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TokenClub Bi-Weekly Report — Issue 116（6.1–6.14）
https://preview.redd.it/j0djo8qwty451.png?width=1343&format=png&auto=webp&s=f22a87463a1ba07c3c48fe40002e5cbd19745104 Hello everyone, thank you for your continued interest and support. In the past two weeks, various tasks of TokenClub have been progressing steadily. The product development and community operation progress this week are as follows: 1. TokenClub Events 1)TokenClub’s 2nd Token Circle Talent Show starts registration The second 2nd Token Circle Talent Show is coming, providing you with a big stage that you want to show yourself in the coin circle. 500,000 people will watch your performances here. This event takes part in the form of registration, and enters the selection competition after passing the preliminary screening of TokenClub. The trial will be promoted in the form of live PK. Winners will receive key support from TokenClub, self-media matrix, help create personal exclusive boutique columns, get the chance to talk with more heavyweight guests, and there will be TCT awards waiting for you! Friends, sign up now. https://preview.redd.it/f6s3axeyty451.png?width=1080&format=png&auto=webp&s=06513d733b2415c5550d6d34ca50b47dc3ae714e 2)June 1 activity ended successfully On the advent of “June 1”, the TokenClub team opened a new welfare activity for overseas communities. During the event, follow the team’s official Twitter and forward the event poster in real time, or participate in the topic interaction of the Telegram group to receive private red envelope rewards https://preview.redd.it/16ffpkqzty451.png?width=1080&format=png&auto=webp&s=dba7dc67a0864355bf4fd340f0ca4b0f77f16020 3)BTCGrandpa is invited to participate in the live broadcast of Golden Finance On June 3rd, Grandma Coin was invited to participate in the live broadcast of Golden Finance’s “Mining Double Coins” theme. Review link: https://m.jinse.com/live/topic?id=14268. https://preview.redd.it/aaoh8p81uy451.png?width=1080&format=png&auto=webp&s=ffc1e74ea72ce203f02363ca1efa627af29482a8 4)BTCGrandpa was invited to participate in the 499 Block community AMA On June 11, Grandpa Nina was invited to participate in the 499Block community AMA. The theme is “Coin Circle Big V Coin Grandpa takes you to see the market”, the article review link: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/qCnwuaohiwi4BXcbRSJ1gw https://preview.redd.it/47hiynm3uy451.png?width=1080&format=png&auto=webp&s=380f4f0990dbd235e8b9e85bed44e6c83a762ee2 2.TokenClub Live 1) Summary Recently, Jianan Technology Senior Vice President Lu Xiaoming, OKEx CEO-Jay Hao, Founder of Litecoin Charlie Lee, Binance Vice President Lu Mai, Bitribe Founder-SKY, Luyin Agreement Founder-Wang Dong, Kubi CEO-Johnny Lyu , Co-Founder of BTW.com-Dylan, MYKEY & Coin Hu founder Guru, suterusu investor & Betterbit founder Richard, CasperLabs CEO-Mrinal Manohar, CasperLabs COO- Cliff Sarkin, DoraHacks partner & business leader-Yue Hanchao, former Silicon Valley Engineer & Early Blockchain User-Wu Weilong, Distributed Capital Partner and General Counsel Sun Ming, Ontology Founder Li Jun, Cardano Project Founder Charles Hoskinson, QuarkChain Founding Partner Anthurine, ARPA Co-Founder & Chief Growth Officials-Nogi, the well-known KOL Ke Haoran of the currency circle, the “Ancient” old leek who loves trading, One.Love, the early investor of Bicc & the founder of CC Capital & the co-founder of the three o’clock blockchain community Wang Xiaobin, Binance Angel Steven, Binance Angel Wu Mi, Binance Angel July, Injective Protocol Co-Founder and CEO-Eric Chen, BN Capital Senior Partner-Wayne Lin, and TokenClub Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Investment Strategy Senior Expert-Zao Shen Chat with everyone Those things of the blockchain~ On June 1, the global blockchain live festival “Stay Live, Stay Young”-Bitribe +499BLOCK hosted by 499Block and Bitribe was childlike and childlike, celebrating June 1st. A total of 18 industry heavyweights, Jay Hao, Charlie Lee, Mai Lu, SKY, etc., and many industry leading exchanges such as Binance, OKEx, Matcha, Kucoin, Bitribe, BTW, etc. were invited to participate in the live broadcast festival Including Luyin agreement, Harmony, Cortex, Beam, Wedifi, etc., the continuous airdrop of up to 6BTC. https://preview.redd.it/iiwbpnb5uy451.png?width=1280&format=png&auto=webp&s=9a31ff98d3fac926e0178dac969949db12e24b86 On June 1st, CasperLabs CEO-Mrinal Manohar, CasperLabs COO- Cliff Sarkin, DoraHacks partner & business leader-Yue Hanchao, former Silicon Valley engineer & early blockchain user-Wu Weilong was a guest at the TokenClub live room, sharing the theme: Ethereum 3.0: Casper Labs, a Silicon Valley star project, takes us to interpret Casper Labs together. On June 1, Binance Luna talked to Lu Xiaoming, senior vice president of Jianan Technology, and talked to us about the mine. Lu Xiaoming believes that blockchain has played a huge role in breaking the “data island” and other aspects, and he has confidence in the future of the industry. Just like the sentence he gave to everyone: “We still believe firmly, still believe, of course ,we still love you!” On June 2nd, Binance Yingge talked to the founder of MYKEY & Coin Hu. Around: “Is Stablecoin a killer application?” Speaking from the beginning of the coin circle to the first pot of gold to the establishment of MYKEY, Guru and shared with us the secrets of grasping so many value projects, investment experience, etc., and stability The key analysis was carried out. On June 3, Binance Sis talked with Sun Ming, Partner and General Counsel of Distributed Capital-”Sun Ming, Partner of Distributed Capital: The past of the currency circle of a lawyer.” Sun Ming is more optimistic about Ethereum than Bitcoin. Sun Ming believes that the easiest way to invest is to choose the most important project in the main track. On June 4, Charles Hoskinson, the founder of Cointelegraph Chinese and the Cardano project, gave a live broadcast and shared an in-depth discussion around the topic of “How to Cardano surpass Ethereum after five years of precipitation.” Charles Hoskinson, who was a close working partner with V God and BM, why did he leave Bitshares and Ethereum to create the Cardano project? There is an answer in the live room. On June 4, Binance Li Jiayi talked with Ontology founder Li Jun-”Ontology founder’s blockchain entrepreneurial experience”. For the future of the public chain, Li Jun believes that in the past two years of infrastructure construction, the public chain has paid more attention to technology. However, in the process of open source in the blockchain industry, technical homogeneity is gradually emerging. In the next stage, the public chain will pay more attention to the application of landing entities and offline scenarios, and new focus will appear, which is a good thing for the development of the public chain. On June 5, Binance Seven Seven talked to Binance Captains-Hard Candy, He Rensi, Deer Deer Captain, and three post-90s Binance Captains. Focusing on the topic of “Binan Captain chatting about “Cloud Stall” earning “after-sleep income”, I talked about how the entire currency circle has been following the wind in recent days, to see how the Captain Binance is lying and making money. On June 6, the post-modernist economist hard-core punkist master, Zao Shen, went online, with the theme of “street stalls in the city management area, and speculation of coins out of heaven.” “Street economy” has become the most popular word recently. In this issue, Zao Shen takes everyone to analyze: behind the promotion of the land stall economy, what are the trends and choices in national policies? And analyzed the recent stock market, currency circle, and international policies. On June 8th, Binance Luna talked to Anthurine, the founding partner of QuarkChain, focusing on the “challenges and opportunities of blockchain in the “new infrastructure””. Anthurine is interested in the development of China’s new infrastructure and the blockchain industry in the new infrastructure In order to play its role, how to participate, and the new infrastructure you think they need the underlying architecture of the blockchain and other issues have been shared in detail. On June 9th, Binance Yingge talked with ETC Asia-Pacific community manager Xu Kang Christian, and talked to everyone: the brother story of ETC and ETH. Xu Kang said that after 2016, a hard fork occurred in Ethereum. The newly forked chain is ETH, and the original chain is now ETC. Xu Kang believes that the most suitable native scenario for blockchain implementation is the financial field, followed by the alliance chain that the country has vigorously developed. On June 10th, ARPA co-founder & chief growth officer-Noki as a guest TokenClub live broadcast room and Gate brand public relations Yue Yue connection centered on “ARPA DeFi ideas and growth strategy” centered on the discussion. Nogi talked to you about some ARPA things, and shared her views on the future of the entire digital currency and blockchain industry. On June 10, Binance Li Jiayi talked to the well-known KOL Ke Haoran of the currency circle and One.Love, the “old” leek who loves trading. Both guests were Binance’s “bosses” (rebate partners). The two guests shared their respective stories in the currency circle and the stories they saw, and shared their own experience in currency speculation. On June 11, Wang Xiaobin, an early investor of Bicc, founder of CC Capital, and co-founder of the three o’clock blockchain community made a guest live sharing and shared about the BICC trading platform, recent industry hotspots, and blockchain technology. On June 11, Binance Qianjiangyue spoke to Binance Angels Steven, Wu Mi and July. Binance Angel is a volunteer team established at the beginning of Binance. This team exists as a real voice of community users. The three Binance Angels also shared their daily work in the live broadcast room. On June 12, Binance Sis talked with Injective Protocol co-founder and CEO-Eric Chen, BN Capital Senior Partner-Wayne Lin, and shared their experiences of speculating on coins around “Defi makes the market value of crypto assets tenfold” , Investment experience and experience, a hot discussion was held on blockchain technology and Defi ecology. On June 13th, the currency circle song king Zao Shen went live, and the theme was “Recovery of the Minority, Lost of the Most”. Mainly revolving around this Thursday’s plunge in the currency circle, US stocks have driven the currency market to chat. On the linkage of the US stocks & currency circle, the reasons for the collapse of US stocks, the following market trends and investment strategies were analyzed one by one. For more exciting content, please move to the live room. 3.TokenClub operation data -Live data: 17 live broadcasts in the past two weeks, with over 500,000 views. TokenClub hosted a total of 889 live broadcasts with a total of 45.78 million views. -Binary trade data: In the past two weeks, guess the rise and fall to participate in a total of 5274 times, the amount of participation exceeded 3 million TCT. At present, it is guessed that the rise and fall function has participated in a total of 1.12 million times, with a cumulative participation amount of 501 million TCT. -Chat data: In the past two weeks, a total of 10124 messages have been generated. A total of 4.88 milliom messages have been launched since the function was launched. -Mini-game data: The mini-game has participated in a total of 5069 times in the past two weeks. A total of 1,67 million self-functions have been online. -Cut leeks game data together: Since the game was launched, the total number of user participation in the game was 976086 TCT total consumption was 6.28 million gift certificate total consumption was 16.39 million and TCT mining output was 163812. -TokenClub KOL data: Over the past two weeks, the total reading volume of the BTCGrandpa article has been viewed by more than 300,000 people. -Social media data: At present, the number of Weibo official accounts is 18053 and the number of Twitter followers is 1822 and we have opened the official Medium account this week, welcome to follow. -Telegram official group data: In the past 2 weeks, there were 741 chats in the group, and the total number of Telegram official groups is currently 3113. -Medium data: Medium official account u/TokenClub has published 3 excellent articles, official announcements and updates are published in English, welcome to follow. 4.Communities 1)Overseas community On June 1, TokenClub organized an award-winning event for overseas users to participate in live broadcast interaction, retweet Twitter, and telegram group chat. At the same time, with the increase of live broadcast content, the telegram group is becoming more and more active, and the questions raised by overseas users who have just entered the telegram group are also answered in the first time. TokenClub has translated the high-quality live content of the past two weeks into English and released it to the Medium platform. Please pay attention. https://preview.redd.it/8x7dtqliuy451.png?width=1280&format=png&auto=webp&s=197e7304091805750d322b09fc469116e813fba5 TCT has been listed on Binance、Okex、Gate.io、ZB-M、MXC、Biki、Coinex、BigOne、Coinbene、Cybex、SWFT、Loopring、Rootrex etc. TokenClub website: www.tokenclub.com Telegram：https://t.me/token_club
15 Apps That Will Earn You Passive Cash Back (Best Passive Saving Apps 2019)
This is the updated 2019 Q1/Q2 version of this post. If you remember reading the previous iteration of this post, there are several changes to the list this time around. Some new additions, and some removals. I'm not necessarily listing these apps/sites off from best to worst, but the higher names on the list came to my mind faster, which basically just means that I prefer them. Note: Most of these apps will be US only. A couple on this list are for Canada as well, and I've tried to make notes about apps that work outside of the US. Having said that, let's get right into it.
Pei is an automatic cash back app, very similar to Drop (listed below). When you sign up, you'll link a debit/credit card and you'll then automatically start earning cash back as you shop at certain Pei merchants (listed just below). There are so many merchants with Pei that you'll likely find yourself accidentally earning cash back on the app, without even knowing it. Pei is an app that you can really just link a card and then check back weeks later and surprise yourself with the money you've earned. The app has improved so much since the first time I posted about it, that it deserves the top spot in this post. You can cash out instantly as soon as you reach $15 in your account, and they're currently offering a cool $5 bonus when you sign up with a referral. My referral is "5LTZ1S". Big appreciate if you use my referral to sign up.
Pros of Pei:
Cash Back at a lot of locations, and more are added frequently.
Cash out via PayPal, Bitcoin, or Prepaid Visa.
So with all of that being said, let's talk about the stores you can find on Pei. Just note that these are only stores that are local to me, so if I don't have a certain store near me that Pei offers, I won't have it on this list. Additionally, Pei actually offers so many stores at this point that there's no way for me to actually keep this list up to date at all. There have been countless times where I've shopped somewhere that doesn't even come up as an option to earn with Pei but I'll see cash back listed on the app. It's really quite impressive.
Panda Express - 1.5%
Target - 1%
Petco - 1%
PetSmart - 1%
Sephora - 1%
Banana Republic - 1%
American Eagle Outfitters - 1%
Gap - 1%
Old Navy - 1%
Chipotle - 1.2%
Taco Bell - 2%
Dominos Pizza - 1.5%
CVS - 1%
Starbucks - 1%
AMC - 2%
GameStop - 1.2%
Subway - 1.5%
7-Eleven - 1%
Dunkin' Donuts - 1.5%
Walgreens - 1%
Nordstrom - 1%
Supercuts - 2%
ZARA - 1.2%
Express - 1%
H&M - 1.2%
Urban Outfitters - 1%
+ Local locations - ~5%
In addition to receiving cash back at many locations, Pei also has a 'loyalty bonus' where if you shop at a certain store 5x you'll earn a bonus of $0.50! They also do offer a "$2 on $20", essentially meaning that if you spend $20 at a certain merchant, you'll earn a $2 bonus. Local for me, I have the following options for $2 on $20:
I feel like a lot of people will enjoy this ~10% bonus on UbeLyft, especially if you ride a lot. Most stores do have a $5 daily/weekly earning limit, so do be aware that if you spend more than ~$500, you'll likely reach an earning cap.
Drop is a passive loyalty program for US/Canada that allows you to choose 5 popular stores where you'll earn cash back (automatically) at as soon as you shop at them (both online or in store). You'll start off by linking your cards to drop (credit or debit), and they'll automatically track your purchases and once they notice a purchase from one of the 5 stores that you selected, you'll automatically earn cash back in the form of drop points which can be redeemed for instant gift cards to several stores. As mentioned above, once you register you'll be presented with a list of store options. Do note that the stores you choose might be stuck with you forever, so pick stores you plan on shopping at a lot in the future, since you might never get the opportunity to change them. For a new user signing up today, here are the current options you'll be presented and the corresponding rate:
Walmart (2 pts/$ | 0.2%)
Target (8 pts/$ | 0.8%)
Starbucks ( 12 pts/$ | 1.2%)
Uber (10 pts/$ | 1.0%)
McDonald's (8 pts/$ | 0.8%)
Lyft (10 pts/$ | 1.0%)
Walgreens (8 pts/$ | 0.8%)
Chipotle (12pts/$ | 1.2%)
Seamless (16 pts/$ | 1.6%)
HEB (10 pts/$ | 1.0%)
Fred Meyers (12 pts/$ | 1.2%)
7-Eleven (16 pts/$ | 1.6%)
Safeway (8 pts/$ | 0.8%)
Trader Joe's (12 pts/$ | 1.2%)
Peets Coffee (8 pts/$ | 0.8%)
Blue Bottle (8 pts/$ | 0.8%)
Macy's (8 pts/$ | 0.8%)
Dunkin' (14 pts/$ | 1.4%)
Bath & Body Works (15 pts/$ | 1.5%)
Whole Foods (8 pts/$ | 0.8%)
Do note that this list may change at any time, but historically whatever rate you receive when you sign up is the rate that will be locked in for you. Here are a couple things that are worth noting:
Minimum cash out is $5 (5,000 points) for gift cards.
