Coca-Cola To Release a Pride Series NFT Collection on Polygon (MATIC)

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  • Coca-Cola has announced plans to release a Pride series NFT collection to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community.
  • Coca-Cola will be collaborating with artist and advocate Rich Mnisi.
  • The Pride Series NFT collection will be minted on the Polygon Network (MATIC).

The world-renowned beverage company of Coca-Cola has announced that it will be launching a Pride series NFT collection in celebration of the LGBTQIA+ community. Each NFT will be unique and ‘aims to shine color-filled light on the community’s members and spread a message of Love.Coca-Cola will be collaborating with designer and advocate for LGBTQIA+ rights, Rich Mnisi, who hails from South Africa. The team at Coca-Cola further pointed out that Rich Mnisi’s artwork ‘pushes boundaries on the concepts of identity and community.’ They explained:

136 NFTs on the Polygon Network (MATIC).

“Coca-Cola commissioned bespoke Mnisi artwork for this collection to be sliced into individual fragments and dispersed across all 136 collectibles, making each one unique. Our hope with the pieces is to increase visibility by radiating the full spectrum of the community’s colors and spreading a simple message of Love,” the firm said in an announcement last week.

Rich Mnisi and Coca-Cola will collaborate in the creation of 136 NFTs, which are currently being minted on the Polygon Network (eaMATIC). Some of the NFTs are already listed on OpenSea. The Coca-Cola Pride Series NFTs now have a floor price of 1 Ethereum.

In addition, Coca-Cola commissioned the art, hoping each NFT would ‘increase visibility by radiating the full spectrum of the community’s colors and spreading a simple message of Love.’

Furthermore, all proceeds of the initial sale of the NFTs will be donated to charities serving the LGBTQIA+ community. For the first 12 months, the proceeds will be donated directly to OUT, an LGBTQIA+ charity chosen by Rich Mnisi. The organization is the second-oldest in South Arica, professionally serving the LGBTQIA+ community with physical and mental healthcare.

Interestingly, all the funds generated from the initial sale of the 136 NFTs built on the Polygon (MATIC) network, an Ethereum scaling solution, will be donated to multiple charities supporting and fighting for LGBTQIA+ rights. Coca-Cola added that the first charity to benefit will be OUT, the second-oldest LGBT organization in South Africa, which was chosen by Mnisi.

“These free forms represent both love’s permanence and its changing state. They’re to remind us of the power that lies within all of us to choose what love will become. Love is what we make it. Choose to love freely,” Coca-Cola added.

By: John P. Njui

Source: Coca-Cola to Release a Pride Series NFT Collection on Polygon (MATIC) – Ethereum World News

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Love Hormone Oxytocin May Increase Life Satisfaction

A new study published in the journal Frontier in Behavioral Neuroscience shows that older individuals tend to release more oxytocin in response to social situations that arouse empathy. A larger oxytocin response was also associated with greater levels of helping behaviors and increased satisfaction with life.

These findings may explain why older individuals donate more to charity and perform more social work.

“People who released the most oxytocin in the experiment were not only more generous to charity but also performed many other helping behaviors. This is the first time a distinct change in oxytocin has been related to past prosocial behaviors,” said Dr. Paul Zak, the study author and a professor at Claremont Graduate University.

Oxytocin is a hormone responsible for uterus contractions during childbirth, lactation, and reproductive behaviors. Oxytocin also modulates the transmission of signals between brain cells and is involved in modulating social behaviors. Experiments in humans suggest that brain oxytocin reduces anxiety and promotes trust, cooperation, empathy, generosityTrusted Source, and social bonding.

Studies have shown that older individuals tend to donate more money to charity and are more likely to engage in volunteer work than younger people. A potential explanation for this increase in prosocial behaviors could be greater empathy in response to social situations in older people than in younger people.

Given the association between oxytocin and empathy, the study’s authors wanted to understand whether oxytocin mediated increased prosocial behaviors in old age.

The present study’s authors recruited 103 individuals between 18 and 99 years old. Researchers divided the participants into three groups: young (18 to 35 years), middle-aged (36 to 65 years ), or older (over 65 years) adults.

They asked the participants to watch a short emotional video of a father narrating his feelings about coping with the imminent demise of his two-year-old son with terminal brain cancer.

The researchers collected blood samples from the participants before and after watching the video to measure oxytocin levels. Previous studies have shown that changes in blood and brain oxytocin levels tend to be correlated, allowing the researchers to estimate changes in brain oxytocin levels using blood samples.

