Fintech Savings App, Acorns, Plans to Introduce Crypto Assets to Its 4 Million Subscribers

Fintech Savings App, Acorns, Plans to Introduce Crypto Assets to Its 4 Million Subscribers

In an interview with CNBC, Noah Kerner, CEO of fintech firm, Acorns said the startup plans to introduce cryptocurrencies and other digital assets on its platform. This will give users the ability to invest and learn more about cryptocurrencies. The move represents a switch from the conservative nature Acorns has adopted in previous years.

Additionally, the savings app has appointed former Amazon employee David Hijirida as president to lead the company’s day-to-day operations. Hijirida started his journey in traditional finance companies before spending 12 years in management roles at Amazon, including its global payments division. He also held the CEO position at digital bank, Simple Finance from 2018 before unexpectedly shutting down operations in May this year.

According to Kerner, introducing Bitcoin and other digital currencies will be launched on the app in the coming weeks. This will allow users to diversify their portfolios and learn how to manage their crypto assets, he added during the interview.

“We are going to let people customize their portfolios and add individual equities and crypto into a slice of their diversified portfolios, much the way a money manager would advise you to behave.”

The fintech startup is preparing for its expected public listing later in the year by appointing seasoned managers such as David, Kerner explained. Following a merger with Pioneer Merger Corp., a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), Arcons was valued at $2.2 billion, preparing for its public sale launch in May. David is the second high-ranking manager appointed in the last two months after it named Twitter executive Rich Sullivan its new chief financial officer.

“David obviously has a great depth and breadth of financial services and technology experience.”

“He has a great combination of fintech, payments, operations, and also product development experience.”

The growth of Arcons is nothing short of impressive, having reached over 4 million paying subscribers with a plan to reach over 10 million subscribers in the next four years.

Unlike fintech startups such as Robinhood, which went public last year, Arcons offers savings and long-term investment options rather than a short-term trading service that offers gamified stock and crypto trading.

“Everything Acorns does about long-term saving and investing for the everyday consumer.”

“It’s why our subscription model is so important because it decouples the business from behaviors that aren’t necessarily customer-aligned, like driving trading or driving spending or driving borrowing.”

The platform is yet to release a launch date for its planned crypto assets inclusion, Kerner concluded.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Cloudflare CEO Concerned about Growth of Ransomware Attacks in the Crypto Space

Cloudflare CEO Concerned about Growth of Ransomware Attacks in the Crypto Space

In an interview on CNBC’s ‘Mad Money,’ hosted by Jim Cramer, Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince called out crypto exchanges stating these firms “are becoming a popular target for cybercriminals.” According to Prince, cryptocurrency exchanges need to focus more on securing customers’ funds to prevent the rising cases of hacks and ransomware attacks.

Explaining the rising number of hacks on cryptocurrency exchanges, Prince said that money is the primary motivation, similar to bank robbers choosing banks.

“The old adage is, Why do bank robbers rob banks? It’s because it’s where the money is.”

“One of the biggest places that cyber attackers are going after right now is the various cryptocurrency exchanges and other cryptocurrency parts of the universe.”

Over the course of the year, the cryptocurrency ecosystem attracted attention to the rising number of ransomware attacks. Chainanalysis reported over $81 million in ransom was paid by victims by May 2021. Notably, the Colonial Pipeline hack in May raised concerns in the industry. The hackers disrupted fuel supply to some parts of the US East Coast, demanding a $5 million ransom – payable in BTC.

In June, Russian ransomware group REvil infiltrated over 200 companies across the globe via software supplier Kaseya, using its technology management software to spread the ransomware via the cloud. The hackers encrypted one of Kaseya’s tools with infected files, paralyzing hundreds of companies. The hackers then demanded a $70 million ransom, paid in BTC, to negotiate about decrypting the files.

These ransomware attacks have caused considerable debate in the crypto security space and the role that blockchain-based digital currencies play in the rising ransomware attacks. Despite the increasing ransom attacks, some crypto analysts believe blockchains actually help authorities track and arrest hackers easier due to the public nature of Bitcoin’s transactions, which are broadcasted on the network.

San Francisco-based Cloudflare is a web security infrastructure provider that protects companies from online attacks. Its key proposition service provides security to companies to prevent distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, which are common on crypto exchanges.

