When you need to send money to a friend, family member, or business contact, a wire transfer is one of the fastest and most reliable ways to do so. Here’s what goes into sending a wire transfer, as well as how long wire transfers will take. 

What is a wire transfer? 

The term “wire transfer” refers to any type of electronic transfer of money. A bank wire is the most common, traditional bank-to-bank transfer. In these types of transfers, an amount goes from one bank account to another using the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) network or FedWire network. 

A wire transfer can also refer to international wire transfers, also known as remittance transfers. Banks, credit unions, and services like Sigue can process these types of money transfers. As a result, the answer to “how long does a wire transfer take?” is not straightforward. It depends on where the account to which you are transferring is located.

How long will a transfer take? 

Domestic wire transfers – those between US bank accounts – typically take 24 hours to complete. International wire transfers can take between one and five business days. 

It only takes a few minutes to request and initiate a domestic wire transfer. The money thereafter moves quickly between bank accounts; there is usually no bank hold placed on money received via wire transfer. However, it may take several hours for the bank that receives the wired amount to show the proceeds in the recipient’s account. This is because there are a few administrative things an employee may need to do manually to make the funds available.  

Why might a wire transfer take longer?

There are three factors that affect the speed of a wire transfer: 

  1. The time of day when you submit the transfer request
  2. Where you’re sending the funds
  3. The method (network) your bank uses to make wire transfers

When you initiate the transfer can impact when the wired money arrives in the recipient’s account. Banks and credit unions are permitted to set their own cut-off times – e.g., when they stop processing wire transfers each day. Some banks, for instance, set a cut-off for wire transfers at 3 PM. When you initiate a transfer at 4 PM, the funds will be recorded as “received” on Thursday – meaning the 24-hour window actually extends into Friday. Likewise, banks can’t complete transfers on weekends or federal bank holidays. 

Secondly, as previously mentioned, domestic and international transfers have varying timelines. There are some countries that are designated asslow to pay” countries. What this means is there may be further delays. Check with your bank when making a wire transfer to a slow to pay country to learn more about what to expect. 

Bank Wire Transfer

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Finally, there are a few ways your bank might process the wire transfer. FedWire is a system designed for wire transfers with big amounts or those that are time-sensitive. It means the amount is processed immediately, but also it can only be used for domestic wire transfers. Another option is CHIPS, which stands for the Clearing House Interbank Payments System. It “batch transfers” which means that it can process multiple transactions as part of a batch process. And finally, the most commonly used wire transfer service for international exchanges SWIFT, a service that enables banks to pass money through intermediary banks until reaching its final destination. CHIPS and SWIFT wire transfers can take slightly longer than FedWire because of cut-off times and other administrative delays. 

Alternatives to a transfer via wire

There are a few alternatives to using a wire transfesr, like Sigue Pay or a money order service like Western Union. ACH transfers are similar in that these transfers move from bank to bank, but they use the Automated Clearing House network rather than SWIFT or FedWire. ACH transfers typically take one to two days. There are also plenty of peer-to-peer services like Zelle or Paypal that allow you to send money quickly, but be aware that these services are less secure than a bank wire. Speak to a bank representative or financial advisor to learn more about ways you can send money quickly.


This article was originally posted at Sigue.com


Featured Image Credits: Pixabay

There are plenty of great reasons why you might want to place a money order. Maybe you don’t have a bank account. Or maybe you don’t want to risk a check bouncing. Some people like the security of money orders – you know it won’t get lost in the mail. It’s a safe way to make a payment, especially if you want your personal information kept safe. 

When you need to get a money order, chances are the first thing you’ll look for is money orders nearby. Here are some of the best places to get a money order – many of which likely have locations right near you. 

Sigue

In addition to offering secure money transfers, Sigue offers money orders through its extensive authorized agent network in all 50 states. Sigue authorized agents are conveniently located within your neighborhood through local retailer and merchant locations. You can find an authorized Sigue agent location by going into Sigue.com.  

Money orders are a great alternative for customers who prefer to manage their financial obligations without a checking account to pay for rent, utility bills, auto payments, and other financial obligations. Landlords and creditors prefer money orders over personal checks to minimize their risk exposure, bank fees, and headaches from returned items for nonsufficient funds.  