It is stated on Drop's TOS that you can only earn 5,000 points ($5) per week with your ongoing offers (the ongoing offers are the offers you initially sign up for when you register, aka: the 5 stores you pick from the list above). However, from my experience, the limit doesn't seem to be enforced. The limit does, however appear to be 5,000 points per transaction maximum, or per merchant.
I recommend reading the TOS because there are some things listed that might be worth paying attention to, especially the limitations as well as qualifying transactions.
Other ways to earn with drop: While the passive options have already been discussed, I think it's important to highlight some other features that the Drop app provides. In addition to your ongoing offers, you can also earn on Drop by participating in mini game challenges, one time offers, mobile offers/linked offers, Supercharge mini game, and referring friends. Let's talk a little about that:
Mini Games: From time to time (multiple times per week), drop will have a short mini game session where you'll be invited to play a short game, such as a matching game. You'll be given a time period to play the game, and whatever score you post is the score you'll be judged on. The game usually takes just a minute or two. The top placers will often receive a prize, such as a $100 gift card or some crazy amount of Drop points, but all of the other placers will usually receive drop points just for participating. Depending on your score you can usually receive anywhere from 15-60 drop points for playing the mini game.
One-Time Offers: Every once in a while you'll receive a one-time offer to one of the store options for the ongoing offers that you didn't select. For example, I've gotten an offer something like 'earn 500 points when you spend $30+ at Nike using a linked card'.
Mobile Offers: If you're looking to shop somewhere online, Drop can also act as a portal to earn you cash back for your entire purchase. For example, as of posting you can receive 20 points/$ on Walmart.com when you shop through the Drop app. The Drop app historically has had some really good deals with their offers, so it's a good idea to check them frequently. For example, they recently had 10% cash back at Apple, which worked to net people 10% cash back on a new iPhone purchase.
Supercharge Mini Game: The Drop supercharge is a neat feature that rewards you for shopping at the stores for your ongoing offers. Every 5 times you shop at your linked stores, you'll be able to play drop supercharge, which is basically just a game of snake. Each dot you eat will earn you an additional 1+ drop points, and you get 3 lives. You play until you lose and keep what you win. It's really not hard to get a score of at least 200, so if you think about it, it should be a bonus of $0.20 (at the bare minimum) for every 5 times you shop at one of your linked stores.
Referrals: Drop's referral scheme is really nice right about now. With Drop you can currently refer a friend and receive $5 when they sign up, and your referral will earn $5 when they sign up as well. So when it really boils down to it, as of posting someone could sign up under a referral, link a card, and instantly cash out a $5 gift card without actually doing anything. If anyone's interested in supporting me, you can use my referral code: 5ajb9 and we'll both earn $5 when you sign up :)!
HOOCH is a new addition to this list. Similar to Drop and Pei, HOOCH will automatically earn you cash back when you link a credit/debit card. If you understand how Drop or Pei work, there's not really much more to say about HOOCH's cash back system. You'll instantly earn 1% cash back at the following national brands:
*I don't see Chipotle listed, but I've definitely been earning cash back from Chipotle for each of my purchases. In addition to 1% cash back at the national brands, here are some other ways you'll earn with HOOCH:
Connecting your first card ($5 bonus)
Drink at a HOOCH Venue (5%)
Book a Hotel (5%)
Dine at a HOOCH Venue (5%)
HOOCH started a long while back as a subscription app where you'll buy a subscription and you'll get a free drink at a HOOCH venue every day. The venues are extremely limited, so a majority of the people reading this won't find any value in that plan. Dining is just as rare. Their referral system appears to be pretty generous. They're currently offering a $5 bonus for each friend you refer, as well as a 20% bonus on their earnings for life. Here's my referral link, if anyone cares enough to click it. Here's the downfall of HOOCH: You can only cash out for gift cards, and the minimum is $25. For most people, this is a really big disadvantage of this app. Assuming that most people will only be earning through the 1% cash back brands, the minimum you'll need to spend in order to his the cash out minimum is $2500, which would likely take most people a really long time, since the brand options are not places where you're likely to spend a lot of money frequently...like, for example, a grocery store. But still, you could probably earn yourself a few free gift cards every once in a while for a totally passive app.
The ability to earn cash back with Butter is currently only available to Canadians. If you're in the US and you're interested in Butter, you can still use their limited US friendly version here. Canadians, don't use this link! Butter is a service that allows you to track your ongoing subscription services while earning cash back from them 100% passively. When you sign up for Butter, you'll link your bank account/cards and it will automatically help you track your subscriptions (think Netflix, Dropbox... almost anything, really) by telling you how much you're spending on each. This actually seems like something I could really benefit from, because I just recently discovered a subscription that I totally didn't realize I was paying for for the last 6+ months. You'll also earn 1% cash back from each subscription Butter tracks. I would provide a list of the subscriptions that you can earn cash back, but according to butter, the "list is in the 1000s." You'll earn your cash back automatically by Interac e-Transfer once your cash back balance is over $25. $25 is a steep minimum, but if you're someone who either has a lot of subscriptions or has some expensive qualifying subscriptions, it might not take too long to reach the minimum. Since I'm not Canadian, my experience with Butter is very limited. You can read more about how cash back works in their help threads here.
Bumped is an investing app, when you really boil it down. When you sign up you'll select one brand in each category (there are a lot of categories, you'll see below), and each time you shop at the selected brand, you'll earn the certain specified purchase back in the form of company stock. This is unique to all of the other apps on this list, because you're actually receiving company stock. Also, because of this, I think it's very important to note that in order to sign up for Bumped you'll need to enter your SSN since you will be opening up a brokerage account. As of posting, the following are the category options that you can choose from: I've bolded the brands I selected. Obviously you should pick a brand that you can find yourself using the most. Do note that if you pick a brand that you might want to change later, you'll get the opportunity to change your brands 3 times a year, at least 30 days in between.
3% at Jack in the Box
3% at McDonald's
3% at Wendy's
2% at Dunkin' Donuts
2% at Starbucks
2% at CVS
1% at Walgreens
2% at Applebees
2% at Chili's
2% at Olive Garden
2% at Red Robin
1% at Kroger Family of Stores
1% at The Home Depot
2% at Chipotle Mexican Grill
2% at Taco Bell
1% at Pandora
5% at Spotify
1% at Domino's
5% at Papa John's
2% at Pizza Hut
1% at Target
1% at Walmart
1% at AT&T
1% at T-Mobile
3% at Verizon Wireless
1% at Netflix
5% at Sling TV
1% at Willamette Valley Vineyards
One thing that is listed on the app is that if you want to move your way up on the waitlist you can refer your friends to join the waitlist as well.
Uber Visa Local Offers
Shop or dine out, get Uber credits back.
Use your Visa card next time you dine out or go on a shopping spree at a featured store and earn Uber credits toward future rides. To join, go to settings in your Uber app and tap on Visa Local Offers.
Whenever you shop out at certain places you'll instantly receive uber credits to your account. It's really simple, and yes, this does stack with all of the other cash back apps you might be a part of. The brands they offer do change semi-frequently, so you should check them from time to time. In the past there have been 100% cash back offers for streaming services, and 10-20% cash back at Sam's Club. Considering that these offers do stack, there is some really great potential if you find any value in uber credit. If you're interested in activating the Visa local offers, you'll need to make sure you have a visa card linked to your Uber account first, and then you should see "activate local offers" in the app settings or payment settings of Uber. There's really not much to say about Visa Local Offers, but if you're looking for some FAQ/Terms, feel free to check them all out here.
Groupon+ is a card link program introduced by Groupon that will automatically earn you cash back when you shop at select local restaurants. The program is pretty easy to understand, but it isn't completely passive. In order to receive cash back at the local restaurants, you'll first need to activate the offer. So for example, I have an offer for 20% cash back at Dairy Queen (10% cash back after first purchase). For reference, here's the offer in question. Once I click claim, the offer will automatically be applied to my credit card that I have linked (you'll need to link a credit card/debit card the first time you try to claim an offer). Now that it's claimed, when I go into this dairy queen location and spend with my linked card, I'll automatically receive a rebate after my purchase. What's great about Groupon+ is that the rebate will instantly go as a credit/debit card statement adjustment. So if I'm getting 10% cash back somewhere and I spend $18, I'll automatically see an addition of $1.80 on my credit card statement. It's pretty satisfying. Note: The location you claim does seem to matter. For example, linked above is a Dairy Queen location in Joliet, IL. It appears to be that I'd only receive the cash back at this dairy queen location. For me if I search Groupon for "dairy queen", I'll find a ton of groupon+ offers (some of them different!) for many local Dairy Queens. Just make sure you've selected the right location if you're earning from a chain restaurant. Overall I think Groupon+ is worth checking out. Just note that a lot of the options will be for local businesses.
For those if you who don't know what Cash App is, Cash App is an app by Square that lets you send and receive payments. They've also expanded their app to support bitcoin purchases, and they'll also let you use the app as a checking account. With the cash app you can also sign up to receive the Cash Card, which is a debit card that is funded with your cash app balance. If you have not used Cash App before, they do have a fancy referral program where when you sign up and send $50 you'll receive $5 and so will I. I do want to make this very clear: Cash App referrals can see the full name of the person who refers you, and the person who refers you will have your full name shown to them. If you're really private about personal information, be careful whose referral link you use. If you trust me, here's my referral link. Please note that if you want to use the cash app boosts that I'm talking about, you'll need to be 18 years old and have the cash card (which is free, don't worry)! Cash App announced that their cash card will be seeing 'boosts'. Boosts are their fancy way of saying that when you use our card at certain locations you'll receive a discount. Once you have the cash card, you'll notice on the app below your card you'll be able to select your boost. The following are my personal boost options, as of posting. The boosts change frequently,
15% Off Doordash
$1 Off Any Coffee Shop
5% off Whole Foods
10% Off Buffalo Wild Wings
10% Off Little Caesars Pizza
$1 Off Panera
$5 Off Any Purchase (requires using the card 10x to activate)
10% Off Chipotle <3
10% Off Dairy Queen
So there are quite a few things I want to say & clear up.
You can use a boost every 1 hour.
You must select the boost that you'd like to use prior to the purchase. AFAIK you're able to swap which boost you want to use as often as you'd like. So when you walk into Chick-Fil-A, just check and make sure your boost is set to CFA. If not, swap it.
In order to apply the boost, you must pay with the Cash Card. It's automatic. If your total is $6 and you're saving 10%, you'll only need a Cash app balance of $5.4 for the transaction. Cash App will cover the other $0.60.
If you link your Cash Card to Apple Pay, you can pay with it that way and the boosts will still be applied.
This is important. If you have a boost applied, it won't expire. I'll repeat this. If you have a boost applied, It won't expire. So if Square wants to remove your beloved Chipotle boost, it'll stick with you until you decide to swap from it. If you really like it, don't swap! Do realize that just because you have the Cash Card on the app, you won't see the boosts. You need to have the physical Cash Card in your possession for the boosts to show up.
I've been really enjoying using the Cash Card for purchases. Especially at CFA & Chipotle. It's really not a hassle. When I'm standing in line at Chipotle I'll open the app and make sure my cash app balance is enough and if not I'll just add funds right away. The boost is applied immediately which makes you feel good. It's like the guac is free at Chipotle after you use the cash card. The only downside to using the Cash Card is that you won't be able to stack discounts with anything else on this list... Unless you find a way to link the Cash Card to any of the things on this list. Regardless, 10% off at Chipotle is the best I have found.
I've listed this as "Empyr Apps" because all of these apps are basically just the same thing. I'll take the example of Swagbucks Local since that's what most of you reading this will already be using. If you paid attention in the Visa Local Offers section of this post, you'll find that the Empyr apps are actually very similar to those visa local offers. When you shop at a certain store/restaurant, you'll earn with the empyr app you have linked. It's actually really not that special. Here's a list of some/most of the current Empyr powered apps:
IMPORTANT NOTE: You're only allowed to use one Empyr app at a time! As soon as you link up with another Empyr app, you'll be disqualified from another until you link back up. I do want to go into this list a bit this time around since there seem to be more and more Empyr apps popping up. Dosh might be the most popular of these apps right now. Dosh has nice referral programs as well as sign up bonuses that makes it very enticing. Dosh also has very decent cash back at the stores they offer. Swagbucks Local will always be popular among Swagbucks users. What's really nice about Swagbucks Local is that the payouts are always instantly converted to Swagbucks, which can help you cash out sooner. You'll also likely get a slot in the Swago board filled out, which might be beneficial to you. Pei is a really cool new app on Empyr that offers cash back at a lot of places you likely shop at. I talk about it above. RetailMeNot is a newer one on this list and it's the only one here that I feel like I recommend you go on/off with. RetailMeNot has recently been doing a lot of "Spend $X, get $Y" deals at a lot of the stores they offer. For example, they are currently offering $5 Cash back for in Store purchases of $30+ at Staples. This is a really good deal for an Empyr app, and would probably be my pick for that transaction, but not most of the time since they don't have very many stores as options. I personally choose Dosh as my Empyr app. Dosh has a lot of funding, which allows them to offer some very generous offers from time to time.
CoinSeed preface: I don't recommend CoinSeed as an option solely for passive cash back. The app has monthly fees, and even for just $1 a month, it will cut either entirely into your passive cash back earned, causing a net loss, or it'll take a huge cut. Only use CoinSeed for passive cash back if you actually want to use CoinSeed. CoinSeed originally released about a year ago as an app similar to Acorns, where you're able to passively invest money by setting up a recurring investment or invest through 'rounding up' transactions. What makes CoinSeed different from Acorns is that they will take your money and invest it into cryptocurrency. Just recently they have also added a cash back section to the app which allows you to earn points in the app each time you spend at certain locations. Before we talk about the cash back from this app, I want to talk a bit about what you're getting yourself into. Since CoinSeed is an app like Acorns, they're expecting you to use the app to invest money. If you're reading this and you're actually thinking that you'd be interested in using this app to invest into Bitcoin, there are a couple things I think should be pointed out. 1. There is a 1% fee taken from each deposit. 2. There is a fee of $1 per month that you use the app. Your first month is waived, so the fee will only kick in on the second month. The wording is confusing, but it seems like the fee will only apply if you deposit and invest in the given month. So let's talk about cash back. Similar to many apps on this list, you'll link your cards to CoinSeed and that's how they'll track your transactions. CoinSeed actually has two different cash back offers. First of all they offer regular portals in the app. For example, shop at through our link and earn cash back! The reason I think this is important is because currently they're offering 2% cash back at Amazon.com when you shop through their link. Cash back is uncommon enough to find at amazon, but what's great is that the only restrictions listed is, "Doesn't apply on Gift Card." Which makes me think that so long as you're buying anything other than gift cards, you should be eligible for the 2% cash back. I've reached out to CoinSeed to clarify exactly what they mean by that (whether or not it is referring to just Amazon gift cards or third party gift cards as well). The other offers on the app, which they call "Premium" are the passive cash back options, meaning that every time you spend at any of the brands listed, you'll earn cash back. Here are the options that are currently available:
Uber (1% cashback)
Netflix (1% cashback)
Starbucks (1% cashback)
7-Eleven (1% cashback)
There's one issue, though. When you try to activate the premium offers, a popup will appear saying, "Sorry, this feature is only available for users who have made an investment using the auto investing feature." What this is essentially saying is that in order to earn cash back from premium offers you must invest with the app. CoinSeed seems to want to emphasize that the cash back is only a benefit of using their app to invest in crypto. For most people, investing in crypto can be near feeless using alternate methods, and in my opinion this app really doesn't provide many/any benefits that would make me want to even consider using this app for the heavy fees that they take. You would need to be spending a lot of money with their cash back retailers in order for the 'I'm only here for the cash back' route to even start to sound viable.
