Tag: altcoin

How the United States Can Increase Market Freedom

By Max Bibeau | United States

The American Dream, as outlined by the Founding Fathers in the Declaration of Independence, has long been the shining beacon of hope for citizens and foreigners alike, offering a chance to be successful on an even playing field. Unfortunately, that beacon has been dimming in recent decades, leading the World Economic Forum to bluntly mourn that the American Dream is broken.

As class mobility continues to fall and the economic gap between rich and poor only seems to expand, many Americans are starting to give up hope in American capitalism. This has led to mass calls for change among the general populace, with everyone desperately looking for solutions. Some, such as Vermont Senator and 2016 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, propose that it is time to look towards “democratic socialism” in the United States. Others, such as Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, seem to be denying the problem completely, still claiming that “the circumstances of your birth do not determine the outcome of your life.”

As much as we might wish for Paul Ryan’s statement to be true, the facts stand against him. Since we are in grave need of a solution, and one does not appear to be coming anytime soon, we must ask how America can improve competition in modern capitalism. Luckily, it is not too late for capitalism to be saved and for America to recover, but the country needs to act fast. While there are many potential solutions, there are three primary ones which will specifically target major problems in the US economy. In order to address current problems in the economy, the United States should target inefficiencies in regulatory organizations like the FDA, foster blockchain development around the country, and crack down on state preference policies.

FDA Inefficiency

The problem of skyrocketing drug prices was first brought to the forefront of American politics in 2015 when the infamous Martin Shkreli increased prices on a lifesaving drug by over 4000%, from $18 a pill to $750 a pill, making the cost of treatment virtually impossible to cover. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated case, as the Center for American Progress describes how American pharmaceutical prices have “continued to skyrocket” in recent years, with manufacturers of Medicare-covered drugs raising prices 12% per year on average. Another study shockingly found that over the past 14 months, 20 different prescription drugs had their prices increased by 200% or more.

Price increases, especially of these unprecedented proportions, are a clear indicator of a lack of competition within the pharmaceutical industry, as confirmed by a Government Accountability Office study. To counteract price increases, the United States must directly tackle the sources of the problem: inefficiency and over-regulation, which leads to monopolistic markets. All of the prescription drugs that saw drastic price increases have one thing in common: they have little to no competition making the same substances. This is because of how unreasonably difficult and expensive it is to get a new drug approved for manufacturing by the FDA.

The Journal of Health quantifies just how expensive the process can be, totaling it at over $1.395 billion in out-of-pocket costs. That number skyrockets up to $2.870 billion when post-approval research and development costs are factored in. These astronomically high development costs make it extremely difficult for anybody looking to create a new drug to even get their business off the ground. High startup costs are one of the top reasons that new companies and drugs never find success, as it’s virtually impossible for new companies, even with perfect scientific viability, to raise nearly $3 billion in investments just to allow their drug to be widely sold.

Because of complex regulations and red tape encircling the pharmaceutical industry, it’s no surprise that the market is nearly devoid of competition. By removing excessive regulation on the industry and streamlining the FDA, new drugs could be approved faster and cheaper. This would dramatically lower startup costs for new businesses trying to develop drugs and would promote increased competition throughout the entire industry, making life-saving substances much more affordable.

Blockchain Growth and Development

The blockchain, developed and made popular by cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, is currently a buzzword in American Congress. Politicians are scrambling to implement the budding technology into their cities and states, and have even formed the Congressional Blockchain Caucus to craft policy surrounding it. Luckily, the potential benefits of the blockchain, especially when it comes to increasing competition, cannot be overstated. To quickly summarize a complex technology, the blockchain is a completely digital, decentralized ledger of information, constantly being confirmed and updated by computers around the world. This has plenty of business applications.

Specifically, since the National Bureau of Economic Research contends that the blockchain removes almost all need for trust in a transaction, small businesses will no longer have to compete with larger businesses when it comes to reputability. Trust, especially when it comes to internet retail, is one of the largest problems that businesses face, preventing up to 30% of internet users from utilizing online retail at all.

