Crypto Incubators, Accelerators And Venture Capitalists Rise To The Challenge Of Web3.0 For All Investors

Many will recall the ICO craze of 2017 as crypto startup projects raising capital exploded onto the scene from May of that year with bitcoin hitting all time highs and surging above $15 thousand by December. Projects flooded the market seeking capital to mint new coins and promised groundbreaking changes.

The ICO landscape rapidly descended into chaotic scenes of indiscriminate buying and selling often for quick profit, disregarding long-term sustainable growth and investor interests. Hype and expensive marketing campaigns often misled investors, many of whom succumbed to greed instead of performing even cursory due diligence.

Though there were many excellent projects, some still with us today, many were fraudulent, ill-intentioned or at best, misguided. The SEC gave notice that it considered many tokens as securities and would apply the Howie Test to coin projects. This significantly dampened the market and in the end, some studies identified more than 80 percent of all ICOs as scams earning the badge of shitcoins for many from the lCO boom.

This was not crypto’s best day and the sector did little to engender legitimate and responsible inclusion within the financial system with policy makers and regulators, and this sentiment still lingers in the corridors of power today.

This is the principal reason many in my global community came to together to form Global Digital Finance, an industry not-for-profit organization focused on developing and sharing leading market practices and standards for the crypto and digital assets sector.

Many of us were called to action to demonstrate that the crypto and digital assets sector was founded, staffed, and run by responsible people who could abide by jurisdictional and global laws, and were keen to support policy makers and regulators with meaningful compliance, while asking for patience with the new technologies and business models as the developed.

The big message was, “there are adults on the room”, and there is some groundbreaking innovation going in here that is of benefit to society, lets not get lost in the technological jargon and please exercise a bit of patience.

Characteristic of bubbles that burst, a slump followed this high point, commonly known as the “Crypto Winter”. There was a silver lining to those dark days in that it proved to be a time for learning from mistakes for many and rethinking the future of crypto.

A wave of pioneering crypto-based incubators, accelerators and venture capitalists emerged aiming to restore normalcy and rekindle the flame of innovation. In addition to discovering and supporting genuinely promising early-stage startups, incubators significantly broadened the scope for capital formation and accumulation in the blockchain cryptocurrency sector.

The “2021 List of Blockchain Venture Builders, Incubators & Startup Accelerators,” is pretty comprehensive, and since their arrival on the scene, this collective has been a catalyst for increasing institutional investments in crypto-based projects, which has helped flood the market with record amounts of cash.

Kardia Ventures CEO Huy Nguyen believes incubators bring far more than expertise and experience to the table. They also provide startups with access to an essential and extensive network of investors, stakeholders, and service providers, and provide much-needed capital to help ensure early stage startups have a clear path to success. Kardia Ventures has made tens of millions of dollars in investments across 18 companies, including participating in an $8.5 million seed round for DeHorizon and a $2.1 million initial round for Thetan Arena.

A Record Year For Venture Investment 

Venture capitalists invested $26 billion in crypto-based projects in 2021, dwarfing figures from previous years. The surge includes a $10 billion investment in crypto exchange Bullish Global, and $350 million in funding for NFT gaming company Dapper Labs. Additionally, Paradigm and Andreessen Horowtiz have launched their own crypto investment funds worth $2.5 billion and $2.2 billion, respectively, the largest of their kind to date.

Venture capitalists aren’t getting into the crypto industry merely for the ROI. Shan Aggarwal of Coinbase Ventures highlights that short-term gain isn’t the primary metric for success given the blockchain-powered future that Web 3.0 promises. What’s really important is infusing liquidity into crypto markets. In other words, addressing volatility issues is key to long-term success, and the recent influx of venture dollars goes a long way to help ensure smoother sailing.

Institutional investors are increasingly interested in the crypto market but aren’t always aligned with the principles of decentralization and user-orientation and some have been at odds with the broader interests of the crypto and digital assets community. This prevalence has caught the attention of Cardano founder Charles Hoskinson who thinks institutional investment threatens the sector’s meritocratic and community-governed nature.

Hoskinson warns, “They (the institutional investors) are always going to get their pound of flesh before everybody else.”

The scenario is changing for the better with institutional investors rethinking their strategies to suit the needs and demands of the decentralized world of Web3.0. Deciding everything behind closed doors shrouded in secrecy has been the traditional way of doing things and these days, some seek to ratify investment decisions through community-oriented voting, as was witnessed during the funding rounds of SushiSwap.

Retail Investors Continue To Drive Adoption

Retail investors will always dominate the transaction volumes in crypto and have almost singlehandedly created to the $2 trillion crypto market without the governments and the legacy financial system, arguably Satoshi’s main goal with bitcoin. Many institutional investors access the market by participating in funds and listed equities focused on blockchain and cryptocurrency to get exposure to the asset class, especially in the West.

