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Jonathan Vanian

Jonathan Vanian

2 years ago

What is Terra? Your guide to the hot cryptocurrency

With cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ether, and Dogecoin gyrating in value over the past few months, many people are looking at so-called stablecoins like Terra to invest in because of their more predictable prices.

Terraform Labs, which oversees the Terra cryptocurrency project, has benefited from its rising popularity. The company said recently that investors like Arrington Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Pantera Capital have pledged $150 million to help it incubate various crypto projects that are connected to Terra.

Terraform Labs and its partners have built apps that operate on the company’s blockchain technology that helps keep a permanent and shared record of the firm’s crypto-related financial transactions.

Here’s what you need to know about Terra and the company behind it.

What is Terra?

Terra is a blockchain project developed by Terraform Labs that powers the startup’s cryptocurrencies and financial apps. These cryptocurrencies include the Terra U.S. Dollar, or UST, that is pegged to the U.S. dollar through an algorithm.

Terra is a stablecoin that is intended to reduce the volatility endemic to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Some stablecoins, like Tether, are pegged to more conventional currencies, like the U.S. dollar, through cash and cash equivalents as opposed to an algorithm and associated reserve token.

To mint new UST tokens, a percentage of another digital token and reserve asset, Luna, is “burned.” If the demand for UST rises with more people using the currency, more Luna will be automatically burned and diverted to a community pool. That balancing act is supposed to help stabilize the price, to a degree.

“Luna directly benefits from the economic growth of the Terra economy, and it suffers from contractions of the Terra coin,” Terraform Labs CEO Do Kwon said.

Each time someone buys something—like an ice cream—using UST, that transaction generates a fee, similar to a credit card transaction. That fee is then distributed to people who own Luna tokens, similar to a stock dividend.

Who leads Terra?

The South Korean firm Terraform Labs was founded in 2018 by Daniel Shin and Kwon, who is now the company’s CEO. Kwon is a 29-year-old former Microsoft employee; Shin now heads the Chai online payment service, a Terra partner. Kwon said many Koreans have used the Chai service to buy goods like movie tickets using Terra cryptocurrency.

Terraform Labs does not make money from transactions using its crypto and instead relies on outside funding to operate, Kwon said. It has raised $57 million in funding from investors like HashKey Digital Asset Group, Divergence Digital Currency Fund, and Huobi Capital, according to deal-tracking service PitchBook. The amount raised is in addition to the latest $150 million funding commitment announced on July 16.

What are Terra’s plans?

Terraform Labs plans to use Terra’s blockchain and its associated cryptocurrencies—including one pegged to the Korean won—to create a digital financial system independent of major banks and fintech-app makers. So far, its main source of growth has been in Korea, where people have bought goods at stores, like coffee, using the Chai payment app that’s built on Terra’s blockchain. Kwon said the company’s associated Mirror trading app is experiencing growth in China and Thailand.

Meanwhile, Kwon said Terraform Labs would use its latest $150 million in funding to invest in groups that build financial apps on Terra’s blockchain. He likened the scouting and investing in other groups as akin to a “Y Combinator demo day type of situation,” a reference to the popular startup pitch event organized by early-stage investor Y Combinator.

The combination of all these Terra-specific financial apps shows that Terraform Labs is “almost creating a kind of bank,” said Ryan Watkins, a senior research analyst at cryptocurrency consultancy Messari.

In addition to cryptocurrencies, Terraform Labs has a number of other projects including the Anchor app, a high-yield savings account for holders of the group’s digital coins. Meanwhile, people can use the firm’s associated Mirror app to create synthetic financial assets that mimic more conventional ones, like “tokenized” representations of corporate stocks. These synthetic assets are supposed to be helpful to people like “a small retail trader in Thailand” who can more easily buy shares and “get some exposure to the upside” of stocks that they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to obtain, Kwon said. But some critics have said the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission may eventually crack down on synthetic stocks, which are currently unregulated.

What do critics say?

Terra still has a long way to go to catch up to bigger cryptocurrency projects like Ethereum.

Most financial transactions involving Terra-related cryptocurrencies have originated in Korea, where its founders are based. Although Terra is becoming more popular in Korea thanks to rising interest in its partner Chai, it’s too early to say whether Terra-related currencies will gain traction in other countries.

