Is Your Family Office Built for the Future?

by Josh Baron and Rob Lachenauer

Two years after their father died, Paul and Hank knew the time had come when they should break-up their family office. At their father’s insistence, the family’s substantial financial assets had been invested together. As their father’s business was the source of the family wealth, the brothers felt an obligation to build a single-family office together. But investing decisions soon became a source of conflict. Decision-making authority was murky; each brother lacked transparency into what the other brother was investing in and why. How aggressive to be on tax strategies became a matter of great disharmony.

Seeing the discord, the brothers’ siblings, spouses, and children tried to steer clear of the family office completely. Their father’s well-intentioned goal of keeping the family close after his death ended up backfiring. The family office was disbanded, and the brothers and the entire extended family drifted apart.

Family offices can provide a number of benefits, including privacy, customization, and having your own team to handle a wide range of services, such as guiding family philanthropy, managing shared properties or even managing household help. Successful principals in hedge funds, private equity, real estate, and tech entrepreneurs, and even family businesses owners selling their firms, have created an explosion in the number of family offices. A 2019 study by Campden Research put the number of family offices at 7,300 (up 38% from two years prior), managing a total of almost six trillion dollars. What was once the province of a select few, like the Rockefellers and Vanderbilts, has become central to the investment world. Both Single-Family Offices (SFOs) and Multi-Family Offices (MFOs) have been created to meet the investment and support needs of an ever-growing number of families.

Building a Resilient Family Business

Most of these family offices are in their relative infancy. A global survey by UBS and Campden Wealth showed that 68% were founded in 2000 or later, with 35% starting since 2010. That means most family offices are navigating or approaching a critical generational transition for the first time.

Without further attention to the challenges these transitions will bring, we are skeptical of how long many single-family offices will endure. As we’ve advised leading family enterprises over the past 15 years on how to create long-term success, we’ve seen that family offices are even harder to sustain than family businesses. The forces that hold a family business together are not always present in family offices. But that doesn’t mean they’re doomed to failure. Here’s what you need to know to build and sustain your family office so it will last.

The Built-In Tensions of Family Offices

Family offices are often established in a wave of enthusiasm. An individual or family has been successful enough to generate an excess of $100 million in wealth (a rough guideline for assets under management that justify the expenses of a single family office) and the family chooses to invest that together through a family office. But family offices face some unique built-in tensions that family businesses don’t that leave them vulnerable in the long-term:

Lack of an emotional connection

As family business advisors, we have seen first-hand how difficult it is to keep families united when owning shared assets. A necessary condition for business families to stay together is for the owners to have a shared purpose beyond financial performance. Family offices often start in an emotional-connection deficit. We’ve heard clients express the difficulty this way: “Dad sold our family’s purpose when he sold our family business.”

Protection versus agency

Ask most founders “why did you establish your family office?” and they will say something akin to “to preserve our family’s wealth and protect our children from the destructive power of that wealth.” This protective response is reasonable, yet in the process it can undermine long-term viability. If a family office ends up handling everything from investing money to making travel reservations for family members, this can unintentionally create an infantilizing environment for the next generation. They may start to resent the role of the family office in their lives and choose to close it to recover their autonomy.

Credible alternatives

Families have ready-made alternatives to keeping their wealth combined in a single-family office. Family members can move their assets to a multi-family office (MFO), such as Bessemer Trust or BBH, which have decades of successful service to such families. Not only do they invest your money (for a fee), but they also have excellent estate planners and family governance experts. Or you can out-source many of the tasks of a single-family office to a wealth manager, such as JP Morgan or Goldman Sachs. If your family doesn’t want to keep its assets together, you can each select different providers and go your separate ways.

So, while most single-family offices are set up with good intentions of continuing to keep the family (and its wealth) close, the centrifugal forces of diverging interests may tear them apart over time. But the family office doesn’t have to suffer that fate, if the owners are prepared to make a few key decisions together to set it up for long-term success.

The Key Decisions Family Offices Need to Make

As we’ve advised leading family enterprises, we’ve seen that the power that comes with ownership can make or break a family enterprise. The owners of an enterprise have the right to make decisions in five key areas (we refer to them as the 5 Rights of Owners) that no one else can without their permission. How the owners of a family office make these choices will shape long-term success of both the office and the family. Here are the key questions to consider:

Design: How will you own your assets together?

When establishing a family office, the opening proposition is often that by staying together, families can achieve scale and efficiencies in investments and services. But get under the hood of great family offices and you find that the family owners don’t require such a uniform approach. Family offices that endure offer a world of trade-offs, value flexibility, and build in the right to exit. Designing an all-or-nothing-office risks nothing being together in the next generation.

That’s because as families grow across generations, the interests of individuals will diverge — what investments to own, services to receive, and charities to support, etc. As you design your family office, it’s important to consider how much flexibility to build in. We see many successful family offices operate what we call a “federal system” in which all family owners use some investments and a few core services, such as tax and estate planning, while people can opt in or out of the rest of what the office offers.

Another key design choice is whether to allow family members the right to exit their family office. This right can be difficult to design because, at least in the U.S., most family office assets are owned in trust structures. Like being able to see the exit sign in a crowded theater, an exit policy enhances a feeling of psychological autonomy — I can leave if I want to. Moreover, knowing family members have an exit right, family office management and board will likely be more responsive to their needs.

Decide: How will you structure governance?

Family owners have the right to determine how decisions are made in their family office. When family offices are established, often one (or a few) founders become the decision makers on all matters. As offices mature, having no clear decision governance beyond the founders’ statement of intent can be a recipe for disaster, as Paul and Hank in our example above found. To avoid this fate, family owners should decide how decisions will be made in their family office. For example: What decisions will the family owners reserve for themselves? What decisions will they delegate to a board or management? Will they make investment decisions themselves or hire an investment team or outside firm to do so? How and when will they involve their next generation in making decisions? What processes and policies will the family establish to unify the family?

One helpful framework is what we call the Four-Room Model, in which the work of a family enterprise is distributed in four metaphorical “rooms” (an owner room, a board room, a management room, and a family room). Each “room” has distinct decisions to make, expertise to bring to bear, and explicitly set up structures, policies, and processes to guide their work. Decision policies, structures, and processes may not sound as sexy, but they’re key to long-term success. They also provide family members pathways to positively engage in important decisions, rather than being passive beneficiaries. With the right standards and development, some family members can even find rewarding careers in their family office.

Value: How will you define success for your family office?

Paul and Hank approached their investment portfolio as a purely financial task, which will rarely bring family members closer together. In fact, pure financial investments are easy to outsource. Lasting family offices design a portfolio of assets, services, and charitable giving that, collectively, mirror what the family values.

Family offices that are built to last design both financially sophisticated portfolios and emotionally relevant ones. Beyond hiring top investment managers and investing in leading funds, they find investments that are meaningful to their family. Return on investment is not the only important measure of success. There’s a reason so many sports teams are owned by families. Some family offices are leaders in impact investing. Family offices that co-invest in entrepreneurial efforts of next generation family members are becoming more common. Family wealth does not need to be defined solely in financial terms. It can be broadly defined as professional, social, and relational as well.

Inform: What will — and won’t — you communicate with your family?

Privacy is one of the great benefits of a family office, as you have the right to keep information contained to a small circle, namely the family owners. Family owners, however, face a core dilemma as to what information to share with the next generation and when. Worrying about the destructive power of knowledge of their wealth on the next generation, families face the balance between waiting to share and eventually “dropping the bomb” and by sharing too much information too early and causing the next generation to “lose their spark.”

