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CEO Who Led Red Cross From Brink Of Disaster Reflects On Leadership Lessons Learned



This post was originally produced for Forbes.

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Gail McGovern, 67, became the eighth CEO in five years at the American Red Cross in 2008, as the country entered its most severe economic downturn in seven decades. Today, she remains at the head of what is once again a fiscally healthy nonprofit. Looking back, she reflects on what she learned.

The $3 billion annual revenue organization responds to 60,000 disasters every year, ranging from single house fires affecting one family to natural disasters that impact hundreds of thousands. At the time she took the helm, the large nonprofit had drawn down its available credit lines and was nearing the brink of its own disaster.

McGovern successfully steered the organization through the crisis and credits the leaders of the organization for their resilience during the challenging period.

She had been through challenges before; in fact, she often sought them out early in her career. Along with 1900 men, she was one of just 50 women admitted to Johns Hopkins University the first year that women were allowed.


She joined AT&T doing technology “back when dinosaurs roamed the earth,” she quips. She nearly had to beg for an opportunity in sales, defending her candidacy by noting she’d sold Girl Scout cookies. A series of other lateral moves prepared her for a trajectory that landed her in the executive suite.

While working at AT&T, she worked with Dan Schulman, now president and CEO at PayPal. “Gail McGovern is a great friend, a valued mentor, and an outstanding leader. We first worked together many years ago at AT&T – and I have appreciated and benefitted from her wise counsel and support all along the way. I’m so proud of what Gail is achieving at the Red Cross and thrilled that PayPal can support her team’s life-saving initiatives,” he told me.

PayPal supports the Red Cross year-round, helping with digital fundraising and working closely on the annual “Missing Types” blood drive. “The American Red Cross and PayPal share a common commitment to improve the lives of people and communities around the world. The Red Cross is a trusted and necessary organization that mobilizes quickly to support those in need. We are honored to be their partners,” he said.

After leaving AT&T, McGovern, she joined Fidelity Investments as president of Fidelity Personal Investments, overseeing an operation with 10,000 people and $500 billion under management.

After leaving, she spent four years at Harvard when the challenges at the Red Cross created an opportunity there. It appealed to her “give-back gene” so she took the job.

“After 28 years in the for-profit world, you would think I had learned what I need to learn,” McGovern says. Referring to her experience leading the Red Cross, she adds, “But it taught me to be a different and better leader as a result of that experience.”

McGovern shared what she learned about being a leader, lessons she says would have applied perfectly in her for-profit experience to make her a better leader.

“Back when I was in the for-profit sector, you know, I would tell people, ‘Calm down. It’s just telecommunications. We’re not saving lives here,’ or at Fidelity, I’d say, ‘Calm down. You know, it’s just managing money. We’re not saving lives here,” she explains. “That schtick doesn’t work at the American Red Cross.”

“What I’ve learned at the Red Cross is it’s possible to not only lead with your head, but also lead with your heart.”

She says, in the for-profit world, it was her style to seek input and build consensus, but she and the team knew that at the end of the day, she had the authority to make decisions and she did. “I would say, ‘OK, we’re going to do this. Everybody jump!’ And people would say, ‘How high?’”

She says, working with 300,000 volunteers and a relatively small staff of just 19,000 mission-driven people, that approach doesn’t work. She says, directing volunteers is different. When you say, “’OK, everybody jump!’ And they say, ‘No, I’m not ready to. You can convince me. I don’t understand how that’s going to help our mission.’”

Her success suggests she learned to adapt quickly. “What I’ve learned is, first of all, you can lead to the power of your ideas, not the power of your office.”

Reflecting on the lesson, she points out how she might have led differently in her for-profit career.

“I just wish I said, ‘People, this is important work. We’re connecting people to the people that they love and the information that they need.’ Or ‘People, this is important work. We’re making people’s financial dreams come true,’” she explains. “Everybody wants to be part of a higher purpose. And, you know, I learned that while I was at the American Red Cross.”