Terra’s blockchain runs on a “limited number of nodes,” said Messari’s Watkins, referring to the computers that help keep the system running. That helps reduce latency that may otherwise slow processing of financial transactions, he said.

But the tradeoff is that Terra is less “decentralized” than other blockchain platforms like Ethereum, which is powered by thousands of interconnected computing nodes worldwide. That could make Terra less appealing to some blockchain purists.

More on Web3 & Crypto

CyberPunkMetalHead

CyberPunkMetalHead

1 year ago

I talked to ChatGPT about the adoption of cryptocurrencies.

OpenAI's ChatGPT is an amazing AI-powered chatbot. It can write poetry, fiction, and marketing ideas. I was impressed how well ChatGPT followed the interview, albeit there were a few classics “I’m afraid I can’t do that”.

Full interview below.

Me: I'm your interviewer. We'll discuss crypto. Thanks for being interviewed. What do you think about cryptocurrency?

CGPT: Cryptocurrency is an innovative technology that could transform money and financial activities. It might boost the efficiency and security of financial institutions and let consumers deal directly without banks. Cryptocurrency is still a new and untested technology with many unknowns and hurdles before it can be broadly accepted.

Me: Over 22,000 cryptocurrencies exist, and many have little use. We need how much cryptocurrencies?

CGPT: The appropriate quantity will rely on a multitude of factors, including each cryptocurrency's use cases, adoption rate, and market rivalry. Only a few cryptocurrencies will likely receive widespread adoption and be successful. Many existing cryptocurrencies may not survive since they can't deliver new or valued solutions or compete with more established cryptocurrencies.

Me: Will cryptocurrencies grow? What's next for worldwide adoption?

CGPT: It's hard to forecast the future of cryptocurrencies because the acceptance of new technologies is unpredictable. I believe cryptocurrencies will expand and acquire popularity in the future years. Regulatory ambiguity, security concerns, and scalability issues must be overcome for this to happen. Cryptocurrency companies and organizations must engage together with governments and authorities to address these obstacles and establish a growth-friendly climate. Continued innovation and improvement of the technology, including public education and awareness, will drive acceptance.

Me: Do bear markets affect bitcoin adoption?

CGPT: On the one hand, a bear market might induce uncertainty and hesitation among potential consumers. Bear markets can present opportunities for long-term investors who can acquire cryptocurrencies at cheaper prices and are more likely to hang onto their assets. A bear market can also test the tenacity and power of the underlying technology and community, which can boost long-term confidence and adoption. A bear market might have profound and nuanced effects on bitcoin adoption.

Me: What are some likely outcomes if Bitcoin reaches $100,000 by next year?

CGPT: If Bitcoin saw rapid growth, it would undoubtedly have repercussions for the cryptocurrency market and economy. Possible scenarios include increased public interest and awareness of cryptocurrency, a surge in demand for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, and a growth in the cryptocurrency industry's market value. By shifting their focus and cash to the cryptocurrency market, investors and traders may also affect other asset classes, such as traditional equities and commodities. Governments and financial organizations may focus more on the cryptocurrency sector as they try to grasp Bitcoin's rapid rise.

Me: Will other countries accept crypto as currency?

CGPT: It's hard to say if additional governments will adopt cryptocurrencies as legal tender. Some countries have recognized the promise of bitcoin and are exploring its use, while others are cautious. Adoption of bitcoin as legal cash may vary by country, based on financial infrastructure, rules, and political atmosphere. As cryptocurrency technology evolves and becomes more accepted, more governments may embrace it as legal tender.

Me: Final question: will the recent cryptocurrency hacks affect long term adoption?

CGPT: Hacks might tarnish cryptocurrency's reputation and public faith in its security, the technology underpinning it is continually improving. Many cryptocurrency projects have developed strong security mechanisms to prevent hacks and other dangers, and these safeguards will undoubtedly improve over time. The decentralized nature of cryptocurrency makes it more resistant to attacks. Hacks and other security breaches are a concern, but they may not affect cryptocurrency adoption.

Julie Plavnik

Julie Plavnik

1 year ago

How to Become a Crypto Broker [Complying and Making Money]

Three options exist. The third one is the quickest and most fruitful.

How To Become a Cryptocurrency Broker?

You've mastered crypto trading and want to become a broker.

So you may wonder: Where to begin?

If so, keep reading.

