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Leon Ho

Leon Ho

1 year ago

Digital Brainbuilding (Your Second Brain)

More on Personal Growth

Zuzanna Sieja

Zuzanna Sieja

1 year ago

In 2022, each data scientist needs to read these 11 books.

Non-technical talents can benefit data scientists in addition to statistics and programming.

As our article 5 Most In-Demand Skills for Data Scientists shows, being business-minded is useful. How can you get such a diverse skill set? We've compiled a list of helpful resources.

Data science, data analysis, programming, and business are covered. Even a few of these books will make you a better data scientist.

Ready? Let’s dive in.

Best books for data scientists

1. The Black Swan

Author: Nassim Taleb

First, a less obvious title. Nassim Nicholas Taleb's seminal series examines uncertainty, probability, risk, and decision-making.

Three characteristics define a black swan event:

  • It is erratic.

  • It has a significant impact.

  • Many times, people try to come up with an explanation that makes it seem more predictable than it actually was.

People formerly believed all swans were white because they'd never seen otherwise. A black swan in Australia shattered their belief.

Taleb uses this incident to illustrate how human thinking mistakes affect decision-making. The book teaches readers to be aware of unpredictability in the ever-changing IT business.

Try multiple tactics and models because you may find the answer.

2. High Output Management

Author: Andrew Grove

Intel's former chairman and CEO provides his insights on developing a global firm in this business book. We think Grove would choose “management” to describe the talent needed to start and run a business.

That's a skill for CEOs, techies, and data scientists. Grove writes on developing productive teams, motivation, real-life business scenarios, and revolutionizing work.

Five lessons:

  • Every action is a procedure.

  • Meetings are a medium of work

  • Manage short-term goals in accordance with long-term strategies.

  • Mission-oriented teams accelerate while functional teams increase leverage.

  • Utilize performance evaluations to enhance output.

So — if the above captures your imagination, it’s well worth getting stuck in.

3. The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers

Author: Ben Horowitz

Few realize how difficult it is to run a business, even though many see it as a tremendous opportunity.

Business schools don't teach managers how to handle the toughest difficulties; they're usually on their own. So Ben Horowitz wrote this book.

It gives tips on creating and maintaining a new firm and analyzes the hurdles CEOs face.

Find suggestions on:

  • create software

  • Run a business.

  • Promote a product

  • Obtain resources

  • Smart investment

  • oversee daily operations

This book will help you cope with tough times.

4. Obviously Awesome: How to Nail Product Positioning

Author: April Dunford

Your job as a data scientist is a product. You should be able to sell what you do to clients. Even if your product is great, you must convince them.

How to? April Dunford's advice: Her book explains how to connect with customers by making your offering seem like a secret sauce.

You'll learn:

  • Select the ideal market for your products.

  • Connect an audience to the value of your goods right away.

  • Take use of three positioning philosophies.

  • Utilize market trends to aid purchasers

5. The Mom test

Author: Rob Fitzpatrick

The Mom Test improves communication. Client conversations are rarely predictable. The book emphasizes one of the most important communication rules: enquire about specific prior behaviors.

Both ways work. If a client has suggestions or demands, listen carefully and ensure everyone understands. The book is packed with client-speaking tips.

6. Introduction to Machine Learning with Python: A Guide for Data Scientists

Authors: Andreas C. Müller, Sarah Guido

Now, technical documents.

This book is for Python-savvy data scientists who wish to learn machine learning. Authors explain how to use algorithms instead of math theory.

Their technique is ideal for developers who wish to study machine learning basics and use cases. Sci-kit-learn, NumPy, SciPy, pandas, and Jupyter Notebook are covered beyond Python.

If you know machine learning or artificial neural networks, skip this.

7. Python Data Science Handbook: Essential Tools for Working with Data

Author: Jake VanderPlas

Data work isn't easy. Data manipulation, transformation, cleansing, and visualization must be exact.

Python is a popular tool. The Python Data Science Handbook explains everything. The book describes how to utilize Pandas, Numpy, Matplotlib, Scikit-Learn, and Jupyter for beginners.