However, as the blockchain expands and becomes more widely used, retailers, especially small, newer businesses, will be granted the same level of trust as established companies. The Pew Research Center has found that many consumers soon “expect to see improved technology emerge that will allow people to have confidence in the organizations and individuals with whom they interact online,” specifically through the blockchain. Once the blockchain and cryptocurrency have become mainstream, the issue of trust will be eliminated from the equation, promoting widespread competition in online retail by allowing small retailers with no reputation to provide legitimate competition to retail giants.

While many are afraid to buy from anywhere other than Amazon due to the threat of scams, the blockchain will almost completely mitigate that problem, giving startups a chance, and opening up the online retail industry to everyone. To promote this, the government should focus on effectively regulating and investing in blockchain companies. These regulations would allow them to thrive and innovate in the near future, while still protecting the safety of consumers.

Ending State Preference Policies

While it is commonly agreed upon by economists that international protectionism damages all parties involved, what is criminally under-discussed when it comes to increasing domestic competition is state-by-state protectionism, more commonly known as preference policies. These policies are outlined by the Mercatus Center, which describes that preference policies, often enacted by state or local governments, give a significant advantage to companies residing in-state when bidding on government projects.

When a state government wishes to have a project completed, whether it be building military bases or providing a government building with computers, they allow companies to bid on the project. In theory, this practice would reduce costs as much as possible, as competition drives prices lower. Unfortunately, as the Mercatus Center furthers, even if an out-of-state company bids with a significantly cheaper offer, the more expensive in-state company will still almost always get the job. Aside from drastically raising the costs of government projects on taxpayers, in-state preference policies are almost identical to international protectionist policies, and have almost identical impacts, especially when it comes to decreasing competition.

Essentially, these programs enable companies to raise their prices due to the lack of competition from other states. Similar to international protectionism, these policies are put in place with the goal of stimulating domestic growth. However, this growth often comes at the cost of cheap prices and quality services. While it may appear that this would only discourage competition when it comes to government services, that is not quite true. Because most of these state and local policies are very strict, they only give preference to companies that have a state/local business license, pay all state/local taxes, and hire only state/local employees.

Since these policies are so rigid, and only apply to exclusively state or local businesses, it often discourages companies, especially those which rely on government business to remain profitable, from expanding outside of state borders, given that they know this will likely cost them their government business. This has much more broad impacts, affecting competition around the entire nation.

An Increase in Market Freedom

The United States, viewed as a pioneer of capitalism around the world, has found itself entrapped by red tape and ineffective policies, all of which are hindering one of the key benefits of capitalism: competition. However, while the United States does have some dire problems, they can be addressed.

First, the country needs to crack down on inefficient and ineffective regulations, specifically in the pharmaceutical industry. Second, the US should encourage and foster blockchain development by establishing fair regulations that don’t stifle the technology. Finally, the unfair problem of in-state preference policies must be addressed. While hope may be in short supply for capitalists in the United States, some common sense changes to economic policy would allow the beacon of the American Dream to shine brightly once again. 

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Cryptocurrency is Taking the Next Step into the Mainstream

By Nick Hamilton | United States

Cryptocurrency is about to become much more accessible when making purchases in public.

Square, a major digital payment service that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey leads, has won the patent to allow merchants to accept crypto payments, such as Bitcoin. The service would then transfer the payment into the local currency.

Cryptocurrency: Payment of the Future

Dorsey has said that he believes cryptocurrency will be the leading method of payment in ten years. Adding Bitcoin to this service that already supports many major credit cards is a way to make this a reality. This system also eliminates latency in these transactions, meaning approval on purchases will occur much faster. They’ll be able to do this via a blockchain that records Square-managed wallets in real time.

Tackling Major Obstacles

This, of course, means that cryptocurrency payments will process at the same speed of credit card payments. Previously, one of the big drawbacks of crypto was the increased transaction time. Another key issue was a very low accessibility, but Square is tackling both of these issues.

It’s not often that companies who do blockchain research have such an enthusiastic CEO when it comes to cryptocurrency. However, due to this patent, and Dorsey being so invested in cryptocurrency, we could see cryptocurrency emerge more in the mainstream. At the very least, it now will be considerably easier to use. This could mean that Bitcoin’s demand will rise, thus raising its price.

A Bright Outlook

The patent may affect the backbone of the future economy, at least according to Dorsey, who tweeted earlier this year that Bitcoin would become a path towards financial success for all.

As the price of Bitcoin continues to rise, Dorsey’s dream of seeing crypto thrive in the future may be coming true.