We’ve seen two practices that manage this dilemma well:

  • Share beyond spreadsheets. We’ve seen families in which the next generation learns about their family’s wealth in the opulent Wall Street offices of their wealth manager, with white-gloved waiters serving coffee. Wealth managers explained in spreadsheet after spreadsheet about how the family’s assets were allocated across their mind-bendingly complex set of trusts. The unstated message was: “This is what was set up for you. Don’t break it.” That does not inspire the next generation to understand and connect with their wealth. By contrast, we know a family office which owns a minor league sports club and invites their next generation to attend games, work in the concession stands, and interact with the players. While the team is not their best financial return, they emphasize that they own things with meaning, with people, with connections.
  • Create an “ages and stages” discussion plan. Top family offices plan thoughtfully about what to share with their next generation and when. For example, one family office we know reveals very little about the financials of the family until family members turn 30. Then they start revealing more and more each year until family members reach 35, when the entire picture of the family’s wealth is shared.

Transfer: How will you handle the transition to the next generation?

Family owners in all enterprises must decide on how to transfer ownership to the next generation, including the assets, roles, and capabilities. Family offices face special transfer issues.

The assets a family office oversees should be in service of its purpose and goals. It’s wise to assume that the purpose and goals of a family office will change across a generational transition. We have seen many of our clients have thoughtful discussions of the purpose of the current generation and then ask the next generation how they see the purpose and goals for their generation, without judgment. The assets owned should eventually reflect the engagement of the new generation.

A generational transition is often a good time to reassess overall governance including how to engage the next generation in the family office. Many family offices opt to hire a professional CEO, but there are important roles for family members, too. For example, you can build a family board to oversee the CEO. Having a blueprint of your governance structure will clarify what capabilities will be necessary to build in the next generation.

One of the biggest questions families with investable wealth face is how much to transfer to the next generation. Rather than picking a number out of thin air, start by setting goals for it. Wealth can be used for spending, investing, giving, and collaborating. Think through what outcomes you want to achieve and avoid across each of these areas. And then align your approaches to sharing wealth with those desired outcomes.

Will your family office beat the odds and last for the long-term?  It depends on how well you address these five critical topics.

The Metaverse 101

I’ve had a lot of questions over the past few months, since my last post on this topic. As such, here is a quick intro to the concept of the Metaverse!

Learning about the Metaverse can be complicated when you are first beginning because things might seem confusing. Once you have started to learn the most important parts though, the Metaverse becomes a simple world to understand.
Here are 10 facts that are easy to understand that can help you get started.

  1. Metaverse is an Artificial Universe
    When talking about the metaverse, people are discussing an artificial universe that allows people to be in a three-dimensional experience to help people interact in a more immersive way. Basically, it fuses both the real and virtual worlds.
    While you won’t be in the metaverse physically, you might feel like you are when using a VR headset. Many companies are starting to use things like VR headsets because it allows a person to attend business events or conferences without actually needing to travel and be there for real.
    You will also have a 3D space to meet with other people in the same profession or the same walk of life as you. It’s more than just the internet though. In the metaverse, you use more technology such as VR or gaming to have a sense of really being in the space even though you are not there physically.
    People are even starting to use the metaverse to attend concerts other events that they might not otherwise be able to go to. Since people are in an artificial universe, they are able to learn quickly and make more business opportunities than just using the internet alone.
  2. The Metaverse is for Everyone
    Some people might think that the metaverse is exclusive and only available to those with money or certain kind of businesses. This cannot be further from the truth though. Entering the metaverse is much easier than people might think, especially once you have your foot in the door and have learned the basics of what the metaverse is.
  3. The Metaverse Can Be Used for Many Different Purposes
    Many people have not become involved in the metaverse because they think it’s mostly for gamers. This isn’t true though, although many people use the metaverse for playing video games and for meeting visitors from all over the world.
    If you aren’t a gamer though, there are still many different opportunities for you to use the metaverse and some are even better than gaming. If you like to go to concerts but aren’t able to physically attend many of them, you can use the metaverse to see your favorite performer sing or dance.
    Some people even use the metaverse to travel. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have begun to travel online through virtual tours. With the metaverse and VR, you can easily take virtual tours of historic sites, museums, and many more places.
    If you are conducting a business solely online, you will also find that using the metaverse will encourage employee participation because it allows them to be more involved with each other and everyone around them.
    As an owner of a company, it’s important to make sure your employees are working together and that they know one another despite maybe not working face to face.
  4. You Can Make Money
    Although VR and some other things might necessitate you spending money to start, you can earn the money back through metaverse with some people even making regular incomes. Since metaverse is growing with more and more opportunities to work, you will also be making an investment with any metaverse and VR that you do.
    There are also marketplaces in the metaverse world where you can buy, sell, and exchange items including avatars, NFTs, event tickets, and virtual clothing. You can also use the metaverse to purchase event tickets and to do things like advertising, digital events, and e-commerce.
  5. You Can Own and Sell Land
    Most people do not know that there is such a thing as digital property. Most people say this is an asset you can expect to appreciate and make more money as time goes on. Metaverse coins are also continuing to grow and will be more and more lucrative as time goes on. They also give you an opportunity for a potential return on your investment.
  6. Metaverse is Not Owned By Anyone
    You would be surprised to know that most things you use, even online, are owned by someone. Some things are even owned by major companies or business owners. Metaverse on the other hand is not owned by anyone making it one of the only things in the world really that you can participate in without worrying about the owner and other things.
    All of the users in metaverse decide who controls their own private data and no one tells you what you can do and not do with your data which is very appealing to most people.
    There is a board that controls the metaverse though to protect people and to ensure there are no illegal activities. The standards of the metaverse are decided by W3C (World Wide Web Consortium). This is overall led by the man who made the worldwide web-Tim Berners Lee.
    Although there is leadership, there is not much control over the metaverse which gives you the freedom to do as you please.
  7. The Metaverse is a Safe Place
    You might think because there is no clear ownership and no real leadership that some parts of the metaverse might not be safe. This is not true though. The metaverse is very secure though because they use a special blockchain technology that makes the virtual world public. This also means that all transactions can be tracked keeping you safe when you buy or purchase something.
    Some people still have some concerns about the cyber security issues though and this is understandable with anything you might be doing online. Since the metaverse is online, there is always the possibility for attacks as with anything online.
    The underlying systems of the metaverse are usually the places that are targeted for being attacked and for stealing data. Since metaverse is not as popular, there are fewer security measures in place than you might find on other popular platforms.
    As metaverse comes becomes more popular and has a better outreach to people, these security measures should increase and your data will be more protected as time goes on.
  8. Working Will Soon Be Impacted By the Metaverse
    Many people work online these days, but that does not mean that they use the metaverse necessarily. Many people work online but just do phone calls or other methods of communicating without really doing VR or other metaverse technologies.
    If people continue to work more and more online and do not return to the office, it’s predicted that employers will want to engage their employees more often and some turn to metaverse solutions such as Horizon Workrooms which are a part of Facebook.
    More and more people are also saying that their jobs are starting to use VR when working from home and even when at the office for those who cannot attend certain conferences other events that the company might be hosting.
    VR is also estimated to have more than 23 million jobs. Metaverse has also allowed employees to work in broader areas and to strengthen their skills in different areas so that they are more diverse to enter the workforce. Metaverse has also shown the potential to make society more productive and to encourage different types of work throughout the workplace.
    Metaverse is also cutting down on duplication efforts and helping people work together from across different companies and specialties. This can save time in the workplace and make companies more open about work procedures and how things are done.
  9. Metaverse Cannot Exist Without Blockchain Technology
    This part of metaverse is still not developed as much as the other parts, but it has to be used for the metaverse to exist. The concept of blockchain is well developed though and is central to the metaverse and how this online world works around the globe.
    Blockchain technology is used for many different things including digital collectability, transfer of value, governance, accessibility, interoperability, and digital proof of ownership.
    Blockchain technology is also used to record transactions and track assets throughout the business network. An asset can be anything including a house, car, land, or cash. It can also be things not seen including intellectual property, patents, copyrights, and branding.
  10. Metaverse Isn’t Complete Yet
    While the world of the metaverse and all the potential it has is very exciting, the metaverse still has a long way to go until everything is truly in place. It might be another few years before you see it in your workplace or before you are using it every day. Some people even say that a full-fledged metaverse is over a decade away which means you might be waiting for a long time before you see its full effects of it.
    Most of the innovations that have to come are technical problems. For example, the current infrastructure does not support millions and billions of people being on metaverse at the same time.
    There also has to be a better internet connection, especially in underdeveloped parts of the world so that more people have access to the metaverse. Internet connection has to be stronger and more reliable for metaverse than for regular internet usage. Using a metaverse that is glitchy or slow is not reliable for what the metaverse should be like.
    Luckily, 5G is getting stronger and more useful every day, but it’s still under construction and development which makes it harder to use currently. However, it is currently not developed enough to meet the real-world needs of the metaverse and will leave people hanging when it cannot work properly or does not function.

