Beyond Cryptotrading: 6 Ways Blockchain Is Changing The Face Of Investing

Blockchain and investment.

Blockchain and investment.

Time was, anyone who wanted to invest in the stock market used a broker. That broker provided investment advice and handled all trades. The reason, of course, was that brokers did the research and had access to information that the average individual investor did not have.

All of this changed as technology provided individuals access to the same information that the “big boys” have always had. Now, individual investors go through discount brokerages for specific trades. They still engage in institutional investing, though, through their 401K’s and through investments in large funds and such products as annuities.

Enter cryptocurrency and its backbone blockchain technology. At first, digital currencies were viewed by institutional investors as an “exotic fad” – one to be avoided. They have sat up and taken notice, however, as Bitcoin and Ethereum climbed in value and, during 2018, seemed to reach an equilibrium that is more stable. Now, institutional investors, such as Goldman Sachs, are developing cryptocurrency investment products. This trend will infuse much more capital into the digital currency markets, as well as provide greater “legitimacy” and transparency.

It is not just the growth of digital currencies that is disrupting traditional financial and investment industries. The technology itself is changing the entire face of investing altogether. And here’s how:

1. Trading Cost Can Decrease

A recent report by Oliver Wyman, an international financial services consulting firm, has estimated that IT and operations costs in capital markets is close to $100-$150 billion a year, as well as an additional $100 billion in post-trade and securities servicing fees. These fees are passed on to customers in the form of such things as front-end loads and yearly administrative costs. Blockchain technology, with its transparent and immutable recording and storage of investment transactions, holds the promise of greatly reducing these costs by capitalizing on public blockchains.


Morgan Stanley is serious about investing in outer space and just had its first conference about itMorgan Stanley is serious about investing in outer space and just had its first conference about it

BE-4 engine test at Blue Origin's West Texas launch facility.

Blue Origin
BE-4 engine test at Blue Origin’s West Texas launch facility.

Morgan Stanley hosted its first “Space Summit” in New York City on Tuesday, as the firm is telling clients to pay attention to space companies.

The event “included participation from private and public space companies and investors, with discussions centered on bandwidth, national security, and capital formation in the private domain,” Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas said in a note to clients on Wednesday.

Read more: Morgan Stanley says 2019 could ‘be the year for space,’ led by the likes of SpaceX and Blue Origin

A dozen space-related companies spoke at the event, as well as a host of Morgan Stanley analysts with backgrounds on everything from telecommunications to the future of transportation. Seven companies building space hardware spoke at the summit, according to a copy of the event’s agenda seen by CNBC: OneWeb, Telesat, ViaSat, Maxar Technologies, Rocket Lab, Spaceflight Industries and Spire Global. Additionally, five venture capital and consulting firms spoke: Seraphim Capital, Razor’s Edge Ventures, In-Q-Tel, RRE Ventures and TMF Associates.

Morgan Stanley asked three questions of the 12 companies and firms that spoke:

How urgently does the Department of Defense need a Space Force? When will a human being next step foot on the moon? What is their best single investment idea for the space industry?

Here’s what Morgan Stanley said about their answers:

  1. Need for a Space Force: “On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the greatest sense of urgency. The average of the responses was 3.5.”
  2. When a human will next step on the Moon: “The answers ranged from 2022 to 2030, with an average answer of 2025. 10 out of the 12 presenters believe China will be the next to put a human on the moon before the US.”
  3. Single best space investment idea: “Blue Origin and in space manufacturing got the most frequent mentions.”

Attendees who spoke to CNBC after the event called remarks by OneWeb CEO Adrián Steckel the highlight of the day. According to two attendees, Steckel revealed OneWeb plans to launch only two-thirds of the previously announced 900 satellites for its broadband internet constellation. Steckel explained that OneWeb only needs to put 600 satellites in 12 orbits, rather than 18, to get global coverage, the people attending said.

Additionally, Steckel talked about focusing initially on large enterprise customers – such as aviation and marine – for its broadband networks, attendees said. That would mark a noted shift from OneWeb’s stated mission, which the company’s website says “is to enable affordable Internet access for everyone, connect every school on Earth, and bridge the digital divide by 2027.” OneWeb has raised more than $2 billion to fund its massive satellite network, with investments from SoftBank, Qualcomm, Airbus and Virgin.


Shaktikanta Das: Everything You Need To Know About RBI’s New Governor

Shaktikanta Das replaces Urjit Patel, who surprisingly resigned from the central bank on Monday.

