How 8 Minutes of Meditation Can Give You the Productivity Boost You Need

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Of all the productivity hacks I’ve tried over the years, none has had as much of a positive impact relative to the time I put in than meditation. Just 8 minutes per day to be precise. Meditation is a practice that has been around for centuries. Once primarily used by practitioners of Buddhism to reach a higher level of consciousness, science has since shown it has a lot of more earthly benefits as well.

As Healthline reports, meditation improves concentration, reduces fatigue and stress, brings a sense of relaxation and improves sleep patterns, among other benefits. All the above reasons explain why some of the most successful people rely on meditation to thrive in their professions. Jeff Weiner, former Yahoo executive and the current CEO of Linkedin says that meditation has made a huge positive impact on his productivity. Similarly,  Ray Dalio, who is the founder of Bridgewater Associates, attributes a big part of his success to meditation.

5 Ways Meditation Helps with Productivity

Before I get to my own meditation routine that takes just 8 minutes of my time daily, let me first go over in general how meditation can give you a huge leg up in your career and business, backed by studies.

1. Improves Your Attention Span

There are tons of factors that improve productivity, but one that plays a very important role is the ability to focus. Being attentive enough to complete the task at hand means you’ll finish your work with higher accuracy and better efficiency.

According to Pubmed, several studies have shown the efficacy of meditation in reversing parts of the brain that cause mind wandering and the inability to concentrate. Russell Simmons, the CEO of Rush Communications, says that meditation is one of the things that has helped him focus the most.

2. Increases Neuroplasticity

For a long time, scientists believed that brain development only happened during childhood and then ceased. But recent discovery regarding the neuroplastic nature of the brain concludes that our brains actually continue to change and adapt through experiences. In other words, the brain is continually reorganizing itself by creating new neurons and new connections.

Meditation is one practice capable of changing your brain’s structure and functions. In fact, Harvard Researchers at MGH have shown that meditation increases grey matter volume in your brain. What this means is that it causes more neurons to accumulate in one space.

Another theory that explains how meditation boosts neuroplasticity is that it increases cerebral blood flow (CBF). By placing you in a state of relaxation, blood is able to flow more freely leading to better oxygenation and nourishment in your brain. With increased neuroplasticity, your ability to acquire new skills and positive habits increase.

3. Sharpens Your Memory

A major benefit of mediation is that it boosts one’s working memory capacity. The working memory determines how much information the central nervous system can hold and process at any time. It’s like the Random Access Memory in a computer.

A study was done to investigate the effect of active meditation on individuals’ working memory capacities. Researchers had the participants take part in a 45-minute meditation exercise twice per week. After a couple of weeks, they recorded the results and discovered that the respondents’ working memory capacities had increased by more than 30%. Put simply; they could hold and process 30% more information than the average person.

The study proved that meditating increases the working memory capacity. With a larger working memory, you can take on more sophisticated tasks and handle them efficiently.

4. Improves Cognitive Thinking

As you age, your cognitive functioning deteriorates gradually. The resulting deficit weakens your ability to reason, remember and process information. All these are factors that can make you less productive at work and in other areas of your life. Good news is, practising meditation and mindfulness can help with that.

To examine the impact of meditation on cognitive function, researchers from the University of California at Santa Barbara conducted a study. They asked 48 undergraduate students to attend one of two classes: a nutrition class or a mindfulness class. The result? Those who attended the mindfulness class saw marked improvements in their exams afterwards, while the nutrition group saw no statistically significant improvements.

One factor that can explain this outcome is that meditation improves the balance of the left and right sides of the brain. Synchronizing both brain hemispheres allows for greater processing power and neural communication.

5. Reduces Stress

Stress is something that people experience on a daily basis, and more so at work. According to the American Institute of Stress, work-induced stress is the most common form of stress. Based on a recent survey they did, at least 80% of Americans experienced stress at work, hampering productivity and leading to mistakes.

Thankfully, having a meditation practice as part of your routine can lower stress and make you more productive. It goes beyond just stress reduction, however. According to the Journal of Behavioral Medicine, meditation has been shown to reduce the symptoms of social anxiety, paranoid thoughts, obsessive-compulsive behaviors and panic attacks.

