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A startup that wants to change the way people think about saving money has named a new CEO

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

music festival, gen y, millenials, concert, happy

A New York startup that wants to change the way millennials think about saving money has named a former LinkedIn engineer as its CEO.

Derek Brown joined Exeq in January as chief technology officer, according to his LinkedIn profile. He is assuming the CEO position just before the company's mobile app goes live in August. 

He previously led product development teams at both LinkedIn and Addepar, the investment technology company, according to a news releaseAt LinkedIn, Brown managed the team responsible for operating Recruiter, its flagship tool that head hunters use to scout talent, according to release.

Exeq's budget app will strive to help users spend less money using consumer data. Brown told Business Insider that most budgeting apps view money as an end. Exeq views money as a means to end.

"They make managing your finances a fearful experience," Brown said. "People then associate spending with something negative and so saving money becomes a negative experience. We believe you shouldn't be afraid to look."

The point of the app isn't to make people feel guilty about buying the things they love so that they curtail their spending to hit a certain savings goal. Rather, it is to help people make more efficient decisions about their spending. It does so by notifying users when slight changes to how they spend can be made. For instance, the app might alert a person who frequents a coffee shop on their way to work that there is a more affordable alternative nearby.

"Our focus isn't on working towards a certain number, " Brown said. "It's about being able to enjoy the experiences you love in a smart way."

Exeq was founded in 2015 by four New York City college students, and currently has a waitlist of over 25,000 people, according to a news release. Exeq has raised $2.2 million in seed funding from venture capital firms and Barclays, the UK financial services firm, according to Brown. 

SEE ALSO: A top Wall Street analyst explains why you should put just as much work into a LinkedIn message as an interview

SEE ALSO: An investment banker explains why aspiring Wall Streeters should read every section of the newspaper

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: THE BOTTOM LINE: A top Wall Street strategist says there's nothing to worry about and we examine bitcoin's surge

Ether Price Analysis: Here’s What Just Went Down

Bitcoin Magazine, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Ether Price Analysis

A few days ago, just before a 25% market pullback, ETH-USD reached all-time high values upward of $420 as ICO investors desperately tried to accumulate ether to purchase Bancor tokens. The Bancor ICO was single-handedly responsible for congesting the Ethereum networks as users scrambled to get their ICO orders in time. This created a scenario where individuals were spending large sums of ETH to expedite their transactions and push other transaction times further and further back — the sheer volume of which could not be handled by many exchanges and wallets.

Coinbase Status.png

Figure 1: Coinbase Ethereum Transactions Delayed

Across multiple exchanges, messages like the one above began popping up yesterday as the perfect storm of ICO congestion from “Status” met a flood of ETH being sold off to BTC via the ETH-BTC markets (shown in yellow in the figure below). At the time of this article, the aftermath of the Status ICO is still being felt as many wallets and exchanges still have Ether-related services disabled. coinbase-ethbtc-Jun-21-2017-14-41-33.png

Figure 2: ETH-BTC, 1 HR Candles, GDAX

Once the services begin to open up and allow cold storage holders to get their coins on the market, one can only speculate how far the price will continue to be pushed down. Given the long-term, bearish indicators on the ETH-USD markets, it is entirely possible that we will see further tests of the lower support levels (shown in brown). The relatively low volume on this recent dip indicates the real price action has yet to truly begin. Because of the backlogged transactions from the Status ICO event, the volume we have seen thus far has mostly likely only been by those who held their coins on the exchange. The MACD and RSI (indicators of market momentum) are showing no sign of divergence (market momentum reversal) and there is very little upward pressure to keep the price aloft.

coinbase-ethusd-Jun-21-2017-15-55-12.png

Figure 3: ETH-USD, 6 HR Candles, GDAX

Where the bottom of this bear run truly lies remains to be seen. However, for the first time since the double-digit values, the 1-day candles are showing a bearish trend on the MACD (shown in purple), and the RSI is showing a loss of momentum (divergence shown in orange). As it stands, ETH-USD is sitting on the first Fibonacci Retracement Line at ~$315 where it is flirting with the idea of lower values.

kraken-ethusd-Jun-21-2017-16-13-58.png

Figure 4: ETH-USD, 1 Day Candles, Kraken

Bancor and Status set record transaction volumes and accumulated millions of USD in the form of ETH. Is $300 the bottom of this Bear Run? Maybe. But one has to ask, “What would you do if you just had two of the largest ICOs in history, where the value of the ETH used to fund your project is at all time high values? Would you watch your capital dwindle away under bearish conditions, or would you cash out?"

Trading and investing in digital assets like bitcoin and ether is highly speculative and comes with many risks. This analysis is for informational purposes and should not be considered investment advice. Statements and financial information on Bitcoin Magazine and BTCMedia related sites do not necessarily reflect the opinion of BTCMedia and should not be construed as an endorsement or recommendation to buy, sell or hold. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.

The post Ether Price Analysis: Here’s What Just Went Down appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Nike designed a shoe just for dads — and it's flying off the shelves (NKE)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

nike air monarch

The Nike Air Monarch IV isn't a shoe that gets a lot of attention.

But it should — it's arguably one of the most important in the company's lineup and a perennial best-seller.

The shoe is immune to the tides of trend precisely because it's not intended to be purchased by fashion snobs. With its low key design and extra-wide width, it was designed for the quintessential dad.

The shoe in its modern form — the Monarch II — was designed to give Nike an edge in a segment of training-type shoes dominated by New Balance and favorited by predominantly middle-aged men, according to its lead designer Jason Mayde.

"From a business perspective it was significant and very important, but from a design perspective it was undesirable," Mayde told shoe enthusiast blog Nice Kicks, who designed the shoe for Nike in the early 2000s and now works elsewhere.

Though it wasn't a "sexy" project to work on, it had huge import for the company since the segment is an important money maker. The shoe often appears on the "best-selling" lists, and has been sold continuously by Nike since its inception.

A post shared by Josh Weiler (@weiler.josh) on

Mayde's work on the Monarch II still lives on in its current incantation — the modern Monarch IV. It hasn't needed many updates since then because his design "nailed it," Mayde said.

With the Monarch II "we had the Sunday shopper’s most favorite shoe," he said. "We had not just a product that would be here for a season and then go away – we had a shoe that would be here for years and years."

The shoe's design solidified Mayde's reputation, and he went on to design some of Jordan brand's most important sneakers. Still, he'll always have a place in his heart for the Monarch.

"The Monarch is about a shoe that is happy, that is involved, that most likely has a mustache with no beard that loves Miller High Life, relaxed fitting denim, and a BBQ in the backyard," Mayde said.

A post shared by Justin Shal (@certifiedjshal) on

SEE ALSO: Nike is reportedly close to making a huge move that should terrify Dick's, Foot Locker, and Under Armour

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: HENRY BLODGET: Bitcoin could go to $1 million (or fall to $0)

More Universities Add Blockchain Courses to Meet Market Demand

Bitcoin Magazine, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

More Universities Add Blockchain Courses to Meet Market Demand

In recent months, there has been a surge in the demand for blockchain professionals. Data from the professional networking site LinkedIn has shown that blockchain related job postings have tripled in the last 12 months. This shows that there is a high demand for blockchain experts as the potential and applicability of blockchain technology becomes more apparent to corporations. Recognizing this opportunity, several universities have added blockchain studies to their fields of study to tailor their educational offerings to these new developments in the job market.

