proof that this is possible. Indeed, the richest man in the world pays nothing in federal tax. It’s shocking, it’s perplexing and it’s completely true. We’re of course referring to Amazon and the recent news that the business pays $0.
How on earth does this work and what can you learn from this? Let’s start with the definition of ‘Federal Tax’ as there are many different types of taxes.
Federal Tax is a tax on income to pay for the resources used by the country. Individuals, business, trusts, and other legal structures aka entities incur the marginal tax rate depending on earnings in a financial year, the rate is applied to every dollar you earn.
Individuals are taxed at source and at a minimum of 10% or as much as 39.6% depending on, which income bracket your total income sits.
Businesses have more flexibility and their rate could be somewhere between 21% and 35%. More on Federal Tax here. However as we’ve alluded to, there are ways to end up paying $0 tax just like Amazon, so here’s how they’ve managed it in 2019.
The Success Of The Company
Amazon’s record is incredibly impressive, regardless of which way you slice it. Between 2017 and 2018 the profits of the business actually doubled from $5.6 billion to $11.2 billion! The company is also currently valued at a total of $1 trillion. So, you would think that the business pays a fair level of tax right? Well, not exactly.
The Tax Break
According to the Institute on Taxation and Economic policy Amazon reported with $129 million for a federal income tax rebate. This equalled a tax rate of -1%. To compare this, the federal corporate income tax rate is 21%.
As such, it seems that part of the reason why Amazon is profitable is because they claim various tax credits and gain tax breaks for stock options from executives.
How Is This Possible?
In 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was put forward to encourage more corporate citizenship and corporate tax was reduced from 35% to 21%. Luckily for Amazon and various other companies, it left a variety of tax loopholes in place that could be used to cut down the level of tax paid. Essentially, companies could avoid paying state income and federal taxes on about half of their profits.
Does Amazon Pay No Taxes?
Despite claims to the contrary, Amazon does pay taxes and is not a ‘no tax’ company. Indeed, through 2017, the company paid $412 million in total taxes. This included charges consumer sales taxes where applicable.
That said, it’s true that through 2017 and 2018 the company was searching for new tax breaks. They were able to claim billions through performance-based incentives by carefully selecting where to set up their headquarters.
As such, it is unlikely that Amazon will pay any federal tax this year. At the very least, they will see a massive level of savings. While people ask why Amazon would need to go to such lengths to save money regardless of how successful your business is, higher profits are always worth striving for.
There’s a lesson to be learned here too because Amazon and other companies avoid taxes in a way that is completely legally and fits regulations. They are not breaking the law, they won’t sink their business and they will grow their profits. As such, if you are running a business, you too should be pursuing tax breaks each year and cut down what you owe as much as possible. After all, if Amazon is taking these steps why shouldn’t you?
Why Entrepreneurs Often Fail
Entrepreneur is an interesting word. It conjures up thoughts of bravery and superior business wisdom. It’s a person who sees in something what most of us fail to see.
Take that idea, develop it and in turn found a business on it. When it works, it’s pure genius, and we’re in awe of their aptitude. However most businesses fail so most Entrepreneurs are less skilled than we give them credit for.
Bravery in launching a new business is really just a higher level of risk taking and with good debt it’s more acceptable. Good debt is a loan that used to create a revenue, i.e. it’s an investment used to generate and grow an income. Here’s a more extensive definition of good debt.
So the Entrepreneur or business will increase its borrowings via a line of credit, or even a home loan to invest in its products or people with the objective of earning more revenue.
The risky part of borrowing is the end goal is speculative i.e. its usually a well thought out plan but it’s not actually happened and numbers have to work out, i.e. the increase in revenue due to the loan, far exceeds the costs of the loan and other additional expenses, like more staff or systems.
Entrepreneurs have an appetite for risk and as mentioned it sometimes works out but mostly it doesn’t so it’s important to understand the pros and cons of business loans.
Once the good debt options run out, then the only way to go is bad debt loans and this is when it can all spiral downwards for businesses. Bad debt loans are essentially non income producing so they’re a liability. The loans can not be leveraged to make money. They can be written off against taxes and there is also bad debt recovery which is another subject altogether.
Startups fail for many of the same reasons including:
- Lack of working capital – affecting operations
- Liquidity issues with cash flow – struggling to pay staff, suppliers
- Business growing too quickly – not enough resources to deliver on orders
- Ego – too big to fail
Often it’s not just one thing either but a combo of challenges that just become too much to handle alone. The smart operators don’t go it alone though they have mentors.
Entrepreneurs Need Mentors Too
Behind every good Entrepreneur is a mentor. Yes this is not the adage you were expecting but it works.
Mentors keep us in check. They’re our sounding boards, listening to our rants and raves. Offering an objective viewpoint and advice on the direction we should take.
Of course no one person can be trusted to do the lot so more than one mentor is recommended. The experience and trusted authority from mentorship is recognised in just about all great leaders. Think of the big names in business today and they’ll say they have amazing mentors.
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg had Steve Jobs, and Bill Gate had Warren Buffett.
Maybe this is where some Entrepreneurs go wrong? They either don’t have mentors or they don’t use them enough.
