In this episode, I talk about how people get into FAD or PWM (people without money) markets.

For example, Bitcoin was a FAD market. In 2018, the hysteria was insane. You had people making podcasts, videos, etc….and they all fell for it. Sure, Bitcoin still exists today, but the hysteria has gone away and the voices are now silent.

I read a post on FB yesterday that someone I knew once tried creating a business for new grads. Well, if you just graduated from university, more than likely you’re in debt — therefore, you’re in a PWM market. I’m not lucky, but when I entered the ESL space, I knew that this was a billion-dollar industry with a massive opportunity to go to AR/VR in the future with an insane amount of collaborations. So, because I’m worldwide, I’m not reliant on economies that have deteriorated (Thailand and probably have the countries on planet Earth). There are economies that are surging, at the moment, and because I’m a trainer and have specific skill-sets, I attract those individuals because I have assets.

I’m in a People-With-Money market. This is something you need to consider before starting a business.

Tune in!

What Is an ICO?

Do you remember the once popular way for new startups to raise funds that didn’t need venture capital — which was highly selective because of the return on investment? It was known as the initial coin offering (ICO). Initial coin offering offers investors with units of crypto-tokens in the forms of Ethereum and Bitcoin.

Some venture capitalist firms even believed that the ICO can disrupt the traditional IPO, or initial public offering, for a company who wants to list their company on the stock exchange to raise funds for their business like their offshoot crowdfunding platform Kickstarter and Indiegogo. However, the difference between ICO and crowdfunding is where ICO is set to fund blockchain based startups and blockchain based projects, normally, it is done in a presale and it has been very successful.

How does an ICO work?

I still remember listening to a podcast which a couple of people were talking about the potential of ICO for startups — especially blockchain based startups and decentralised apps startups. All of these startups became alternatives to the current startups that brought innovation and disrupted the current market like Airbnb that disrupted the traditional hotels’ business model — while Uber had disrupted the traditional cabbies in San Francisco business model, which had highly monopolised the market. These business models were known as the crowd based or marketplaces which were based on trust by both parties.

ICO is an offshoot of crowdfunding where a project or a startup founder decided to run a campaign to collect funds for its project from strangers. Even a Malaysian social enterprise startup that allows college or university students to launch their campaign like Kickstarter to finance their studies without student loans. However, the only difference here will be a token sale being offered to you and you can trade the token on cryptocurrency in a pre-sale. One of the easiest token sales will be the Ethereum token with its market capitalisation and it was done with the Ethereum smart contract app.

The most popular Ether will be the decentralised autonomous organisation (DAO), which is a distributed investment company that’s fuelled by Ethereum. An investor can receive some Ether DAO token with their market price and enable an investor to participate in the DAO governance. Since then, DAO is the blueprint for fundraising and crowdfunding for startups and projects. However, the risk of being hacked is higher compared to traditional fundraising through a venture capital firm or a crowdfunding platform because DAO is vulnerable to hacking and fraud.

Examples for successful Initial coin offering on Ethereum are:

Augur

Melonport

Golem

ICONOMI

Singular DTV

First Blood

Digix DAO.

They are many ICOs for them to explore new ways to connect the application with the token and to leverage smart contracts to keep an ICO secure and mitigate risks for investors to invest. The future of ICO is immense because it enables everyone and companies to easily trade tokens and raise funds freely. This will make the investment and stock trading more inclusive as social entrepreneurs, tech company founders, startup founders and Bill Gates had been envisioned by them. Here is when the global financial system will be disrupted.

Legality

ICO is still a grey matter, but the regulators are aware of them and start to regulate them while other jurisdictions are adopting a wait and see in the latest development of these new horizons.

The Future of Technology (1/2)

It’s already been 10 years since The Great Recession of 2008.  It caused a massive lay off and it just swept the world into global panic about the future, especially the young and ambitious millennials unable to get their first employment. However, it gave way to the unconventional financial services which emerged and are disrupting the traditional financial services like crowdfunding, P2P funding and Kickstarter.  Now millennials are able to invest their capital into meaningful projects, sparking a new trend of investment like a social investment.