The University of Edinburgh, for example, has recently announced the launch of a blockchain technology laboratory within its School of Informatics through a collaboration with technology startup Input Output Hong Kong (IOHK). The new lab will focus primarily on blockchain studies. However, related interdisciplinary research will be also encouraged.

Speaking at the launch of the blockchain technology lab, IOHK Co-Founder, Jeremy Wood stated: “IOHK’s partnership with the University of Edinburgh provides unique opportunities for current students to become the next generation of blockchain and cryptography leaders. As a headquarters for IOHK’s international academic research community, we expect to see the university facilitate innovative projects that drive how businesses and governments approach blockchain and cryptocurrencies.”

The University of Edinburgh now joins a small but growing list of educational institutions that are including courses on blockchain technology in their curricula.

Though the University of Edinburgh is the first to offer a blockchain course of this kind in the United Kingdom, universities in the U.S. have already been doing so for a while. Stanford University began offering a course on cryptocurrencies, blockchains and smart contracts two years ago, while the University of California, Berkeley also offers a blockchain course.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is in the process of developing a course on the subject matter, while the University of Nicosia in Cyprus is offering the world’s first MSc in Digital Currency. The master's degree covers all key areas of digital currencies such as regulation, cryptography and blockchain technology applications. Students can even pay the tuition fees for the degree in bitcoin.

There are also a number of online courses created to cater to the rising demand for blockchain expertise. Princeton University has partnered with online learning platform Coursera to provide an intensive 11-week course on bitcoin and cryptocurrency technology.

The Blockchain University and the B9lab also offer blockchain and cryptocurrency courses designed to cater to professionals who are seeking to improve their knowledge and have a competitive edge in the industry.

The CryptoCurrency Certification Consortium (C4) includes Andreas Antonopoulos, Vitalik Buterin, Pamela Morgan, Josh McDougall and Michael Perklin on its board of directors. It offers cryptocurrency courses and provides participants with professional certificates upon completion. Certified Bitcoin Professional (CBP), Certified Bitcoin Expert (CBE), and Certified Ethereum Developer (CED) are the three professional certifications available.

The rise in blockchain related courses both online and in leading educational institutions is a testament to growing confidence in the technology's ability to disrupt industry in the future. Blockchain technology is now being recognized as an applicable solution to real world business challenges and that is reflected in both the job market as well as in educational courses on offer.

The post More Universities Add Blockchain Courses to Meet Market Demand appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

What you need to know on Wall Street today

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Welcome to Finance Insider, Business Insider's summary of the top stories of the past 24 hours. Sign up here to get this newsletter delivered straight to your inbox. 

Here they are: the most important charts in the world. Once again, we asked dozens of top strategists, economists, and writers for one chart that is top of mind right now. 

There's a lot of news today, so let's jump right in. First up, Uber:

In markets and economics news:

In Wall Street news:

In retail:

Lastly, in tech:

Phew.

SEE ALSO: The 27 most important finance books ever written

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: THE BOTTOM LINE: A top Wall Street strategist says there's nothing to worry about and we examine bitcoin's surge

Dogecoin Creator Jackson Palmer Is Concerned About Ethereum’s ICO Bubble

Bitcoin Magazine, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Dogecoin Creator Jackson Palmer Is Concerned About Ethereum’s ICO Bubble

The one of biggest stories in cryptocurrency over the past couple of months has been the meteoric rise of the ether price and the speculative frenzy around the Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) launching on top of the Ethereum platform. In a recent video uploaded to his personal YouTube channel, Dogecoin creator Jackson Palmer shared some of his thoughts on ICOs and their effect on the ether price.

“The real reason the [ether] price has been going up something like a hundred dollars per week for the past month is really just greed: greed from developers, greed from investors [and] greed from everybody in this speculative market,” said Palmer in a summary of his main point on the topic of Ethereum and ICOs. “And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. People making money is how the world works. But it’s the way in which it’s been happening and the speed at which people have been doing these ICOs that is a little bit concerning.”

This Is Not Our First Rodeo with ICOs

Before getting into the details of the current speculative bubble around ICOs, Palmer pointed out that this is not the cryptocurrency community’s first rodeo when it comes to these sorts of token sales and speculative investment opportunities.

As specific examples of past token sales from an earlier time, Palmer pointed to Mastercoin (now Omni) and Ethereum itself.

Then there was Havelock Investments, “literally a platform where you could buy securities or invest and get equity in a company based on bitcoin,” added Palmer.

In addition to Havelock Investments, public offerings for investment were also made on platforms such as Bitfunder, BTC-TC and GLBSE.

Palmer also brought up several infamous cases of bad investments or outright scams from the past.

He discussed Neo & Bee, a startup that failed in spectacular fashion after raising funds through various bitcoin-based stock exchanges. Cyprus eventually issued an arrest warrant for Neo & Bee CEO Danny Brewster.

Then Palmer also recalled the infamous case of Josh Garza and his schemes related to cloud mining and the altcoin known as Paycoin.

“They launched a coin that was literally just a token to facilitate their Ponzi scheme,” said Palmer. “And they would actually sell a product that didn’t exist.”

Why Are We Seeing a Flurry of ICOs Right Now?

So, if these sorts of schemes have existed in the past, why are we seeing a boom around the concept today? In Palmer’s view, Ethereum’s ERC20 token standard has made it easier for anyone to launch a token sale on their own.

“Because it’s so easy and a standard to copy, there’s been a lot of people that can just fire up an ICO in a couple of minutes,” said Palmer. “There’s actually a couple of websites out there that’ll let you generate an ICO or generate a token on Ethereum with no coding required.”

Although previous token sales did not involve much more than a Bitcoin address and a spreadsheet, Palmer said there’s something more tangible about the process on Ethereum.

“Something that is more tangible about Ethereum ICOs is that when you send the ether to the contract, the Ethereum network does recognize — and many wallets out there because of the ERC20 standard will recognize — that you got whatever coin or whatever token shows up in your wallet,” said Palmer. “So, it’s a lot more tangible. You’re not just sending money somewhere and never hearing about it again.”

Palmer added that developers need to take a step back and question whether it’s right for them to raise $150 million for their “little startup.” As a comparison, Palmer noted that normal seed round funding for a startup is between half a million to a million dollars.

“Many of them don’t even have a tangible product yet,” claimed Palmer.

While Palmer’s video casted a cautious tone over the entire ICO market, he did mention Status.im and Civic as two projects with legitimate, tangible technology behind them.

How Are These ICOs Affecting the Price of Ether?

Another aspect of the speculation around Ethereum-based ICOs is the effect these digital assets have had on the price of ether. There’s been a flurry of ICOs launched on the platform in the past few months, with some projects raising over $100 million in a matter of minutes.

“When [an ICO is launched], the only way to buy into these ERC20 contracts or these ICOs is through ether or Ethereum, so if these companies are raising $150 million in ether, that’s locking that ether up in that contract,” said Palmer. “And so, it’s taking that money off the market. So, what happens is you have this shortened supply, but there’s an ICO coming on the market every single week. And so, people are getting really excited about this and trying to buy up ether.

“This is what’s really happening,” Palmer continued. “This is what’s driving the bulk of the [ether] purchases and trade right now is people buying ether to send to a contract in the hope they’ll get rich quick off one of these ICOs.”

