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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How Corporate Intelligence Teams Help Businesses Manage Risk

The word “intelligence” is loaded: While some confuse it with corporate espionage, today nearly every major company has an intelligence function or is building one. Prior to Covid-19, many corporate intelligence teams largely focused on security, but the pandemic has demonstrated the broader value of intelligence.

In a world of contradictory and misleading information, smart business leaders use intelligence to see around corners, mitigate risk, provide insight, and shape their decision-making. The authors offer an overview of corporate intelligence functions and provide advice on how to structure these internal teams.

In January 2020, a small team at the global financial services technology company Fiserv began closely watching early warning signs of a new disease outbreak in the regional capital of Wuhan, China. The team triangulated reliable media sources and applied their best analytical judgment based on comparable early indicators from historic outbreaks, such as SARS.

Prescient analysis revealed a potentially major disease was in the offing. The team recommended against executive travel even before the virus had been detected in the U.S., earlier than most companies or governments. Scenario assessments of the potential human and economic impact led the company to invest in protective equipment for personnel early on and mitigate risks by swiftly transitioning to remote work.

Why did Fiserv correctly anticipate looming risk while others languished behind the news cycle? Because it had a dedicated and trusted geo-political analysis team, which practices intelligence work, scanning the horizon and keeping senior leadership informed of growing risk and consequent business implications.

In a world of contradictory and misleading information, this kind of intelligence provides situational awareness of cyber threats, security risks, political instability, or other trouble brewing. Smart business leaders consciously use intelligence to shape their decisions.

The word “intelligence” is a loaded one. Some confuse it with corporate espionage, as described in Barry Meier’s Spooked, which portrays private-sector intelligence practitioners as dangerous renegades. Companies can cross the line. Among other egregious examples, an eBay team targeted and harassed bloggers and Credit Suisse used private investigators to surveil employees. These are the bad news exceptions.

Every day, private-sector intelligence professionals legally and ethically steer companies away from trouble and towards opportunity and decisiveness. Organizations, such as the Association of International Risk Intelligence Professionals, are establishing standards and codes of conduct, and academic institutions, such as Mercyhurst University, are producing a new generation of private-sector focused intelligence professionals.

Companies invest in security and intelligence because it helps the bottom line. According to Lewis Sage-Passant, a doctoral researcher at Loughborough University studying private sector intelligence, these functions are now “ubiquitous”: Virtually every major company either has a security intelligence capacity or is building one.

Seeing Around Corners

The best intelligence functions help leaders understand what is happening and what is likely to happen next. Erica Brescia, who until recently served as chief operating officer at GitHub, described the value of their intelligence team during the Covid-19 pandemic: “Our team helped us to identify threats and communicate effectively with multiple audiences throughout the company and across national and cultural boundaries to keep our employees safe and the business running.”

Likewise, Microsoft Global Intelligence Program Manager Liz Maloney told us: “Intelligence is the first step in understanding your risk…Our mission is to enable decision makers to mitigate risk and to respond to residual risk that we can’t avoid.”

A survey of 94 private-sector intelligence professionals revealed that their positions were often created in response to a “threat or crisis.” In the aftermath of terror attacks, cyber assaults, disinformation campaigns, and sudden political shifts, companies belatedly realized that a small investment in situational awareness is better than costly late reaction to unanticipated problems.

In a stark example, a fatal 2013 terror attack on a BP/Statoil/Sonatrach joint venture in In Amenas, Algeria, led both BP and Statoil to significantly enhance their intelligence capabilities to better identify hidden threats.

Mitigating Risk, Providing Insight

Intelligence can create a competitive advantage by enabling operations where others fear to tread. In high threat environments, strong intelligence enables companies to efficiently target security resources on the most relevant risks.

When entering new markets, intelligence teams help executives avoid becoming entangled with dodgy partners or overspending on security while closing the deal. “Information is king,” an aviation security intelligence professional told us. “You don’t need all the armed guards if you have good intelligence.”

