“[Bitcoin] is a remarkable cryptographic achievement… The ability to create something which is not duplicable in the digital world has enormous value… Lots of people will build businesses on top of that.” – Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google
There is no doubt that cryptocurrency, especially Bitcoin, has been a major global economic disruptor in the last year. Additionally, this trend is set to continue in 2018 and into the foreseeable future. Ergo, the question that begs is whether you should include cryptocurrency investments in your wealth portfolio or not?
At the outset of this article, it should be noted that the terminology “cryptocurrency” and “Bitcoin” tend to be used interchangeably. Bitcoin is the most successful (and most popular) cryptocurrency. Although, other currencies such as Etherereum and Litecoin are gaining in popularity. Therefore, when this content talks about cryptocurrency in broad terms, it applies to the coins that form part and parcel of the global cryptocurrency definition.
It would seem as though reactions to the mainstream adoption of cryptocurrency are divided between love and hate. Traditional investors like Warren Buffet are vocal about the fact that they see no value in diversifying their investment portfolios to include cryptocurrency. In fact, Warren Buffet is quoted as saying on CNBC: “In terms of cryptocurrencies, generally, I can say almost with certainty that they will come to a bad ending,”
On the other hand, David Z. Morris’s article titled “Bitcoin Is Not a Systemic Financial Risk, Say Top Economists” notes that a current study by the London-based Centre for Macroeconomics has shown that, “nearly 75% of a pool of top European economists do not think cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are, or will become, a threat to the stability of the financial system.” Furthermore, the study found that 73% were of the opinion that cryptocurrencies currently do not (and will not) hurt the current global economic system.
Pointers to take note of when investing in cryptocurrencies
Therefore, when considering whether it is a good idea to trade in one or more of the known cryptocurrencies, it’s vital to take note of the following:
Make sure that you trade with a reputable broker
This tip seems overstated, and overrated to no small extent. However, it is crucial to ensure that the online trading brokerage that you choose is indeed a bona fide company.
How do you determine whether you are trading with a fraudulent broker or not?
The good news is that there are several things to look for on the broker’s website. These include:
- Does the broker’s website clearly state that cryptocurrency trading is a high-risk venture?
- Are you required to submit what is commonly known as the “Know Your Customer (KYC) documentation?
- Is the broker’s website well-designed and easy to use?
- Does the company provide comprehensive education materials and a demo trading platform that allows you to practice successful trading before you move onto the live trading platform?
- Does the broker’s trading platform include statistical and analytical tools such as oscillators and technical indicators?
Appreciate the level of risk involved
Investing in cryptocurrencies is a high-risk venture. However, risk is not always negative. High-risk investments can return high rewards; however, they also can yield significant losses. Therefore, it is vital to invest in cryptocurrencies knowing the level of risk involved as well as your limits regarding your exposure to risk.
In other words, if you are young and are starting to invest and grow your wealth portfolio, you can tolerate a high exposure to risk. On the other hand, if you are nearing retirement age, your risk appetite should be low. You can’t afford to lose money in high-risk ventures.
Plan your strategy and stick to it
There are mainly three basic trading strategies: long-term, medium-term, and short-term investment strategies. And each strategy’s exposure to risk is rated based on the length of time involved with a trading strategy.
Typically, a long-term trading strategy has the lowest exposure to risk. Investors purchase cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (or part of a Bitcoin) when the price is low with the intention of allowing the investment to increase in value over many years. The long-term trading strategy ignores short- to medium-term market volatility.
On the other hand, the short-term strategy has the highest risk and investors should make sure that, when trading in cryptocurrencies, they have researched the historical, current, and forecast price movements of their chosen currency thoroughly before opening and closing a trading position. The short-term trading strategy utilises financial market volatility to increase wealth.
Finally, a medium-term trading strategy falls somewhere in between the short- and long-term trading strategy and has medium exposure to risk.
Cryptocurrencies are not going to disappear off the scene. As noted above by Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google, the foundation upon which cryptocurrencies are built has immense value for the modern business world.
Therefore, the only question left to ask is whether you are going to diversify your wealth portfolio and invest in cryptocurrencies, or are you going to take the conservative route like Warren Buffet and ignore the long- medium- and short-term value of cryptocurrency trading and investments?