In Palmer’s view, the speculative boom and FOMO driven by the ICO market has spilled out into the entire cryptocurrency market.

Watch the full video here:


The post Dogecoin Creator Jackson Palmer Is Concerned About Ethereum’s ICO Bubble appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Dogecoin Creator Jackson Palmer Is Concerned About Ethereum’s ICO Bubble

Bitcoin Magazine, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Dogecoin Creator Jackson Palmer Is Concerned About Ethereum’s ICO Bubble

The one of biggest stories in cryptocurrency over the past couple of months has been the meteoric rise of the ether price and the speculative frenzy around the Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) launching on top of the Ethereum platform. In a recent video uploaded to his personal YouTube channel, Dogecoin creator Jackson Palmer shared some of his thoughts on ICOs and their effect on the ether price.

“The real reason the [ether] price has been going up something like a hundred dollars per week for the past month is really just greed: greed from developers, greed from investors [and] greed from everybody in this speculative market,” said Palmer in a summary of his main point on the topic of Ethereum and ICOs. “And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. People making money is how the world works. But it’s the way in which it’s been happening and the speed at which people have been doing these ICOs that is a little bit concerning.”

This Is Not Our First Rodeo with ICOs

Before getting into the details of the current speculative bubble around ICOs, Palmer pointed out that this is not the cryptocurrency community’s first rodeo when it comes to these sorts of token sales and speculative investment opportunities.

As specific examples of past token sales from an earlier time, Palmer pointed to Mastercoin (now Omni) and Ethereum itself.

Then there was Havelock Investments, “literally a platform where you could buy securities or invest and get equity in a company based on bitcoin,” added Palmer.

In addition to Havelock Investments, public offerings for investment were also made on platforms such as Bitfunder, BTC-TC and GLBSE.

Palmer also brought up several infamous cases of bad investments or outright scams from the past.

He discussed Neo & Bee, a startup that failed in spectacular fashion after raising funds through various bitcoin-based stock exchanges. Cyprus eventually issued an arrest warrant for Neo & Bee CEO Danny Brewster.

Then Palmer also recalled the infamous case of Josh Garza and his schemes related to cloud mining and the altcoin known as Paycoin.

“They launched a coin that was literally just a token to facilitate their Ponzi scheme,” said Palmer. “And they would actually sell a product that didn’t exist.”

Why Are We Seeing a Flurry of ICOs Right Now?

So, if these sorts of schemes have existed in the past, why are we seeing a boom around the concept today? In Palmer’s view, Ethereum’s ERC20 token standard has made it easier for anyone to launch a token sale on their own.

“Because it’s so easy and a standard to copy, there’s been a lot of people that can just fire up an ICO in a couple of minutes,” said Palmer. “There’s actually a couple of websites out there that’ll let you generate an ICO or generate a token on Ethereum with no coding required.”

Although previous token sales did not involve much more than a Bitcoin address and a spreadsheet, Palmer said there’s something more tangible about the process on Ethereum.

“Something that is more tangible about Ethereum ICOs is that when you send the ether to the contract, the Ethereum network does recognize — and many wallets out there because of the ERC20 standard will recognize — that you got whatever coin or whatever token shows up in your wallet,” said Palmer. “So, it’s a lot more tangible. You’re not just sending money somewhere and never hearing about it again.”

Palmer added that developers need to take a step back and question whether it’s right for them to raise $150 million for their “little startup.” As a comparison, Palmer noted that normal seed round funding for a startup is between half a million to a million dollars.

“Many of them don’t even have a tangible product yet,” claimed Palmer.

While Palmer’s video casted a cautious tone over the entire ICO market, he did mention Status.im and Civic as two projects with legitimate, tangible technology behind them.

How Are These ICOs Affecting the Price of Ether?

Another aspect of the speculation around Ethereum-based ICOs is the effect these digital assets have had on the price of ether. There’s been a flurry of ICOs launched on the platform in the past few months, with some projects raising over $100 million in a matter of minutes.

“When [an ICO is launched], the only way to buy into these ERC20 contracts or these ICOs is through ether or Ethereum, so if these companies are raising $150 million in ether, that’s locking that ether up in that contract,” said Palmer. “And so, it’s taking that money off the market. So, what happens is you have this shortened supply, but there’s an ICO coming on the market every single week. And so, people are getting really excited about this and trying to buy up ether.

“This is what’s really happening,” Palmer continued. “This is what’s driving the bulk of the [ether] purchases and trade right now is people buying ether to send to a contract in the hope they’ll get rich quick off one of these ICOs.”

In Palmer’s view, the speculative boom and FOMO driven by the ICO market has spilled out into the entire cryptocurrency market.

Watch the full video here:


The post Dogecoin Creator Jackson Palmer Is Concerned About Ethereum’s ICO Bubble appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Dogecoin Creator Jackson Palmer Is Concerned About Ethereum’s ICO Bubble

Bitcoin Magazine, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Dogecoin Creator Jackson Palmer Is Concerned About Ethereum’s ICO Bubble

The one of biggest stories in cryptocurrency over the past couple of months has been the meteoric rise of the ether price and the speculative frenzy around the Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) launching on top of the Ethereum platform. In a recent video uploaded to his personal YouTube channel, Dogecoin creator Jackson Palmer shared some of his thoughts on ICOs and their effect on the ether price.

“The real reason the [ether] price has been going up something like a hundred dollars per week for the past month is really just greed: greed from developers, greed from investors [and] greed from everybody in this speculative market,” said Palmer in a summary of his main point on the topic of Ethereum and ICOs. “And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. People making money is how the world works. But it’s the way in which it’s been happening and the speed at which people have been doing these ICOs that is a little bit concerning.”

This Is Not Our First Rodeo with ICOs

Before getting into the details of the current speculative bubble around ICOs, Palmer pointed out that this is not the cryptocurrency community’s first rodeo when it comes to these sorts of token sales and speculative investment opportunities.

As specific examples of past token sales from an earlier time, Palmer pointed to Mastercoin (now Omni) and Ethereum itself.

Then there was Havelock Investments, “literally a platform where you could buy securities or invest and get equity in a company based on bitcoin,” added Palmer.

In addition to Havelock Investments, public offerings for investment were also made on platforms such as Bitfunder, BTC-TC and GLBSE.

Palmer also brought up several infamous cases of bad investments or outright scams from the past.

He discussed Neo & Bee, a startup that failed in spectacular fashion after raising funds through various bitcoin-based stock exchanges. Cyprus eventually issued an arrest warrant for Neo & Bee CEO Danny Brewster.

Then Palmer also recalled the infamous case of Josh Garza and his schemes related to cloud mining and the altcoin known as Paycoin.

“They launched a coin that was literally just a token to facilitate their Ponzi scheme,” said Palmer. “And they would actually sell a product that didn’t exist.”

Why Are We Seeing a Flurry of ICOs Right Now?

So, if these sorts of schemes have existed in the past, why are we seeing a boom around the concept today? In Palmer’s view, Ethereum’s ERC20 token standard has made it easier for anyone to launch a token sale on their own.

“Because it’s so easy and a standard to copy, there’s been a lot of people that can just fire up an ICO in a couple of minutes,” said Palmer. “There’s actually a couple of websites out there that’ll let you generate an ICO or generate a token on Ethereum with no coding required.”