The only thing missing is a way to apply your learnings.

8. Python for Data Analysis: Data Wrangling with Pandas, NumPy, and IPython

Author: Wes McKinney

The author leads you through manipulating, processing, cleaning, and analyzing Python datasets using NumPy, Pandas, and IPython.

The book's realistic case studies make it a great resource for Python or scientific computing beginners. Once accomplished, you'll uncover online analytics, finance, social science, and economics solutions.

9. Data Science from Scratch

Author: Joel Grus

Here's a title for data scientists with Python, stats, maths, and algebra skills (alongside a grasp of algorithms and machine learning). You'll learn data science's essential libraries, frameworks, modules, and toolkits.

The author works through all the key principles, providing you with the practical abilities to develop simple code. The book is appropriate for intermediate programmers interested in data science and machine learning.

Not that prior knowledge is required. The writing style matches all experience levels, but understanding will help you absorb more.

10. Machine Learning Yearning

Author: Andrew Ng

Andrew Ng is a machine learning expert. Co-founded and teaches at Stanford. This free book shows you how to structure an ML project, including recognizing mistakes and building in complex contexts.

The book delivers knowledge and teaches how to apply it, so you'll know how to:

  • Determine the optimal course of action for your ML project.

  • Create software that is more effective than people.

  • Recognize when to use end-to-end, transfer, and multi-task learning, and how to do so.

  • Identifying machine learning system flaws

Ng writes easy-to-read books. No rigorous math theory; just a terrific approach to understanding how to make technical machine learning decisions.

11. Deep Learning with PyTorch Step-by-Step

Author: Daniel Voigt Godoy

The last title is also the most recent. The book was revised on 23 January 2022 to discuss Deep Learning and PyTorch, a Python coding tool.

It comprises four parts:

  1. Fundamentals (gradient descent, training linear and logistic regressions in PyTorch)

  2. Machine Learning (deeper models and activation functions, convolutions, transfer learning, initialization schemes)

  3. Sequences (RNN, GRU, LSTM, seq2seq models, attention, self-attention, transformers)

  4. Automatic Language Recognition (tokenization, embeddings, contextual word embeddings, ELMo, BERT, GPT-2)

We admire the book's readability. The author avoids difficult mathematical concepts, making the material feel like a conversation.

Is every data scientist a humanist?

Even as a technological professional, you can't escape human interaction, especially with clients.

We hope these books will help you develop interpersonal skills.

Jari Roomer

Jari Roomer

1 year ago

Successful people have this one skill.

Without self-control, you'll waste time chasing dopamine fixes.

I found a powerful quote in Tony Robbins' Awaken The Giant Within:

“Most of the challenges that we have in our personal lives come from a short-term focus” — Tony Robbins

Most people are short-term oriented, but highly successful people are long-term oriented.

Successful people act in line with their long-term goals and values, while the rest are distracted by short-term pleasures and dopamine fixes.

Instant gratification wrecks lives

Instant pleasure is fleeting. Quickly fading effects leave you craving more stimulation.

Before you know it, you're in a cycle of quick fixes. This explains binging on food, social media, and Netflix.

These things cause a dopamine spike, which is entertaining. This dopamine spike crashes quickly, leaving you craving more stimulation.

It's fine to watch TV or play video games occasionally. Problems arise when brain impulses aren't controlled. You waste hours chasing dopamine fixes.

Instant gratification becomes problematic when it interferes with long-term goals, happiness, and life fulfillment.

Most rewarding things require delay

Life's greatest rewards require patience and delayed gratification. They must be earned through patience, consistency, and effort.

Ex:

  • A fit, healthy body

  • A deep connection with your spouse

  • A thriving career/business

  • A healthy financial situation

These are some of life's most rewarding things, but they take work and patience. They all require the ability to delay gratification.

To have a healthy bank account, you must save (and invest) a large portion of your monthly income. This means no new tech or clothes.