O0n the question if Prince would hold his cryptocurrencies on an exchange protected by Cloudflare, he said, “the company is giving a front-row seat to [its consumers] to prevent the evolving cyber threats they face. The company stays ahead of the curve through innovations that prevent any new forms of ransomware and hack attacks from affecting them.

“We’re proud of the fact that we’ve kept the cryptocurrency customers that are ours secure and safe and helped augment the additional protections that they have in place.”

“I’d feel safe using any of the cryptocurrency exchanges that use Cloudflare today.”

Apart from technically dealing with hackers, the US government is also fighting the rising cases of ransomware attacks. In June, the U.S. President’s national security advisor called on the G7 countries to unite and fight against the consistent ransomware attacks on national sites.

In a briefing from the White House press, Jake Sullivan, selected as Joe Biden’s national security advisor, called on the regulation of the cryptocurrency ecosystem as it represents “the core of how these ransomware attacks are carried out.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

SEC Chairman: Bitcoin Will Be Subject To ‘More Regulation’ As It Matures Into A Payment System

SEC Chairman Jay Clayton reiterated in his recent interview with CNBC that Bitcoin is not a security. However, more regulation could still be on the way from other government agencies, he added.

According to him, the leading digital asset resembles a store of value and a payment method. And it has been the “inefficiencies” in the traditional payment mechanisms that are boosting Bitcoin’s growth.

But if BTC becomes famous as a payment method, it can be subject to more regulation. Clayton told CNBC,

“I think we will see this maturation, and I think there will be more regulation in the payments (for bitcoin) area.”

“This is why Bitcoin should be neither a currency nor a payment network. The principles of humility & harmony dictate that we should allow technology partners to provide for payments & defer to governments on currency matters. BTC is a purely engineered Store of Value,” commented the CEO of MicroStrategy, Michael Saylor, who has emerged as a leading vocal Bitcoin proponent ever since his company replaced cash with BTC as a reserve asset.

Clayton will be stepping down from his position as the SEC Chairman by the end of this year, and the crypto community is excited, expecting the Bitcoin ETF to get the approval finally.

According to analyst Mati Greenspan, Clayton has been “single-handedly” responsible for holding back the progress of a Bitcoin ETF, and “him leaving is really good for Bitcoin & crypto.”

In his interview with CNBC on Thursday, Clayton further elaborated on why the SEC isn’t regulating Bitcoins currently.

“We do not regulate Bitcoin as a security. When people use crypto assets as securities to raise capital for a venture, the SEC regulates that.

And what was happening in the ICO craze was people were using ICOs and essentially making public offerings of securities without registering them with the SEC.”

Very clearly, Clayton has said that the SEC determined “Bitcoin was not a security” but “much more a payment mechanism and store of value,” adding “the government does regulate payments.”

Clayton has been in conversation with Squawk Box host Andrew Ross Sorkin who recently hosted Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan, who still has no love lost for Bitcoin.

Dimon said Bitcoin is “not (his) cup of tea,” and if it continues to get bigger and bigger, it will be “regulated.” “My experience with the government is they can regulate whatever they want whenever they feel like it,” coped Dimon.

This may sound like Ray Dalio, who is also concerned about the government outlawing it. Still, the founder of the world’s largest hedge fund Bridgewater Associates recently came out and said that he might be missing something about Bitcoin and “would love to be corrected.”

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Author: AnTy

Ripple CEO’s Broken Record: Level Playing Field for XRP to Compete with China Controlled Bitcoin

Another interview, another strike from Ripple CEO on Bitcoin.

Brad Garlinghouse clarified that he is a bull on Bitcoin and that he owns it, but at the same time, he said,

“We need to acknowledge that when Bitcoin is more than 50 percent of the mining in China that China can control those technologies.”

He believes that the US needs to get in sync with other major economies regarding how to treat assets like XRP similarly. He said,

“The Chinese Communist Party is being very strategic and is very focused on dominating this technology. I worry that this will be the next 5G race… We lost that race and I think we are in danger of repeating that mistake again in the battle of what I think will be the future of our global financial and infrastructure of payments.”

Commenting on the ongoing rally in the cryptocurrency market, which has the leading digital asset up 154% YTD compared to XRP’s 55%, Garlinghouse said this rally would “last for a while.”