Although previous token sales did not involve much more than a Bitcoin address and a spreadsheet, Palmer said there’s something more tangible about the process on Ethereum.

“Something that is more tangible about Ethereum ICOs is that when you send the ether to the contract, the Ethereum network does recognize — and many wallets out there because of the ERC20 standard will recognize — that you got whatever coin or whatever token shows up in your wallet,” said Palmer. “So, it’s a lot more tangible. You’re not just sending money somewhere and never hearing about it again.”

Palmer added that developers need to take a step back and question whether it’s right for them to raise $150 million for their “little startup.” As a comparison, Palmer noted that normal seed round funding for a startup is between half a million to a million dollars.

“Many of them don’t even have a tangible product yet,” claimed Palmer.

While Palmer’s video casted a cautious tone over the entire ICO market, he did mention Status.im and Civic as two projects with legitimate, tangible technology behind them.

How Are These ICOs Affecting the Price of Ether?

Another aspect of the speculation around Ethereum-based ICOs is the effect these digital assets have had on the price of ether. There’s been a flurry of ICOs launched on the platform in the past few months, with some projects raising over $100 million in a matter of minutes.

“When [an ICO is launched], the only way to buy into these ERC20 contracts or these ICOs is through ether or Ethereum, so if these companies are raising $150 million in ether, that’s locking that ether up in that contract,” said Palmer. “And so, it’s taking that money off the market. So, what happens is you have this shortened supply, but there’s an ICO coming on the market every single week. And so, people are getting really excited about this and trying to buy up ether.

“This is what’s really happening,” Palmer continued. “This is what’s driving the bulk of the [ether] purchases and trade right now is people buying ether to send to a contract in the hope they’ll get rich quick off one of these ICOs.”

In Palmer’s view, the speculative boom and FOMO driven by the ICO market has spilled out into the entire cryptocurrency market.

Watch the full video here:


The post Dogecoin Creator Jackson Palmer Is Concerned About Ethereum’s ICO Bubble appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Dogecoin Creator Jackson Palmer Is Concerned About Ethereum’s ICO Bubble

Bitcoin Magazine, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Dogecoin Creator Jackson Palmer Is Concerned About Ethereum’s ICO Bubble

The one of biggest stories in cryptocurrency over the past couple of months has been the meteoric rise of the ether price and the speculative frenzy around the Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) launching on top of the Ethereum platform. In a recent video uploaded to his personal YouTube channel, Dogecoin creator Jackson Palmer shared some of his thoughts on ICOs and their effect on the ether price.

“The real reason the [ether] price has been going up something like a hundred dollars per week for the past month is really just greed: greed from developers, greed from investors [and] greed from everybody in this speculative market,” said Palmer in a summary of his main point on the topic of Ethereum and ICOs. “And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. People making money is how the world works. But it’s the way in which it’s been happening and the speed at which people have been doing these ICOs that is a little bit concerning.”

This Is Not Our First Rodeo with ICOs

Before getting into the details of the current speculative bubble around ICOs, Palmer pointed out that this is not the cryptocurrency community’s first rodeo when it comes to these sorts of token sales and speculative investment opportunities.

As specific examples of past token sales from an earlier time, Palmer pointed to Mastercoin (now Omni) and Ethereum itself.

Then there was Havelock Investments, “literally a platform where you could buy securities or invest and get equity in a company based on bitcoin,” added Palmer.

In addition to Havelock Investments, public offerings for investment were also made on platforms such as Bitfunder, BTC-TC and GLBSE.

Palmer also brought up several infamous cases of bad investments or outright scams from the past.

He discussed Neo & Bee, a startup that failed in spectacular fashion after raising funds through various bitcoin-based stock exchanges. Cyprus eventually issued an arrest warrant for Neo & Bee CEO Danny Brewster.

Then Palmer also recalled the infamous case of Josh Garza and his schemes related to cloud mining and the altcoin known as Paycoin.

“They launched a coin that was literally just a token to facilitate their Ponzi scheme,” said Palmer. “And they would actually sell a product that didn’t exist.”

Why Are We Seeing a Flurry of ICOs Right Now?

So, if these sorts of schemes have existed in the past, why are we seeing a boom around the concept today? In Palmer’s view, Ethereum’s ERC20 token standard has made it easier for anyone to launch a token sale on their own.

“Because it’s so easy and a standard to copy, there’s been a lot of people that can just fire up an ICO in a couple of minutes,” said Palmer. “There’s actually a couple of websites out there that’ll let you generate an ICO or generate a token on Ethereum with no coding required.”

Although previous token sales did not involve much more than a Bitcoin address and a spreadsheet, Palmer said there’s something more tangible about the process on Ethereum.

“Something that is more tangible about Ethereum ICOs is that when you send the ether to the contract, the Ethereum network does recognize — and many wallets out there because of the ERC20 standard will recognize — that you got whatever coin or whatever token shows up in your wallet,” said Palmer. “So, it’s a lot more tangible. You’re not just sending money somewhere and never hearing about it again.”

Palmer added that developers need to take a step back and question whether it’s right for them to raise $150 million for their “little startup.” As a comparison, Palmer noted that normal seed round funding for a startup is between half a million to a million dollars.

“Many of them don’t even have a tangible product yet,” claimed Palmer.

While Palmer’s video casted a cautious tone over the entire ICO market, he did mention Status.im and Civic as two projects with legitimate, tangible technology behind them.

How Are These ICOs Affecting the Price of Ether?

Another aspect of the speculation around Ethereum-based ICOs is the effect these digital assets have had on the price of ether. There’s been a flurry of ICOs launched on the platform in the past few months, with some projects raising over $100 million in a matter of minutes.

“When [an ICO is launched], the only way to buy into these ERC20 contracts or these ICOs is through ether or Ethereum, so if these companies are raising $150 million in ether, that’s locking that ether up in that contract,” said Palmer. “And so, it’s taking that money off the market. So, what happens is you have this shortened supply, but there’s an ICO coming on the market every single week. And so, people are getting really excited about this and trying to buy up ether.

“This is what’s really happening,” Palmer continued. “This is what’s driving the bulk of the [ether] purchases and trade right now is people buying ether to send to a contract in the hope they’ll get rich quick off one of these ICOs.”

In Palmer’s view, the speculative boom and FOMO driven by the ICO market has spilled out into the entire cryptocurrency market.

Watch the full video here:


The post Dogecoin Creator Jackson Palmer Is Concerned About Ethereum’s ICO Bubble appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

A tequila company George Clooney started by accident is being sold for $1 billion

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

casamigos

George Clooney created a tequila company on a whim and now it's being sold for $1 billion, CNBC is reporting.

The idea behind Casamigos, the brainchild of Clooney and his two friends, Rande Gerber (Cindy Crawford's husband), and Michael Meldman, was born when Clooney and Gerber bought neighboring properties in Mexico and got into drinking tequila. They got so into the drink they decided to create their own, Clooney told CNBC.

"Our idea was to make the best-tasting, smoothest tequila whose taste didn’t have to be covered up with salt or lime," the founders claim on their Facebook page.

Initially, the spirit was only made for their own consumption but after two years the distillery said that they had ordered so many "samples" that they would now need to have the drink licensed. 

In 2013, they launched the company and made the drink available to the public. It became one of the fastest-growing tequila brands. 