The value of private-sector intelligence, according to Maloney, is “giving the business confidence and avoiding overreactions.” For example, after Microsoft executives saw alarming external reporting about security dangers in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in 2017, Microsoft’s in-house intelligence team provided a nuanced assessment, specific to the company’s footprint, that gave the C-suite the confidence to continue operating safely.

Offering Much More than Security

Prior to Covid-19, many corporate intelligence teams largely focused on security, but the pandemic has shown the broader value of intelligence. Diana Dragon, head of global insights at Standard Industries, noted: “The same skills used to assess security risks can be used in identifying trends and opportunities.” According to the aviation security intelligence professional we spoke to, prior to Covid-19, his team was known as “the security guys.” Now they provide widespread strategic intelligence.

Intelligence analysis can simply relay facts to protect people and assets (baseline level of the pyramid below) but is most valuable when used for strategic, proactive decision-making support (top level). At Fiserv, the geopolitical analysis team, which sits outside of security, already had a broad remit and provided critical intelligence analysis early on that prepared the company for the impending Covid-19 pandemic.

Similarly, teams at Microsoft and GitHub tapped into the top-level potential, analyzing security or geopolitical trends to support strategic business decision making.

Managing Intelligence Better

Intelligence roles are often buried deep in an organization, scattered across corporate functions, or obscured under opaque job titles. Surveys reveal intelligence roles popping up in 20 different business units.

This approach often makes intelligence employees invisible to senior leaders who would benefit from their skills, experience, and networks. “Not having direct contact with decision makers significantly degrades the quality of the service,” says Ryan Long, co-founder and co-host of the Business of Intelligence podcast, “and will likely cause the practitioner to miss mark altogether.”

There is no one-size-fits-all answer for structuring intelligence teams, but specific characteristics lead to success. First, direct connectivity to decision makers is critical. As explained by Brescia in her time at GitHub, “the intel team has direct contact with decision-makers across the company.” From the outset, she met with her head of intelligence, set expectations and priorities, and empowered the intelligence team to come to her if they identified risks that needed to be brought to leadership’s attention.

The intelligence team is also included in working groups on issues of concern to leadership from early on, giving them visibility on executive priorities. Intelligence teams provide the best value when they are clear on the decisions to be made, the questions to be answered, and the company’s strategic goals.

Second, corporate intelligence units must break down silos and engage stakeholders across all business units. “It’s critical,” says Long, “that the intelligence practitioner engage with the customer to understand their needs, receive frequent feedback, and develop rapport.” Teams closely tied to strategy give better support. Better questions lead to better responses.

And finally, an intelligence professional must lead the effort. Whether from government or the private sector, they must be versed in analytic tradecraft, understand collection methodology for the private sector, be able to evaluate vendors’ quality and ethics, and have the skills and experience to understand what the business needs.

Some companies are leading the way and have built intelligence capacities that harness the potential of intelligence to both mitigate risk and facilitate business opportunities. Fiserv’s geopolitical analysis team reports alongside security to the head of global services.

At Standard Industries, the intelligence function moved out of security in 2021 and now the head of global insights sits on the executive leadership team. This new structure arose due to intelligence’s demonstrated ability to provide strategic guidance and support to senior executives on opportunities and trends, as well as risks, across the gamut of corporate activities.

If your company does not have an intelligence function, your competitors likely do. And even if you do, you may not be using it to optimum effect. Are you engaged with the team? Does the team understand your strategy, timelines, and gaps in information? Are you using intelligence beyond security issues to inform wider business challenges?

Executives must empower their intelligence teams, sharing goals and objectives. Likewise, intelligence teams must understand the business, tailoring their products to maximize opportunity and minimize risk. When the right insight arrives at the right time to shape an important decision, a firm gains enormous advantage. It is well worth the modest investment of time and resources to make that happen.

Source: How Corporate Intelligence Teams Help Businesses Manage Risk

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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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Life Settlements: A Hidden Source Of Cash For Seniors

From a financial perspective, this is an interesting time for seniors, many of whom are retired. Equity markets have delivered historically strong returns for the past several years, which has boosted savings. However, between low fixed-income yields and rising inflation, many are wondering whether their assets will provide all the cash flow they need to maintain their lifestyles.