If you want a fit, healthy body, you must eat better and exercise three times a week. So no fast food and Netflix.

It's a battle between what you want now and what you want most.

Successful people choose what they want most over what they want now. It's a major difference.

Instant vs. delayed gratification

Most people subconsciously prefer instant rewards over future rewards, even if the future rewards are more significant.

We humans aren't logical. Emotions and instincts drive us. So we act against our goals and values.

Fortunately, instant gratification bias can be overridden. This is a modern superpower. Effective methods include:

#1: Train your brain to handle overstimulation

Training your brain to function without constant stimulation is a powerful change. Boredom can lead to long-term rewards.

Unlike impulsive shopping, saving money is boring. Having lots of cash is amazing.

Compared to video games, deep work is boring. A successful online business is rewarding.

Reading books is boring compared to scrolling through funny videos on social media. Knowledge is invaluable.

You can't do these things if your brain is overstimulated. Your impulses will control you. To reduce overstimulation addiction, try:

  • Daily meditation (10 minutes is enough)

  • Daily study/work for 90 minutes (no distractions allowed)

  • First hour of the day without phone, social media, and Netflix

  • Nature walks, journaling, reading, sports, etc.

#2: Make Important Activities Less Intimidating

Instant gratification helps us cope with stress. Starting a book or business can be intimidating. Video games and social media offer a quick escape in such situations.

Make intimidating tasks less so. Break them down into small tasks. Start a new business/side-hustle by:

  • Get domain name

  • Design website

  • Write out a business plan

  • Research competition/peers

  • Approach first potential client

Instead of one big mountain, divide it into smaller sub-tasks. This makes a task easier and less intimidating.

#3: Plan ahead for important activities

Distractions will invade unplanned time. Your time is dictated by your impulses, which are usually Netflix, social media, fast food, and video games. It wants quick rewards and dopamine fixes.

Plan your days and be proactive with your time. Studies show that scheduling activities makes you 3x more likely to do them.

To achieve big goals, you must plan. Don't gamble.

Want to get fit? Schedule next week's workouts. Want a side-job? Schedule your work time.

Tim Denning

Tim Denning

1 year ago

In this recession, according to Mark Cuban, you need to outwork everyone

Here’s why that’s baloney

Image Credit-MarkCuban

Mark Cuban popularized entrepreneurship.

Shark Tank (which made Mark famous) made starting a business glamorous to attract more entrepreneurs. First off

This isn't an anti-billionaire rant.

Mark Cuban has done excellent. He's a smart, principled businessman. I enjoy his Web3 work. But Mark's work and productivity theories are absurd.

You don't need to outwork everyone in this recession to live well.

You won't be able to outwork me.

Yuck! Mark's words made me gag.

Why do boys think working is a football game where the winner wins a Super Bowl trophy? To outwork you.

Hard work doesn't equal intelligence.

Highly clever professionals spend 4 hours a day in a flow state, then go home to relax with family.

If you don't put forth the effort, someone else will.

- Mark.

He'll burn out. He's delusional and doesn't understand productivity. Boredom or disconnection spark our best thoughts.

TikTok outlaws boredom.

In a spare minute, we check our phones because we can't stand stillness.

All this work p*rn makes things worse. When is it okay to feel again? Because I can’t feel anything when I’m drowning in work and haven’t had a holiday in 2 years.

Your rivals are actively attempting to undermine you.

Ohhh please Mark…seriously.

This isn't a Tom Hanks war film. Relax. Not everyone is a rival. Only yourself is your competitor. To survive the recession, be better than a year ago.

If you get rich, great. If not, there's more to life than Lambos and angel investments.

Some want to relax and enjoy life. No competition. We witness people with lives trying to endure the recession and record-high prices.

This fictitious rival worsens life and work.

Image Credit-MarkCuban

If you are truly talented, you will motivate others to work more diligently and effectively.

No Mark. Soz.

If you're a good leader, you won't brag about working hard and treating others like cogs. Treat them like humans. You'll have EQ.