The business is now being sold to Diageo for $1 billion. 

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From Yelp reviews to mango shipments: IBM's CEO on how blockchain will change the world (IBM)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

IBM Ginni Rometty

IBM has received more patents than any other company for the past 24 years. First it was cloud computing, then artificial intelligence. Now, the software giant wants to stay on top for a 25th year with blockchain.

CEO Ginni Rometty, who also sits on President Trump's American Technology Council, explained the software giant's blockchain investments and patents to CNBC's Jim Cramer.

"What the internet did for communications," said Rometty, "I think blockchain will do for trusted transactions."

She said there are countless examples of where a secure, shared ledger can save businesses time and money. In shipping, blockchain replace mountains of paperwork. "On a cargo ship, the paperwork costs more than just even the goods inside of it," said Rometty. 

IBM has been working with retailers like Walmart and Maersk to track everything from food safety, to pork production in China, and even mango shipments. 

Instead of every single party — manufacturer, shipper, buyer and any other intermediary — all relying on their individual paperwork to track a a shipment from beginning to end, the blockchain would allow all stakeholders to see every step in an open, secure ledger. It's the same technology that powers cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin

IBM's blockchain patents could even help fish out fake Yelp reviews.

For example, the company was awarded a patent last month for "consensus-based reputation tracking in online marketplaces." The system would allow two verified users to endorse one another after a digital transaction, and block anyone else. Think of it like rating your Uber driver, but without any offline interaction. 

The only way for decentralized technology like blockchain to take off is for a multitude of companies to adopt it, so IBM is open-sourcing many of its blockchain advancements, according to Rometty. 

"Greatness isn't having a technology," said Rometty. "But the know how to do something with it."

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Nike is reportedly close to making a huge move that should terrify Dick's, Foot Locker, and Under Armour (NKE, AMZN)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Nike

The world's largest sportswear maker and the world's largest online retailer might finally work together. 

In its tooth-and-nail fight to staunch ebbing sales, Nike may finally embrace Amazon soon and sell directly on Amazon.com, according to analysts at Goldman Sachs.

"Our channel checks indicate [Nike] could be close to commencing a direct relationship selling product on Amazon.com," the Goldman Sachs analyst note reads.

For Nike, there are tangible benefits from selling directly on Amazon. The company's shoes, apparel, and accessories are already sold on Amazon, but from third-party sellers and unlicensed dealers that purchased the product wholesale from Nike. Selling directly on the site eliminates a layer between Nike and the consumer, allowing the company to better control pricing and presentation. It's not quite direct to consumer, but it's a lot closer.

Goldman sees it as a deal worth potentially up to $500 million of revenue yearly — an additional 1% of global sales for the Nike.

Nike's biggest competitors — Adidas and Under Armour — already sell directly on Amazon, and they both have fancy splash pages that highlight the the newest and best product the companies have to offer.  Nike currently has no such thing, giving both competitors have an advantage on the site.

Offering directly on Amazon also gives Nike's direct-to-consumer business even better access to younger consumers — millennials — who shop more often on Amazon than other groups.

Selling on Amazon may also serve to replace physical sports retailers that have gone bankrupt in recent years, like Sports Authority.

Dick's Sporting Goods and Foot Locker, some of Nike's biggest retailers, were both down in early market trading on the news of the increasing competition. Dick's neared an 18 month low, while Foot Locker fell below a three-year-low, according to Reuters.

SEE ALSO: Amazon just solved the greatest uncertainty of buying clothes online

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How Cryptocurrency Holders Can Diversify While Deferring Taxes

Bitcoin Magazine, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Quasi-charitable Trusts: How Cryptocurrency Holders Can Diversify While Deferring Taxes

With the historic rally in Bitcoin and Ethereum, there are more investors than ever seeking to diversify their newly expanded cryptocurrency holdings. Whether this diversification involves exchanging cryptocurrency for fiat, other cryptocurrencies or a mix of both, the downside can be capital gains tax exposure.

Capital gains (if the underlying property has been held for over a year) are taxed at 15 percent, 18.8 percent or 23.8 percent, dependent upon the amount of income received during the year. One common method of tax reduction is to spread sales/exchanges over multiple years, in order to “soak up” the maximum amount of income into the 15 percent and 18.8 percent brackets.

If you're seeking to diversify, it’s really only practical to spread sales over a few years at most. But what if there were a way to sell immediately while still deferring this capital gains income over a much longer period, such as 20 years or even a lifetime? And what if this method were able to also provide some benefit to charity, with a corresponding charitable deduction?

Enter the Charitable Remainder Trust

This can actually be done with a quasi-charitable trust, namely a charitable remainder trust. With a charitable remainder trust, you contribute some amount of your cryptocurrency to a trust before selling. The trust then sells the cryptocurrency (or otherwise diversifies) on a completely tax-free basis. The proceeds of sale stay within the trust, where they can be reinvested in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, other cryptocurrency or almost any other investment asset.

In exchange for your contribution of cryptocurrency, the trust makes a payment to you each year for so long as you are alive. (You can alternatively choose to have the payment made for the joint lives of you and your spouse, or some shorter fixed term of years.) You choose the amount of this annual payment at the time you create the trust.

The whole process is sort of like receiving an annuity in exchange for your cryptocurrency. This payment can be a fixed amount, or it can be expressed as a fluctuating percentage of trust assets each year. When you pass away, whatever is left passes to a charity of your choice.

There are numerous tax benefits:

  1. The sale or exchange of cryptocurrency is completely tax-free.

  2. You personally only pay tax each year on the annual payment you receive from the trust. So if you use a charitable remainder trust to sell $5M of Bitcoin in 2017, but your annual payment for the rest of your life is $250,000 per year, then you only pay tax on $250,000 in 2017. This payment would be taxed at favorable capital gains rates. Depending on the amount of your other annual income, this strategy will likely keep you in the lower capital gains brackets.

  3. In the year of trust creation, you receive an income tax deduction equal to the actuarial value of the charity’s projected gift. This actuarial value is a calculation done by your attorney-CPA. The smaller the payment you select, the larger the charitable deduction. Assuming you choose an appropriate charity, the deduction can be used to reduce up to 30 percent of your income in a given year, and any unusable amount carries forward for up to five future years. For example, if a 42-year-old man were to contribute $2.5M of cryptocurrency to a charitable remainder trust in 2017 and selected an annual payment equal to 5 percent of trust assets, he would receive a charitable deduction of approximately $480,000 (at current IRS rates). That deduction could be used against his taxable income in 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021.

You can even reserve the right to serve as trustee of the trust and to change the charitable remainder beneficiary whenever you please.

There are of course many technical caveats that need to be complied with. Most important, the IRS requires that the actuarial value of the charity’s share must be at least 10 percent of the assets contributed to the trust. Be sure to consult with appropriate counsel to ensure you meet the 10 percent rule and other technical requirements.

If you are looking to reduce and defer income taxes while keeping a guaranteed income for life and doing some good in the process, a charitable remainder trust can be the way to go.

This article is a guest post by Jeff Vandrew Jr. It does not necessarily reflect the views of BTC Media or Bitcoin Magazine and is for general information purposes only; it should not be taken as investment advice. Investors should conduct their own due diligence and consult with a qualified tax/investment professional before attempting anything described in this article.

