How You Can Make Online Payments with Cryptocurrency

Accepting cryptocurrency payments continues to grow in popularity, but not everyone understands how it works. If you are a business owner and are considering accepting cryptocurrency payments but don’t know where to start, this guide is for you. Read on to learn more about the process of using crypto for online transactions, as well as its benefits and risks.  

How Paying with Cryptocurrency Works 

The process of using cryptocurrency for online payments is as easy as sending and receiving money from a bank account, but it also depends on the crypto platform you choose.  

Setting Up Your Crypto Wallet 

Acquiring cryptocurrency does not necessarily require you to create an account with a company, institution, or other entity. It is, however, easier when you do, especially when you’re unfamiliar with how to set up a crypto wallet.  

If you set up an account with a crypto exchange, you can swap your crypto for cash. Plus, you can also enjoy other features, such as contacting support when you experience issues.  

The only way you can process an online payment using crypto is if you have a wallet set up. You then generate a QR code that links to your wallet and give the code to your customer. They scan the QR code and enter their access key, which acts as a sort of password, and the transaction appears on the blockchain.  

Your wallet is not required to store crypto at all times. You can just use it as a key for making online transactions. Think of it as the email address you should input when sending and receiving crypto payments.  

There are several types of wallets available, and each has its own features. However, not all wallets are compatible with all crypto.  

Sending and Receiving Crypto Payments 

After acquiring a wallet, you can use it to make online crypto payments. In general, you can follow a step-by-step process when sending payments: 

  1. Open your mobile wallet application 
  1. Click the Send Payment button 
  1. Enter the corresponding amount  
  1. Enter the recipient’s wallet address or scan the QR code 
  1. Finish the transaction by clicking the Send button 

Conversely, you can follow this for receiving payments: 

  1. Open your mobile wallet application 
  1. Click the Receive Payment button 
  1. Click the Share Address button 
  1. Accept the payment that appears 

Where Crypto Payments Are Accepted 

Cryptocurrency is growing and changing, and today, many big platforms accept it for online transactions. Most companies that allow crypto payments utilize cryptocurrency payment gateways, which are payment service providers that ensure no price slippage occurs. (Price slippage is the price difference between a crypto’s quoted price and paid cost.) These gateways achieve this by guaranteeing real-time cryptocurrency-to-cash conversion.  

Notable businesses that accept crypto payments include PayPal, Microsoft, Newegg, Starbucks, AT&T, and AMC Theaters.  

The Pros of Using Crypto for Online Payments 

1. Enhanced Payment Security 

Frauds related to transactions made through debit and credit cards are on the rise. More often than not, small businesses are the primary target. Today, more professionals believe cryptocurrency is a safer way of making online transactions.  

For starters, there’s no third-party verification needed. Because no data is stored with crypto, it cannot be breached. Instead, the crypto wallet stores all information collected.  

There’s also the blockchain general ledger. It verifies and records all transactions, and because of its security, it’s almost impossible for bad actors to commit fraud and steal another individual’s identity.  

2. Lower Fees 

Transaction fees are common among online merchants. For instance, PayPal charges 4 percent for every fiat transaction, but it charges a flat fee for cryptocurrency transactions, as low as $0.49.  

Overseas customers can also avoid paying international currency fees when using crypto because crypto is not linked with any national bank or country.  

The Cons of Using Crypto for Online Payments 

1. It Can Still Be Risky 

While crypto is immune from inflation, its value remains volatile and unpredictable. This unpredictability makes most business owners hesitant about utilizing it for online payments.  

2. They Are Not Exempt from Tax 

Cryptocurrency payments are reported as gross income. These are based on fair market value during the time these payments are received.  

Every time you use crypto in buying or selling, it’s subject to capital gains tax. And according to the IRS, it’s important you keep track of the crypto’s value during the day you received and sold it. If you’re receiving multiple crypto transactions daily, this can get complicated.  

3. Crypto Transactions Are Irreversible 

All cryptocurrency payments are permanent. When customers ask for refunds, it’s your duty as a business owner to keep track of all your records and identify the crypto’s corresponding value.  

This can cause inefficiencies and additional work for your business staff, especially when you need to issue several refunds.  

They Are Unregulated  

After completing an online transaction using crypto, the blockchain locks it. As mentioned, every purchase made is permanent and cannot be undone. Cryptocurrencies are also not backed, regulated, or guaranteed. If you experience scams or fraud, there’s no guarantee you can get your money back.  

A Five-Step Guide to Retirement Planning

As you grow older, your needs and responsibilities increase. One of those responsibilities is saving enough money to enjoy your golden years.

If you’re starting to think about building up a nest egg and saving for retirement, this guide is for you. Here’s a five-step guide to retirement planning in 2022.

How Much is the Best Amount for Retirement?

Before delving into the five steps to plan for retirement, it’s important to get an idea of how much money you’re actually going to need once you stop working.

Knowing how much you should save for retirement involves thinking about the following factors:

  • Housing costs like mortgage, rent, heating and cooling, and maintenance
  • Health-care costs, including retirement medical expenses and potential long-term care costs
  • Day-to-day needs, such as transportation, clothing, and food
  • Your entertainment, such as movies, theatrical plays, shopping, and restaurants
  • Travel costs, including hotels, flights, or gas for day trips
  • Life insurance (if you have it)

Of course, there’s no right or wrong amount to save for retirement. But, some financial experts revealed that individuals need roughly $1 million to $2 million. Other advisors recommend saving more than 80 to 90 percent of your pre-retirement income.

Just remember that these are only guides. Your particular situation could require more or less cash for your golden years.

The Five Steps to Successful Retirement

No matter how much you decide to save, the end goal is the same: to have enough money to sustain your way of living.

That said, let’s dive deeper into the five essential steps to successful retirement planning.

Step 1: Think About When to Start Saving for Retirement

The first thing to think about when saving for retirement is when to start saving up. Much like with how much to save, there’s no right answer to when you should start saving.

But, the sooner you start, the more time you’ll have to build up a nice nest egg that can get you through your golden years. The power of tax deferred compounding over time argues for an earlier start to your retirement planning efforts.