“What we’re seeing happen are some macro factors not the least of which is… you print billions and trillions in dollars in stimulus of fiat currencies.”

This is where many people take a look at the inflation hedges, and while gold has historically been the darling in that category, bitcoin and digital assets are being broadly viewed as the real inflation hedge, said Garlinghouse.

This has driven a lot of the activity we’ve seen lately to almost record highs, he added.

According to him, PayPal allowing its customers to buy, sell, and hold digital assets is what “kicked off this big run.”

As for PayPal not including XRP in its offering, Garlinghouse explained the digital asset “has been a topic of lots of speculation in terms of how the US regulatory environment would look at currency XRP which is separate from the company.”

He further shared that many of the regulators worldwide looked at and have been decisive about looking at XRP as a virtual currency, unlike in the US, where there isn’t the same clarity. Because of this clarity, companies like PayPal and Square are supporting bitcoin, said the Ripple CEO.

The irony is unintentional as a regulatory body in the United States, “we have given an advantage to Bitcoin what I’ll call the good housekeeping seal of approval from the SEC,” and this clarity and certainty has allowed the likes of PayPal to support it, said Garlinghouse.

This has been due to this lack of regulatory clarity that the company has been planning to move out of the US. Although Joe Biden has won the election, this doesn’t change things much, and Ripple needs a level playing field, he said.

“If we can’t compete effectively with these technologies, in this case, controlled by Chinese miners,” then Ripple has to look elsewhere, he concluded.

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Author: AnTy

IOHK CEO, Charles Hoskinson, Talks Cardano Market Prospects Following Shelley Launch

  • In an interview on Friday, Charles Hoskinson, Cardano’s founder and CEO of IOHK, spoke on the importance of price in the longevity of blockchain projects highlighting ADA’s 50% move on Shelley’s launch announcement.
  • Can ADA cement its place on the tenth position winning the battle of proof-of-stake (PoS) tokens?

Hoskinson: “Market will basically decide what the standards are”

Price is not always a revered matter in some sections of the blockchain development community, who believe that the benefits of the platform outweigh the speculation in price. However, Charles differed with this opinion stating that the markets have the power to decide the appreciation of a company as they are also customers of the product.

Over the years, the cryptocurrency market has shed off and accepted several currencies in the top ranking lists, Bitcoin (BTC) being the only constant since launch. Some of the projects such as Peercoin, the first blockchain to employ staking mechanism, and Primecoin, an improvement on BTC’s scalability and transaction fees, have faded into oblivion.

Despite the earlier projects offering a tangible solution, the market failure stifled development setting newer projects such as Cardano (ADA) and Tezos (XTZ) to take over the staking market and Bitcoin forks, Bitcoin SV (BSV), and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) to swallow the alternative Bitcoin market. Charles Hoskinson said,

“Ultimately people do what they make money with, the market will basically decide what the standards are.”

Market is king

In an interview with CoinDesk, speaking about Cardano, Hoskinson believes a high price is beneficial to motivate its community on the utility and inherent value of developing the platform. This strengthens the price even further. However, over the years the crypto market has shown its randomness in picking winners and losers and Hoskinson is wary of the fact.

The crypto market field does not reflect the project’s development progress but rather a speculation ring of trades. The growth of Dogecoin, a meme token, to a current market capitalization of $320 million is a clear indication of the “market is king.”

Charles further explained that he didn’t expect Ripple-backed XRP and Tether (USDT) to reach their current multi-billion market capitalization at their launch. He said,

“The things you think may gain traction and become a big deal, they could be yesterday’s news, and other things that you don’t think are going to be a big deal, end up becoming huge.”

Cardano starts the launch of the Shelley upgrade

Less than a month since Charles announced the launch of the Shelley upgrade on Cardano would be deployed in 2020, the process has started with the final upgrade expected to be complete and running on June 30th. In light of the launch, the price of Cardano rose to an 11 month high – a prospect that Charles believes will propel the blockchain to compete with the very best projects in the field. He said,

“There’s a very strong possibility that we will be very competitive price-wise with the rest of the crypto market.”