High volatility, a consistent feature in cryptocurrency, isn’t conducive to the demands of retail investors, who typically lack the capital buffer necessary for absorbing market fluctuations and do not have the hedging playbook or experience to rely on. Large capital losses pose a significant threat to many retailer investors who are limited to risk exposures far lower than institutional players. Volatility is also a big issue for regulators and is an important consideration in policies for investor protection as it relates to cryptoassets.

Recently retailer customers in Vietnam, India, Pakistan and the Ukraine have been buying cryptocurrencies and driving the adoption rate to more than 881 percent in 2021In India retail investment rose 600 percent from April 2020 to March 2021, leaping from $900 million to $6.6 billion,  however, traders went on a selling spree in anticipation of unfavorable regulations and a possible ban on cryptocurrencies, which led to tumbling prices.

Such erratic buying and selling hinders the sector’s progress, setting off a vicious circle of perpetual volatility. Policymakers are advised to offer a greater degree of consistency and clarity when it comes to the direction of travel and regulatory certainty of cryptoassets to help better align to and address retail investor’s interests for longer-term market stability.

A Crypto Market For All Investors

The crypto and digital assets sector is on the verge of a paradigm shift with Web3.0, and for that shift to happen, incubators, accelerators and venture capitalists are poised to rise to the occasion. In addition, onboarding new investors is vital, and many are already meeting these new challenges with relative efficiency.

Creating a safe space for retail and institutional investors is one of their primary functions of incubators and accelerators. If policymakers and regulators can match this with regulatory sandboxes such as Hester Peirce’s Safe Harbor Proposal in the U.S., and the Pan-European Regulatory Sandbox as part of MiCA, the sector will be better grounded to efficiently and effectively serve all investor markets.

The opportunity to start a new era of innovative industry and regulator collaboration is upon us and we are close to the tipping point of policy makers understanding the importance and impact that this new and innovative digital financial infrastructure will have on society.

Platforms like Morningstar Ventures are leveraging in-house and outsourced expertise to boost investor confidence through rigorous assessment and risk management. Using these principles, Morningstar Ventures has broadened its portfolio to span a multitude of investments across the Decentralized Finance (DeFi) space, including tokens like Elrond, Polkastarter, Humans.ai and Yield Guild, and equity investments including NGRAVE, Moralis.io, Unstoppabledomains.com, and Ethernity.io. Successful incubators like Morningstar Ventures consider all the markers necessary for well-informed investment decisions, from revenue models to growth potential.

With ongoing innovations in crypto-based venture capital funding, the scope for secure retail investments is broader than ever before. Diverse fundraising methods, such as Initial Exchange Offerings (IEOs) and Initial DEX Offerings (IDOs), are crucial to further lowering the barriers to entry. Furthermore, present-day launchpads prioritize sustainable growth, implementing robust checks and balances to filter bad actors. DAO Maker, for example, offers a lock-in functionality that secures investors while ensuring accountability on the part of the innovator.

Ultimately, delivering the Web3.0 vision will require adoption by both retail and institutional investors. Institutional investors have the resources to deploy to reduce volatility and improve mainstream adoption by infusing liquidity into cryptocurrency markets, while retailers uphold the sector’s community-governed structure. Both are key to success. To bridge the gap and entice both sides to the table, incubators, accelerators and venture capitalists play an important and vital role in helping ensure the crypto and digital assets sector’s sustainable future.

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Source: Crypto Incubators, Accelerators And Venture Capitalists Rise To The Challenge Of Web3.0 For All Investors

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11 Passive Income Ideas to Earn an Extra Grand Each Month

What would you do with an extra $1,000 a month? For most of us, this could be a real game-changer. After all, with this influx of extra cash, you could…

For most of us, this could be a real game-changer. After all, with this influx of extra cash, you could pay off financial debt, purchase a life insurance policy, or invest in your retirement. What’s more, you could finally take that dream vacation, make home repairs, or take a class to further your career. And, considering that fewer than 4 in 10 Americans could pay for a $1,000 emergency expense, you could build a substantial emergency fund.

But, unless you receive an inheritance or win the lottery, this $1,000 per month isn’t just going to appear out of the blue. You’re going to have to earn it. And, your first thought might mean picking up a second job.

There’s nothing wrong with this approach — especially if you’re in a financial crisis or have a short-term financial goal. On the flip side, this can pull you away from your family, friends, or hobbies. Plus, it can be exhausting in addition to your full-time job. In turn, that could actually put your main source of income in jeopardy if your performance or productivity plummets.

So, where can you realistically earn an extra grand each month? Through a passive income.

What is a passive income?

