What is Bitcoin? (part I)

Every semester, I take my students from Columbia College to Chicago Federal Bank’s Money Museum.  It’s a great experience for the students, and I also learn something new with every visit.  On our last visit, I pulled one of the PhDs aside (they all possess a doctorate degree in Economics) and asked, “what do you think about bitcoin?”  The presenter gave me a one sentence answer – it’s a safe haven for illicit traders.  Probably a little too harsh answer, so I did my own research.

  • What is bitcoin?  It’s a virtual currency created by an unknown Japanese programmer (only his pseudonym is known).  It’s not associated with any country or government, making it truly universal.
  • How does it work?  Every user has a “wallet” with a unique identifier.  While all transactions are recorded, user ID is kept anonymous (OK, so that supports illicit trade comment).
  • How  do I get bitcoins?  Various exchange sites / services let you buy and sell for cash.  You can also mine them (honestly I don’t get this concept).

To be continued…

EBONY Wealth Challenge Wrap-up, Part 1

As published in the most recent issue paraphrased….

  1. Get your mind right:  Wealth begins in the mind and ends in the purse.  If you want to earn more, you must learn more.
  2. Lower your bills:  Renegotiate the terms for your car note, cable bills, utilities and cellphone bills.  Be pleasant – everything’s negotiable.
  3. Automate:  Pay your bills automatically each month by setting up electronic withdrawals to eliminate late fees, avoid credit score issues and reduce postage costs.  And even if you are late, negotiate elimination of late fees.

To be continued…

Which Seeking Alpha blurb on the state of global economy concern you the most?

Mine – 3rd paragraph below…  Perhaps little rise in the rate and tightening on liquidity is not a bad thing however…

 

Brent crude fell for a ninth straight session this morning following weak gasoline demand in the U.S. The drop marks its longest losing streak in four years, falling 14 cents to $108.14 a barrel at 3:45 GMT. U.S. crude tumbled for a tenth consecutive session, down 48 cents belowWednesday’s close at $101.81 a barrel. The front-month price is on track to display its longest stretch of losses since July 1984.

Tensions are mounting in the Middle East, after Gaza militants fired new M-302 rockets deeper into Israel, armed with a range of 93 miles. Israel has ramped up its air strike campaign as a result, targeting 486 militant positions including rocket-launching sites and smuggling tunnels. The newly acquired rockets put about two thirds of Israel’s 8M people into Gaza’s range of fire, increasing pressure to neutralize any threats.

The Fed has agreed to end its bond-buying program in October. The new definitive closing date marks the end of the quantitative easing and controversial central-banking approach. The plan will decrease bond purchases in three increments until October, when the last $15B reduction is scheduled.

The results of Indonesia’s presidential election will remain uncertain for at least ten days, as 130M votes still need to be hand-counted. Presidential candidates Widodo and Subianto have both claimed victory in preliminary tallies. Indonesian stocks soared as much as 2.8% in early trading after foreign investors bought $263M worth of stock – nearly four times the daily average of foreign buying. The rupiah also gained, hitting a two-month high against the dollar.

The State of Global Economy…

…one quote at a time.

  • “I will read about it in the newspapers just like everyone else.”  – President Obama deflecting France’s appeal to intervene as BNP Paribas, the largest French bank, faces a potential multibillion-dollar US fine over currency transactions
  • “The worldwide concern is unfortunately waning as the international financial crisis recedes.” – German chancellor Angela Merkel in a speech about how the regulation of ‘shadow banks’ needs to be a central issue at the G20 summit this fall
  • “Zero is just a number.  The world goes on.” – Chief analyst at Danske Bank in Copenhagen Arne Rasmussen shrugging off a move to charge banks interest for deposits kept at the European Central Bank, given that no financial chaos erupted when Denmark’s central bank had a negative deposit rate in 2012.

Writer’s note – as I type this, BNP Paribas have decided to plead guilty and pay almost 9BN in fine for violating US sanctions.  As the world turns…

Success Skills

Originally published by the Brighton Leadership Group -

http://www.brightonleadership.com/menu/bright-ideas/transformational-tips/recent-tips/

What is the best investment you can make? Relentless learning is an essential success skill that pays exponential dividends.

Just as money multiplies when you put it in the bank, learning compounds when you put it in your head!  (Although at the current interest rates, compounding isn’t all that great!) Money invested in your development pays off in spades. We believe in this so passionately that we invest over 10% of our annual income in learning.

“The more you know, the more you learn; the more you learn, the more you can do; the more you can do, the more the opportunity – it is very much like compound interest.”  ~ Richard Hamming

Some ideas to amp up your learning:

  • Be Intentional – decide what topics you need to learn more about. To get the greatest advantage, learning shouldn’t be haphazard or random. Determine where you need to focus and then invest in your learning. Whether this is books, articles, people or courses, you are in charge of the learning in your life.
  • Learn Life Lessons – you are in a laboratory of learning. You don’t have to attend a class to learn. If you take time to observe and reflect you will learn great lessons from your daily experiences.
  • Learn From Others – whether it’s a mentor, a coach or a great friend, engage others to help you learn and improve. Do an “informational interview” in which you ask questions of someone with greater knowledge or experience than you. It doesn’t have to be a business topic. We had an extraordinary time with a fly fishing guide at Homewaters where we learned all about fishing and heard stories about the American Presidents who fished there.
  • MOOC - take advantage of online learning. A Massive Open Online Course (MOOC); is an online course aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the web. Examples include:
    • edX – Online free courses from MITx, HarvardX, BerkeleyX, UTx and many other universities.
    • Coursera broaden your knowledge with their wide-ranging catalog of free courses, from music to computer science.
    • The Great Courses  – While it’s not a MOOC, we enjoy the Great Courses, especially the wine course!

Our mentor Alan Weiss advocates the 1% solution, “if you improve by 1% a day in 70 days you are twice as good.” A little learning every day will exponentially increase your success. Relentless learning is a critical success skill we recommend you add to your repertoire.

 

Chocolate-Marshmallow Treats

Originally posted on Yummy Food Recipes:

Easy and Delicious Chocolate-Marshmallow Treats Recipe by Makeeze Recipes

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Chocolate-Marshmallow Treats Recipe by Makeeze Recipes

Recipe Ingridents
nonstick cooking spray,crackers,vegetable oil,marshmallow fluff,semisweet chocolate

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Generals Say Troops Understand Need for Pay Cuts

http://www.military.com/daily-news/2014/03/26/generals-say-troops-understand-need-for-pay-cuts.html?ESRC=dod.nl

As ex-military, I have mixed feelings about this…   Yes, the Armed Forces are all about the mission and defending the constitution of the United States of America.  But you still have to pay the bills and feed the family.  You decide…

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