According to the giant audit firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), they came up with a recent report showing what traditional financial services would need to keep up with the disruptions.  Kickstarter and Indiegogo already disrupted the traditional mortgage services and venture capitalists to invest in startups and other social enterprise projects as well as raising funds for your medical bills with Indiegogo.  By the year 2020, financial technology will be the future.

With the rise of the robo-adviser like Stashaway and Smartly, which allows its users to invest a small amount of money, you can expand your wealth and even build your investment and wealth portfolio based on the algorithms.  They are highly based on individual customisation which is the preference of the millennials and Generation Z. Those two financial technology firms are startups looking for their niche where most probably the millennials, who preferred cheaper, are in the higher income brackets based on the international survey by WEF. Also, the newly elected Malaysian government leverage the power of crowdfunding which was the P2P lending to allow millennials, or the ‘homeless generations,’ to purchase their first home. According to one Senior Vice President of J.P Morgan, he stated that the financial technology would eliminate a lot of manual work which is done by the teller clerks and the mortgage service processing clerks.

The most intriguing technology will be the blockchain. No one really knows about blockchain, which is the foundation of Bitcoin. When Satoshi published his white paper, his agenda was clear, to break off the monopoly of the centralised financial system at the Central Bank — the bank that allows rich and powerful CEOs to do as they want. 

The power of blockchain has gone up since the Bitcoin boom; and shortly after that, people wanted a piece of the pie, even the traditional banking system like J.P Morgan. They wanted to invest in blockchain just like Goldman Sachs also wanted to invest in blockchain and a platform for crypto trading where it was enough to crash the Bitcoin and other crypto prices. Luckily, that turned out to be a hoax.  Blockchain is a distributed ledger network and a decentralise network, however, bear in mind that not many distributed ledger technologies are built on ledgers or blocks like blockchain is. 

Blockchain in Bangkok: Neighborhood is Buying & Selling Energy

I normally give Thailand (primarily the women) a hard time in terms of treating individuals the same.  However, I love innovation.  As the mass transit system sets up across Bangkok, I’m like a child on Christmas, jumping around deliriously and anxiously waiting for the grand opening.

With the Sky Trains (grey, red, pink, brown, green line extensions, orange, yellow) going up around the city, there’s an even greater story: Thais buying and selling electricity using blockchain.

Source: World Economic Forum

 

So, the infographic might be hard to understand, but let’s just say the generating capacity of is enough to trade electricity between a mall, school, dental hospital, and apartment complex.

The managing director of the Australian firm, Power Ledger, said that enabling renewable energy trading will reduce our carbon footprint.

Just recently, Elon Musk heading to my native Puerto Rico and provided dozens of solar panels to a children’s hospital.  Furthermore, neighborhoods all across the globe are implementing solar panels in neighborhoods — encouraging everyone to switch to renewable energy.

This not only puts a spark into humanity, but for countries such as Thailand, which are notorious for pollution, there are people who are pushing to make the switch.

Most notably, the gym I go to, Lab BKK, is all renewable; from the lightbulbs, to taking out all plastic, to having all their products + humanity.

Times are getting interestingly exciting!

Decentralization of The Internet: Longread (1/2)

By Jiun Ting Yong

Since the boom of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, enthusiasts and adopters are very fascinated about the potential future of Bitcoin.  The WWW was invented by Sir Tim Berner-Lee. He had addressed his concerned of the potential monopoly if users’ data by Google, Facebook and Microsoft Bing and other niche websites. The internet experts named the new web or the internet as the ‘Web 2.0′ with the rise of social media like Facebook.  With the rise of sharing and consuming content on WordPress, unlike the dawn of blogging, was meant to be like personal web diaries or web blogs.

