Cryptocurrency the Future of Money

What will the future of money look like? Imagine walking into a restaurant and looking up at the digital menu board at your favorite combo meal. Only, instead of it being priced at $8.99, it’s shown as.009 BTC.

Can crypto really be the future of money? The answer to that question hinges on the overall consensus on several key decisions ranging from ease of use to security and regulations.

Let’s examine both sides of the (digital) coin and compare and contrast traditional fiat money with cryptocurrency.

The first and most important component is trust.
It’s imperative that people trust the currency they’re using. What gives the dollar its value? Is it gold? No, the dollar hasn’t been backed by gold since the 1970s. Then what is it that gives the dollar (or any other fiat currency) value? Some countries’ currency is considered more stable than others. Ultimately, it’s people’s trust that the issuing government of that money stands firmly behind it and essentially guarantees its “value.”

How does trust work with Bitcoin since it’s decentralized meaning their isn’t a governing body that issues the coins? Bitcoin sits on the blockchain which is basically an online accounting ledger that allows the whole world to view each and every transaction. Each of these transactions is verified by miners (people operating computers on a peer to peer network) to prevent fraud and also ensure that there is no double spending. In exchange for their services of maintaining the integrity of the blockchain, the miners receive a payment for each transaction they verify. Since there are countless miners trying to make money each one checks each others work for errors. This proof of work process is why the blockchain has never been hacked. Essentially, this trust is what gives Bitcoin value.

Next let’s look at trust’s closest friend, security.
How about if my bank is robbed or there is fraudulent activity on my credit card? My deposits with the bank are covered by FDIC insurance. Chances are my bank will also reverse any charges on my card that I never made. That doesn’t mean that criminals won’t be able to pull off stunts that are at the very least frustrating and time consuming. It’s more or less the peace of mind that comes from knowing that I’ll most likely be made whole from any wrongdoing against me.

In crypto, there’s a lot of choices when it comes to where to store your money. It’s imperative to know if transactions are insured for your protection. There are reputable exchanges such as Binance and Coinbase that have a proven track record of righting wrongs for their clients. Just like there are less than reputable banks all over the world, the same is true in crypto.

What happens if I throw a twenty dollar bill into a fire? The same is true for crypto. If I lose my sign in credentials to a certain digital wallet or exchange then I won’t be able to have access to those coins. Again, I can’t stress enough the importance of conducting business with a reputable company.

The next issue is scaling. Currently, this might be the biggest hurdle that’s preventing people from conducting more transactions on the blockchain. When it comes to the speed of transactions, fiat money moves much quicker than crypto. Visa can handle about 40,000 transactions per second. Under normal circumstances, the blockchain can only handle around 10 per second. However, a new protocol is being enacted that will skyrocket this up to 60,000 transactions per second. Known as the Lightning Network, it could result in making crypto the future of money.

The conversation wouldn’t be complete without talking about convenience. What do people typically like about the their traditional banking and spending methods? For those who prefer cash, it’s obviously easy to use most of the time. If you’re trying to book a hotel room or a rental car, then you need a credit card. Personally, I use my credit card everywhere I go because of the convenience, security and rewards.
Did you know there are companies out there providing all of this in the crypto space as well? Monaco is now issuing Visa logo-ed cards that automatically convert your digital currency into the local currency for you.

If you’ve ever tried wiring money to someone you know that process can be very tedious and costly. Blockchain transactions allow for a user to send crypto to anyone in just minutes, regardless of where they live. It’s also considerably cheaper and safer than sending a bank wire.

There are other modern methods for transferring money that exist in both worlds. Take, for example, applications such as Zelle, Venmo and Messenger Pay. These apps are used by millions of millennials everyday. Did you also know that they are starting to incorporate crypto as well?

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Discretionary Income Choices

Making the most of your discretionary income

Discretionary income is what you have left over after paying your fixed costs. It is yours to spend on whatever you choose.