You can purchase a money order from any authorized Sigue location at a low fee. There is no proof of purchase required and no expiration date on money orders. Please make sure to complete and keep the stub attached to the money order in case the money order is lost and needs a replacement. 

Find a Sigue location near you or download the SiguePay app to send money to 50+ countries.  

Walmart

As one of the biggest retailers in America, there’s a good chance there’s a Walmart offering money orders near you. Money orders are available at any Walmart Supercenter or Neighborhood Market. Walmart partners with MoneyGram to provide money order services. They will charge you a max fee of  $0.88, but the exact fees vary by location. Go to the Customer Service Desk or Money Services Center at your nearest Walmart to find out more. 

Find a Walmart Supercenter near you

US Postal Service

The US Postal Service is also a great place to get a money order that’s probably close by. You can buy or cash postal money orders from any post office location, and international money orders cup to $700 (500 for El Salvador and Guyana) can be purchased as well. The USPS is able to send/receive domestic money orders of up to $1,000 with the following fees: a fee of $1.25 for a money order of $0.01 to $500.00; a fee of $1.75 for a money order of $500.01 to $1,000.00. 

Find a US Post Office near you

Western Union

Western Union is often found in retailers like grocery stores and convenience stores. Therefore, there’s a good chance there’s a Western Union agent somewhere near you. Fees vary by location when you get a money order through Western Union. However, you can send a money order of up to $1,000 through this service. 

Find a Western Union agent near you.

Money Gram

Money Gram is a competitor of Western Union. It’s also most commonly found in retailers like Walmart, grocery stores, pharmacies, and convenience stores. Expect to pay around 70 cents per money order with Money Gram, but this may vary by location. 

Find a Money Gram location near you. 

7-Eleven

7-Eleven has a big nationwide footprint and presence in 17 countries worldwide. It’s a great option to get a money order – for a maximum amount of $1,000. 7-Eleven partners with both Money Gram and Western Union, depending on the location. The fees vary but expect that a money order will cost you 1-3% of the total amount of the money order with a minimum fee of $0.65. 

Find a 7-Eleven near you.

Banks and credit unions

Not all banks and credit unions offer money orders, but some will. Unfortunately, banks are one of the most expensive ways to get a money order. It depends on the institution, but you can expect to pay around $5 when you get a money order through a bank. Chase Bank, Santander Bank, TD Bank, and Wells Fargo are a few banks that offer money orders, but we recommend calling ahead of time. You may need to have an account open with the bank in order to take advantage of that service. 

To learn more about money orders, as well as our other ways to send money internationally, check out our FAQs or get in touch with the team at Sigue.


This article was originally posted at Sigue


Featured Image Credits: Pixabay

Related Content: Blockchain Remittance: The Future of International Money

Probably the least pleasant part of the accounts receivable professional’s job is running a customer through a collections process. It is time-consuming and can be stressful. Truth be told, you probably are swamped just with your regular duties, emailing requests for payments and making phone calls to answer payment questions for customers.

Still, sending out personalized collections letters to the most delinquent accounts is a crucial part of getting paid. Creating every new collections letter and dunning campaign from scratch is not really necessary, however. You can work off of basic templates and personalize them as needed. To help you with this task, we’ve drafted some simple templates that are clean and easy to understand. Clarity and getting to the point quickly are critical; no one wants to read a lengthy collections letter.

Feel free to copy these templates and make them your own by modifying the introduction section and the closing section to reflect your personal relationship with the accounts payable person or your contact at the delinquent company.

Guide to Writing Collection Letter #1

In most cases, you want to send this letter out very shortly after the invoice is past due. You may have reminded the customer to pay on time, sent emails, left phone messages. Or you may have just assumed they would handle their payables on time. Because this is the first notice, keep the tone professional, but friendly. At this point, it’s more than likely that the payables contact went on vacation, your invoice is waiting in a queue, or some other minor and temporary delay has happened. With this letter, make it clear you are not assuming ill will or evasion but that you still need to have your invoice paid. Keep in mind, as well, that it is entirely possible the customer has not paid because there was a problem with the product or service that has not been resolved and the customer is unhappy. Above all, remember that paying an invoice is the last step in the customer journey and it should be if at all possible, a pleasant and positive process. These customers keep you in business.