I've refrained from listing credit cards on this post for a long time. Maybe because I thought it was too obvious, or maybe it was unnecessary, but since the number of younger people using this subreddit has been increasing I feel like I'd be doing a disservice to entirely disclude a blurb about credit cards. If you have a credit card and you don't really care to learn more about credit cards, just skip this section. If you're reading this post and you're 18+ (or if you're about to turn 18) and you don't have a credit card or don't know much about credit cards, I think it's a good idea to look into them. I'm not going to tell you exactly what a credit card is since that's an easy google search, but I will tell you about some benefits, especially about those that pertain to the benefits of this post. Credit cards are great because you can essentially spend money just like you normally would*, but you'll also earn cash back on all/almost all of the purchases you make with them. Additionally, especially if you're young, getting a credit card is a really great because it will start helping you build credit. I'm currently looking into renting a house next year with two housemates and I'm shocked to see that neither of them have any credit. They quite honestly couldn't possibly live in a house without me, since I'm the only one who has credit. *Make sure you're paying off your credit card every month (or however often you need)... Don't let yourself get into debt. I'd argue if you think you're going to get into debt with a credit card, I'd personally suggest you don't get a credit card. While you need to be 18 years old to get your own credit card, if you're under 18, you can still start gaining credit. Most major credit card companies will allow your parents to add you as an authorized signer on their credit card (which basically just means that you'll get permission to use their cards). An effect of this is that you'll start gaining credit. If you're looking to build up credit but you don't think you're ready for a credit card, I'd really recommend you ask your parents about becoming an authorized signer. It's a good conversation to have with your parents. Anyways, let's talk about the cash back benefits, since that's what this post is about, after all. There's a lot of credit cards. This post isn't going to list them all out. This isn't really even the right subreddit for credit card discussion. Nerdwallet has a great list of credit cards, so you might want to check it out here, but I'm going to share my own personal situation and recommend that for anyone who might relate, since the average age on this subreddit is around the 18-25 range. My first credit card was the Chase Freedom Unlimited card. I actually still use this credit card very frequently since it's a pretty balanced card. A couple years back on my 18th birthday I went into my local chase branch and physically had to beg for this card (it's a really beginner card, trust me). After getting denied both in bank and online, I finally found a rep who would give me a calm $500 credit limit for the card. Note: I had no credit before hand. The Chase Freedom Unlimited card offers 1.5% cash back on all purchases with the card... so when you think about it, I'd previously been spending $100 at Chipotle every month with my debit card, but with the Freedom Unlimited card, I would now be getting 1.5% cash back ($1.50) back on those purchases. It's just an easy way to save money on everything. If you use the other apps I suggest in this post, you'll likely earn cash back passively from them on certain brands that are featured, but stacking a credit card cash back on top of all the other bonuses is the absolute best way to earn passive cash back since it's usually 1-5% cash back on your purchases.
ReceiptPal is an app that allows you to upload your receipts from almost anywhere that you go shopping. It's actually a really simple process. When you sign up you'll be presented with almost little scratch cards which contains 4 spaces. Each space is filled with a receipt that you upload. Once you reach 4 receipts, you'll earn 100 points. 300/400 points = $1, so basically every 16 receipts you upload you'll receive ~$1. "So, mr Fishering, how is this passive!?" Unlike most receipt apps, ReceiptPal allows you to link your emails and amazon account and they'll automatically upload receipts for you. I actually let this app alone for several months and came back to thousands of points and cashed out instantly. If you make purchases online, you'll essentially be earning ~$0.07 for every purchase you make if you have your email linked. They'll automatically find receipts and submit them, so it's 100% passive earnings. If you also shop IRL you can submit physical receipts as well. You can cash out instantly for $5 minimum in the form of a gift card. I'd recommend saving up at least 7,500 points for a $25 gift card, since it'll value points at 300/$1.
Paribus is not your typical cash back site. Once you sign up you can link your different accounts (such as your amazon account) and it will automatically track your shopping. Paribus doesn't directly earn you cash back... it acts more like Walmart's saving catcher if you've ever heard of that. If an item you buy somewhere goes on sale shortly after or if there's any other discounts/promotions you may have missed when you originally bought something, they'll quietly get you a rebate on whatever you purchased. It can be very hit or miss. The catch is that they do take a cut of your savings. I believe it is 30% for all new users, but for each member you refer you can cut the cut by 5%. If you save $10, they'll charge you $3 to whatever card you have linked. Personally I've found it to be really hit or miss, but I've found some incredible savings. I bought a gopro and I got $15 saved with Paribus, and I also got $50 back from some really nice headphones I picked up on amazon from Amazon. What's weird is I bought the headphones like 6 months prior to the rebate. Was shocking to see it, but I've really had some good luck with Paribus.
After the last post, I noticed a lot of people enjoyed Paribus, so I figured it'd be good to add some alternatives in this post. So, here's Sift. Sift is a similar site to Paribus, and its key focus is on enforcing credit card benefits that many people don't know about. It's actually pretty nice. It'll let you pick your credit card and it'll tell you pretty much everything about your card. I have the Chase Freedom Unlimited card, and I was actually shocked to hear some of the benefits my card has that I have never been taking advantage of. From Sift's site:
We automatically comb through your credit card policies to show you all your benefits in one place. For every purchase we let you know what benefits you are eligible for. We streamline the claim process to make it as simple as possible to get your money back.
You can link your emails as well as your amazon account as well and they'll make it really easy for you. I have not actually used Sift much myself, so I cannot attest to how well it works, but the app store reviews are generally positive for Sift.
Trim is similar to Paribus and Sift, but there's a certain void that it's trying to fill that the other two don't really seem to be filling. Trim's main selling point is its bill negotiations. Instead of trying to save you money when a price drops, they're going to try and just nip it right in the bud and try to get your bills lower. Right now they're mainly trying to negotiate with cell providers, internet providers, and cable providers. Here's how the process goes:
Submit Your Bill: Submit your most recent cell phone, cable or internet bill to get started.
Trim Negotiates: Trim negotiates with your provider to get you discounts on your bill.
You Save Money: Trim takes 25% of annualized savings, but only on success—otherwise, it's free!
So, similar to Paribus, Trim does charge a fee. In a sense, I guess that's a good thing because it gives them an incentive to make sure to get some sort of bill decrease for you so they'll make some money too. Their rate is currently 25% of your bill negotiation. Of course, if they're not able to negotiate your bill for you, you won't pay them anything. Trim does also monitor your bank account for you and they'll notify you of account changes (that you can set). For example, if they see a transaction worth $xxx, they'll notify me that I've made a large transaction. If there weren't already so many other sites/apps that could do that, I'd say that's a great feature that Trim offers.
Hopefully there's some new apps/sites you found out about in this post. If you sign up for some/all of these programs listed, you should probably find yourself earning some pretty decent cash back, depending on where/how much you spend. These apps are very satisfying to watch your balances build up on, and after a while it's very rewarding to cash out and treat yourself. Since the last version of this post, I have removed a lot of shitty offers, that aren't really worth anyone's time. I removed Samsung Rewards since it's been devalued to a point that using their app solely for rewards isn't worth it at all. Samsung rewards is only valuable for non-passive offers that they occasionally have. In this update I added some really great additions, but did remove a previous favorite, Spent, which is currently offline. I'm ready to edit the post if anything changes with Spent, but it's seeming more and more unlikely since the app did go so downhill so fast. As always if you have any questions please do leave a comment or send me a PM! Thanks for reading!
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Large Enterprise Adoption of Blockchain is happening, enabled by Quant Network’s Overledger
https://medium.com/@CryptoSeq/large-enterprise-adoption-of-blockchain-is-happening-enabled-by-quant-networks-overledger-32321b650115 This is Part Two in the mini-series looking at Quant Network. You can see Part One here as well as links to other articles at the bottom of this post. Quant Network have achieved incredible levels of adoption since launching Overledger less than a year ago. Their growth strategy is to partner with multinational global organisations with huge amounts of employees to then host / implement / take Overledger to each of their own clients. So one Partnership, leads to exponentially more and is the fastest way to scale rather than trying to partner with each customer individually. This is how companies such as Oracle grew so fast and Microsoft with their Partner Network.
“These are multinational global organisations with 100,000 + employees, this is the scale that we are working towards to take Overledger to the mass market. We can’t do it one by one in each country and sign them up but we can partner with someone that has 100 customers and they can take it to all their customers as well which helps with the adoption of our technology” —Gilbert Verdian
Let’s start with arguably the biggest partnership for any Blockchain company listed on Coinmarketcap, the leading Financial Network Provider in Europe, SIA.
Provide the leading Financial Network in Europe with more than 100 Tier 1 banks connected, 44 Trading venues (including the main international stock markets in Milan, Rome, London, Frankfurt and New York) and other financial institutions covering the entire trading process from pre-trading to post-trading
process 14 Billion institutional services transactions, 7.2 billion card transactions, 3 billion payments, 51.7 billion financial transactions and carried 1,204 terabytes of data on the network
SIA in partnership with Colt and SWIFT are the only two network providers awarded a 10 year tender commissioned by the European Central Bank for the provisioning of connectivity services allowing European central and commercial banks, central depositories, automated clearing houses and other payment service providers to connect directly to Eurosystem market infrastructures through a single access interface (Eurosystem Single Market Infrastructure Gateway — ESMIG).
SIA’s SIAchain is the leading blockchain architecture in Europe connecting 570 Banks, Central Banks, Trading Venues and other Financial Institutions using R3’s Corda, Permissioned variants of Ethereum and Hyperledger Fabric.
SIA have Integrated Overledger into the leading blockchain architecture in Europe SIAchain so that all of the 570 banks, Central Banks, Trading venues etc can benefit from Blockchain Interoperability.
“Since the European launch of our private infrastructure SIAchain, we are at the forefront of innovation in blockchain technology with the aim of supporting financial markets with a high-performance and secure architecture and a clear governance model.We actively continue on our path of innovation and the achievement of a fully interoperable blockchain network is the foremost objective we want to reach with the collaboration of Quant Network and its disruptive vision on DLT”,saysDaniele Savarè, Innovation & Business Solutions Director, SIA.
So what we’ve done is instead of just announcing one client and one thing, we’re announcing that we’re working with SIA. So, SIA is the leading European payment infrastructure. And what we’re doing with SIA is interconnecting blockchain networks with SIA, and doing settlements, which are central bank settlements,with the central bank in Italy. So what Overledger is doing is we’re actually bringing blockchain and interoperability to all of SIA’s clients, which are 580 banks. So, Overledger could be rolled out to all these institutions, financial services, banks, at scale, and have interoperability to get the benefits of this.
Quant Network are working with AX Trading to bring more digital assets, securities and tokenised assets to their existing 800 institutional traders in an already live and connected FINRA and SEC regulated exchange. AX Trading is not just about trading securities but other digital assets such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and potentially even Quant in the Future.
an SEC-registered broker-dealer and Alternative Trading System (ATS) Operator. They are a member of FINRA and SIPC regulated authorities.
Have investors and sponsored brokers such as Credit Suisse, (a multinational investment Bank and Financial services company worth $27.5 billion).
AX currently have over 800 Institutional traders (these are not individuals, but corporations such as hedge funds, banks, investment banks, pension funds, insurance companies, endowment funds etc).
This is a multi-trillion dollar market with huge global enterprises, traditional exchanges and global banks are all adopting DLT at a rapid pace and going into production at scale in a matter of months
Overledger a blockchain operating system, will enable universal interoperability for regulatory-compliant security tokens and digital assets to be traded on AX ATS, a regulated secondary trading market. AX intends to integrate Overledger to help foster the evolution of traditional capital markets infrastructure to facilitate the mass implementation of regulated digital assets. With the increased market adoption of digital assets and banking “coins” such as JPMorgan Coin, AX and Quant Network are at the forefront to enable the transferability and movement of digital assets
Oracle are the second largest software company in the world, second only to Microsoft and worth $174.5 billion.
Quant Network are an Oracle Fintech Partner. Oracle are jointly going to market with Quant Network and taking Overledger directly to their 480,000 clients globally.
On the week commencing the 23rd September 2019 Quant Network and Oracle will be showcasing Overledger at the largest Financial event of the year SIBOS. SIBOS is a very exclusive financial services only event that only institutions that are connected to SWIFT can attend. The only 2 Blockchain firms attending are Quant Network and Ripple.
At Sibos 2019 Oracle is excited to feature 10 of our fintechs that have proven they are enterprise cloud ready and span a wide range of digital transformation themes including several available on Oracle’s Open Banking API ecosystem. Discover how you can accelerate your digital banking journey with a wide range of proven Oracle fintech solutions that meet the security, performance, and compliance needs for today’s Adaptive Bank —Oracle SIBOS 2019Blockchain Enables Trustworthy TransactionsThe potential uses of blockchain technologies are seemingly endless, from providing easy access to online payments to creating connected economies. But one of blockchain’s standout promises is to automate trust by providing an incorruptible platform for transactions.Quant’s Overledgeris the world’s first blockchain operating system. It’s designed to provide any network in the world with a gateway to all other blockchains, and therefore enable companies to develop new solutions by incorporating features from multiple blockchain applications. —https://blogs.oracle.com/startup/innovation-pays%3a-the-five-fintech-startups-making-money-more-interesting
Crowdz are the leading blockchain-based trade finance company
Headed by Cisco’s former global supply-chain leader
In business since 2014, with 270+ beta clients
partnered with Barclaycard, part of Barclays Bank, to integrate into their payment solutions
Recently received $5.5 million Series A Investment from Barclays Bank and BOLD Capital Partners, with additional investments coming from TFX Capital Partners, Techstars Ventures, and First Derivatives
In talks with the Korean Government about using their tech.
Payson Johnston, President and CEO of Crowdz, a Silicon Valley trade-finance and financial-technology company, stated that, “Although Crowdz uses the Ethereum blockchain as the foundation for our Invoice Auction Exchange, we have needed a solution that allows for invoices and other documents to be transferred from one blockchain to another — for example, among Hyperledger, Corda, and EOS. With the Overledger solution from Quant Network, it is now possible to pass data among different blockchains. Crowdz looks forward to working with Quant Network to enable the true multi-blockchain environment that our customers demand.”
UKCloudX is the UK Sovereign High assurance cloud services designed for the UK’s most sensitive and mission critical systems from Defence, National Security to wider Government requirements.
AUCloud is Australia’s sovereign cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider, exclusively focused on the Australian Government (Federal, State and Local) and Critical National Industry (CNI) communities.
AuCloud integrate Overledger onto the AUCloud platform to provide highly secure and interoperable Blockchain-as-a-Service for Australian Government and Defence and the critical national industries and supply chains that serve the nation.
Scott Wilkie, Director of AUCloud stated that Australian Government, Department of Defence and major industries are using or testing blockchain to interact with their supply chain, critical infrastructure, national record keeping and financial services. These organisations require the interoperable functionality that can only come with an operating system like Overledger and the security of the leading sovereign Australian cloud platform. Without Overledger, none of these projects or systems will be able to communicate with each other or enable cross party collaboration.Brad Bastow, CTO AUCloud (previously CTO Department of the Prime Minster & Cabinet) stated that “applying world leading blockchain technologies to enhancing the cyber security of cloud IaaS and PaaS can significantly improve the ease of adoption and reduces risks for all government users and citizens. We aim to bring the most effective and assured technologies as-a-Service and Quant Network have some of the most advanced blockchain technology in the world in this respect.”
A Cloud-based, smart-contract-as-a-service (SCaas) platform. enabling users across a variety of skill sets to implement DAPPs.
formed from a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) grant in 2017 originally developed by ITAMCO and the University of Notre Dame
Awarded a grant from the Department of Energy to develop a platform for a blockchain solution for the solar energy market.
Their platform is available on Azure and are Microsoft Start Up Partners with a former Microsoft Global Exec Joining SIMBA Chain.
Some of their other partnerships include the Government Blockchain Association, Air Force Research Laboratory, Caterpillar, SAP and EY
Recently announced they are starting to develop on Quant Network’s Overledger to enable connection to all of the blockchains currently connected through Overledger and provide interoperability between them.
an AI-powered decentralized investment and financing ecosystem, which allows corporates to quickly, cheaply and safely raise funds, whether it be equity, debt or tokens.
Selected as 1 of 15 Best Early-Stage startups at Money 20/20, Europe’s Largest Finetech Conference.
Joined Kickstart Innovation, one of Europe’s largest multi-corporate accelerators.
Joined Level39 Europe’s largest Fintech Accelerator
Partnered with Holochain, Elastos and Portugal Finlab
have more than 35 years combined experience in capital markets at top investment banks (Goldman, JP Morgan, Barclays…) and more than 10 years in AI, IT and software development (Barclays, VINCI, PostNL…).
“AllianceBlock will use Overledger to leverage multiple blockchains and create multi-chains token swaps. This partnership offers the possibility to open a new set of real-world applications leveraging different features from different chains. AllianceBlock is delighted about this partnership which will help blockchain projects and SMEs wield blockchain technology very easily” said Rachid Ajaja, Co-founder of AllianceBlock.
Jiangsu Huaxin Blockchain Institute
the first state-owned research hub dedicated to exploring blockchain technology for the Chinese Ministry of Commerce with over 100 employees.
high-tech R & D institution backed by the provincial government in Jiangsu, the second highest GDP grossing province in China
Backed by parent company Beijing Huaxin Electronics Enterprise Group, a conglomerate that has incubated and invested in numerous IT and telecommunications companies
China’s official institution for blockchain development, signed an agreement to collaborate on the development of innovations like distributed computing and quantum cryptography to revolutionize the next generation of distributed ledger technology (DLT) protocols.
