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Mark Cuban: DeFi could be the ‘next great growth engine’ for the US

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Mark Cuban, billionaire investor and owner of the National Basketball Association’s Dallas Mavericks, said yesterday that the U.S. government and regulators need to start getting behind crypto innovations, such as the decentralized finance (DeFi) industry. Otherwise, he argued, the U.S. will “lose the next great growth engine that this country needs.”

His thoughts came in a blog post entitled “The Brilliance of Yield Farming, Liquidity Providing and Valuing Crypto Projects.” 

At the end of the post, Cuban discussed the broader potential of the DeFi industry. He noted that DeFi projects are, by their very nature, decentralized and not located in the U.S. The entrepreneur then partly put the blame on regulators for pushing innovation out of the country.

“This is not only because of the ethos of Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOS), but also because of the ABSOLUTE STUPIDITY of our regulators forcing some of the most impactful and innovative entrepreneurs of this generation to foreign countries to run their businesses,” he said.

Cuban predicted that in 10 to 20 years we will look back at this period of time and observe that world-changing companies were built. “Among those companies, [it’s] already a certainty that De-Fi and other crypto organizations will be at or near the top of the list,” he said, before warning that if politicians choose to continue to dampen innovation, this growth potential could be wasted.

Investing in DeFi projects

The post also went more deeply into his recent thoughts about DeFi, particularly focusing on certain projects he has invested in, including Ethereum scaling solution Polygon and lending protocol Aave.

Cuban said that the main differences between traditional businesses and decentralized ones is that the DeFi firms don’t need to raise as much money to begin with — or focus on maximizing profits.

“That is not to say that every crypto blockchain or DeFi project will work. They won’t,” Cuban said, adding, “Crypto is brutally competitive. But in crypto vs traditional, centralized businesses, all other things being equal, I’m taking crypto every time.”

When it comes to choosing which tokens to invest in, Cuban said that he looks at factors including current revenue, growth rates, how likely projects will keep a competitive advantage and the strength of the community behind the project — the latter presumably explaining his fondness for Dogecoin.

© 2021 The Block Crypto, Inc. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

Source: https://www.theblockcrypto.com/post/108313/mark-cuban-defi-could-be-the-next-great-growth-engine-for-the-us?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss

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DeFi in style? Here’s how women can break into the game

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There are many things to think about when entering this field: what inspires someone to do so; how blockchain technology, crypto and DeFi match with your overall personal or professional philosophy; and how one can change the life of others through promoting DeFi adoption, breaking the stigma surrounding this industry. Have you ever considered entering the decentralized world of blockchain technology? Is there anything holding you back?

In the DeFi industry, the above questions could be very intimidating, but the many women who have cracked into the space are changing the way decentralization is perceived. Getting women involved in an industry that has a preconceived idea of who should be the leaders is difficult, but women every day are breaking the already-established boundaries to perpetuate the industry in all aspects, including education, technological advancements and accessibility.

Their drive to change how education and implementation surrounding accessible finance reaches the masses will hopefully inspire some who have just dipped their toes in this seemingly cold water, showing that the water might actually be warmer than it looks.

Figure out your career goals

For many, the crypto and DeFi industries line up with their career and personal goals and can be used to their advantage professionally. Even if the world of blockchain and crypto falls upon you by accident, this could be an opportunity to explore it and discover how your experiences could benefit from blockchain and DeFi, or vice versa.

For example, while working at a central bank, UNICEF blockchain lead Christina Lomazzo used her institutional perspective to develop a connection. “I’ve been intrigued by the concept because of its power to redistribute traditional power dynamics and create opportunities for groups traditionally excluded from systems,” she told Cointelegraph, adding:

“I stayed in the industry because blockchain and crypto presented an opportunity to work with a foundational technology that offered many ways that systems could be rethought and redesigned.”

Working from the inside and trying to change the traditional power dynamic is a great example of how to use your previously acquired knowledge in DeFi. Changing the process of one institution is sure to make significant changes, profoundly developing the need to push boundaries of the industry and your career.

If one of your interests aligns with education, then perhaps a great thing to think about is how to organize meetups with the goal of educating. Elena Silenikova, co-founder of CryptoChicks, did just that. Studying Ethereum has always been a passion of hers, and after trying and successfully troubleshooting it on Windows, she decided to organize a meetup with other women to discuss Ethereum and share what they know. Silenikova explained:

“We eventually created a meetup group for women to teach them about different blockchains, various wallets and, most importantly, about the security precautions they need to pay attention to while working with crypto. Our meetup group grew; we started doing bigger events and ended up organizing CryptoChicks worldwide blockchain hackathon for women.”