How 8 Minutes of Meditation Daily Has Changed My Life

My personal journey with meditation has been nothing short of life changing. What if I told you there was a productivity hack that only required 8 minutes of your day, and as a consequence, will double your attention span, mental stamina, and ability to function under stress? What if I told you, thanks to just 8 minutes a day, a once self diagnosed ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) sufferer now frequently loses track of time as he ticks off one item after the next on his daily to-do lists? Yes, that’s what meditation has done for me, and I believe it can do that for anyone.

The meditation routine I follow is based on the best selling book “8 Minute Meditation” by Victor Davich. As a meditation guru, Victor sought out to devise a meditation program that fits in with the ultra busy lifestyles of Westerners while still delivering the main benefits the practice at its fullest provides.

Here is the gist of the “8 minute meditation” that I practice every day right before I go to bed:

  • Set a timer for 8 minutes.
  • Find a comfortable sitting pose. This could be in a cozy meditation chair or sitting with your legs crossed on a yoga mat
  • Close your eyes slowly as if you were planning to sleep. Avoid squeezing them or shutting them involuntarily.
  • Next, start taking slow, deep breaths.
  • With every inhale, envision that you are breathing in light. Follow the light as it enters your body.
  • With every exhale, imagine breathing out all the tension and negativity that you have been harbouring. Relax every muscle from those on your face, chest, back, legs all the way to the tips of your toes.
  • As you breathe in and out, your mind will most likely start to wonder. Do not get upset. Just slowly bring your awareness back to your breathing. Imagine catching a fish and just letting it go.
  • Continue this until the timer goes off. Then, slowly open your eyes again..

A big part of the magic happens in meditation when you do it consistently. For me, with every day of practice, my ability to stay focused on my breathing and stay present increased during those critical 8 minutes. And as my ability to do those seemingly simple things improved, that’s when I started to notice all the tangible benefits of meditation I mentioned earlier.

Meditation is not a new concept. And it doesn’t require you to invest anything that you don’t already have. This is one of the greatest benefits of meditating; it doesn’t require any special equipment or registration for training. Essentially, you have nothing to lose but so much to gain. To me, meditation dare i say is the greatest productivity hack of all time.

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7 Questions with a ‘CXO of the Year’

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Catherine Wong knows what it means to be successful. Since graduating from BYU and playing a significant role in building one of Utah’s most high-profile SaaS companies—Omniture—she has spent the better part of the past six years helping to create another one.

Catherine doesn’t like to talk about her accomplishments. But on June 6, at a luncheon celebrating Utah Business magazine’s ‘CXO of the Year’ winners, Domo’s humble Chief Product Officer and EVP of Engineering did just that.

For a few minutes, at least.

During her acceptance speech, Catherine said she wouldn’t be where she is today if not for the people she’s had the opportunity to work with and the mindset she adopted early in her career.

“One of the biggest risks I took long ago was to view my career as a jungle gym as opposed to a ladder,” said Catherine, who was one of just 18 executives from around Utah to earn ‘CXO of the Year’ honors. “I started in engineering and shifted to M&A. That was challenging, but it broadened my horizons.”

After the luncheon, I sat down with Catherine to learn more about what makes her tick. If you have any interest in ice cream, you’ll want to keep reading …

Q: Congratulations on being recognized as a ‘CXO of the Year.’ That’s an exclusive club. What does the accolade mean to you?

A: None of us do this alone, so this is really a reflection of the great team at Domo. I am honored to be recognized with this group of executives, and to be recognized on behalf of the amazing team at Domo.

Q: What has been your proudest moment at Domo?

A: My proudest moment was this past Domopalooza, when customers were fighting to get on stage to show everyone how they’ve used Domo to make material changes in their business.

Q: What motivates you?

A: As cheesy as it sounds, the opportunity to make the world a better place motivates me. I grew up in SaaS, and I believe that in this era we have the technology and capability to change the future of work for people around the world. We are seeing so many leaders step up and lead transformations in their organizations, connecting people and breaking down silos, giving people the opportunity to innovate and share those innovations more quickly than ever before. And we’re seeing a really strong trend in using all of these efficiencies to pay it forward and contribute to the local community.