7 Heart Healthy Foods for Longevity – Part 3

In my last post we followed up on 7 heart healthy foods that promote longevity, which will be further discussed below.

#5 Dark Chocolate (But ONLY in moderation!!)

Research has shown that the indulgent of dark chocolate leads to more than 40 distinct nutrition benefits which includes longevity. Dark chocolate, which is an excellent source of antioxidants, is made from the seed of the cocoa tree. It is most effective when cocoa or chocolate is eaten when it is raw (cacao) because when your cocoa is close to or in its natural raw state, they contain the highest nutritional value. In fact, Cacao is one of the most beneficial foods that helps to facilitate a healthy heart and brain. Moreover, cacao aids in lowering blood sugar, blood pressure, and its healthy fats are actually beneficial for your body compared to animal-based saturated fats.

In a 2007 paper found in Journal of Nutrition, dark chocolate is loaded with a group of antioxidants called flavonoids which have been proven to help avoid higher risks of cardiovascular disease. It also added that eating quality dark chocolate containing a high cocoa content is more beneficial, especially when there is 70% cocoa or more. Both raw cacao and cocoa are wonderful heart-healthy foods which enhance hormones, circulation and even your digestion.

Basically, if you want to reward yourself with a sweet snack and maintain your health at the same time, dark chocolate may in fact be the best choice due to the various health benefits it offers. But, bear in mind that it is also rich in fat. Apart from keeping track of your fat intake, you may also opt for raw cacao powder or organic cocoa powder. Regular consumption of dark chocolate helps to break down bacteria and ferment its components into anti-inflammatory compounds which will benefit your overall health in the long run. Dark chocolate also helps to prevent blood clots from forming and can improve blood circulation. Dark chocolate also acts as a mood booster as it contains some chemical compounds which exert a positive effect on your mind. It contains phenylethylamine (PEA), which allows your brain to release endorphins. So, consuming dark chocolate will help to brighten up your mood and makes you feel happier! A 1999 Harvard survey which consists of 8000 men has revealed that those who ate dark chocolate at least 3 times per month were able to live an extra year compared to those who didn’t.

# 6 Salmon

Salmon happens to be one of my personal favorites and something I enjoy several times per week!

There are several beneficial health reasons to indulge in salmon other than its delicious taste. Salmon is a nutritional powerhouse that is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D. Omega-3s have been proven to be able to lower the risk of inflammation and decrease triglyceride levels, both of which are linked to higher risk of heart disease. Evidence has shown that omega-3s helps to lower dementia risk as well as cognitive decline, keeping the brain healthy.

Not only that, but feeding preschool children with salmon helps to prevent the risk of ADHD symptoms and can enhance their academic performance as the nutrition in salmon causes children to remember and focus better. Researchers mentioned that the omega3-fats in salmon may stimulate reduction in weight and significantly decrease belly fat in obese individuals. While most fatty fish are packed with omega-3s, salmon is a specifically nutritious dietary choice as it contains minimal mercury which is a potentially toxic contaminant compared to other fish such as tuna, swordfish and mackerel.

With so much emphasis on the omega-3 advantages in salmon, other health benefits of salmon may have been overlooked. Another benefit of salmon is linked to the amino acids and protein present in salmon. A few researchers have discovered that there are protein molecules called bioactive peptides found in salmon which can control inflammation in the digestive system, improve insulin efficiency, and provide treatment for better joint and cartilage recovery. Bioactive peptides generated from food proteins have great potential as functional foods and nutraceuticals. Bioactive peptides possess several significant functions, such as antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antimicrobial, immuno modulatory, and antihypertensive effects in the living body. Last but not least…

7 Apples

Yes, it’s true…an apple a day actually Can Keep the doctor away! A group of research studies indicates that apples may be one of the world’s healthiest fruits for you to include in your longevity diet plan. As they are the most commonly consumed fruit, people tend to overlook their impressive health benefits. In fact, in a featured article regarding the top 10 healthy foods in Medical News Today, apples were ranked first among the others. The old saying which we are all familiar with still stands true as an apple a day may be the ultimate food to promote longevity due to several health benefits it offers.

Firstly, apples are rich in vitamin C, fiber, various antioxidants and folate to fight against Alzheimer’s. Moreover, they contain polyphenols which function as oxidants and are mainly concentrated in the peel. So, to achieve the greatest benefits, it is best to eat the apple’s skin.These polyphenols contain flavonoids known as quercetin which also helps to lower blood pressure. Studies have shown that high flavonoid intake have led to a 20% reduction in risk of stroke. Researchers agreed that consuming apples that are rich in flavonols could also decrease the risk of getting pancreatic cancer by 23 percent.

According to research by the Flores Group, regular apple consumption has been proven to provide cardiovascular benefits due to the fiber which they contain as well as the high contents of polyphenols found in apples. Flores also mentioned that the antioxidant level in apples has the highest rank compared to other fruits which help to prevent the risk of developing cancer, specifically lung cancer. Another study analyzes the comparison between the impacts of consuming an apple a day and statins which are a group of drugs taken to lower cholesterol level. It is estimated that apples are almost as effective as statins in minimizing death.

Good dietary choices play an essential role in determining how different our lives will be throughout the years. While no single food is a cure-all, consuming a combination of various healthy foods are capable of fending off diseases and enhance your overall health. Incorporating those heart healthy foods discussed above in your dietary plan will definitely benefit you in the long run. You are just a decision away from an absolutely better life, longevity and greater health awaits you!

7 Heart Healthy Foods for Longevity – Part 2

In my last post we started to talk about 7 heart healthy foods that promote longevity, which will be further discussed below.

# 3 Walnuts, nuts and other seeds

Supplementing your longevity diet plan with essential boosting nutrients such as nuts and seeds is of paramount importance for good health. They are a wonderful source of dietary fiber required in order to stay healthy. In recent studies, researchers have found that the consumption of walnuts as a whole including the skin helps in imparting a multitude of nutritional benefits. You have the option to consume it either as a whole or as nut and seed butters, enjoying at least 1-3 ounces each day.

Raw nuts are a great source of healthy fats which you would want to consume more the moment you remove non-vegetable carbs from your diet. They contain sufficient minerals and vitamins which makes a great snack when energy starts to flag. These heart healthy foods can also be added to different recipes to enhance flavor as well as adding extra nutrients. First of all, they contain mostly unsaturated fats which are heart healthy. They help to lower inflammation in every part of the body, specifically the blood and heart.

Walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids which helps to ensure the brain is functioning well, improves heart health as well as achieve optimum or desired weight.  A recent scientific study states that a shortage of omega-3 fatty acids, which is provided by walnuts, can result in hyperactivity, tantrums and irritability in kids. Adding walnuts to a child’s diet helps to resolve the EFAs deficit and can brighten up their mood. It can even be applied to adults who are suffering from stress and depression. Some other sources of omega-3 fats include seeds, flax and hemp seeds.

Other nuts such as almonds and cashews are good sources of iron and magnesium which can improve your healthy metabolism and ward off high insulin levels and fatigue. Aside from having high fat content, seeds and nuts can help in regulating metabolism and avoid unhealthy foods cravings. However, all nuts are not the same as some may deliver higher amounts of healthy fats, and varying levels of proteins and carbs.

Based on a recent 30-year study, it was found that people who consumed at least one ounce of nuts 7 times a week were 20 percent more likely to live longer in comparison to those who did not include nuts in their diet. Eating nuts for not less than 5 times per week will result in an overall reduction in mortality risk caused by heart disease, cancer, and respiratory diseases.

# 4 Leafy Greens and Vegetables

Green foods are heart-healthy foods and should be the key cornerstone of every plan for optimal health. They’re loaded with sufficient vitamins, protein, minerals and are known as the most alkaline foods that can be found throughout the year. Leafy green vegetables such as broccoli, kale and spinach are few of the best to consume because they’re rich in protein, calcium, magnesium, chlorophyll and irons.

Along with B6 vitamins, Vitamins A and C are also found in leafy green vegetables. Kale provides high vitamin K content for bone-building, which is necessary to stay active all year round.  Leafy greens are also proven to be the best anti- cancer foods which play important roles in blocking the early phase of cancer and can even reverse the outcome of some major health problems. They are packed with an abundance of carotenoids, antioxidants and some other compounds which are proven to increase your protection against diseases. The antioxidants act as an agent in safeguarding the heart against cardiovascular disease and even help prevent some birth defects among pregnant women.

Moreover, the vitamins found in leafy green vegetables helps to reduce homocysteine levels which lowers the risk of heart disease. One of the most attractive benefits of dark leafy greens is that they contain low levels of calories, carbohydrates and glycemic index factors. These characteristics allow them to facilitate maintaining and achieving the optimum healthy body weight. Including more green vegetables in a balanced diet also causes an increase in dietary fiber intake which helps to regulate the digestive system, achieving bowel health as well as weight management.

Researchers have discovered that a gene known as T-bet, or TBX21, respond particularly to leafy greens. TBX21 (T-Box Transcription Factor 21) is a Protein Coding gene. Diseases associated with TBX21 include Asthma, Nasal Polyps, And Aspirin Intolerance and Immunodeficiency 88. These immune cells are vital for the production of immune cells present in your gut, responsible in handling inflammatory diseases and can even reduce the risk of bowel cancer. People who do not eat three or more servings of dark leafy greens per day are missing out on major health advantages!

Vegetables belong to a diverse food group with a wide variety to select from and plenty to match everyone’s tastes and preferences. The easiest and most effective ways to increase vegetable intake is by juicing your vegetables with sprouted beans. This is because juicing makes it easily digestible and allows your body to absorb every nutrient present in the vegetables where some micro nutrients may be lost during cooking. Based on a featured article, middle-aged people who eat a cup of cooked greens each day are able to live longer than those who didn’t add leafy greens in their meals

7 Heart Healthy Foods for Longevity – Part 1

Do you wish to live a long, healthy life? We are all aware that we can’t live forever but we can take good care of our health by nurturing our bodies the best ways possible which will naturally help us extend our lives.

According to researches, experts have identified people who tend to live longer and healthier lives are consistent in eating meals that help to nourish the body for maximum health. In other words, they only consume foods that are beneficial to the body and avoid foods that are processed, packaged or those that contain additives.

Though there are chances that genetics may predispose us to many kinds of diseases, we still have control over our health and dietary choices. Although there are no guarantees about how our health might be when we age or how long we’re going to live, there are effective steps that could be taken to live a healthier and more enjoyable life. There are 7 heart healthy foods that promote longevity which will be discussed below.

#1 – Blueberries

Blueberries have been described as “super-fruits” as they are capable of blocking as well as reversing most of the aging consequences. They are incredible anti-aging food that keeps the brain healthy by boosting mental health. The dark hues present in berries shows their high antioxidant content, which ward off free radicals that lead to aging and stop new cells from growing in order to stay healthy.

Besides being a powerhouse sources of antioxidants which delivers multiple benefits, blueberries also possess the ability to bring positive impacts to multiple aging processes. Recent studies have shown that blueberry extracts can signifcantly increase life span. Blueberries also deliver maximum nutrition for minimum calories. With regular consumption, belly fat could also be reduced.

In comparison to other fruits, blueberries contain less sugar so it is less likely to affect your insulin levels, making them a great option for a fast guiltless snack. As they are low-glycemic fruits, they help to keep your insulin levels balanced as well as keep you focused. These fruits are also packed with fiber which keeps your digestion on track, maintain your cholesterol levels, and develop a healthy weight necessary for optimal longevity.

Berries of all kinds are healthy which contain concentrated amounts of phyto chemicals which help to fight heart disease, DNA damage, metabolic syndrome and even cancer. As a result, blood vessels will be more flexible which can help avoid the risks of developing a heart disease. Rather than the whole fruit, it’s the particular flavanoid components of blueberries which deliver so many healthy benefits. These compounds are able to enhance high blood pressure, decrease cardiovascular risk factors as well as enable the brain to function well even after stroke.

Recent studies have proven that blueberries help to prevent brain deterioration as well as protect memory-associated regions of the brain from possible oxidant and inflammatory damages.

Blueberries are becoming a critical element of a science-based longevity program due to their richness in anthocyanins and pterostilbenes. Researches have discovered new data showing that blueberries are capable of delaying aging and can lead to longevity.

#2 – Avocados

People do not consume avocados mainly because of their unique taste, but also because of their impressive heart health benefits. Avocados represent one of the most nutrient-dense foods which provide health-boosting nutrients such as protein, magnesium, vitamin E, B6 vitamins and folic acid. Besides, they are a good source of anti-inflammatory fats that minimizes aging in the body.

According to a dietitian in Washington, avocados are rich in mono- and poly unsaturated fats which enable energy to be generated easily. Consequently, blood cholesterol levels and risk of heart disease can be minimized. This fruit does not only help to reduce bad cholesterol, but also boost levels of good cholesterol. As stated in Reader’s Digest, the high contents of monounsaturated fats can help restrain insulin resistance which aid in regulating blood sugar levels. Among all the fruits, the low carb and sugar levels present in avocado helps to better maintain blood sugar. Apart from that, the high levels of potassium present in avocados help to keep blood pressure under control.

As avocados are a water-packed source of fat, they are easily digested and absorbed into the body compared to processed or animal-based fats. The consumption of avocados is most effective when they are ripe as it is where their nutrients have entirely developed and are best tolerated. Avocado acts as a great multi-purpose food to satisfy cravings and can even be used as a fat replacement when it comes to baking. It can also be used to substitute some of your favorite dairy dishes. Other than that, it can also be added to soups, dessert whips, as well as other recipes.

Research has shown that avocado consumption leads to multiple positive health effects which include better weight management and appetite booster. The publication of a Nutrition Journal based on a 7 year analysis in 2013 discovered that avocados are linked to a minimized risk of metabolic syndrome where a variety of symptoms are shown which may increase the likelihood of stroke, cardiovascular disease as well as diabetes. It also enables better absorption of other nutrients into the body.

