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Nabil Alouani

Nabil Alouani

1 day ago

Why Cryptocurrency Is Not Dead Despite the FTX Scam

A fraud, free-market, antifragility tale

Crypto's only rival is public opinion.

In less than a week, mainstream media, bloggers, and TikTokers turned on FTX's founder.

While some were surprised, almost everyone with a keyboard and a Twitter account predicted the FTX collapse. These financial oracles should have warned the 1.2 million people Sam Bankman-Fried duped.

After happening, unexpected events seem obvious to our brains. It's a bug and a feature because it helps us cope with disasters and makes our reasoning suck.

Nobody predicted the FTX debacle. Bloomberg? Politicians. Non-famous. No cryptologists. Who?

When FTX imploded, taking billions of dollars with it, an outrage bomb went off, and the resulting shockwave threatens the crypto market's existence.

As someone who lost more than $78,000 in a crypto scam in 2020, I can only understand people’s reactions.  When the dust settles and rationality returns, we'll realize this is a natural occurrence in every free market.

What specifically occurred with FTX? (Skip if you are aware.)

FTX is a cryptocurrency exchange where customers can trade with cash. It reached #3 in less than two years as the fastest-growing platform of its kind.

FTX's performance helped make SBF the crypto poster boy. Other reasons include his altruistic public image, his support for the Democrats, and his company Alameda Research.

Alameda Research made a fortune arbitraging Bitcoin.

Arbitrage trading uses small price differences between two markets to make money. Bitcoin costs $20k in Japan and $21k in the US. Alameda Research did that for months, making $1 million per day.

Later, as its capital grew, Alameda expanded its trading activities and began investing in other companies.

Let's now discuss FTX.

SBF's diabolic master plan began when he used FTX-created FTT coins to inflate his trading company's balance sheets. He used inflated Alameda numbers to secure bank loans.

SBF used money he printed himself as collateral to borrow billions for capital. Coindesk exposed him in a report.

One of FTX's early investors tweeted that he planned to sell his FTT coins over the next few months. This would be a minor event if the investor wasn't Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ).

The crypto space saw a red WARNING sign when CZ cut ties with FTX. Everyone with an FTX account and a brain withdrew money. Two events followed. FTT fell from $20 to $4 in less than 72 hours, and FTX couldn't meet withdrawal requests, spreading panic.

SBF reassured FTX users on Twitter. Good assets.

He lied.

SBF falsely claimed FTX had a liquidity crunch. At the time of his initial claims, FTX owed about $8 billion to its customers. Liquidity shortages are usually minor. To get cash, sell assets. In the case of FTX, the main asset was printed FTT coins.

Sam wouldn't get out of trouble even if he slashed the discount (from $20 to $4) and sold every FTT. He'd flood the crypto market with his homemade coins, causing the price to crash.

SBF was trapped. He approached Binance about a buyout, which seemed good until Binance looked at FTX's books.

The original tweet has been removed.

Binance's tweet ended SBF, and he had to apologize, resign as CEO, and file for bankruptcy.

Bloomberg estimated Sam's net worth to be zero by the end of that week. 0!

But that's not all. Twitter investigations exposed fraud at FTX and Alameda Research. SBF used customer funds to trade and invest in other companies.

Thanks to the Twitter indie reporters who made the mainstream press look amateurish. Some Twitter detectives didn't sleep for 30 hours to find answers. Others added to existing threads. Memes were hilarious.

One question kept repeating in my bald head as I watched the Blue Bird. Sam, WTF?

Then I understood.

SBF wanted that FTX becomes a bank.

Think about this. FTX seems healthy a few weeks ago. You buy 2 bitcoins using FTX. You'd expect the platform to take your dollars and debit your wallet, right?

No. They give I-Owe-Yous.

FTX records owing you 2 bitcoins in its internal ledger but doesn't credit your account. Given SBF's tricks, I'd bet on nothing.

What happens if they don't credit my account with 2 bitcoins? Your money goes into FTX's capital, where SBF and his friends invest in marketing, political endorsements, and buying other companies.