She credits the team for the success she’s had. “Red Crossers are a special breed,” she explains, noting that they made sacrifices, including frozen salaries for a time and a year without a 401k match. “People were just so bound and determined to save the institution that for the most part, we really didn’t hear squawking. It was amazing.”

Their passion devolves in part from the breadth and importance of the mission. In addition to responding to disasters, they also provide blood products to thousands of hospitals and provide first-aid and related trainings to help build resilient communities. One lesser known program is the support provided to America’s armed forces.

USAA and The USAA Foundation have been long-term supporters of two military programs, including the Home Fire Campaign and the Services to the Armed Forces in addition to the disaster relief programs.

Harriet Dominique, senior vice president of corporate responsibility at USAA, told me, “The American Red Cross’ mission is to bring help and hope to individuals and communities affected by disasters. Their mission aligns to USAA’s mission – both catastrophe response and military support – that all underpins military family resiliency. We recognize the American Red Cross as a world-class leader in disaster relief, and through their leadership and strong team, do so much more for individuals and communities, including the men and women who serve our country.”

For more than a decade now, that leadership reflects the lessons Gail McGovern learned about leading with both her head and her heart.

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Indian Olympic Medal Winners to Get Free Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH)



The cryptocurrency platform Bitbns intends to open a systematic investment plan (SIP) in digital assets for Indian athletes who win medals at the ongoing Tokyo Olympics. The exchange will reportedly grant around $2,700 in crypto for gold medal winners.

‘Faster, Higher, Stronger’ And Earn Crypto

The Economic Times reported that Indian athletes at the Olympic Games could receive cryptocurrencies as a gift if they manage to win a medal at the tournament in Tokyo.

The trading venue that will reportedly provide the offer is Bitbns. The first athletes that can get cryptocurrency exposure for free are the winners Mirabai Chanu and PV Sindhu. The former won a silver medal in 49 kg women’s weightlifting while the latter acquired bronze in the women’s singles badminton at the Tokyo Olympics.

Bitbns plans to roll out a SIP account and grant nearly $2,700 in digital assets for Olympic champions, $1,350 for silver medal winners, and $675 for bronze medalists. It will transfer the amount into their accounts, and after completing the Know Your Customer (KYC) norms, the athletes will have exposure to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH).

The trading venue explained that it would structure the SIP for a 3-5 year period, and thus the medal winners will be able to generate profits in the long term through Bitbns. Gaurav Dahake – the Chief Executive Officer at the platform – noted:


“Bitcoin and Ethereum have been the best-performing assets in the last decade, and have given exceptional returns and we aim to get our winners indulge in this rewarding journey.”

Indians Love Cryptocurrencies

According to a recent research, Indian residents increased their digital asset investments from $200 million in 2020 to $40 billion for the first six months of this year, indicating that their appetite for cryptocurrencies surged significantly.

What is even more impressive is that Indians, who are well-known gold admirers, started switching their investment strategies from the precious metal to virtual currencies. A local investor explained:

“I would rather put my money in crypto than gold. Crypto is more transparent than gold or assets and yields higher returns in a shorter period of time.”

The survey added that the number of people who trade cryptocurrencies in India is 15 million. It significantly surpasses a well-developed country such as the UK, for example, where 2.3 million individuals have entered the market. Sandeep Goenka – the co-founder of the platform ZebPay – revealed the reasons why the second-most populated country saw this massive increase:

“They find it easier to invest in crypto than gold because the process is so much simpler. You go online, you can buy crypto, you don’t have to verify it, unlike gold.”


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Crypto City: Guide to Melbourne




This “Crypto City” guide looks at Melbourne’s crypto culture, the city’s most notable projects and people, its financial infrastructure, which retailers accept crypto and where you can find blockchain education courses — and there’s even a short history with all the juicy details of famous controversies and collapses.

Fast facts

City: Melbourne
Country: Australia
Population: 5.15M
Established: 1835
Language: English

Australia’s second-largest city may lack Sydney’s amazing harbor views, but it makes up for it with a focus on art, sports and culture. There are more live music venues here per capita than any other city in the world, and the city has produced heaps of notable acts, including Nick Cave, Men at Work, The Avalanches and Kylie Minogue.