Performance Management: Why Organisations Should Prioritise Performance Management
Performance management is defined as the “process of creating a work environment or setting in which people are enabled to perform to the best of their abilities.” Additionally, in order to ensure that the optimal work environment is created, employee performance is measured.
This definition raises the following issues or questions that need to be asked and answered:
How do companies measure performance, what parameters or metrics are used to measure performance, and how is an equitable measurement drawn up across all job roles? In other words, how is a sales assistant’s performance weighed equally against a sale’s executive’s performance, for example?
Performance management: A case study
By way of answering these questions, let’s look at a simple case study. Company A is involved in the design and manufacture of a new product that they hope to launch just before the Festive season this year.
Thus, there is a design team with a team lead, and a sales team, headed by a sales manager. The company outsources the product manufacture and packaging, so the buying department only consists of a single person at this stage. A multi-departmental team dually manages quality control. It includes employees from the design and sales team as well as staff from the manufacturer.
It must be noted that the manufacturing company employee has no relevance to our case study, so we will ignore him/her for now. Also, the company has decided that it manages its performance review on a project basis, and they any one of the software applications that are available on the market to drive its process.
Therefore, let’s start by dividing the project’s performance management process into its key performance areas:
The goal of this project is to design, manufacture, and launch Product X in time for the Festive season. Therefore, both staff and management need to sit down and define measurable and equitable goals to meet the project deadlines.
This point includes the three following elements:
- Clarity on job expectations.
- Discussion about organisational vision & core values
- Discussion on time bound goals
At this juncture, it must be noted that the clearer the job expectations in relation to the organisation’s core values and vision, the great the chance there will be successful outcomes.
Review collection and analysis
When utilised correctly, employee reviews can be a valuable resource for management and human resources as they are an accurate reflection of the organisation’s employee culture and inner workings. Therefore, by organising regular feedback using team performance management software, it is possible to collect valuable data that can be plotted on graphs and charts for senior management to make sense of it.
Consequently, it is vital for management to get employee buy-in; otherwise this process will fail.
Using analytical data gathered to facilitate informed decision-making
Finally, if the performance management process is administered correctly; thereby, gaining employee trust, management will be able to utilise the valuable information collected to make improvements to the work environment and employee culture to ensure business growth and an increased bottom line.
After all, a company exists to make money. And wise top-level management will pay close attention to the fact that happy employees result in a successful organisation.
4 Reasons Why Exercising Daily is Beneficial for Your Health
Are you feeling lethargic and drained by the end of the week? It’s all you can do to get yourself to the weekend so you can rest to try and recover to start the new working week?
This issue seems to be a frequent topic of discussion these days: and for good reason.
Lethargy and exhaustion: Why?
Before we look at one of the best ways to counteract the extreme lassitude and fatigue by the end of the work week, let’s look at several reasons why we feel this way by the end of the week:
Our global society has moved from the Industrial Age where people were more active at work to the Information Age where people sit behind a computer for long hours without moving. Not only is the lack of movement an issue but many people do not sit behind an ergonomic workstation. Consequently, they develop conditions such as Repetitive Strain Injury, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and other maladies specific to the lack of movement.
The article published on Everydayhealth.com titled “The Real Effects of Technology on Your Health” notes that information is continuously available via mobile devices, and it can be consumed 24/7. This often causes the brain fatigue from the constant barrage of information. In summary, part of the reason why we feel overwhelmed all the time is that our brains never get time to relax. They are always processing and sorting out information.
Staring at a computer, or mobile device screen all day (and for most of the night) causes eye strain, loss of vision, migraine headaches, light sensitivity, and exhaustion. It also induces sleep deprivation. Firstly, we spend too long on our mobile devices when we should be sleeping. And, because our brains are so busy processing all the information consumed, it never calms down enough so we can fall asleep.
Exercise: One of the best ways to counteract exhaustion and fatigue
At the outset, it’s important to note that I am not a medical professional. Therefore, it’s important to check with your doctor before embarking on a programme of rigorous exercise.
That being said, here are several benefits to exercising on a daily basis:
Improves the quality of your sleep
As long you don’t exercise just before bedtime, it promotes better sleep than if you don’t exercise. Not only will you fall asleep quicker, but your quality of sleep will also be better.