Over its two-year existence, FTX invested in 130 companies. Once they make a profit on their purchases, they'll pay you and keep the rest.

One detail makes their strategy dumb. If all FTX customers withdraw at once, everything collapses.

Financially savvy people think FTX's collapse resembles a bank run, and they're right. SBF designed FTX to operate like a bank.

You expect your bank to open a drawer with your name and put $1,000 in it when you deposit $1,000. They deposit $100 in your drawer and create an I-Owe-You for $900. What happens to $900?

Let's sum it up: It's boring and headache-inducing.

When you deposit money in a bank, they can keep 10% and lend the rest. Fractional Reserve Banking is a popular method. Fractional reserves operate within and across banks.

Image by Lukertina Sihombing from Research Gate.

Fractional reserve banking generates $10,000 for every $1,000 deposited. People will pay off their debt plus interest.

As long as banks work together and the economy grows, their model works well.

SBF tried to replicate the system but forgot two details. First, traditional banks need verifiable collateral like real estate, jewelry, art, stocks, and bonds, not digital coupons. Traditional banks developed a liquidity buffer. The Federal Reserve (or Central Bank) injects massive cash into troubled banks.

Massive cash injections come from taxpayers. You and I pay for bankers' mistakes and annual bonuses. Yes, you may think banking is rigged. It's rigged, but it's the best financial game in 150 years. We accept its flaws, including bailouts for too-big-to-fail companies.

Anyway.

SBF wanted Binance's bailout. Binance said no, which was good for the crypto market.

Free markets are resilient.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb coined the term antifragility.

“Some things benefit from shocks; they thrive and grow when exposed to volatility, randomness, disorder, and stressors and love adventure, risk, and uncertainty. Yet, in spite of the ubiquity of the phenomenon, there is no word for the exact opposite of fragile. Let us call it antifragile. Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better.”

The easiest way to understand how antifragile systems behave is to compare them with other types of systems.

  • Glass is like a fragile system. It snaps when shocked.

  • Similar to rubber, a resilient system. After a stressful episode, it bounces back.

  • A system that is antifragile is similar to a muscle. As it is torn in the gym, it gets stronger.

Stress response of fragile, resilient, and antifragile systems.

Time-changed things are antifragile. Culture, tech innovation, restaurants, revolutions, book sales, cuisine, economic success, and even muscle shape. These systems benefit from shocks and randomness in different ways, but they all pay a price for antifragility.

Same goes for the free market and financial institutions. Taleb's book uses restaurants as an example and ends with a reference to the 2008 crash.

“Restaurants are fragile. They compete with each other. But the collective of local restaurants is antifragile for that very reason. Had restaurants been individually robust, hence immortal, the overall business would be either stagnant or weak and would deliver nothing better than cafeteria food — and I mean Soviet-style cafeteria food. Further, it [the overall business] would be marred with systemic shortages, with once in a while a complete crisis and government bailout.”

Imagine the same thing with banks.

Independent banks would compete to offer the best services. If one of these banks fails, it will disappear. Customers and investors will suffer, but the market will recover from the dead banks' mistakes.

This idea underpins a free market. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies say this when criticizing traditional banking.

The traditional banking system's components never die. When a bank fails, the Federal Reserve steps in with a big taxpayer-funded check. This hinders bank evolution. If you don't let banking cells die and be replaced, your financial system won't be antifragile.

The interdependence of banks (centralization) means that one bank's mistake can sink the entire fleet, which brings us to SBF's ultimate travesty with FTX.

FTX has left the cryptocurrency gene pool.

FTX should be decentralized and independent. The super-star scammer invested in more than 130 crypto companies and linked them, creating a fragile banking-like structure. FTX seemed to say, "We exist because centralized banks are bad." But we'll be good, unlike the centralized banking system.

FTX saved several companies, including BlockFi and Voyager Digital.

FTX wanted to be a crypto bank conglomerate and Federal Reserve. SBF wanted to monopolize crypto markets. FTX wanted to be in bed with as many powerful people as possible, so SBF seduced politicians and celebrities.