This first collection letter must always contain the following basic information:

    • The amount due
    • The item or service purchased
  • Number of days a specific invoice is past due
  • A summary of all of the invoices on the account
  • Clear instructions on the next steps
  • Payment information – ideally an online payment link
  • A precise calendar due date upon which you are requesting payment
  • How to contact you directly with questions or to provide reasons for not paying and status updates

Collection Letter #1 Template

Dear [Insert Name],

[If you know the contact personally, insert a brief note like “Hope your vacation in Hawaii was wonderful!”]

Just a quick reminder that [Insert Company Name]’s account is past due. Our records show there is a balance of $[Insert Amount] that is currently [Insert the number of days past due] days past due. Attached is an account statement with all the relevant balance information. We have also emailed the account statement and invoice to you, for your convenience. If you have not received this email and the attachment, we have provided a summary of your account info below.

  • Invoice Number:
  • Invoice Date:
  • Amount Due Date:
  • Days Past Due:

Could you please tell me the status of your payment? Here is a [link] to our payments portal.  We request that you make payment by [Insert Date]. Alternatively, we can provide you with our bank information for an EFT or ACH.

If you can’t pay electronically, please send us a paper check to the following address:

[Insert Your Company Name]
ATTN: Accounting Dept.
[Insert Address]

If we have made an error on your account or you can’t pay at this time, please call me to discuss at [Insert Phone Number]. We are happy to correct any errors or arrange for a payment plan.

We look forward to continuing to do business with you.

Sincerely,

[Insert Your Name]

[Insert Email Address]

[Insert Phone Number]

Guide to Writing Collections Letter #2

In the second collection letter, you will need to change tone to become more firm, under the assumption that your first letter was ignored. That said, you don’t want to alienate or anger the customer. At the same time, you want to make it clear that you expect to be paid shortly. Send this second letter 7 to 10 business days after the first collection letter.

The second collection letter should include much of the same information as the letter, with the addition of a brief mention of the potential consequences of continued non-payment:

  • The amount due
  • The item or service purchased
  • Number of days a specific invoice is past due
  • A summary of all of the invoices on the account
  • Clear instructions on the next steps
  • Payment information – ideally an online payment link
  • A precise calendar due date upon which you are requesting payment
  • How to contact you directly with questions or to provide reasons for not paying and status updates
  • Brief mention that failure to pay could have real consequences (credit rating, liens filed, service suspension and reinstatement charge).

Collection Letter #2 Template

[Insert Name] – I wanted to check if you had received our first collection notice.

We have not yet received payment for [Insert Invoice Number]. We have not yet received your response to our letter sent on [Insert Date]. Unfortunately, [Insert Company Name]’s account is [Insert Days Past Due] days past due.  You owe a total of $[Insert Amount].

You are a valued customer. We would like to keep your business. Please tell us how we could help you make this payment. We would prefer to avoid actions that could damage your credit rating and impact your ability to do business with us and other companies.

Please submit your payment of $[Insert Amount] by [Insert Calendar Date]. You can pay by credit card over the phone, pay online via our payment portal, or you can send a check in the self-addressed envelope I enclosed here. If you would prefer to pay via ACH or EFT, we are happy to provide our bank details.

If for any reason you cannot pay in full, please contact me immediately at [Insert Phone Number]. I would be very happy to discuss a payment schedule for you and [Insert Company Name].

I do hope we can continue in business together. Thanks for your prompt response and payment.

Sincerely,

[Insert Your Name]

[Insert Email Address]

[Insert Phone Number]

Collection Letter Templates

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Guide to Writing Collections Letter #3

At this point, the chances of you getting a full payment are pretty slim. You have less to lose – most likely the customer has an idea of what potential consequences of non-payment might be. The tone should remain professional but less cordial to convey the severity of the situation. Definitely accompany this letter with a phone call to your contact. Make it very clear in this letter that the customer is likely to face serious consequences, including reporting the delinquency to credit bureaus and taking legal action. The third collection letter should include the following information:

  • The dates previous letters went out
  • The amount due
  • The item or service purchased
  • Number of days a specific invoice is past due
  • A summary of all of the invoices on the account
  • Clear instructions on the next steps
  • Payment information – ideally an online payment link
  • A precise calendar due date upon which you are requesting payment
  • How to contact you directly with questions or to provide reasons for not paying and status updates
  • Brief mention that failure to pay could have real consequences (credit rating, liens filed, service suspension and reinstatement charge).