The researchers found that older individuals showed a larger increase in oxytocin levels after viewing the video than younger individuals. After viewing the video, the participants were given a monetary reward for participating in an unrelated study and the option to donate part of the reward to a medical charity.

The researchers found that individuals with a larger increase in blood oxytocin levels were likely to donate a greater fraction of the reward money. Older individuals donated a larger fraction of the reward money to the charity. Surveys conducted during the study revealed that older individuals also spent greater time volunteering and donated more to charity in the previous year.

Notably, a small increase in oxytocin levels in older individuals was associated with a similar donation amount as younger individuals with a larger oxytocin response.

The study also found that aging resulted in a more profound increase in donations to charity in older individuals with a smaller oxytocin response than a larger one. The findings suggest that aging and oxytocin response levels together influence the amounts donated to charity.

Consistent with other studies, the researchers found that older individuals were more likely to participate in religious activities and had a greater sense of satisfaction with life. Studies have shown that older, more religious adults engage more in charity and volunteer work and express greater life satisfaction.

The researchers found that a larger oxytocin response to the video stimulus was associated with a greater sense of satisfaction with life, participation in religious activities, and increased levels of empathy and gratitude.

The authors cautioned that the study only correlates oxytocin release and prosocial behaviors and other traits. The findings are especially relevant since there is a bidirectional relationship between oxytocin release and prosocial behaviors, with engagement in prosocial behaviors associated with a subsequent increase in oxytocin levels.

The authors also noted that the study involved a small number of participants residing in California. Hence, more research involving a larger number of participants representing the broader demographic needs to be conducted.

Other studies also suggest that using intranasal sprays to deliver oxytocin can improve mood and cognitive function, especially in older men. Although there is an interest in the therapeutic use of intranasal oxytocin, the effects of oxytocin vary by context and among individuals.

Dr. Natalie Ebner, a neuroscientist at the University of Florida, noted in a lecture, “There is a lot of evidence that oxytocin doesn’t always work the same way. It depends a little bit on what kind of situation you are in, if it’s a positive social situation it does one thing, if it’s a hostile situation suddenly it increases aggressiveness.

So there are a lot of interesting manipulations we can do by looking closer at contextual factors and we’re starting to see a lot is that not everyone responds in the same way.”

By: Deep Shukla 

Source: ‘Love hormone’ oxytocin may increase life satisfaction, empathy

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Bitcoin Donations To Ukrainian Army Surpass $4 Million

Donations, including those made with cryptocurrencies, have been pouring into Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion, launched on Thursday.

Within the first few hours, Come Back Alive, a Kyiv-based foundation providing support to the Ukrainian army, raised around $400,000 in bitcoin, according to blockchain analytics firm Elliptic. As of 5:30 a.m. ET Friday, the organization’s wallet appears to have received 109 BTC (approximately $4.1 million) over more than a thousand donations in total.

Founded in 2014, Come Back Alive takes its name from the inscriptions the founder, IT specialist Vitaliy Deynega, had left on the first bulletproof vests sent to soldiers fighting the separatist and Russian forces in Eastern Ukraine. Today, it is one of the largest non-governmental organizations in the country conducting fundraising to provide Ukraine’s military with the necessary supplies and equipment such as drones, thermographic cameras, and specialized software.

The foundation began accepting bitcoin in 2018 but the lion’s share of tokens it currently holds has come within the past few days. Additionally, the charity accepts bank transfers and contributions via Patreon membership (currently suspended).

According to Elliptic’s February 8 report, Ukrainian NGOs and volunteer groups raised over $500,000 in cryptocurrencies over the past year. The company has tracked the funds by identifying cryptocurrency wallets used by these organizations. For instance, the Ukrainian Cyber Alliance, a collective of activists conducting cyberattacks against Russian targets, has received nearly $100,000 to its bitcoin, ether, and litecoin addresses.

“Some of the Ukrainian volunteer groups and NGOs accepting crypto donations have very close links to the Ukrainian government – and this adds to a trend of nation-states turning to crypto assets as a means of raising funds,” Elliptic noted in an earlier report. “Iran is using Bitcoin mining as a way to monetize its energy reserves, while North Korea is believed to be stealing cryptocurrency to support its missile development program.”

For months, Ukrainian leaders have been making concerted efforts to turn the country into a new crypto haven. Last Thursday, the Ukrainian parliament passed a bill to legalize cryptocurrencies, building on a similar effort made in September before it was vetoed by President Volodymyr Zelensky.