These factors are forcing many seniors, who are often solely dependent on cash flow from their investments and social security payments, to seek out additional sources of cash. Most do not know that something called “life settlements” may be the solution they need.

What Is A Life Settlement?

A life settlement is the sale of a life insurance policy to a third party. In a life settlement transaction, policyholders will sell their life insurance for more than the cash value, if any, and less than the death benefit.

Policyholders (also referred to in this post as owners) who sell their life insurance achieve two sought-after goals: (1) they stop the cash outflow needed for future insurance premiums that keep the policy in force; and (2) they provide cash from the sale of the policy. In almost every instance, selling the policy will result in more cash than simply letting it lapse.

Of course, when selling a policy, the beneficiaries will no longer receive the death benefit. Rather, the buyer of the life insurance policy, who will also pay the policy’s premiums, will receive the death benefit.

Many seniors own life insurance policies they no longer need or can no longer afford. For example, they may be in a situation where the need for the policy has changed, such as when a mortgage is paid off or when beneficiaries no longer need financial support.

Unfortunately, most people are not even aware that there may be an option to sell a policy. With a few exceptions, insurance carriers, which benefit from lapses in life insurance policies, don’t inform policy holders of the life settlement option.Best Practices For Selling A Policy

Before selling a policy, policyholders need to consider whether it makes sense to do so. In doing so, a policyholder should answer these questions:

1. To what extent do my beneficiaries need the death benefit from the policy?

2. Are the policy’s premium payments affordable?

3. Is there cash value in the policy that I could use to make the premium payments?

4. If the premium payments are not affordable, do my beneficiaries want to pay the premiums so that they can keep the death benefit?

How Much Is The Policy Worth?

There are many factors that determine what a buyer will pay for a policy. These factors include:

·  The death benefit

·  The age and health of the insured (in general, life settlements buyers are interested in buying policies where the insured’s life expectancy is less than 15 years)

·  The premium payments

·  The amount of loans taken out under the policy, if any

Selling an insurance policy may give rise to taxable income, which would reduce the net proceeds to the policyholder.

How To Sell A Policy

There are different types of buyers of life settlements ranging from individual investors to institutions. In general, a policyholder can sell a policy to these investors directly or via a life settlement broker.

Life settlement brokers have a fiduciary responsibility to get the best price for the policy owner. However, life settlement brokers take a percentage of the selling price (up to 30%) or a percentage of the death benefit (between 6% and 8%).

Some life settlement investors will buy policies directly from policyholders. While this may eliminate the broker’s fee, these investors do not have a responsibility to ensure that the policy is sold at the best price.

It’s a good idea for policyholders to speak with more than one broker or investor to ensure they’re getting a top dollar for their policy. Keep in mind that “online calculators”and estimates provided by brokers or investors are, at best, a rough guess as to what the policy is worth and are not to be relied upon.

A life insurance salesperson can be of assistance in selling a policy as well. Note that some life insurance salespeople are more familiar with life settlements than others.

Note that some states regulate life settlements and those states’ department of insurance may provide important additional information that sellers should know.

The life settlement process can take two to five months during which period the policy must be kept in-force. Also, the life settlement process requires the policyholder to provide information about the policy and access to the insured’s medical records.

When Is A Life Settlement The Right Option?

On the one hand, a life settlement improves cash flow by providing a lump sum payment and eliminating future premium payments. On the other hand, selling an insurance policy means that the beneficiaries will not receive the death benefit.

As the baby boomer population has been going into retirement and the awareness of life settlements has increased over the past few years, tens of thousands of policy holders have sold their policies. The decision to sell a life insurance policy is typically a difficult one. However, with the knowledge of life settlements, policyholders have an additional option to consider to help meet cash needs.

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Rob Levin is the Managing Member of the Oasis Strategy Group, a company specializing in life settlements. Read Rob Levin’s full executive profile here.

Source: Life Settlements: A Hidden Source Of Cash For Seniors

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