Q: You serve on the boards of the Women Tech Council and the College of Engineering at Utah State University. Why?

A: I try to give back to my community. Early in my career, I recognized there weren’t a lot of people who looked like me on leadership teams, so I try to do everything I can to be visible and to help represent a good part of the population.

Q: What has enabled you to be so successful?

A: My immigrant parents showed me how hard work and passion can make a huge difference in life. A sense of humor also helps.

Q: What’s a little known fact about you?

A: I try a McFlurry in every country I visit. I still like the American one best, with mini M&Ms.

Q: Lastly, what is your advice to women trying to make their mark in a male-dominated industry such as technology?

A: It’s changing for the better, because all of us—men and women—are working to make it better. If we can see each other as humans, as individuals each with our own story, and encourage interaction, empathy and vulnerability as leaders, the world will look very different for the next generation. Also, I believe we are captains of our own destiny. We choose where to work. If you don’t like where you are, vote with your feet.

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Fundstrat: Bitcoin (BTC) Will Easily Surpass $20,000 Eventually

Fundstrat’s Lee Extremely Bullish on Bitcoin

As news of Facebook’s Libra broke, every mainstream outlet began to cover it and Bitcoin (BTC) in general. So, it comes as no surprise that this morning, CNBC “Futures Now” called on Tom Lee, the head of research at Fundstrat Global Advisors, to talk cryptocurrency in his latest appearance of dozens on the segment.

After discussing how Facebook’s latest venture is complementary to Bitcoin, in that BTC will continue to act as a reserve cryptocurrency, he was asked to give a price target. Staying true to his promise not to give any concrete, time-constrained targets, Lee claimed that Bitcoin could “easily” surpass its previous all-time highs of $20,000, but was hesitant to give an exact date.

This comes briefly after Lee and his peers at Fundstrat claimed that $10,000 is the level to watch for Bitcoin. They claim that once Bitcoin reaches $10,000, “Level 10” FOMO will grace this market, which last occurred when BTC blipped above $4,500 in late-2017. If history is any guide, the cryptocurrency market will shoot even higher once $10,000 is breached. As the analyst wrote on Twitter earlier this month, “[$10,000] will see FOMO from those who gloated about the 90% crash in BTC… and those who saw Bitcoin dead as forever.”

bitcoin fomo

Per CCN, which reported on this first, the Wall Street analyst stated on a podcast with Binance’s CFO that once $10,000 is breached, there will be a “fast and furious” move to $20,000. And from there, Bitcoin will double in the next five months, reaching $40,000 in a jaw-dropping move.

Catalysts for Further Crypto Run

Lee wasn’t the only bull on this segment. The two other guests to the CNBC show, traditional markets traders Anthony Grisanti and Brian Stutland, were also bullish. Grisanti claimed that as long as BTC doesn’t fall below $9,100, he’s long on the asset until $10,200. Stutland agreed, claiming that he would make a similar trade if he had to. And here’s why.

The CME trader claimed that Bitcoin has and continues to see use as a hedge “against fiat”, which many believe is conducive to the cryptocurrency’s long-term value proposition. This is seemingly true, believe it or not. As reported by Ethereum World News previously, a Hong Kong-based exchange TideBit traded Bitcoin for $9,340 while the asset traded for $9,180 on Coinbase, implying a 2% premium. This small trend, per eToro’s Mati Greenspan, is a sign that Bitcoin is becoming used more and more as a safe haven, validating reports that Hong Kong residents have begun to move their assets out of the region in a bid to mitigate any financial surveillance or government seizure of their wealth.

With the geopolitical and macroeconomic stage continuing to look more tumultuous than ever — with the US-China trade war, proposed capital controls in Italy, expected rate cuts by central banks, and more — some are sure that Bitcoin will only continue to see an increase in capital inflows in the months and years to come.

Photo by André François McKenzie on Unsplash

The post Fundstrat: Bitcoin (BTC) Will Easily Surpass $20,000 Eventually appeared first on Ethereum World News.