The world is getting hyperconnected, cybersecurity will be at stakes and the government will be ensuring their citizens’ safety by requesting the giant technological companies to hand over their users’ personal data just like Apple had handed over their users’ data and their cloud storage system to China state-backed data centre. Also, Google and Facebook are doing data mining and feeding users with their advertisement through their advanced algorithms.

A couple of months ago, the world was in shock.  A data company, Cambridge Analytica was allowed by Facebook Inc to do data mining and extracting them for manipulating a state’s election according to their powerful and influential clients who turned out to be ruling elites. This revelation really shocked the world and Sir Tim Berner-Lee and other founding founders of the internet were concerned that the massive surveillance will become the utopian dystopia Orwellian Big Brother as China already had already become by conducting massive social credit scores of her citizens, as well as using facial recognition to scan a Chinese citizen for any signs of ‘anti-government and Maoism.’  The China Communist Party is policing her citizens’ everyday lives by justifying for being the Nightwatchmen, a famous libertarian ideology by Robert Norwich. Furthermore, Facebook Inc admitted that the giant internet company really does scan their messenger platform for security purpose without users realising it!

The founding fathers of the internet and the inventor of the world wide web dreamt of an impenetrable and powerful communication tool that could be free from governments’ intervention, due to the combination of left and right wing ideology, ‘libertarian’ because of the countercultural movement back in the 1960s.  However, as the world is moving to digitisation, the government began to start their own digitised policies by regulating the internet for being a utility and even started their policing.

The Latest Technological Trends & Innovations You Should Watch (Longread – 2/3)

The future trend that many people need to keep up with will be data science because the world is moving towards digitization; a world where many users would give their data in return for better services. Therefore, Deloitte suggested that data needed to be free and shouldn’t be like Orwellian like the dystopian novel ‘1984’ that popularised the word ‘big brother’; scrutinizing everyone’s daily lives.  Even giving up on too much information could wipe out the concept of privacy which Deloitte called ‘data sovereignty,’ which encourages the government and technological companies to conserve their users and the government to protect the data privacy by freeing up data. The advantages of using data would make marketing agencies and enterprises become more competitive so they can know more about their customers. As the saying goes, ‘customer is king’ because the market will become more customer-centric and social.

Furthermore, the power of data would make products and services become more customer-centric where it allows the products and services to be customisable as sellers and buyers will be moving and incline towards marketplaces. Chelsea Rustrum once said ‘the future of economy will be the marketplaces as the economy is inclining and becoming more like a big marketplace.’  Therefore, as an employer, you need to empower your employees and give up your rights by giving rights them to your employee. This kind of trend was known as the “sharing economy” or “sharing capitalism” because of Airbnb and Uber, which pioneered giving and sharing. Also, the second generation of startups fully utilised the crowds for funds to kickstart a project  known as crowdfunding.  I still remember my short mentorship with the founder of Crowdsourcing Week, Epi, who showed me the future of crowd-basedbecause of the sharing economy like Airbnb and Uber and the p2p money network, Bitcoin, and its heart of technology that powered Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, blockchain, really revolutionised the status quo so that we can do things at a lower-cost and eliminate fixed costs.

This type of trend would disrupt traditional supple-chains where it used to be based on pickup and transporting goods. However, a data-driven supply chain would make things easier and sufficient as customers would pay for goods and services through online payment since there are many financial technologies like Venmo and PayPal (the company that pioneered online payment system), but with the blockchain, which could revolutionise the internet into the internet 2.0, it would make payment systems safer and more trusted by consumers as it would be more safe and unable to be compromised by hackers. Also, blockchain would possibly make huge disruptions to health services. A good example will be Estonia, a real futuristic e-Governance in the making and attracted many digital nomads and global citizens with their e-residency. It was a real inspiration for the Singaporean, Australian and New Zealand governments to have their own e-passports being issued by the government. At the end of the day, data and the cyberspace will be democratised and citizens would fully own their own data and the cyberspace through its decentralised framework of the blockchain.