Today I'll compare three different approaches to becoming a cryptocurrency trader.

What are cryptocurrency brokers, and how do they vary from stockbrokers?

A stockbroker implements clients' market orders (retail or institutional ones).

Brokerage firms are regulated, insured, and subject to regulatory monitoring.

Stockbrokers are required between buyers and sellers. They can't trade without a broker. To trade, a trader must open a broker account and deposit money. When a trader shops, he tells his broker what orders to place.

Crypto brokerage is trade intermediation with cryptocurrency.

In crypto trading, however, brokers are optional.

Crypto exchanges offer direct transactions. Open an exchange account (no broker needed) and make a deposit.

Question:

Since crypto allows DIY trading, why use a broker?

Let's compare cryptocurrency exchanges vs. brokers.

Broker versus cryptocurrency exchange

Most existing crypto exchanges are basically brokers.

Examine their primary services:

  • connecting purchasers and suppliers

  • having custody of clients' money (with the exception of decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges),

  • clearance of transactions.

Brokerage is comparable, don't you think?

There are exceptions. I mean a few large crypto exchanges that follow the stock exchange paradigm. They outsource brokerage, custody, and clearing operations. Classic exchange setups are rare in today's bitcoin industry.

Back to our favorite “standard” crypto exchanges. All-in-one exchanges and brokers. And usually, they operate under a broker or a broker-dealer license, save for the exchanges registered somewhere in a free-trade offshore paradise. Those don’t bother with any licensing.

What’s the sense of having two brokers at a time?

Better liquidity and trading convenience.

The crypto business is compartmentalized.

We have CEXs, DEXs, hybrid exchanges, and semi-exchanges (those that aggregate liquidity but do not execute orders on their sides). All have unique regulations and act as sovereign states.

There are about 18k coins and hundreds of blockchain protocols, most of which are heterogeneous (i.e., different in design and not interoperable).

A trader must register many accounts on different exchanges, deposit funds, and manage them all concurrently to access global crypto liquidity.

It’s extremely inconvenient.

Crypto liquidity fragmentation is the largest obstacle and bottleneck blocking crypto from mass adoption.

Crypto brokers help clients solve this challenge by providing one-gate access to deep and diverse crypto liquidity from numerous exchanges and suppliers. Professionals and institutions need it.

Another killer feature of a brokerage may be allowing clients to trade crypto with fiat funds exclusively, without fiat/crypto conversion. It is essential for professional and institutional traders.

Who may work as a cryptocurrency broker?

Apparently, not anyone. Brokerage requires high-powered specialists because it involves other people's money.

Here's the essentials:

  • excellent knowledge, skills, and years of trading experience

  • high-quality, quick, and secure infrastructure

  • highly developed team

  • outstanding trading capital

  • High-ROI network: long-standing, trustworthy connections with customers, exchanges, liquidity providers, payment gates, and similar entities

  • outstanding marketing and commercial development skills.

What about a license for a cryptocurrency broker? Is it necessary?

Complex question.

If you plan to play in white-glove jurisdictions, you may need a license. For example, in the US, as a “money transmitter” or as a CASSP (crypto asset secondary services provider) in Australia.

Even in these jurisdictions, there are no clear, holistic crypto brokerage and licensing policies.

Your lawyer will help you decide if your crypto brokerage needs a license.

Getting a license isn't quick. Two years of patience are needed.

How can you turn into a cryptocurrency broker?

Finally, we got there! 🎉

Three actionable ways exist:

  1. To kickstart a regulated stand-alone crypto broker

  2. To get a crypto broker franchise, and

  3. To become a liquidity network broker.

Let's examine each.

1. Opening a regulated cryptocurrency broker

It's difficult. Especially If you're targeting first-world users.

You must comply with many regulatory, technical, financial, HR, and reporting obligations to keep your organization running. Some are mentioned above.

The licensing process depends on the products you want to offer (spots or derivatives) and the geographic areas you plan to service. There are no general rules for that.

In an overgeneralized way, here are the boxes you will have to check:

  • capital availability (usually a large amount of capital c is required)

  • You will have to move some of your team members to the nation providing the license in order to establish an office presence there.

  • the core team with the necessary professional training (especially applies to CEO, Head of Trading, Assistant to Head of Trading, etc.)