Worst? People who saw SBF's plan flaws praised him. Experts, newspapers, and crypto fans praised FTX. When billions pour in, it's hard to realize FTX was acting against its nature.

Then, they act shocked when they realize FTX's fall triggered a domino effect. Some say the damage could wipe out the crypto market, but that's wrong.

Cell death is different from body death.

FTX is out of the game despite its size. Unfit, it fell victim to market natural selection.

Next?

The challengers keep coming. The crypto economy will improve with each failure.

Free markets are antifragile because their fragile parts compete, fostering evolution. With constructive feedback, evolution benefits customers and investors.

FTX shows that customers don't like being scammed, so the crypto market's health depends on them. Charlatans and con artists are eliminated quickly or slowly.

Crypto isn't immune to collapse. Cryptocurrencies can go extinct like biological species. Antifragility isn't immortality. A few more decades of evolution may be enough for humans to figure out how to best handle money, whether it's bitcoin, traditional banking, gold, or something else.

Keep your BS detector on. Start by being skeptical of this article's finance-related claims. Even if you think you understand finance, join the conversation.

We build a better future through dialogue. So listen, ask, and share. When you think you can't find common ground with the opposing view, remember:

Sam Bankman-Fried lied.

Tim Denning

Tim Denning

1 day ago

Read These Books on Personal Finance to Boost Your Net Worth

And retire sooner.

Photo by Karlie Mitchell on Unsplash

Books can make you filthy rich.

If you apply what you learn. In 2011, I was broke and had broken dreams.

Someone suggested I read finance books. One Up On Wall Street was his first recommendation.

Finance books were my crack.

I've read every money book since then. Some are good, but most stink.

These books will make you rich.

The Almanack of Naval Ravikant by Eric Jorgenson

This isn't a cliche book.

This book was inspired by a How to Get Rich tweet thread.

It’s one of the best tweets I’ve ever read.

Naval thinks differently. He nukes ordinary ideas. I've never heard better money advice.

Eric Jorgenson wrote a book about this tweet thread with Navals permission. A must-read, easy-to-digest book.

Best quote

Seek wealth, not money or status. Wealth is having assets that earn while you sleep. Money is how we transfer time and wealth. Status is your place in the social hierarchy — Naval

Morgan Housel's The Psychology of Money

Many finance books advise investing like a dunce.

They almost all peddle the buy an index fund BS. Different book.

It's about money-making psychology. Because any fool can get rich and drunk on their ego. Few can consistently make money.

Each chapter is short. A single-page chapter breaks all book publishing rules.

Best quote

Spending money to show people how much money you have is the fastest way to have less money — Morgan Housel

J.L. Collins' The Simple Path to Wealth

Most of the best money books were written by bloggers.

JL Collins blogs. This easy-to-read book was written for his daughter.

This book popularized the phrase F You Money. With enough money in your bank account and investment portfolio, you can say F You more.

A bad boss is an example. You can leave instead of enduring his wrath.

You can then sit at home and look for another job while financially secure. JL says its mind-freedom is powerful.

Best phrasing

You own the things you own and they in turn own you — J.L. Collins

Tony Robbins' Unshakeable

I like Tony. This book makes me sweaty.

Tony interviews the world's top financiers. He interviews people who rarely do so.

This book taught me all-weather portfolio. It's a way to invest in different asset classes in good, bad, recession, or depression times.

Look at it:

Image Credit-RayDalio/OptimizedPortfolio

Investing isn’t about buying one big winner — that’s gambling. It’s about investing in a diversified portfolio of assets.

Best phrasing

The best opportunities come in times of maximum pessimism — Tony Robbins

Ben Graham's The Intelligent Investor

This book helped me distinguish between a spectator and an investor.

Spectators are those who shout that crypto, NFTs, or XYZ platform will die.

Tourists. They want attention and to say "I told you so." They make short-term and long-term predictions like fortunetellers. LOL. Idiots.

Benjamin Graham teaches smart investing. You'll buy a long-term asset. To be confident in recessions, use dollar-cost averaging.