Silly statements like this are caused by an out-of-control ego. No longer watch Shark Tank.

Ego over humanity.

Good leaders will urge people to keep together during the recession. Good leaders support those who are laid off and need a reference.

Not harder, quicker, better. That created my mental health problems 10 years ago.

Truth: we want to work less.

The promotion of entrepreneurship is ludicrous.

Marvel superheroes. Seriously, relax Max.

I used to write about entrepreneurship, then I quit. Many WeWork Adam Neumanns. Carelessness.

I now utilize the side hustle title when writing about online company or entrepreneurship. Humanizes.

Stop glorifying. Thinking we'll all be Elon Musks who send rockets to Mars is delusional. Most of us won't create companies employing hundreds.

OK.

The true epidemic is glorification. fewer selfies Little birdy needs less bank account screenshots. Less Uber talk.

We're exhausted.

Fun, ego-free business can transform the world. Take a relax pill.

Work as if someone were attempting to take everything from you.

I've seen people lose everything.

Myself included. My 20s startup failed. I was almost bankrupt. I thought I'd never recover. Nope.

Best thing ever.

Losing everything reveals your true self. Unintelligent entrepreneur egos perish instantly. Regaining humility revitalizes relationships.

Money's significance shifts. Stop chasing it like a puppy with a bone.

Fearing loss is unfounded.

Here is a more effective approach than outworking nobody.

(You'll thrive in the recession and become wealthy.)

Smarter work

Overworking is donkey work.

You don't want to be a career-long overworker. Instead than wasting time, write down what you do. List tasks and processes.

Keep doing/outsource the list. Step-by-step each task. Continuously systematize.

Then recruit a digital employee like Zapier or a virtual assistant in the same country.

Intelligent, not difficult.

If your big break could burn in hell, diversify like it will.

People err by focusing on one chance.

Chances can vanish. All-in risky. Instead of working like a Mark Cuban groupie, diversify your income.

If you're employed, your customer is your employer.

Sell the same abilities twice and add 2-3 contract clients. Reduce your hours at your main job and take on more clients.

Leave brand loyalty behind

Mark desires his employees' worship.

That's stupid. When times are bad, layoffs multiply. The problem is the false belief that companies care. No. A business maximizes profit and pays you the least.

To care or overpay is anti-capitalist (that run the world). Be honest.

I was a banker. Then the bat virus hit and jobs disappeared faster than I urinate after a night of drinking.

Start being disloyal now since your company will cheerfully replace you with a better applicant. Meet recruiters and hiring managers on LinkedIn. Whenever something goes wrong at work, act.

Loyalty to self and family. Nobody.

Outwork this instead

Mark doesn't suggest outworking inflation instead of people.

Inflation erodes your time on earth. If you ignore inflation, you'll work harder for less pay every minute.

Financial literacy beats inflation.

Get a side job and earn money online

So you can stop outworking everyone.

Internet leverages time. Same effort today yields exponential results later. There are still whole places not online.

Instead of working forever, generate money online.

Final Words

Overworking is stupid. Don't listen to wealthy football jocks.

Work isn't everything. Prioritize diversification, internet income streams, boredom, and financial knowledge throughout the recession.

That’s how to get wealthy rather than burnout-rich.

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Michael Hunter, MD

Michael Hunter, MD

1 year ago

5 Drugs That May Increase Your Risk of Dementia

Photo by danilo.alvesd on Unsplash

While our genes can't be changed easily, you can avoid some dementia risk factors. Today we discuss dementia and five drugs that may increase risk.

Memory loss appears to come with age, but we're not talking about forgetfulness. Sometimes losing your car keys isn't an indication of dementia. Dementia impairs the capacity to think, remember, or make judgments. Dementia hinders daily tasks.

Alzheimers is the most common dementia. Dementia is not normal aging, unlike forgetfulness. Aging increases the risk of Alzheimer's and other dementias. A family history of the illness increases your risk, according to the Mayo Clinic (USA).