The post How Cryptocurrency Holders Can Diversify While Deferring Taxes appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

68 homes in a luxury Kensington development have been purchased to rehouse victims of the Grenfell Tower fire

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

The remains of the charred Grenfell Tower stands in London, Thursday, June 15, 2017 as a tube passes by. A massive fire raced through the 24-story high-rise apartment building in west London early Wednesday.

LONDON — The City of London Corporation has acquired 68 Kensington homes to re-house victims of the Grenfell Tower fire disaster.

The homes are part of a development by St Edward, a joint venture between Prudential and the Berkeley Group, and are located just 1.5 miles away from Grenfell Tower at Kensington Row.

The Evening Standard reports that the homes were sold to the City of London Corporation at cost price, meaning the deal was worth little over £10 million.

The most expensive properties currently for sale in the development have an asking price of £8.5 million, but the homes being released for sale for Grenfell residents are part of the affordable quota being built, with more straightforward internal specifications.

They are currently nearing completion and will be ready for families to move in during July and August.

The homes — a mixture of one, two and three-bedroom flats — will become part of the City of London's social housing stock, meaning residents will be able to live there on a permanent basis.

The Department for Communities and Local Government said in a statement that it has provided "additional funding to fit out the flats to ensure they are ready for people to move in to sooner." It said extra construction staff had been committed by the developer and working hour restrictions would be relaxed to speed up completion of the flats.

The move comes following Labour leader's Jeremy Corbyn's call for empty homes in the wealthy borough to be requisitioned. There was widespread concern that victims of the fire — which claimed at least 79 lives and displaced at least 250 — would be forcibly rehomed elsewhere in the country. 

Labour MP David Lammy claimed earlier this week that victims were being forced as far away as Preston in the north-west of England.

Tony Pidgley, chairman of the Berkeley Group, said in a statement: "We've got to start by finding each of them a home. Somewhere safe and supportive, close to their friends and the places they know, so they can start to rebuild their lives."

A City of London Corporation spokesperson said: "We are ready to do everything we can to help the victims of the terrible fire at Grenfell Tower."

"These plans are being discussed and agreed in principle as matter of urgency as part of the response by councils across London to support the team working on recovery efforts."

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A top JPMorgan banker explains what he looks for in new hires

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Screen Shot 2017 06 20 at 3.46.54 PMJohn Simmons didn't expect to go into banking.

His father was a plumber. He jokes that when he flew in to Newark airport for his interview with JPMorgan, he had $120 in his pocket. It cost him that much to get from the airport to New York City. He wasn't much of a negotiator back then, he quips.

More than 20 years later, he's still with the bank, and heads the middle market banking & specialized industries (MMBSI) group in JPMorgan's commercial banking business. MMBSI look after companies with between $20 million and $500 million in revenue, and now has a local presence in the top 50 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) in the US.

The commercial banking business has been hiring, adding more than 150 revenue-producing bankers between 2014 and 2016. It's adding staff in new markets, recently opening its first commercial banking outpost in Nevada, and bulking up on specialized industry bankers. 

We recently caught up with Simmons, and asked him what he looks for in new hires. He said he looks for "all around athletes," and set out four key attributes he looks for. 

  • Is the person curious? Do they read the newspaper? Are they doing anything to make themselves better? Those are the most interesting people.
  • Would you want to go to dinner with them? Wall Streeters make finance sound complicated, but it's not really. Banking is a business based on serving companies, and that means knowing when to talk, and knowing when to listen.
  • Hard work is a given. Not much more to say there. 
  • How do they handle and tolerate failure? Simmons says that whenever he makes a mistake, he publicizes it, to destigmatize making mistakes and also to share the lessons. 

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A former cohead of tech at Goldman Sachs has joined a startup that wants to be the iOS of Wall Street (GS, JPM)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

unnamed 10

A little-known startup that has quietly amassed over 100,000 Wall Street users has appointed a Goldman Sachs veteran as an independent board member. 

Paul Walker, the former cohead of technology at Goldman Sachs, has joined the board at OpenFin, a startup that helps electronic-trading firms build their desktop applications.

Bain Capital Ventures, Pivot Investment Partners, and Nyca Partners have already invested in OpenFin, as have the likes of Cris Conde, former CEO of SunGard, and Tom Glocer, former CEO of Thomson Reuters.

Walker retired from Goldman in 2016 after 15 years with the Wall Street titan. Walker joined the firm in 2001 as a vice president in FICC strategies. He made partner at the firm in 2008. 

OpenFin is looking to become Wall Street's version of what the iOS and Android platforms are to the mobile application space. The firm currently powers applications licensed on 125,000 desktops. Mazy Dar, the CEO of OpenFin, believes Walker's expertise in technology will help drive the company's growth in the future. 

"Paul’s experience at Goldman building risk systems and co-heading the firm’s 9000 person technology organization gives him a unique perspective on how our customers will benefit from the OpenFin platform," Dar said.

OpenFin finished a $15 million round of venture funding backed by JPMorgan in February 2017.

Matt Turner contributed reporting

SEE ALSO: A top Wall Street analyst explains why you should put just as much work into a LinkedIn message as an interview

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Ransomware attack costs South Korean company $1M, largest payment ever

Fox News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Ransomware got a proverbial shot in the arm earlier this year following the WannaCry attacks and it looks as if hackers are getting more brazen with their requests as a result.Web hosting company Nayana, based in South Korea, was attacked with the Erebus ransomware on June 10. The company ultimately had to pay a fee of 397.6 Bitcoin (approximately $1 million), the largest ransomware paid ever.

One of the most troubling areas of the British economy is finally showing signs of life

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

A Gibraltarian gives the thumbs up from his balcony which is adorned with Gibraltarian and Union flags in the British colony of Gibraltar November 6, 2002. [Gibraltar chief minister Peter Caruana predicts the colony's people will overwhelmingly reject the idea of Spain and Britain sharing sovereignty over the rock in a referendum scheduled for November 7

LONDON — British employers are struggling to recruit new staff and are offering higher wages in a small sign that the worst of the UK's worryingly low wage growth in recent years could be coming to an end.

The Bank of England released its "Agents' summary of business conditions" — a review of issues facing UK businesses — on Wednesday.

And it spends a bit of time analysing the conditions in Britain's labour market, which has confounded all normal economic orthodoxy in recent years.

Unemployment in Britain is close to historic lows — 4.7% at the most recent reading — which, in normal circumstances, would mean that wages should be rising rapidly as employers try to attract talent from a smaller than normal pool of workers.

However, wage growth remains subdued, and in real terms — thanks to the inflation triggered by the devaluation of the pound since last summer's Brexit vote — average wages are actually falling.

Several factors have driven that disconnect, including the drop in trade union participation by workers, the rise of the gig economy, and an increase in the prevalence of zero-hours contracts.

However, the Bank of England's survey suggests that there may be light at the end of the tunnel, with agents reporting that they are increasing "the pay offered to new recruits or to key existing personnel," to deal with a shortage of available workers.

"During April and May, the Bank’s Agents undertook a survey of business contacts to gauge whether labour markets were tightening, and to identify the tactical responses businesses were making to any staffing challenges," the Bank of England said.

"Survey responses indicate increasing recruitment and retention difficulties — most acutely for key skills, but with increased challenges for all positions."

The responses to any difficulty in recruiting staff were varied, but the most common response was to boost wages, something that could be a good sign for the labour market's future.