  • insurance

  • infrastructure that is trustworthy and secure

  • adopted proper AML/KYC/financial monitoring policies, etc.

Assuming you passed, what's next?

I bet it won’t be mind-blowing for you that the license is just a part of the deal. It won't attract clients or revenue.

To bring in high-dollar clientele, you must be a killer marketer and seller. It's not easy to convince people to give you money.

You'll need to be a great business developer to form successful, long-term agreements with exchanges (ideally for no fees), liquidity providers, banks, payment gates, etc. Persuade clients.

It's a tough job, isn't it?

I expect a Quora-type question here:

Can I start an unlicensed crypto broker?

Well, there is always a workaround with crypto!

You can register your broker in a free-trade zone like Seychelles to avoid US and other markets with strong watchdogs.

This is neither wise nor sustainable.

First, such experiments are illegal.

Second, you'll have trouble attracting clients and strategic partners.

A license equals trust. That’s it.

Even a pseudo-license from Mauritius matters.

Here are this method's benefits and downsides.

Cons first.

  • As you navigate this difficult and expensive legal process, you run the risk of missing out on business prospects. It's quite simple to become excellent compliance yet unable to work. Because your competitors are already courting potential customers while you are focusing all of your effort on paperwork.

  • Only God knows how long it will take you to pass the break-even point when everything with the license has been completed.

  • It is a money-burning business, especially in the beginning when the majority of your expenses will go toward marketing, sales, and maintaining license requirements. Make sure you have the fortitude and resources necessary to face such a difficult challenge.

Pros

  • It may eventually develop into a tool for making money. Because big guys who are professionals at trading require a white-glove regulated brokerage. You have every possibility if you work hard in the areas of sales, marketing, business development, and wealth. Simply put, everything must align.

Launching a regulated crypto broker is analogous to launching a crypto exchange. It's ROUGH. Sure you can take it?

2. Franchise for Crypto Broker (Crypto Sub-Brokerage)

A broker franchise is easier and faster than becoming a regulated crypto broker. Not a traditional brokerage.

A broker franchisee, often termed a sub-broker, joins with a broker (a franchisor) to bring them new clients. Sub-brokers market a broker's products and services to clients.

Sub-brokers are the middlemen between a broker and an investor.

Why is sub-brokering easier?

  • less demanding qualifications and legal complexity. All you need to do is keep a few certificates on hand (each time depends on the jurisdiction).

  • No significant investment is required

  • there is no demand that you be a trading member of an exchange, etc.

As a sub-broker, you can do identical duties without as many rights and certifications.

What about the crypto broker franchise?

Sub-brokers aren't common in crypto.

In most existing examples (PayBito, PCEX, etc.), franchises are offered by crypto exchanges, not brokers. Though we remember that crypto exchanges are, in fact, brokers, do we?

Similarly:

  • For a commission, a franchiser crypto broker receives new leads from a crypto sub-broker.

See above for why enrolling is easy.

Finding clients is difficult. Most crypto traders prefer to buy-sell on their own or through brokers over sub-broker franchises.

3. Broker of the Crypto Trading Network (or a Network Broker)

It's the greatest approach to execute crypto brokerage, based on effort/return.

Network broker isn't an established word. I wrote it for clarity.

Remember how we called crypto liquidity fragmentation the current crypto finance paradigm's main bottleneck?

Where there's a challenge, there's progress.

Several well-funded projects are aiming to fix crypto liquidity fragmentation. Instead of launching another crypto exchange with siloed trading, the greatest minds create trading networks that aggregate crypto liquidity from desynchronized sources and enable quick, safe, and affordable cross-blockchain transactions. Each project offers a distinct option for users.

Crypto liquidity implies:

  • One-account access to cryptocurrency liquidity pooled from network participants' exchanges and other liquidity sources

  • compiled price feeds

  • Cross-chain transactions that are quick and inexpensive, even for HFTs

  • link between participants of all kinds, and

  • interoperability among diverse blockchains

Fast, diversified, and cheap global crypto trading from one account.

How does a trading network help cryptocurrency brokers?

I’ll explain it, taking Yellow Network as an example.

Yellow provides decentralized Layer-3 peer-to-peer trading.

  • trade across chains globally with real-time settlement and

  • Between cryptocurrency exchanges, brokers, trading companies, and other sorts of network members, there is communication and the exchange of financial information.