Given that our genes are difficult to change (I won't get into epigenetics), what are some avoidable dementia risk factors? Certain drugs may cause cognitive deterioration.

Today we look at four drugs that may cause cognitive decline.

Dementia and benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepine sedatives increase brain GABA levels. Example benzodiazepines:

  • Diazepam (Valium) (Valium)

  • Alprazolam (Xanax) (Xanax)

  • Clonazepam (Klonopin) (Klonopin)

Addiction and overdose are benzodiazepine risks. Yes! These medications don't raise dementia risk.

USC study: Benzodiazepines don't increase dementia risk in older adults.

Benzodiazepines can produce short- and long-term amnesia. This memory loss hinders memory formation. Extreme cases can permanently impair learning and memory. Anterograde amnesia is uncommon.

2. Statins and dementia

Statins reduce cholesterol. They prevent a cholesterol-making chemical. Examples:

  • Atorvastatin (Lipitor) (Lipitor)

  • Fluvastatin (Lescol XL) (Lescol XL)

  • Lovastatin (Altoprev) (Altoprev)

  • Pitavastatin (Livalo, Zypitamag) (Livalo, Zypitamag)

  • Pravastatin (Pravachol) (Pravachol)

  • Rosuvastatin (Crestor, Ezallor) (Crestor, Ezallor)

  • Simvastatin (Zocor) (Zocor)

Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

This finding is contentious. Harvard's Brigham and Womens Hospital's Dr. Joann Manson says:

“I think that the relationship between statins and cognitive function remains controversial. There’s still not a clear conclusion whether they help to prevent dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, have neutral effects, or increase risk.”

This one's off the dementia list.

3. Dementia and anticholinergic drugs

Anticholinergic drugs treat many conditions, including urine incontinence. Drugs inhibit acetylcholine (a brain chemical that helps send messages between cells). Acetylcholine blockers cause drowsiness, disorientation, and memory loss.

First-generation antihistamines, tricyclic antidepressants, and overactive bladder antimuscarinics are common anticholinergics among the elderly.

Anticholinergic drugs may cause dementia. One study found that taking anticholinergics for three years or more increased the risk of dementia by 1.54 times compared to three months or less. After stopping the medicine, the danger may continue.

4. Drugs for Parkinson's disease and dementia

Cleveland Clinic (USA) on Parkinson's:

Parkinson's disease causes age-related brain degeneration. It causes delayed movements, tremors, and balance issues. Some are inherited, but most are unknown. There are various treatment options, but no cure.

Parkinson's medications can cause memory loss, confusion, delusions, and obsessive behaviors. The drug's effects on dopamine cause these issues.

A 2019 JAMA Internal Medicine study found powerful anticholinergic medications enhance dementia risk.

Those who took anticholinergics had a 1.5 times higher chance of dementia. Individuals taking antidepressants, antipsychotic drugs, anti-Parkinson’s drugs, overactive bladder drugs, and anti-epileptic drugs had the greatest risk of dementia.

Anticholinergic medicines can lessen Parkinson's-related tremors, but they slow cognitive ability. Anticholinergics can cause disorientation and hallucinations in those over 70.

Photo by Wengang Zhai on Unsplash

5. Antiepileptic drugs and dementia

The risk of dementia from anti-seizure drugs varies with drugs. Levetiracetam (Keppra) improves Alzheimer's cognition.

One study linked different anti-seizure medications to dementia. Anti-epileptic medicines increased the risk of Alzheimer's disease by 1.15 times in the Finnish sample and 1.3 times in the German population. Depakote, Topamax are drugs.

Charlie Brown

Charlie Brown

1 year ago

What Happens When You Sell Your House, Never Buying It Again, Reverse the American Dream

Homeownership isn't the only life pattern.

Photo by Karlie Mitchell on Unsplash

Want to irritate people?

My party trick is to say I used to own a house but no longer do.

I no longer wish to own a home, not because I lost it or because I'm moving.

It was a long-term plan. It was more deliberate than buying a home. Many people are committed for this reason.