Shaktikanta Das: Everything You Need To Know About RBI's New Governor

The government on Tuesday appointed former Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das as the new Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor, reported news agency Indo-Asian News Service (IANS). Mr Das, who retired as Economic Affairs Secretary in May 2017, has been appointed for a term of three years. “The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the appointment of Shaktikanta Das, former Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, as Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for a period of three years,” official order was quoted as saying in the IANS report.

Mr Das replaces Urjit Patel, who surprisingly resigned from the central bank on Monday amid growing differences with the government over a range of subjects including the central bank’s autonomy.

Mr Das, a history graduate from the prestigious St. Stephen’s College in Delhi, is a 1980-batch Tamil Nadu cadre IAS officer. He is known as an experienced bureaucrat. He has worked extensively in the budget division under both ruling government and the previous coalition led by the main opposition Congress party.

He was brought to the Finance Ministry soon after the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government came to power in mid-2014 and was given charge of the revenue department. While in the finance ministry, Das, 61, was involved in drafting India’s Insolvency and Bankruptcy code, aimed at protecting small investors.

He was later moved to the economic affairs department, which essentially deals with monetary policy and the RBI. Mr Das oversaw the re-monetisation of the economy after the shock decision to withdraw 86 per cent of the currency in circulation in November 2016. Last year, he criticised the methodology of global rating agencies and sought a sovereign rating upgrade.

After his retirement, he was named India’s G-20 Sherpa and also appointed as a member of the 15th Finance Commission.


Melbourne knife attacker inspired by Islamic State, police say

Police seen in Bourke St on Nov. 9, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia after a man was shot by police after he stabbed three people and killed one in Bourke St mall in Melbourne.

A Somali-born man who set fire to a truck laden with gas cylinders in the center of Melbourne and fatally stabbed one person was inspired by Islamic State but did not have direct links with the group, police in Australia said on Saturday.

Police identified the man responsible for Friday’s attack as 30-year-old Hassan Khalif Shire Ali and said he was radicalized and inspired by the militant group’s propaganda. He was shot by police and died in hospital.

Police said Shire Ali’s Australian passport was canceled in 2015 after an intelligence report he planned to travel to Syria, but an assessment was made that while he had radical views, he posed no threat to national security.

Islamic State had claimed responsibility for the attack, which came two days before Remembrance Day, marking 100 years since the end of World War One, without providing any evidence.

“I think it is fair to say he (Shire Ali) was inspired. He was radicalized,” Australian Federal Police Acting Deputy Commissioner Ian McCartney told reporters in Melbourne.

“We’re not saying there was direct contact. We’re saying it was more from an inspiration perspective.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the national terrorism advisory remained at “probable,” the midpoint of a five-tier system, and told reporters in Sydney that radical Islam was the issue.

“I need to call it out. Radical, violent, extremist Islam that opposes our very way of life. I am the first to protect religious freedom in this country, but that also means I must be the first to call out religious extremism,” he said.

Rush hour attack

Friday’s attack began just before the evening rush hour and lasted only minutes. Shire Ali stabbed bystanders and attacked police while his utility truck carrying barbecue gas cylinders burned on busy Bourke Street.

The cylinders did not explode and the fire was put out in 10 minutes, by which point the attack was over, though not before one man was fatally stabbed.

Police said he was a 74-year-old man who worked in the city, but did not release his name. Local media identified him as a restaurant owner.

“This shouldn’t happen in a city like Melbourne,” one witness who had returned to the scene on Saturday told Reuters, crying. “I just want to forget it,” she said.

Video posted to Twitter and broadcast on television showed Shire Ali swinging a knife at two police officers, while the truck burned in the background, before he collapsed when one shot him in the chest.

Victoria state police said counter-terrorism investigators were searching two properties in suburban Melbourne in connection with the attack, but there was no immediate word on what the searches yielded.

At one, a modest one-story brick house on the city’s western fringe, armed officers wearing masks stood guard outside.

Bourke Street also reopened on Saturday morning, and a Reuters reporter said there was an increased police presence in the area.

A staunch U.S. ally, Australia has been on alert for such violence after a Sydney cafe siege in 2014, and its intelligence agencies have stepped up scrutiny. Victoria Police Commissioner Graham Ashton said there was no warning of the latest attack.

He said there was no longer a threat to the public, but that security would be boosted at horse races and Remembrance Day memorials over the weekend.

Authorities say Australia’s vigilance has helped foil at least a dozen plots, including a plan to attack Melbourne at Christmas in 2016 and a plan to blow up a flight from Sydney to Abu Dhabi using a bomb disguised as a meat mincer.