"Respondents were also asked whether they had made changes as a result of any recruitment/retention challenges they faced," the bank said.

"A small majority had made changes; of those, the most common response was to increase the pay offered to new recruits or to key existing personnel (Chart C). Such responses were common across all sectors, and were most frequently cited in construction."

You can see Chart C below:

Boe Agents Survey June 21 2017

Obviously, the Bank of England's survey isn't suggesting that there is some magic bullet, rapid solution to the low wage growth that has plagued the country for years. Governor Mark Carney on Tuesday, for example, said that wage growth remained "anaemic."

However, the signs are there that a recovery could be on its way.

The bank is largely pretty upbeat on the future prospects of wage growth, with Carney saying in May that he sees growth accelerating as 2017 progresses. 

"We actually expect that the pace of wage growth is going to accelerate as this year progresses, and certainly into 2018/2019," he said after the release of the bank's May Inflation Report.

"This higher inflation that we’re experiencing now will come off in subsequent years, so real income growth, we expect, will return, and people will start moving ahead in the latter years of our forecasts."

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A Bitcoin Scaling Upgrade: How It Could Finally Happen (And How It Could Fail)

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

As various scaling proposal deadlines loom, bitcoin is either on the verge of the biggest change in its history, or its biggest political failure.

Source

$1.5 trillion is being stashed in the British Virgin Islands — twice as much as previously thought

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

sailboat in the British Virgin Islands, Caribbean

Assets held offshore in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) are worth $1.5 trillion (£1.19 trillion), double the International Monetary Fund's 2010 estimate. That's according to a new report by Capital Economics, seen by the Financial Times.

The report notes that two-thirds of the companies registered in the BVI are for "corporate structuring," a method often used by companies for tax planning purposes, since the BVI is a tax haven. 

It estimates that these offshore structures allow companies to avoid up to $750million (£595 million) worth of tax. 

Offshore units also allow businesses to maintain high levels of secrecy since businesses are not subject to the same transparency laws that apply in, for example, the UK. 

Criticism of offshore structures has grown since the 2008 financial crisis: organisations such as the Tax Justice Network have argued that the secretive nature of offshore jurisdictions means they help enable financial crimes, such as money laundering, in part because finding out who owns these companies is often very difficult, if not impossible.

The report found that a quarter of BVI companies were funds and investment units, rather than operating businesses, and that 5% were holding companies for property and family wealth. However, the report's author Mark Pragnell said BVI companies were being used less for holding private wealth, and more by international companies looking for maximum tax efficiency.

The BVI is considered a convenient offshore country for British businesses, since, as a British Overseas Territory, its legal system is based on the British system. These companies, many of which are British owned, generate billions of dollars in revenue every year.

"The BVI has never been a secrecy jurisdiction. We adhere to privacy for clients," Lorna Smith, interim executive director of BVI Finance, told the Financial Times.

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Shares in the owner of Costa Coffee are surging after a strong set of results

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

costa coffee

LONDON — Shares in Whitbread, the owner of Costa Coffee and Premier Inn, have popped close to 5% in morning trade on Wednesday after the company reported better than expected results in the first quarter of 2017.

Whitbread's Premier Inn chain of budget hotels exceeded expectations for the start of the year, growing like-for-like sales by 4.7% against a forecast of around 2.9% from analysts prior to the release. That was more than doubled the 2.1% sales growth witnessed in the same period in 2016.

Overall, Whitbread grew sales by 7.6%, which was broadly in line with expectations.

"Our continued drive to grow and innovate in our core UK businesses, focus on our strengths internationally and build capabilities to support long-term growth, combined with our ongoing cost efficiency programme, gives us confidence that we will make further good progress this year," Alison Brittain, Whitbread's CEO said.

Understandably, investors are pretty pleased with the numbers, and shares have taken off as a result. By 9.15 a.m. BST shares are up close to 5% at 4,044p, or £40.44 each, as the chart below shows:

Screen Shot 2017 06 21 at 09.06.08

Commenting on the results in an email, Nicholas Hyett, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, writes: "These results are pretty solid all things considered. They don’t show the spectacular growth of years past, but the UK business is a more mature animal than it was and that is inevitably going to slow growth.

"Against a rather chilly economic backdrop Whitbread has delivered growth across the board, with 1.1% growth in Costa particularly welcome after it posted negative like-for-likes in the last quarter of 2016."

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The pound has dropped to a new post-election low ahead of the Queen's Speech

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

LONDON — The pound dropped to a new post-election low on Wednesday, dragged lower by Bank of England Governor Mark Carney's assertion that interest rates should not increase anytime soon.

That combination has pushed the currency below the $1.26 for the first time since Prime Minister Theresa May's shock failure to win a majority at the general election 13 days ago. By 8.35 a.m. BST (3.35 a.m. ET) the pound is down by 0.29% to trade at $1.2593.

Here is the chart:

pound 1 june 21

In focus for sterling later on Wednesday will be the Queen's Speech when May puts her legislative plans to parliament despite not having an outright majority in the House of Commons. 

May is expected to abandon several of her major pledges from the Conservative Party's general election manifesto in order to get the legislative programme through the house and allow her to create a new government.

Sterling's fall on Wednesday follow on from a big drop on Tuesday. The currency tumbled more than 1% during trade on Tuesday after Carney told financiers at London's Mansion House that he does not believe interest rates should be increased, saying: "From my perspective, given the mixed signals on consumer spending and business investment, and given the still subdued domestic inflationary pressures, in particular anaemic wage growth, now is not yet the time to begin that adjustment."

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British carmakers are warning that a Brexit cliff edge is their 'biggest fear'

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

crash car

LONDON — British carmakers are warning that the UK will likely not get an agreement on trade when it leaves the European Union, and calling on the government to negotiate a special interim deal to avert disaster.

With just 20 months left before the UK formally leaves the EU trading bloc, the probability of a disorderly Brexit is growing, the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders said on Tuesday.

"Our biggest fear is that, in two years’ time, we fall off a cliff edge – no deal, outside the single market and customs union and trading on inferior WTO terms," Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT, said.

"This would undermine our competitiveness and our ability to attract the investment that is critical to future growth," he said.

Europe is a major market for UK-made cars. A 10% tariff would cost the industry £1.8 billion a year and £2.7 billion if Britain reciprocated, adding £1,500 to the average cost of a car.

"That’s why we have to be honest with ourselves," said Hawes, calling for a deal to keep single market access for years after 2019 until a new trading arrangement can be worked out.

"If the UK cannot secure – and implement – a bespoke and comprehensive new relationship with the EU in two years’ time, we need a backup plan. Having looked at all the alternatives, we need government to seek an interim arrangement whereby we stay within the single market and customs union until that new relationship is implemented," he said.

The finance industry has called for a similar deal. Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has floated the idea of a 10-year stay on leaving the single market to allow time to finalise the complexities of a new trading arrangement.

On Monday, a report by Automotive Council UK found that 44% of all components used in UK vehicle assembly come from British suppliers, compared with 41% in 2015, highlighting a move by manufacturers to protect themselves from Brexit-related disruptions to their supply chain.

The UK's exit from the European Union, along with its single market and customs union, has the potential to disrupt the international supply chains relied on by manufacturers of complex equipment such as vehicles. Companies both in Europe and in the UK are starting to protect themselves from fallout if the talks do not yield a special trade deal by the time Britain leaves the bloc in 2019.