Collection Letter #3 Template

Dear [Insert Name],

This is the third letter we have sent to you and [Insert Company Name] is requesting payment in full for invoice [Insert Invoice Number] which was due on [Insert Due Date]. We sent the first letter on [Insert Date] and the second letter on [Insert Date].  We have also called and emailed you to request a payment.

Your account is now [Insert Days Past Due] days past due and you owe a total of $[Insert Amount].

Unfortunately, unless we receive payment in full by [Insert Date] (or agree on a payment plan by this date), we will engage our attorney in the matter and report your delinquency to the credit bureaus. This would have severe consequences on the ability of your business to secure credit.

To prevent these consequences, you can pay the full balance (or make a partial payment immediately) via our online payments portal (URL) or call me and provide your credit card information so we can process a payment. .

Contact me immediately at [Insert Phone Number] so that we might settle this matter amicably and quickly.

Sincerely,

[Insert Your Name]

[Insert Email Address]

[Insert Phone Number]

Collections Letter #4: The Final Letter

At this point, you can honestly say you have tried your best and offered the customer multiple options to settle their invoice. This letter should not even ask for payment. Rather, it should just state that you have informed the credit bureaus and engaged your attorney or legal department to pursue legal remedies. While it is not mandatory that you notify delinquent customers of these actions, doing so might actually induce a payment. Once a company knows that legal action is imminent, then it sometimes can accelerate the settlement process. Should this final letter result in a phone call, remain cordial and even friendly; it is far better to be talking with the delinquent customer than to have them ignore all communication. You can keep this letter short. It is designed to serve as proof that a customer has been contacted multiple times and that you have made a good faith effort to give them a chance to pay their debts, in part or in full.

This letter should contain the following details:

  • Number of days an invoice is past due
  • The amount due
  • The dates when the previous three letters were sent
  • A statement that you have referred this matter to the credit bureaus and engaged an attorney

Collection Letter #4 Template

Dear [Insert Name],

We have sent three collections notices to you and [Insert Company Name] is requesting immediate payment for invoice [Insert Invoice Number] for $[Insert Amount] which was due on [Insert Due Date]. We sent letters to you on [Insert Date], [Insert Date] and [Insert Date]. We have also emailed you payment requests and copies of your invoices on those same dates.

Due to your lack of response, we have reported this issue to the credit bureaus, initiated legal action against [Insert Company Name], and are in the process of engaging a collections agency to pursue the debt.

Should there be any change in your situation, please contact me immediately at [Insert Phone Number].

Sincerely,

[Insert Your Name]

[Insert Email Address]

[Insert Phone Number]


This article by Koben Williams was originally published on Tesorio Blog

About the Author:

Koben Williams is the Head of Customer Operations at Tesorio.


Featured Image Credits: Pixabay

Caught the travel bug? If wanderlust is calling, sometimes the only solution is to answer it. Many people move overseas with no long-term plan, figuring out how to earn money as they travel. Others leave to find new opportunities for supporting their families. No matter what drives you to leave home, there are plenty of options for earning money while on the road.

A word of caution: make sure to research what you are legally permitted to do under your visa restrictions. Some countries will revoke your tourist visa if they find that you’re working without permission. Whether you’re traveling to work, or working to travel, here’s how to earn money while exploring the world.

Get a remote job

So-called “digital nomads” are taking the world by storm. Digital nomads, those who can work from anywhere and choose to take their office on the road, are on the rise. In 2018, research revealed that 4.8 million US citizens identify with digital nomads. At least 43% of Americans spend some amount of time working outside the traditional office environment.

Becoming a digital nomad or working on a remote job often means freelancing. Digital nomadism offers flexibility to make your own schedule and take on work at a rate that suits your lifestyle. Use a site like Upwork, Fiverr, or TakeLessons.com to list your freelance skills, qualifications, and portfolio of work. Find jobs that are remote only on WeWorkRemotely or Remote.co. If you know you’ll be moving frequently and on the road for a long time, digital nomadism might be the lifestyle you’re seeking.