Managing Director of Rockefeller Capital Joins the Board of Quant Network
Rockefeller Capital Management is a leading independent financial services firm led by President & Chief Executive Officer Gregory J. Fleming, offering global family office, wealth management, asset management and strategic advisory services to ultra-high-net-worth individuals, families, institutions and corporations
Quant Network is a founding member in the European Union’s launch of the International Association for Trusted Blockchain Applications (INATBA). Other members of INATBA include Accenture, Accord Project, Alastria,Banco Santander, BBVA, Consensys, Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, Fujitsu, IOTA, Ledger, SAP, SIA, Swift, Telefonica, We.Trade and many more. INATBA is a collaboration of 26 EU countries to develop EU blockchain regulation and prepare the launch of EU-wide blockchain applications
Quant Network accepted as a company guarantor of Pay.UK, the UK’s largest payment network, alongside banks and other FinTech companies
Through this relationship, Quant Network will shape the payment ecosystem to promote competition, innovation and openness, as well as setting the strategic direction of the Payments infrastructure and adopting the New Payments Architecture (NPA).
consortium for blockchain innovation in the mobility industry. The consortium was founded by leading automakers including Renault, Ford, GM, and BMW, and now represents more than 80 percent of global auto manufacturing by volume. Other members include Bosch, IBM, Cognizant, Accenture, Consensys, IOTA, R3, VeChain, Hyperledger, Ocean Protocol and Honda (Full list can be seen here)
Overledger operating system will enable interconnectivity and interoperability of data between manufacturers, devices, transportation and autonomous vehicles
Quant Network has joined Hyperledger where more than 270 organisations are now contributing to the growth of Hyperledger’s open source distributed ledger frameworks and tools. Some of the companies involved are Accentrue, Airbus, American Express, Baidu, Cisco, Deutsche Bank, DTCC, Fujitsu, Hitachi, IBM, Intel, J.P.Morgan, SAP, BBVA, Bosch, Deloitte, Fedex, Huawei, Lenovo, NTT Data, Oracle, PWC, R3, Ripple, Samsung, We.trade, Bank of England, Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, Federal Reserve, MOBI etc. Full list of members can be seen here.
Working with the Hyperledger Quilt team to enhance Blockchain Interoperability capability for Hyperledger members
The Accord Project is the organization for the development of techno-legal standards for smart legal contracts and distributed ledger applications in the legal industry
The Project operates in collaboration with IEEE, the International Association for Contract and Commercial Management, Hyperledger, R3, Decentralized Identity Foundation, and a number of leading trade associations, industry and standards organizations, and world leading law firms.
Quant Network have joined the Accord Project and are providing the Technology with Overledger and Treaty Contracts.
As well as many being worked on and yet to be publicly announced:
Indian Multinational IT Service and consulting company with offices in 44 countries and 137,000+ employees
Among the top 20 largest publicly traded companies in India with a market cap of $18.7 Billion and revenue of $9 billion.
Customers include 250 of the Fortune 500 and 650 of the Global 2000 companies.
we are really looking at ASIA, especially around Singapore, Hong Kong and we are working with partners to go there,just yesterday we had a meeting with a $8 billion company based in the ASIA region and they want to use Overledger for their clients and they are going to help us expand to that region, once we partner with the right bigger players
Hello! My name is Vladimir Hovanskiy. I am a Google Adwords manager at Platinum, a business facilitator of new generation, providing STO and ICO marketing services. We already created best STO blockchain platform on the market and consulted more than 700 projects. Here’s the proof 😎 Platinum.fund We are more than proud that we not only promote but also share our knowledge with the students of the UBAI. Here you can learn how to do security token offering and initial coin offering! Now I want to share some cool info on the purpose and role of tokens within the Blockchain ecosystem at the ICO stage. Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) History Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) are a means of fundraising for the initial capital needed to get new projects off the ground within the cryptocurrency ecosystem. More often than not, Bitcoin and Ethereum, are used to buy a quantity of project tokens. However, new projects are also being launched on alternative Blockchain platforms such as NEO or WANchain, wherein the “parent” chain’s tokens will be used to fund these ICOs. Pre-launch, ICO tokens are endorsed as functional currency in the project ecosystem. After a project’s ICO, it is available on exchanges, and then the market determines the value of those tokens. The main benefit of using the ICO funding system is that it avoids the prohibitive amount of time and expense incurred by launching a startup in the conventional method, by way of Initial Public Offering (IPO). The lengthy and costly process of ensuring regulatory compliance in different jurisdictions often makes the IPO format unfeasible for small companies. Thus, the ICO method of fundraising is far more attractive as a means of crowd funding for the project. But at the same time, an ICO is certainly riskier for the investor. It is important to note the different stages of the token sale. Token prices generally escalate the closer the token gets to its listing date. Projects often seek funding from angel investors even before the date of the private pre-sale is set, though some ICOs do go straight to pre-sale. After potential initial investment has been sought from angel investors, pre-sale begins. Usually there will be a 15–30% discount from the public sale price. The main-sale begins after the pre-sale has concluded. At that time, normal everyday crypto enthusiasts, with no connections to the team, may buy into the project at pretty close to the ground floor price. Angel investors and pre-sale investors sometimes receive quite large discounts from main sale prices, but their tokens are locked up for varying amounts of time, to prevent dumping, or selling all their tokens for a quick profit at the time of listing. Today the vast majority of ICOs make use of the Ethereum blockchain and the ERC-20 token. The very first token sale was arranged by Mastercoin, a Bitcoin fork, in July 2013. Ethereum soon followed in early 2014, raising 3700 BTC in only 12 hours (equivalent to $2.3 million at that time, and just under $35 million today). Before late 2015 there were sporadic ICOs, with Augur, NXT and Factom all successfully raising funds. 2016 was the year that the ICO format grew to truly disrupt the Venture Capital industry. There were 64 ICOs in 2016 which cumulatively raised $103 million USD. Tremendous Success & Why Real World Case Study The ICON (ICX) Initial coin offering is an example of a project that reaped the rewards of a token sale done with precision of execution and clarity of vision. The project promised to build a world-wide decentralized network that would allow Blockchains of different governances to transact with one another without a centralized authority, and with as few barriers as possible. ICX offered fair and clear tokenomics, with 1 Ether buying 2500 ICX, and with 1 ETH costing approximately 250 dollars when the ICO began on September 18th. 50% of the total amount of tokens were put up for public sale, 400,230,000 out of a total of 800,460,000, equating to a fundraising goal of 150,000 Ether. One of the core reasons for the project’s spectacular success was the incredibly distinguished background of those involved, and the foundation the project had in many years of stellar achievement. ICON was originally a project developed by “The Loop”, a joint venture between DAYLI financial group and three Korean Universities. They lead the Korea Financial Investment Blockchain Consortium, one of the largest organizations of its kind in the world, boasting members including Samsung Securities. The Loop had already implemented Blockchain solutions for high profile clients well before ICX was born, including completing a KYC/AML authentication smart contract platform for Korea Financial Investment Consortium. Real World Example of Failure & Why Case Study The risk involved in starting your own company is huge. Over 75% of startups eventually fail, according to the Harvard Business School study by Shikhar Ghosh. The study’s findings show the rate of failure for new companies is roughly 50% after 5 years, and over 75% after 10. Shikhar Ghosh identifies the following issues as the most common factors in start-up failure: -Insufficient Market Demand -Insolvency -Wrong Team -Got beat by competition -Pricing/Cost issues -Poor Product -Need for or Lack of business model -Ineffective Marketing -Disregarding Customer desires The statistics concerning rate of failure for conventional business startups pale in comparison to the number of crypto startups that fail according to Tokendata. They are one of the most rigorous ICO trackers, recording 46% of the 902 ICO crowdsale projects initiated in 2017 as failing by the time of writing. Of these 46%, 142 collapsed before the end of the funding stage, and a further 276 had either “exit scammed” (took the money and ran) or slowly faded into eventual obscurity. With no shortage of failed and abortive projects to look into, we thought it would be more helpful to look into an ICO that was mismanaged and unsuccessful in terms of its execution, rather than being fraudulent, or terminally mismanaged. Real World Example of Failure & Why §3 Tezos was designed as a “new decentralized Blockchain that governs itself by establishing a true digital commonwealth”. The project was a partnership between the husband and wife team of Kathleen and Arthur Breitman, and a Swiss foundation run by Johann Gevers. They had a novel idea of “formal verification”, a technique that mathematically proves the veracity of code governing transactions and heightens security of smart contracts. That idea was wholeheartedly endorsed by investors, resulting in $232 million USD raised in the 2017 crowdsale. Trouble arose after the Breitmans asked the head of the Swiss foundation they were in partnership with to step down. In Gever’s words, the Breitman’s were attempting “to bypass Swiss legal structure and take over control of the foundation”. The resulting 6 class action lawsuits that were spawned from the wreckage of one of the most successful ICOs of all time have yet to be fully resolved at the time of writing, though Gevers has stepped down and a new leadership team is in place. The Tezos Network has a prospective launch date of somewhere around Q3 2018. The debacle, though not terminal to the prospects of the Tezos network, provides a cautionary tale about the need for a clearly defined leadership structure and plan for the allocation of funds after an ICO. It is entirely possible that the Tezos project could have ridden the late 2017 market euphoria to sit near the top of the cryptocurrency hierarchy if boardroom strife could have been avoided. Real World Example of Failure & Why §4 Projects often also “pivot” from one focus or project to another. More often than not, teams change the project name entirely, even while retaining the same core team, to try for a successful venture one more time. One such project is Chain Trade Token (CTT) which, while technically speaking, not yet a “deadcoin”, shows all the signs of shutting down operations within a few months, and “pivoting” into a new project. The CTT project aimed to be the “first blockchain-based platform for the trading of futures and options on food and raw materials (aka commodity derivatives)”. But through a combination of a non-existent social media presence, and a distinct lack of urgency in securing listings beyond decentralized exchanges, the lofty ambitions of the top-level team were left unrealized. The team has supposedly split their operations from solely Chain Trade, to a former business endeavors, and the Nebula Decentralized Exchange. The project leaders then offered a 1-for-1 token swap which has been accepted by the vast majority of CTT holders. The ICO Process Before even researching the particular strengths and weaknesses of any specific project in which you may want to invest, it is important to know the overall processes of the ICO crowdfunding method. This will allow you to avoid any potential pitfalls if you do decide to move forward and invest money into a particular idea or project. How does an ICO happen? Stage One: Token sale details are set: This takes place usually after release of the whitepaper, and the presentation of a project to prospective investors in forums and on social media. Stage Two: Whitelisting for private sale begins: The vast majority of all ICOs have instituted KYC checks for investors which usually involve uploading a photograph of your passport or driving license along with a selfie holding the ID. Did you know? Participation in ICOs has proven to be a regulatory nightmare in some localities. Most token sales restrict contributions from investors in China and the USA entirely, though accredited investors may participate in the USA in some cases. Stage Three: Private/Pre-sale states: Typically, 10% of tokens will be offered to early investors at a 10–30% discount. These select few investors will likely have a close association with the team. But not all projects have a pre-sale round, some go straight to public sale. Stage Four: Whitelisting for Public/Main sale starts: The same format used for pre-sale investors is used for public sale investors, though it is a regular occurrence to see main sale KYC checks closed early due to overwhelming demand. An investor must then register a contribution wallet address. That is the address used to send cryptocurrency from, to buy the ICO tokens, and then also into which you will receive your purchased tokens. This wallet address must be a non-exchange wallet, like Blockchain.info bitcoin wallet, or MyEtherWallet for ERC-20. You already understand from the prior lesson that making a mistake with your wallet address may mean you lose the tokens forever as well as the BTC or ETH you used to purchase them. Copying and pasting your cryptocurrency public key into the whitelist wallet form is the next task to complete. And then, as the investor, you wait for confirmation of successful ICO registration from the team. Stage Five: Public sale starts: Commonly on a specific date, though sometimes for a specific period of time. If you are interested in participating in an ICO, it is important to make your contribution as quickly as possible, or you risk sending your ETH or BTC after the hard cap has been reached, resulting in your funds being sent back. This refund can sometimes take many days, or even weeks in times of high market activity. Did you know? In 2017 it was not unheard of to find ICOs that had originally scheduled their ICO period for many weeks, but then they met with such high demand that they could close their crowdsale in a matter of hours or even in just a few minutes! Stage Six: Tokens are allocated to successful participant investor wallets, and trading can begin on some decentralized exchanges like IDEX, or EtherDelta in the case of Ethereum based tokens. Tokens will be sent to and received by the wallet addresses from which the investor contributions were made. Stage Seven: Tokens are listed on mainstream exchanges: The tokens will then be listed on the exchanges with which the teams have negotiated listing, prior to or during the sale. It can cost huge amounts of money to list on large exchanges like Bitfinex Bittrex, Huobi or Binance, so usually smaller projects will not be listed on top 10 exchanges so quickly. As tokens are listed on more and more exchanges, their price usually rises because more and more investors are exposed to opportunities to buy that particular token. Evaluating a Blockchain Use Case Evaluating a particular use case for Blockchain technology, and thus how successful an ICO project’s ambitions might be in a particular market, is not a simple endeavor. As demonstrated in the graphic below, Blockchain technology has nearly limitless potential to be applied to a great variety of business areas, but as an ICO investor, you are looking for projects that have the potential to deliver significant long-term success. In the currently saturated ICO environment, some use cases have more potential than others. Ascertaining which use case is likely to have long term success is a key distinction. Also, we must recognize that businesses and corporate entities may be overeager to experiment with this new Blockchain technology, whether or not usage of the technology is actually advisable or profitable for their particular purpose. The main questions to ask when analyzing specific solutions proposed by the project are: What are the problems posed and the solutions offered? Does this particular area of business need a Blockchain solution? That is, is a Blockchain solution in fact superior to the current way this particular business operates? Is the use of Blockchain in this specific instance feasible and applicable? What are competitors doing about Blockchain projects in this same area? A Blockchain network provides a shared, replicated, secured, immutable and verifiable data ledger. The implication for use case analysis: Shared and replicated: participants have a copy of the ledger and many people can view it or work on it Secured: Secured through cryptography Verifiable: Business rules are associated with all interactions that occur on the network Immutable: Transactions (records) cannot be modified or deleted, therefore a verifiable audit trail is maintained by the network So, with all this considered, what should we look for with regard to a possible business use case that would be best solved using Blockchain technology? 1. Data exchange that has trust issues i.e. businesses transacting with one another. Trust must be established through a multitude of verification processes with regards to employees and products. These processes increase operational cost. Example: Digital voting. 2. Any potential business process involving data storage, or compliance and risk data that get audited. Blockchain solutions would provide the regulators a real-time view of information. Example: Supply chain solutions like VeChain or WaltonChain. The possibility of close to zero operational loss would of course be attractive to any business. 