Poppycock.

Anyone who told me that owning a house (or striving to do so) is a must is wrong.

Because, URGH.

One pattern for life is to own a home, but there are millions of others.

You can afford to buy a home? Go, buddy.

You think you need 1,000 square feet (or more)? You think it's non-negotiable in life?

Nope.

It's insane that society forces everyone to own real estate, regardless of income, wants, requirements, or situation. As if this trade brings happiness, stability, and contentment.

Take it from someone who thought this for years: drywall isn't happy. Living your way brings contentment.

That's in real estate. It may also be renting a small apartment in a city that makes your soul sing, but you can't afford the downpayment or mortgage payments.

Living or traveling abroad is difficult when your life savings are connected to something that eats your money the moment you sign.

#vanlife, which seems like torment to me, makes some people feel alive.

I've seen co-living, vacation rental after holiday rental, living with family, and more work.

Insisting that home ownership is the only path in life is foolish and reduces alternative options.

How little we question homeownership is a disgrace.

No one challenges a homebuyer's motives. We congratulate them, then that's it.

When you offload one, you must answer every question, even if you have a loose screw.

  • Why do you want to sell?

  • Do you have any concerns about leaving the market?

  • Why would you want to renounce what everyone strives for?

  • Why would you want to abandon a beautiful place like that?

  • Why would you mismanage your cash in such a way?

  • But surely it's only temporary? RIGHT??

Incorrect questions. Buying a property requires several inquiries.

  • The typical American has $4500 saved up. When something goes wrong with the house (not if, it’s never if), can you actually afford the repairs?

  • Are you certain that you can examine a home in less than 15 minutes before committing to buying it outright and promising to pay more than twice the asking price on a 30-year 7% mortgage?

  • Are you certain you're ready to leave behind friends, family, and the services you depend on in order to acquire something?

  • Have you thought about the connotation that moving to a suburb, which more than half of Americans do, means you will be dependent on a car for the rest of your life?

Plus:

Are you sure you want to prioritize home ownership over debt, employment, travel, raising kids, and daily routines?

Homeownership entails that. This ex-homeowner says it will rule your life from the time you put the key in the door.

This isn't questioned. We don't question enough. The holy home-ownership grail was set long ago, and we don't challenge it.

Many people question after signing the deeds. 70% of homeowners had at least one regret about buying a property, including the expense.

Exactly. Tragic.

Homes are different from houses

We've been fooled into thinking home ownership will make us happy.

Some may agree. No one.

Bricks and brick hindered me from living the version of my life that made me most comfortable, happy, and steady.

I'm spending the next month in a modest apartment in southern Spain. Even though it's late November, today will be 68 degrees. My spouse and I will soon meet his visiting parents. We'll visit a Sherry store. We'll eat, nap, walk, and drink Sherry. Writing. Jerez means flamenco.

That's my home. This is such a privilege. Living a fulfilling life brings me the contentment that buying a home never did.

I'm happy and comfortable knowing I can make almost all of my days good. Rejecting home ownership is partly to blame.

I'm broke like most folks. I had to choose between home ownership and comfort. I said, I didn't find them together.

Feeling at home trumps owning brick-and-mortar every day.

The following is the reality of what it's like to turn the American Dream around.

Leaving the housing market.

Sometimes I wish I owned a home.

I miss having my own yard and bed. My kitchen, cookbooks, and pizza oven are missed.

But I rarely do.

Someone else's life plan pushed home ownership on me. I'm grateful I figured it out at 35. Many take much longer, and some never understand homeownership stinks (for them).

It's confusing. People will think you're dumb or suicidal.

If you read what I write, you'll know. You'll realize that all you've done is choose to live intentionally. Find a home beyond four walls and a picket fence.

Miss? As I said, they're not home. If it were, a pizza oven, a good mattress, and a well-stocked kitchen would bring happiness.

No.

If you can afford a house and desire one, more power to you.

There are other ways to discover home. Find calm and happiness. For fun.

For it, look deeper than your home's foundation.