A passive income is when you make money without exerting much effort. In fact, this requires so little effort that many people describe a passive income as earning money while sleeping. Obviously, that doesn’t always literally happen. But hopefully, you have at least a basic understanding of what a passive income is.

There is, however, a passive income myth that must be debunked. Many people assume that earning a passive income is so easy that you only need a weekend to start. And, after that, you can just sit back and wait for the money to roll into your bank account.

In reality, there’s a lot of work to be done upfront. Even after the initial legwork, you’ll still have to maintain and update your passive income sources. It’s like taking care of your home or vehicle. Without properly taking care of these assets, they will quickly deteriorate and lose value.

If you do put in a little elbow grease and stay committed, then yes, a passive income can create an additional income stream. Eventually, this can help you achieve financial freedom, stability, and security. As a result, this reduces stress and anxiety.

In short, earning a passive income can significantly improve your life. And, if that sounds appealing to you, here are 11 passive ideas that can bring in an extra thousand bucks per month.

1. Investing.

As Jeff Rose, the Wealth Hacker, says, this first idea should be a no-brainer. And, despite what you may believe, it doesn’t take a small fortune to begin investing.

“Whether it be 50 bucks a month, $100 a month, anything that you can start investing, you can start making gains, start making interest, of your investment,” he adds. Examples include;

  • Index funds. These are mutual funds or exchange-traded funds that are tied to a market index, such as the S&P 500. Because of this, these funds’ performance correlates with that of the underlying index. Moreover, they’re passively managed as well.
  • Dividend stocks. If you want to make this a worthwhile investment, you will have to invest a significant amount of time and money. If you invest regularly in dividend stocks and put in the time and effort, you will have a very stable recurring income.
  • Peer-to-peer lending. Through platforms like LendingClub and Prosper, you can lend money directly with a click of a button. You can expect a 10.58% average interest rate.
  • Cryptocurrency. It’s not advisable to go all-in with crypto. But, as Cale Moodie wrote in a previous Due article, “the risk of investing in crypto is evening out, and as the market continues to correct itself, we’ll see more legitimate crypto investment opportunities rise to the top.”

What if you don’t know where to start? No worries. You can get assistance with robo-advisors.

“There are Robo Advisors such as Betterment, Wealthfront, Acorns, Robinhood, Ally Invest, E-Trade,” Rose says. “If you know nothing about investing and you want somebody to pick those investments for you, that’s why I have to recommend Betterment.

“Betterment doesn’t have any money to start and they will choose an ETF model for you,” he explains. “So, if you’re putting any money in, they’re gonna choose those investments and then you’ll sit back and start making those capital gains in dividends, otherwise passive income.”

2. Deal and/or survey sites.

Some might not consider this as a passive income since you are putting in a little work. But, signing up for deal and/or survey sites let you earn a minimal income while going about your daily life.

For example, you can make money when you’re doing your online shopping or filling surveys while watching Netflix or on your commute to or from work.

Sure. This probably won’t buy you a yacht. But, instead of just sitting there and wasting time, why not pick up some extra cash on the side?

3. Cash-back reward points.

“This one’s a little bit outside the box, but hear me out,” Rose states. “Taking advantage of cash-back reward points,” is another proven passive income idea.

“Now, I know, I’m sure you’re thinking how is that really passive income?” he asks “But, check this out.

“Before I started using credit cards to pay all of our bills, we used to use debit cards all the time, “ Rose states. “Because I always subscribed to the idea of like you shouldn’t have credit cards because credit cards are evil.” The thing is, when used responsibly, credit cards aren’t that evil.

Why? Because credit cards offer various reward points. And, if you don’t take advantage of them, you’re missing out on free money.

Rose explains that began using rewards points for cash back, hotels, or airline miles. “Anything like that that we knew that we’d be using on a frequent basis.,” he says. “So, now everything that we buy, whether it’s our cell phone bill, our satellite bill, Netflix, groceries, gasoline, we run all of our expenses through our credit cards and we get back tons of reward points.”

In fact, Rose was able to take a family vacation to Jamaica without having to spend a dime. “So, using your credit cards to take advantage of these reward points is so passive because you don’t have to do anything. You’re doing something that you’re already gonna do to begin with.” You just sit back and watch the money roll in.

4. Sell photos online.

Today, more than ever, photographers of all levels are in high demand. The reason? Bloggers, graphic designers, marketers, publishers buy and use photos online every day. Specifically, those on a shoestring budget, like bloggers and small to medium-sized website business owners are purchasing stock photos for their site or marketing materials like brooches.

But, where exactly can you sell your photos online? Unsplash, Shutterstock, iStock. Adobe Stock or Dreamstime are some of your best choices. Or, you could be in complete control by creating your own photography website in WordPress.