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Analysts: Bitcoin Likely to Continue Surging Higher as Bull Case Strengthens

Bitcoin BTC

It has been a very positive past few months for Bitcoin and the aggregated crypto markets, with BTC surging from lows of $4,000 in early-April to highs of $9,400 just this past week.

This overwhelmingly bullish price action is certainly emblematic of a bull market, and BTC is now rapidly approaching the five-figure price region, signaling that the crypto’s bulls are still in full control despite facing some selling pressure yesterday.

Bitcoin Stabilizes in Lower-$9,000 Region

At the time of writing, Bitcoin is trading down 1.7% at its current price of $9,130, down slightly from its 24-hour highs of $9,400.

Over the past week, Bitcoin has surged from lows of $7,900 to highs of $9,400 yesterday, which was a fresh year-to-date high. It appears that BTC has been slowly ratcheting higher on a weekly basis, forming fresh legs up before consolidating for a short period of time, and then continuing to climb higher.

If this pattern continues to repeat, it is likely that Bitcoin will consolidate for a short period of time around the lower-$9,000 price region, before it subsequently continues its upwards ascent and moves into the five-figure price region.

The Crypto Dog, a popular cryptocurrency analyst on Twitter, recently noted that he believes the cryptocurrency is posed for a continuation of its upwards momentum, concisely saying:

“Looks ready for trend continuation to me.”

Assuming BTC does extend its upwards momentum, it is likely that it will face some levels of resistance around $10k, as this will be a critical psychological price level that could determine whether or not the crypto revisits its all-time-highs any time soon.

Could BTC Reach $62k in the Coming Months?

One interesting possibility that some analysts are currently discussing is based on a historical trend analysis, which signals that Bitcoin my surge as high as $62k in the coming few months.

Galaxy, an extremely popular cryptocurrency analyst on Twitter, discussed this incredibly bullish possibility in a recent tweet to his over 50k followers, pointing to one of Bitcoin’s recent technical formations, which is strikingly similar to those formed just prior to massive bull runs in years past.

“Year 2017 had a similar weekly candle set-up as the one today, which was followed by a 570% price increase over the next 147 days. Another similar price increase puts BTC price at ≈$62K by the end of October 2019,” he explained.

As Bitcoin’s price action continue to unfold, traders and analysts will likely garner a better understanding of whether or not it is prudent to assume that BTC will soon make any massive parabolic movements.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

The post Analysts: Bitcoin Likely to Continue Surging Higher as Bull Case Strengthens appeared first on Ethereum World News.

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Bitcoin to Benefit From Libra? Crypto Pundits Double-Down on Optimism

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After months of anticipation, which seemingly coincided with a Bitcoin (BTC) rally, Facebook’s crypto asset has finally come to the public stage. Launched Tuesday morning as reported by Ethereum World News, Libra will be a stablecoin

While many have remained agnostic towards the venture, claiming that it won’t involve “real” cryptocurrencies in any material manner, some have come out to comment on Libra. Some see it as a threat to society at large; others view the project as the trigger that will kickstart the next megalithic BTC rally. Today, this outlet will discuss the latter group, and why they believe Libra will be beneficial for Bitcoin and its altcoin brethren.

Boon for Bitcoin

A new narrative that has recently come to light is the idea that Facebook’s crypto asset, slated to allow for low-cost, rapid value transfers, will threaten the U.S. Dollar and traditional banking system.

In a recent Youtube video, prominent Bitcoin educator Andreas Antonopoulos claimed that banks like JP Morgan, Citi, and its ilk are likely to feel threatened by Libra, as it removes friction in money, and thus the profits of these institutions.

Prominent investor Rhythm, also known as Alec Ziupsnys, took this a step further. Responding to Antonopoulos’ impassioned tweet on the subject matter, Rhythm explained that by virtue of being a good technology, Libra will cause people, presumably millions or billion across the globe, to “question the properties of the U.S. dollar and how the banking system works.”

