Can You Actually Invest in Cryptocurrency? 1 172

You’ve probably read in the news how Bitcoin recently set an all-time high in value of over $7,000 per bitcoin when just a year ago each one was worth less than $1,000. Or you may have seen stories about certain cryptocurrencies increasing over 20 times in value in this year alone. To the typical investor, this may seem like the wild west and be entirely intimidating, which can lead many everyday people to avoid the cryptocurrency market because of the volatility and difficulty in entering it in the first place.

For instance, if you stop 100 people on the street and ask them how to buy a bitcoin, probably less than 5% of them would be able to tell you how it’s done. And you’ll get a lot of conjecture from the rest. So then, how are casual investors and people who don’t have computer science degrees supposed to invest in a market that is undeniably hot and producing returns?

Well, the folks over at Vaultbank think they have a solution.

Getting into the market

The act of purchasing a cryptocurrency can involve multiple steps, different websites, long wait times for deposits, and some anxiety over the validity of the groups you’re using. But that’s because there are so many exchanges selling coins at varying prices and there are hundreds of different coins that the typical investor wouldn’t recognize.

Additionally, you’re hoping that the returns we’ve been seeing in the cryptocurrency space will continue to happen. But what about more conventional, stable investments? There are a few less risky investments that you can make with cryptocurrency that can still pay great dividends.

To reduce these barriers and offer a more secure investment, Vaultbank has teamed up with Ambisafe to create a secure and simple trading terminal and exchange called Vaultbank Exchange, with industry low fees. This technology could change the cryptocurrency world as it makes investing in ICOs easier, more cost efficient, and faster than ever.

Vaultbank will be ICOing a new token, Vaultbank Token, that will act as an investment in their entire business and fund. 80% of the ICO funds raised will be invested in a secured loan portfolio, fueling the quarterly dividends. This will be the first asset-backed token to pay quarterly dividends. Vaultbank’s portfolio managers and Board of Directors have over 100 years of combined banking and investment management experience. Vaultbank, through its token, will also be creating liquidity while delivering hedge fund returns, but with no minimum investment. The Vaultbank Executives and Board Members experience include BlackRock, Portfolio Financial Servicing Corporation, GE Capital, Bank of America to name a few on the finance end; combined with successful ventures in Blockchain businesses including Ambisafe, and worldwide payment solutions including Gyft and Volopa debit MasterCard.

Accessing Funds

As I mentioned above, a problem that isn’t unique to cryptocurrency, is the access to your invested funds quickly and easily. Most funds require a lot of paperwork and time to allow you access to your money, and in some cases, high fees for early withdrawal penalties. This then forces most people to have a delineation with their money: their liquid assets and their illiquid assets. But Vaultbank thinks there shouldn’t be a separation.

Using blockchain technology and a distributed ledger, Vaultbank will provide a debit MasterCard that will give immediate access to the invested funds whenever the investor wants to access them. Just to note here, there are some accredited investor requirements that may affect this access in certain jurisdictions. But this means most people will now be able to experience the yields of a hedge fund but with the convenience of a checking account. Meaning, for the first time ever, an asset backed security will be able to be used as a tender for everyday purchases.

And because the blockchain expedites and improves on almost every aspect of portfolio management, the excessive and high fees that are typical in the investment world will be significantly lowered for their users.

So yes, investing in cryptocurrency is possible and it doesn’t have to be as daunting as it seems. Who wouldn’t want an asset backed cryptocurrency which is professionally managed and offers quarterly dividends and token price appreciation? If you’re interested, you can check out Vaultbank’s ICO that’s starting on December 5th. You can find out more about it on their website.

This article was originally published on The Huffington Post on November 3, 2017.

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Starting her career on Wall Street at just 19 years old, Danielle went on to be one of the youngest equity traders in the industry. After a successful career in Financial Planning, she went on to found her media company What Vibes Your Tribe, which connects the worlds of digital marketing and public relations. Her experience in brand strategy along with successfully developing the thought leadership of C -level executives has played an integral part in her client's achieving prestigious awards such as Inc 500, Forbes Next Billion Dollar Startup, Entrepreneur 360 among other top level recognition.

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Bitcoin Uses As Much Energy As Austria, Could Add 2°C to Earth’s Atmosphere 6 422

Bitcoin mining, it turns out, damages the earth more than more traditional environmental assaults like actual mineral mining.

According to a paper published Monday in Nature Sustainability, the power-hungry Bitcoin mining process consumes more than triple the amount of energy needed to mine the equivalent amount of gold, more than quadruple what’s needed for copper, and more than double what it takes to mine platinum.

Other coins didn’t fare much better. By their measurements, Ethereum and Litecoin consume 7 megajoules of electricity to produce the equivalent of $1, the same energy expenditure as copper mining but more than that of platinum or gold. Monero eats up 14 megajoules to produce $1.

Naturally, these measurements refer to the notoriously variable dollar valuations of such tokens. “While the market prices of the coins are quite volatile,” write researchers Max J. Krause and Thabet Tolaymat, “the network hashrates for three of the four cryptocurrencies have trended consistently upward, suggesting that energy requirements will continue to increase.”