Nathan Reiff

Nathan Reiff

2 years ago

Howey Test and Cryptocurrencies: 'Every ICO Is a Security'

What Is the Howey Test?

To determine whether a transaction qualifies as a "investment contract" and thus qualifies as a security, the Howey Test refers to the U.S. Supreme Court cass: the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. According to the Howey Test, an investment contract exists when "money is invested in a common enterprise with a reasonable expectation of profits from others' efforts." 

The test applies to any contract, scheme, or transaction. The Howey Test helps investors and project backers understand blockchain and digital currency projects. ICOs and certain cryptocurrencies may be found to be "investment contracts" under the test.

Understanding the Howey Test

The Howey Test comes from the 1946 Supreme Court case SEC v. W.J. Howey Co. The Howey Company sold citrus groves to Florida buyers who leased them back to Howey. The company would maintain the groves and sell the fruit for the owners. Both parties benefited. Most buyers had no farming experience and were not required to farm the land. 

The SEC intervened because Howey failed to register the transactions. The court ruled that the leaseback agreements were investment contracts.

This established four criteria for determining an investment contract. Investing contract:

  1. An investment of money
  2. n a common enterprise
  3. With the expectation of profit
  4. To be derived from the efforts of others

In the case of Howey, the buyers saw the transactions as valuable because others provided the labor and expertise. An income stream was obtained by only investing capital. As a result of the Howey Test, the transaction had to be registered with the SEC.

Howey Test and Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin is notoriously difficult to categorize. Decentralized, they evade regulation in many ways. Regardless, the SEC is looking into digital assets and determining when their sale qualifies as an investment contract.

The SEC claims that selling digital assets meets the "investment of money" test because fiat money or other digital assets are being exchanged. Like the "common enterprise" test. 

Whether a digital asset qualifies as an investment contract depends on whether there is a "expectation of profit from others' efforts."

For example, buyers of digital assets may be relying on others' efforts if they expect the project's backers to build and maintain the digital network, rather than a dispersed community of unaffiliated users. Also, if the project's backers create scarcity by burning tokens, the test is met. Another way the "efforts of others" test is met is if the project's backers continue to act in a managerial role.

These are just a few examples given by the SEC. If a project's success is dependent on ongoing support from backers, the buyer of the digital asset is likely relying on "others' efforts."

Special Considerations

If the SEC determines a cryptocurrency token is a security, many issues arise. It means the SEC can decide whether a token can be sold to US investors and forces the project to register. 

In 2017, the SEC ruled that selling DAO tokens for Ether violated federal securities laws. Instead of enforcing securities laws, the SEC issued a warning to the cryptocurrency industry. 

Due to the Howey Test, most ICOs today are likely inaccessible to US investors. After a year of ICOs, then-SEC Chair Jay Clayton declared them all securities. 

SEC Chairman Gensler Agrees With Predecessor: 'Every ICO Is a Security'

Howey Test FAQs

How Do You Determine If Something Is a Security?

The Howey Test determines whether certain transactions are "investment contracts." Securities are transactions that qualify as "investment contracts" under the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

The Howey Test looks for a "investment of money in a common enterprise with a reasonable expectation of profits from others' efforts." If so, the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 require disclosure and registration.

Why Is Bitcoin Not a Security?

Former SEC Chair Jay Clayton clarified in June 2018 that bitcoin is not a security: "Cryptocurrencies: Replace the dollar, euro, and yen with bitcoin. That type of currency is not a security," said Clayton.

Bitcoin, which has never sought public funding to develop its technology, fails the SEC's Howey Test. However, according to Clayton, ICO tokens are securities. 

A Security Defined by the SEC

In the public and private markets, securities are fungible and tradeable financial instruments. The SEC regulates public securities sales.

The Supreme Court defined a security offering in SEC v. W.J. Howey Co. In its judgment, the court defines a security using four criteria:

  • An investment contract's existence
  • The formation of a common enterprise
  • The issuer's profit promise
  • Third-party promotion of the offering

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