Best phrasing

Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it. — Benjamin Graham

The Napoleon Hill book Think and Grow Rich

This classic book introduced positive thinking to modern self-help.

Lazy pessimists can't become rich. No way.

Napoleon said, "Thoughts create reality."

No surprise that he discusses obsession and focus in this book. They are the fastest ways to make more money to invest in time and wealth-protecting assets.

Best phrasing

The starting point of all achievement is DESIRE. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desire brings weak results, just as a small fire makes a small amount of heat — Napoleon Hill

Ramit Sethi's book I Will Teach You To Be Rich

This book is mostly good.  The part about credit cards is trash.

Avoid credit card temptations. I don't care about their airline points.

This book teaches you to master money basics (that many people mess up) then automate it so your monkey brain doesn't ruin your financial future.

The book includes great negotiation tactics to help you make more money in less time.

Best quote

The 85 Percent Solution: Getting started is more important than becoming an expert — Ramit Sethi

David Bach's The Automatic Millionaire

You've probably met a six- or seven-figure earner who's broke. All their money goes to useless things like cars.

Money isn't as essential as what you do with it. David teaches how to automate your earnings for more money.

Compounding works once investing is automated. So you get rich.

His strategy eliminates luck and (almost) guarantees millionaire status.

Best phrasing

Every time you earn one dollar, make sure to pay yourself first — David Bach

Thomas J. Stanley's The Millionaire Next Door

Thomas defies the definition of rich.

He spends much of the book highlighting millionaire traits he's studied.

Rich people are quiet, so you wouldn't know they're wealthy. They don't earn much money or drive a BMW.

Thomas will give you the math to get started.

Best phrasing

I am not impressed with what people own. But I’m impressed with what they achieve. I’m proud to be a physician. Always strive to be the best in your field…. Don’t chase money. If you are the best in your field, money will find you. — Thomas J. Stanley

by Bill Perkins "Die With Zero"

Let’s end with one last book.

Bill's book angered many people. He says we spend too much time saving for retirement and die rich. That bank money is lost time.

Your grandkids could use the money. When children inherit money, they become lazy, entitled a-holes.

Bill wants us to spend our money on life-enhancing experiences. Stop saving money like monopoly monkeys.

Best phrasing

You should be focusing on maximizing your life enjoyment rather than on maximizing your wealth. Those are two very different goals. Money is just a means to an end: Having money helps you to achieve the more important goal of enjoying your life. But trying to maximize money actually gets in the way of achieving the more important goal — Bill Perkins

Startup Journal

Startup Journal

2 days ago

The Top 14 Software Business Ideas That Are Sure To Succeed in 2023

Software can change any company.

Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

Software is becoming essential. Everyone should consider how software affects their lives and others'.

Software on your phone, tablet, or computer offers many new options. We're experts in enough ways now.

Software Business Ideas will be popular by 2023.

ERP Programs

ERP software meets rising demand.

ERP solutions automate and monitor tasks that large organizations, businesses, and even schools would struggle to do manually.

ERP software could reach $49 billion by 2024.

CRM Program

CRM software is a must-have for any customer-focused business.

Having an open mind about your business services and products allows you to change platforms.

Another company may only want your CRM service.

Medical software

Healthcare facilities need reliable, easy-to-use software.

EHRs, MDDBs, E-Prescribing, and more are software options.

The global medical software market could reach $11 billion by 2025, and mobile medical apps may follow.

Presentation Software in the Cloud

SaaS presentation tools are great.

They're easy to use, comprehensive, and full of traditional Software features.

In today's cloud-based world, these solutions make life easier for people. We don't know about you, but we like it.

Software for Project Management

People began working remotely without signs or warnings before the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.

Many organizations found it difficult to track projects and set deadlines.

With PMP software tools, teams can manage remote units and collaborate effectively.

App for Blockchain-Based Invoicing

This advanced billing and invoicing solution is for businesses and freelancers.

These blockchain-based apps can calculate taxes, manage debts, and manage transactions.

Intelligent contracts help blockchain track transactions more efficiently. It speeds up and improves invoice generation.

Software for Business Communications

Internal business messaging is tricky.