From there, he expects for Bitcoin to see a capital flow. Because the proper alternative to fiat currencies, in the eyes of many decentralists, is an asset like BTC, which is decentralized, trustless, permissionless, borderless, and programmable, among many things that make cryptocurrencies valuable.

bitcoin

This isn’t the only reason why people expect for the launch of Libra to aid Bitcoin, specifically in terms of price and network effects. Bank of America analysts believe that Libra will boost cryptocurrency to heights unknown. They argue that Facebook’s cryptocurrency simply validates the idea of crypto, giving users a further reason to allocate money to this growing digital economy:

“With more than 2.5 billion users, Facebook and its partners could be a significant endorsement of cryptocurrency and a notable addition to the Facebook app ecosystem.”

This is seemingly the case. As reported by Ethereum World News previously, Blockchain Capital’s Spencer Bogart believes that this recent venture will be absolutely bullish for BTC. He explains that it is “among the most bullish external tailwinds for Bitcoin in 2019/2020″, adding that it joins quantitative easing (an inflationary fiscal policy), which he calls a “reinvigorated push among central banks for easy-money globally”, as a positive catalyst. Bogart claims that this project will boost cryptocurrency’s viability, catalyze the creation of related infrastructure in this sector, and create an on-ramp for BTC inflows.

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

The post Bitcoin to Benefit From Libra? Crypto Pundits Double-Down on Optimism appeared first on Ethereum World News.

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Irbis Network Gears up For the Privacy-Oriented Telecom Era to Take Over the $3 Trln Global Market

Irbis Network Reveals the Safecalls Distributed Telecom Network, Intents Two IEO Pre-Rounds And a Top-Tier Initial Exchange Offering in July

Irbis Network, a decentralized telco network founded by SafeCalls Telecom, today announced its plans to perform two IEO pre-rounds, as well as a top-tier initial exchange offering, all scheduled for July-2019. Irbis Network ultimate goal is to marry the cutting-edge telecom, messengers, IoT and 5G technologies to the breakthrough routing and encrypting decentralized infrastructure. Irbis blockchain eliminates a large number of vulnerabilities, to which the current SS7/GSM protocol is exposed.

The first ecosystem Dapps will be launched on the basis of SafeCalls, a GSM mobile network for secure calls protection offering a wide range of anonymity and security telco features. Dapps will become available for public use right after the 3-rd IEO round completion and Irbis Network launch.

SafeCalls now has three of its core products up and running: a mobile network for secure phone calls with “Fake Caller ID” and “Change Voice” functionality, a Telegram bot allowing GSM-to-Telegram calls, and a secure VoIP featuring quick online billing and low-cost international calls. The company will empower the SC Telecom ecosystem with an own decentralized VPN-based blockchain network, a Telegram-enabled SIM for mobile internet and calls, as well as an IoT-backed SIM to deploy IoT solutions.
Launch of the own secure SafeCalls-based smartphone is now scheduled for Q3-2019.

Irbis Network, a decentralized telco network
founded by SafeCalls Telecom, today announced its plans to perform two IEO
pre-rounds, as well as a top-tier initial exchange offering, all scheduled for
July-2019. Irbis Network ultimate goal is to marry the cutting-edge telecom,
messengers, IoT and 5G technologies to the breakthrough routing and encrypting
decentralized infrastructure. Irbis blockchain eliminates a large number of
vulnerabilities, to which the current SS7/GSM protocol is exposed.

The first ecosystem Dapps will be launched on
the basis of SafeCalls, a GSM mobile network for
secure calls protection offering a wide range of anonymity and security telco
features. Dapps will become available for public use right after the 3-rd IEO
round completion and Irbis Network launch.

SafeCalls now has three of its core products up
and running: a mobile network for secure phone calls
with “Fake Caller ID” and “Change
Voice” functionality, a Telegram bot allowing GSM-to-Telegram calls, and a secure VoIP
featuring quick online billing and low-cost international calls. The company
will empower the SC Telecom ecosystem with an own decentralized VPN-based
blockchain network, a Telegram-enabled SIM for mobile internet and calls, as
well as an IoT-backed SIM to deploy IoT solutions.
Launch of the own secure SafeCalls-based
smartphone is now scheduled for Q3-2019.

The post Irbis Network Gears up For the Privacy-Oriented Telecom Era to Take Over the $3 Trln Global Market appeared first on Ethereum World News.

