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Ten reasons you should consider buying Bitcoin in 2017

Jodi Edmunds 
In some ways, Bitcoin is just another currency: it has an exchange rate against other currencies, it can be bought, sold and it can be used to pay for things online.

Bitcoin is taking the financial world by storm. Here are ten reasons why you should consider buying Bitcoin.

bitcoin-future-of-money

1. The price
If you look at a graph of the Bitcoin price throughout its entire existence, the overall trend shows that it has only increased.

There are many people who believe the price will go up ten, hundred or even thousand-fold in the next few years.

Nobody can predict the future price, but the momentum, increased transaction rate of people using it, banks and companies investing in and using Bitcoin are all very healthy indicators.

2. Bitcoin is global
Bitcoin knows no borders. It can easily be sent from one Bitcoin wallet to another; across the room or across an ocean.

Since it is sent peer-to-peer, there are no third parties or borders to restrict the transaction. Bitcoin can be bought and sold in local currencies in almost every country in the world.

3. Bitcoin is good for businesses
Transaction fees levied by card processors and transfer fees charged by banks for international transactions can be significantly more expensive than the small fees charged for sending Bitcoin.

For example, merchants pay between 2-6% to accept online credit card payments, with high rates of credit card fraud. These costs are passed down to the consumer.

It costs a fraction of that to process a  Bitcoin payment and the chargeback risk is zero.

4. Bitcoin is fast
It takes one to two days to receive a bank payment from a different bank and up to a week (or more) to receive an international bank transfer.

Bitcoin transactions are instantly sent and are usually confirmed in under 30 minutes, no matter where in the world they were sent to.

5. Bitcoin protects your privacy
Unlike most other payments, to complete a Bitcoin transaction you don’t need to provide any sensitive information (which can easily be stolen or abused).

When you want to receive a payment, simply provide the sender with your Bitcoin wallet address. This address is a receive-only address: you’re free to distribute it (people can only send money to it and pay you, not withdraw from it).

You don’t need to send your full name, your physical address or your credit card number when making Bitcoin payments.

6. Bitcoin is transparent
All Bitcoin transactions that have ever happened are recorded in a ledger known as the Blockchain. This makes Bitcoin a great tool to follow the exact flow of money. This, despite early incorrect press, makes Bitcoin a terrible mechanism for facilitating crime and a great one for legitimate transactions.

Note that a Bitcoin wallet’s balance and payment history are publicly available, but the identity of the wallet owner isn’t.

7. Bitcoin is irreversible
If someone uses a stolen credit card at your store, the owner of the stolen card can simply reverse the charges with their bank (a process known as a chargeback).

Chargebacks and reversals simply aren’t possible with Bitcoin.

8. Bitcoin is decentralised
Bitcoin has no centralised control: no single company, person or government owns or issues it, so there is no potential central point of failure. A distributed network of computers work together to form part of the Bitcoin network.

This means that should one part of the network go offline, for any reason, Bitcoin transactions will continue to be processed and confirmed by the remainder of the working network.

9. Bitcoin can bank the unbanked
There are many people in developing countries without access to bank accounts. Others have bank accounts but can’t make international payments.

There is a possibility that Bitcoin wallets can become easily accessible platforms for people who are currently excluded from the traditional financial world, to store and transfer money.

10. Bitcoin is separate from the global economy
Traditional currencies are printed and controlled by central banks and governments.

Bitcoin is not affected by this in any way, meaning that it is not associated with other national currencies or the stock market. Because of this, it is possible that Bitcoin could benefit from the collapse of the economy.

So, as the traditional economy continues to collapse or remain unstable, Bitcoin becomes a safer place for us to put our money.

It would make sense for anyone worried about the state of the global economy to begin buying Bitcoin.

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Avatar Jodi Edmunds
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Jodi Edmunds

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Total Compensation in Silicon Valley: It’s More Than Just a Paycheck

MYTH: Silicon Valley is where 22-year-old nerds in Gap hoodies make major bank overnight, then go out and buy yachts and posh mansions in Palo Alto.

REALITY: Uhhhh, not so much.

If you believe everything you read in the news or see on TV, you might think that working at a hot startup in Silicon Valley is your instant ticket to riches. Regardless of what Hollywood has managed to cook up in movies like The Social Network and TV shows like Silicon Valley (natch), however, the real world of startup employment is quite a bit different. As in: Long hours for sometimes (nay, often) crummy short-term pay (or even no pay at all!) as a trade-off for the chance to make big bucks down the line in the form of company equity if your startup employer turns out to be the next Facebook or Google.

But while the chance for startup riches definitely exists, the hard reality is that most startups don't become the next Facebook. Many startups don't even get acquired in an modest equity-cashout deals. In fact, a lot of startups outright fail, leaving talented people with little to show for their long hours and lost sleep besides a worthless equity agreement. Bottom line, if you're not independently wealthy, it's usually not a good idea to work under an equity-only pay agreement—unless you are willing to live in your parents' basement while eating government cheese. Sure, it might have worked out for the Woz, but much like winning the lottery, an Apple-style founders' payoff is a mega-long shot for most people.

Sounds depressing, huh? Don't fret, because there's a silver lining for talented tech workers. If you're smart enough to work in Silicon Valley—or any tech company, for that matter—then you're smart enough to be strategic about your compensation. If you're better informed about what top talent should be demanding from companies when negotiating your total compensation package, you're also more likely to pick a startup outfit that has the staying power to keep you working (and paid) well over the long term, especially in terms of potential equity cashout. And if by chance your employer crashes and burns, negotiating a solid base pay package upfront can offer you some short-term stability while you look for your next opportunity.