He argued that the country couldn’t afford to create a new regulatory system for digital assets. However, Ukraine’s central bank has been working on a central bank digital currency since 2017, most recently announcing a test using the Stellar blockchain. The pilot was designed to integrate some of the lessons from decentralized finance into a centralized initative.

As a matter of fact, Ukrainians are among the most avid cryptocurrency users. Blockchain data firm Chainalysis ranks Ukraine as the fourth biggest cryptocurrency adopter in the world. This week, a host of crypto activists and executives have called for support towards Ukraine.

Yesterday, CEO of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried, tweeted that the company had given $25 to each Ukrainian client. Additionally, Russian protest group Pussy Riot, Trippy Labs and PleasrDAO launched Ukraine DAO, a decentralized autonomous organization dedicated to raising funds for Ukrainian civilian organizations.

Source: Bitcoin Donations To Ukrainian Army Surpass $4 Million

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What The Wealthy Don’t Want You To Know About Money

When someone says they want to “strike it rich,” they often mean with a once-in-a-lifetime event. Think, a lucky investment, winning the lottery, or selling an idea on Shark Tank that catapults them into the pantheon of millionairehood.

While it’s not impossible to get wealthy off a one-shot, the truth is that most “new money” millionaires didn’t get lucky. Instead, they built their wealth with smart financial planning, expert advice, financial literacy and goal setting.

And if that’s news to you, you’re far from alone. While the rich aren’t sitting on some big, unknown money secret, they don’t often go out of their way to educate the masses.

But we do.

Without further ado, here are the 14 secrets that the wealthy don’t want you to know about money – and how you can make them work for you.

Getting Started

1. Setting goals is the secret to getting started.

“Wealth” is a subjective term. If you’re living on $25,000 a year, then $1 million and an LA mansion may seem incredibly wealthy. But if you’re living in LA on $1 million a year, then wealthy probably looks more like $100 million and a garage full of expensive cars.

This discrepancy in perception and values are part of why it’s important to determine what “wealth” means to you – and then set goals to get there. For instance, you may decide you want to change careers, start a family or become a millionaire by 35. Then, it’s about devising an action plan with annual achievements to make your to-dos been-dones.

2. Always align your spending with your goals.

As you’re building wealth (and after), keep your spending in line with your goals. Know what you care about, be it attaining a lifestyle, achieving feats or passing on wealth. Then, take care to avoid wasting resources on things and activities that have no value to you – and invest heartily in education, hobbies, passions and goals that do.

Whether that’s forgoing restaurants while you take night classes or skipping the new car to buy a rental property, spending money on the things that advance your goals pays off in the long run.

3. A solid savings strategy bolsters success.

A savings strategy buffers your finances and increases your liquidity. While the goal is to save 15-20% of your income every month, beginning with just 1% is better than nothing!

One great way to ensure consistent savings is to automate depositing a portion of each paycheck into your savings accounts. Adding extra funds when you get a bonus, raise, or even Christmas presents can help you build wealth even faster.

You’ll also want to have a smaller, separate emergency account to cover unexpected expenses. Aim to build anywhere from 6-12 months’ worth of expenses in your emergency fund – and when you use it, replace it!

4. Keeping up with the Joneses is a one-way ticket to Poorville.

You might think that a lavish lifestyle is a true reflection of wealth – and for many, it is. But plenty of “wealthy” people drown in debt to keep up appearances. Meanwhile, those with true wealth often live frugally, invest often, and spend under their means.

The reason is simple: the desire to appear wealthy sabotages your goals and puts your money to work in dead-ends. Shrugging off the desire to keep up with the Joneses and focusing on your own wealth-building, not trying to show off, is the best way to ensure you can afford all the fancy toys you want later.

5. Hire a winning team.

One of the biggest “secrets” about wealthy people is that they rarely know what they’re doing. What they do know is that they can pay someone else to handle their affairs and dispense advice.

For instance, a fee-only financial adviser can point you to new money-making strategies, which your financial lawyer can vet for legal consequences before your tax professional minimizes your burden to Uncle Sam.

While the upfront cost seems prohibitive, investing in a support system now increases your chances of success later.

Making Money Work for You – Not Someone Else

6. Using other people’s time (and money) helps you get ahead.

Two of the best ways to become wealthy are to become your own boss and use other people’s money instead of your own. As an employee, you work to enrich your boss; and using your own capital limits your success to how much you can personally front.