Located on the southern coast of Australia, Melbourne wasn’t founded until almost 50 years after Sydney, but it quickly became the wealthiest place in the world during the Gold Rush, from the 1850s to 1880s. It’s a very multicultural city, with the 10th-largest immigrant population globally. The city also ranks at number 27 on the Global Financial Centers Index and is home to the Australian Rules football code, the Australian Grand Prix and the Australian Open. It was the filming location for the first Mad Max film alongside Chopper and Animal Kingdom. Politically, Melbourne is more left-wing than any other city in the country and is home to the union movement.

The Yarra River in Melbourne. Source: Pexels

Crypto culture

Melbourne embraced cryptocurrencies early on, and a thriving community was built up through regular meetups including Blockchain Melbourne, Women in Blockchain, Web3 Melbourne and futureAUS. Karen Cohen, deputy chairperson of Blockchain Australia, recalls there being a huge influx of newcomers during the ICO boom in 2017.

“The meetup culture was really exciting. We couldn’t get enough space, so people were watching our meetups on Facebook Live because they couldn’t get into the room because it was so busy.”

Talk & Trade meetups were held every Wednesday from 2015 to 2019 at the Blockchain Centre. Located at the Victorian Innovation Hub in the docklands, the Blockchain Centre was the heart of the community in real life, at least until the coronavirus pandemic struck.

Melbourne has been home to numerous crypto exchanges since 2013, and a plethora of ICOs were also founded in the city in 2017 and 2018, including CanYa, which operates freelancer platform CanWork, and blockchain voting company Horizon State.

While the pandemic has moved most things online for the past 18 months, Blockchain Australia hosted a series of events at YBF Ventures in the Melbourne central business district (CBD) for the national Blockchain Week earlier this year, and Talk & Trade is now held at RMIT, in between lockdowns.

With live events beginning to reemerge as vaccine rates slowly grind up, YBF Ventures will relaunch its blockchain community meetups, supported by Cohen as the expert in residence for blockchain. “2020, sadly, has been hard with COVID, so it’s had to move online,” she says. “But I think if we were able to meet in real life, it would still have very much a meetup culture.”

Melbourne Trams
Melbourne has the largest tram network in the world. Source: Pexels

Projects and companies

Melbournites appear very interested in solving the problem of interblockchain communication, with at least three major cross-chain projects having strong ties to the city. CanYa founder JP Thor helped found the cross-chain decentralized liquidity protocol THORChain, and some of the anonymous local devs from THORChain went on to work on a similar project called Sifchain. Melbourne’s Simon Harman founded another cross-chain automated market maker, Chainflip, along with the privacy project Loki, which is now known as Oxen.

Web 3.0 developer studios Flex Dapps and TypeHuman are located here, as is the white-label blockchain services provider Pellar, whose infrastructure processes 10 million requests a day from around the world. Researchers from the government-run Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and Monash University invented the MatRiCT technology (licensed to Hcash), which protects crypto from being cracked by quantum computers. NFT digital racehorse game Zed Run just raised $20 million from investors including TCG and Andreessen Horowitz. Algorand also has a noticeable presence in Melbourne, including through the Meld gold platform and Algomint.

Crypto exchanges headquartered in Melbourne include BTC Markets, Cointree, CoinSpot, CoinJar, noncustodial exchange Elbaite and OTC service Caleb and Brown. Major global fiat-to-crypto on-ramp Banxa is also based in the city.

Up-and-coming projects include insurance platform Day By Day, onboarding and fraud protection platform FrankieOne and accounting software AEM. DeFi-focused crypto fund Apollo Capital — which is a big investor in Synthetix and Internet Computer, among others — is also based in Melbourne. Apollo’s chief investment officer, Henrik Andersson, co-founded the decentralized pool trading platform dHEDGE and yield platform mStable (and helped out with a few ideas for this guide).