5. Patron.

“So, there’s this cool service called Patreon,” says Rose. “It’s for any artist that has a community, a growing community, and you wanna get paid for your work. And, you have a community of people that love your art whether that be your drawings, your music, whatever that art may be. And each time that you release a new item, you can get paid a fee for that.”

Best of all? You determine the amount of the fee.

An example of how this works is from Evan Burse, aka the Cartoon Block, who is friends with Rose. Burse has a thriving YouTube channel where the community will pay a fee whenever release a new image. And, he loves showing people how to sketch superheroes.

Since Burse was already sketching superheroes, he’s making some extra cash from a dedicated community that is excited and supportive of his work.

6. Write a book.

There’s no need to sugarcoat this. You aren’t going to compose a book overnight. Thankfully, the process is relatively simple.

Write a book about a niche you’re familiar with, self-publish it on Kindle Direct Publishing, Kobo, IngramSpark, or Smashwords. Although you’ll have to market as well, if it’s well-written and unique you’ll have another income source for years. In fact, Ross says that he’s still getting paid on sales of his book Soldier of Finance that he released in 2013.

7. Physical goods.

With physical goods, the sky’s the limit. For instance, you could sell coffee mugs, t-shirts, dog leashes, yoga mats, or handkerchiefs online. Especially, through Amazon’s FBA program.

“Amazon offers a couple of different fulfillment strategies,” explains Serenity Gibbons in a previous Due article. “One is their Fulfillment by Amazon platform – also known as FBA. The other option allows sellers to fulfill their own orders. Each method comes with its own pros and cons.”

“The major benefit of using FBA is that you don’t have to worry about a thing,” adds Serenity. “Amazon stores your inventory and does all of the picking, packing, and shipping. They also provide tracking numbers, handle returns, and deal with customer correspondence.” Just be aware that you will “have to pay for this service, which can eat away at your profits.”

Another option? Sell your own handmade products, like jewelry, belts, furniture, pet supplies, clothing, or candles. Afterward, you can list them on online platforms such as Etsy or Shopify.

8. Real estate.

“Real estate investing is a great way to not only build your passive income but your financial future,” notes Catherine Way in another piece for Due. “Thankfully there are many easy ways to start investing in real estate despite your background. From flips or note investments, it is easier than ever to start real estate investing.”

In order to start investing, you must understand the basics such as the local market conditions, how to calculate your return on investment, profits, and the different types of real estate prior to investing in real estate

Another option for real estate investing? Rental property that’s run by a managing company via platforms like;

  • Roofstock provides the option for renting cash-flowing single-family homes.
  • Fundrise lets investors invest in private real estate through a crowdfunding platform.
  • RealtyMogul allows you to invest in large developments, such as commercial or multifamily buildings.
  • EquityMultiple permits you to invest in real estate with as little as $10,000.
  • Groundfloor aims to make private capital markets accessible to all by crowdsourcing real estate investing and lending for as little as $10.
  • FarmTogether lets you invest in farmland to create a predictable investment strategy.

9. YouTube.

In terms of what type of channel to launch on YouTube, there are quite a few options available to you. You might review products, give your opinion, or share instructional tips. You can even provide updates on a niche topic that you’re either familiar with or passionate about.

But, how does that translate into money?

That’s an easy question to answer; ads. Of course, you need to be a quality content creator and build an audience. When you do, you’ll get paid through those ads that you’re probably skipping. Additionally, you could have your videos sponsored by a company. If you spend any time on YouTube, you’ve no doubt come across videos that have been sponsored by companies like Magic Spoon, Manscaped, Raycon, or ExpressVPN.

10. Blogging.

Yes. You can make serious coin by blogging. You just need to take that all-important first step and actually start your blog by;

  • Select a blog name related to your name, product, or service.
  • Purchase the domain and web hosting so that your blog goes live.
  • Customize your blog through a website builder or hire a pro to do this for you.
  • Write and publish your first post.

Next, keep creating and sharing your content. Like with YouTube, having quality content and a dedicated following can help you monetize your blog. Generally, this is through banner ads or affiliate marketing. But, you could also offer coaching services or sell information products like an instructional guide, eBook, or case study.

To turn this income into a passive income you’ll want to take advantage of automation. “Simply find tools that streamline the tasks you’re tired of doing and integrate them into your blogging workflow,” suggests Peter Daisyme is the co-founder of Hostt. “There are apps to automate email marketing, social media, list segmentation, proofreading, writing headlines, scheduling meetings, tracking analytics, finding link-building opportunities, optimizing images, automating business payments, and everything in between.”

On the other hand, there is only so much you can automate.” At some point, you have to build up a team of skilled professionals who can help you handle the tasks that require human energy and creativity,” he adds. “This is where outsourcing to freelancers and virtual assistants comes into play.

11. Create your own online course.

Creating a course is one way to diversify your income,” says personal finance writer and founder of Tay Talks Money Taylor Gordon. “If you’re making money from a business, there’s a good chance you have something to teach that people want to learn.”