From all over the world, women were traveling to Toronto for hackathons; major companies such as Deloitte and Microsoft were inviting them for seminars; and even women-led educational groups were asking for a CryptoChicks chapter to be established in various countries around the world. Silenikova believes that “many women needed help turning their projects into startups after these hackathons.”

A passion for education is so important to the industry, especially in a space that feels like a closed-off subculture, and that’s exactly what SheFi founder Maggie Love thought. After hearing about blockchain in a meeting, Love decided to read up on the topic, and that’s how she decided that this industry was for her:

“I wanted to figure out a way to kind of create a model like [the NCAA playoff bracket] or to get women excited to play with money in some sort of way and put it in DeFi protocols. There’s a problem that no women are putting their money in DeFi protocols and experimenting with them and earning money on their money.”

Knowing your strengths and interests is key to understanding how you can utilize your past experiences within the DeFi and crypto space, especially if there is a begging call that is pushing you toward the industry. Love added, “I was curious. I read about [blockchain], then I had to be a part of it. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made in many ways to date.”

Why was crypto created?

Well-known within the community, the creator(s) of Bitcoin and a co-founder of Ethereum, two established cryptocurrencies defining crypto and thus DeFi in ways that complement each other, created a new industry that many did not realize its full potential and usefulness — until it happened to be exactly what they were looking for.

After noticing how this industry has so many different ways for people to “poke at the edges” of creativity, Love believes that there is always a way to expand what is there, to push the limits of this boundless industry: “​​With Satoshi and with Buterin, they reimagined the way that the world could be organized for value creation — whether it is money, whether it is a metaverse or in art and creators — in the way that they earn money and get discovered. And so, it’s hard not to live in this world of new imagination once you’re introduced to it.”

With SheFi, Love is able to continue to express the creativity and imagination from the founders of the space without adhering to the perceived status quo of the industry. She added, “Decentralization became possible only because of Satoshi and Vitalik’s work, and now would be the time when people can benefit from it on many levels.”

For Silenikova, it was important for her to start something that is “building borderless businesses on a scale, freedom of implementing your hopes and dreams without any fear that someone can deny, prohibit or block them.” One would be able to access the industry from anywhere in the world, as well as access remote financing and investing, regardless of where you are located because there are “possibilities and yield that you could not even imagine before.”

With Lomazzo, her passion for building ways in which underbanked communities can be fairly represented has crossed over well into the decentralized industry. “Decentralized technologies, particularly blockchain and crypto, introduce opportunities to address cross-cutting societal challenges,” she said. In her work with UNICEF, she used these philosophies to her advantage, funding eight blockchain companies in seven countries to start paving the way toward financial inclusion.

These women used the philosophies of the respective white papers of Bitcoin and Ethereum to their advantage, developing a way to change the world and build a better and borderless system. And this was because of their interpretation of how their professional and personal philosophies can be integrated with the foundation of the space.

How to break down the centralized barriers

Decentralization in the crypto industry has many goals, one of which is to place privacy and control back in the hands of the people. Whether that is by using cryptocurrency or helping your community utilize blockchain technology for data storage, decentralized technology can bring forth freedoms that are otherwise unavailable for many.

Breaking the stigma that crypto is only for a certain group of people is important in order for the industry’s full potential to come to fruition.

Related: Adopting a decentralized way of life, from small steps to giant leaps

However, starting the process can be challenging, and Lomazzo advises to participate in seminars, hackathons and groups dedicated to changing and educating, as well as donating to hedge funds that will help broaden technology because according to her, “More product choices and more institutional adoption will widen the impact of cryptocurrency and create opportunity and choice where they may not otherwise exist.”

The crypto and decentralized world is creative and motivating, but it is important to remember why this industry exists in the first place. Breaking the stigma starts with implementing ways to think about how people are affected by being outside of the centralized financial system and what could be thought to actually open DeFi systems to those communities.

Love stated, “Think about what are the ways we can onboard more people and get more perspectives about what is challenging in the traditional financial system for people who do not have access and privilege,” as she added further:

“Crypto is still pretty homogenous in many ways, and we still need to do the work to think about who our neighbors are that are hurting because they are not in the traditional financial system where it’s not easy for them.”

The decentralized industry still has ways to go, and making sure that you stay educated and curious, without forgetting what has started it all, is a surefire way to start moving toward real-life implementation.

As Silenikova said, “We live in the exciting time of endless possibilities that the blockchain technology has opened up for us, so let’s embrace all of its benefits!” DeFi and crypto have so many possibilities for innovation and implementation, so despite the uncertainties, doubts or the glass ceiling that this industry appears to have, there is always a way that could push the industry forward and beyond.