Bitcoin ATM
Melbourne only has a dozen or so Bitcoin ATMs. Source: Pexels

Financial infrastructure

The first Bitcoin ATM was installed at the Emporium in 2014, but there are only 13 Bitcoin ATMs dotted around Melbourne, mostly in big shopping centers. Australian banks have a slightly wary approach to crypto — while many banks are happy to allow users to send funds to exchanges, plenty of users have reported being suddenly debanked, especially those running crypto-related businesses. “They close accounts at will based on crypto use, and we’ve seen that happen, so they’re still not supportive as an industry,” says Cohen.

The New Payments Platform in Australia is something of a competitor to crypto (at least in terms of payments), allowing instant, 24/7 bank transfers using a phone number or email address. Often referred to as PayID, it was cited by the Reserve Bank of Australia as a reason that a central bank digital currency is not needed in Australia just yet. There are hundreds of retailers here in the Blueshyft network (Synthetix founder Kain Warwick’s other project) that accept cash payments over the counter for crypto exchanges.

Where can I spend crypto?

According to Coinmap, you’ll struggle to spend cryptocurrency directly in Melbourne at present, with fewer than 40 retail outlets accepting Bitcoin. (By way of comparison, Ljubljana in Slovenia has half the population but 554 crypto-accepting merchants.) It wasn’t always like this, with swathes of Melbourne cafes and businesses accepting crypto a few years ago, but then removing the option after it failed to take off.

Many retailers used the crypto payment service from TravelbyBit; however, it was dropped after the company merged with Travala in mid-2020. Australia’s oldest, biggest board game retailer in the CBD, Mind Games, gladly accepts Bitcoin via the Lightning Network. You can also learn rock climbing at Melbourne Climbing School, get fit at the women’s-only Fernwood Gym in Bulleen, get your computer fixed at Another World Computer Centre in Coburg or grab some raver gear from Ministry of Style in Collingwood.

If you’re relying on Coinmap’s data, note that some retailers featured have since gone out of business (most likely due to the pandemic), including cult book store Polyester Books, gift shop Vera Chan and various cafes.

Approximately 20 small businesses accept Bitcoin Cash, according to, including Japanese wellness clinic Sensu Spa and ties and cufflinks merchant Jay Kirby Ties in the CBD.

Despite the lack of merchants accepting direct crypto payments, you can pay for pretty much everything in Melbourne using crypto via intermediary services that transform it into cash. Living Room of Satoshi lets you pay any Bpay biller or bank account using 18 different cryptocurrencies.

RMIT boasts the Blockchain Innovation Hub. Source: Pexels


RMIT University’s Blockchain Innovation Hub studies the social and business implications of blockchain, while Monash University’s Blockchain Technology Centre provides training and conducts research. There’s a Blockchain Innovation Lab at Swinburne University and Deakin University, both of which conduct research.

Controversies and collapses

Auscoin was perhaps the most controversial project to emerge from the city. Founded by Lambo-driving souvlaki chain-store owner Sam Karagiozis, the token was created to fund the rollout of 1,200 Bitcoin ATMs. The Aussie version of 60 Minutes dubbed it an “$80 million scam” that was built on nothing more than “grandiose promises,” although the ICO only raised $2 million. Auscoin was ordered by AUSTRAC to cease operations after Karagiozis was charged with trafficking 30 kilograms (66 pounds) of drugs via the dark web.

Elsewhere, up to 200 investors lost about $10 million between them when Melbourne-based crypto exchange ACX mysteriously collapsed at the end of 2019. It was operated by Blockchain Global, whose founder Sam Lee was instrumental in setting up the Blockchain Centre.

Another local exchange that mysteriously folded was MyCryptoWallet. Founded in 2017, National Australia Bank froze its accounts in early 2019. The exchange found alternate banking services and recovered temporarily, but later that year, users found they had lost access to their funds. As of April, they had yet to recover their funds, and Australia’s corporate regulator, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, was said to be looking into it. Huobi Australia launched in Melbourne in 2018 but quickly shuttered due to a lack of business during crypto winter. Horizon State, a promising blockchain-based voting platform, launched in Melbourne and then moved to New Zealand where it was on the verge of doing great things when a mysterious court case back in Melbourne scuppered the entire project. In a happy ending, the community is resurrecting it from the ashes with a crowd equity raise.