Over the past 24 hours, Cardano, ticker ADA, and Tezos, ticker XTZ, have exchanged the 10th position on Coinmarketcap multiple times. Cardano currently claims it with a total market cap of $2.21 billion, currently trading at $0.085288 on major exchanges at the time of writing.

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Author: Lujan Odera

What’s the Issue with S2F’s $288,000 Bitcoin Price Prediction?

Popular analyst PlanB who is known for his scarcity-based stock-to-flow model recently in an interview on Peter McCormack’s podcast What Bitcoin Did talk about how Bitcoin is “not a toy anymore.” From a toy, the digital asset has evolved into magical internet money and now to dollar parity.

Reflecting on the world’s leading cryptocurrency’s past ten years, the analyst said bitcoin may not even be an asset anymore as “it’s gonna be much bigger than that.”

Further moving onto his model, he points out a very famous quote about models that says, ‘“all models are wrong but some are useful’ and that’s very true.” As for his updated S2FX model,

“it’s more useful (than the original S2F) because it forces you to think in phases, in big steps – in this case, a hundred billion dollar Bitcoin into a multiple trillion-dollar Bitcoin market value. That’s a huge leap and it’s not gonna be a gradual thing that something is going to change in the next couple of years.”

If it doesn’t then all bets are off which means the model will break.

“I would be very happy if it would only forecast the next halving or maybe two halvings correct that would be very useful right now,” said the analyst.

Reciting another famous quote, “I’d rather be roughly right than exactly wrong.” PlanB said “that’s why I always talk about orders of magnitude right with this model It’s not about the exact dollar value of Bitcoin.”

The S2FX model doesn’t provide precise targets rather rough ones. The actual Bitcoin will be above or below, scattered around that target.

Instead of getting married to the model and putting all the belief and money into it, which is “so stupid,” the model should be seen as a way of structuring thinking about something and maybe get some rough direction from it, he added.

Issue with the $288,000 in 2021

As we have reported, this model has a number of critics. Bitfinex bitcoin whale Joe007 is one of those who had said,

“One problem with the S2F model is that it’s divergent, predicting a ridiculous price of $1 trillion BTC by 2050 and infinity after 2140. An alternative FSM model is convergent and more realistic. But if you expect $1M BTC any time soon you may be disappointed.”

The bitcoin whale, however, does believe in Bitcoin which he said is “much more than just a currency.” He said earlier this year,

“It’s a completely new social technology: non-political non-confiscatable self-sovereign extra-hard money. I expect it to precipitate a transition of humanity to a completely new economic and social order that will slowly emerge over time.”

This latest model meanwhile also puts the bitcoin price at $288k, up from $100k projected by the original S2F model. This means the price could be both over and below this fixed price line from 2020-2024.

However, not everyone believes in these numbers.

Crypto enthusiast Tyler Durden said the problem with this new high is the daily volume required to take bitcoin to $288,000. This can’t happen in a single daily candle and as such needs “sustained volume over a fairly medium-term time frame.”

Analyst Bob Loukas counters the view with, “Think of the hysteria in 2017….now multiple many times. Would be a different animal on a massive scale. And a liquidity crisis won’t last years.”

The “real” bitcoin volume has been seeing a solid boost lately, with the daily volume (7-day average) once again above $2 billion.

You can listen to the full podcast here:

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Author: AnTy

CEO Brad Garlinghouse Compares Ripple To The Earliest Days of Amazon

2019 was “an incredible” year for Ripple, says CEO Brad Garlinghouse in an interview with Julia Chatterley of CNN. The year he said saw the shift from speculation that has “driven the crypto market” to a utility like solving problems.

In 2020, they are building the momentum which brings in more customers and more liquidity. This year will be pivotal because of the regulatory clarity which Garlinghouse said will help “catapult the whole industry.”

He talked about how in Davos during the World Economic Forum, he was meeting with regulators and banks and explained to them how crypto but specifically XRP can be used to solve a real problem without circumventing regulation or government.

Ripple is also in discussion with the regulators over the nature of XRP. He didn’t provide any details but said they’ll continue to engage with them and “had very constructive conversations with regulators here in the United States.”

Shifting the Focus to On-Demand Liquidity

Ripple’s focus is certainly on its On-Demand Liquidity Solution which Garlinghouse said processed $54 million using XRP from the US to Mexico in a week. This has been 7.5% of all US-Mexico flows, which has been a substantial increase from about 3% in December.