Earn Money

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Au pair for a family

A great way to travel and also get deeper into the culture of a new country is to au pair while you’re traveling. Au pairs are hired to take care of small children as live-in babysitters. In the US, one au pair reports, “You get a private room in [the host family’s] house, eat their food and often receive a mobile phone and even a car to use in your free time. On top of all these things, you get a weekly salary of $195.75.” Au pair-ing can be a good way to make some money, cover your accommodation expenses, and get to know what real life is like in the country you’re visiting. Stick with a trusted agency like Go AuPair to make sure you’re working for a family that’s been vetted.

Work in a hostel

Working in a hostel is another good way to get your accommodation paid for (usually) and earn money on the side. “All the staff become like your family, the hostel starts to feel like your home and you are forever meeting awesome travelers!” writes one nomad who worked in hostels while traveling. There are many types of positions on offer at hostels, from working in reception to bar-tending to tour guiding. It’s a great way to meet fellow travelers and get to know the city in which you’re staying. To get started, look for jobs on Hosteljobs.net or read Hostelworld’s guide on How to find a job in a hostel and earn money.

Tutor or teach a skill

English is one of the more popular languages, but if you don’t have that in your arsenal, don’t let that discourage you. Look for an expat community in your hometown with young kids. Some families want tutors for their children to help them retain their traditions, language, and culture. Others like having English from someone who speaks their native language and can explain what words mean more clearly. One of the highest paying teaching jobs available in Vietnam is teaching swim lessons in expat communities. Be creative and think about some other topics you can teach beyond language skills: tutors are always in demand all over the world.

Become a tour guide 

Putting together a tour can be a lot of work, but it’s also quite lucrative. If you have a certain background or skill set, use that to your advantage. Think outside the traditional walking tours: are you a runner or cyclist? Plan a running tour of the city that takes you around the top sites while getting your guests in shape. If you know a lot about architecture or street art, plan a route that shows off a new side to your city. There are plenty of established companies to work with, but sites like Airbnb Experiences also make it easy to start up on your own.

Work as a translator

Translators are always in demand. “If you’re in a foreign country where native English-language speakers are needed, offer translation services. You can work with companies, contractors or individuals alike to translate for them,” writes career advisor FairyGodBoss. To get started as a translator you may need a certification, but also start posting your availability in Facebook groups. Word gets around quickly!


This article was originally published by SendFriend

About SendFriend:

In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake of 2010 that hit Haiti, our founder, David, was a young analyst at the Office of the Special Envoy to Haiti at the World Bank. He witnessed firsthand the resilience and strength of the worldwide Haitian community, as Haitians around the world sent home over $2 billion to support their loved ones in their time of need.

However, as Haitians stepped up their financial support, David saw money transfer companies charging more than 7% for people to send money home.

Visits to the Philippines exposed David to the global nature of this problem. As a student at MIT, he was inspired by blockchain technology and guided toward it by professors and technologists as a potential solution to the high cost of international remittances. The result was SendFriend, an international money transfer app specifically designed for money remittance to Philippines.

You May Also Like: The Simple Rules for Exchanging Foreign Currency


Featured Image Credits: Pixabay


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As you’re preparing to live overseas or travel for an extended period of time, it’s important to know how you’ll get cash. Credit cards are ubiquitous in most countries. But, there’s still the odd moment where you’ll need cash – and, depending on your destination, cash may be the only option. At the very least, taking out cash to make your daily purchases can help you stick to a budget and make sure you’re not overspending on your credit cards.

In the past, we’ve written an explanation of how foreign exchange rates work; today, here’s our guide to how to exchange foreign currency. There are many ways to trade one nation’s currency for another. Some are better than others. Stick to these rules to save money each time you exchange currency and get the best rates possible.

Don’t exchange cash before you go

There’s a lot of confusion around whether or not you should exchange cash in your home country before departing. Some travelers prefer to have at least a little cash on them when they land. But, if you’re looking for the best exchange rate, it’s better to wait until you arrive to exchange currencies. Bring the bare minimum, as overseas exchange rates are higher than getting the right currency in-country.

“Some tourists feel like they just have to have Euros or British pounds in their pockets when they step off the airplane, but they pay the price in bad stateside exchange rates. Wait until you arrive to withdraw money,” writes travel expert Rick Steves.