Notable figures

Ethereum influencer Anthony Sassano; BTC Markets CEO Caroline Bowler; Apollo Capital chief investment officer Henrik AnderssonA. J. Milne of Meld Ventures and Algomint; Blockchain Australia CEO Steve VallasTom Nash and Alex Ramsey of Flex Dapps; Women in Blockchain International manager Akasha Indream; Algorand Foundation chief operating officer Jason Lee; CanYa and THORChain founder JP Thor; “Satoshi’s sister” Lisa Edwards; Blockchain Centre founder Sam Lee (also of the now-defunct ACX); RMIT Blockchain Innovation Hub professor Jason Potts; Joseph Liu, director of the Monash Blockchain Technology Centre and inventor of the tech behind Monero; Oxen chief technology officer Kee Jefferys; Emerging Tech Talent founder Karen Cohen; Ethitech head of education Anouk Pinchetti; TypeHuman director Nick Byrne; Auscoin founder Sam Karagiozis; and blockchain law specialists Joni Pirovich of Mills Oakley and John Bassilios of Hall & Wilcox. Cointelegraph team members and contributors based in Melbourne: Andrew Fenton, Brian Quarmby, Kelsie Nabben.

Suggestions for additions to this guide are welcome. Please email: [email protected]

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This bullish Bitcoin options strategy targets $50K without risk of liquidation




Long-dated Bitcoin options and bulls still make waves with their ultra bullish bets, but even they must admit that the possibility of (BTC) trading above $60,000 in the next couple of months is dim. 

Many traders have added leveraged-long positions via futures contracts to chase after the elusive all-time high, but this seems like an unrealistic outcome.

According to Willy Woo, a popular on-chain analyst, exchange outflows and accumulation from BTC miners and whales suggest that Bitcoin price will reach the $50,000 to $65,000 range in the coming sessions.

Even Gary Gensler, the Chair of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, believes that cryptocurrencies won’t go away and will likely play a big role in the future of finance. Therefore, being moderately bullish for the next couple of months will likely yield positive results.

For bullish traders who think Bitcoin price will break to the upside but are unwilling to face the liquidation risks imposed by futures contracts, the “long condor with call options” strategy might yield more optimal results.

Options are a safer bet for avoiding liquidations

Options markets provide more flexibility to develop custom strategies and there are two instruments available. The call option gives the buyer upside price protection, and the protective put option does the opposite. Traders can also sell the derivatives to create unlimited negative exposure, similar to a futures contract.

Bitcoin options strategy returns. Source: Deribit Position Builder

This long condor strategy has been set for the Sep. 21 expiry and uses a slightly bullish range. The same basic structure can also be applied for bearish expectations, but we’ll assume most traders are looking for upside.

Bitcoin was trading at $37,830 when the pricing took place, but a similar result can be achieved starting from any price level.

The first trade requires buying 1.20 BTC worth of $42,000 call options to create a positive exposure above this price level. Then, to limit gains above $46,000, the trader needs to sell 1.1 BTC contracts of the $46,000 call.

To complete the strategy, the trader needs to sell 1.3 BTC contracts of the $56,000 call, limiting the gains above this price level. Then a $60,000 upside protection call for 1.22 BTC is needed to limit the losses if Bitcoin unexpectedly skyrockets.

Related: Bitcoin price dips below $38K, with bullish traders eyeing a new higher low next

In this situation, the gain far outweighs the loss

The strategy might sound complicated to execute, but the margin required is only 0.0265 BTC, which is also the max loss. The potential net profit happens if Bitcoin trades between $42,950 (up 13.5%) and $59,450 (up 57%).

Traders should remember that it is also possible to close the position ahead of the Sep. 21 expiry if there’s enough liquidity. The max gain occurs between $46,000 and $56,000 at 0.0775BTC, almost three times higher than the potential loss.

With over 50 days until the expiry date, this strategy gives the holder peace of mind because there is no liquidation risk like futures trading.

Another positive is that most derivatives exchanges accept orders as low as 0.10 BTC contracts, meaning a trader could build the same strategy using a much smaller amount.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk. You should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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