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Facebook’s Crypto Already Embroiled in Political Turmoil

Facebook Goes Crypto

For the longest time, social media giant Facebook has been rumored to be involved in the crypto and blockchain industry. But on Tuesday, these rumors were confirmed to be true with an announcement and flashy website published in the wee hours of the morning revealing that the Silicon Valley darling will be launching Libra. This, for those who are unaware, is the company’s long-awaited digital asset.

Libra, a Brief Breakdown

So, what is Libra?

Well, Libra is a stable cryptocurrency backed by a basket of assets deemed to be “stable”. Per documents on the new asset, it will be integrated into Facebook’s expansive social media ecosystem and potentially into mainstream applications, like with Spotify and Uber, in the future. Libra will be run on a blockchain that is, like many other chains, Byzantine-Fault-Tolerant (BFT). The algorithm/consensus mechanism being used is, according to Binance, a variant of the “HotStuff Framework”.

Facebook intends to allow the crypto asset to be used to empower billions across the globe, ensure that money isn’t left behind in the digital revolution, and to push blockchain adoption through smart contracts and “custom transactions”.

Under Fire Already

Interestingly, this venture has already come under fire from a central bank. Reported first by Bloomberg not hours after Facebook’s latest venture went live, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has already expressed his distaste for Libra. In a comment given on Europe 1 radio, the regulatory explained that Libra, nor other cryptocurrencies, should become a replacement for fiat. Accentuating his skepticism, he noted that it is “out of the question” for “Libra” to “become a sovereign currency.” “It can’t and it must not happen,” Le Maire concluded.

The thing is, this is kind of what David Marcus, the Vice President of Blockchain at Facebook, has called for. In a number of interviews, with everyone from trade publication Decrypt to Bloomberg and CNBC, Marcus states that he hopes that Libra, slated to become permissionless, will be around for hundreds of years.

Despite the fact that Libra has just launched, Le Maire has already called on “the Group of Seven central bank governors, guardians of the global monetary system” to look into how the asset can be used in money laundering, terrorism financing, and to exploit online privacy, both of data and of financial transactions. He explains:

This money will allow this company to assemble even more data, which only increases our determination to regulate the internet giants.

There will seemingly be no immediate action, but Le Maire and his peers seem worried. European Parliament member Markus Ferber, for instance, believes that Facebook, with its new crypto asset in tow, could become a “shadow bank”, and thus urged regulators to keep their heads on a swivel about this subject matter.

The United States government or governments in Asia have yet to comment publicly on this news.

Title Image Courtesy of Facebook

The post Facebook’s Crypto Already Embroiled in Political Turmoil appeared first on Ethereum World News.

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5 Life Lessons You Can Learn From Hitting Rock Bottom

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At one time, the term rock bottom was completely foreign to me. I can remember feeling really bad for anyone who claimed to have ‘hit rock bottom.’ What devastation they must feel. Their whole world must have just collapsed. How will they go on? I was soon to find out.

My journey to rock bottom

I’m not gonna say I had it all but for the most part, my world was pretty good. It wasn’t perfect and I’ll admit, I was sailing through on a song and a prayer. I lived in a nice house in a posh neighbourhood with my partner and in 2010 I purchased my first business, a hair salon.

I belonged to an amazing networking group of successful women. I was well respected in the community and had lots of friends. You could say my life was pretty good. However, this didn’t last for long.

Three years after the purchase of the salon I closed the doors and declared bankruptcy. Six months after bankruptcy, I walked out of my abusive relationship with nothing to my name.

I was a shell of a person. I had nothing and in my eyes, I was a complete and utter failure. At 52 years old, my whole world came crashing down on me and I for the first time in my life, was absolutely terrified.

I walked around in a daze for months. I was completely empty inside, both emotionally and mentally. I had no desire to rebuild my life. There was little life left in me to work on. I secured my old job at the salon I was at prior to my business purchase. Every day I had to face people who I’m sure were disappointed in me and most likely laughing at me behind my back.

I was a loser. They knew it and so did I. When you hit rock bottom, any and all self respect and self confidence you ever had goes right out the window. You’re constantly embarrassed and feel worthless all the time. However, one day something snaps when you look in the mirror and can’t stand to look at the person looking back at you. This is without a shadow of a doubt the moment some confidence and hope arises to change.