Have you ever heard about ECN (electronic communication network)? If not, it's an automated system that automatically matches buy and sell orders. Yellow is a decentralized digital asset ECN.

Brokers can:

  • Start trading right now without having to meet stringent requirements; all you need to do is integrate with Yellow Protocol and successfully complete some KYC verification.

  • Access global aggregated crypto liquidity through a single point.

  • B2B (Broker to Broker) liquidity channels that provide peer liquidity from other brokers. Orders from the other broker will appear in the order book of a broker who is peering with another broker on the market. It will enable a broker to broaden his offer and raise the total amount of liquidity that is available to his clients.

  • Select a custodian or use non-custodial practices.

Comparing network crypto brokerage to other types:

  • A licensed stand-alone brokerage business is much more difficult and time-consuming to launch than network brokerage, and

  • Network brokerage, in contrast to crypto sub-brokerage, is scalable, independent, and offers limitless possibilities for revenue generation.

Yellow Network Whitepaper. has more details on how to start a brokerage business and what rewards you'll obtain.

Final thoughts

There are three ways to become a cryptocurrency broker, including the non-conventional liquidity network brokerage. The last option appears time/cost-effective.

Crypto brokerage isn't crowded yet. Act quickly to find your right place in this market.

Choose the way that works for you best and see you in crypto trading.

Discover Web3 & DeFi with Yellow Network!

Yellow, powered by Openware, is developing a cross-chain P2P liquidity aggregator to unite the crypto sector and provide global remittance services that aid people.

Join the Yellow Community and plunge into this decade's biggest product-oriented crypto project.

  • Observe Yellow Twitter

  • Enroll in Yellow Telegram

  • Visit Yellow Discord.

  • On Hacker Noon, look us up.

Yellow Network will expose development, technology, developer tools, crypto brokerage nodes software, and community liquidity mining.

The Verge

The Verge

2 years ago

Bored Ape Yacht Club creator raises $450 million at a $4 billion valuation.

Yuga Labs, owner of three of the biggest NFT brands on the market, announced today a $450 million funding round. The money will be used to create a media empire based on NFTs, starting with games and a metaverse project.

The team's Otherside metaverse project is an MMORPG meant to connect the larger NFT universe. They want to create “an interoperable world” that is “gamified” and “completely decentralized,” says Wylie Aronow, aka Gordon Goner, co-founder of Bored Ape Yacht Club. “We think the real Ready Player One experience will be player run.”

Just a few weeks ago, Yuga Labs announced the acquisition of CryptoPunks and Meebits from Larva Labs. The deal brought together three of the most valuable NFT collections, giving Yuga Labs more IP to work with when developing games and metaverses. Last week, ApeCoin was launched as a cryptocurrency that will be governed independently and used in Yuga Labs properties.

Otherside will be developed by “a few different game studios,” says Yuga Labs CEO Nicole Muniz. The company plans to create development tools that allow NFTs from other projects to work inside their world. “We're welcoming everyone into a walled garden.”

However, Yuga Labs believes that other companies are approaching metaverse projects incorrectly, allowing the startup to stand out. People won't bond spending time in a virtual space with nothing going on, says Yuga Labs co-founder Greg Solano, aka Gargamel. Instead, he says, people bond when forced to work together.

In order to avoid getting smacked, Solano advises making friends. “We don't think a Zoom chat and walking around saying ‘hi' creates a deep social experience.” Yuga Labs refused to provide a release date for Otherside. Later this year, a play-to-win game is planned.

The funding round was led by Andreessen Horowitz, a major investor in the Web3 space. It previously backed OpenSea and Coinbase. Animoca Brands, Coinbase, and MoonPay are among those who have invested. Andreessen Horowitz general partner Chris Lyons will join Yuga Labs' board. The Financial Times broke the story last month.

"META IS A DOMINANT DIGITAL EXPERIENCE PROVIDER IN A DYSTOPIAN FUTURE."

This emerging [Web3] ecosystem is important to me, as it is to companies like Meta,” Chris Dixon, head of Andreessen Horowitz's crypto arm, tells The Verge. “In a dystopian future, Meta is the dominant digital experience provider, and it controls all the money and power.” (Andreessen Horowitz co-founder Marc Andreessen sits on Meta's board and invested early in Facebook.)