However, even if you don’t start planning early, it’s never too late to start. The key is to simply find a jumping off point and to make a plan that will help you continually maintain your savings.

Step 2: Think About Your Lifestyle

The exact amount of money you’ll need for retirement depends on your lifestyle, needs, and responsibilities.

The amount you need is the relationship between your expenses and your current income. For instance, let’s say you typically spend $2,000 a month on your current lifestyle. You’re going to want about that same amount in retirement, as well.

Make a clear outline of what your monthly expenses are and how much you’ll need to sustain them. That way, you can come up with a clear plan for what you’ll need in the future.

Step 3: Prioritize Your Financial Goals

It’s normal to have various financial goals aside from setting up retirement funds. If you have more than one, you’ll need to know how to prioritize them even as you save up a nest egg.

Financial goals can include the following:

  • Paying off credit card debt
  • Paying off student loans
  • Setting up emergency funds
  • Paying off a mortgage

Once again, you’ll need to sit down and budget out how much cash you want to put toward each expense. That way, you’ll be able to continue meeting your current financial goals even as you save for your golden years.

Step 4: Research Various Retirement Plans

Another crucial step to retiring is knowing the best retirement plan for your needs. There are tons of different plans out there, and each one works a bit differently.

Choosing the right retirement plan really depends on your situation. For instance, if you have any kind of employer retirement plan such as a 401(k), you can always start there. But if you don’t have one, consider opening a new account for retirement.

As you choose a retirement plan, look for the different advantages and tax incentives. These can help you pick a plan that will help you get the maximum savings.

A few retirement plan options you can check out are:

  • Traditional or self-directed IRA
  • Roth IRA
  • Solo 401 (k)
  • 401k or 403B

Step 5: Create a Varied Portfolio of Retirement Investments

Once you have set up a retirement account, it’s time to choose a good blend of investments. These can include mutual funds, bonds, stocks, real estate, or commodities.

These types of investments can serve as supplemental income to your retirement fund. They can be a great way to help you gather additional funds that survive market fluctuations and inflation, and provide you with a livable income once you retire.

Retirement investments don’t need your constant babysitting. You can always start with low-cost mutual funds when managing your retirement funds. Plus, you can also hire a professional financial planner to make things easier.

Final Thoughts

Planning for retirement at an early age is the best way to enjoy your life as you age. It also makes you more carefree about spending your money and fulfilling your goals. Modern retirements can last for 25-35 years or so. It is important to not underestimate how much money you may need to accumulate for that potentially long retirement period.

With these five steps, you can start setting aside enough cash to support your lifestyle once you’re ready to retire.

The 4% Rule for Retirement: What Is It and How to Use It

Retirement is an exciting prospect until the time comes for you to consider saving and having adequate financial funds that last as long as you do!

How much do you have for your future? How should you spend and save your money? These are all essential questions when thinking about your retirement fund.

A good rule of thumb to follow when preparing for retirement is the 4% distribution rule. What is it, and how does it work? Let’s discover all about it in this guide.

The 4% Retirement Rule Explained

The 4% retirement rule helps dictate how much you can withdraw and spend annually from your retirement savings. There are of course nuances to this rule, but it helps maintain a sustainable account balance for the years after your retirement.

According to this rule, you can withdraw as much as 4% of your total savings during your first year of retirement – for the succeeding years, you simply adjust depending on inflation.

Background on the 4% Rule

Let’s look at a brief history of the 4% rule. It all started with a Southern Californian financial adviser, Bill Bengen. He created this concept during the mid-1990s using historical data from his bond and stock returns which he collected over a 50-year duration.

Bill Bengen also utilized data from severe market downturns which happened during the 1930s and 1970s. According to him, withdrawing 4% annually from a retirement funds is a safe amount to tryto cover all your expenses.

How Bengen Tested the 4% Rule

Bengen used retirement data from 1926 through 1976. He analyzed the withdrawals made every year and observed the rebalancing of the portfolio in question.

Bengen also examined the longevity of these portfolios. He checked whether someone’s portfolio who retired in 1926 lasted until 1976.

From the results, he discovered that withdrawing 4% initially can help portfolios last for fifty years. For those that did not, the portfolios can still last for at least 35 years.

The Pros and Cons of the 4% Rule

The 4% rule is not a guaranteed regulation that ensures your retirement funds will last forever, but it’s a great suggestion, especially when you want to keep your savings steady.

The rule is easy to follow, and if it really is successful for you, it might protect you from experiencing a funds shortage during your retirement.

As mentioned, it’s not guaranteed, and there are also risks you must be aware of. For instance, the rule is a somewhat dated recommendation. It factored in past market trends, so it’s not 100% certain that it could predict what happens in the future.

Remember that change is constant, and the world continues to evolve. The strategies that worked in the past might not work in the future, especially if market trends and conditions change. For example, bond yields fell very significantly after the 2008/2009 market crash, and the Federal Reserve kept interest rates artificially low for the next 12 years, so that a 4% withdrawal rate on a portfolio that included a good amount of bonds would not have worked too well-you would have eaten up too much of your capital base. The “safe” withdrawal rate for that period of time was more like 2.8%–not 4%!

Moreover, the 4% rule does not include taxes. Let’s say you’re withdrawing $4,000 from your IRA. You must remember that you must also pay state and federal taxes on top of the $4,000. After paying taxes, you are left with a lower amount for spending.

Another possible risk is the mix of investments. The success of the 4% rule also depends on your savings investments. It assumes that you have at least 50% stocks, including a mix of diverse stock index funds.

If you have that kind of mix, then your return can match the overall market, but if your portfolio has a different set-up, you may have a different rate of return. This means you could have a higher or lower amount for withdrawal.

Another disadvantage of the 4% rule is that you need to strictly adhere to it for the entire year. If you violate it and splurge, this can result in various consequences and reduce your principal.

Is Using the 4% Rule Recommended?

If you want a simple guideline to use for your retirement funds, the 4% rule is good enough, but it’s not the best system for everyone. You should consider the following factors:

  • The kinds of investments you own
  • All your sources of income
  • How long you’ll live
  • The tax rate you receive after retiring
  • The rate of inflation

Don’t forget that your needs might also change every year, especially when you stop working. There is no guarantee that you’ll withdraw the same amount for consecutive years.