I looked in the mirror one day and I didn’t recognize the person staring back. She was sad, empty, blank and lifeless. This wasn’t Iva and I so desperately wanted her back. I missed the optimistic, bubbly and outgoing girl that used to stare back at me in the mirror. And I was determined to get her back.

I had reached a point where I was tired of crying and feeling sorry for myself. I was tired of telling myself I was a loser and a failure and that I would never amount to anything. But I was mostly tired of just existing with no purpose or passion.

“Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” – J.K. Rowling

The climb out of rock bottom

I started devouring self help books and reading any and all blogs I could on how to get your life back on track and how to find self love and self worth again. I read inspirational quotes and listened to motivational YouTube videos day in and day out. I journaled and cried and prayed and meditated. All the things I have never done in my life, I was doing daily without fail.

Slowly, Iva was emerging but she was so much different this time around. She had hope, faith and determination and nothing was going to stop her or stand in her way of rebuilding her life. My journey out of rock bottom took almost a full year to complete but in that time, I learned so much about myself, people and life.

Here are the 5 life lessons I learned from hitting rock bottom:

1. Failure isn’t real

There’s no such thing as failure. I’m not even sure why this word exists. You had an idea or a plan, tried it, and it didn’t work. You learn lessons from this and you move on. Always remember one very important thing: you tried. Most people don’t even bother. Believe in yourself.

2. You’re not stuck anywhere

If something isn’t working or isn’t good for you, leave it. I was terrified to leave my abusive relationship because I knew it meant I would lose everything. And I did. When I finally took the plunge and left, everything in my life changed for the better. Have faith!

3. Change is fun and scary, but do it anyway

Although change is terrifying, it’s necessary. We don’t grow in our comfort zone or in our misery. Sometimes you have to do things that will scare the daylights out of you..do them anyway. This is where you learn and grow. You meet people and you experience things you never would have if you stayed in your comfort zone. Take the leap.

“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” – Winston Churchill

4. Everything is temporary

The good and the bad. Nothing is forever. No matter how horrible your situation is, it won’t last. It will eventually go away or maybe even turn out great! Embrace all the good life has to offer you and learn the lessons the bad will give you. Have patience.

5. You have great power over your life

I was determined to change my life any way I had to. I did whatever I had to do to turn my life around. Was it easy? No. Is it impossible? No. I knew I had the power to change and it was up to me, and only me, to do that. No one could do it for me.

No matter where you are in your life right now, if things aren’t working out the way you expected, don’t worry. Things will always get better if you try to make them better. You can do anything you want. All you have to do is find the power that’s in you and unleash it.

Have you ever hit rock bottom? What advice do you have for someone who’s there? Share your ideas and advice below!

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Bitcoin Fundamentals Boom Amid Push to $9,000: Buyers in Control

Bitcoin Blockchain on the Rise

Just last week, a number of analysts were calling for a pullback in the Bitcoin price, citing the fact that per their analysis, BTC was well “overbought” and poised for a correction.

But, in a surprising turn of events, bulls have managed to keep control of the cryptocurrency market. Since last week’s low of $7,450, BTC has shot back up to $9,300, where it sits now. This move higher has been accompanied by a surge in growth of the Bitcoin blockchain, boding well for the industry as a whole.

As explained by eToro’s Mati Greenspan in a recent edition of “Crypto Markets” by CoinTelegraph, the hash rate of Bitcoin, meaning how much computational power is backing the network, has recently hit a new all-time high. This comes in spite of the fact that BTC is still more than 50% lower than its $20,000 peak in 2017, and that public awareness of the industry is still minimal. Sure, the massive uptick in hash rate, and thus security, is a presumed byproduct of improved mining machines, but this is a bullish sign nonetheless. Greenspan expands:

This tells us that Bitcoin miners, who are providing the very foundation for the network, are extremely bullish right now and adding to the computing processing power.

This isn’t the only key sign. According to a recent tweet from crypto researcher Kevin Rooke, the number of daily active addresses on the Bitcoin network recently surpassed one million for the first time since early-2018, after trending higher since the start of the year. In fact, on January 1st, there were around 600,000 active addresses. Per Rooke, this decimates the narrative that Bitcoin isn’t seeing use as an asset.