Yuga Labs has been profitable so far. According to a leaked pitch deck, the company made $137 million last year, primarily from its NFT brands, with a 95% profit margin. (Yuga Labs declined to comment on deck figures.)

But the company has built little so far. According to OpenSea data, it has only released one game for a limited time. That means Yuga Labs gets hundreds of millions of dollars to build a gaming company from scratch, based on a hugely lucrative art project.

Investors fund Yuga Labs based on its success. That's what they did, says Dixon, “they created a culture phenomenon”. But ultimately, the company is betting on the same thing that so many others are: that a metaverse project will be the next big thing. Now they must construct it.

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Desiree Peralta

Desiree Peralta

1 year ago

How to Use the 2023 Recession to Grow Your Wealth Exponentially

This season's three best money moves.

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko

“Millionaires are made in recessions.” — Time Capital

We're in a serious downturn, whether or not we're in a recession.

97% of business owners are decreasing costs by more than 10%, and all markets are down 30%.

If you know what you're doing and analyze the markets correctly, this is your chance to become a millionaire.

In any recession, there are always excellent possibilities to seize. Real estate, crypto, stocks, enterprises, etc.

What you do with your money could influence your future riches.

This article analyzes the three key markets, their circumstances for 2023, and how to profit from them.

Ways to make money on the stock market.

If you're conservative like me, you should invest in an index fund. Most of these funds are down 10-30% of ATH:

Prices comparitions between funds, — By Google finance

In earlier recessions, most money index funds lost 20%. After this downturn, they grew and passed the ATH in subsequent months.

Now is the greatest moment to invest in index funds to grow your money in a low-risk approach and make 20%.

If you want to be risky but wise, pick companies that will get better next year but are struggling now.

Even while we can't be 100% confident of a company's future performance, we know some are strong and will have a fantastic year.

Microsoft (down 22%), JPMorgan Chase (15.6%), Amazon (45%), and Disney (33.8%).

These firms give dividends, so you can earn passively while you wait.

So I consider that a good strategy to make wealth in the current stock market is to create two portfolios: one based on index funds to earn 10% to 20% profit when the corrections end, and the other based on individual stocks of popular and strong companies to earn 20%-30% return and dividends while you wait.

How to profit from the downturn in the real estate industry.

With rising mortgage rates, it's the worst moment to buy a home if you don't want to be eaten by banks. In the U.S., interest rates are double what they were three years ago, so buying now looks foolish.

Interest rates chart — by Bankrate

Due to these rates, property prices are falling, but that won't last long since individuals will take advantage.

According to historical data, now is the ideal moment to buy a house for the next five years and perhaps forever.

House prices since 1970 — By Trading Economics

If you can buy a house, do it. You can refinance the interest at a lower rate with acceptable credit, but not the house price.

Take advantage of the housing market prices now because you won't find a decent deal when rates normalize.

How to profit from the cryptocurrency market.

This is the riskiest market to tackle right now, but it could offer the most opportunities if done appropriately.

The most powerful cryptocurrencies are down more than 60% from last year: $68,990 for BTC and $4,865 for ETH.

If you focus on those two coins, you can make 30%-60% without waiting for them to return to their ATH, and they're low enough to be a solid investment.

I don't encourage trying other altcoins because the crypto market is in crisis and you can lose everything if you're greedy.

Still, the main Cryptos are a good investment provided you store them in an external wallet and follow financial gurus' security advice.

Last thoughts

We can't anticipate a recession until it ends. We can't forecast a market or asset's lowest point, therefore waiting makes little sense.

If you want to develop your wealth, assess the money prospects on all the marketplaces and initiate long-term trades.

Many millionaires are made during recessions because they don't fear negative figures and use them to scale their money.

Scott Galloway

Scott Galloway

1 year ago

First Health

ZERO GRACE/ZERO MALICE

Amazon's purchase of One Medical could speed up American healthcare

The U.S. healthcare industry is a 7-ton seal bleeding at sea. Predators are circling. Unearned margin: price increases relative to inflation without quality improvements. Amazon is the 11-foot megalodon with 7-inch teeth. Amazon is no longer circling... but attacking.

In 2020 dollars, per capita U.S. healthcare spending increased from $2,968 in 1980 to $12,531. The result is a massive industry with 13% of the nation's workers and a fifth of GDP.