In an industry that may seem intimidating and inaccessible to many, the inspiration, philosophies and advice that industry pioneers can give to newcomers shed light on the importance of decentralized finance (DeFi) and the utilization of blockchain to store data and protect one’s privacy. 


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Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/defi-in-style-here-s-how-women-can-break-into-the-game

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Bitcoin sellers in ‘disbelief’ or BTC price wouldn’t still be at $41K — Analyst

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Bitcoin (BTC) closed July above $41,000 in a “bullish engulfing” candle that dramatically upends its previous downtrend.

In a tweet on Aug. 1, investor and entrepreneur Alistair Milne joined many celebrating a classic return to form for BTC price action.

Bitcoin refuses to flip bearish

After seeing three straight monthly red candles in a row, BTC/USD held onto late gains to post a monthly close that few had anticipated.

Despite the dip to $29,000, bears failed to stay in the driving seat as July drew to a close as resistance levels fell and sentiment improved. 

“Bullish engulfing on the monthly chart for Bitcoin,” Milne summarized. 

A bullish engulfing pattern is a chart pattern that forms when a small red candle is followed by a large green candle, i.e. July, the body of which completely covers or engulfs the body of the previous candle (June).

BTC/USD 1-month candle chart (Bitstamp). Source: TradingView

The move up — and its staying power — have been so surprising that even seasoned hodlers appear confused about what to do next.

On-chain data shows that some long-term holders (LTHs) are in fact selling as BTC/USD rises, something that analyst Lex Moskovski believes corresponds to the “disbelief” stage of a classic market cycle.

Moskovski highlighted the long-term holder spent output profit ratio indicator (LTH-SOPR), which this weekend hit its lowest levels in 2021.

SOPR looks at the value of coins moved in a particular time period to get an impression of profitability of coins being sold. A downtrend towards the neutral 1 value, host Glassnode explains, suggests that profitability among the coins in question is low.

“Some long-term bitcoin holders are selling into this bounce with minimal profit as indicated by LTH-SOPR hitting this year’s low for two days straight,” Moskovski commented.

“This is one of the reasons we’re still at 41k. Disbelief.”

Bitcoin LTH-SOPR annotated chart. Source: Lex Moskovski/ Twitter

“Like clockwork”

Bulls meanwhile continue to look for triggers that could send BTC/USD past $42,000 resistance for good, this having seen two tests in the past 24 hours.

Related: Bitcoin ‘supercycle’ sets up Q4 BTC price top as illiquid supply hits all-time high

Beyond there, as Cointelegraph noted, little lies in the way until $45,000 and $47,000.

Equally enthusiastic for upside on Saturday was PlanB, the creator of the stock-to-flow price model family, who described Bitcoin’s July close as being a recovery “like clockwork.”

Stock-to-flow, while currently demanding a Bitcoin price of nearly $100,000, remains valid, with PlanB giving a minimum August close requirement of $47,000.


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Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/bitcoin-sellers-in-disbelief-or-btc-price-wouldn-t-still-be-at-41k-analyst

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Digitizing charity: We can do better at doing good

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Charity fundraising risks being left behind in the shift to online activity. But taking inspiration from the COVID-19 pandemic trends, and new payment technology, could open doors.

Change comes whether you’re ready or not, but being ready means you can seize the opportunity. The past year has accelerated the pace of digital transformation dramatically — sure, personal contact was already moving online, and contactless payments were slowly replacing cash, but the pandemic did not so much push as shove the world faster and farther than anyone expected. This creates specific challenges for the nonprofit sector — and with those, some exciting possibilities.

Related: Philanthropy: A missing catalyst of blockchain adoption

Bring the message home

Charity events and street fundraising — two major traditional revenue streams — have been sharply curtailed by the pandemic. However, lockdown has unlocked some inspirational creative thinking, such as the 2.6 Challenge, in which sports and fundraising agencies asked the public to come up with their own private challenges to fill the gap left by the London Marathon. The brilliance of such personal fundraising efforts is that, well, they’re personal.

Consider how Captain Tom Moore raised over 32 million euros ($44 million) by walking around his garden! This shows rather dramatically how an individual effort can drive far stronger engagement than might be achieved by, say, a marathon team: When supporters can see the motivation behind each challenge, they are inspired. It’s all about storytelling and authenticity. To stand out among a host of issues vying for public attention, and to restore the path to the positive feelings of giving, it’s important to reinforce the “why” — keep it personal, keep it relatable.

But while big moments like this capture the imagination and attract a flood of impulse contributions, charities need repeat donations and peer-to-peer fundraising for their financial health. It is crucial that organizations convert one-time donors into engaged supporters who are committed to sharing their message.