But starting or buying a business, often with capital raised from banks or investors, accomplishes both goals at once. And if owning a business isn’t your forte, you can still use borrowed funds to invest in real estate, the stock market, or someone else’s big idea.

7. Fees eat success for breakfast.

Every time you pay a fee to manage your money or service a debt, you’re funding someone else’s path to wealth. Whether you pay banking fees, high-interest debt, foreign transaction fees, overdraft fees, ATM fees, commissions on investments, mutual fund expense ratios…

The point is, there are a lot of fees out there, and the more you pay, the less you have. Thus, when possible, opt for no-fee accounts, low-cost index funds, and 0% APR credit cards.

8. Watch your credit card usage (or avoid them entirely).

Taking out a credit card encourages living beyond your means and paying interest to do so. As such, many financial experts advise cutting up your cards, avoiding them in the first place, or only using them to further your goals. (For instance, if you use them to cover bills and pay off the balance immediately to build your credit).

If you do use credit cards, look for rewards cards that pay out in cashback or air miles, carry fraud protection, and have extra perks like built-in travel insurance. And never, ever take out a high-interest store credit card.

9. Charity is good for the soul – and your wallet.

Donating money or supplies to charitable causes doesn’t just further noble goals; it’s also good for your finances. If you itemize your tax returns, you can deduct charitable contributions to qualified organizations. And the more you can deduct, the less you’ll have to pay come tax time.

Investing: The True Secret to Wealth

10. Your money should work for you.

One of capitalism’s unfortunate realities is that working hard doesn’t always equate success. If your only income is trading time for money, your earnings potential is capped at the number of hours you work in a week.

But the wealthy understand capitalism’s dirty secret: the true path to success lies in passive income. Whether that’s investing in stocks, buying real estate, or funding someone else’s business plan, anything that pays an “unearned” profit accelerates your earnings potential beyond the hours in a day.

11. Every minute you waste is one less minute you’re wealthy.

In investing, your most valuable asset is time. The earlier you start putting your money to work in the markets, the longer your capital can accrue compound interest. Even just $25 per week is better than nothing!

On a similar note, it’s important to distinguish between time and timing in the stock market. While one major investment can catapult you to riches, you’re far more likely to lose money than make it big betting wildly.

The wealthy understand that riding out an “unsexy” buy-and-hold strategy – making regular contributions into a diversified portfolio – is one of the most reliable ways to get rich.

12. Allocation is key.

When you invest in the stock market, how you allocate funds carries significant consequences. Typically, it’s a good idea to keep dividend-paying bonds, stocks, and mutual funds in your tax-advantaged retirement accounts, while individual securities reside in your brokerage account.

This strategy has three advantages. To start, it utilizes government-sponsored tax strategies and spreads your wealth to minimize impacts in retirement. At the same time, diversifying your holdings across accounts and assets helps ensure you’re not too heavily invested in one area.

13. Diversification gets you everywhere.

Investing in stocks, bonds, and mutual funds is a great way to kickstart your wealth, but it’s not the end of the road. As your wealth grows, expanding into illiquid or physical assets, such as real estate, gold, and even artwork, can help you secure your wealth.

Though these investments cost more upfront and are more difficult to offload, there’s a reason that being a real estate tycoon is equated with riches. And because these assets aren’t as susceptible to market swings, they can pay off even when other investments falter.

14. As your wealth and confidence grow, turn to private markets.

One of the greatest secrets of the ultra-wealthy is that the stock market gets your feet wet – but private markets hold the real wealth.

Business ownership, angel investing, and other private equity moves come with greater risk than stock market investments. But their potentially higher returns and diversification do wonders for your portfolio, especially if you’re hell-bent on generating true wealth.

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Source: What The Wealthy Don’t Want You To Know About Money

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Reddit Cracks Down On Forums Trading Images Of Female Vinted And Depop Users

Reddit has shut down forums with thousands of users sharing and selling photos of female members of clothing resale apps like Vinted and Depop.  

Vinted and Depop have become a viral sensation with Generation Z shoppers looking to thrift second-hand clothing from the comfort of the sofa. The apps have also become a hunting ground for men who trade and sell photographs of young women modeling bikinis, bodysuits and other clothing for sale. 

Reddit banned r/NSFW_Vinted and r/vinted_sluts, communities with nearly a thousand members earlier this week after being contacted by Forbes. The social news aggregator, dubbed the “front page of the internet” has shut down two similar subforums sharing images of Depop users, and another Vinted forum in recent months. Despite this crackdown, the site still features several subreddits, some inactive, promoting images taken from Depop and eBay sellers. 