“I like making and taking courses from other people because they’re often a smaller ticket product that gives me an introductory into what the person is about,” adds Gordon. “From there, I can decide if I want to invest with them again.”

Interested? Then let’s rundown the steps you’ll need to take to create an online course;

  • Choose the right idea. Your course topic should be one that is likely to be of interest to people. Make sure to do your research and ask the right questions beforehand. “Sometimes courses that people say they’re interested in aren’t actually courses that they will dig into their wallets to purchase, she says.
  • Outline the course. You don’t have to include every single detail. But, you’ll want to flesh out a lesson plan so that you and your students know where the course is heading.
  • Test the market. Gauge interest through a presale or beta version.
  • Choose a course platform. Delivering your course via daily emails is probably the easiest and cheapest method, says Gordon. Alternatives include Udemy, Teachable, Thinkific, or Zippy Courses, which are more involved sites. You could also go with a straightforward payment and digital delivery service such as SendOwl or Gumroad.
  • Promote like it’s your job. Finally, go on a marketing blitz through email marketing, purchasing ads, hosting a webinar, or being a podcast guest.

By

Source: 11 Passive Income Ideas to Earn an Extra Grand Each Month

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Crypto Prices Tumble Again After $300 Billion Sell-Off—How Low Can Bitcoin Go?

The price of bitcoin fell to a three-month low Saturday, continuing a slide that began Wednesday when the Federal Reserve sparked a broad sell-off by cautioning it may move more quickly than previously expected to reverse policy meant to bolster the economy during the pandemic, and experts forecast the latest crypto market drawback is likely to go on for weeks.

Bitcoin fell as much as 3% to below $41,000 by 1:45 p.m. ET, according to crypto data website CoinMarketCap, bringing its losses to more than 12% since the Fed warned it may move more aggressively to remove pandemic-era stimulus as it looks to combat high levels of inflation.

In a weekend email, analyst Yuya Hasegawa of cryptocurrency broker Bitbank cautioned he expects the world’s largest cryptocurrency could continue falling until the broader market, which has similarly struggled since the Fed’s Wednesday announcement, digests the likelihood of the Fed hiking interest rates as soon as March.

Hasegawa said bitcoin could fall as low as $40,000 in the near term, but that the government’s consumer price index report due out next Wednesday could bring a rebound if it shows inflation spiked more than expected, stoking the inflationary fears that have lifted bitcoin to new highs as recently as November.

On Thursday, crypto billionaire Mike Novogratz, the CEO of financial services firm Galaxy Digital, told CNBC the selloff could push bitcoin down another 8% from current prices to as low as $38,000—a level unseen since early August.

“I’m not nervous in the medium term but we’re going to have a lot of volatility in the next few weeks,” the staunch bitcoin bull said told CNBC, before pointing to booming institutional adoption as a bullish indicator for the nascent space.

Novogratz wasn’t alone among billionaire crypto investors cheering bitcoin on during its latest sell-off: “So. much. money. patiently waiting to [buy the dip] in bitcoin,” Barry Silbert, the founder and CEO of crypto firm Digital Currency Group, wrote on Twitter Saturday afternoon.

Bitcoin was far from alone in falling Saturday afternoon. Over the past 24 hours, ether, binance coin and sol were down 5%, 6% and 3%, respectively—pushing losses to roughly 20% apiece over the last week.”Bitcoin remains vulnerable to a breach of the $40,000 level, and it could get bad for ether if it breaks the $3,000 level,” Oanda Senior Market Analyst Ed Moya wrote in a Friday email. Ether prices clocked in at about $3,034 on Saturday.  “The long-term outlook is still bullish for both the top two cryptocurrencies, but the short-term is looking ugly.”

Despite bitcoin’s bouts of intense volatility, Goldman Sachs co-head of global foreign exchange Zach Pandl wrote in a note to clients this week that the cryptocurrency could top $100,000 in the next five years. Pandl said he expects bitcoin’s share of the crypto market, currently about 41%, “will most likely rise over time as a byproduct of broader adoption of digital assets” and that the cryptocurrency will increasingly compete with gold as a hedge against inflation.

$1.9 trillion. That’s the value of all the world’s cryptocurrencies Saturday afternoon, down more than $300 billion, or 14%, since Wednesday and more than $1 trillion below an all-time high of $3 trillion in November. Over the last five years, bitcoin prices have skyrocketed about 4,300%.

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I’m a senior reporter at Forbes focusing on markets and finance. I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where I double-majored in business journalism and economics while working for UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School as a marketing and communications assistant. Before Forbes, I spent a summer reporting on the L.A. private sector for Los Angeles Business Journal and wrote about publicly traded North Carolina companies for NC Business News Wire. Reach out at jponciano@forbes.com. And follow me on Twitter @Jon_Ponciano

Source: ‘Looking Ugly’: Crypto Prices Tumble Again After $300 Billion Sell-Off—How Low Can Bitcoin Go?