Doctor No

In 40 years, healthcare has made progress. From 73.7 in 1980 to 78.8 in 2019, life expectancy rose (before Covid knocked it back down a bit). Pharmacological therapies have revolutionized, and genetic research is paying off. The financial return, improvement split by cost increases, is terrible. No country has expense rises like the U.S., and no one spends as much per capita as we do. Developed countries have longer life expectancies, healthier populations, and less economic hardship.

Two-thirds of U.S. personal bankruptcies are due to medical expenses and/or missed work. Mom or Dad getting cancer could bankrupt many middle-class American families. 40% of American adults delayed or skipped needed care due to cost. Every healthcare improvement seems to have a downside. Same pharmacological revolution that helped millions caused opioid epidemic. Our results are poor in many areas: The U.S. has a high infant mortality rate.

Healthcare is the second-worst retail industry in the country. Gas stations are #1. Imagine walking into a Best Buy to buy a TV and a Blue Shirt associate requests you fill out the same 14 pages of paperwork you filled out yesterday. Then you wait in a crowded room until they call you, 20 minutes after the scheduled appointment you were asked to arrive early for, to see the one person in the store who can talk to you about TVs, who has 10 minutes for you. The average emergency room wait time in New York is 6 hours and 10 minutes.

If it's bad for the customer, it's worse for the business. Physicians spend 27% of their time helping patients; 49% on EHRs. Documentation, order entry, billing, and inbox management. Spend a decade getting an M.D., then become a bureaucrat.

No industry better illustrates scale diseconomies. If we got the same return on healthcare spending as other countries, we'd all live to 100. We could spend less, live longer and healthier, and pay off the national debt in 15 years. U.S. healthcare is the worst ever.

What now? Competition is at the heart of capitalism, the worst system of its kind.

Priority Time

Amazon is buying One Medical for $3.9 billion. I think this deal will liberate society. Two years in, I think One Medical is great. When I got Covid, I pressed the One Medical symbol on my phone; a nurse practitioner prescribed Paxlovid and told me which pharmacies had it in stock.

Amazon enables the company's vision. One Medical's stock is down to $10 from $40 at the start of 2021. Last year, it lost $250 million and needs cash (Amazon has $60 billion). ONEM must grow. The service has 736,000 members. Half of U.S. households have Amazon Prime. Finally, delivery. One Medical is a digital health/physical office hybrid, but you must pick up medication at the pharmacy. Upgrade your Paxlovid delivery time after a remote consultation. Amazon's core competency means it'll happen. Healthcare speed and convenience will feel alien.

It's been a long, winding road to disruption. Amazon, JPMorgan, and Berkshire Hathaway formed Haven four years ago to provide better healthcare for their 1.5 million employees. It rocked healthcare stocks the morning of the press release, but folded in 2021.

Amazon Care is an employee-focused service. Home-delivered virtual health services and nurses. It's doing well, expanding nationwide, and providing healthcare for other companies. Hilton is Amazon Care's biggest customer. The acquisition of One Medical will bring 66 million Prime households capital, domain expertise, and billing infrastructure. Imagine:

"Alexa, I'm hot and my back hurts."

"Connecting you to a Prime doctor now."

Want to vs. Have to

I predicted Amazon entering healthcare years ago. Why? For the same reason Apple is getting into auto. Amazon's P/E is 56, double Walmart's. The corporation must add $250 billion in revenue over the next five years to retain its share price. White-label clothes or smart home products won't generate as much revenue. It must enter a huge market without scale, operational competence, and data skills.

Current Situation

Healthcare reform benefits both consumers and investors. In 2015, healthcare services had S&P 500-average multiples. The market is losing faith in public healthcare businesses' growth. Healthcare services have lower EV/EBITDA multiples than the S&P 500.

Amazon isn't the only prey-hunter. Walmart and Alibaba are starting pharmacies. Uber is developing medical transportation. Private markets invested $29 billion in telehealth last year, up 95% from 2020.

The pandemic accelerated telehealth, the immediate unlock. After the first positive Covid case in the U.S., services that had to be delivered in person shifted to Zoom... We lived. We grew. Video house calls continued after in-person visits were allowed. McKinsey estimates telehealth visits are 38 times pre-pandemic levels. Doctors adopted the technology, regulators loosened restrictions, and patients saved time. We're far from remote surgery, but many patient visits are unnecessary. A study of 40 million patients during lockdown found that for chronic disease patients, online visits didn't affect outcomes. This method of care will only improve.