Other than that, researchers have also revealed that avocados help to optimize cholesterol levels within as little as one week, and contain compounds that restrain and destroy oral cancer cells and enables protection against liver destruction. However, even though consumption of avocados provides many health benefits, the main risk of this fruit is over consumption which may cause weight gain due to the fat content. It may also resort to nutritional deficiencies as fat takes a longer time to digest, which keeps you feeling full for a longer period of time compared to other nutrients.

5 Reasons to Start Living Plant Based

As our society evolves, we are constantly facing the need to change our behaviors and habits to increase our health and quality of life. We are now facing climate change, food insecurity and over 40% of our population is suffering from chronic disease.

One of the recent ideas put forward to improve our world and health is the plant-based nutrition.

Even though food regiments are not something our doctor prescribes (yet), research is showing that food has a lot to contribute to our health. It is also a less costly option to our society than prescribe medication. Our understanding of plant-based eating may differ from one individual to another. In the world of nutrition, plant-based eating is having a large portion of one’s nutrition coming from vegetables, fruits, herbs, nuts, whole grains and also include legumes or other plants.

A spectrum of plant-based nutrition options is available to you!

Some are very strict (vegan diet), others are still adding animal products like dairy (vegetarian) and at the other end of the spectrum are those that still eat meat, poultry and fish on an occasional basis.

We once believed that early humans consumed a large proportion of animal protein in their diet. It is from that belief that, in the 2000s, the Paleo diet (mainly comprised of animal protein) became really popular in the world of nutrition and diet.

Although, we now know that the nutrition of bipedal primates and Homo sapiens was primarily composed of nuts, fruits, leaves, roots, seeds and water. In that case, the “original” Paleo Diet was in fact plant-based eating.

It is also linked to the fact that some of the strongest animals on Earth are not carnivores. The strongest mammal is the gorilla (most are herbivores). It has the ability to lift around 4400 lbs, that is 10 times its body weight. It would be like a 200 lb individual lifting 2000 lb.

If other mammals can live a healthy and strong life on a plant-based nutrition, we probably can too.
Whether you want to save the animals, become healthier or simply feel better, the plant-based nutrition is a great option for those of us who want to be a better and healthier person.

Choosing a plant-based nutrition doesn’t have to be a complex commitment. Not convinced yet? Here’s the 5 reasons to start eating plant-based nutrition now:

Improve your health

In addition, an increase consumption of vegetables, grains and beans will bring more fiber into your nutrition. It is recommended to consume from 25 g (women) to 38 g (men) of fiber on a daily basis. Unfortunately, we consume an average of 15 g daily. That is not enough for most of us and can have a negative impact on the bowels and cause constipation or hemorrhoids.

According to research, an increase intake in fiber can also help prevent and reduce heart diseases, diabetes, and colon cancer. Fiber is also known to reduce the blood cholesterol levels.For most Americans, the average daily intake of protein is recommended at 46 g (women) and 56 g (men). One cup of shredded cheese is about 26 g of protein and a 1 cup of diced chicken is 38 g of protein.
That means that if you eat cottage cheese for breakfast with a glass of milk, an egg sandwich for lunch, and a ribeye steak for dinner, you are probably looking at double the amount of protein recommend for daily intake.

You can now understand why the average American eat around 100 g of protein per day. Our society seems to be eating too much protein, which can cause issues with the bowels or digestion. It is true that some individuals need more protein than others but in general, our protein rich nutrition is overindulgence. A plant-based nutrition can help us meet our health goal without going above the daily intake recommendation.

It was once believed that you needed to add animal protein in your meals to increase muscle mass. Some
studies and athletes have demonstrated that it is possible to increase muscles and be fit with a plant-based nutrition. For example, one of the best runners of all time and American ultra marathoner, Scott Jurek is known to be a plant-based eater! While thousands of research demonstrate the health benefit of consuming vegetables as a way to prevent illness, many still refuse to change their nutrition to increase our quality of life. Too many people believe that exercising, medication and supplements are sufficient to maintain health. Meanwhile, experts in the field of health and wellness say that weight management is 75–80% nutrition and 20–25% exercise. By the way, if you have not seen the Netflix special, The Game Changers, you need to!

According to some research plant-based eaters showed fewer signs of depression and mental illness than omnivores. There is much more research to be done and certainly some aspects to consider (like sugar intake) but these researches are very promising. The best way to know is to try it and see how you feel.

Weight loss and weight management

Plant-based eating means that you have a large proportion of your meal that comes from plant-based food. That said, fruits and vegetables are often the number one thing that comes to mind when we think of a plant-based nutrition. According to some studies, only 15% of our population is able to meet the minimum requirement of daily recommendation for fruits and even less (10%) for vegetables.

Experts in nutrition all across the world agree that the insufficient consumption of fruits and vegetables contribute to the obesity epidemic and chronic disease related to poor nutrition, especially in our country. While exercising is important, nutrition is probably the number one reason why we have so much obesity in our nation. In general, individuals who are on a plant-based nutrition tend to consume fewer calories than individuals who consume animal protein. Since most of their calories are coming from healthier options and fewer calories per weight. Plant-based eaters tend to eat less process food and avoid meat focused restaurants like fast-food chain that provide unhealthy meal options.
In addition, studies indicate that individuals who had a plant-based nutrition with reduce sodium consumption (2300-1500 mg a day) showed a reduction in blood pressure and increased weight loss. That said, it is important to understand that plant-based food doesn’t always mean healthy food. Sugar is the other plant-based food to beware of.

Prevent or manage a chronic disease

As you will see in the next section, research demonstrates that individuals on a plant-based nutrition can prevent chronic disease, reduce obesity and mostly encourage a healthy and quality of life.
A report published by the World Health Organization recommended that a daily intake of 400 g of fruits and vegetables would contribute to preventing chronic diseases which include diabetes, heart disease, cancer and obesity. To put this in perspective, 1 tomato is approximately 75 g while a medium size potato is about 150 grams. For fruits, a medium apple is about 150 g and a small kiwi is around 75 g.

Stop spending on supplements

Did you know that our nation’s population spends more than $30 billion a year on supplements? What if you didn’t need to waste that money? With a plant-based nutrition, you are more likely to receive all the nutrients you need from natural sources like legumes, vegetables, and fruits. Not only does this save you money, it also saves you from trying to remember to purchase and consume supplements.

While thousands of research demonstrate the health benefit of consuming vegetables as a way to prevent illness, many still refuse to change their nutrition to increase our quality of life. Too many people believe that exercising, medication and supplements are sufficient to maintain health. Meanwhile, experts in the field of health and wellness say that weight management is 75–80% nutrition and 20–25% exercise.

Save our planet

Agriculture use approximately 70% of our fresh water (globally on average). The production of meat requires around 1000% more water (1 kg requires from 5000 to 20,000 liters of water) than some grains like wheat (1 kg of wheat requires between 500 and 4000 liters of water). In addition, a lot of the grain is cultivated to feed the animals we eat and if we started eating that grain and reduce our consumption meat, less water and resources would be used to produce animal food.

In conclusion, Plant-based eating is for everyone, the main idea is not to “diet” or remove something from your nutrition but more about adding more vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, and legumes.
Now it’s time to put your learning into action, pick a day when you will start your plant-based nutrition, select your meals (find recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes) and make a grocery list, go shopping (get your grocery items) and implement the change! Plant-based eating is not a diet but a more a way of living. Make it simple and have fun with it!