Top business software tools for communication can share files, collaborate on documents, host video conferences, and more.

Payroll Automation System

Software development also includes developing an automated payroll system.

These software systems reduce manual tasks for timely employee payments.

These tools help enterprise clients calculate total wages quickly, simplify tax calculations, improve record-keeping, and support better financial planning.

System for Detecting Data Leaks

Both businesses and individuals value data highly. Yahoo's data breach is dangerous because of this.

This area of software development can help people protect their data.

You can design an advanced data loss prevention system.

AI-based Retail System

AI-powered shopping systems are popular. The systems analyze customers' search and purchase patterns and store history and are equipped with a keyword database.

These systems offer many customers pre-loaded products.

AI-based shopping algorithms also help users make purchases.

Software for Detecting Plagiarism

Software can help ensure your projects are original and not plagiarized.

These tools detect plagiarized content that Google, media, and educational institutions don't like.

Software for Converting Audio to Text

Machine Learning converts speech to text automatically.

These programs can quickly transcribe cloud-based files.

Software for daily horoscopes

Daily and monthly horoscopes will continue to be popular.

Software platforms that can predict forecasts, calculate birth charts, and other astrology resources are good business ideas.

E-learning Programs

Traditional study methods are losing popularity as virtual schools proliferate and physical space shrinks.

Khan Academy online courses are the best way to keep learning.

Online education portals can boost your learning. If you want to start a tech startup, consider creating an e-learning program.

Conclusion

Software is booming. There's never been a better time to start a software development business, with so many people using computers and smartphones. This article lists eight business ideas for 2023. Consider these ideas if you're just starting out or looking to expand.

Shruti Mishra

Shruti Mishra

2 days ago

How to get 100k profile visits on Twitter each month without spending a dime

As a marketer, I joined Twitter on August 31, 2022 to use it.

Growth has been volatile, causing up-and-down engagements. 500 followers in 11 days.

I met amazing content creators, marketers, and people.

Those who use Twitter may know that one-liners win the algorithm, especially if they're funny or humorous, but as a marketer I can't risk posting content that my audience won't like.

I researched, learned some strategies, and A/B tested; some worked, some didn't.

In this article, I share what worked for me so you can do the same.

Thanks for reading!

Let's check my Twitter stats.

@Marketershruti Twitter Analytics
  • Tweets: how many tweets I sent in the first 28 days.

  • A user may be presented with a Tweet in their timeline or in search results.

  • In-person visits how many times my Twitter profile was viewed in the first 28 days.

  • Mentions: the number of times a tweet has mentioned my name.

  • Number of followers: People who were following me

Getting 500 Twitter followers isn't difficult.

Not easy, but doable.

Follow these steps to begin:

Determine your content pillars in step 1.

My formula is Growth = Content + Marketing + Community.

I discuss growth strategies.

My concept for growth is : 1. Content = creating / writing + sharing content in my niche. 2. Marketing = Marketing everything in business + I share my everyday learnings in business, marketing & entrepreneurship. 3. Community = Building community of like minded individuals (Also,I share how to’s) + supporting marketers to build & grow through community building.

Identify content pillars to create content for your audience.

2. Make your profile better

Create a profile picture. Your recognition factor is this.

Professional headshots are worthwhile.

This tool can help you create a free, eye-catching profile pic.

Use a niche-appropriate avatar if you don't want to show your face.

2. Create a bio that converts well mainly because first impressions count.

what you're sharing + why + +social proof what are you making

Be brief and precise. (155 characters)

3. Configure your banner

Banners complement profile pictures.

Use this space to explain what you do and how Twitter followers can benefit.

Canva's Twitter header maker is free.

Birdy can test multiple photo, bio, and banner combinations to optimize your profile.

  • Versions A and B of your profile should be completed.

  • Find the version that converts the best.

  • Use the profile that converts the best.

4. Special handle

If your username/handle is related to your niche, it will help you build authority and presence among your audience. Mine on Twitter is @marketershruti.

5. Participate expertly

Proficiently engage while you'll have no audience at first. Borrow your dream audience for free.