Also, by the time you reach 72 years old, the 4% becomes even more useless. It’s the time when you start withdrawing from IRAs or your required minimum distributions (RMDs).

Your RMDs are calculated using a formula requiring you to withdraw more than 4% as you age.

Alternatives to the 4% Rule

If you want more dynamic retirement planning schemes than the 4% rule, you have a wide range of options.

For starters, Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research created a system basing your annual retirement withdrawals on the minimum distribution tables from RMD.

So how does the system work? Your account balance is divided by the distribution period corresponding to your age in the proposed table. This will tell you how much you can withdraw each year.

The Center for Retirement Research calculated a safe 3.13% withdrawal when you reach 65 and a 15.67% withdrawal by the time you reach 100.

Like the 4% rule, there are also risks of changing market conditions in following this rule. Plus, it limits your withdrawals when you’re younger. This means it might be hard to follow when you tend to spend more, but this alternative is more flexible because you can spend earned dividends and interest on top of the recommended percentages.

Another great approach is talking to a financial advisor who is certified in retirement income planning. You can share your savings plans for retirement and your ideal spending habits. An experienced advisor can help you determine the best amount to spend and save every year.

The Bottom Line

The 4% rule was created in the past, factoring in historical market trends and performance. While it can be a good guideline to start saving during retirement, it does not guarantee it will last.

Developing a more personalized withdrawal strategy with professional guidance is the best way to save and plan for your retirement. Consider your investments, how you spend, and the taxes you should account for. Everything is dynamic, and your withdrawal plan should be able to adapt to the constant changes.

Spotlight – What Do You Need to Know about SEP IRAs?

A report dated 2021 created by the Pew Research Center stated that 16 million people in the US are self-employed. This means they are not eligible for a retirement plan from their employers. Thanks to SEP IRAs, self-employed individuals now have an additional savings option to boost their retirement plans. The SEP IRA has a competitive maximum contribution as well as remarkable flexibility.  

But what exactly is a SEP IRA? And how does it work? Let’s learn all about it in this guide.  

SEP IRA Explained 

The Simplified Employee Pension Individual Retirement Account, or SEP IRA, is like a traditional IRA with more perks. It’s a tax-deferred retirement plan for people who are self-employed, business owners, employers, and those who engage in freelance work. Contributions made to a SEP IRA are considered employer contributions. It’s designed for simplicity, especially when you run your own business and have no—or relatively few other employees.  

How Does a SEP IRA Work? 

SEP IRAs are excellent retirement plan options because they are flexible, low cost, and easy to set up and manage. Also, they have more generous contribution limits and tax benefits than other retirement savings vehicles. You don’t need to worry about the operating and start-up costs associated with conventional employer retirement plans.  

SEP IRAs have the same tax treatment and investment options as most traditional IRAs. Both IRAS also have similar rollover and transfer rules. Also, employers receive a tax deduction for every contribution made to an employee’s account. And the amount of contribution can be different every year.  

SEP IRA Contribution Limit 

You are allowed to stash as much as $6,000 every year into traditional IRAs. But, with a SEP IRA, you can invest more than 10 times that amount. Just be aware that SEP IRAs also have annual contribution limits. You cannot exceed 25 percent of compensation, or $58,000 in 2021 and over $61,000 in 2022. Contributions must be identical percentages for all recipients/employees. 

Advantages of a SEP IRA 

SEP IRAs are very convenient for the employer. Everything is simple, easy to set up, and easy-to-navigate. Every contribution is tax-deductible for the employer, and it’s flexible. No commitment to a specific yearly contribution amount is needed.  

Disadvantages of a SEP IRA 

SEP IRAs have various disadvantages which you should be aware of. Firstly, only the employer can contribute. Additionally, the SEP IRA does not have a Roth option. This means that you must pay taxes on your distributions. Additionally, once you reach the age of 72, you must take required minimum distributions ( RMDs) . However, you can convert the SEP IRA account to a ROTH IRA at any time, and thereby avoid all future taxation and all future RMDs.  

How to Start with a SEP IRA 

If a SEP IRA sounds like it might be a good move for you, you can open one pretty easily. All you have to do is follow these three steps outlined by IRS: 

1. You should have a formal written agreement. This is done by filing IRS Form 5305-SEP. If you have an account provider, or IRA custodian,  they can help you.  

2. Let your eligible employees know about your plans to apply for a SEP IRA. You can provide them with a copy of your IRS Form 5305-SEP.  

3. Create separate SEP IRA accounts for yourself and eligible employees through your chosen account provider.  

Investing Using a SEP IRA 

The investments you make in your SEP IRA account depend on your current age, your anticipated retirement age, and your risk tolerance. Before choosing your investments, you should have an idea about what your future needs will be. Most asset allocation models would suggest weighing retirement portfolios toward stocks when you’re younger. As you grow older, you can start reducing your portfolio risks. Then, it’s time to boost your income component by rebalancing.  There are almost no limits on what you can invest in, in your SEP IRA accounts. It is best to utilize the services of a professional advisor as well.  Retirement planning and asset management is generally not a do it yourself situation for most people! 

Withdrawing Money from a SEP IRA  

If you want to withdraw your contributions before you retire, that’s a possibility with this type of IRA. However, any amount you withdraw serves as taxable income. This means that you should set aside an appropriate amount based on your current marginal income tax rate. The distribution or withdrawal can also be subjected to an additional 10 percent penalty tax if you are under age 59 ½. Contacting your tax consultant is best if you’re considering withdrawing before retiring.  There are ways to avoid the 10% early withdrawal penalty with proper planning as well. 

Alternatives to a SEP IRA  

While a SEP IRA is an excellent option for people who are self-employed, it’s nice to look at the following alternatives: 

SIMPLE IRA: Ideal when you’re a small business owner with fewer than 100 employees. 

Defined Benefit Plan: This plan locks you into minimum annual funding regardless of market performance. 

Solo 401(k): Great for flexible and tax-deductible contributions. However, it comes with more maintenance and set-up fees than other options. 

Profit Sharing Plan: A plan that lets you contribute when and how much you want. 