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Botox, Billionaires, and Bitcoin: 2021 In Charts

This year, mercifully, saw quite a few notable improvements over the last. In 2021, vaccines became widely available, and many of the experiences we had to forgo in 2020, the first year of the pandemic, have begun to return in the second. Unemployment is low, and wages are rising.

That’s not to say we’re out of the woods with the pandemic. In fact, more Americans died of Covid-19 in 2021 than in 2020. And, motivated by widespread misinformation, a sizable portion of the eligible population still has not gotten a vaccine, even as variants like delta and omicron make it hard to feel at ease. Meanwhile, the richest Americans are accumulating even more wealth, and high inflation rates are making everyone’s money worth less.

Of course, many of this year’s trends existed long before the pandemic, though the public health crisis has certainly kicked some into high gear. What follows is a series of charts that attempt to illustrate some of the major trends of 2021. All data is from what was available in mid-December.

Vaccination rates are rising, but they may never be high enough

Currently, about 61 percent of Americans are fully vaccinated, while 72 percent have received at least one dose. That rate is lower than much of the rest of the developed world, trailing China, Canada, and the UK, among others. While vaccination numbers have steadily ticked upward, thanks to a combination of public health campaigns and employer mandates, a good chunk of Americans — 13 percent — say they’ll never get the vaccine.

As such, it’s unlikely the United States will ever reach full herd immunity. Experts have estimated we’d need at least a 90 percent vaccination rate for the disease to eventually disappear, which is a far cry from current levels. Instead, Covid-19 will probably persist even after the most acute aspects of the public health emergency recede.

Work as it was wasn’t working out

There’s nothing like a pandemic to put things in perspective. After enduring the tragedy and trials of the past two years, many Americans are rethinking the importance of work in their lives. They’re reconsidering the types of work they do, how that work is done, and whether they want or need to work at all.

That’s led people to quit their jobs at record rates, and a confluence of factors is leaving millions of open jobs unfilled, especially low-paying or otherwise unattractive work. Of course, as the remnants of government benefits and elevated rates of savings slip away, these options will become less feasible. For now, though, the workers seem to have the upper hand.

Wages are rising because they have to

Worker power is most apparent in rising wages. In November, average hourly earnings for private employees rose to $26.40 for non-managers — up nearly 6 percent from the year before and high above typical levels of growth. Some of the biggest gains could be found in industries with the lowest wages, illustrating how the need for workers in less desirable industries is helping drive up what those workers make. The Conference Board expects wages to grow another 4 percent next year.

Lest the news seem too good, remember that high rates of inflation are cutting into real wage growth. Real average hourly wages were down nearly 2 percent in November, when adjusted for growth in the Consumer Price Index.

The return to the office has been pushed back

The return to the office was slated for this fall. However, after the arrival of the delta and omicron variants, January 2022 or “TBD” have become the new September 2021. Office occupancy among the biggest metro areas is at just 40 percent of what it was pre-pandemic, according to data from office keycard company Kastle Systems.

Some companies are deciding to go fully remote while others, more commonly, are electing for a hybrid model, where some workers go into the office some of the time. What that means for the future of office real estate is uncertain, but what’s clear is that remote work has become a perk to attract and retain workers, factoring in somewhere between higher pay and paid vacation. It’s also a trend that’s likely to stick around, even beyond the pandemic.

Unions are more popular than they’ve been in decades

Despite declining for years to just 11 percent of workers in 2020, some leading indicators suggest union membership could tick up in 2021. Popular approval of unions has grown to its highest level in half a century, according to annual polls from Gallup.

This year, a number of union actions, including 248 strikes as of early December according to Cornell’s Labor Action Tracker, as well as several very high-profile unionizing efforts at Amazon and Starbucks, have kept unions in the news. Additionally, legislation that passed the House and is currently in the Senate could make it much easier for employees to unionize in the future.

Antitrust action isn’t stopping mergers

The government has been taking a tougher antitrust stance in the past few years, increasingly suing companies for anti-competitive behavior and even threatening to break up Big Tech. That, however, hasn’t stopped these companies from trying to acquire other companies. In fiscal year 2021, there were 3,644 large merger transactions recorded — the highest number in two decades — according to preliminary data from the Federal Trade Commission, which requires companies to report potential mergers of a certain size. Even Facebook, which could be forced by the government to divest from previous acquisitions like WhatsApp and Instagram, has been on an acquisition spree.