It isn’t clear what has resulted in this increase, but it likely has much to do with speculative activity (exchange-to-exchange transfers), the adoption of BTC (AT&T, Whole Foods, etc.), and the rise of coin mixing services, which necessitate the need for many addresses to sufficiently obfuscate identities in transactions.

This isn’t the only positive sign. The first time Bitcoin broke the aforementioned milestone in November 2017, the median transaction fee was a hefty $3.23.

On the latest day that this milestone, the median transaction fee was a relatively measly $1.33 — brought down as a result of better fee algorithms in wallets, growth in the adoption of SegWit, and the use of other methods by service providers and individuals to bring down fees across the board.

While these fundamentals shouldn’t have a direct impact on the value of Bitcoin, they are important in signaling public interest in and the viability of BTC.

This growth in the Bitcoin blockchain has coincided with a boost in the fundamentals of the broader cryptocurrency industry.

For instance, Bakkt has recently revealed that it is on the verge of launching its physically-backed Bitcoin futures contract. This comes after Bakkt enlisted months of discussions with the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission to iron out any kinks in its cryptocurrency product, which analysts say is slated to entice institutions to throw dozens of millions at Bitcoin.

Title Image Courtesy of Pixabay

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ICO craze birthed 1,000 millionaires but cryptoasset code often failed to include promised investor protections

ICOs Investment Fewer To Invest or Not To Invest, That is The Question!

The computer code of the majority of cryptoassets that raised the most funds through initial coin offering (ICO) token sales failed to deliver on whitepaper promises to protect investors.

That’s the finding of two academics, David Hoffman, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania and David Wishnick a fellow at the same institution, who together conducted a survey of the 50 ICOs that raised the most amount in the 2017 fundraising frenzy.

According to the pair “ICOs birthed a thousand millionaires” before the bubble burst.

The crypto code is not law – token sale contractual promises not coded

Hoffman says the central innovation of ICOs rested on the “possibility
of using computer code to deliver on contractual promises.

The researchers compared the promises in the whitepaper to
the actual computer code of the project to see to what extent promises had been
hard-coded in.

Professor Hoffman found that the majority of projects failed
to deliver on promised investor protection.

Things as fundamental as token supply were not coded into
20% of the cryptoasset surveyed which means that there was no protection
against an ICO promoter simply minting more coins, thereby diluting the value
of the tokens held by ICO investors.

Protection against team exits not in code of ICO smart contracts

Another key consideration for any investor doing their due diligence
was the team lock-in to prevent them selling up and leaving investors high and
dry.

Alarmingly, the University of Pennsylvania survey discovered
that 25 of the 36 projects with explicit restrictions on team divestment had
not included the parameter in their code.

Even worse, the academics found 12 cryptoassets that allowed
a centralised entity to modify smart contract code, flying in the face of what is
meant to be the essence of blockchain architecture where no trusted third party
of centralised gatekeeper is present.

Of those 12 offending projects just four of them shared this
information with investors.

Additionally, Hoffman says he “found no evidence that investors punished firms for failing to put investor protections into code”, and that crypto rating agencies focused on the security risks around smart contracts and neglected to consider whether the code conformed with the promised investor protections.

With such lax practices in the industry, the individual private investor is burdened with having to audit the code themselves, an onerous task, if not impossible, for the average individual.

Bitmex Research published a report in January this year showing that ICO teams gave themselves $24.2 billion in tokens,

More crypto regulations for the SEC to consider

The solution proposed by Hoffman is for projects to be required to match promises in the whitepaper with deployed code or to force cryptoasset promoters to provide plain English walkthroughs of what the code does.

As is so often the case in the crypto industry, the crypto
projects can be their own worst enemy.

“Such market integrity measures won’t just protect investors, they will also build trust in the asset class itself and enable it to move from a curiosity to something of real economic worth,” Hoffman concludes in an article published in the print edition of the Financial Times.  


Did you invest in an ICO? Do you know whether the project smart contract had investor protection hard-coded in? Share your experiences in the comments below and help to inform other investors.

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