European Union Currency

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Avoid exchanging cash at an airport

Airport currency exchange kiosks are notoriously bad deals. “Airport currency kiosks, as well as those located near popular tourist areas, generally come with a larger exchange margin and more fees. If you changed dollars into the local currency when you landed in your destination airport, then changed your leftover foreign currency back into dollars before flying home, you’d end up losing money twice,” writes one expert.

It’s better to exchange currency at a financial institution than at an airport. There will still be a small fee for making the exchange at a bank or credit union. However, you’ll get more money for your money than if you visit a tourist rip-off.

Use an ATM to get cash

Instead of exchanging notes, get cash straight from the ATM. You’ll get a better deal, since ATMs use the current bank rate. Some banks have no foreign transaction or ATM fees, allowing you to withdraw cash in the local currency. Other banks charge ATM fees of $1 to $5, and a debit transaction fee of up to 3%. Do some research to find the card with the best rates and minimize the number of withdrawals you make from the ATM, taking out a larger sum each time, to keep charges under control. Make sure you let your bank know before you travel abroad to ensure they don’t lock your card for seemingly fraudulent charges.

Swipe your credit cards wisely

Credit cards can come in handy, especially during a big life transition like starting a new job overseas. But it’s easy to let credit card spending get out of hand – especially given the fees and charges that some credit companies take on to international purchases. As with the debit card, find a credit card that doesn’t charge any foreign transaction fees.

“Most credit cards charge a foreign transaction fee of between 1% and 3% whenever you buy something abroad, but this is still the safest and often the cheapest way to make a large purchase. You’ll almost always come out ahead on the conversion since credit cards add their fee on top of the Interbank rate,” writes one travel expert from Fodors. Set aside your credit card to use for big purchases only, and try not to take a cash advance on your credit card unless it’s an emergency.

Another good tip: pay in the currency of the country you’re in. When completing a transaction, you might be asked whether you wish to pay in USD or the local currency. Always choose the local currency. “If you pay in USD, not only will you get charged an inflated exchange rate but there is also a hidden 3-3.5% fee associated with this privilege.”

Don’t forget: exchange rates apply to money transfers

Many travelers and expats forget that exchange fees also apply to money transfers. Make sure you get the best possible deal each time you send money home to friends and family. Not all transfer methods are created equal: a transfer agent like OFX, for example, has an exchange rate markup of less than 1%, while MoneyGram can charge up to 4% on exchange rate markups.

Blockchain money transfer options are growing in popularity, mostly because this transfer doesn’t rely on banks. This means you can exchange currency at a lower cost (and faster, too!). Shop around to find the best option that won’t take advantage of an exchange rate to take your hard-earned cash.


This article was originally published on SendFriend

About SendFriend:

In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake of 2010 that hit Haiti, our founder, David, was a young analyst at the Office of the Special Envoy to Haiti at the World Bank. He witnessed firsthand the resilience and strength of the worldwide Haitian community, as Haitians around the world sent home over $2 billion to support their loved ones in their time of need.

However, as Haitians stepped up their financial support, David saw money transfer companies charging more than 7% for people to send money home.

Visits to the Philippines exposed David to the global nature of this problem. As a student at MIT, he was inspired by blockchain technology and guided toward it by professors and technologists as a potential solution to the high cost of international remittances. The result was SendFriend, an international money transfer app specifically designed for money remittance to Philippines.


Featured Image Credits: Pixabay

Managing your finances while living abroad can be challenging. Overseas workers often find their personal wealth suspended across borders, with bank accounts in different countries and income in different currencies. Taxes, transaction fees, currency conversions, and restrictions around opening a bank account are common headaches an overseas worker will likely encounter. As a result, expats working overseas need slightly different money management strategies than the average employee.

Living and working abroad can lead to better opportunities, more income, and the chance to experience new culture. Navigating wealth management comes with a whole new set of considerations. Here are some ways workers living overseas can manage and protect their money for better long-term financial health.

Open a local bank account

A local bank account can help you save money on extensive ATM fees. It’s also a good thing to have for making deposits each time you get paid. When you use a foreign card at an ATM, you’ll not only be charged by your bank but also by the local bank. That can add up quickly: some ATMs charge up to $10 each time you make a withdrawal. A local bank account is a good way to take some of the stress out of managing your cash flow while also saving on fees.