In other words, it's time to get smart about Silicon Valley compensation. Base salary is only one part of the equation. Equity is another, potentially lucrative part of your total pay package, and some tech workers choose a lower base salary in exchange for more equity (or vice versa). Bonus pay can be icing on the cake—or nonexistent if the company doesn't hit growth targets, or (worse) if your bonuses are tied to things you have no direct control over (like slacker employees that you don't supervise, or a second round of investor financing falling through). Meanwhile, often-overlooked benefits like health insurance, vacation pay, or even perks like onsite meals or a free gym membership have their own intrinsic value that can make up for lower base-pay packages. A combination of all of these compensation options—not just base salary—are equally important parts to consider when evaluating any potential job offer, whether you're working in the heart of Silicon Valley, at a Fortune 500 company, or at a mom-and-pop shop in the rural Midwest.

Know Your Local Market

Compensation standards vary widely by industry, region, and even neighborhoods within the same urban area. Local costs of living also vary widely, and what might be a great salary in Indianapolis is barely a subsistence wage in San Francisco. For example, an entry-level computer engineer in San Francisco often earns $125,000 plus bonuses and benefits. While that might sound like a lot of money, it doesn't go very far in the super-expensive Bay Area, where it might not even be enough to cover the rent on a basic two-bedroom apartment, let alone any special luxuries. Meanwhile, that same salary and benefits package in Indianapolis would be sky-high pay for an entry-level engineer, where the typical entry-level salary of $60,000 would still buy a very comfortable lifestyle. Compensation for some jobs sometimes doesn't even differ by region—-meaning that the same salary that would have you living in a crummy shipping container in the Bay Area could buy you a four-bedroom house and a brand-new car in Cleveland. Sites like Salary.com, Glassdoor, and Indeed offer salary data by position type, experience level, and region. Talking to colleagues who work in a given market or location about what to expect in terms of total compensation is also helpful.

Also, you'll need to ask yourself whether a startup/equity compensation package is really worth the extra risk. Startups often pay less than established companies (and may not always meet payroll at all!), but offer company equity, huge bonus potential, or special perks to make up for it. That equity/bonus potential could be worth millions—-or nothing. The potential for riches from equity and big bonuses therefore is supposed to outweigh the lower upfront pay, but remember, the keyword here is potential.

Meanwhile, established companies typically offer long-term stability and steady paychecks, but aren't giving away half the stock in the company to a single employee (i.e., you).

The question to ask when evaluating any job offer is, What's more important to you? And what are you willing to risk? If you're young, hungry, and don't have a spouse or kids to worry about, the startup/equity deal could be well worth the risk. ("There's gold in them-thar hills, Go West Young Man," et cetera.) But if you're married with two kids and a mortgage, you're probably better off with a conservative, steady gig at a stable company.

What if a medium-sized startup or more established company is offering you a modest equity/bonus package, but is still lowballing you on salary? Negotiate. When a company is on solid enough footing to recruit talent without big equity giveaways, that's a signal they should be paying closer to market rates from the get-go. Also, pay close attention to any proposed bonus structures, and make sure bonuses are tied to factors you have direct control over. Companies often give you pie-in-the-sky promises during the interview process to get you on board, but reality often doesn't match up further on down the line. If you can, ask the hiring manager to give you some hard numbers on what past bonuses have been for people working similar positions, and get everything in writing. Otherwise, you might end up with far lower total compensation than you expected if bonuses don't pan out

Other often-overlooked components of total compensation include benefits like health insurance (including how much you'll pay out-of-pocket for premiums and deductibles), as well as 401(k) company match and profit-sharing plans. For example, the company might say they offer health insurance, but if you're expected to pay 100% of the monthly premium plus a high annual deductible, that's thousands (or even tens of thousands) of dollars off the top of your salary. Meanwhile, a company that has lower base pay while offering free healthcare and a generous 401(k) match or a traditional pension may actually be a better deal in the long run.

When it comes to negotiating your next salary and benefits package, knowledge is power. Remember, in a tight labor market for top tech talent, everything is negotiable. There's no reason to accept a bad job offer when you can often get a better deal by communicating your expectations—or looking elsewhere.

 Leandro Margulis Leandro Margulis
Advisor | Investor • Pick-Eat

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3 Reasons to Love Your Enemies

3 Reasons to Love Your Enemies
Why You Should NOT Take Revenge

Written by Dan Lee on 03/05/2016
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Enemies, Forgiveness, God, Love, Mercy
Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Matthew 10:28
Last week we saw that Jesus demonstrated how to love and forgive our enemies. Here are three more reasons we should love our enemies:

Vengeance is God’s Business
Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord. (Romans 12:19)

When we have been hurt by someone, we naturally want to hurt them back. But God says to let Him take care of it. First of all, He knows, much better than we do, what someone did wrong and what he or she deserves. He is totally just, and his judgments and decisions are 100% correct.

When imperfect humans try to take revenge or carry out “justice,” a never-ending, escalating cycle occurs. In its fullest form, it is known as “war.”

It’s About Eternity
The verse above from Matthew shows that our main concern is not this earthly life (which is like a “vapor” according to James 4:14). Rather, it is eternity. If someone hurts you, steals your property, or even kills you, that is not important in light of eternity.

God has promised His children that we will live in a perfect place, free from want, worry, fear and mourning. No human can take that away from us; so there is no reason to strike back at someone who attacks us.

We Will be Rewarded
“Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked.” (Luke 6:35)

Again, God sets the example: HE is kind to the unthankful and wicked. What right do we have to be less kind than God?

We know that heaven will be wonderful, but God's children will enjoy greater rewards there if we've lived God's way here on earth. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we can live God’s way, treating people with love and kindness, especially our enemies. And we can trust Him to glorify Himself and to bless us with heavenly rewards.

Pray this week:

Lord, please help me to love others instead of plot revenge. I trust your judgment and will keep my eyes focused on eternity.

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