Steps:

  • Find a creator who has the audience you want.

  • Activate their post notifications and follow them.

  • Add a valuable comment first.

6. Create fantastic content

Use:

  • Medium (Read articles about your topic.)

  • Podcasts (Listen to experts on your topics)

  • YouTube (Follow channels in your niche)

Tweet what?

  • Listicle ( Hacks, Books, Tools, Podcasts)

  • Lessons (Teach your audience how to do 1 thing)

  • Inspirational (Inspire people to take action)

Consistent writing?

  • You MUST plan ahead and schedule your Tweets.

  • Use a scheduling tool that is effective for you; hypefury is mine.

Lastly, consistency is everything that attracts growth. After optimizing your profile, stay active to gain followers, engagements, and clients.

If you found this helpful, please like and comment below.

Nitin Sharma

Nitin Sharma

3 days ago

Quietly Create a side business that will revolutionize everything in a year.

Quitting your job for a side gig isn't smart.

Photo by Artur Voznenko on Unsplash

A few years ago, I would have laughed at the idea of starting a side business.

I never thought a side gig could earn more than my 9-to-5. My side gig pays more than my main job now.

You may then tell me to leave your job.  But I don't want to gamble, and my side gig is important. Programming and web development help me write better because of my job.

Yes, I share work-related knowledge. Web development, web3, programming, money, investment, and side hustles are key.

Let me now show you how to make one.

Create a side business based on your profession or your interests.

I'd be direct.

Most people don't know where to start or which side business to pursue.

You can make money by taking online surveys, starting a YouTube channel, or playing web3 games, according to several blogs.

You won't make enough money and will waste time.

Nitin directs our efforts. My friend, you've worked and have talent. Profit from your talent.

Example:

College taught me web development. I soon created websites, freelanced, and made money. First year was hardest for me financially and personally.

As I worked, I became more skilled. Soon after, I got more work, wrote about web development on Medium, and started selling products.

I've built multiple income streams from web development. It wasn't easy. Web development skills got me a 9-to-5 job.

Focus on a specific skill and earn money in many ways. Most people start with something they hate or are bad at; the rest is predictable.

Result? They give up, frustrated.

Quietly focus for a year.

I started my side business in college and never told anyone. My parents didn't know what I did for fun.

The only motivation is time constraints. So I focused.

As I've said, I focused on my strengths (learned skills) and made money. Yes, I was among Medium's top 500 authors in a year and got a bonus.

How did I succeed? Since I know success takes time, I never imagined making enough money in a month. I spent a year concentrating.

I became wealthy. Now that I have multiple income sources, some businesses pay me based on my skill.

I recommend learning skills and working quietly for a year. You can do anything with this.

The hardest part will always be the beginning.

When someone says you can make more money working four hours a week. Leave that, it's bad advice.

If someone recommends a paid course to help you succeed, think twice.

The beginning is always the hardest.

I made many mistakes learning web development. When I started my technical content side gig, it was tough. I made mistakes and changed how I create content, which helped.

And it’s applicable everywhere.

Don't worry if you face problems at first. Time and effort heal all wounds.

Quitting your job to work a side job is not a good idea.

Some honest opinions.

Most online gurus encourage side businesses. It takes time to start and grow a side business.

Suppose you quit and started a side business.

After six months, what happens? Your side business won't provide enough money to survive.

Indeed. Later, you'll become demotivated and tense and look for work.

Instead, work 9-5, and start a side business. You decide. Stop watching Netflix and focus on your side business.

I know you're busy, but do it.

Next? It'll succeed or fail in six months. You can continue your side gig for another six months because you have a job and have tried it.

You'll probably make money, but you may need to change your side gig.

That’s it.

You've created a new revenue stream.

Remember.

Starting a side business, a company, or finding work is difficult. There's no free money in a competitive world. You'll only succeed with skill.

Read it again.

Focusing silently for a year can help you succeed.

I studied web development and wrote about it. First year was tough. I went viral, hit the top 500, and other firms asked me to write for them. So, my life changed.

Yours can too. One year of silence is required.

Enjoy!