 

Tony Robbins: More Chatter on Index Funds & Mutual Funds

“But how do you pick the right funds? There are certainly enough to choose from. As we mentioned earlier, there are about 9,500 mutual funds in America—more than double the number of publicly traded US companies! So it’s safe to say the mutual fund market is a tad saturated. Why do so many companies want to be in this business? Yup, you got it: because it’s fabulously lucrative!
The trouble is, it tends to be much more lucrative for Wall Street than for actual customers like you and me. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that the industry is consciously out to screw us. I’m not suggesting that this is a business full of crooks or charlatans! On the contrary, the majority of financial professionals are intelligent, hardworking, and thoughtful. But Wall Street has evolved into an ecosystem that exists first and foremost to make money for itself. It’s not an evil industry made up of evil individuals. It’s made up of corporations whose purpose is to maximize profits for their shareholders. That’s their job.”

Excerpt From: Tony Robbins. “Unshakeable.” iBooks. https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/unshakeable/id1146849403?mt=11

Scary, isn’t it? Was asked a question recently about “how can we take a leap of faith when we live in such an uncertain world?” It’s an excellent question.  If you look at the Crypto markets right now, we’re heading for a some really nasty times — maybe? Some of the investors are still amazingly optimistic, but I’m still a bit terrified about it.

That’s when we get into Index Funds…and the reassurance in this chapter glistened my eyes.

Index funds take a “passive” approach that eliminates almost all trading activity. Instead of trading in and out of the market, they simply buy and hold every stock in an index such as the S&P 500. This includes companies like Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, ExxonMobil, and Johnson & Johnson—currently the five biggest stocks in the S&P 500. Index funds are almost entirely on autopilot: they make very few trades, so their transaction costs and tax bills are incredibly low. They also save a fortune on other expenses. For one thing, they don’t have to pay enormous salaries to all those active fund managers and their teams of analysts with Ivy League degrees!” – Tony Robbins

“When you own an index fund, you’re also protected against all the downright dumb, mildly misguided, or merely unlucky decisions that active fund managers are liable to make. For example, an active manager is likely to keep a portion of the fund’s assets in cash, ready to invest if an enticing opportunity arises—or ready to meet redemption requests if lots of investors decide to sell their shares in the fund. Keeping some cash on hand isn’t a bad idea, and it’s handy when the market falls. But cash doesn’t earn a return, so it will underperform stocks over time, assuming that the market continues its general upward trajectory. Ultimately the resulting “cash drag” tends to have a negative impact on the returns of actively managed funds.
What about index funds? Instead of sitting on cash, they remain almost fully invested at all times.”

 

Tony Robbins: Goldman Sachs + What To Do Next: Hidden Fees and Halfway Truths

Foreword about Goldman Sachs – By Jiun Ting Yong

Do you know what is Goldman Sachs? A very well – known investment bank in Manhattan, Wall Street in New York, the USA. An investment bank that was well – known for their job in analysing economics and financial markets for investors and potential investors to invest their money in the stock markets, bonds and emerging markets. They are so good with their jobs in underwriting bonds for potential investors to buy their clients’ bonds and some even involved government backed bond funds. Goldman Sachs started back in the 19th century by Marcus Goldman where he was joined by his son – in – law Marcus Sachs that became today well – known name.

As a typical investment bank normally they underwrite bonds and writing financial reports for investors who are looking at doubling their assets; mostly would read their report to make themselves rich. However, some of their trade can be very controversial. Remember the 2008 Global Recession which was the cause of excessive spending through mortgages where the middle class signed  mortgage deals with low – level interest rates?  Be careful — it isn’t that a huge sums — but if you were unable to serve the interest, then you needed to pay for ‘additional interest’ known as the penalty. That’s the root of all problems when you are unable to serve your loan, the investment bank and commercial bank would just forfeit your home by repossessing it, except for the Obama piece of legislation that managed to fight against these huge sums of forfeiture where people lost their home.