The Bottom Line 

A SEP IRA is ideal for self-employed individuals looking for tax-advantaged retirement savings vehicles. This unique IRA allows you to contribute significant amounts every year. You can watch your savings grow, tax-deferred. Carefully weigh the factors and decide whether an SEP-IRA might be the right choice for you. 

Robert M. Ryerson and Louis R. Terrero of New Century Planning Associates Earn The NSSA® Advisor Certification

New Century Planning Associates, Inc. is proud to announce that Robert M. Ryerson RICP and Louis R. Terrero CPA, have received the prestigious National Social Security Advisor certificate from the National Social Security Association LLC in Cincinnati.  This certificate means New Century Planning Associates has even more expertise to help retirees select the best time to access social security benefits.

What Is the Best Way to Use Roth IRAs to Save for Retirement?

As young investors, saving for retirement is one of the best ways to achieve financial freedom down the road. One way to save for retirement is through a Roth IRA. Roth IRAs are retirement savings vehicles in which your contributions grow tax-free. They provide various benefits, especially for low- to middle-class investors.  

Here’s what to know about Roth IRAs and using them to save for retirement. 

What Is a Roth IRA?  

A Roth IRA is an individual retirement account where you can grow your money tax-free. You fund a Roth IRA with after-tax dollars. This means the money you put into your account has already had taxes paid on it.  

Moreover, withdrawals are also tax-free. This means that every penny you invest goes straight to your pocket. Roth IRA funds are very flexible, and you can invest in any security—including mutual funds, stocks, bonds, and EFTs, cryptos and precious metals. The current notable exceptions are collectibles and life insurance.  

You must also be aware that a Roth IRA is different from a savings account. It’s still an investment portfolio, so it comes with various risks, such as losing the money you put into it.  However, you can also open a ROTH IRA at a bank and buy a no risk CD or money market investment.  

How Does a Roth IRA Work? 

Roth IRAs work by letting you deposit some of your post tax, earned income into the account. This way, you allow your funds to grow and withdraw them tax-free. Roth IRAs can be funded with spousal IRA contributions, rollover contributions, regular contributions, or conversions.  

If you want to make regular contributions to your Roth IRA, they should be in cash. You cannot contribute any form of property or securities. Contribution limits are the same for Roth and traditional IRAs-up to $6,000 per year if you are under 50, and up to $7,000 per year if you are 50 or older. These limits are set by the International Revenue Service. The IRS adjusts these limits periodically, so the limits are different depending on the tax year. 

A Roth IRA has fewer restrictions than other retirement plan accounts. You can maintain your Roth IRA indefinitely, and there are no required minimum distributions. 

What Are the Qualifications for a Roth IRA? 

Anyone can contribute to traditional IRAs. But with Roth IRAs, there are a few different qualifications you have to meet to be able to contribute. For instance, you must earn a regular income to qualify for a Roth IRA. Moreover, you must be aware that income limits determine how much you can contribute. The income limits are based on your adjusted gross income and tax filing status.  

What Are the Advantages of a Roth IRA? 

Roth IRAs have various benefits as a retirement savings vehicle. These advantages include: 

– Earnings are tax-free, so you don’t need to worry about reaching a higher marginal tax bracket. 

– Penalty and tax-free withdrawal of up to $10,000 when you purchase your first home. 

– You can still contribute to a solo 401(k) even when you set up a Roth IRA. 

– Flexible contribution timing.  

– Tax-free withdrawals when you turn 59 and a half years old and have been making contributions for more than five years.  

– No minimum distributions required. 

– Contributions can be made at any age. 

What Are the Disadvantages of a Roth IRA? 

Like any retirement account plan, Roth IRAs come with disadvantages you should be aware of. Keep these in mind before committing to opening a Roth IRA of your own. These disadvantages include: 

– Contributions are not tax-deductible. 

– Contribution limits apply, depending on your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) and filing status. 

– You cannot set up Roth IRAs for your employees. 

– There are penalties for withdrawals that don’t meet the requirements set by the IRS. 

– Rollovers from a traditional IRA to a ROTH IRA require what is known as a backdoor conversion that requires a tax payment. 

What Are the Rules on Roth IRA Withdrawals? 

Roth IRA withdrawal contributions are possible anytime as long as you follow the legal guidelines. These rules prevent you from paying extra taxes or penalties. If you don’t follow the rules set by the IRS, you may need to pay extra fees. There are no additional federal taxes for withdrawing the growth on your contributions, provided you are age 59 and a half or older and have had a Roth IRA for more than five years. 

The good news is that you can withdraw your contributions to a ROTH at any time, and at any age, without penalty or taxes. This gives you much more flexibility that a traditional IRA in which any withdrawals taken before age 59 ½ will face a 10% early withdrawal penalty tax. 

Unqualified withdrawals are subjected to an extra 10 percent distribution penalty or income tax. But there are exceptions, such as adoption or childbirth expenses, medical insurance if you are unemployed, qualified expenses associated with a disability, and qualified expenses for higher education. 

How Do I Set up a Roth IRA? 

Roth IRAs can be established with IRS-approved entities, including banks, brokerage companies, loan associations, banks, and credit unions with FDIC insurance. You can create and establish a Roth IRA anytime. However, contributions for a specific tax year should be made before the tax-filing deadline. This usually happens on April 15 of the succeeding year.  

The essential primary documents you need to establish an IRA are an IRA plan document and an adoption agreement as well as an IRA disclosure statement.  These documents explain all rules and regulations regarding Roth IRA operations. These documents are generally provided free of charge by the custodian you are opening the ROTH IRA account with.  

What’s the Bottom Line? 

Deciding on the best retirement savings plan can be confusing, especially with all the options out there. The best way to decide is to weigh each option’s pros and cons, in consultation with a professional retirement planner. Roth IRAs offer flexibility and availability regardless of age. But you should also be aware of its shortcomings and areas for improvement. Still, if you understand how these accounts work, you should be able to take advantage of all the benefits they offer.  

What You Need to Know about the Promises and Pitfalls of Investing in Ethereum

If you’re new to the world of cryptocurrencies, it can be tough to fully understand crypto trends and which digital currencies are the best fit for your investing needs.