13 Ways to Stop Doomscrolling & Protect Your Mental Health

It’s not uncommon to continuously scroll through social media or the web and read bad news that gets you instantly hooked. However, this practice has gained new popularity during the recent pandemic and even a new nickname, “doomscrolling”. Worldwide, there has been a 35% increase in people watching news media and a 23% increase in people participating in social media use[3].

Doomscrolling is defined as the activity of spending a lot of time looking at your phone or computer and purposefully reading bad or negative news stories[2]. The new phrase has picked up traction in today’s culture as experts are continuing to discover the impact that it has on mental and physical health.

The past few years have been filled with great uncertainty; COVID-19, vaccines, racial justice, international relations, politics, climate change, and the health of loved ones. There have been countless unanswered questions in almost every area of life[4]. With these unknowns comes a natural desire to resolve the uncertainty, therefore seeking information.

There is a healthy side to this information-seeking that helps with learning what precautions are needed during this time of elevated threat. Yet there is also an unhealthy side that can cause feelings of being constantly on edge and worry about missing critical pieces of information that will increase safety.

Of course, there is no one magic piece of information, news story, or Facebook post. Instead, we have to learn to tolerate uncertainty. This can be difficult and sometimes overwhelming since the brain is hardwired to survive and see surroundings that can potentially cause harm.

For those that already suffer from a generalized anxiety disorder or other anxiety-related disorders, this innate part of human nature can increase the likelihood of developing a “doomscrolling” habit. As these disorders get worse, the need to control the situation around them increases. This want for control actually creates more fear and anxiety.

To read this full article, please follow this link!

How to Evaluate an NFT Project

“Father Time” from the Snuggle Buddies NFT Collection

If you’re reading this article chances are you already know what an NFT is, and you’re probably a holder of at least one digital asset you like. The question is Why did you purchase it and what compelled you to believe in the project enough to spend your hard earned dollars? Let’s dive into that question and further explore several observations I have made over the past few years as the NFT market has continued to expand.

  • FOMO – The common abbreviation for Fear Of Missing Out. If you FOMO’d into an NFT project hoping you would find the next Bored Ape Yacht Club or Crypto Punk, that is NOT the right reason! You would probably do better driving down to the gas station and dropping $50 on a Powerball ticket. So what should you look for?
  • The Art – Do you actually like the artwork the project is creating? If you are a collector of digital art and you believe in the future of NFT’s you should be watching the top artists in the genre including Beeple, Pak, TylerXHobbs, Fewocious, and XCopy just to name a few. If you’re like most of us and you can’t afford to drop millions on a piece from one of the aforementioned, than find something You like for your own reasons. If you are solely focused on finding something you can buy low and sell high, it’s just not that simple. Buy what you like!

What should you look for if you want to invest in a strong NFT project? In no specific order here are the 5 top things I look for before I invest; 1) Community 2) Purpose 3) Utility 4) Vision 5) Value. If a project satisfies what I am looking for in 1 or 2 of these categories, I probably won’t invest. If it checks 3 or 4 boxes, it has my attention and I will take a serious look at it. That being said, I may have purchased one or two NFTs in the past simply because I like the art! Let’s go!


I always begin with the community because it’s the easiest, quickest place to start. Who are the people behind the project and what is their background? Are they transparent on the plan (roadmap) and are the goals realistic? Is it just a cash grab? It’s takes a lot of time, money and resources to build games and virtual communities. Web 3 will not be here in 6 months in the capacity that most of us want it to be. That’s years away. Any community that promises something too good to be true…well, it probably is!

Next, jump into the discord and spend some time monitoring the chat. Does it feel like a strong community of people who understand the vision of the project? Or is it a bunch of teens using profanity, looking to flip as soon as there is a small move in the floor price? Ask questions in the chat! If you want to understand decisions being made by the team, the team needs to answer you. I recently observed this with a project I was very invested in. The questions being asked were fair and needed responses, but instead of responding the moderators (and the management of the project) simply booted the User/s from their discord…red flag! Also not cool!

Loner Girl 1817 from the Loner Girl NFT Collection


The purpose should be crystal clear and easy to find on any projects website, linktree, or social media account. Here are a few actual examples from projects I have been in, are in now, or currently evaluating.

“Loner Girl – Women led project, featuring 10,000 original digital artworks. Supporting awareness of mental health and autism.” I happen to like the purpose and it speaks to me personally because I have a young daughter on the Autism spectrum. You should still dig deeper into the project to make sure they are following through with their purpose and learn exactly how. Are they involved with the ASD community and how? Do they give back? I am much more compelled to want to support and believe in a project when I can see that it has purpose, and bonus if it means something to me!

Snuggle Buddies An NFT project that values artwork, community, & family!” Again, just like above I happen to like the purpose of the project because as a single dad, I know the importance of community and family in my personal life. The team also has plans to launch children’s books and plush toys. How cool is that! In summary, if the project has a purpose which resonates with you, even more reason to support it.


Utility can be interchanged with the term use. It’s cool that I can use an NFT for my Personal Profile Picture (PFP) on social media, but do I really care that much? I am not a celeb, and I am not trying to prove to anyone how much money I have (or don’t have, from investing in the wrong NFT projects!). So what is utility? Simple put – What else do I get from owning this NFT? Here are some basics.

Access to a Unique Community No, I don’t mean the discord chat. By the way, I don’t have countless hours to BS in a chat room. I did that back in 1999 when AOL created chat rooms, and I thought it would be cool! It grew old fast. Access to a unique community means any or all of the following;

One on One Time with a mentor, coach or Subject Matter Expert (SME) in an area or field where I want to learn more. Example? The STIX OG Project I invested in. The project founder Nick Black has a special private chat group which is open ONLY to the holders of this NFT. We have unique, live video chat sessions where we can discuss, brainstorm and evaluate the crypto/defi/NFT market space and more. This is valuable to me because its what I do and how I make a living!

STIX OG NFT Conror McTaxEvader

Access to Special Events, Locations and Venues If you’re into NFT’s you prbably know about Vee Friends, the NFTs created by social media influencer and motivational figure Gary Vee. Holders of his Vee Friends NFTs receive special access to his programs, as well as free admission to his live speaking engagements around the world and so much more. It’s a ticket to learn, grow and earn…so much more than just a cool jpeg. Same thing with a project I am in now with entrepreneur and social media influencer Tai Lopez. Holders of his different NFT’s (and different levels) enjoy special perks ONLY available to NFT holders including live events and more. Tai even has an OG Hotel, Restaurant, and Club Membership card which provides the holders with guaranteed access to unique hard-to-get-into restaurants, night clubs and more! This week is Bitcoin 2022 in Miami – What’s my ticket to enter? The BTC Miami 2022 NFT I purchased! In summary, the utility of an NFT can have a huge impact on the present and future value of a project.

Vision Much like the purpose, the Vision of the Project should be easy to find and clear to understand. Most projects have the Vision explained on their website or linktree as their road map. Simply put, where do we intend to go and how will we get there?

The vision for a project is no different than your own personal life in that you make plans for where you want to go an how you want to get there. If you want to become a VP at your company, you make a plan to work hard, exceed quota, communicate clearly with the management and set goals. Once you establish your plan, you work to achieve the measurable goals and adjust your plan along the way as means of reaching your objective.

A clear vision should define the tasks needed in order to get the Project (NOT the founders!) to the finish line, as well as a realistic time line for reaching the goal. If a project has no vision, it tells me they have no idea where they want to go much less how to get there! I don’t really want to cry about the bad decisions I have made in projects which did not work, but I can unequivocally share that ALL of them lacked a clear vision for the future of the project.

Value Value is one of the more personal and nuanced factors because to assess because what has value to me could mean little or nothing to you. Let’s look at this.