3. All kinds of asset transactions. A Blockchain network, with its tamper-proof ledger, validating traceable and trackable transactions, could save many different industries untold amounts of money. Example: Tokenization of assets e.g. Jibrel Network or Polymath Purpose of Tokens Within the cryptocurrency ecosystem, the definition and role of a token iswidely understood. They represent programmable units of currency that sit atop a particular Blockchain, and they are part of a smart contract “logic” specific to a certain application. In the business sphere, a token can be defined as a unit of value that a project or business venture creates to enable it to self-govern. And the business venture also allows token users to connect and collaborate with its business products, while facilitating the sharing of rewards to all of its stakeholders. A token can also be described in a more general sense as a type of privately issued currency. In the past it was solely within the purview of governments to issue currency and set the terms of its governance. With the advent of Blockchain technology we now have businesses and organizations offering forms of digital money over which they, not the government or central bank, have control of the terms of operations and issuance. Wide scale adoption of these mechanisms could fundamentally alter the global economy. This is like the creation of self-sustaining, mini-economies in any sector of business or life, via a specific token or currency. Fun Fact: Tokens of the particular Blockchain upon which the project is launched will usually have to be bought in order to be exchanged for ICO tokens, hence it is important for traders and investors to be aware of the schedule for upcoming ICOs. ETH is usually the token used for exchange because the majority of ICOs launch on the Ethereum Blockchain. But this is not always the case. During January 2018, two NEO token ICOs, both the Key TKY and Ontology ICOs, were being carried out, and this caused the NEO cryptocurrency to spike to its all-time high in excess of $160 USD. Since the product or project is more often than not in its embryonic stage at the time of the ICO crowdfunding process, the ICO token’s true function and purpose is in most cases yet to be realized. At the ICO stage the tokens can usually be grouped together into one of three categories. Knowing how to distinguish these categories involves determining the specific nature and function of the token around which the project is centered. The main and crucial distinction, is whether or not a token is a security, and therefore subject to securities registration requirements. ICO Stage Token Categories Howey Test: This is the test created by the US Supreme Court to ascertain whether certain transactions qualify as “investment contracts”. If they are found to fall within this classification, then under the Securities Act of 1933 and the Exchange Act of 1934, those transactions are considered “securities” and participants must adhere to registration and disclosure requirements. One of the most important and amazing considerations of the effect of Blockchain technology is that normal people with a computer science background are now empowered to make decisions and offer products and services that previously only licensed financial institutions were able to do. This is a very complex and complicated situation with serious ramifications for anyone involved. One thing to note well is that ordinary participants and actors in this arena can easily commit white-collar crime, violating serious securities laws, without even realizing it. If a token falls within the US legal definition of “Investment Contract” then you must adhere to US regulations. For that reason, many ICOs simply do not want to sell to US based investors, perhaps until all the rules and regulations are clarified. Security Tokens The broad and varying definition of the term “security” is a regulatory minefield. This has always been true for traditional financial products, and now it is especially true for the as yet unregulated cryptocurrency market. In the case of SEC V. Howey, parameters were established to determine whether or not a particular financial arrangement could be classified as a security and thus be subject to securities regulations. Cooley LLP Fintech Team Leader Marco Santori has said, an arrangement is a security if it involves “an investment of money, and a common enterprise, with the expectation of profit, primarily from the efforts of others.” Investors have the option of accessing a huge range of security tokens through ICOs. Prime examples are the gold backed DigixDao (DGD) and CProp (still in crowd funding stage). A security token is fundamentally different from the currently available ICO project tokens in that it provides a legal and enforceable ownership of a company’s profits and voice in its governance much like common stock traded on any exchange. If security tokens are the next step in the evolution of crypto-finance, real estate, stocks, venture capital, and commodities can all be tokenized. The traditional markets could be fully connected to the Blockchain. Financial assets would available to anyone in the world, not just licensed or accredited investors. That is one aspect of Fintech, the financial revolution taking place today, as Blockchain technology clashes with traditional finance. Equity Tokens One exciting application of smart contracts on the Ethereum Network is the potential for startups to distribute equity tokens through initial coin offerings. That would reduce the hurdles that an average person has to face in order to take part in the early stages of a company’s development. And, democratic governance of a project could be conducted in a transparent manner through voting on the Blockchain. As of yet, few startups have attempted to conduct equity token sales for fear of falling afoul of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the US. But many Venture Capital insiders are bullish on the prospect of equity tokens taking a central role in the crypto finance industry, when and as the legal issues are resolved. For example, the Delaware State legislature recently passed a bill enabling companies to maintain shareholder lists on the Blockchain. That is one major step to enable Blockchain based stock trading. Lawyers also generally believe it is only a matter of time before the regulations are clarified. Did you know? Important consideration: The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 made it unfeasibly expensive for smaller companies to be listed on exchanges, causing a halving in the number of IPOs between 1996 and 2016 (7322 to 3671). In 2017 there was an almost 5-fold increase in the number of ICOs, from 43 to 210, with the 2017 volume already being eclipsed in the first 5 months of 2018. Utility Tokens However, given that this area is still a regulatory nightmare for people planning to issue security and equity tokens, many projects attempt to ensure that the tokens within their specific model fall under the definition of Utility Tokens rather than securities, so as to avoid the SEC regulations altogether. If a token is imbued with a certain functionality and use within the Blockchain infrastructure of that particular project, the token can avoid being labelled as a security, and thus render SEC regulations inapplicable. Just this week in fact, the SEC made the long-awaited and momentous decision that Ether was not a security. In the words of William Hinman, director of the Securities and Exchange Commission division of corporate finance, “Putting aside the fundraising that accompanied the creation of Ether, based on my understanding of the present state of Ether, the Ethereum network and its decentralized structure, current offers and sales of Ether are not securities transactions.” This means that Ethereum, in fact, fails the Howey test, which is exactly the decision the crypto world wanted. Hinman said, “When the efforts of the third party are no longer a key factor for determining the enterprise’s success, material information asymmetries recede,” Hinman said. “The ability to identify an issuer or promoter to make the requisite disclosures becomes difficult, and less meaningful.” We will now cover various use cases that projects have been adopting up to now in order to get their tokens classified as utility tokens rather than securities. Voting Rights Some coins portray themselves as a company with tokens being held in a way that is analogous to voting shares of a stock. One coin held is equal to one vote. This form of token utility has a major flaw in that so-called whales (people with huge amounts of a particular cryptocurrency) can manipulate any poll conducted. The cryptocurrencies Aragon and Lykke are examples of projects that have written voting rights into the structure of their code. In-App Reward: Another common tactic to evade the security label has been the addition of in-app rewards to the functionality of a particular token. The Basic Attention Token (BAT) is the unit of currency for use with the project browser named “Brave”. The BAT is a unit of account for the advertisers, publishers and users of the platform. Filecoin, the cloud storage project that raised a record $257 million through their ICO, pays other people or companies for use of their spare storage space. Some of the many rights afforded to token holders in various Blockchain projects are described by the graphic below. Token Roles Function The token can be used as a mechanism through which user experience is enhanced, enabling such actions as connection with users, or joining a broader network. It may also be used as an incentive for beginning usage or for on-boarding. Examples include Dfinity and Steemit. Value Exchange: In its most basic usage, a token is a unit of value exchange within a specific app or market. This usually is made up of features that allow users to earn tokens through real work or passive work (sharing data, allowing use of storage space) and to spend them on services or internal functions within the specific market ecosystem created by that organization. Augur and KIK, amongst countless others, are projects that have implemented this functionality into their tokenomics. Toll: The token can also be used for getting onto the Blockchain infrastructure, or for powering decentralized applications run on that particular Blockchain. This ensures that users have “skin in the game”. Tolls can be derived from running smart contracts, paying a security deposit, or just usage fees. Examples include Bitcoin and Ethereum. Currency: Seeing as the particular platform or app is designed with a view towards functioning in synergy with a particular token, the token is an extremely efficient means of payment and transaction engine, resulting in frictionless transactions. This means that companies can become their own payment processors and no longer have to rely on the often unwieldy stages of conventional financial settlement involving trusted third parties in the form of banks and credit card companies. Rights: Owning a token bequests certain rights upon the holder, such as product usage, voting, access to restricted markets, and dividends (e.g.: GAS for holding NEO). Though most businesses are trying to avoid fitting the definition of a security laid out in the Howey Test, the right to real ownership of a particular asset is sometimes granted as a result of holding a token, for example DigixDAO or Tezos. Comparison to Traditional IPO and Equity Capital Raisings Despite the similarity of the acronyms and the derivation of one from the other, Initial Coin Offerings and Initial Public Offerings are very different methods of fundraising. The distinction is not limited simply to the fact that IPOs are used in conventional business, and ICOs are associated with cryptocurrency. Through ICO’s, companies in their early stages issue digital tokens on a Blockchain and those tokens act as units of value for use within the ecosystem created by the project. They have many other uses, but it is also fair to say they are analogous to shares offered in an Initial Public offering. In an IPO, shareholdings are distributed to investors through underwriters, usually investment banks. But in the case of ICO token sales, companies often do not even have an actual product to show. Often, all that there is a whitepaper, evidence of the partnerships involved and the particular social-media infrastructure they have established. IPO’s take place when a more well-established company floats shares on a stock exchange. The company would have a well-established history of success and significant reasons to expect a bright future. In the vast majority of cases, an ICO is used for a new company with no such history, just trying to get off the ground. Another important difference is the expected return in exchange for the investment. Companies engaging in IPOs may offer participants dividend paying stocks which result in various levels of return depending on the success of the company after the shares are issued. An ICO however can offer no such guaranteed return. When buying tokens in an ICO, you do so with no promise of return. An investor who holds the tokens of a particular project does so with the promise, rather than an assurance, of future success. The main benefit to investors taking part in Initial Coin Offerings, compared to Initial Public Offerings, is the need for only basic Know Your Customer checks in the case of the ICO, compared to the costly, complex and time-consuming regulatory obstacles that must be traversed in an IPO. In the case of Initial Public Offerings, a business must obtain authorization from a number of entities before the act of “going public”. Prior to an IPO, companies are not obliged to disclose so much of their internal records or accounting. It is not so complicated to make a private company in the United States. But in the run up to going public, the company must form a board of directors, make their records auditable to the relevant authorities in one or more jurisdictions, and prepare to make quarterly reports to the SEC (or equivalent). Relevant Factors to Consider in ICO process When analyzing the chances of success for a specific project, and the likelihood of a favorable return on investment in the long term, it is essential to break down the project into its constituent parts, and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each part individually. An effective investigation and analysis would start with the team and white paper. Consider the stage the project is at,and VC investments in the project. That would lead to a good initial idea of the actual progress thus far. Next, evaluate the social media presence and the credentials of the community that has formed around the core team. If a compelling case is made by the team, (e.g.: via an in-depth dive into the use case), and the tokenomics, distribution schedule, potential competitors, as well as the team’s awareness of any future business or regulatory concerns all check out; then the ICO might present a good opportunity for investment. In the following slides we tackle each of these considerations in order so you will be able to evaluate an ICO’s worth and assign a grade for the success of each project. Relevant Factors to Consider in ICO process The Team First and most important, we need evaluate the background and experience of the team, the people involved in the project. Well-established developers, for example, will likely have LinkedIn profiles demonstrating their previous endeavors and occupations, from which we can judge their suitability to the project and the likelihood of the team’s success. The LinkedIn profile is a point of reference for professional accomplishments and official positions. But we can also learn more about a person from their personal accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and Medium etc. That is also a good way to follow along with the progress of the project. By investigating team members through as many means as possible, you will know how long they have been involved in cryptocurrency. If they have been around and active for a long time, they are that much more likely to be knowledgeable and capable of making better quality decisions in this business. It goes without saying that it is a huge red flag if it is too difficult to find information about the team members online, and worse still if the team members are anonymous. Relevant Factors to Consider in ICO process A good Whitepaper gives a detailed description of the project, the problems the team is going to solve, the timeframe projected, and methods to be used in the implementation of their ideas. If, in answering the question about what the project actually does, it seems the team is presenting ideas that are too complicated or advanced to understand, then you simply should not invest until you are satisfied you have been given the requisite level of insight to understand the concepts described. It is always possible that the whitepaper is nothing more than a salad of buzzwords and technical language intended to give the impression of competence while really doing nothing but obfuscate the truth. The whitepaper should clearly and concisely present the problems and the solutions needed. The whitepaper must give a solid and coherent answer as to who needs this project and why. Also, if the team have put no effort into explaining why a Blockchain solution is needed for this particular problem, or why such a solution is superior to its “real-world” equivalent, it is likely they are only in it for the money. We have more to say about red-flags later. While 2016 raised a comparatively small amount in comparison to the proceeding years, there were a few specific projects that raised significant amounts of capital. These are respectable amounts of money, even by today’s standards, and especially impressive when contrasted with the immaturity of the ICO market at the time, and relative to amounts raised in traditional IPOs. Waves ($16.4mill), Iconomi ($10.6mill) and Golem ($8.6mill) were the three largest fundraisings of the year. 2017 was the year of the ICO whales. Hdac ($258mill), Filecoin ($257mill), EOS Stage 1 ($185mill) and Paragon ($183.16mill) were the largest that year. To be able to raise so much money, so quickly, in such a new market, using such a new mechanism is truly incredible. 2017 was the year that proved ICOs are for serious individuals and institutional investors as well. We have also had some phenomenal amounts raised so far in 2018. Telegram ($1.7bill), Dragon ($320mill), Huobi ($300mill) and Bankera ($150mill). Telegram might be the first mainstream example of an ICO, not only by raising close to $2billion, which would be beyond incredible and impressive even by traditional IPO standards; but also, because it is one of the first ICO companies to tangibly put a product in the hands of hundreds of millions of users, and successfully compete against traditional companies such as Facebook (MessengeWhatsApp), Microsoft (Skype) and Tencent (WeChat). What is ICO main mechanisms and processes.? How to market STO? What are the best security tokens 2019? Follow the link to learn more: UBAI.co We can teach you how to do ICO and STO in 2019. Contact me via Facebook to learn more: Facebook
S&P Futures Slide, Europe Jumps As Traders Beg For End To Turbulent Week
There is a sense of almost detached resignation amid trading desks as we enter the last trading day of a chaotic, volatile week that has whipsawed and stopped out virtually everyone after the Nasdaq saw the biggest intraday reversal since Thursday and pattern and momentum trading has become impossible amid one headline tape-bomb after another. After yesterday furious tumble and sharp, last hour rebound, US equity futures are once again lower expecting fresh developments in the Huawei CFO arrest and trade war saga while today's payroll report may redirect the Fed's tightening focus in wage growth comes in hotter than the 3.1% expected; at the same time European stocks have rebounded from their worst day in more than two years while Asian shares posted modest gains as investors sought to end a bruising week on a more upbeat note. While stock trading was far calmer than Thursday, signs of stress remained just below the surface as the dollar jumped, Treasuries rose and oil whipsawed amid fears Iran could scuttle today's OPEC deal. The MSCI All-Country World Index, which tracks shares in 47 countries, was up 0.3% on the day, on track to end the week down 2%. After Europe's Stoxx 600 Index sharp drop on Thursday, which tumbled the most since the U.K. voted to leave the EU in 2016, Friday saw Europe's broadest index jump 1.2% as every sector rallied following the cautious trade in the Asia-Pac session and the rebound seen on Wall Street where the Dow clawed back nearly 700 points from intraday lows. European sectors are experiencing broad-based gains with marginal outperformance in the tech sector as IT names bounce back from yesterday’s Huawei-driven slump. Technology stocks lead gains on Stoxx 600 Index, with the SX8P Index up as much as 2.3%, outperforming the 1.1% gain in the wider index; Nokia topped the sector index with a 5.9% advance in Helsinki after Thursday’s public holiday, having missed out on initial gains from rival Huawei’s troubles that earlier boosted Ericsson. Inderes said the arrest of Huawei CFO over potential violations of American sanctions on Iran will benefit Nokia and Ericsson, who are the main rivals of Huawei and ZTE. Similarly, Jefferies wrote in a note on Chinese networks that China may have to offer significant concessions to buy Huawei an “out of jail” card and reach a trade deal, with China’s tech subsidies and “buy local” policies potentially under attack. "For example, why would Nokia and Ericsson have only 20% share in China’s 4G market," analysts wrote. Meanwhile, energy names were volatile as the complex awaits further hints from the key OPEC+ meeting today. In terms of individual movers, Fresenius SE (-15.0%) fell to the foot of the Stoxx 600 after the company cut medium-term guidance, citing lower profit expectations at its clinics unit Helios and medical arm Fresenius Medical Care (-7.8%). The news sent Fresenius BBB- rated bonds tumbling, renewing fears of a deluge of "fallen angels." On the flip side, Bpost (+7.5%) and Tesco (+4.8%) are hovering near the top of the pan-Europe index amid broker upgrades. Earlier in the session, Japanese equities outperformed as most Asian gauges nudged higher. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan nudged up 0.2%, though that followed a 1.8 percent drubbing on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei added 0.8 percent. Chinese shares, which were up earlier in the day, slipped into negative territory with the blue chips off 0.1 percent.