Ethereum is one of the most popular cryptocurrencies, but is it just a fad investment or will it pay off in the long term? Here’s what you need to know about Ethereum to help you make that determination for yourself:

What Is Ethereum?

Ethereum is a decentralized network based on blockchain technology. It allows fast, secure, and decentralized digital transactions. Ethereum aims to create applications that anyone can use without the need for a government to regulate them. These applications can be security programs or payment methods belonging to cryptocurrencies. 

The goal is to offer open access to digital money and information services regardless of the user’s location. Some of the most notable applications created by Ethereum are:

– Gnosis: allows users to vote on anything

– Etheria: has a lot of similarities to Minecraft, but within the Ethereum blockchains

– Bitnation: the first virtual nation in the world

– Weifound: an app for crowdfunding contracts using smart contracts

– Augur: a prediction market that rewards correct predictions

This network, which was first launched in 2015, has a native cryptocurrency known as ether, which is one of the most important and recognized currencies in this niche. Ether often has a very high price. In fact, many traders prefer to invest in ether rather than in Bitcoin precisely because of its high recognition.

Ethereum allows users to validate and confirm all the transactions that are made through these blockchains using smart contracts. These contracts operate under specific clauses and previously programmed parameters. The latest contracts are contributed by Ethereum to blockchain technology. This makes it one of the most innovative and ambitious projects in the crypto environment.

How Does Ethereum Work?

As stated above, the Ethereum cryptocurrency is ether. Participants pay a surcharge of ether referred to as “gas” in order to have their transactions processed. It’s something like the fuel of Ethereum. This means that every movement of Ethereum requires the support of ether to work.

Ethereum then works as an open-source platform based on blockchain technology with many applications beyond money systems. However, unlike Bitcoin, Ethereum has infinite tokens, and the verification of operations is much faster. The Ethereum Blockchain stores transaction histories and downloads current statuses and histories of each smart contract within the network, the balance of each user, and where it is stored.

What Are the Differences between Ethereum and Bitcoin?

Many people erroneously equate Ethereum with Bitcoin. While they are the two most popular cryptocurrencies in the digital market, they’re not the same. Let’s review some of the most important differences between the two cryptocurrencies:

Its Blockchain: The blockchain of the Ethereum network can be built on “DApps” or decentralized applications, which isn’t possible with Bitcoin.

Its Objective: The main objective of Bitcoin is to be a digital currency, similar to but distinct from fiat money, with which various kinds of purchases can be made. Ethereum seeks to execute smart contracts within the network of blockchains.

Its Audience: Bitcoin may be more famous than Ethereum, but the latter is used for a wider range of tasks.

Its Scope: As Bitcoin becomes more embedded into our daily lives, and it aims to operate as a digital currency, it’s now beginning to be accepted by some payments processors worldwide. For its part, ether is accepted only for transactions involving digital applications on the Ethereum network and others that use its blockchain technology.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Investing in Ethereum?

Ethereum is a very new and disruptive technology with a wide range of applications in the world of digital investments. As a result, it’s caught the attention of the public. Although the future of this cryptocurrency is uncertain, many experts believe that in the long run, Ethereum will completely change the way the Internet and financial services and industries function.

With that in mind, you might be unsure as to whether investing in Ethereum is a smart choice. Here are a few pros and cons to help you make the right decision for your goals and circumstances:

On the plus side, as Ethereum increases in value, the popularity and solidity of its currency increases. Additionally, Ethereum solves problems rather than just making digital transactions, offering new methods of communication and the development of direct solutions. Finally, given the attractiveness and increasing ubiquity of cryptocurrencies in financial hubs around the world, Ethereum has the advantage of years of experience carrying out intelligent transactions.

However, when deciding whether to invest in Ethereum, consider the volatility and high price that can make it both risky and rewarding. For example, Ethereum tokens had an incredibly run from the $133 level in mid March of 2020, to a high of over $4,812 only 20 months later, on 11/7/21!  That means a $10,000 investment grew to over $360,000 in less than 2 years!  Conversely, Ethereum crashed from that $4,800 level all the way back down to $1,010 on June 30, 2022—a 79% decline in only 8 months!! You need to have both patience and tolerance for failure. Remember that investments should preferably be made with capital that isn’t needed in the short or medium term. Additionally, the transactions and other operations carried out on the blockchain are definitive and irreversible. So, if you make an erroneous transfer, it could be difficult or impossible to recover the money.

Are You Ready to Invest in Ethereum?

This new but promising technology has very striking technological advancements and initiatives. There is the potential for strong digital investments and safe and private services within the world of cryptocurrencies. If you’re interested in investing in digital currency, Ether is one to consider. Keep an eye on this currency as it continues to transform the way we see and use crypto today.

RoboApe (RBA): What You Need to Know about the Fun and Functional Community Meme Coin

As hard as it is to believe, the cryptocurrency market only gained traction in 2019. And since then, the number of people attracted to the blockchain’s cryptocurrency trade has continued to increase. As with investing generally, one of the potentially most profitable trading strategies on the crypto market is a long-term approach. Because of this, most investors continue to search for opportunities to get in on the ground floor of the next unicorn. This can help diversify their investments.

RoboApe is a cryptocurrency that many investors are turning to. Let’s take a deeper look at what you should know about this new digital currency. 

About RoboApe

RoboApe, a meme token project, is built on the Ethereum blockchain. This token utilizes the ERC-20 standard and contains the ticker RBA. RoboApe is community driven. The new cryptocurrency project aims to improve the Ethereum’s current mechanics and operations. There are also no monetization methods or team incentives with RoboApe. This helps prevent team members from gaining full control of RoboApe’s governance.

The Ecosystem 

Like other blockchain projects, RoboApe also has an ecosystem. And the main goal of its ecosystem is to have a unique meme token utility that provides benefits to the holders. This ecosystem offers more incentives for investors to credit, lend, and liquidize assets. 