While some of the jump in transactions can be explained by pandemic-related delays caused in 2020, the sheer number of pre-merger filings in 2021 is still way higher than it’s been in twenty years. Don’t expect this trend to stop anytime soon. Fiscal year 2022, which started in October, already has more than 1,000 merger notices.

It’s getting easier to hate billionaires

The owners of some of the biggest businesses are facing scrutiny as well. About half of Americans have a negative view of billionaires. It certainly doesn’t help the case of billionaires that their wealth swelled 70 percent during a global pandemic that left millions dead and many millions more out of work. The top 1 percent of Americans by wealth control a third of all household wealth in the US, up from about a quarter in the 1990s, according to data from the Federal Reserve. As more wealth gets concentrated in fewer hands, those whose hands aren’t flush are going to get more upset.

Crypto grew up, maybe

Still, others wish they could replicate that wealth, and they helped make 2021 the year cryptocurrency went mainstream. This year, crypto buying and selling platform Coinbase became the first major cryptocurrency company to go public in the United States, giving investors on the regular stock market a chance to invest in a crypto company.

Average Americans are also increasingly investing in cryptocurrencies themselves, through mainstream platforms like Square and PayPal as well as Robinhood and Coinbase. More than one in 10 Americans invested in cryptocurrency this year, according to a survey by NORC at the University of Chicago. Similarly, NFTs, digital assets whose ownership can be tracked using blockchain technology, have also surged in popularity.

By and large, crypto investors have seen the price of their assets increase this year — if they’ve been holding since the beginning of the year. The price of bitcoin, for example, was up 68 percent as of mid-December and had been up over 100 percent earlier in the year, according to CoinDesk. Dogecoin, which isn’t worth anywhere near as much, was up nearly 3,700 percent (so high, we didn’t include it in the chart, lest it eclipse everything else). Cryptocurrencies are notoriously volatile, moving on everything from rumors of government regulation to an Elon Musk tweet, so a riches story can turn to rags real quick.

With meme stocks, the joke is on everyone

This year, amateur investors, trading on sites like Robinhood and getting financial advice from Reddit, have taken the stock market by storm. Through coordinated efforts loosely designed to disrupt Wall Street and hedge funds, they brought the price of so-called meme stocks up to levels not seen in years, if ever (though lately they’ve experienced a bit of a meltdown). The price of these nostalgic assets — often of companies that would have been more at home in a 2000s-era mall than a stock portfolio — grew untethered from their underlying financials, as their fate rests in diamond hands.

The supply chain entered popular parlance

Demand for goods is surging, but supply chain issues including clogged ports and a lack of workers are keeping that demand from being met. Supply delays hit record levels in October, according to data from information firm IHS Markit, which compiles an index of supplier delivery times. These supply chain issues have resulted in longer waits, less selection, higher prices, and generally lots of headaches. In turn, the term “supply chain” has transitioned from business jargon to popular parlance.

Inflation is popping

When delivery times rise, so do prices. Inflation was up 6.8 percent in November compared with a year ago, its highest annual rate since the early 1980s. Whether it’s true inflation or just supply chain stuff isn’t clear. What is clear is that Americans will have to spend a lot more than usual on everything from food to fuel to festivities this holiday season.

No news is good news

Since the start of the pandemic, many of us have been trapped at home and glued to the news, but after a tumultuous start of the year, our readership is returning to more normal levels, according to data from Parse.ly, which showed us page views from a sample of its customers like Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal, and Medium.

We read insatiably about the pandemic, but also about our former president. Publisher page views reached a record high on November 4, 2020, the day after Election Day; they also spiked during the Capitol riot. Since then, page views are down among the sample but still higher than they used to be.

ESG is the new WTF

One of the biggest corporate buzzwords this year was ESG, which stands for environmental, social, and governance criteria, both for running a company and investing in those companies. Thanks to an increased appetite for this type of investment, ESG and related terms skyrocketed this year on company earnings calls as leaders strove to make employees and investors aware of their commitment to ethical values.

The problem is that the terms are so loose — and loosely governed — as to be meaningless. Some investments marketed as ESG can be far from socially or environmentally righteous, including companies that profit from everything from private prisons to fossil fuels. Socially responsible governance and investing is certainly positive, but it requires more than following the latest marketing to achieve.

Event attendance is up but mostly not back to normal

Thanks to widespread vaccinations, people started to attend events in person again this year. Activities that were completely off-limits in the first year of the pandemic are becoming popular again in the second. Festival attendance in the US has surpassed pre-pandemic levels in the second half of 2021, according to data from demand forecast company PredictHQ, partly because outdoor events are safer than indoor ones. Most other types of events, however, are still recovering.

It’s harder than ever to know what’s in or out, but that won’t stop us from trying

Thanks to the ephemerality of social media, trends are going in and out of fashion faster than ever. What was all the rage one moment can be forgotten by our collective memory the next (hi, TikTok pasta!). Add in a global pandemic putting the state of the world and everything in it in flux, and it can be very difficult to make heads or tails of popular consumption.