I happen to enjoy nice cars and Porsche has always been my favorite since I was young. I don’t know that Porsche has come out with NFT’s yet (but if they want to, ping me!) but if holders of Porsche NFTs had special utility like access to the Porsche Club of America, track events, discounts, promo gear, etc. I would buy one! While this may seem like utility, it’s not the same because value can be viewed differently by everyone. To me, it would have tremendous value.

Other aspects of value can be time value and intrinsic value. Most NFT buyers and traders want to look at the intrinsic value meaning if I buy this NOW, how much is it worth and will someone want to pay me more or less than what I paid? It is a risky proposition since nobody has a crystal ball and can accurately predict this. That’s where time value comes into play and buyers try to evaluate if I buy this today, what will it be with 3, 6, 9 or 12 months? If you were LUCKY enough (yes, it was only luck!) to mint an NFT which became one of the super rare highly valuable projects, congrats! 99% of the projects are NOT like that! You got lucky.

How can you evaluate the value to you in an NFT if you believe in the 1) Community 2) Purpose 3) Utility 4) Vision 5) Value? If it’s a newly created project with little to no volume or history, the first thing to look at is Rarity. Any collection launched will have a limited number of pieces ranging from small (500) to large (10,000 or more). Most discord servers will tell their community where to check the rarity of a piece within a project. I like Rarity Tools but there are many sites and too many projects to be listed on each rarity site. A general rule of thumb for me has been the more more rare pieces, the more they will, over time, become more desirable as the project grows and matures. If you are willing to put in the time and effort, you just might be able to find a rarer piece for a fair value! I got lucky when I found this Paradise Trippie which ranked #136 out of 10,000 pieces and it was listed for far less than what it should have been worth!

Paradise Trippie #533, Ranked #136/10,000 in rarity

As the NFT market matures over the coming weeks, months and years, check back here for more insight. If you have a question about a project you’re interested in, hit me up on social media! Good luck you degenerate gamblers!

What is Web 3.0? Metaverse?

What is Web 3.0 or the Metaverse? Sure, you’ve probably already heard that Facebook changed it’s name to “Meta”, but what does that really mean?

In order to understand this concept, let’s take a quick look at the history of the internet or the world wide web! The nascent days of the internet were basically from the early 90’s until the early 2000’s, as we watched the start of email (my first email account was !!) and the creation of the first web sites. These sites were basicly static pages which contained information, but not yet e-commerce capabilities. This is referred to now as Web 1.0.

As the internet developed, along with bandwidth access speeds, applications, and services, we watched the evolution and migration towards Web 2.0. In fact, we are still in the Web 2.0 stage today! This included a new world of user-created content (social media) and blogs, as well as the idea of the Web as a platform.

While some industry titans like Elon Musk believe Web 3.0 is simply a buzzword, most of the crypto/defi/blockchain world is ready to prove him wrong! So What is Web 3.0? It is the next iteration of the world wide web which utilizes the underlying technology of the blockchain to provide users with a truly decentralized access to technology vs the centralized (stored and controlled) system in Web 2.0.

To take an excerpt from a recent Forbes article…”Web 3.0’s decentralized blockchain protocol will enable individuals to connect to an internet where they can own and be properly compensated for their time and data, eclipsing an exploitative and unjust web, where giant, centralized repositories are the only ones that own and profit from it.”

How does this definition compare to the Metaverse? Well, the metaverse is an extension of Web 3.0 creating a virtual world, or worlds, where the users can participate in the virtual world through the use of virtual and augmented reality headsets. While most of you think this means gaming or shopping, it’s so much more.

Let’s look at what happened during the Covid pandemic. Many people in the world learned that they could continue productive employment from the comforts of home. Zoom became an verb just like the word Google where daily lives transformed from the office to the couch, kitchen table, or backyard! Now imagine several years in the future where instead of commuting for an hour to the office, you simply slip on your headset, fire up your computer, and walk into the office (virtually!) to participate in your first meeting of the day with your other colleagues whom are already in the room! You take turns providing updates on recent product changes and sales, and then the Manager shows a five minute presentation about upcoming new product launches and sales objectives. Anything you can imagine in the course of your daily life can be transformed to the Metaverse world of the Web 3.0!

Does that apply to manufacturing, the service industry (restaurants and bars, etc.)? Of course not! But is has been estimated that the inclusion of Artificial Intelligence (AI) into the development of Web 3.0 will have a dramatic increase in the efficiency of Web 3.0 rollout compared to Web 2.0 (we are about 20 years into Web 2.0). So, if Moore’s Law** is accurate ((**Moore’s Law states (in layman’s terms) that the computing power of chips and processors will increase very couple of years, and we will pay less for them)) is it reasonable to expect a functional transition to Web 3.0 in 10 years?

Bringing artificial intelligence and natural language processing together with Web 3.0, businesses of all sizes across the globe can use this powerful combination to give their customers faster and more relevant results. Stay tuned if you want to learn more about AI!

What is Cardano?

Cardano is a Proof-of-Stake Blockchain platform

Cardano (ADA) is a third-generation, decentralized proof-of-stake (PoS) blockchain platform designed to be a more efficient alternative to proof-of-work (PoW) networks. Scalability, interoperability, and sustainability on PoW networks like Ethereum are limited by the infrastructure burden of growing costs, energy use, and slow transaction times.

Yes, Cardano is a form of cryptocurrency. It can be purchased on most crypto exchanges. When evaluating the use of crytpo and the underlying technology, I like to first understand What does it do, and What is it used for? Like most crypto, ADA can be used to true peer-to-peer transactions where there is no use of a middleman (a credit card, a bank card, etc. all act as a middleman, and collect a fee for the service they provide).

Cardano is an ambitious project, and there are many potential uses for its technology across a variety of industries.

For a current, real-world example, we have Cardano’s partnership with the Ethiopian Ministry of Education. Cardano’s blockchain will store tamper-proof records for five million Ethiopian students. When those students pursue higher education and jobs, they’ll have their records and achievements available on the blockchain.

Here are other use cases for Cardano in different sectors:

  • Health care: Cardano’s blockchain can authenticate pharmaceutical products to avoid the risk of buying counterfeit medications.
  • Finance: Cardano can be used in developing countries as a record of people’s identities and to demonstrate their creditworthiness.
  • Agriculture: Blockchain technology can provide reliable supply chain tracking for farmers, hauliers, and merchants.

Charles Hoskinson, the co-founder of the proof-of-work (PoW) blockchain Ethereum, understood the implications of these challenges to blockchain networks, and began developing Cardano and its primary cryptocurrency, ada, in 2015, launching the platform and the ada token in 2017

The Cardano platform runs on the Ouroboros consensus protocol. Ouroboros, created by Cardano in its foundation phase, is the first PoS protocol that not only was proved to be secure, but also was the first to be informed by scholarly academic research. Each development phase, or era, in the Cardano roadmap is anchored by the research-based framework, incorporating peer-reviewed insights with evidence-based methods to make progress toward and achieve the milestones related to the future directions of the use applications of both the blockchain network and the ada token.

As of the writing of this, 73% of the Cardano token supply is staked* (see my prior post on staking). The total circulating supply of ADA is only 33.26 billion coins, meaning that only less than 10 billion are not staked.

Ouroboros is the first peer-reviewed, verifiably secure blockchain protocol, and Cardano is the first blockchain to implement it. Ouroboros enables the Cardano network’s decentralization, and allows it to sustainably scale to global requirements without, crucially, compromising security.

The protocol is the culmination of tireless effort, building on foundational research, and is propelled by a vision for more secure and transparent global payment systems, and a means to redistribute, more fairly, power and control.