Two hostages were killed during the 17-hour Sydney cafe siege by a “lone wolf” gunman who was inspired by Islamic State militants.


Get An extra 25% Off Sale At Bloomingdales

Get excited readers, Bloomingdales is currently running a promotion allowing customers to get an extra 25 percent off an array of clearance sale items in the women’s apparel, shoes, and handbag departments. Items with discount are indicated in a black text that states, Extra 25 percent off’ under the product image.’ Discount will be applied in your shopping cart. It’s rare that designers like Burberry, Lafayette 148 New York and The Kooples have an extra 25 percent off already applied sale prices. So, go ahead, pick up that luxurious Burberry blazer for the holiday season or stock up on your favorite cashmere sweaters.

We have conducted our research and compiled a list of items included under the promotion that we think you will love. Prices not reflective of extra 25 percent off discount.

Joie Embellished

Joie Jesiah Embellished Sweatshirt

Add a little sparkle to your favorite pair of denim jeans with this embellished sweatshirt from Joie. The sweatshirt is composed of a cotton/viscose blend and features raglan sleeves, a crewneck, rhinestone and bead embellishments, and a relaxed silhouette. The sweatshirt can also be paired with leather pants and ankle boots for your next holiday party.

Originally $248, now $148.80.

Shop Now


Burberry Landow Wool Blazer

A Burberry blazer at almost 60 percent off the original retail price? Practically irresistible. The blazer is composed of wool and features shoulder padding, long sleeves, waist patch pockets, short notched lapels, and button closure. Wear this blazer with black trousers for an office-appropriate look or add sequin pants and stiletto heels for a night out. The blazer runs slightly small so you may want to order up a size.

Originally $1,390, now $973.

Shop Now

Kooples Ankle

The Kooples Rhinestone Trim Ankle Pants

The standard ankle pant gets an upgrade with rhinestone embellishment. This pant by The Kooples is composed of a wool/elastane blend and features back slit pockets, zip fly with hook and eye closure, rhinestone trim at the sides, and a straight silhouette. This pant is party ready and will look chic with a camisole, blazer and statement shoes to tie together the look.

Originally $295, now $207.

Shop Now

I have an undergraduate degree in English Literature from Bucknell University and an MBA in Marketing from Saint Joseph’s University. My fashion career began as a hobby and has now developed into a brand and a professional fashion blog. Inspired by my grandmother, Ginny, I …

When I got my first job at Taco Bell, I didn’t plan on staying for more than a few months. Little did I know that, two years later, I would be promoted to Assistant Manager, go to Japan with a team from Taco Bell headquarters and win a $25,000 scholarship to pursue my passion through education.


My freshman year of high school, I was required to take a language. I was interested in Japanese, but my dad convinced me to sign up for Spanish. My first day of school, I sat in Spanish class, looking across the hall longingly at the Japanese class. The students were having fun, and the teacher seemed really engaging. Later that day, I transferred into Japanese. My passion for the Japanese language and culture quickly took off. I was fascinated and spent days and nights studying to become fluent and understand their social customs.

My teacher told me about an immersion trip to Japan she led every few years. I was thrilled about the possibility of seeing what I had been studying come to life, that is, until she told me the cost. I would need $6,000 to go on the trip. I was really discouraged, because I didn’t have the money, but my teacher’s enthusiasm made me determined to find a way.


I began the job hunt to help me pay for the trip, and drove all around town applying. Although Taco Bell wasn’t originally on my radar, they offered me a position working the cash register, so I took it. On top of going to school every day and doing homework, I was working numerous hours a week to save money. It was hard, but the people made it easy. I felt truly supported by my managers, who helped me learn the ropes and instilled a positive culture among our team – we all had a lot of fun together. Not to mention, I had my sights set on Japan.

A few times a year, the Taco Bell Foundation National Fundraiser would come around. That meant asking customers to donate a dollar to support young people’s educational dreams through the Live Más Scholarship. I had my pitch down, and loved the idea that I was working for a company that cared about people’s education. What I didn’t know, was that I could be one of those people.

One day, my manager told me that I should apply for the Live Más Scholarship myself. He said that it’s open to employees working at Taco Bell restaurants, and all you have to do is submit a 2-minute video about your passion, and you could win $5,000-$25,000. It sounded great, but also sounded like a once-in-a-lifetime thing that you never actually win. Every day, my manager asked if I applied yet. I suppose his confidence in me made up for the lack of confidence


A startup CEO who’s raised nearly $500 million says business strategy isn’t what you do – it’s what you don’t

Jeff RaiderHollis Johnson/Business InsiderHarry’s co-CEO Jeff Raider.
  • Harry’s co-CEOs Jeff Raider and Andy Katz-Mayfield are intentional with every move they make – and don’t make.
  • Raider told Business Insider that while the company has a lot of opportunity, it has finite resources and a small team relative to competitors, so it has to be strategic about where it invests.
  • That’s why Harry’s sells only a small number of high-quality products. “We’d rather do three things incredibly well than 100 things not so well,” Raider tells his team.