That’s why it’s always fun to take a look at Google Trends to try and guess what will be hot next and what’s already been left behind. We took a closer look thanks to the financial platform Sentieo, which stacks Google trends by year to see how this year’s trends compared to last year’s. But don’t bother trying to figure out what jeans or hair parts are cool — because that’s personal to you.

Rani Molla

By: Ronni Molla

Source: Botox, billionaires, and bitcoin: 2021 in charts – Vox

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What Crypto Investors Need To Know About Charitable Tax Planning

Ah, December. It always feels like this month sneaks up on us. For many, it is the last chance to impact their tax planning. But in the year end rush, there is a lot to consider.

The past 18 months have been a wild ride in the capital markets. From the lows of March 2020 to the highs of the recent months, investors have done incredibly well. Further investors who fearlessly entered the crypto market a few years back might find themselves with significant gains.

And that is where taxes can become tricky. “Think of cryptocurrency like a stock. Sell it in less than a year at a gain, and it is ordinary income. More than a year, and it’s taxed at long-term capital gains rates,” explains Adam Markowitz, EA and Vice President, Howard L Markowitz PA, CPA

While recognizing a gain might seem like the only option available to crypto investors, a unique tax planning opportunity is available:  the ability to use your cypto holdings to donate to charity. As crypto becomes commonplace in investment portfolios, more donor advised funds (DAFs) and charities are accepting these holdings in their donations.

For many this will be a significant planning opportunity, but just because it is permissible, doesn’t mean it’s straightforward. There are a few rules of the road that crypto investors must consider when donating to charity.

Tax Mechanics

Before we get into how crypto can be donated, it is important to understand the mechanics of donating noncash assets to charities.

“In addition to cash donations, individuals, partnerships and corporations are allowed a charitable deduction on their tax returns for donated property,” explains Lorilyn Wilson, CPA & CEO of Lookahead LLC and DueNorth PDX.

Publicly traded securities are commonly-donated non-cash items. In this situation, investors can get a special two-part tax benefit. First, they do not have to recognize the capital gain; second, they get a charitable deduction when the holdings go to the charity or donor advised fund.

“But there are rules. For property donated with a combined worth of more than $500 (think Goodwill donations, cars, etc.), an additional form called Form 8283 must be filed as well,” says Wilson. For publicly traded holdings, only Part I of the form is required.

“The IRS requires you take the charitable deduction at the fair market value of the property being donated – and this is the form used to do just that,” says Wilson.  “Questions such as the name of the organization donated to, property description, date property was acquired and contributed, how much it cost, and what the resale value is – is all information gathered on this form.”

Donating stocks can be a powerful tax management tool, but charities and DAFs have historically been nervous about crypto. Things are changing and the door for donating crypto is now open.

Be Aware of Appraisal Rules

Donating crypto is not as straightforward as donating publicly traded stocks. The world of crypto has not been transparent and the rules around donations reflect that.

“Now let’s say someone has decided to donate their crypto or other non-publicly traded securities. Could they artificially inflate the value of their donated property to get a higher deduction and pay less in taxes? As usual, the IRS is one step ahead of them,” says Wilson.

That’s why it is important to be aware of another set of rules surrounding Form 8283. Unlike publicly traded securities, a donation of cyrpto currency that exceeds $5,000 will require a qualified appraisal.   Wait, aren’t crypto currencies actively traded, with the ups and downs of their prices making headlines? The answer is that neither the IRS nor the SEC has taken any official position to treat cryptocurrencies as securities. In fact, the IRS has designated cryptocurrency as property and not currency.

A qualified appraisal must meet IRS requirements, including the need to use a qualified appraiser who has met education and experience requirements. Qualified appraisers are usually licensed or certified in the state in which the property is located.

Further, the appraisal must be done no more than 60 days prior to the donation and no later than the due date of the tax return including extensions. The appraisal is reported on Form 8283 and the appraiser is required to sign the form. No appraiser? No deduction.

It can be challenging to find a crypto appraiser, but as the technique is in greater demand, there are more resources available. Investors who use a donor advised fund like Schwab Charitable or Fidelity Charitable, may also be able to draw on their expertise.

Investors should anticipate that they will spend approximately $500 to $1,000 on appraisal fees, but the tax benefit may be worth it.

Check With Your Tax Professional

Ultimately, crypto investors should seek help from their tax professional to make sure that they take the appropriate steps in donating crypto to a DAF. It could mean the difference between a great tax planning experience and the disappointment of a disallowed deduction.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

Ever since my first tax class in law school, I have been fascinated by wealth and the journey one takes to achieve it.

Source: What Crypto Investors Need To Know About Charitable Tax Planning

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