“Liquidity begets liquidity” and the more activity you see, the more follows. The largest digital asset exchange of Mexico, Bitso is using XRP through which “instead of being dependent upon the speculative trading of crypto,” it represents institutional flows.

And these $54 million flowing through Bitso is a big deal for their business which Ripple CEO said, “brings other players.”

However, it just one corridor. There is already “a lot of demand” and Ripple is “prioritizing new corridors,” so they’ll be expanding in other corridors while seeing the liquidity grow naturally.

But the regulatory clarity is of importance here. And that’s the reason India isn’t high on their list, he said. This is what Garlinghouse also shared at the Davos with the regulators that they are not circumventing KYC, customer check, or anti-money laundering checks which gets them “very comfortable very quickly.” Garlinghouse added,

“I think a lot of countries around the world see that this is a technical wave, this is a major step and they want to invest in it. They want to see companies continue to invest and I think that’s good for the economy.”

XRP or the Fed Coin?

The regulatory clarity has also been because of the central banks taking a step towards creating their own digital currencies.

This according to Garlinghouse is “healthy and constructive for the entire crypto community.” It makes sense because even at the Fed window, it isn’t giving a crate of dollars rather a digitized centralized ledger entry, so there isn’t any difference.

However, in most of Europe and the US, for the central bank to go directly to the customers and circumvent commercial banks “doesn’t make a lot of sense,” he explained.

So, could it mean Ripple will substitute XRP for a Fed coin one day? Garlinghouse is open to that but says there still be a cross-border settlement dynamic and it doesn’t “change the need for a cross-border neutral like an XRP which has been extremely efficient.”

This means, there won’t be “one winner in the crypto space,” rather “a lot of different participants solving different segments of problems.”

“There’s going to be other digital assets that increasingly have utility for customers and therefore drive velocity” and demand.

Is an IPO Really Coming?

Ripple is one of the most valued companies in the crypto space at $10 billion valuation but given that Garlinghouse talked about an IPO earlier this year, what could be the reason with Ripple already having a “very strong balance sheet,. Garlinghouse did try to deflect with,

“I don’t think I’ve said go public I think what I said was 2020 will likely have crypto kind of blockchain IPOs (…) I don’t think ripple will be the first but we certainly don’t to be the last so I kind of kept it open.”

However, he shared that IPO would mean more flexibility for the company which would give them the “strength to do new things,” and grow business like they did last year by adding 100 new employees while other companies in the space had layoffs.

The Shift from Amazon Books to Amazon

Gallinghouse also shared Ripple’s long term goal of becoming Amazon as he explained, “in the earliest days of Amazon it’s called the Amazon books. As a bookseller it competed with Barnes & Noble and with the hoarders.”

Ripple he said is viewed today as a cross-border payments company but sees themselves as a blockchain infrastructure company. Cross-border payments he said are just the first vertical and “we want to make sure we’re winning in cross-border payments before we do another vertical.”

In the next five years, Ripple will “continue to grow and take market share” and “we’re not just Amazon books but we are Amazon,” said Garlinghouse.

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Author: AnTy

CEO Brad Garlinghouse Says XRP Price Can’t Be Controlled By Ripple, Utility Will Dictate

Ripple’s CEO, Brad Garlinghouse, said in a CNN interview from January 5 that his company is not looking to get rid of its XRP cryptocurrency, even if it’s selling a lot of it.

He also talked about the relationship between Ripple and XRP, and how the company can’t control the coin’s price:

“Ripple can’t control the price of XRP any more than the whales can control the price of Bitcoin.”

Ripple Got Rid of More XRP Than Ever in 2019

Garlinghouse’s comments on Ripple not wanting to dump XRP are contradicting what happened with the company’s market in 2019. He said,

“Yes, Ripple owns a lot of XRP, we’re very interested in the success of XRP, but the accusations of us dumping, that’s not in our best interests to do that […]. We would never do that and in fact, we’ve taken steps to lock up most of the XRP we own in escrows so we can’t touch it.”