Bitcoin’s Growing Electricity Bill is Bigger Than Some Countries

We’ve long known that Bitcoin is unsustainable. In a 2015 article for Motherboard, Christopher Malmo pointed out that a single Bitcoin transaction used 5,033 times as much energy as a Visa swipe, and could power 1.5 American homes for a day.

The electricity used to crunch Bitcoin code—and its environmental cost—has been growing with its increasing popularity. Digiconomist’s Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index shows Bitcoin currently consuming 73.12 terawatt hours (or 263.232 billion megajoules) of electricity annually. To put that in context, it’s comparable to the amount of energy it takes to power Austria for a year.

That means there are 175ish countries on earth using less energy than Bitcoin (to say nothing of crypto on the whole), while 66 countries consume less energy per capita than one Bitcoin transaction (it takes 94 thousand kilowatt hours of electricity to mine a single Bitcoin).

Iceland, a major hub of Bitcoin mining farms, spends nearly as much energy on Bitcoin as it does powering its residential homes. In this case, the damage is mitigated because most of Iceland’s power comes from renewable energy.

Canada’s Bitcoin emissions are also on the lower end due to renewable energy sources. They’re using this to court mining companies from China, where mining emissions are about four times that of Canada’s. Montreal International attracts foreign investment by calling Quebec the land of “green bitcoin”. This has caught the eye of some Chinese mining companies looking to go overseas as the Chinese government has discouraged expansion and shut down some mining operations altogether.

Depending on Bitcoin’s growth, some have projected that it could use as much energy as the entire world by 2020.

Digital Currency Has a Real Carbon Footprint

Krause’s and Tolaymat’s research reminds us of the sobering reality that all this invisible wealth has real world costs.

For the 30 months they measured between January 2016 and June 2018, they estimate their four featured tokens collectively belched out at least 3 million tons of CO2 emissions, possibly as much as 15 million tons.

These findings follow another study, published last month, which determined Bitcoin alone could add two degrees Celcius to global warming within the next three decades. That’s enough to raise ocean acidity by 29 percent.

Solving Bitcoin’s Energy Consumption Crisis

So what is the solution? If the world were to switch to 100 percent renewable energy overnight, the problem would be moot. But we can’t hold our breath for that. There could be ways of incentivizing clean energy so greener mines reap more coins, or of implementing clean energy in other ways.

It’s also possible to adopt less computationally intensive mining algorithms so the mining computers don’t guzzle as much juice. This would disappoint a lot of old school Bitcoiners who have invested in hardware, but their feelings don’t really outweigh that 2 degrees celcius that everyone will have to live with (or die by).

Whatever the best solution turns out to be, something needs to change soon. Bitcoin is growing up, and it’s time for it to mature into something more sustainable.

Kenya Looks to Blockchain for Affordable Housing Project 1 192

The “Silicon Savannah” is moving deeper in direction of tech. The Kenyan government has announced a plan to manage the property allocation and funding of 500,000 affordable housing units with blockchain technology.

The units, which the government aims to build by 2022, will be set aside for households with an annual income below 100,000 Kenyan Shillings, about $990 USD. The World Bank estimates Kenya’s gross national income per capita at $1,290, according to Business Daily.

Blockchain will help ensure that the affordable housing is in fact going to those who fall below the average income bracket. Land title fraud has caused problems for Kenyans, as land grabbers target homes and even schools for illegal sales and development. Blockchain’s ability to store verifiable proof of title could help safeguard against fraudsters.

“Kenya will use blockchain technology to ensure the rightful owners live in government funded housing projects,” said Principal Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Charles Hinga, speaking with the World Bank on Monday.

Hinga said the plan will be financed by the National Housing Fund, which will raise over $59.5 million per month to get the project underway. But Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development James Macharia said it will take $31.7 billion to build a million homes, each of which will cost between $3,000 and $30,000. Macharia called for support from private sector financing.

Under the financing plan, working Kenyans will contribute 1.5 percent of their salary, which will be matched by their employers. “On affordable housing one should not spend more than 30% of their disposable income for housing,” Hinga tweeted yesterday. “Anything above 30% is not affordable.”

A Trustless Relationship Between People and Government

The initiative represents a considerable push to solve housing and title problems for the nation’s lower income families. But how will the government decide to whom the housing units will go? With so much talk about financing underway, people are already calling on the government to outline a plan for how they’ll distribute the affordable housing units.

The government will need to deliver the housing projects in a time when, Hinga acknowledges, the public is skeptical. Earlier this year $78 million went missing in a corruption scandal involving the National Youth Services. Where there is little trust between the people and their government, Kenya hopes to establish transparency through the blockchain’s distributed ledger system.

Kenya’s Move Toward Tech

In March, Kenya’s Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology appointed a blockchain taskforce to explore the ways the nation could use blockchain technology in the public and private sectors. They called it the Distributed Ledgers and Artificial Intelligence taskforce, and by September its chairman, Bitange Ndemo, was calling on the government to tokenize the economy.

Ndemo also proposed government implementation of blockchain to certify the authenticity of retail goods, so consumers can be sure of where their food is coming from, for example.

Governor of Kenya’s central bank Patrick Njoroge has also voiced support for the use of blockchain technology to strengthen service delivery, although he’s opposed the use of tokens and digital currencies.

But the affordable housing initiative could be the Kenyan government’s first real world implementation of the blockchain.

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