Neo or Ethereum – where is your investment safer
The advent of cryptocurrencies and its stellar rise, despite relative infancy and new technology, have arguably impacted the marketing world significantly. Booming in the previous year, 2017 saw a rush of millions of money poured into the cryptocurrency market. And considering its continuously growing network, there is no sign that 2018 will be any different.
Over the last few years, cryptocurrencies and other blockchain projects were able to gain very impressive returns that helped investors to be ridiculously successful. However, inevitably, many had experienced its dramatic declines as well. But despite the risk, more and more people are looking for the next big thing in the market which has the highest potential to multiply ones’ investment. And while there are hundreds of cryptocurrencies, that although represent opportunities to achieve sustainable growth, are also highly risky; and from which it is quite hard to predict which one gives the best result, this article will focus on the two of the most popular alternate coins (altcoins) of today – Ethereum and NEO.
Ethereum and NEO are both high-profile altcoins with massive community support and which many investors swear by one or the other. However, as “the competition for the coin is expected to become tougher in 2018 as new players enter the domain”, the question of whether which of the two will be left holding the scepter becomes less important – but rather, where will investments be safer.
To attempt to answer this question, let’s take a closer look at the two altcoins.
Ethereum versus NEO: Philosophical Differences
Ethereum, according to its website, is “a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts: applications that run exactly as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third-party interference.”
NEO, on the other hand, is defined as a “non-profit community-based blockchain project that utilizes blockchain technology and digital identity to digitize assets, to automate the management of digital assets using smart contracts, and to realize a ‘smart economy’ with a distributed network.”
These respective definitions might sound remarkably similar – because, in many ways, they are. That is, both of them “run on a custom built block-chain that can move value around and represent the ownership of the property.”
Moreover, at first glance, these respective definitions might also imply that the two altcoins share the same objectives as both are aiming to dominate the cryptocurrency market by playing the similar roles of being the blockchain platforms for the new internet (or platforms that offer decentralized functionalities) such as Decentralized Applications (DApps), Initial Coin Offerings (ICO), and smart contracts. However, they aren’t, as there are subtle differences:
Ethereum’s goal is to develop its platform in response to new demands – that is, consolidating its role as the go-to platform for ICO’s. Whilst, NEO’s goal is mostly focused on developing its platform for future demands by realizing a so-called “smart economy” that will feature digitized physical assets which can be sold, traded, and leveraged through smart contracts.
Ethereum versus NEO: Backing and Partnership Differences
Because Ethereum is a certified government-agnostic, it is supported by some of the biggest global corporate names such as Enterprise Ethereum Alliance – making it enjoy popularity tointernational audience and thus, much larger support from the tech community.
All the same with NEO – the Chinese government might have gone far as to ban the ICO’s, but NEO remains to be China-based and Chinese-focused. Despite the country being seemingly unfriendly to the industry, NEO manages to receive backing from national banks and states – which allows it to capitalize on the huge Chinese market. Furthermore, it is also supported by Alibaba and Microsoft.
Ethereum versus NEO: Target Market Differences
There can be no doubt that Ethereum and NEO have the huge potential to become the next Bitcoin. Due to the impressive capabilities of their pluses to outweigh the minuses, both of which are continuously gaining popularity especially in comparison to other cryptocurrencies in the market.
Ethereum, which although has already been adopted by blockchain startups worldwide, is proportionally concentrated in the Western countries. Meanwhile, NEO is largely capitalizing in China.
Looking closely, Ethereum seems to benefit from a certain fallacy of thought that “West is the best” – which is quite true in terms of Western products catering to Western markets. But many fail to understand that Chinese investors are less likely to adopt Western technologies as they (like many East Asians) are far readier to support home-grown technology taking pride in and loyalty to national products.
NEO, however, might be having the advantage of a technologically-driven population that is nearly 1.4 billion people strong; not to mention that Chinese investors make up a very large percentage of the world’s cryptocurrency investors. But one should not fail to consider that the involvement of the Chinese government, which might have made NEO a state-mandated currency, plays a significant role in building a loyal following from Chinese investors.
Ethereum versus NEO: Where is your investment safer?
With the capabilities (i.e., both projects are open source and has massive community support) and differences (i.e., serving different markets and the opposite directions their visions are taking) that these altcoins have, should there really be a question of which among Ethereum and NEO is better, or should you invest in both?
While NEO appears and is turning out to be more investment-worthy – focusing on creating a “smart economy”, it should not be forgotten that Ethereum still holds the position of being the second most popular cryptocurrency in the world with a total market cap of $105 billion as compared to NEO’s $9 billion (as of January 25, 2018).
Thus, given that we are dealing with two very robust technologies, it might be better to conclude that there is certainly space aplenty for both altcoins to coexist.
And as to where your investment will be safer, perhaps the most suitable answer is in the altcoin where you can best tolerate the risk and that you understand well. There are more and more investors getting on board who often have a very limited understanding of the technicalities of the cryptocurrency they support, ending up investing based on brand loyalty and hearsays and even merely along the lines “Ethereum of China” NEO vs Ethereum.
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