Pay attention to exchange rates 

Exchange rates can impact an overseas worker’s take home salary over time. It can also play a role in how an overseas worker budgets for living expenses.

There are two key ways in which a currency exchange rate impacts an overseas worker’s salary. The first way applies more to the employer: it’s how the exchange rate affects the final cost to the employer for an overseas assignment. The second way is the amount of money an overseas worker receives relative to their home currency and the location where they’re spending on living expenses.

When an employee is earning an income in one currency, especially over a long-term assignment, the currency conversion can actually mean they’re earning significantly less (or more!) than they would back home. For example, an American working in South Africa earning rand will face currency fluctuations when the rand value decreases or the dollar gets stronger. This means they will not have the same financial security than if they were making USD. To mitigate this risk, negotiate your salary such that the employer takes on the financial burden of changes in exchange rate (up or down), or set your salary based on your home currency.

Find a way to transfer money with low international fees

Whether you’re transferring money to family, trying to allocate funds to multiple bank accounts, paying overseas bills, or simply sending money occasionally, international fees can take a good chunk out of your income. Get the mid-market exchange rate – the midpoint between the buy and sell prices of two currencies – when you send money abroad. Avoid hidden fees, such as the exchange rate fee, that many banks add into an international transaction. And, most importantly, protect your money and accounts by only working with compliant, safe transaction providers. There are international regulations and standards against money laundering that your bank or transfer agent should adhere to each time you need to make a transaction.

Keep your credit score high 

Often, moving to a foreign country means losing your credit history. Credit histories are not portable across countries: each time a worker relocates, they will have to re-establish a credit track record. This can have a long term impact on your ability to get a mortgage, a car loan, and even get a cell phone plan.

Establishing a credit score requires historical debt repayment information. As a result, make sure to keep open a credit card from your home country and use it a few times each year. By simply ordering a few things from Amazon or another online retailer, and then paying your bills on time, you can manage to keep your credit strong while working overseas.

Budget for taxes

Taxes get even more complicated as soon as you begin working abroad. Depending on the country and the type of visa you have, you may be responsible for taxes at home and in your working country. The US is one such country where citizens are responsible for filing and paying income tax, even when they live outside the borders. For UK residents, if your business or property is situated in the UK, you will still be responsible for some UK taxes. It’s also important to know what local tax regulations require: in Argentina, for example, joint filing income tax is not an option.

You may be eligible to apply for a foreign tax credit, which can reduce your double-taxation requirements. Check if you qualify for a tax credit before you leave your home country. It also might be worthwhile to work with a local CPA or accountant to make sure you’re filing your overseas tax return accurately and taking full advantage of possible credits and deductions to save money.

Money Management

Image Credits: Pixabay

Don’t forget to plan for retirement

Between managing living expenses, sending money home, and paying your taxes, the last thing many overseas workers think about is managing their retirement fund. This can be a big mistake down the road.

Before you leave to work abroad, make sure you’re aware of how your time overseas will impact your eligibility for retirement plans both in your host country and home country. “If employment status doesn’t allow for either, it’s sometimes possible to take advantage of tax-deferred retirement opportunities without the employer,” advises one expert. If you’re unsure where you will eventually retire, at the very least, start building an emergency or rainy day fund. This fund can grow over time and eventually become your retirement nest egg. Ask a financial advisor in your home country if there are alternate retirement funds available to overseas workers. For example, British expats could consider a QROPS scheme.


This article was previously published on SendFriend.io

About SendFriend:

In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake of 2010 hit Haiti, our founder, David, was a young analyst at the Office of the Special Envoy to Haiti at the World Bank. He witnessed firsthand the resilience and strength of the worldwide Haitian community, as Haitians around the world sent home over $2 billion to support their loved ones in their time of need.

However, as Haitians stepped up their financial support, David saw money transfer companies charge exorbitant fees, north of 7% for people to send money home.

Visits to the Philippines exposed David to the global nature of this problem. As a student at MIT, he was inspired by blockchain technology and guided toward it by Professors and technologists as a potential solution to the high cost of international remittances. The result was SendFriend.