Yikes! So now you guys got the rundown of what Goldman Sachs is about, unfortunately.  I saw it recently in a movie where an ego-maniacal character played a banker from Goldman, rudely telling commuters to get away from him and demeaning the lower-middle class individuals on this train.

I then did some research and it says that Goldman is the main reason to why the financial crisis happened to begin with.

So, when I started reading about all this, I got even more scared about investing because that particular individual worked for Goldman, who’s a banker/investor, who handles our money and looks to make themselves rich by hitting us with massive penalties.

“I often ask people “What are you investing for?” I get a variety of answers: from “high returns,” to “financial security,” to “retirement,” to “a beach house in Hawaii.” But before long, nearly everyone’s answers begin to rhyme. What most people really want, regardless of how much money they have today, is freedom. Freedom to do more of what they want, whenever they want, with whomever they want. It’s a beautiful dream, and an achievable one. But how can you sail off into the sunset if your boat has a hole in it? What if it’s slowly but surely taking on so much water that it’ll sink long before it reaches its destination?”

“I hate to tell you this, but most people are in exactly this position. They don’t realize that they’re doomed to disappointment because of the gradual—but ultimately devastating—impact of excessive fees on their financial well-being. What kills me is that they have no idea this is even happening to them. They have no idea that they are victims of a financial industry that is surreptitiously but systematically overcharging them.
Don’t just take my word for it. The nonprofit organization AARP published a report in which it found that 71% of Americans believe that they pay no fees at all to have a 401(k) plan. That’s right: 7 out of 10 people are entirely unaware that they’re even being charged a fee! This is the equivalent of believing that fast food contains no calories. Meanwhile, 92% admit that they have no idea how much they’re actually paying. In other words, they’re blindly trusting the financial industry to look out for their best interests! Yup, that’s the very same industry that brought about the global financial crisis! You might as well just hand over your wallet and the password to your debit card.”

Excerpt From: Tony Robbins. “Unshakeable.” iBooks. https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/unshakeable/id1146849403?mt=11

Since this is going to be a hell of a long story, I do suggest that all of you tune into the podcast down below.

 

Cryptocurrency Regulations In Thailand

According to the Bangkok Post, the Thai Security and Exchange Commission already issued regulatory guidelines for market participants in digital assets.

The regulatory was meant for regulating the digital assets and transactions to ensure unnecessary fraud and ponzi schemes. The regulatory would be expected for 10 cryptocurrency exchanges while others can be firms and brokerages. Even the initial coin offerings (ICO) aren’t being left out, too, from this guideline as well as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin cash and Ethereum classic.

During the course of the meeting among the Thai SEC, they agreed that the digital assets and digital tokens were defined as cryptocurrencies after they came with several rounds of public hearings. They used credibility and consensus as part of their assessing criteria for a digital token and digital currency.

With the public issue of guidelines by the Thai SEC, they are expecting digital currency assets firms, brokerage, ICO issuers and other cryptocurrencies to be registered and will be assessed by SEC within 90 days. Also, the participants must register with the authority to get an approval by the Ministry of Finance when they want to conduct a digital asset business.

An ICO issuer must state clearly the type of token being issued and investment information to receive approval from the SEC. However, the ICO investment will be a cap at 3000,000 baht for retail investors or not more than 70%. Also, they are allowed to offer institutional and ultra – high – net – worth – investors with an unlimited investment amount. Furthermore, the ICO portals are required to look for at least one year of ICO with a minimum registered capital of 5 million baht.

Many governments were facing a huge problem of states’ revenue since the collapse of oil and other commodity prices. To add to the fiscal burden, the rise of digital economy, like ECommerce and Marketplaces, the world governments are looking for ways to sustain and increase their revenue to make it more sustainable as being the UN Sustainable Development Initiative.