Remember, Cardano is a software platform ONLY and does not conduct any independent diligence on, or substantive review of, any blockchain asset, digital currency, cryptocurrency or associated funds. You are fully and solely responsible for evaluating your investments, for determining whether you will exchange blockchain assets based on your own judgement, and for all your decisions as to whether to exchange blockchain assets with Cardano. In many cases, blockchain assets you exchange on the basis of your research may not increase in value, and may decrease in value. Similarly, blockchain assets you exchange on the basis of your research may fall or rise in value after your exchange.

Past performance is not indicative of future results. Any investment in blockchain assets involves the risk of loss of part or all of your investment. The value of the blockchain assets you exchange is subject to market and other investment risks

If you would like to read more about Cardano, click this link.

What is Crypto Staking?

What is staking? Image Credit Motley Fools

If you’re a crypto investor, or just starting out in crypto, staking is a concept you’ll hear about often. Staking is the way many cryptocurrencies verify their transactions, and it also allows participants to earn rewards on their holdings.

But what is crypto staking? Staking cryptocurrencies is a process that involves committing your crypto assets to support a blockchain network and confirm transactions.

It’s available with cryptocurrencies that use the proof-of-stake model to process payments. This is a more energy-efficient alternative to the original proof-of-work model. Proof of work requires mining devices that use computing power to solve mathematical equations.

Staking can be a great way to use your crypto to generate passive income, especially because some cryptocurrencies offer high interest rates for staking. Before you get started, it’s important to fully understand how crypto staking works.

With cryptocurrencies that use the proof-of-stake model, staking is how new transactions are added to the blockchain.

First, participants pledge their coins to the cryptocurrency protocol. From those participants, the protocol chooses validators to confirm blocks of transactions. The more coins you pledge, the more likely you are to be chosen as a validator.

Every time a block is added to the blockchain, new cryptocurrency coins are minted and distributed as staking rewards to that block’s validator. In most cases, the rewards are the same type of cryptocurrency that participants are staking. However, some blockchains use a different type of cryptocurrency for rewards.

If you want to stake crypto, you need to own a cryptocurrency that uses the proof-of-stake model. Then you can choose the amount you want to stake. You can do this through many popular cryptocurrency exchanges.

Your coins are still in your possession when you stake them. You’re essentially putting those staked coins to work, and you’re free to unstake them later if you want to trade them. The unstaking process may not be immediate; with some cryptocurrencies, you’re required to stake coins for a minimum amount of time.

Staking isn’t an option with all types of cryptocurrency. It’s only available with cryptocurrencies that use the proof-of-stake model.

Many cryptos use the proof-of-work model to add blocks to their blockchains. The problem with proof of work is that it requires considerable computing power. That has led to significant energy usage from cryptocurrencies that use proof of work. Bitcoin in particular has been criticized over environmental concerns.

Proof of stake, on the other hand, doesn’t require nearly as much energy. This also makes it a more scalable option that can handle greater numbers of transactions.

How to Stake

As previously noted, not all cryptocurrencies offer staking. You need a cryptocurrency that validates transactions with proof of stake. Here are a few of the major cryptocurrencies you can stake and a little bit about each one:

  • Ethereum was the first cryptocurrency with a programmable blockchain that developers can use to create apps. Ethereum started out using proof of work, but it’s transitioning to a proof-of-stake model.
  • Cardano is an eco-friendly cryptocurrency. It was founded on peer-reviewed research and developed through evidence-based methods.
  • Polkadot is a protocol that allows different blockchains to connect and work with one another.

Start by learning more about any proof-of-stake cryptos that catch your eye, including how they work, their staking rewards, and the staking process with each one. Next, you can look for the crypto you want and buy it on cryptocurrency apps and exchanges. More on that topic will be coming soon!

Where to Stake?

Many of the cryptocurrency websites support staking directly through their site. You can also conduct research online, and find the most reputable sites and staking opportunities with the least amount of risk compared to the reward you are seeking. One example is a site called Looks Rare. Looks Rare is an NFT trading platform that, as of the time of this article, provides over 200% interest paid in WETH (Wrapped Ethereum) and their own tokens called LOOKS. (This is NOT an endorsement of Looks Rare*)

What is Bitcoin and Ethereum?

Bitcoin is the first massively adopted cryptocurrency getting most of the attention and dominating other cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin was born in 2008 when an unknown person or group of people named Satoshi Nakamoto published the Bitcoin whitepaper.

Since then, many other cryptocurrency systems (including many in the rest of this list) have considered Bitcoin as a model and created other kinds of cryptocurrencies based on the same concept and open-source computer code (in fact, if you want to, you can also take Bitcoin’s code and build your own cryptocurrency, you can find all of the code on GitHub).

On January 12, 2009, Satoshi Nakamoto performed the first Bitcoin (BTC) transaction by sending 10 BTC to a coder named Hal Finney.

By 2010, Nakamoto disappeared along with an estimated one million BTC. Bitcoin’s development and maintenance was taken over by the Bitcoin Foundation in 2012. Since then, and over the last ten years, the bitcoin price has continued to rise.

Why are people investing in Bitcoin?

  • Bitcoin is a globally accessible digital store of value.
  • People also use bitcoin as a currency. Today, more than 100,000 online merchants make transactions using bitcoin (BTC).
  • People buy bitcoin for the same reasons that investors buy gold or stocks — as a speculative investment with the expectation that the price will rise in the future.
  • Bitcoin is even used to collateralize other kinds of financial transactions. The programmable features of Bitcoin (like its multi-sig contracts) make it a perfect platform to build universal and cost-effective financial products and services.

What is Ethereum?

Ethereum, or the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), is an attempt to build a new version of the internet. Rather than centralized hubs (or private companies) that control massive troves of personal data, Ethereum is designed to create more decentralized information networks enabled by a series of distributed nodes and Ethereum wallets.

The idea for Ethereum was developed in 2013 by Vitalik Buterin, who at the time was a computer programmer and contributor to Bitcoin Magazine. He was advocating for more functionality on the Bitcoin blockchain to make it easier for developers to build applications.

When his plan was met with resistance from the bitcoin community, he developed the framework for Ethereum, created a team, and published the Ethereum whitepaper. After a pre-sale to raise money to fund the development of the Ethereum Virtual Machine, the network went live on July 30, 2015.

If the internet is like a vast highway, then the current system has few on- and off-ramps. These existing ramps are also controlled by a toll of sorts, which either exists as actual fees or costs that require users to pay in the form of surrendering personal or financial data.

The goal of a decentralized internet is to give people control over their information, enable censorship-resistant technologies (these range from financial applications outside of corporations or governments, to better election technologies, to forms of gaming and data storage that aren’t stored on centralized servers), and remove the need/cost of third parties.

A decentralized internet replaces large, centralized gatekeepers that control the flow of information, with internet operating infrastructure that is spread all over the world. In other words, a decentralized internet provides many more on-ramps and off-ramps, which makes the internet more secure and more democratic.

Ethereum helps accomplish the vision of decentralized computing in two ways. The first way is to create a distributed system of nodes, which happens anytime a computer or miner joins the Ethereum blockchain — and anyone, with sufficient computing power, can become a node, which makes Ethereum a permissionless blockchain.

A node is any machine that contains a copy of the blockchain. The more nodes that exist, the more resilient Ethereum becomes to security breaches and outages.

A wide distribution of the network makes it possible for developers to build decentralized applications using open-source smart contracts, which is the second way that Ethereum is enabling digital decentralization. A smart contract is basically a computer program that executes a transaction after a series of requirements are met. Most Ethereum apps are written using the Solidity language (there are also other Ethereum-specific languages).*

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