Bitcoin And The Future Of Futures

I write for the finance and investment website ValueWalk. My post entitled Bitcoin And The Future Of Futures is now online. Here is an excerpt:

Some retailers around the world already accept Bitcoin, but they do so on a spot market basis, exchanging the bitcoins for their own currency within seconds of acceptance. Some might say that demotes the status of Bitcoin to a mere novelty version of money, since it cannot stand on its own. Others will say the transaction is on par with any other foreign currencies that retailers might accept at the day’s exchange rate.

Volatility is the problem that leads to the question, “Why can’t Bitcoin be purchased on a futures market like oil?” Oil also has an issue with volatility, as can be seen every time a major refinery catches fire, or an oil producing nation decides to turn the taps off. But with oil and other commodities, futures are based on a delivery of tangible product, like an actual barrel of oil or bushel of wheat. With Bitcoin, there are no actual coins, there is simply the value of those coins, agreed upon by its users and miners, and based on faith paired with scarcity.

To read more, please click here.

WannaCry, Mixers, And Bitcoin Wallets

I write for the finance and investment website ValueWalk. My post entitled WannaCry, Mixers, And Bitcoin Wallets is now online. Here is an excerpt:

Amid the furor of the August 1 Bitcoin Fork, another interesting thing happened. The individual(s) behind the WannaCry ransomware attack started to empty their bitcoin wallets. The $140,000 worth of bitcoin they originally collected gained about 20% more in value during the split, and it was around that time that the virtual money started to move.

The activity was detected by Keith Collins of Quartz, who used a bot to watch for movement in the accounts. The bot observed the initial withdrawal of $70,000, which was then followed by additional amounts from other bitcoin wallets until all the money was gone.

To read more visit ValueWalk here.

A Lesson In Free Market Economics From Bitcoin Cash

I write for the finance and investment website ValueWalk. My post entitled A Lesson In Free Market Economics From Bitcoin Cash is now online. Here is an excerpt:

The hours leading up to August 1 were frustrating for Bitcoin holders who discovered, possibly for the first time, that the mining process is indeed very labor intensive and not at all suited for a massive wave of simultaneous transactions. Account holders were told to expect wait times of 6 to 12 hours for confirmations of their transactions. Ironically, this is one of the very problems that caused the Fork in the first place – the capacity for blockchain miners to process transactions more quickly and in greater number. The resulting disagreement over procedure led to the split.

Similarly, online wallets that host Bitcoin and which now host Bitcoin Cash are advising their clients to be patient. Breadwallet, for example, has confirmed to its account holders that their BCC exists, but they will have to wait a little longer to get their hands on it and trade it. According to an official statement posted to their blog, once the access happens, they will require users to wait for 20 confirmations, rather than the normal, acceptable six. This will result in wait times of up to five days or more before funds would be available to trade.

To read more visit ValueWalk here.

Bitcoin And Ethereum Price Surge: Reality Is On Its Way

I write for the finance and investment website ValueWalk. My post entitled A Bitcoin And Ethereum Price Surge: Reality Is On Its Way is now online. Here is an excerpt:

Predicting the movements of markets and the valuations of any stock or currency has always been a hazardous pursuit, however in addition to the confidence expressed by Mr. Moas towards the progress of these individual currencies, two other significant facts emerge from his statements.

The first is that cryptocurrencies have moved to the point of no return, “the genie is out of the bottle,’ as he puts it. This represents a significant leap in credibility for cryptocurrencies in general, given that they have been observed as curiosities and side issues by the mainstream media to date. By moving into territory held by traditional precious metals and stocks, cryptocurrencies build a credibility that is instrumental in finally establishing consistent stability.

To read more visit ValueWalk here.

The August 1 Bitcoin Split

Today is August 1, 2017. This day will have its place in blockchain history as the day of the great fork, in which Bitcoin was split into two parallel streams as the battle to perfect the platform continues. I write for the finance and investment website ValueWalk and I posted my commentary entitled Why You Should Toast The Bitcoin Split With A Coke Classic there today. Here is an excerpt:

Look at Coca Cola’s New Coke, Coke II, and Coke Classic debacle of 1985, a twisted saga of a marketing and financial move gone terribly wrong, when Coke sought to revitalize its century-old formula in an attempt to appeal to the growing youth market, or simply to save manufacturing costs. Regardless of its true intentions, the move was seen as the day Coke lost the cola wars, and to celebrate, Pepsi gave all its employees the day off….What is good about the bitcoin split? Primarily, it puts even greater pressure on the Bitcoin community to address crucial issues around scalability, processing speed, and viability as a currency. The unprecedented growth of Bitcoin usage has pushed the limits of its transactional capacities to the point that traders and customers have become exasperated over long approval times and excessive service fees, to a point that traditional banking technologies like credit and debit cards look better by comparison.