Related: The future of philanthropy lies in blockchain technology

Online fundraising can be particularly effective at this task, thanks to the power of storytelling.According to research, 57% of the people who watch a fundraising video go on to make a donation, but think about how much more could be done. A charity or activist website can become a place for helpers and the helped alike to share their experiences, their motivations and the impact of their actions. How can individual online actions translate into greater change? How can online social tools build community? And how can we mobilize a demographic that no longer trusts established groups to do the right thing once the donations have been made, or accepts that the agenda should be set only by the biggest donors?

Transparency and accountability are in increasing demand in all aspects of life. So it is with social causes: Young people want to know they make a difference. Show them a track record of effective action coupled with responsible stewardship, and they will spread the word for you. Explain what resources are needed, and how they will and have been put to use. Groups who make use of social networks and universal tools that are easy to access and understand will be best placed to win the trust and loyalty of the generations that are coming of age now.

Embedded payments open new doors

Let’s talk about the nuts and bolts of payments. The actual process of making a donation online can be a significant hurdle. Donors usually need to complete a detailed form, providing their name and several methods of contact, even before going into the details of payment. A moment of generosity and a true desire to participate might sour as more and more demands are made of people who imagine that their personal details are being stockpiled in a database.

Blockchain technology could simplify this step dramatically. If a charity website implemented a micropayment layer that allowed donors to give any amount with the click of a button — no forms to fill, no personal data to give up — wouldn’t you expect that to unlock goodwill, not to mention giving? This is a real possibility. Once the tech has gained widespread acceptance, it won’t just make online donations easier, it will pave the way for exciting new forms of fundraising.

Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge? Donations from that social media phenomenon reached $115 million, enabling the beneficiary, the ALS Association, to nearly double its funding for research into the disease. During lockdown, TikTok and Instagram challenges spread like wildfire, although few were linked to a cause. Imagine what might be achieved if you could craft a viral social media challenge that harnessed that energy, tied it to an action that held meaning — and embedded the donation mechanism directly in the posts created. If viewers were asked to donate a few pennies to watch the video, and a few pennies more to upload their own, viral campaigns could achieve more than just spreading awareness.

The trivia game Freerice has raised around $1.4 million (through advertising) for the United Nations World Food Program — it works because players are motivated partly by the addictiveness of the simple game but also by the sense of doing good. Making giving easy through an embedded, decentralized micropayment system could be deployed to combine small donations to fund any manner of positive, transparent, effective efforts. One could even imagine a free marketplace of information that drives funds toward the most valued causes.

Related: Your crypto taxes can be donated to charity instead

What can you offer?

Fundraisers need to employ some sharp marketing thinking to broaden their revenue base. Asking for donations, in many ways across multiple platforms, is a must. But apply the bake sale principle: What can you give, in order to get?

Any nonprofit is likely to have specialist knowledge. If it can leverage that to create an online course or e-book, or offer expert lectures, that’s a valuable product. Online donors typically give less, so fundraisers need to work harder on cultivating them and providing different channels for donation. Online or hybrid events are another option, less risky than traditional fundraising events (which are vulnerable to weather and other unpredictable factors) and with greater reach. Embedded payments make it possible to offer this extra value in a frictionless way, without compromising data protection or investing any overhead in payment processing contracts.

Target the next generation

Remember that, above all, younger donors are likely to engage with online content and offerings — and younger donors can deliver a full lifetime of support. So, fundraisers need to pay attention to young people’s online behavior. We know that Generation Z is active online, especially on mobile devices, and is turned off by out-of-date websites. Social media is a big part of their lives, so online community building is crucial. And they rarely use cash.

As cash payments become a rarity, small change donations have gone the way of the dinosaur, arguably leaving more than just a financial gap. Dropping a few coins in the charity jar by the till, or in the “take a penny, leave a penny” plate familiar in some United States regions, generated a sense of solidarity. Could micropayments offer a way to recapture the social and economic benefits that came from the anonymous circulation of small amounts of money? And could they help to engage young people at a level that works for them, opening the door to increasing levels of support in the future?

The leap forward in remote networking in 2020 could combine with emerging payment technologies to bring transformative possibilities for charities. We can see now that far from being a poor substitute for in-person activities, online engagement can be hugely powerful in its own right. New digital payments could prove to be a similarly great step-up on cash. Now, it’s over to fundraisers to apply the lessons learned and build new models for the future.

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Stephanie So is an economist, policy analyst and co-founder of Geeq, a blockchain security company. Throughout her career, she has applied technology within her specialist disciplines. In 2001, she was the first to use machine learning on social science data at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. More recently, she researched the use of distributed networking processes in healthcare and patient safety in her role as a senior lecturer at Vanderbilt University. Stephanie is a graduate of Princeton University and the University of Rochester.


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Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/digitizing-charity-we-can-do-better-at-doing-good

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