RoboApe has a decentralized community. This means there is no leadership. This helps promote good community governance and camaraderie. Because of its decentralized community, RoboApe enables everyone to buy and earn their places in the ecosystem. The following are the features of the RoboApe ecosystem:

RoboApe DAO – promotes a community-driven ecosystem

RoboApe Academy – teaches users how the coin market works to the users

RoboApe Finance – includes the RBA token and financial opportunities

RoboApe NFT Marketplace – for switching and improving your gaming experience

How RoboApe Works

RoboApe is equipped with a built-in burning mechanism. Users are charged a transaction fee each time they utilize its platform for a trade. The fee is split in half, with half being “burned” and the remaining half going to the RBA holders. The built-in burning mechanism gives long-term holders the opportunity to be rewarded for the RoboApe crypto. 

The RoboApe token works like other Ethereum tokens using the ERC-20 standard on the blockchain. Because of this, you can store RBA tokens within any of a number of compatible wallets. You can even use them in various decentralized finance protocols. 

RoboApe Features

As mentioned, RoboApe’s key features are what makes it unique. Let’s take a closer look.

RoboApe NFT Marketplace

The RoboApe NFT Marketplace is a unique platform that aims to improve NFT minting. This marketplace also allows you to trade your minted NFTs. The marketplace accepts gas fee payments in RBA tokens. It also hosts special NFT minting events for the users in the RoboApe community. 

RoboApe Swap

Swapping coins in between different blockchains continues to be a challenge today. RoboApe Swap facilitates this process. It’s a new feature that allows cross-chain swaps by creating bridges between isolated blockchains. RoboApe Swap also allows token swapping at affordable costs. 

RoboApe Esports

Because RoboApe is a community-driven meme coin, it aims to establish connections within the ecosystem. One of the ways how it can achieve the desired interaction is through games. This platform promotes community sports contests to improve the users’ gaming experience. RoboApe hosts decentralized and community-driven Play-to-Earn leagues and games for players. The best part is that all players with varying skill levels can join. 

Participating members receive incentives like prize pools, endorsement possibilities, and prospective sponsorships. The RoboApe ecosystem also intends to hold charitable events and games to foster congeniality and a stronger sense of community in the crypto world. The contests take place on RBA’s established platform. This guarantees various safeguards are in place to ensure that RoboApe awards prizes and tokens in a fair manner. 

RoboApe Academy 

RoboApe aims to improve its users’ understanding of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. As part of this mission, RoboApe has a free education hub. It contains extensive information about the crypto world and offers informational materials to both novices and professionals in crypto trading. RoboApe Academy ultimately aims to address Distributed Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) and blockchain issues. 

The RoboApe (RBA) Token

The main deflationary token powering the RoboApe ecosystem is the RBA token. It mainly acts as the medium of exchange. The RBA token allows users to settle their transaction fees through various operations. The RBA token also serves as a governance token. Owning one gives you permission to cast your vote in any RoboApe network upgrades and changes. Because the RBA token is a deflationary token, its total number will keep decreasing. This is accomplished via a built-in burning mechanism. 

How You Can Buy RoboApe 

If you wish to buy RBA, all you need to do is visit the coin’s website. You can sign up for RoboApe’s presale for free. After signing up, the process is simple. Just choose a cryptocurrency that you want to make your purchase with and use it to join the presale. After you complete the presale sign-up process, you can track your RBA tokens’ progress using the website dashboard.

RoboApe: The Future of Crypto

RoboApe possesses the necessary features to become a futuristic meme coin, such as the RoboApe Academy and their Esports options. Because it contains impressive features, it aims to make a mark in the crypto world. Speculating in RoboApe can be a strategic way to achieve financial freedom. If you’re interested in growing your wealth, this might be a good choice.

This Is How NFTs Are Poised to Dramatically Change Our Lives

NFTs have become increasingly popular in online communities, especially those that discuss and deal with cryptocurrencies. Despite being closely related to the cryptocurrency world, NFTs are not the same thing. Let’s take a look at what NFTs are, how they work, and how to purchase them.

What Are NFTs?

NFTs—or non-fungible tokens—are digital assets. They can represent real-world creative works such as physical objects as well as music, art, videos, and in-game items (games being activities introduced by the blockchain to encourage mining). NFTs are bought and sold online and encoded using the same software as most cryptocurrencies. Basically, NFTS can do four main things: simplify transactions, remove intermediaries, eliminate fraud, and facilitate the creation of new markets.

Non-fungible tokens have been around since 2014, but it’s only recently that they have become (arguably) mainstream. In 2021, the net worth of the NFT market reached $41 billion, almost equal to the worldwide fine art market. Like fine art, non-fungible tokens are also unique, each with an individual identifying code. Because of this, it’s impossible for two NFTs to be substituted for one another.

NFTs are located on blockchains. It’s how these digital assets can remove go-betweens from the transaction process, instead encouraging direct interactions between buyers and sellers. Artists can use NFTs to establish a more direct connection with their audiences.

The current market revolves around collectibles, including sports cards, digital artwork, and rarities. Currently, NBA Top Shot is one of the most hyped NFTs. The NBA Top Shot is a safe space for collecting NBA moments tokenized by NFTs in digital card form.

How Do NFTs Work?

Non-fungible tokens exist on a blockchain. A blockchain is a public ledger distributed to record transactions. There are numerous blockchains available, but you can mostly find NFTs on Ethereum. NFTs are “minted” or created from digital objects that indicate ownership of tangible or intangible items, such as GIFs, graphic art, collectibles, sports and video highlights, video game skins, virtual avatars, music, designer sneakers, and even tweets.

Yes, even tweets count. Jack Dorsey, a co-founder of Twitter, sold the first tweet he ever posted as an NFT and received more than $2.9 million. If you have physical collector’s items, think of NFTs as a way to own the digital original. NFTs are a way to communicate pride of ownership in lieu of displaying a physical item that people may or may not be able to access.

Investors who own NFTs also obtain exclusive ownership rights. And because NFTs use blockchain technology, verifying ownership and transferring tokens are both easier. NFTs also allow investors to store important information via metadata.

Why Are NFTs Important?

Non-fungible tokens create digital scarcity by creating a definitive version of an electronic file. Because they are accessed via the blockchain, transaction records cannot be modified and ownership can always be verified. This streamlines processes and does away with the need for intermediaries, and eliminates fraud and fakes. Instead, NFTs allow artists to establish direct connections with their patrons.