To read more, please visit ValueWalk here.

A Twisted Tale: BTC-e, AlphaBay and Crypto-Crime

I write for the finance and investment website ValueWalk. My post entitled A Twisted Tale: BTC-e, AlphaBay and Crypto-Crime is now online. Here is an excerpt:

Mr. Vinnik, 38, is a central figure in the virtual currency exchange BTC-e, listed as one of the oldest running Bitcoin exchanges in the market. The arrest, carried out in Greece, was in response to a U.S. warrant in relation to his alleged running of a money laundering scheme that had converted $4 billion in illicit cash into virtual currency in what can be best described as an alleged huge Bitcoin money laundering attempt. He will now be extradited to the U.S.

BTC-e had been reporting “technical problems” in recent days, and its Twitter feed had reflected ongoing risks and “unplanned maintenance” in English and Russian throughout July.

The presence of money launderers, hackers and thieves is not new to any area of internet-related business, but Mr. Vinnik’s arrest might also shine a light on one of Bitcoin’s most infamous chapters: the collapse of Mount Gox.

To read more visit ValueWalk here.

How to Say No to Your Boss

The “No” answer starts long before the question is asked.

My approach to time management, and consequently being able to say “no” to your boss is based on two skills: psychology – specifically the psychology of influence – and project management – the art of planning and managing work.

To say no to your boss, you must take the proactive step, long before, of managing up: setting up a time once per week, for a huddle, in which you can inform your boss as to your workload and timelines, including personal/family commitments. Using a visual tool like a Gantt chart will help as well. Although a manager seems to have the right to ask people to take on extra work, physical visual proof of busy-ness is a powerful tool of influence. It gives you leverage.

The second benefit to regular huddles is the development of a relationship. You can build greater trust with your manager once s/he starts to know you better. Trust and relationship also go far in the negotiation process.

Third, be prepared to offer an alternative. Your Gantt chart/calendar and your positive relationship should go far in terms of offering a time other than the weekend to take care of the pressing task. Often, managers themselves have poor time management skills and think everything must get finished right away.  If you can offer a spot of time next Tuesday afternoon, that might be sufficient.

Fourth, if this type of thing happens often, it’s time to plan for it in advance. I call this crisis management. A request to do extra work over the weekend is a crisis. If this is a regular occurrence, then it should be scheduled into your calendar – as in, 2 hours per week are reserved for the boss’s next crisis. If you know it’s going to happen, then schedule for it now.

Finally, ask yourself why these last-minute requests are happening at all. Again, this goes back to poor planning on the part of the boss. Use that same huddle to help project plan his/her priorities so that the urgency doesn’t have to happen at all.

Comments?

What Is Ethereum And How To Buy It?

I write for the finance and investment website ValueWalk and I posted my commentary entitled What Is Ethereum And How To Buy It? there today. Here is an excerpt:

Let’s start by getting the terminology straight. Ethereum is an open source code designed primarily to govern smart contracts on the blockchain. A smart contract is any contract between parties, especially those that lack a level of trust or credit rating. An example may be the sale of fair trade coffee. How would a wholesale purchaser know the coffee is fair trade? They would feel much more confident if the entire coffee production and preparation process was verified and incorporated into a smart contract that itself is sealed immutably inside a block on the blockchain. Ethereum allows developers to build their own apps on its open platform.

Part of the Ethereum code is Ether, described as the fuel that makes the contracts work. It can also be seen as a currency of sorts, and may emerge as a competitor to, or even replacement for Bitcoin, depending on how the lava flows. Ether is presented in coins, and can also be referred to as an Ethereum coin.

To read more, please visit ValueWalk here.

ValueWalk Post: How To Buy Bitcoin: A Guide For Beginners

I write for the finance and investment website ValueWalk. My post entitled How To Buy Bitcoin: A Guide For Beginners is now online. Here is an excerpt:

First, the Wallet

You’ll need a wallet. Not a nice leather billfold, because Bitcoins are not physical. There are no coins and no paper bills involved. It is all virtual. The Bitcoin wallet is an app that you can download to your phone, and your computer. It contains two 16-digit passwords: one is called a public key, and the other is a private key.

Quite simply, when you buy Bitcoin, your wallet sends your public key information to the vendor, the same way you would enter a credit card number into an online form. The public key tells the vendor’s app where to send the Bitcoin amount. The private key is the password you employ to confirm the transaction from your end. This one-time code is reviewed by the computers on the blockchain, who then approve the transaction unanimously as representing your receipt of a certain amount of Bitcoin. Once the code has been accepted by the computers on the blockchain, your wallet’s information will say it has some Bitcoin in it, and then the code is sealed permanently into the next block on the chain.