Around 45% of European companies are seeking to replace UK suppliers with local businesses in preparation for higher international tariffs if Brexit negotiations fail.

Meanwhile, a third of UK businesses are actively looking to replace European suppliers, according to a survey of 2,111 supply chain managers carried out by the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply earlier this year.

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Atom Bank gets £30 million from the government as Philip Hammond pledges investment boost

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Atom Bank Anthony Thompson and Mark Mullen

LONDON — Startup bank Atom has received a £30 million funding boost from the state-owned British Business Bank (BBB).

British Business Bank Investments, the commercial arm of the BBB, announced it has agreed a £30 million Tier 2 capital facility with Atom, a digital-only bank founded in 2014. The facility, effectively a loan to Atom, will allow the Durham-based bank to lend out more money to small businesses.

Banks are required to maintain a certain amount of capital to secure their lending and other assets. This capital is given different classifications, based on how easily it can be liquidated and how reliably it can be priced. Tier 2 Capital, as you'd expect from the name, sits below Tier 1 Capital in the pecking order.

Atom's founder and chairman Anthony Thomson says in a statement: "Access to Tier 2 capital at such an early stage of the growth cycle is rare and we are extremely pleased to be gaining this support from British Business Bank Investments.

"This facility provides us with tremendous flexibility. Like all banks, we are actively managing our capital structure and having access to Tier 2 capital at this stage helps support our growth and is a great result for Atom, its shareholders and customers."

The investment by the BBB comes a day after Chancellor Philip Hammond reiterated the government's promise to meet any investment shortfall in businesses left by Brexit. The European Investment Bank invested €6.9 billion into UK businesses last year but could stop funding British businesses while Brexit talks are ongoing.

Hammond said in his Mansion House speech on Tuesday: "The European Investment Bank, and its offshoot, the European Investment Fund, have been an important source of funding for infrastructure investment and for growth businesses.

Philip Hammond"I want that access to EIB funding to continue while we are members of the EU on equal terms so I am engaged with EIB and will provide the assurances it needs to sustain the flow of EIB and EIF funding to UK businesses and projects.

"And to ensure that finance continues to be available after Brexit, alongside these discussions with the EIB I can also announce I am expanding the support available to capital funding in the UK."

Part of the expansion involves raising the amount the BBB can invest in venture capital funds to 50% of its funds, although this expansion does not cover the Atom deal.

The British Business Bank was set up by the government in 2012 with £1 billion of funding to increase funding to small and medium enterprises (SMEs). It does not finance SMEs directly but works through partners and intermediaries to extend funding.

Catherine Lewis La Torre, CEO of British Business Bank Investments, says: "Our investment in Atom Bank demonstrates our commitment to increasing the diversity of small business finance by supporting recently licensed and ambitious challenger banks.

"We have seen challenger banks becoming an increasingly important source of UK SME funding and we believe a committed regulatory capital facility will not only support Atom’s growth trajectory but will also drive the bank’s ability to lend to UK SMEs."

Atom Bank was founded by Thomson, who previously cofounded Metro Bank, and Mark Mullen, the former CEO of First Direct.

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Banking startup Soldo gets $11million from Accel as it pivots to business accounts

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Carlo Gualandri, Founder & CEO, Soldo

LONDON — Banking startup Soldo has secured $11 million (£8.6 million) in funding for its new business service, which allows companies to manage and track employee spending via their app.

Soldo announced on Wednesday that it had closed a Series A funding round, led by tech investors Accel. Accel's previous investments include the likes of Facebook, Dropbox, and Deliveroo.

Soldo's app lets an unlimited number of people use a single bank account. This lets businesses minimise time-consuming and costly admin, streamline a company's spending, and ensure all transactions are transparent and trackable.

"We were delighted our business account was first to market in the UK offering companies an entirely new way to automate company-wide expense accounting, effectively eliminating the workload required to manage cash advances for employees and track company cash flow," says founder & CEO says in a statement Carlo Gualandri.

Soldo was originally pitched at parents who wanted to give their children a set amount of money and track how they spent it. Is the new business service a pivot?

Gualandri told Business Insider the family account was "a big research and development experiment in go-to-market and customer experience." Soldo began, he says, with the problem of how to make group banking easier, and decided to start with the simplest type of group: the family. Working on the Family app allowed them to tackle problems, find solutions and improve features, before bringing the product to a much larger market.

"It took two and half years of development to find our real 'Holy Grail'," he says, "now we've found it."

Although Soldo Family was a useful learning exercise, there's no money in the consumer market for fintech banking startups, Gualandri says. Low margins mean scale is crucial in order for a company to be successful, and so it makes little sense for startups to recreate what banks already offer. PayPal is probably the first and last company to buck this trend, he believes.

In the business market, however, Soldo's service offers efficiency, convenience and transparency, and so can command a higher margin. Unlike traditional banks, Soldo Business does not require company credit checks, since the money in an account is paid for upfront. Since payments are trackable in real time and access to an account can be granted or revoked instantly, the risk of fraud or overspending is low.

In the event of dubious transactions, Soldo also has smart security features. Soldo's real-time updates will mean managers only need to respond to a notification to block a card or transaction.

This part of the product — the fact humans respond to an algorithm flagging a fraud-like pattern — is what, to date, has been less well developed by incumbents. Gualandri says this is the problem he wanted to solve.

"The key thing is control," he says, "you're the customer, you know best, we provide the tools."

The app currently costs £5 per month per user and Soldo says it has significantly fewer additional charges than traditional banks.

Alex Wakeford, finance director of Secret Escapes, says in a statement: "We use Soldo across our UK and German companies to manage expenses in local currencies and we're even able to use a virtual Soldo spending card for purchasing flight bundles.

"Soldo has brought tremendous efficiency to the business by reducing admin, providing our employees with more flexibility in their daily work and our finance team with an increased level of control."

Accel's Sonali de Rycker is joining Soldo’s board as part of the investment. She said in a statement: "We're excited to be backing a truly world-class team with deep experience in both financial services and software, which is the killer combination needed to win in the spend management category."

Soldo is currently marketing the Business app in the UK and Italy, although it is available throughout Europe, in English and Italian. Soldo's Family service will continue to function, but the company's focus will now primarily be on Business.

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NOW WATCH: THE BOTTOM LINE: A top Wall Street strategist says there's nothing to worry about and we examine bitcoin's surge

There could be a big deal in the software sector in the works (CA)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

BMC Racing Team Time Trial Road World Champions

There could be a big deal in the software sector in the works. 

BMC Software and CA Inc. are considering a combination that would take publicly-listed CA Inc. private, according to Kiel Porter and Alex Sherman at Bloomberg

CA Inc.'s stock price jumped close to 8% on the news. The company is valued at around $13.3 billion. 

BMC creates software and services that assist businesses in moving to digital operations, and is owned by two private equity firms, Bain Capital and Golden Gate Capital.

CA Inc., which was once known as Computer Associates International, provides software solutions that help customers plan, develop, manage and secure applications.

Porter and Sherman report that BMC and CA Inc. have approached banks about putting together financing to aid BMC's purchase of CA Inc. The talks are at an early stage, the report said. 

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NOW WATCH: HENRY BLODGET: Bitcoin could go to $1 million (or fall to $0)

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