Since its first round of funding in 2012, razor company Harry’s has raised nearly half a billion dollars.

Harry’s razors are marketed toward men who value simplicity, Jeff Raider, Harry’s co-CEO, said on an episode of Business Insider’s podcast “This Is Success.”

And for Harry’s, simplicity isn’t only a marketing tool. It’s also a business strategy. Raider said he and co-CEO Andy Katz-Mayfield are intentional with every move they make – and don’t make.

“One of the things we always talk about is that strategy is what you don’t do, as opposed to what you decide to do, because we have all these opportunities,” Raider said. “And so for us, it was about thinking about, ‘OK, what are the things that we really want to do, and the things that we’re not sure about,’ and then getting input from our team, and board, and advisers, and other people at the right points in time, to help us where those answers may not be as clear.”

As Raider said on “This Is Success,” Harry’s is strategic about the opportunities it chooses to pursue. “We only have a finite set of resources,” he said. “And we still have a pretty small team, relative to our competition, which are these giant companies. And so for us, we need to be really intentional about the things that we decide to do, and then, in turn, the things that we decide not to do.”

Unlike Harry’s competitor, Dollar Shave Club, Raider and Katz-Mayfield own their razors and every aspect of the business. In the past year, Harry’s raised $112 million to create a variety of personal care products for its nearly five million active users. But rather than selling a wide variety of products, Harry’s only sells one type of shave gel, one post-shave balm, and one face wash.

“We haven’t launched a million different men’s grooming products, because we care so much about the quality of each one of our products, and about the idea that we want guys to be able to really understand what we make, and how those products are different from each other,” Raider said.

If Raider and Katz-Mayfield disagree on a company decision, the co-CEOs look to Harry’s advisers and present the question in a unified front.

“At the end of the day, we try to come to our team, then, with saying, ‘Listen, we’d rather do three things incredibly well than 100 things not so well,'” Raider said. “And that’s allowed us to be pretty deliberate in the way that we’ve built the brand. Harry’s is now five years old. We sell in the US, Canada, and the UK only, as opposed to all over the world, which is a choice we could have made.”


When Your Sales Numbers Really Do Stink – Literally!

Stagnant Sales Business Cartoon

You hear it not infrequently – “sales are stagnant.”

Or some variation thereof. And I think most of us take phrases like that for granted.

Not your friendly neighborhood cartoonist.

No, these heroic folk seize upon under-explored verbiage and say to themselves, “Ha! Now there’s something that needs to be poked fun at! Sentence-ending prepositions be darned!”

Then they get down to the hard work of free association.

“Hrm … Stagnant sales … Stagnant … Perhaps a stag? No … Stag-nant party? No … Aha! You know what’s also stagnant? Swamps! Eureka!!”

One sales graph and a few stink lines later and all is well again!

“Hooray!” shouts the local populace!

“Hooray for the cartoonist!”


RBI Announces New System To Settle Bad Loans

Image result for RBI's New Norms On Bad Loans A Wake Up Call For Defaulters, Says Government

The RBI said that all prior schemes will be withdrawn with immediate effect

Mumbai: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) late on Monday tightened its rules around bank loan defaults, seeking to push more large loan defaulters toward bankruptcy courts and abolishing half a dozen existing loan-restructuring mechanisms, in its latest bid to accelerate resolution of the bad loans problem at the country’s banks.

The new set of rules are aimed at creating a “harmonised and simplified generic framework” for resolution of stressed assets in view of new bankruptcy regulations, the Reserve Bank of India said late on Monday.

After enacting its first comprehensive bankruptcy regime in 2016, the government last year gave the RBI more powers to push lenders to deal with the nearly $150 billion in troubled debt at banks, which has stymied new lending and slowed economic growth.

Last year, the RBI ordered banks to force roughly 40 of the biggest corporate loan defaulters into bankruptcy proceedings.

The new system will force lenders to identify and tackle any stressed-asset accounts more rapidly, the regulator said.