To read more visit ValueWalk here.

Arguments Against Time Management

Here are the most common objections to establishing a time management plan. See how many fit your mindset, or that of your colleagues.

This is an excerpt from my book, Cool Time: A Hands-On Guide for Managing Work and Balancing Time. If you want to learn more, please check out the Books page on this website.

Common Objections to Time Management

Nobody appreciates being told how to act. Books on time management often force people to adopt techniques that go against their natural preferences, such as using a certain type of agenda, or doing certain things at certain times, in short, taking some of the fun out of life. Such fears and objections are perfectly sound, since people are conservative by nature. Change generates fear of the unknown, a fear of failure or of being seen to fail. This fear goes back all the way to the early days of our evolutionary history. Like the rest of our metabolism, it cannot be changed so much as understood and properly channeled.

The purpose of Cool-Time is to help you take the principles and apply them to your environment, culture and preferences in the most comfortable and proactive way possible – the one with the greatest payoff.

Time Management Doesn’t Allow for Spontaneity

In fact, it’s perfect for spontaneity, since it allows for the existence of “free time.” By keeping the day in order and with a day plan in mind, spontaneous activities can occur without endangering or forgetting the other activities and priorities of the day. Being able to take some time for yourself is essential, but in the real world this can only truly work if the other tasks are understood, prioritized and accounted for.

The best way to be spontaneous in life is to plan to be spontaneous.

It’s Only Good for People in a Routine, and That’s Not Me

Everyone has a routine. Some routines are just more obvious than others. A person who does shift work, or someone who has a fixed list of tasks to accomplish day in and day out, has her routine clearly mapped out. However, we all have a routine by the very nature of the 24-hour clock and our circadian rhythms.

The first stage in effective time management is to step back, observe the constants and standards in your life, and then recognize the routine in which you operate. Then, like a fish suddenly discovering the water in which it lives, the patterns of your existence will emerge for you to manipulate and finesse. If you can’t identify any distinct routine happening daily, step back and observe your activities over a week or a month. Your routine will emerge, and will serve as the foundation for your time management plans.

It May Work for Others, But It Simply Won’t Work Here

Our environment is too different. Everyone says that. Everyone thinks their business has unique pressures and requirements that make any time management regimen unworkable. Whether you work in the public or private sector, or a not-for-profit; whether you are a student, a homemaker, between assignments, a manager or an up-and-coming professional, you are in the business of selling “you” to other people. Also, no matter what activity you are involved in, there is someone, somewhere who does it better, or did it better. There is always opportunity for improvement, advancement, and refinement. It’s up to you to identify how to make that happen.

I Have No Time to Put Together a Plan

Actually, you do have the time, it’s just been assigned to other tasks. Time is neither made nor found, simply rearranged, much like the Law of Conservation of Energy we learned in Physics 101.  Let’s put it this way. If you are a working parent, and your child’s school calls to say that she is sick and needs to see a doctor, there’s not much on this earth that would stop you from going to her side right away. Even if you’re not a parent, a sudden toothache or a broken finger is going to change your schedule for the day pretty quickly. Most of your colleagues will be accommodating, and the work will get done later. The point is, time can be found when it’s important enough. The benefits of Cool-Time are tangible. They translate into money, health, satisfaction, and control. Cool-Time is important enough to make the time.

I Work Better Under Pressure — I’m A Last-Minute Kind Of Person

Nobody really works better under pressure, since pressure immobilizes higher brain functions and replaces them with fight-or fight reflex. In short, pressure instills mental paralysis. What last-minute people do well is to compress their action and energy into a smaller block of time, not letting a project drag on, but keeping it on time.

When I Need To, I Just Work Harder – Hard Work Equals More Work

Hard work without planning is like chopping a tree with a dull axe. Huge amounts of energy go misspent, and sometimes it will not yield any product at all. You cannot make bread twice as fast by putting in twice as much yeast or by setting the oven twice as high.

I’m Already Organized, And I’m Doing Just Fine/I Have a System

I’ve used it for years. If you have a system and that system works for you and your colleagues in a satisfactory way, then that’s great! Congratulations! Still, there is always opportunity for improvement. Take a moment to observe your current work environment and note whether certain tasks or procedures could be tightened up to win you back some more time. To be able to embrace change, it is necessary to confront your objections. Note any feelings or resistance you may feel towards continuous improvement, and assess whether your arguments can be countered, or whether your current way of doing things is adequate.

Check out my book, Cool-Time. Information on ordering is available on the Books page.