One of the subreddit moderators had compiled download bundles of hundreds of stolen images of female users from Germany, the Czech Republic, and beyond, offering to sell them “for the price of a coffee” on file download site Ejunkie. The download pages have since been taken offline.  

Bryony like many Vinted users started to use the app during the U.K’s Covid lockdowns to clear out her wardrobe of old and unwanted clothing. The 25-year-old from Essex, England, who asked for her full name not to be used, was unaware that a photograph taken to help sell a PrettyLittleThing bodysuit was being traded on the now banned subreddit r/NSFW_Vinted. 

“I’m obviously disgusted that my photos have been taken from this platform and distributed elsewhere without my permission and I find it quite sickening to be honest with you,” says Bryony, who had also received inappropriate messages from users asking to model clothing she was trying to sell on the app.  

“Multiple times I have had inappropriate messages asking for more pictures of me wearing the items I am selling…at first I thought nothing of it and then I clicked it was a little bit weird,” she says. 

Bryony is not the only female seller on clothing apps like Vinted and Depop to have received inappropriate or disturbing messages from men seeking to solicit photos, or used clothing. The BBC and Cosmopolitan reported in January about the problem of young women, and teenagers, being targeted on the apps and other marketplaces like eBay, while Depop users themselves have turned to Reddit to share scores and scores of disturbing direct messages. 

“These creepy messages take total advantage of the nature of sites like Depop and Vinted, which women have used to boost their income during the pandemic,” says Hannah Hart, privacy expert at ProPrivacy. “These downright disturbing incidents further highlight the fact that women face harassment and abuse simply for daring to be visibly female, regardless of which sites they frequent and whether they’ve been intended as social platforms.”

While these user-driven marketplaces are also home to some people who are in the business of selling images of themselves or used clothing to cater to fetishes often in contravention of the terms of services of these apps none of the women contacted by Forbes had intended, or were, aware that their images were being shared.  

Vinted says it takes a tough line on inappropriate messaging and bans users it suspects of breaching its policies. “We also recommend our users to refrain from sharing pictures of them wearing the items if this is asked to them in private conversation and to report the user who asked them that,” a spokesperson for Vinted said in a statement to Forbes

The Vilnius, Lithuania-based app says it tries to stop photos from being take off its platform but had limited control over users’ screenshotting images. “In such cases, we strongly advise our members to report this directly to the respective websites to inform them that imagery is being published without any usage rights and ask for these pictures to be taken down by the said website,” says Vinted’s spokesperson.  

Depop has in the past year pushed Reddit to take down content according to messages sent from the London-based app’s support team to affected sellers. “We take a zero tolerance approach towards predatory or abusive behavior of any kind on Depop. The safety of our community is our number one priority, which is why we have robust policies and advanced technology in place to keep everyone protected,” says Fabian Koenig, VP of trust and safety at Depop. 

Thrifting was once consigned to Goodwill, charity shops, and a corner of eBay but a new generation with small budgets and a passion for sustainability have thrust it into the fashion mainstream and turned secondhand clothing apps into a big business. American online craft marketplace Etsy swooped to buy British clothing app Depop, which has a cult teenage following, for $1.6 billion in June while Vinted raised $300 million in a fundraise that valued the app at over $4.2 billion in May.  

Reddit said it had a blanket ban on the sharing of non-consensual intimate or sexually explicit images, or video, and as such had banned the subreddits involved. The site’s policy of largely relying on users to self-police has repeatedly been tested in recent years with staff stepping in to ban controversial subforums like r/donaldtrump, anti-vaccine, and far-right forums only after facing a prolonged public backlash. Reddit has raised close to $950 million from investors since the start of the year largely to build out its team and advertising proposition. Send me a secure tipIain Martin

Send me a secure tip.

Iain Martin

 Iain Martin

I joined Forbes as the Europe News Editor and will be working with the London newsroom to define our coverage of emerging businesses and leaders across the UK and Europe. Prior to joining Forbes, I worked for the news agency Storyful as its Asia Editor working from its Hong Kong bureau, and as a Senior Editor in London, where I reported on breaking news stories from around the world, with a special focus on how misinformation and disinformation spreads on social media platforms. I started my career in London as a financial journalist with Citywire and my work has appeared in the BBC, Sunday Times, and many more UK publications. Email me story ideas, or tips, to iain.martin@forbes.com, or Twitter @_iainmartin.

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