E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 also started firmer but were last down 0.4 percent. Markets face a test from U.S. payrolls data later in the session amid speculation that the U.S. economy is heading for a tough patch after years of solid growth. Will the last employment report released this year (the December report comes out in early January) help markets to continue to form a base? The consensus for nonfarm payrolls today is for a 198k print, following the stronger-thanexpected 250k reading last month. Average hourly earnings are expected to rise +0.3% mom which should be enough to keep the annual reading at +3.1% yoy while the unemployment rate is expected to hold steady at 3.7%. DB's economists are more or less in line with the consensus with a 200k forecast and also expect earnings to climb +0.3% mom, however that would be consistent with a small tick up in the annual rate to +3.17% and the fastest pace since April 2009. They also expect the current pace of job growth to push the unemployment rate down to 3.6% which would be the lowest since December 1969. Meanwhile, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell confused traders when late on Thursday, he emphasized the strength of the labor market, throwing a wrench into trader expectations the Fed is poised to pause tightening - arguably the catalyst for Thursday's market-closing ramp following a WSJ article which reported Fed officials were considering whether to signal a new wait-and-see mentality after a likely rate increase at their meeting in December. While Friday's market has stabilized, for many the recent gyrations are just too much. For Dennis Debusschere, head of portfolio strategy at Evercore ISI, there’s still far too much risk to wade back into a market this riven by volatility. “Overall still untradeable in our opinion, until we get more clarity on trade and we think it will pay to wait this out,” he wrote in a note to clients Thursday. “That being said, our desk is open for business if you’re feeling up to trading this backdrop.” Meanwhile, the big question is what happens next year: “The big question mark still is what’s going to happen in 2019” with the Fed, Omar Aguilar, CIO of equities and multi-asset strategies at Charles Schwab, told Bloomberg TV. “The jobs report could easily be the catalyst that will tell us a little more about what the path may be.” Expecting that a big slowdown is coming, interest rate futures rallied hard in massive volumes with the market now pricing in less than half a hike next year, compared to just a month ago when they had been betting on more than two increases. Treasuries extended their blistering rally, driving 10-year yields down to a three-month trough at 2.8260 percent, before last trading at 2.8863 percent. Yields on two-year notes fell a huge 10 basis points at one stage on Thursday and were last at 2.75 percent. Investors also steamrolled the yield curve to its flattest in over a decade, a trend that has historically presaged economic slowdowns and even recessions. The seismic shock spread far and wide. Yields on 10-year paper sank to the lowest in six months in Germany, almost 12 months in Canada and 16 months in Australia. Italian debt climbed as European bonds largely drifted. The greenback advanced against most of its Group-of-10 peers ahead of U.S. jobs data that are expected to show hiring slowed last month. The pound fell as U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May was said to be weighing a plan to postpone the vote on her Brexit deal. In commodity markets, gold firmed to near a five-month peak as the dollar eased and the threat of higher interest rates waned. Spot gold stood 0.1 percent higher at $1,239.49 per ounce. Oil was less favored, however, falling further as OPEC delayed a decision on output cuts while awaiting support from non-OPEC heavyweight Russia. Brent futures fell 0.5 percent to $59.77 a barrel, while U.S. crude also lost half a percent to $51.19. Cryptocurrencies continued their collapse with fresh losses after U.S. regulators dashed hopes that a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund would appear before the end of this year. Market Snapshot
S&P500 futures down 0.4% to 2,680.00
STOXX Europe 600 up 1.3% to 347.69
MXAP up 0.2% to 151.21
MXAPJ up 0.2% to 485.67
Nikkei up 0.8% to 21,678.68
Topix up 0.6% to 1,620.45
Hang Seng Index down 0.4% to 26,063.76
Shanghai Composite up 0.03% to 2,605.89
Sensex up 0.9% to 35,631.53
Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.4% to 5,681.49
Kospi up 0.3% to 2,075.76
German 10Y yield rose 0.8 bps to 0.244%
Euro down 0.05% to $1.1368
Italian 10Y yield rose 13.9 bps to 2.835%
Spanish 10Y yield unchanged at 1.46%
Brent futures up 0.2% to $60.16/bbl
Gold spot up 0.2% to $1,239.70
U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 96.88
Top Overnight News from Bloomberg
The arrest of Huawei Technologies Co. Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou in Canada over potential violations of American sanctions on Iran has triggered a debate in China over whether to carry on with trade talks with the U.S. or link the two issues and retaliate; Meng will have a bail hearing Friday to determine whether she is a flight risk and should remain in detention during proceedings on extradition to the U.S.
Oil extended losses near $51 a barrel after OPEC entered a second day of talks in an attempt to draw up a deal to cut output. Iran sees no possibility of agreeing to reduce its output, Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said Friday
Theresa May met with her top ministers in London on Thursday to discuss options of delaying the Dec. 11 Parliamentary vote on her Brexit deal to avoid a landslide defeat that would risk a major U.K. political crisis, according to a person familiar with the matter
EU leaders are poised to turn their next summit into a Brexit crisis meeting, but so far, it doesn’t look like they’re willing to offer her anything that could help to break the deadlock in the U.K. Parliament
Angela Merkel’s long exit from politics begins Friday when her party gathers in Hamburg to decide whether to appoint her chosen successor as its new leader or break with the legacy of her 13 years in charge of Germany
Italian Finance Minister Giovanni Tria has complained that he is the victim of one ambush after another as his future is called into question amid tensions with populist leaders over a spending spree to fund election policies, according to newspaper Il Giornale
Asian stocks saw cautious gains with the region getting an early tailwind after the sharp rebound on Wall St, where most majors inished lower albeit off worse levels as tech recovered and the DJIA clawed back nearly 700 points from intraday lows. ASX 200 (+0.4%) and Nikkei 225 (+0.8%) were both higher at the open but gradually pared some of the gains as the risk tone began to turn cautious heading into today’s key-risk NFP jobs data. Hang Seng (-0.3%) and Shanghai Comp (U/C) were indecisive amid further PBoC inaction in which it remained net neutral for a 5th consecutive week and with the upcoming Chinese trade data over the weekend adding to tentativeness, while pharmaceuticals were the worst hit due to concerns of price declines from the government’s centralized procurement program. Finally, 10yr JGBs were flat amid a similar picture in T-note futures and although early selling pressure was seen in Japanese bonds alongside the strong open in stocks, prices later recovered as the risk appetite somewhat dissipated. Top Asian News - China’s FX Reserves Rose Despite Intervention, Outflow Signs - Hong Kong May Slip Into Recession in 2019, Deutsche Bank Warns - SoftBank Seeks to Assuage Investors on Pre-IPO Mobile Outage - Southeast Asia Reserves Recover a Bit in November as Rout Eases European equities extended on gains from the cash open (Eurostoxx 50 +1.2%) following the cautious trade in the Asia-Pac session and the rebound seen on Wall St where the Dow clawed back nearly 700 points from intraday lows. European sectors are experiencing broad-based gains with marginal outperformance in the tech sector as IT names bounce back from yesterday’s Huawei-driven slump. Meanwhile, energy names are volatile (currently marginally underperforming) as the complex awaits further hints from the key OPEC+ meeting today. In terms of individual movers, Fresenius SE (-15.0%) fell to the foot of the Stoxx 600 after the company cut medium-term guidance, citing lower profit expectations at its clinics unit Helios and medical arm Fresenius Medical Care (-7.8%). On the flip side, Bpost (+7.5%) and Tesco (+4.8%) are hovering near the top of the pan-Europe index amid broker upgrades. Top European News
LandSec, Undeterred by Brexit, Makes New Bet on London Offices
Danske Says It’s Looking Into Selling Its Swedish Pension Assets
Chinese Group Agrees to Buy Amer Sports in $5.2 Billion Deal
Bad Air Warnings in London And Paris Peak With Fish And Chips
DXY- Typically rangebound trade in the run up to US labour data, and with markets also monitoring OPEC+ headlines as a decision on whether to cut output and if so by how much remains highly uncertain. The index is hovering just under the 97.000 handle within a 96.767-96.931 band, and well within nearest technical support and resistance levels at 96.300 and 97.311 respectively.
GBP- A marginal G10 underperformer as Cable retreats back below 1.2750 from just above 1.2800 at one stage, but this could be more flow-related rather than anything fundamental as EuGbp rallied towards 0.8930 peaks from just under the big figure into the Frankfurt fixing before drifting back again. However, Halifax house prices were much weaker than expected and latest Brexit news is hardly Sterling supportive given more speculation about delaying the meaningful vote to try and avoid a resounding rejection, even though the Government appears to be resolute and standing firm on December 11.
NZD/AUD- The Kiwi is at the opposite end of a relatively narrow Usd/Major spectrum, and like the Pound also impacted by indirect factors to a degree, if not in the main. Indeed, Nzd/Usd remains capped ahead of 0.6900, but Aud/Nzd is pivoting 1.0500 as the Aussie unit continues to feel the adverse effects of recent bearish impulses, namely softer than forecast Q3 GDP and a more dovish RBA via Debelle. Hence, Aud/Usd is softer between 0.7210-40 parameters and bound to be wary of huge option expiries from 0.7250-60 in 6.6 bn that form a formidable barrier ahead of circa 1.2 bn up at 0.7300.
EUJPY- In the pre-NFP ‘hiatus’ and awaiting anything further on the Italian budget front, option expiries may also exert directional impetus on EuUsd and Usd/Jpy, as the former faces 2+ bn at the 1.1400 strike and latter is flanked by 1+ bn at 112.50 and 113.00.
CAD- The Loonie has pared a bit more lost ground from recent lows, albeit partly due to a broad Usd retracement, eyeing OPEC and also Canada’s jobs report given latest BoC guidance indicating even greater data dependency. Usd/Cad currently just shy of the 1.3400 mark vs 1.3440+ at one stage yesterday.
In commodities, WTI (+0.2%) and Brent (+0.9%) are choppy in what was a volatile session thus far as comments from energy ministers emerged ahead of the key OPEC+ meeting, after yesterday’s OPEC talks ended with no deal for the first time in almost five years. Brent rose after source reports noted that Moscow are ready to cut output by 200k BPD (below OPEC’s desire of 250k-300k but above Russia’s prior “maximum” of 150k) if OPEC are willing to curb production by over 1mln BPD. Prices then fell to session lows following a less constructive tone from Saudi Energy Minister who reiterated that he is not confident there will be a deal today, which came after delegates noted that OPEC talks are focused on a combined OPEC+ cut of 1mln BPD (650k from OPEC and 350k from Non-OPEC). Markets are awaiting the start of the OPEC+ meeting after delegates stated that talks are at deadlocked as Iran appears to be the main sticking point to an OPEC deal, though sources emerged stating that Iran, Venezuela and Libya are set to get exemptions from cuts, adding that OPEC and Russia are looking for a symbolic production commitment from Iran as fears arise that Iran may not be able to follow-through on curb pledges due to US sanctions. In terms of metals, gold hovers around session highs and is set for the best week since August with the USD trading in a tight range ahead of the key US jobs data later today, while London copper rose over a percent is underpinned by the positive risk tone. US Event Calendar
8:30am: Change in Nonfarm Payrolls, est. 198,000, prior 250,000
Unemployment Rate, est. 3.7%, prior 3.7%; Underemployment Rate, prior 7.4%
Average Hourly Earnings MoM, est. 0.3%, prior 0.2%; YoY, est. 3.1%, prior 3.1%
8:30am: Average Weekly Hours All Employees, est. 34.5, prior 34.5
10am: U. of Mich. Sentiment, est. 97, prior 97.5; Current Conditions, prior 112.3; Expectations, prior 88.1
3pm: Consumer Credit, est. $15.0b, prior $10.9b
DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap The age of innocence has truly gone in financial markets after a turbulent 24 hours but one that saw a spectacular rally after Europe closed last night and one that has steadily carried on in Asia overnight (more on this below). Before we get to that I’m on an intense client marketing roadshow at the moment on the 2019 Credit outlook and there are a litany of worries out there from investors. Maybe I’m trying to be too cute here but I think the problems we’re seeing in credit at the moment are more of a “ghost of Xmas future” rather than a sign of an imminent disaster scenario. However my overall confidence that credit will blow up around the end of this cycle has only intensified in the last couple of weeks. Liquidity is awful in credit and it’s been a broken two way market for several years (probably as long as I’ve worked in it - 24 years). However this has got worse this cycle as the size of the market has grown rapidly but dealer balance sheets have reduced. As such you can buy massive size at new issue but your ability to sell in secondary is constrained to a small percentage of this. This didn’t matter much when inflows dominated - as they mostly did in this cycle pre-2018 - but in a year of outflows across the board the lack of a proper two way market is increasingly being felt. As discussed I don’t think this is the start of the crisis yet but be warned that when this economic cycle does roll over or even starts to operate at stall speed the credit market will be very messy and will influence other markets again. On the positive side and despite a very steep mid-session selloff, US markets ultimately closed well off the lows. The DOW, S&P 500 and NASDAQ finished -0.32%, -0.15% and +0.42% respectively, though they traded as low as -3.14%, -2.91%, and -2.43% respectively, around noon in New York. At its lows, the S&P 500 was on course for its worst two-session stretch since February, and before that you’d have to go back to August 2015 or 2011 to find the last episode with as steep a two-day drop. The DOW and S&P 500 dipped into negative territory for the year again, but clawed back and are now +0.92% and +0.84% YTD (+3.16% and +2.69% on a total return basis). The NASDAQ has clung to its outperformance, as it is now up +4.13% this year, or +5.20% on a total return basis, though of course the difference is narrower in the low-dividend paying, high-growth tech index. Unsurprisingly, the moves yesterday coincided with higher volatility with the VIX climbing as much as +5.2pts to 25.94 and pretty much back to the October highs, though it too rallied alongside the equity market to end close to flat at 21.15. Meanwhile, the price action was even uglier in Europe as the US lows were around the close. The STOXX 600 plunged -3.09% and is down -4.22% in two days – the most in two days since June 2016. Nowhere was safe. The DAX (-3.48%), CAC (-3.32%), FTSE MIB (-3.54%) and IBEX (-2.75%) all saw huge moves lower. The DAX has now joined the Italy’s FSTEMIB in bear market territory, as it is now -20.49% off its highs earlier this year. The FTSEMIB is down -24.04% from its highs. European Banks – which were already down nearly -27% YTD going into yesterday – tumbled -4.29% for the biggest daily fall since May and the third biggest since immediately after Brexit. The index is now at the lowest since October 2016 and within 17% of the June 2016 lows all of a sudden. US Banks fell -1.87%, though they had dipped -4.3% at their troughs to touch the lowest level since September 2017. As for credit, HY cash spreads in Europe and the US were +8.5bps and +14.8bps wider respectively. For context, US spreads are now at the widest since December 2016 and this is the best performing broad credit market over the last couple of years. In bond markets, 10y Treasuries rallied-2.4bps but was as much as 9bps lower intra-day. Thanks to an outperformance at the front end (two-year fell -3.7bps), the 2s10s curve actually ended a shade steeper at 13.0bps (+1.3bps on the day). However that move for the 10y now puts it at the lowest since September at 2.89%, and only +48.6bps above where we started the year. The spread on the Dec 19 to Dec 18 eurodollar contract – indicative for what is priced into Fed hikes for next year - is down to just 16bps. It was at 60bps in October. This certainly appears to be too low, though a Wall Street Journal article yesterday seemed to signal a willingness by the Fed to moderate its pace of rate hikes. Finally, in Europe, Bunds closed -4.1bps lower at 0.236%. Quite amazing moves with Bunds continuing to defy all fundamental logic and trading instead as a risk-off lightning rod. There was some talk that the sharp moves lower at the open yesterday were exaggerated by the unexpected midweek close for markets in the US which resulted in futures systems failing to be programmed to adjust and orders backing up. However the combination of a -2.25% drop for WTI (-5.2% at the lows) post the OPEC meeting (more below) and the Huawei story that we mentioned yesterday certainly aided to the initial malaise. There was some talk that both the Chinese and US authorities would have been aware of the arrest before last weekend’s talks and as such this story shouldn’t be necessarily a threat to the truce, though Reuters reported last night that President Trump did not know about the planned arrest. The implications of this are unclear, since it could mean that Trump has less direct control over the arresting agency, but it could also indicate that the move is not part of trade policy. Either way, how this development will be key for the market moving forward, especially any response from Chinese officials. This morning in Asia markets are largely trading higher with the Nikkei (+0.60%), Hang Seng (+0.21%), Shanghai Comp (+0.08%) and Kospi (+0.51%) all up. Elsewhere, futures on the S&P 500 (-0.11%) are pointing towards a flattish start. Meantime crude oil (WTI -0.39% and Brent -0.60%) prices are continuing to trade lower this morning. It wouldn’t be an EMR worth it’s place in the daily schedule without an Italy and Brexit update. As we go to print Italian daily La Stampa has reported that the Italian Premier Conte and Deputy Premier Di Maio are in favour of the resignation of Finance Minister Tria while Deputy Premier Salvini is against his resignation. So signs of tension. In the U.K. a few press articles (like Bloomberg) are suggesting that PM May is considering postponing Tuesday’s big vote. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of substance to the story at the moment but it mentions going back to the EU for concessions on the Irish backstop as one possibility. How the EU will feel would be the obvious question. As mentioned earlier, oil had a difficult session yesterday, falling back to its recent lows with WTI touching a $50 handle and Brent trading back below $60 per barrel. The first day of the OPEC summit did not appear promising for the odds of a new production deal, as the ministers apparently discussed a 1 million barrel per day cut, below the 1.5 million needed to balance the market.The Libyan oil minister abruptly left before the day’s meetings concluded, and the organization canceled their scheduled press conference. The Russian delegation will join the OPEC contingent today in an effort to finalize a deal, but Saudi Energy Minister al-Falih said that “Russia is not ready for a substantial cut.” Watch this space today. Overnight, the Fed Chair Powell delivered an upbeat message on the US economy and the Job market ahead of today’s payrolls release. He said, “our economy is currently performing very well overall, with strong job creation and gradually rising wages,’’ while adding, “in fact, by many national-level measures, our labour market is very strong.’’ Elsewhere, the Fed’s John Williams said yesterday that the biggest challenge which the policy makers are facing is achieving a soft landing. He said, “we have a pretty strong economy -- unemployment pretty low, inflation near our goal -- it’s just managing a soft landing, keeping this expansion going for the next few years.” So will the last employment report released this year (the December report comes out in early January) help markets to continue to form a base? The consensus for nonfarm payrolls today is for a 198k print, following the stronger-thanexpected 250k reading last month. Average hourly earnings are expected to rise +0.3% mom which should be enough to keep the annual reading at +3.1% yoy while the unemployment rate is expected to hold steady at 3.7%. Our US economists are more or less in line with the consensus with a 200k forecast and also expect earnings to climb +0.3% mom, however that would be consistent with a small tick up in the annual rate to +3.17% and the fastest pace since April 2009. They also expect the current pace of job growth to push the unemployment rate down to 3.6% which would be the lowest since December 1969. Going into that, yesterday’s ADP employment change report for November was a tad disappointing at 179k (vs. 195k expected) while more interestingly the recent tick up in initial jobless claims held with the print coming in at 231k. The four-week moving average is now 228k and the highest since April having gotten as low as 206k in September. So the climb, while not yet at concerning levels, is certainly notable and worth watching now on a week to week basis. As for the other interesting data points yesterday, the October trade deficit was confirmed as reaching a new cyclical wide. The ISM non-manufacturing print for November was a relative positive after coming in at 60.7, up 0.4pts from October and ahead of expectations for a decline to 59.0. Worth noting is that the three-month moving average of non-manufacturing ISM is now the highest on record which is a fairly reliable lead indicator for private nonfarm payrolls. US durable goods orders for October were revised slightly higher to -4.3% mom from -4.4%, though the core measures stayed at 0.0% mom. Factory orders declined -2.1% mom, though both were nevertheless higher year-on-year. As for the day ahead, the aforementioned November employment in the US will no doubt be front and centre, however, prior to that, we’ve October industrial production prints in Germany and France, along with Q3 labour costs in the former, and the final Q3 GDP revisions for the Euro Area (no change from +0.2% qoq second reading expected). We’ll also get the monthly inflation reporting for November in the UK. Also due out in the US is October wholesale inventories and trade sales, the preliminary December University of Michigan survey and October consumer credit. November foreign reserves data in China is also expected out at some point. Away from that the OPEC/OPEC+ meeting moves into the final day while the ECB’s Coeure and Fed’s Brainard are scheduled to speak. Today is also the day that Germany’s ruling CDU party elects a new chair to succeed Merkel. Our FX strategists noted yesterday that according to polls, the result should be a close call between general secretary Annegret Kramp-Karranbauer (AKK) and Friedrich Merz. Broadly speaking, AKK stands for a continuation of the Merkel-era strategy of positioning the CDU at the centre of the political spectrum, whereas Merz stands for a sharpening of the party's traditional profile as a centre-right party. Last night our German economics team put out a piece explaining the event and suggesting that Merz would be good for the DAX and AKK good for the Euro.