Under the new rules, banks will have to file for insolvency proceedings against loan defaulters with RS 2,000 crore ($311 million) or more if a resolution plan is not implemented within 180 days of the initial occurrence of default, the RBI said.

It warned that any failure on the part of banks to meet the prescribed timelines, or any actions they take to conceal the actual status of accounts or evergreen stressed accounts, will expose banks to potential monetary penalties and other actions.

It also tightened rules around resolution plans, saying any such process involving restructuring or change in ownership for large accounts with loans of Rs. 100 crore or more will need independent credit evaluation by credit rating agencies that are authorised by the RBI.

Loans of Rs. 500 crore or more will need two such independent evaluators, the RBI said.

The central bank said that all prior schemes, including the popular Strategic Debt Restructuring Scheme, the Scheme for Sustainable Structuring of Stressed Assets, and the Corporate Debt Restructuring Scheme, will be withdrawn with immediate effect.

“All accounts, including such accounts where any of the schemes have been invoked but not yet implemented, shall be governed by the revised framework,” the RBI said.

Some of the current loan restructuring rules have been criticised for helping to evergreen bad loans. The debt for equity swap programme, one of the central bank’s most popular plans, has had little success, with creditor banks struggling to find new buyers for the companies they tried taking over by exchanging part of the debt for equity.


PepsiCo steps up marketing investment on its ‘big brands’


PepsiCo has revealed that it would be increasing its advertising spend behind its “big brands”, such as Pepsi, Gatorade and DEW. This is with expectations of positive impact, said Hugh F. Johnston, vice chairman, CFO and executive VP at PepsiCo.

Johnston added that the brand’s strategy in the beverage business is focused on brand building.

The brand’s strategy in the beverage business is focused on brand building.

He added that it is also focused on innovation and execution in the marketplace. However, “like most advertising campaigns, that will take several quarters to fully realise the impact”, he explained.

“So we expect sequential improvement in each of the quarters, starting with Q1,” Johnston said.

According to Indra K. Nooyi, chairman and CEO of PepsiCo Inc, the company looks to step up investment spending in advertising, marketing, frontline workforce training, digital capability, data analytics and e-commerce. The move comes as its investment in e-commerce across multiple channels, from e-grocery, to direct to consumer, to pure play, helped drive exceptional growth in 2017, Nooyi said. As a result, PepsiCo’s e-commerce business is now approximately US$1 billion in annualised retail sales.

“We are leveraging big data and predictive analytics to sharpen real-time marketing messages, dynamic merchandising and tailored offers. And we’re increasingly collaborating with retail customers to make e-commerce a point of differentiation for PepsiCo,” she added.

The company also has “robust marketing innovation lined up for 2018”. This includes the launch of its Pepsi Generations campaign and the launch of Mountain Dew Ice, featured with Doritos Blaze at the Super Bowl. Other initiatives include the introduction of its new sparking water bubly, and further marketing support and packaging innovation. This comes as LIFEWTR enters its second year from launch.

“Furthermore, as a company, we will double down on new capabilities in areas such as e-commerce, digital and brand marketing to make us even more competitive,” Nooyi said.

Regarding its pricing strategy, PepsiCo expects its pricing to be competitive in the marketplace. However, pricing lower is not part of its strategy to gain market share.


Global smartphone sales fall for the first time in more than a decade

A customer purchases the new iPhone X at an Apple store on November 3, 2017 in Palo Alto, California.

Getty Images
A customer purchases the new iPhone X at an Apple store on November 3, 2017 in Palo Alto, California.

Global smartphone sales fell by 5.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017 — the industry’s first decline since 2004, according to a study from research firm Gartner.

Chinese smartphone makers Huawei and Xiaomi were the only vendors in the top five to experience year-over-year growth in the quarter, respectively by 7.6 percent and 79 percent.

“Upgrades from feature phones to smartphones have slowed down due to a lack of quality ‘ultra-low-cost’ smartphones and users preferring to buy quality feature phones,” said Anshul Gupta, research director at Gartner. “Replacement smartphone users are choosing quality models and keeping them longer.”

“While demand for high quality, 4G connectivity and better camera features remained strong, high expectations and few incremental benefits during replacement weakened smartphone sales,” Gupta said.

Samsung maintained the number one spot for global sales, growing market share from the fourth quarter of 2016, despite a 3.6 percent dip. Apple sales fell 5 percent year over year and Oppo sales fell 3.9 percent.

All five top vendors grew in global market share in the fourth quarter of the 2017, widening the gap between the leaders and the rest of the industry.

Smartphones sales for all of 2017 increased by 2.7 percent from the previous year to 1.5 billion.