It is tempting to consider NFTs a type of cryptocurrency. However, they’re actually not the same. Cryptocurrencies and NFTs rely on the same type of programming, but cryptocurrencies are fungible. This means each unit of cryptocurrency is identical in value. One Bitcoin will always be equivalent to another Bitcoin. It is one of the things that makes cryptocurrency a trusted method for conducting blockchain transactions. NFTs are non-fungible, meaning you can’t interchange them. Each token has a different digital signature.

How Do You Buy an NFT?

The first thing to do if you want to purchase NFTs is to open a digital wallet. This is a platform that will allow you to securely store cryptocurrencies and NFTs. There are a number of NFT and cryptocurrency wallets, including Kraken, Coinbase, eToro, Robinhood, and PayPal, among others. There are also wallets intended specifically to display NFTs after they have been purchased, such as, Rarible, and Foundation.

Once you’ve created a wallet, you can use a debit or credit card to purchase NFTs. When selecting a platform or wallet, just make sure to factor in the cost of fees. Most exchange platforms charge 1 percent of your total transaction when buying cryptocurrencies.

What Are the Pros and Cons of NFTs?

NFTs have numerous advantages. For one thing, NFTs involve the digitization of assets. This expands their market, leading to higher prices and greater liquidity. NFTs can also enhance the diversification of financial portfolios. Another benefit is that NFTs use blockchain technology. This system allows the permanent, public recording of information. It is impossible to delete, hack, or alter.

As long as your NFTs are stored on a blockchain, you will have immutable and verifiable authenticity records. These records prevent theft or mishandling. Once you add the data to the chain, no one can ever change or delete them.

Despite these benefits, there are still some downsides to NFTs. They do not offer income potential to investors; NFT prices can be volatile because the marketplace is small.

What Does the Future Hold for NFTs?

In the end, NFTs are like any other investments. You must do proper research and background checks before starting with them. However, the projected future outlook for NFTs is positive. If you’re seeking to grow your wealth and are digitally savvy, these are a potential option. Here is an important article from November of 2021, by technology website Hongkiat.con about the more serious uses of NFTs.

This Is How You Can Start Investing in Bitcoin

Despite pushback against cryptocurrencies, all signs show they’re here to stay. One such cryptocurrency that’s here for the long haul is Bitcoin.

As valuable as Bitcoin may be to future investors, many people don’t know how to properly start investing in it. If you’re considering purchasing Bitcoin, it pays to know how to make safe, smart investments. Here’s how to get started investing.

What Is Bitcoin?

To make smart investments in Bitcoin, it’s important to know what it is and how it works.

Bitcoin is one of the most widely used types of cryptocurrencies. With Bitcoin, virtual “tokens” or “coins,” are used instead of physical cash. Bitcoin doesn’t have an intrinsic value and it isn’t backed up by gold or silver. In other words, it’s a decentralized currency that isn’t backed by any particular government.

Because of that, Bitcoin has also been used in shady dealings in the past. Since it’s harder to trace and is generally anonymous, it’s opened the door to cybercriminals using it to make money.  Some prominent central bankers and global financial figures have denigrated Bitcoin for this reason, even as everyone knows that the US dollar is still the leading choice for global money laundering and other nefarious activities, such as drug dealing and arms sales.

However, despite its seedy past, Bitcoin can still be a safe and legal investment. It’s a great way to start earning cash that doesn’t follow the same fluctuations as standard fiat currencies.

How to Get Started Investing in Bitcoin

Now that you have a more solid understanding of what Bitcoin is, let’s talk about how to start investing in it. There are a few steps you’ll need to take to make your investments successful.

Step One: Join a Bitcoin Exchange

The first step to investing in Bitcoin is to determine where you want to make a Bitcoin purchase. There are no official Bitcoin companies, but you’ll find that several different exchanges facilitate Bitcoin transactions.

Some of the most popular exchanges include Coinbase, Binance, Kraken, Gemini, and Bitfinex. Regardless of which you pick, make sure that it’s a platform that’s safe, reputable, and makes sense for your situation.

Step Two: Create a Wallet

Bitcoin is stored in “wallets.” These are virtual platforms that help keep your cryptocurrency safe and reduce the likelihood that hackers and scam artists will steal your hard-earned coin.

There are two types of Bitcoin wallets: “hot wallets” and “cold wallets.” Your wallet depends on which cryptocurrency exchange or provider you’re using.

Hot wallets are virtual wallets that are connected to the Internet. They’re convenient because you can access them through the Internet, an app, or a specialized software program. However, they’re also more vulnerable to cyber-attacks and therefore could be risky.

On the other hand, a cold wallet is a physical piece of hardware that stores your coins. A cold wallet is the safest storage method because it’s much harder to hack.

One thing to know is that cold wallets can also get pretty pricey. While some hot wallets are free to join, some of these cold wallets cost around $60 to $100. A simple search on Duck Duck Go or Google or Yahoo for “cold wallets” will give you a good education.

Step Three: Link Your Wallet to a Bank

Once you’ve decided which wallet is for you, you’ll need to connect it to a bank account.

This enables you to purchase and sell coins. Alternatively, your bank account may be linked to your cryptocurrency exchange account.

You can typically link your bank by logging into your bank through your virtual banking platform. Or, you can add a debit or credit card to your wallet.

Step Four: Build Your Wallet

When you’ve got your bank account linked and your wallet set up, you’re ready to purchase Bitcoin. First, however, you’ll need to know how much to purchase.

Since investing in Bitcoin is risky, you must determine your risk tolerance and have a strategy before purchasing any. A good rule of thumb is to start with a low initial investment.

By starting small, you help limit your risk and increase the likelihood that your investments will pay off. 

Step Five: Manage Your Investments and Develop an Investing Strategy

Once you’ve purchased Bitcoin, you’re ready to get into the meat and potatoes of Bitcoin investing. You can use your coins to:

  • Make online transactions
  • Day trade
  • Build value

If you want to wait for your currency to build value, hold onto it and wait for the price of Bitcoin to rise. No matter how you plan to use Bitcoin, it’s important to devise a plan for your cryptocurrency assets.