My two cents….

It was a matter of time before this happened.  You could take one side and say that it’s to help or hurt the crypto markets here in Thailand.  Nonetheless, banks are wanting in on the pie, as well as everyone else such as governments.  Regulations are being implemented and that’s probably why Cryptomarkets are heading down the pipe….for now.

The Volatility of The Cryptocurrency Exchange Wallet (longread)

By Jiun Ting Yong

The price of Bitcoin and its other cryptocurrency competitors will plummet; and after a few weeks, the price of Bitcoin will increase. These trends are normal for people who are involved in trading Bitcoin and other alternative cryptocurrencies, unlike investors who invested in Bitcoin for its value.

The major reasons why cryptocurrency is so volatile is because of bad news (which isn’t always true) that stops people from adopting Bitcoin. Trading in Bitcoin is unlike trading in stocks because Bitcoin is volatile to bad news — just recently, the American FBI had closed a criminal organisation that stored their assets in Bitcoin that took the American FBI years to track them down in the dark internet market for their drug trade. When the FBI shutdown the Silk Road marketplace, it caused the prices of Bitcoin to plummet. Then people wondered about the trust of Bitcoin among the investors.

As the prices fluctuated based on free market forces, the bad news lead to uncertainty, which lead to traders receiving the news and end up losing a lot of money.  However, some people recognised that the drop in prices was an opportunity to buy Bitcoin at low prices, then sell it with a huge amount of money when prices are ripe for them to sell.

The second reason why Bitcoin will fall is a breach of security of cryptocurrency wallet exchanges like the recent breach of security in the Ethereum wallet exchange company that caused the prices of Ethereum drop significantly — just like the Hong Kong bitcoin exchange, Bitfinex, that created a turbulent wave of confusion. It caused many traders to panic and sell off their cryptocurrency with the right prices to minimise their risk of losses. These breaches only became a cause of concern by people who questioned the protocols. As a result, people seem to be less confident about the usage and hampered them from adopting them as a form of currency for day to day transactions. This is because Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies were built on open source software. Therefore, the protocol allows other independent software developers to change the source code of a protocol for a cryptocurrency.

Another major reason will be the tax treatment of an authority against Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, which are also affected by the volatility, too. This is because the governments began declaring that investing in cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin will be considered an asset. Therefore, they are subjected to taxations and those cryptocurrencies exchange wallets, like the London based cryptocurrency exchange wallet company, Luno, was subjected to Malaysian Inland Revenue Board for tax evasion investigations. However, offshore banking hub like Switzerland is massively adopting cryptocurrency as an instrument of investment and blockchain into their financial services system by incorporating new types of investment companies like a cryptocurrency assets management firm because they aspired to become the centre of cryptocurrency investments and blockchain. This move isn’t new because Dubai, UAE and Malta were adopting blockchain technology just like their counterparts, Japan, South Korea, as well as American banks in Wall Street.

Furthermore, the volatile of cryptocurrencies in the market was caused by foreign direct investments in high inflation countries like Argentina. This is because people can use Bitcoin to offset the high inflation rate by denominating them into Argentine Peso from outside of Argentina. Therefore, funders could earn a higher yield return on their investment. Also, the Venezuelan government did denominate their own cryptocurrency known as the ‘Petro dollar’ to raise some funds for to pay for their country’s debts that drove the country into a state of chaos; because the country was on the verge of bankruptcy due to excessive wastage of state’s finances.

Overall, all of these are the causes of what’s happening and what will probably continue happening, but it doesn’t really hamper people from adopting Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. This is because when you look closely, many people are adopting Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in a slow and fast pace dating a few years back after Brexit had gone viral, there were Bitcoin ATM machines popping up in London as well as in some parts of Australia. They are on the way to becoming mainstream where it will be denominated to the USD and it is going to happen as soon as we thought! The future is exciting and filled with massive innovation.