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Crypto Investors Expect Trades to Continue after India Ban

By Eli Ridder | @EliRidder

After India’s government decided in early April to block official financial institutions from carrying out formal cryptocurrency transactions, trade activity has increased with strength. 

Reports citing exchange operators, investors and observers say that Indians are quickly taking advantage of the three-month window given by the Reserve Bank for institutions to cut off cryptocurrency traders and exchanges.

Those that invest now are able to convert digital funds into the formal rupees currency and rupees into crypto, which can later be switched for other coins via the private trading platforms well established locally and internationally.

Prices of the unstable Bitcoin in India are back up to 618,000 rupees or $9,570 USD, recovering from a low of 350,001 rupees after the central bank’s announcement in early April.

Several investors, according to Reuters news agency, are holding out that New Delhi will curl back on their crypto legislation and instead regulate the cryptocurrencies over the complete ban.

Legislatures fear digital money could be used to finance illegal activities, with the finance minister saying that they should be banned from being used as a payment system.

A conglomerate including members from the central bank, the finance ministry and market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India is expected to soon formulate a recommendation on what to do next, local reports say.

This comes a week after Iran made a similar move, but for different reasons, with Tehran citing concerns of money-laundering amid an economic crisis proceeding a potential return of sanctions due to the United States pulling from the nuclear deal.

An Iranian official announced on Saturday that the country has developed a local digital currency.

“The central bank’s [ban] does not mean the prohibition or restriction of the use of the digital currency in domestic development,” government minister Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA.

“Last week, at a joint meeting to review the progress of the [local cryptocurrency] project, it was announced that the experimental model was ready.”

India, considered the world’s largest democracy, has been challenged in court by crypto traders, who say that the ban is unconstitutional, and pushing digital money out of the official banks is counterproductive as it will be easier for fraud to occur.

Lawyers are advising crypto clients to hold onto their investments and take a “wait and see” approach to the current situation, with some trading moving to peer-to-peer networks or social media services such as the popular Telegram app.

“Unlike fiat currency, prices of virtual currencies are based on people’s beliefs and aspirations,” BuyUcoin’s Thakral told Reuters.

“The long-term vision for us and the people who are investing now is that cryptocurrencies are here to stay.”

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Planning Your Cryptocurrency Portfolio: An Interview With Ben, Founder Of The Crypto Planner

By Matthew Geiger | @mattg444

Author’s Note: Read the article until the end for an exclusive offer/discount from The Crypto Planner.

Has your teenage child told you to invest Bitcoin? What about that young intern at the office who talks nonstop about Ethereum? They’re talking about cryptocurrency. You know, the super intricate and sometimes robotic and fake sounding digital money financial system that no one seems to understand? Well, both the intern and your child have doubled their investments within a week, looks like you might need to take a deeper look.

Luckily, there’s a company for that.

Last week, I sat down with Ben, Founder of The Crypto Planner (TCP). TCP is a cryptocurrency investing club tailored for anybody who wants professional guidance with their current or potential cryptocurrency investments.

Meet Ben, The Brains Behind TCP

Outside of the blockchain, Ben is the owner of his own financial advisement and insurance agency, making him an expert in all things regarding personal investments.

Ben, Founder of The Crypto Planner

I asked Ben about how he translates his advice regarding normal financial investments into those looking to get into cryptocurrency. In short, here is his philosophy regarding both “regular” and cryptocurrency investments:

With new clients, he analyzes two individual variables; risk assessment, and time horizon.

The risk assessment of a client is how high of a tolerance the particular person has when dealing with risk. Essentially, how conservative or how aggressive of an investor do you want to be, and how much money are you willing to lose, or potentially, gain?

Time horizon is the “life” of a person’s portfolio. Say if someone is in their 20’s, they maybe have 40-plus years until retirement, and can maybe foot larger risks because they will have more time to recover. However, if someone is on the opposite side of the spectrum, say just ten years from retirement, a more conservative approach needs to be established to prevent large swings in one’s total portfolio.

The Crypto Planner: Crypto Currency For The Adult World

Moving on to the focal point of this article, what is TCP trying to provide? Here’s what Ben had to say:

Inside of the cryptocurrency space, there were no qualified financial professionals out there providing investment advice to those who were either new or relatively inexperienced when it came to buying crypto, and it’s a void that I intend to fill.