Amazon's disruption will be significant and will inspire a flood of capital, startups, and consumer brands. Mark Cuban launched a pharmacy that eliminates middlemen in January. Outcome? A 90-day supply of acid-reflux medication costs $17. Medicare could have saved $3.6 billion by buying generic drugs from Cuban's pharmacy. Other apex predators will look at different limbs of the carcass for food. Nike could enter healthcare via orthopedics, acupuncture, and chiropractic. LVMH, L'Oréal, and Estée Lauder may launch global plastic surgery brands. Hilton and Four Seasons may open hospitals. Lennar and Pulte could build "Active Living" communities that Nana would leave feet first, avoiding the expense and tragedy of dying among strangers.

Risks

Privacy matters: HIV status is different from credit card and billing address. Most customers (60%) feel fine sharing personal health data via virtual technologies, though. Unavoidable. 85% of doctors believe data-sharing and interoperability will become the norm. Amazon is the most trusted tech company for handling personal data. Not Meta: Amazon.

What about antitrust, then?

Amazon should be required to spin off AWS and/or Amazon Fulfillment and banned from promoting its own products. It should be allowed to acquire hospitals. One Medical's $3.9 billion acquisition is a drop in the bucket compared to UnitedHealth's $498 billion market valuation.

Antitrust enforcement shouldn't assume some people/firms are good/bad. It should recognize that competition is good and focus on making markets more competitive in each deal. The FTC should force asset divestitures in e-commerce, digital marketing, and social media. These companies can also promote competition in a social ill.

U.S. healthcare makes us fat, depressed, and broke. Competition has produced massive value and prosperity across most of our economy.

Dear Amazon … bring it.

Sammy Abdullah

Sammy Abdullah

22 years ago

How to properly price SaaS

Price Intelligently put out amazing content on pricing your SaaS product. This blog's link to the whole report is worth reading. Our key takeaways are below.

Don't base prices on the competition. Competitor-based pricing has clear drawbacks. Their pricing approach is yours. Your company offers customers something unique. Otherwise, you wouldn't create it. This strategy is static, therefore you can't add value by raising prices without outpricing competitors. Look, but don't touch is the competitor-based moral. You want to know your competitors' prices so you're in the same ballpark, but they shouldn't guide your selections. Competitor-based pricing also drives down prices.

Value-based pricing wins. This is customer-based pricing. Value-based pricing looks outward, not inward or laterally at competitors. Your clients are the best source of pricing information. By valuing customer comments, you're focusing on buyers. They'll decide if your pricing and packaging are right. In addition to asking consumers about cost savings or revenue increases, look at data like number of users, usage per user, etc.

Value-based pricing increases prices. As you learn more about the client and your worth, you'll know when and how much to boost rates. Every 6 months, examine pricing.

Cloning top customers. You clone your consumers by learning as much as you can about them and then reaching out to comparable people or organizations. You can't accomplish this without knowing your customers. Segmenting and reproducing them requires as much detail as feasible. Offer pricing plans and feature packages for 4 personas. The top plan should state Contact Us. Your highest-value customers want more advice and support.

Question your 4 personas. What's the one item you can't live without? Which integrations matter most? Do you do analytics? Is support important or does your company self-solve? What's too cheap? What's too expensive?

Not everyone likes per-user pricing. SaaS organizations often default to per-user analytics. About 80% of companies utilizing per-user pricing should use an alternative value metric because their goods don't give more value with more users, so charging for them doesn't make sense.

At least 3:1 LTV/CAC. Break even on the customer within 2 years, and LTV to CAC is greater than 3:1. Because customer acquisition costs are paid upfront but SaaS revenues accrue over time, SaaS companies face an early financial shortfall while paying back the CAC.

ROI should be >20:1. Indeed. Ensure the customer's ROI is 20x the product's cost. Microsoft Office costs $80 a year, but consumers would pay much more to maintain it.

A/B Testing. A/B testing is guessing. When your pricing page varies based on assumptions, you'll upset customers. You don't have enough customers anyway. A/B testing optimizes landing pages, design decisions, and other site features when you know the problem but not pricing.

Don't discount. It cheapens the product, makes it permanent, and increases churn. By discounting, you're ruining your pricing analysis.