So many thoughts come, in my hunger to record the shape of that which ails me. Memories, imprinted like typewriter keys on the wet, spongy mass of the brain, feel transient, like ancient scrolls or commandments inscribed on crumbling slate, eroded by desert winds in unfathomably ancient ages. The memories of a man, fragmented in time - wet with horror and delusion. For some reason, softer memories of childhood rise to the surface sometimes, like leaves in a dirty backyard pool, only to become too raw and shamefully unclothed when exposed to the sunlight of a middle aged man’s temperament. I remember games of Checkers with my great Grandfather, Ildor Hearst, who appears in my mind’s eye as a-kind-of Russian Santa Claus, wirey beard and carven forehead. He was a stern man, and would always be ranting his archaic religious views. Prostheletising the fall of modern Babylon and the age of the Nihilist. He would play Checkers with me, sharp movements, wooden circles slammed down with impunity. He never let me win. Saw his dominance as a matter of instruction and learning. As I look back nostalgically, sometimes, I yearn for Great Grandfather Ildor’s black and white mentality of good and evil, lightness and darkness... and an over arching confidence in the eventual triumph of mankind. Rather than the bleak reality of the post modernist distopia in which I live. I recall vividly, after those intense games, once Ildor had imparted his thorny wisdom, I would be granted relaxation and be free to play with my own toys, scattered around my grandparents wooden floor boards; Mutant Ninja Turtles and Transformers, Wonder Woman, Spider Man and He-Man. Mine was always a multicoloured world of complex morality and democratic voices ... all of which ran into muddy paradigms that seemed totally outside the circle of Great Grandad’s moral compass. These days, as a real estate Agent, I am occasionally gifted limited insights into a checkerboard like world of manipulation and sinister intentions, but mine is to perceive the evil of global finance, and the general unfairness of land ownership and rabid, unchecked capitalism...but with no delusion of an interventionalist God to pull us out of the hole we humans have dug for ourselves. My name is Vilson Hearst, and I am a Real Estate Agent for Steel City Real Estate in Hexton, Australia. Perhaps you think yourself free from the real estate game. Perhaps, you are a fool. Perhaps you are satisfied with your lot in life, making a simple way for yourself, with a mortgage and a family, (if you should be so lucky to afford to get into the housing market at all that is). Then, could be that you are living a student lifestyle, paying rent, constantly paying off another cunning man’s mortgage, or worse still, perhaps you have abandoned the fight, to cower in your parents basement, with the real world slowly closing in on you, as you desperately try to escape into a world of Hollywood movies, video games or creepy pasta. You are all in the real estate game, wether you like it or not. There is a broader game of capital and estate, which is increasingly complex, and even those like myself who’s job it is to ‘follow the money’ sometimes are completely lost at sea in the Darwinian struggle of the global free market. Studying finance at Bourkeley University,.. I did my PHD thesis about money and the aquisition of power. I spent a solid year, studying the major players in global banking, watched the Chinese ICBC rise to become the wealthiest banking institution in the world. I tracked the strange and secretive trails of the richest investors, after the terrorist attacks on September 11, watching money transfer around the globe in secret trust funds, private meetings of powerful elites in Shanghai—as the Chinese World Trade Centre “Tower Three” was built, in the image of the destroyed Twin Towers of New York, (which is no coincidence, given it was constructed by the same architecture group; Skidmore Owings and Merril, (who also constructed the replacement One World Trade Centre.)) I studied Wikileaks and other whistleblower organisations. Gained secret documents, and learned of meetings between wealthy individuals; John Fallon, the chief executive of Pearson Education, the company which controls half the worlds schooling institutions— made a private deal in 2015 with Indra Nooyi and Paul Bulcke, Chairman and CEO of Nestle and PepsiCo, the owners of the majority of global food and confectionary. You wonder why our children are so desperately obese. I was constantly surprised by the familiarity of these billionaires with one another. For instance, you might not know, that Hugh Grant, the CEO of Monsanto, the sinister company who has come to dominate a stronghold on global agriculture, (and who, among more nefarious acts, was responsible for manufacturing the deadly ‘Agent Orange’ poison in Vietnam and causing countless generational mutations).. just happens to be close friends with the CEO of Lockheed Martin, the dominant power in weapons manufacturing and ultimately what people mean when they talk about the ‘military industrial complex’. Guns don’t kill people. Corporations do. But you knew that already. Other minutes from meetings by the powerful, would have many questioning what the leaders of certain organisations could possibly have to discuss with each other,... such is the nature of the unheard of D40 meeting in a chateau in Shandong Province; where Barry Lam, chairman and founder of Quanta computers, the name behind the majority of computing technology, was recently in discussion with Carlos Brito, the CEO of InBev; the name behind all the major alcohol players—Ian Read, the CEO of Pfizer, who basically controls the entire legal drug market, Mark Zuckerberg and the CEO Of Alphabet Inc— who own Google and most of the rest of the internet. Now these meetings bare direct relationships with the stock trading happening in the World Trade Centre Tower Three in China. The minutes from these meetings contained discussion both controversial and amazingly nuanced, and the complexity of the global solutions some of these key players in the tech revolution were coming up with would’ve gone over the heads of even the top IQ holders from 98 percent of high schools in the world. Nonetheless, some of the darker plans by these shady monopolies would terrify you, more than you could possibly know. To understand Australian land ownership, the problem becomes more of a global puzzle. The figures who own the most land globally, are, the King of Saudi Arabia, The Pope and the Catholic Church, Hugh Grosvenor, Duke of Westminster certainly has a cut, and of course, the Queen of Britain herself, Elizabeth ...(who currently owns about a sixth of the worlds land, some 6.6 Billion Acres, more commonly known as the Commonwealth Realm, (which includes two thirds of Antarctica, Time Square in New York, Canada, New Zealand and of course ... Australia.) These people, i’ve learned, are not particularly interested in the debate around land ownership coming to the forefront of the global conversation, and billionaire media moguls like Rupert Murdoch and Andrew Packer have filled their bank accounts, making it their mission to keep just such subjects off the family dinner table, with distractions like ‘My Kitchen Rules’ and ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’ filling Australian television channels. The question of wether anyone owns land in Australia, or if it is in fact all owned by the Queen of England, is a contentious one, particularly when you factor in the confounding elements such as the status of Norfolk Island, which at one time was, on a technicality, not owned by anyone except for the fictitious body ‘The Crown’ (until being taken over by the Australian Capital Territory, in 2015). Then when you consider the original claim of the British that the Australian nation was unoccupied or ‘Terra Nullius’ when Europeans arrived, a truth widely held as fact until the precedent of the Mabo Decision in the Torres Straight islands in 1992. This decision returned some land ownership rights back to certain aristocratic lineages of the native people. However, the paradox leaves a complex and enduring problem for the future of land ownership in Australia and what that exactly entails. In Hexton, the most rapidly developing city in Australia, corporate billionaires have their stakes in national land ownership, yet meanwhile... National Parks, Botanical Gardens and other public spaces are unapologetically ‘Crown lands’, a fact which is still testified by the names of the spaces; Kings Domain, Queen’s Square, and other titles which clearly and proudly display the heritage of monarchic ownership deeply entrenched within the Australian property market. Of course, even within the field of Australian National Real Estate, the individual estate agent becomes bogged down even further in matters of local estates, so that these important issues take second stake to the sales and acquisitions of the day. Steel City Real Estate, the company I work for, is a nation wide brand, but our particular office in Albert Park consists of about nine agents. I spend most of my time competing with the golden boy of Steel City, Greg Leisdadt. Greg has consistently won the monthly sales targets in our office for over a year. His desk is covered in trophies, awards, and framed certificates adorn the walls behind him. I’m not sure what words could aptly describe Leisdadt; his wolf-like eyes, both evil and mesmerising. A cannibal grin consisting of Colgate super white teeth, and those gelled locks of amber hair which hang impossibly, like an arch villain over his forehead. Greg oozes saleable confidence which grates my own nervous disposition sufficiently towards constant despair. The only force which makes the constantly eclipsing day to day victories of Leisdadt bearable to me is Natasha Valuvjdavo. She is the agent who sits on the adjacent table to me in the office. I confess, for some time, I was profoundly attracted to Natasha, and had to stop myself from gushing and fawning over her. She is a demure, and assertive brunette, her crimson lips could kill a boat full of sailors. Unfortunately, she is engaged to a man named Fred, who is something of a wet blanket, yet I must discard my jealousy and confess that for whatever reason, Natasha seems happy in her domestic life. My only solace in this, being that Greg Leisdadt, the man who has everything, although persistently flirtatious, has never made a dent in Natasha’s self security. She is thankfully not attracted to him. But now I should refrain from being sidetracked and talk about the subjects which, you, the reader, more likely desire to hear of. For my tale is no idle blathering of romantic ennui, or global conspiracy—but rather the trauma of my profession, does persist— in both being exposed to the ruthless game of money/power, but moreover being haunted by knowledges both gothic and Victorian. For there is no other game in town, where one is more exposed to unwanted or haunted real estate; the devil hounded, and the wished forgotten. There are the houses that are impossible to sell, because of brutal or public bloody murders that have occurred to the prior occupants. Wether psychological or other, the frequency of those who purchase such forbidden and damned abodes —then in no matter of time, flee and sell at carelessly lower settlement costs, with tales of unhallowed things returned to life, or clanking noises in the basement...why... this simple fact of the real estate market is as common as there is. A story as old as time. Now perhaps I could spend months repeating the folk lore surrounding that dilapidated and spiritually unsaveable address; that run down, trash infested garden, and collapsing terrace roof of no 13 MacArthur Street. But this could take a conceivably longer time period, and I shall reserve my energy for the most disturbing and horrific of these preternatural experiences. Though I should briefly mention Vernon tower, for though this wasn’t the property which near drove me to insanity, it factors too far into the disturbing tapestry of the veiled or hidden real estate scene. Now, Vernon tower, is an enormous building in South Hexton. Our agency deals more with rentals than with sales of the apartments in that old, and curious piece of architecture. Built as early as 1866, there has always been something profoundly wrong with Vernon towers. Of course, it is me who has to deal with most of the tennants of that foreboding block, for it is the Hearst legacy to be fated just such dull luck. Thus it is always, I, who takes the phone calls from disgruntled students and drug addicts; Vernon Tower is unprecedentedly cheap, due to its history. Yet the impoverished clientele still have no issue burning my ear off; to complain of strange mechanic noises, or those bizarre phosphorescent green lights. Then there was the girl who tried to sue us, after her seizure from what she claimed to see inside the laundry room. That manner of description I can scarce repeat for its absurdness and high strangeness. But let me get to the more dreadful incident which frightens me even to recall. Indeed, it had all begun with that infernal property in Elwood, which I was in terse competition to sell... pitted unwittingly against the undefeated Super-Agent, Greg Leisdadt. The spectacularly immense mansion on Ormond Road, was once occupied by billionaire Serbian entrapaneur Dimitrije Stojanovic, who I’m told partially drafted the architectural plans for the immense mansion himself, before he had it constructed on the corner of Ormond and Radkin Streets. The nature of the oddities surrounding that place however, extend not from the architectural style of the lot itself, (mind you those odd modernist geometric pylons, stepped piers and sail-like rooves do lend a kind of funereal gothicness to the address.) However, it was the murder of Stojanovic which caused true fluctuations of interest in the property. Given the public knowledge of the horrendous murder, the property value was incalculably lower than its market worth. It seemed the image of the alleged burglar breaking into Stojanovic’s window, and bludgeoning him to death in the lounge room with a heavy trophy or statue of some kind— somehow grinding his skin off as with multiple teeth, or a spiked club—stayed in the public mind, thanks to Channel 9’s ‘A Current Affair’ and their sensational program about the incident. For interest in the property remained uncharacteristically low. Perhaps the fact that the murderer has yet to be identified or captured by police, nor the murder weapon found, hasn’t helped the matter. Now, as I have mentioned this was not the first time our staff had dressed up a ‘murder property’. But the truly disturbing elements began to happen during the time the property came under my tenure. Now, I should proclaim sincerely that I am by no means a superstitious man, I admonish my readers to believe that I was just as skeptical about the soon to be foretold events as you, had I not experienced them myself, I should fiercely doubt my own sanity. I should also divulge a little more information about Dimitrije Stojanovic himself, (the owner of the grand mansion) as the web of intrigue very much seems to hinge on his professional history. Stojanovic made his billions in Silicon Valley, working in many aspects of the tech industry, investing timely in companies like Facebook and crypto currencies like Bitcoin, when the time was right. in the move to Australia it seems that his ambition was to try out his own company idea in the developing market of Hexton, where the game was not already dominated and over exposed. With this intent he came out, built his immense mansion in Elwood, Moonsmoth, and immediately started channeling his money into the development of something called .....‘DigiTown’. Now being neither a tech expert myself, nor expecting such of my audience, I will explain the fundamentals of the ‘DigiTown’ concept in the same manner it was explained to me by Neil Druton, a four eyed nerd with an immense forehead who was one of the developers working for Dimitrije Stojanovic, before he died. I had decided to interview Druton, to get the background on the Stojanovic case to find a more positive angle for investors. I figured if I could distract the buyer from the details of the murder, and big talk the profile of Stojanovic himself, “the prolific entrapaneur”, this might flatter the egos of other wealthy entrapaneurs to buy it out. Druton told me he had been working for Stojanovic for about six months, mostly at the office Space Dimitrije was renting in Southbank. He described Stojanovic as ruthless, and borderline insane, but nonetheless he spoke of ‘DigiTown’ with respect, a ‘unique’ and ‘brilliant’ project, which would have been at the forefront of the tech industry, if it had ever been finished. Put in layman’s terms, Druton explained that the project had a great deal in common with Bill Gates plans for a ‘smart city’ but on a more achievable scale. I could tell Druton was oversimplifying the description for my sake, no doubt parroting Dimitrije’s marketing pitches for investors. But he described it like this; ‘Imagine a kind of augmented portal, with a built infrastructure and virtual architecture planned by white collar professionals, a crypto currency run communal space, overlayed over a modern city space, where your own request portal is linked to different reference cubes; Town Square, Library Cube, Media Station, Entertainment Centre, Eateries, telematics and roads authority, and these all function via the same channels as an actual city.’ ‘So you mean, instead of one social media interface trying to network everything, the actual infrastructure of a city is built out within the media itself?’ I asked. ‘Yeah pretty much’ Druton replied, seeing I had sensed the practical nature, adaptability, and profitability of the software, all over the world. ‘ATMs, shops, business, smart cars and machinery— all worked into the same dual augmented system. Superimposed as a direct collorary.’ It got me thinking paranoid, and I asked Druton earnestly; ‘Do you think if another rogue in the tech industry knew about Stojanovic’s idea, it would have been a groundbreaking idea enough to have killed him over?’ Druton went silent, and sweated a little from his pimpled forehead. I didn’t need to hear him answer the question, it was written all over his shrivelled face. I spent a good couple of months doing my research on Dimitrije’s mansion. (I would’ve loved to cover up the existence of the current owner of the mansion). Rich heiress Stacey White bought the house, and lived in it for a month before she got spooked— and decided to resell it. I made sure to get the story straight, offering Stacey a hot cup of Bush tea, and asking her precisely what she saw. Here’s what she told me; ‘I was alone, in that creepy mansion, at night,... and I got a weird feeling. There was a strong wind, and it was dark. The gum tree in the front yard bends a lot in the wind, and sometimes the branches whip against the side of the house. I was just getting used to that noise, but this time it was something different, almost lost in the whistling wind. It was a lower kind of ...moaning. A deep, pained groan. I got up to check I hadn’t left something on in the kitchen. I went to turn on the light switch but the globe burnt out. That’s when it happened. Almost like a mini-earthquake, but there was this strange energy. Then the gas stove just lit up, a green flame. It wasn’t on, but the kitchen was illuminated in a kind of underwater hue. Then—-(Stacey began to gasp and sob)—-then... in the darkness — I saw it!! A green head! Half a Human head, but mangled, half the skull bashed in, shimmering like I was looking through glass. It spoke to me ....in a voice that made the room cold. Just—-(she broke down into tears, suppressing a scream). H—his lips... cold, green lips. Steam coming from his mouth. He said — he said—- ‘Beware the Wagluh’. As this point she became incommunicable. I felt an increasing sickness in the ensuing weeks, the cause was unknown, but chiefly matched my mental state. It must’ve been around this time when I first saw the strange rune which had been spray painted on the abandoned building in Elwood. I was doing my rounds, why I should’ve noticed the strange glyph remains beyond my understanding, yet there it was. A curious, green shape, interrupted by a stark arrow and a kind-of ladder shape above it. I was becoming increasingly stressed and agitated by the competitive sale of Dimitrije’s mansion. My manager Herron Del Ray had been hounding me to make a sale, it had been months since I had successfully got a down payment from a client. Del Ray had threatened redundancy in no uncertain terms, and the stress was beginning to erode my total mental well being. In conversations with my beautiful colleague Natasha around this time, I found her to be kind, but not particularly helpful. Her advice was that if I was going to beat Leisdadt, I would have to compete with him at his own game. She told me on one particular occasion I should just lie to clients about the gruesome murder in the house, or omit it from the description altogether. This was both against my moral compass, and senseless, for the case was so popular, I felt sure that any potential investor would know of it, to omit it would only anger them. That same day I got a call from a potential buyer named Greame De Montague. Leisdadt watched me like a hawk as I took the call, giving me a cunning look. The stare flustered my nerves, but choking through the phone I agreed for an inspection with De Montague. He would be the fifth buyer I had spoken to, all four previous investors had abandoned their inquiries when learning more about the murder, or after having seen the contract of sale. I calmed myself the day of the appointment by speaking soft mantras to myself under my breath. I knew I had to push this client to a final purchase, and my job security depended on it. Greg Leisdadt was leaning against the bronze statue of a Cheetah in our office as I was leaving, mocking me with the words ‘Good luck, Vilson old boy.’ It was a cold autumn day, and brown leaves blew around the streets in gusts of curdled wind. I had arranged to meet Mr De Montague on Beach Avenue, so that we might walk down to Ormond Street and view the mansion. As an eerie coincidence the corner we agreed to meet was precisely at the point that odd rune was sprayed on the abandoned building in Elwood. Greame De Montague was standing on the corner as I arrived in my light grey sedan. He was standing in front of the odd rune, as though the symbol itself had somehow marked his presence in an unexplainable yet mystical time stamp. I couldn’t see his car parked anywhere. He was wearing a very curious oufit, particularly for Australia, although the weather was reasonably cool that autumn day. He wore a kind of black velvet robe, cut in the shape ...not unlike an Orthodox Jew’s regalia. It tarried at the bottom into a sort of deep purple cape. On his head he wore a buckled Capotain, and in his hand, a decorated staff. I wondered if his clothing indicated the excesses of vanity of the social media age, or if he was perhaps a foreign prince of some kind. I stepped out of the car, and approached De Montague with my hand extended. I could see now he had a strange face, with slanted owl-like eyebrows, and a fluffy round beard that gave him an almost koala-bear-shaped head. Mr De Montague raised his hand and met my embrace, shaking my hand with a firm clasp. ‘It’s lovely to meet you Greame. I have a feeling you are going to love this property.’ ‘Please. Call me Lord De Montague.’ The stern man insisted, ‘I descend from Carpathian royalty, the son of a Duke.’ ‘Very well M’lord.’ I replied, my tone accidentally tinged with irony, ‘Have you come ...very far today?’ I asked trying to distract from my faux pas with a bluff of small talk. I couldn’t help staring at the strange Necklace around De Montague’s neck. It seemed to be made of solid gold, and was comprised of a chain of large charms, each coin depicting deities from Ancient Asian and Mesopotamian religions. I began walking, unsure what to say but deciding to lead De Montague down towards Ormond Street. There was a terrifying stillness on the street that day. The sun dried grass seemed frozen in time, and the grey sky moaned geriatrically, with the energy of a tired giant trying to fend off the vast abyss of Space. I noticed that De Montague was not moving, but had instead stopped firmly in his tracks. His face gave off a distinct lack of pathos. ‘Mr Hearst.’ Lord De Montague’s grainy voice echoed; ‘This is the wrong way.’ I turned and looked back at him confused, but De Montague quickly supplanted my curiosity ‘We should walk down Vautier Street. It comes out closer to the property on Ormond.’ By my own calculations, the distance was exactly the same, but as I was in a desperate state of flattery, I decided to humour the strange, old man, though I now questioned wether my client might be an eccentric madman, who merely thought he was born of Royalty, in his delusions. Nonetheless, I followed De Montague and we wandered down the leafy, terraced streets. ‘Tell me something Mr Hearst’ De Montague began to speculate; ‘Have you ever heard the expression ‘Old Money’?’ I looked at him trying to gage his meaning; ‘Yes, of course.’ I replied. ‘The man who owned this mansion’, De Montague continued in a practiced refrain; ‘It is my understanding he was one of the new breed. Wouldn’t you say? Those who make their fortunes on the gamble— or the changing technologies of the world, but haven’t yet come to fully comprehend the system as it works. As it has always worked.’ ‘I’m afraid I haven’t come to fully appreciate your meaning.’ I replied with honest perplexion. ‘My ancestors were very interested in Asian spirituality’ De Montague continued in a seemingly distracted soliloquy, ‘The De Montagues have migrated for some time you see. Sharing something in common with the Romani people of Europe. I have had ancestors who have lived, over the centuries, in Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea and the Phillipines. Do you know what is the one thing these vastly different cultures all have in common?’ ‘I do not’ I confessed. ‘Reverence for ones ancestors, and respect for ones elders, and an overwhelming policy of acceptance towards the natural systems that have always existed.’ ‘That’s very interesting’ I replied, gawking about anxiously and wondering where the conversation was leading. ‘I have only more recently come to adapt the principles of the Japanese Shinto religion into my philosophy Mr Hearst. However I think we could all take a page out of that discipline, and it’s superior attitude towards the unknown. You know, in some sense the Shinto practitioners had an almost scientific approach to their spirituality. Certainly, like with the Eastern superstitions, the Shinto perceived a longing towards extra sensory insights into a hidden or secret world supposed to lie beneath the surface of our material life. However, we can say that the Shinto practitioners never got into the awkward and complex dogma of hierarchical worship. Rather, they merely approached each of their animistic inhabitations of spirit that they encountered with the proper fear and respect that one should properly apply to creatures or Gods we fail to yet understand.’ ‘It’s an interesting religion.’ I said, still utterly confused as to what the eccentric prince was attempting to convey. ‘I see you’ve mistaken my warning.’ De Montage continued in a more stern and serious tone, as we passed rows of trimmed hedges and decorative fences. ‘It is right to fear that which we don’t understand Master Hearst. We ought to treat our material supervisors with more respect. Now, I confess, it has never been the object of my ancestors to worship the unseen. Only a fool wishes to make a slave of themselves to a devil they don’t know. But respect, awe, fear, that is different. That is the core of wisdom. Now.... I confess to you... My own aristocratic ancestors, have had more of a vested interest in acquiring artefacts and precious minerals that can absorb such unknown energies. To tap into the mechanisms of nature and the outer spheres of unseen chemistry, that is where one can find the tools to bring about the acquisition of power!’ I began to become totally speechless, realising now, that I was in the presence of a lunatic. We were still about five minutes from the Serbian’s property, and De Montague now began to rave in such a strange and sinister manner, that he appeared some demented imp, his lecture was so insane. ‘So it was for the ones who claimed the future. Those beings with silken robes of silver, who sought the forbidden wisdom from beyond the abysses of Space and time. They are like the watcher, and we are but the conduits to their ancient digital powers. Yet if you could perceive the outlines of the Shapeshifter, who is the lost among us all, and he who brings the bitterness from the original tragedy. Then, perhaps you could understand what the Hindu’s really worship, in the form of their metamorphosising God of many evolutionary attributes.’ Mr De Montague suddenly stopped, slamming the steel cap of his staff upon the cracked concrete, and turned to me; ‘Mr Hearst, this is my warning for you! You cannot outwit the darker destinies of the force that itself conjures black holes. Have due reverence for the unseen beast which lurks beneath, and threatens your soul with eternal mutilation. Stand down from that property, and abandon your research into the disappearance of that accursed Serbian. I send this warning as a friend, and wether or not you take it up, I tell you that your colleague Greg will still make the sale, whichever path you choose.’ De Montague suddenly scowled like a rabid dog, grabbing my hand and thrusting the handle of his cane upon my palm. ‘Cursed child— I have the power of the Chiromancer, and that which is engraved upon your line of fate, makes it clear. But there is still time to evade the mark of this warning.’ Suddenly, I shrieked, for my palm began stinging with pain, and I realised that the silver etched handle of the staff was unfathomable degrees hot. I pulled my hand away before the impression became irreversible; ‘Ouch, you burnt my hand!’ I cried. De Montague then seemed satisfied that his message had been delivered. He immediately hoisted back his staff, then let out a sound almost like a wolf’s growl. Then he seemed to perform a magicians trick of some form. For he cast the staff down at my feet, but as it fell there, a glimmer of light played a trick on me. I stepped back in fear, for that which lay across my feet, was no longer that of carven wood, but a coiled brown snake, who raised itself and hissed through fangs, and quivering forked tongue. I turned and dashed out of the snakes attack perimeter. I gazed down at my stinging palm, to see with terror and trepidation that the burn mark in my hand imprinted from the image on the cane— it was the same strange glyph that was painted on the house. Panting and sweating, tripping over my clumsy feet, as I rotated again to survey the scene, I saw now with incredulity the brown snake remained upon the pavement, but De Montague himself was long gone. The hoax plagued me for hours afterward, I had been pranked it seemed, by some rich and bored eccentric trickster, who never intended to view the property at all. Or he was an escaped lunatic from Bourkeley Asylum perhaps. As I was already in the area, after a sufficient down time, when my heartbeat had reduced and my manic paranoia dissipated —I resolved to continue to Ormond Street anyway. When I got to the property my fading anger was rebuked, for I saw two cars parked outside the late Serbian’s mansion. ‘Leisdadt’ I cursed. As I walked up the modern staircase, I saw a cheerful looking man m, wearing a scarf, leaving, who Greg had obviously just shown around the property. He seemed fearfully optimistic about the place, and I continued cursing under my breath until I reached the hallway where Greg was standing, smugly, with a clipboard. He seemed even more satisfied when I came to the door; ‘You better watch out for that one’ Greg said in a tone that sent me into a rage; ‘He seems very keen. What happened to your 4’oclock?’ ‘Someone pulled a prank on me’ I cursed. I began to wonder if Greg had organised the incident with the charlatan somehow. Leisdadt tried hard to refrain from breaking out into a grin, ‘That’s a shame. Your luck has to come up one day Hearst.’ Leisdadt chuckled, but then seemed to remember something— ‘I thought you signed off on the clearance papers anyway Hearst.’ He said, ‘After Stacey White complained about the dead guy’s stuff still laying around, I thought you had the house completely emptied.’ ‘What of it?’ I asked. Greg leaned over to the ornately decorated mantle piece, pulling open the dresser drawer below the mirror and revealing a stack of haphazard papers and letters. ‘Can you take care of these?’ He insisted coldly, ‘I’ve got a last minute potential sale of that impossible property, 13 MacArthur Street. Can you believe my luck? We haven’t had a buyer for that place in years.’ I scowled into my neck as Leisdadt left via the rear entrance of the mansion. Grumbling and moving towards the papers, I cursed myself for so easily being persuaded to do what Greg could’ve done himself. I mumbled, calling myself a sucker under my breath as I leafed through the papers. Then, I turned over something which captured my interest. It was a sleek black diary, and as I turned the pages I came to realise that it had evidently belonged to Dimitrije. I flicked through the musty pages, seeing that the entries of the private journal dated up until the Serbian’s disappearance. I began to read with fascination and morose intrigue; Here is the transcript of the more interesting parts of Dimitrije's diary: http://textuploader.com/dh4w4 Dimitrije Stojanovic died on the 13th of October, 2016. The strange diary had a terrible effect on me. I became deeply paranoid that I was wedged within a catastrophic and deep conspiracy. Though I couldn’t fully understand the map laid out by the corners of my discoveries, there was enough of a pattern that I knew there was some terrible logic beneath it all. I found the references to Vernon Towers and the architect ‘Von Marrickville’ extremely intriguing and began to further my own research on the property which was already familiar to me. I had always known that Vernon Towers was an old heritage building. But I had never researched the buildings actual construction. So it was, that I found out more about the strange creator, borrowing a book about the eccentric architect Veda Von Marrickville from Hexton library. The book was fascinating. Von Marrickville, it turned out was a fairly prolific architect of the day, who was commissioned to build a series of buildings around Hexton city. Of particular interest to me, where the four or five buildings Von Marrickville built in a kind of arc around Port Phillip Bay, pointing towards Valsbury docks. Von Marrickville was a Dutch native who came out to Australia in 1834, one of the key buildings on the Port Phillip Bay side of Hexton was Vernon Towers, which I read to my astonishment was funded by a wealthy nobleman named Aaron De Montague. I couldn’t find out much about the De Montague family or their history in Australia, but I was beginning to think it must have been the same family as the De Montague whom I had met. Von Marrickville describe Vernon Towers as an ‘occult conduit’ and layered it with engraved symbology. He suffered a tragic fate, and wound up raving as an inmate in Bourkeley Asylum. Since reading the diary, I have begun to experience strange anomaly. I visited Vernon towers myself, looking for a particular architectural feature. To my surprise and terror I saw one of the green glyphs mentioned by Dimitrije. I tried to track down De Montage, however have not seen him since that odd encounter. Searching for families of that name, the only people I could come across in Hexton was a family living in Brunswick. When I went to visit I found them to be a strange family of Indonesians who incidentally suffered from an unusual diverse range of diseases. The youngest daughter suffered autism, whilst her brother was an extreme Down syndrome case, and the mother herself had mental health issues. I concluded that these De Montagues probably bore no relation to the man I had met, if indeed he hadn’t lied about his name. Then there was the day I found that bizarre egg. It was about the size of a milk carton, all speckled and grey, but it was broken in half, as though it had hatched. Yet I was positive no animal could have produced the egg, and could only assume that it was a student art project or installation of some kind. In any case, it seemed unrelated to the other strange occurrences. I feel as though my sanity has completely abandoned me, torn more and more towards the point of collapse. Leisdadt has sold the Serbian’s property, and I haven’t been to work for a week, for fear of the consequences with my boss. But worse, I’ve started to smell a.... to sense something. Something that I recognise from Dimitrije’s descriptions in his diary. How is it possible to sense the form of something that you have never seen. To know it sometime. To dream of a shrieking thing that soars through a red sky. That mosquito like head. Immense lizard like body, bone and ribs, like a sharks egg. Black leather wings. There was a brown parcel that arrived in the mail. The statue inside matches the description given by Dimitrije. It’s so hideously disfigured. Does it represent the swimming demon in my dreams? I examined the edges closely, and the inscription which seems to be flecked with blood. Could it be the murder weapon they used to bludgeon the Serbian? What of his shredded corpse, what tore his body apart? As I sit, hailed up in my lounge room trying to distract my mind with escapist television, and recording this journal on my IPad. I fear something unfathomable which seeks my destruction. I can hear noises, am I hallucinating? Dear God! That banging outside the house.
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