I then followed up by asking Ben about what the target demographic of TCP is, to which he answered,

Cryptocurrency currently is skewing towards a much younger class of investors, and I would say that my demographic would be those on more of the older end of the crypto investment space…I would guess that to mean that most of our clients are in the 30-45 range, and I would also add that most of our clients are willing to invest somewhere between $5,000-$15,000 dollars into the crypto market.

My last question for Ben addressed the volatility of cryptocurrency. How would someone with a house, car, steady job, etc, invest into something with such huge risk and uncertainty with the guarantee of being financially secure?

Ben answered my question with the following:

The way to avoid [large swings in one’s total portfolio] it is to have only a portion of your portfolio allocated to what you feel is a comfortable amount in that volatile area.

Final Thoughts

Throughout my interview with Ben, he strongly emphasized the “learning” aspect of TCP. His website has an entire page dedicated to explaining the basics of cryptocurrency, such as forks, ICOs, and blockchain technology in general. Ben also produces live weekly webcasts for clients where he explains the latest trends in the market, alongside other key cryptocurrency tips and tricks.

The concept of TCP is certainly unique. Due to the fact that cryptocurrencies are relatively young, they’re typically adopted earliest by younger and/or tech-savvy investors, which leaves a disconnect for those who might be older. All in all, Ben is willing to take on regular, everyday people who may have little to no experience in cryptocurrency, and turn them into seasoned investors who could potentially see a nice return on their investments.

Listen to the full interview here.

Get A Discount On a Crypto Planner Membership

As a benefit to our readership Ben has provided you the following opportunity to sample his club:

You can check out The Crypto Planner’s website by clicking here.

The promo code for a 71% discount off a month membership is “71MONTH”

The promo code for a 71% discount off an annual membership is “71YEAR”

Promo codes expire April 1st, 2018, at 12:00 AM ET.

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Capital Gains is Hurting Cryptocurrency

By Addie Mae Villas | United States

With few exceptions, most libertarians can agree that taxes are theft. The government taxes our money, for their own interests, and do so under threat of punishment. Although we should abolish nearly all taxes, the capital gains tax (CGT) is one of the worst. The government penalizes an investor for making money, drawing off of their rewards. One area that is being hurt the most from the CGT is cryptocurrency users, as the IRS is trying to enforce the tax on their gains, sacrificing the privacy of crypto users.

Before the GOP created their recent tax laws, Bitcoin users could simply transfer their coin to other cryptocurrencies and state that there was no gain. But now, the tax bill states that the exchange of cryptocurrencies is simply a property exchange. This makes all crypto exchanges eligible for taxation. With the new classification, government is able to tax cryptocurrencies anytime someone uses or exchanges it.

With the IRS cracking down on crypto users, users can forget about privacy. We can simply look to when the IRS requested that Coinbase send all the records of users from 2013-2015. In April, the IRS expects all crypto users to report their gains on their tax returns. However, this is an unreasonable request, as crypto users will have to forgo their anonymity with the market. This leads into the fact that 36% of investors plan to commit tax fraud. With the risk of losing privacy on the line, many expected this statistic to further rise.

The new classification of cryptocurrencies is just another way the government is trying to control the markets and an individual’s right to privacy. Cryptocurrencies have proven to be the future, as they are far more effective than our current currency. Ron Paul has stated time and time that we need to end the Federal Reserve to advance liberty. In its absense, cryptocurrencies provide a path forward for economic development. Seeing that cryptocurrencies are direct competition to a government-run bank, it’s no surprise that is under attack.

The funny thing about the government enforcing the CGT is that they are haltering investment, which hinders innovation, which in the end only harms the economy. Since we have the CGT in place, investments are more expensive, causing fewer people to invest. The OECD reported that innovation comes from investment, and the growth of an economy is reliant on innovation. The removed competition is inherently harming the economy.

The capital gains tax is just another tax government uses to assert unjust power over the people. The crackdown on crypto users is not only harming the crypto market but also removing the values of privacy from all the users. The CGT puts a consequence on being successful, and only adds onto a very high income tax for most taxpayers.The capital gains tax needs to be abolished to protect the crypto market and encourage investments for capital gain.

(Image from wccftech.com)