XRP Had Major Lows in December 2019

XRP had its worst lows over the last 2 years in December 2019, when it dropped under $0.29 and was trading at some point 96% below its $3.40 high of all time. In the last 24 hours, it had a 9% recovery and XRP/USD came across the $0.20 barrier. Garlinghouse firmly denied Ripple’s influence over the XRP price, in spite of the company’s token share.

Major XRP Buyers Would Have Restrictions

Garlinghouse continued the interview by saying Ripple would not have a positive response for large investors owning a lot of the XRP supply and said the company is an enduring major token holder that keeps on moving forward. When mentioning institutional investors, he had this to say:

“We don’t want some other party buying a whole lot of XRP and dumping it on the market, and so we would hypothetically have restrictions about what they could sell and how often, and usually those are based on volume in the market.”

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Author: Oana Ularu

MoneyGram CEO Alex Holmes: Ripple (XRP) Was The Best Fit For The Company

In a recent CNN International interview, the CEO of MoneyGram Alex Holmes explained that Ripple and the services provided were very important for the company considering they were performing a deep digital transformation. At the same time, he talked about how XRP is helping the company to reduce costs.

Alex Holmes Talks About Ripple

In this recent conversation, Mr. Holmes explained that 60% of all transactions around the world are performed using cash. However, in the last 24 months, MoneyGram expanded its digital capabilities to 60 countries and improved its digitalization strategy.

Ripple has also invested $50 million in MoneyGram and Alex Holmes has also talked about their relationship with Ripple and the XRP cryptocurrency, one of the largest in the market. He explained that moving money cross border is quite complicated because money itself doesn’t move.

Holmes said that what moves across borders is data, which is very different from money itself. MoneyGram is currently using 122 currencies with funds in bank accounts so as to provide users with cash around the world and instant liquidity.

With Ripple and the cryptocurrency space, Holmes believes that there is a technology available to move money and data among countries. Ripple allows companies such as MoneyGram to reduce their trapped liquidity around the world, which is located in different accounts and cannot be used for other things.

At the moment, Ripple has the best platform to efficiently move money across borders. Ripple can reduce costs and make it simple for firms to transfer funds from one country to another. Furthermore, he stated that the XRP cryptocurrency is very innovative and that Ripple is already helping banks and other financial institutions to improve the services and solutions they offer to their clients.

It is worth mentioning that the CEO of the company explained that he does not currently own any XRP and the company tries to sell the XRP it usually handles as soon as possible due to regulatory issues.

He finally stated that regulations are changing at all times and that this does not allow them to hold, for any period of time, any crypto assets.

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Author: Carl T

Tim Draper’s Still Bullish On Bitcoin, Calling For $250k By 2022 Based on Infrastructure Not Halving

Tim Draper remains bullish about the future of the cryptocurrency market. In a recent interview, he mentioned that Bitcoin (BTC) could reach a price per coin of $250,000 between 2022 and 2023.

Moreover, he explained why the next price surge will not necessarily be related to the halving Bitcoin will experience in May 2020.

Bitcoin Could Grow As Much As 3200%

Tim Draper, a recognized venture capitalist that invested in major platforms such as Hotmail, Skype, Tesla, and Coinbase, among others, is forecasting Bitcoin to be worth $250,000 in the next 3 to 4 years. That means that the leading cryptocurrency would have to grow as much as 3200% from current prices if it wants to reach that level.

At the same time, Draper predicted in 2014 that Bitcoin price could reach $10,000 by 2017. Although many considered that his prediction was far from being realistic, it was proved to be a conservative one, when Bitcoin surged to $20,000 at the end of 2017, two times more than what Mr. Draper predicted.

According to Draper, he is much more confident in the $250,000 prediction that he made for Bitcoin by 2022 or 2023 than his prediction of Bitcoin being worth $8,500 on December 31st this year.

In order for Bitcoin to reach that price level, it would be necessary for it to become an alternative currency. He said that the currency business is today worth around $86 trillion. In the future, this market is expected to be worth $120 trillion which is going to be opening up huge opportunities for Bitcoin.

“My prediction was really based on creating enough of an infrastructure for Bitcoin to get a 5% market share around the world, as a currency.”

Currently, Bitcoin has a market capitalization of $134 billion and a price per coin of $7,400.

Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency that can be used all over the world without having to rely on a centralized authority, government or institution. This is going to be very valuable in a future that is moving towards decentralization.

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Author: Carl T