As an extremely volatile digital asset, your strategy could vary depending on the current value of Bitcoin. In general, you’ll want to wait until the prices fall to “buy the dip” and then buy your coins. As of this writing in late June of 2022, Bitcoin has fallen approximately 68-69% from its high on 11/10/21, so it is clearly a more attractive entry point at the $20,000 level, even as there can still be more downside risk left.

Become a Master at Investing in Bitcoin

Now that you know how to invest in Bitcoin, there are a few tips to implement.

The biggest thing to keep in mind as you invest in Bitcoin is to beware of scammers. There are a lot of people who will make exaggerated claims about the price of Bitcoin, and some of them are dishonest charlatans trying to steal your money.

These scammers often thrive on creating a sense of fear of missing out, also known as FOMO. If you find yourself being pressured by these tactics, don’t many any rash decisions. Instead, keep yourself informed by checking out impartial cryptocurrency industry news. There are an increasing number of private crypto “analysts” on youtube, and many of them offer very good advice, insights, and education.

With these tips, you should have no problem starting a successful Bitcoin wallet. That way, you can start growing your investments for the future.

7 of the Top Cryptocurrency Trends to Keep an Eye On

Cryptocurrencies have been a recurring news item in recent years. They were one of the first investments to emerge after the COVID-19 pandemic. The price of Bitcoin rose rapidly at the end of 2020, going from US$10,000 to over US$65,000 by the second half of 2021.

According to figures and experts, the future of digital currencies should be quite interesting, but it’s still somewhat unpredictable. That is one of the reasons it’s so important to monitor them. Keep reading to learn about the top trends in the crypto space:

Trend #1: The Rise of NFTs

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are encrypted digital assets and are one of the most exciting developments in the crypto space. NFTs are a growing trend and it’s said that the market is going to see more demand in the coming months and years. This, in turn, has caused large investors to look at this strategy as one of the most striking.

Tokenization is the process of creating digital tokens that indicate the ownership and rights over some asset that a person has. This applies to personal, real, and digital assets. Blockchains have allowed the partial purchase of properties, with legal rights, without the need to buy a complete property.

Tokenization seeks to advance to the point of being able to invest in any type of asset, making investment in an easy, simple and affordable way. Through this new methodology, it will be possible to have income from renting a fraction of ownership until you want to sell it in tokens. For investors, this could be a trend that leads to new types of profits.

Trend #2: Increased Support of the Crypto Ecosystem

The more prevalent Bitcoins and cryptocurrencies become, the more big banks and platforms begin to take interest in these investment methods. For example, PayPal has already focused its interest on investments with cryptocurrencies. Many other institutions are beginning to offer these investing methods as well.  For example, on 4/26/22, Fidelity Investments announced that they were adding Bitcoin as an investment choice in their 401k programs.  In the case of PayPal, there was a twofold increase in activity among the users who bought cryptocurrencies through the application. 

Trend #3: Increased Regulations

Although at the end of 2021 there was a great regulatory clarification regarding cryptocurrency, one of the “advantages” of this digital business is that it’s not currently regulated or tracked by the government. As a result, it facilitates freedom when it comes to investing and other financial activities.

Still, trends in the cryptocurrency community are showing that industry regulations may soon see a shift. Although Bitcoin and many other cryptocurrencies, for example, are decentralized currencies, governments are seeking ways to impose taxes and regulations on these types of investments.

Trend #4: Institutional Adoption of Bitcoin and Ethereum

Cryptocurrency adoptions increased by 880 percent in 2021. This trend has increasingly become something of a refuge against the economies of each country, the degradation of currencies, inflation, and future pandemics like the one recently experienced.

Given this data, many fintech, banks, and asset managers have competed by offering blockchain payments and investment deals. Even some world-renowned brands began to receive payments with cryptocurrencies, including Starbucks, Amazon, and Microsoft. El Salvador was the first country in the world to accept Bitcoins as currency for legal use and issues bonds that are striking for many other countries with debts in dollars. As of the summer of 2022, several other countries (and US states) are looking to add Bitcoin as a recognized and accepted alternate currency for official daily use, including the payment of taxes.

Trend #5: The Rise of Stablecoin

Stablecoin is a variation of cryptocurrency. Tether is used by 80 percent of the stablecoin market. Tether is based on blockchains where circulation tokens are backed in US dollars. However, the growth of these currencies can also come from other sources. Stablecoins join in DeFi (decentralized finance) applications given their tendency not to fluctuate much in price. This is the most stable currency that has appeared so far in this cryptocurrency trend.

Trend #6: Access to the DApps Market

Decentralized Apps are decentralized tools or applications that allow users to communicate directly with each other, usually through a blockchain. The potential market for these applications is very large, and just like cryptocurrencies, their use has increased drastically. These apps are executed on Ethereum blockchains with DeFi functionalities.

It’s estimated that around 2,000 DApps operate within the Ethereum blockchain. The current trends suggest that DApps are only likely to increase in number.

Trend #7: The Rise of Web 3.0

Web 3.0 or Web3 allows users to control their data and the decentralized use of the Internet in a secure and verifiable way. In web 3.0, there is no surveillance or censorship of any kind. Each user is free to browse as they please. However, needs have arisen with regards to issues like data hosting, management, and computing, among others.

The cybercurrencies supported in web3 include Theta, Helium, Arweave, rendering, Ocean, and Filecoin. The Web 3.0 is expected to grow significantly, benefiting investment businesses that work with cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin.

Monitor Bitcoin Trends before Investing Cryptocurrencies are the latest “It Girl” in the financial world. They are increasingly embedded in everyday life and have been the subject of many rising trends in recent years. By knowing about these trends, you can keep up with what’s happening to Bitcoin and make smart decisions surrounding your investments.

Robert M. Ryerson Recently Earned Retirement Income Certified Professional (RICP)

New Century Planning Associates, Inc. is proud to announce that its president, Robert M. Ryerson, has received the prestigious Retirement Income Certified Professional designation. This designation was developed by more than 45 of the nation’s top retirement planning experts and equips the RICPR designee with the knowledge and tools to build comprehensive and lifelong income plans.

Interest rates remain very low on most safe, income-oriented holdings, such as bonds, CDs, and money markets,” stated Ryerson. “However, there are still many ways to generate significant and sustainable income for yourself throughout retirement.

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