But…
How you spend this money can make a difference to your financial situation, but before this we have to ascertain what is discretionary income.

Rent/rates

Car running expenses

Power

Debt

Groceries etc.

People who have an addiction of some kind will prioritize their spending so that the addiction is included among their fixed expenses.

Everyone as an adult has freedom of choice unless they have debts which means their freedom is being eroded away in relation to their level of debt.

The old Proverb, “The borrower is a slave to the lender,” sums it up.

We all have some control over most of our fixed expenses such as groceries and power;we can cut down on these but with items such as rates/rent are fixed but even then we can choose to live in a more modest apartment or downsize.

The excess to your expenses is called discretionary income.

Another way of increasing your disposable (discretionary) income is to increase your income by getting a part-time job, getting a higher paying job, or selling stuff online.

Saving your discretionary spending for some greater purpose instead of frittering it away gives your life some meaning. Instead of just letting things happen you are making things happen. Many people in 10-20 years time wondered what happened.

There is a major difference between saving your money and investing it. Astute investors use their discretion to increase their wealth by investing in higher risk stocks and shares, gold, and cryptocurrency. There are enough online platforms where you are able to drip feed money into these things if you are still climbing up the investment ladder.

But then you may prefer to save for a holiday and tick off one or two items on your bucket list. The border closures will restrict your choice of places but here in New Zealand there are so many fantastic places to visit it is an opportunity to discover your own backyard.

Among the more popular activities in New Zealand are landing on the Franz and Fox Glaciers, going for a dip in the Hanmer Springs hot pools, visiting the wine region of Marlborough, or attending one of the sports meetings around the country. One thing I have to mention here is the Tranz Alpine Express train journey between Christchurch and Greymouth. It is rated one of the finest train journeys in the world and having experienced it I do not disagree. It has to be on everyone’s bucket list.

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The Effect on the Sports Card Industry

On March 30th, 2021 PSA (Professional Sports Authenticator) announced they were temporarily suspending all their grading services below Super Express ($350 a card) for at least 90 days with the hope of reopening all services around July 1st, 2021. PSA received more cards in 3 days than they did in the previous 3 months which is what led to the backlog and ultimately the difficult decision of suspending new submissions for a couple months.

OK, so let’s look at the impact this may have in the short term. Long term should be negligible to the sports card industry as it looks like at this point in time since they intend on being back to servicing all PSA grading levels within 90 days.

1 – People I believe will step back and take note on inspecting each card and really enjoy the card look for what it is more rather than just looking for a graded card since they won’t be grading nearly as many cards as they were previously simply because of PSA’s postponement of services.

2 – With SGC (Sportscard Guaranty Company) at minimum of $75/card and BGS (Beckett Grading Services) at minimum of $100/card to get a card graded within 1 month or less we most likely aren’t going to see much of an increase in business since PSA still has Super Express service open at $350/card and their brand commands so much higher values in the open market.

3 – The suspension of PSA grading services leaves the opportunity for companies like HGA (Hybrid Grading) and CSG (Certified Sports Guaranty) to make up ground especially on the lower-end cards with values of $500 or less because of their low cost grading services. So far I believe it will be CSG that has the best chance at grabbing a good piece of the market share for value cards of $500 or less away from PSA at least in the short term while PSA’s value service is suspended. How much CSG retains in market share if PSA reinstates the value grading service at $25 is the unknown variable.

4 – In the short term, PSA 10 values should increase on all cards but especially should increase on lower end cards valued at $1k or less simply because you can’t grade with any sports card PSA at that value unless you wanted to utilize the Super Express service, but that wouldn’t make financial sense to do at $350 per card. I fully expect this will create more demand for those cards in the short term. However, in the long term many of the base level cards that are PSA 10 should return to normal values once/if PSA resumes their value service which is currently set at $25/card. The higher value cards of staples in every market (baseball, football, basketball, etc) should continue to rise though as there are less of those available in the marketplace which is the simple rule of supply and demand.

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