Helps with weight loss
There is no doubt that our sedentary lifestyles are a major cause of the global obesity epidemic. The World Health Organisation’s statistics show that “worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975.” Therefore, exercising every day will help us reduce excess weight and reduce the likelihood of contracting obesity-related diseases like heart disease, and diabetes.
Is a mood booster
The Mayo Clinic website notes that “physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed.” It gets your heart rate going, increases your natural endorphin levels and helps reduce the stress hormones like noradrenalin and adrenalin.
Improves energy levels
Does walking from your car to your office, or completing household chores exhaust you? Exercise increases muscle strength, density, and endurance levels. It also “delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently.” Therefore, when your muscles, heart, and lungs receive more oxygen, you will be able to go about your daily life without feeling tired and out-of-breath.
Starting an exercise programme can be demoralising and tiring in itself. However, on the other hand, it can also be exciting, especially when you notice your fitness levels improving and your lethargy levels reducing. It is important to persevere, break down your fitness goals into bite-size chunks, and celebrate every small milestone.
Succinctly stated, your joie de vivre and raison d’etre will return, thereby, improving your quality of life and your ability to cope with all of the modern-day stresses. It is for this reason alone that it is worth embarking on a daily exercise programme.
5 Reasons Why You Should Prioritise Internet Security
Most people nowadays can no longer do without their laptops, computers, and smartphones. Some people can no longer stand a day without connecting to the internet. While the advent of the internet has brought in loads of perks (especially for freelancers and entrepreneurs), users still need to practice caution since there are a lot of risks if internet security is taken for granted. Here are some of the biggest reasons why you should make your internet security a top priority:
Loss of Privacy and Confidentiality
You definitely don’t want any of your confidential or private information and messages to be viewed, intercepted, or stolen. Government institutions and companies that hold highly sensitive information are more prone to this kind of risk. Thus, there’s a need to update their systems to bring maximum security about.
Identity theft is one of the biggest issues online as most people are now into buying, selling, and exchanging information through the web. If internet security is not prioritized, these online transactions may lead to fraudulent activities like cyber-criminals getting access to your credit card information, social security number, and other personal data. Using these sensitive data, they can make purchases, apply for government benefits, take out loans, or even ruin your private life. The damages of identity theft could be vast, and so caution is a must.
Your photos, videos, documents, and other digital files are also prone to data theft. These data can be distributed or resold illegally. For example, companies may end up losing confidential financial files, important testing data, product blueprints, trade secrets, and many more. Governments are also at risk of losing their sensitive data like research projects, strategies, agent names abroad, lists of military placements, and so on.
There are also some hackers that are more interested in causing damage than embezzling information. They can cause harm to your computer using Trojans, malicious software, and other computer viruses. These can render your computer unworkable. The common targets are corporate and government systems. Hackers attach their computers to disrupt services and communications, resulting in various secondary problems.
Hackers could get into your system and post something that could ruin your reputation online. This includes posting data that are supposed to be private for everyone to see. Bad posts could crumble the public image that you have worked so hard to establish. This is particularly risky for influential people and huge businesses. The challenge is that once something is posted online, it is nearly impossible to totally erase it, especially if the damage is already done.
If your business’ online system is crashed, this could lead to downtime. And downtime means lost revenue. This could also affect your credibility as customers are likely to lose their trust in a business that isn’t totally secure. All your digital money could also go down the drain once the hackers find their way into your accounting and financial system or digital wallets.
How to improve your internet security
With the plethora of risks poor internet security tags along, you need to make sure that you’re doing the right precautions to keep troubles at bay. You could start with the following:
- Have secure passwords for all your accounts
Your passwords should be strong and secure. Use long passwords that have random letters, numbers, and characters.
- Have a working antivirus software on your computer
Use a reliable antivirus software to protect your computer from viruses and other malicious software programs that could steal your data and cause other unwanted damages.
- Do not click on malicious links
Be wary of unknown links from unknown sources. If you are not familiar with the source of an email, just ignore it instead of jumping into the risk.
- Use the latest version of web browsers
Update your web browser from time to time. Use the latest version as much as possible as new versions always come with better security features.
- Screen all downloads
If the website is unfamiliar, do not download or install programs from that source. Also, prior to opening attachments or downloads, scan it with your internet security protocol for an added layer of protection.
As security features get more advanced, hacking strategies also get better. Thus, always update your security features and do whatever you can to equip yourself with the best security measures available.
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