Featured Image Credits: Pixabay

My parents back home. My wife back home. My grandmother back home. My son back home. Speak with almost any immigrant, and you’ll find that nearly all are sending money to their families in their home country. Often moving for the hopes of a better life, the lives of those they have left at home are not forgotten.

The International Day of Family Remittances (IDFR)

The International Day of Family Remittances (IDFR), adopted by the United Nations General Assembly and celebrated annually on the 16th of June, recognizes the contribution of over 200 million migrants to improve the lives of their 800 million family members back home, and to create a future of hope for their children. The day serves to bring awareness to the positive impact these contributions have on the local communities, countries, and even entire regions.  

What is a remittance? 

A remittance is a sum of money sent abroad and typically used to pay family members back in a person’s home country. These payments are usually sent by mail but can be sent via wire transfer or through increasingly common apps/services. Tracking remittances is difficult due to many countries lack of records and the fact that only funds sent through formal channels are included; however, economists at the World Bank estimate that over $690 Billion was sent by migrants to individuals in their home countries in 2018.

Not All Remittances Are Created Equal

In raw numbers, India and China send the most money back home, almost $63 Billion and $61 Billion respectively; however, when looking at the impact remittances have on their home country, it’s necessary to identify the relative value of the payments vs. the home nations GDP. For example, as referenced in the previous paragraph, India received almost $63 Billion in remittances in 2017; however, this only accounts for 2.8% of India’s $2.3 trillion GDP. Contrast this with El Salvador and Nepal, whose remittances were equivalent to 17% and 28% of their GDP respectively: what an impact! You can already see how large of a role these payments can and do play in their home countries.

Remittances Fighting Poverty

It’s estimated that over half of all remittance flows go to rural areas, where poverty and hunger are concentrated. But do these payments actually have as much of an impact as we think? Well, studies have shown that a 10% increase in remittance can reduce the poverty rate by almost 4%! Despite these statistics, not everyone thinks remittances are as beneficial as they claim to be.

 

Remittance

Image Credits: Pixabay

Remittances: Benefit or Detriment?

Many officials argue that remittances have not been proven to spur economic growth in the home countries. In fact, the data supports this claim by estimating that a majority of remittance payments are spent on consumption vs. any developmental project. Additionally, some say that remittances encourage individuals not to work by providing a safety net. In Gambia, where remittances account for roughly 20% of Gambia’s GDP, not everyone is believes this to be beneficial. Renowned Gambian academic, Dr. Ismaila Ceesay, argues that the large amount of remittance comes at a huge cost to Gambians by creating a dependency and leaving workers unproductive: “Many Gambians don’t want to work anymore. Because they know that somebody is going to send money.” While the overall economic impact of remittances on a home country’s economy is hotly debated, it’s difficult to argue the positive impact these payments have on an individual or family.

We often lose sight of the economic disparity in the world and how even small amounts of money can change lives. As Gilbert F. Houngbo, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development said: “It is not about the money being sent home, it is about the impact on people’s lives. The small amounts of $200 or $300 that each migrant sends home make up about 60 per cent of the family’s household income, and this makes an enormous difference in their lives and the communities in which they live.” Let us celebrate the contributions made by these individuals, as they work hard to build a better life not just for them, but for those they left behind.


This article by Miquel Sousa was previously published on SendFriend

About SendFriend:

In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake of 2010 hit Haiti, our founder, David, was a young analyst at the Office of the Special Envoy to Haiti at the World Bank. He witnessed firsthand the resilience and strength of the worldwide Haitian community, as Haitians around the world sent home over $2 billion to support their loved ones in their time of need.

However, as Haitians stepped up their financial support, David saw money transfer companies charge exorbitant fees, north of 7% for people to send money home.

Visits to the Philippines exposed David to the global nature of this problem. As a student at MIT, he was inspired by blockchain technology and guided toward it by Professors and technologists as a potential solution to the high cost of international remittances. The result was SendFriend.


Featured Image Credits: Pixabay

NEO Global Capital Interview

If you’re reading this, chances are you have experience or are interested in trading or investing in cryptocurrency assets such as NEO Global Capital

Chances are pretty high that a majority of our readers have invested a number anywhere between $100 to $10,000 in a mixture of assets such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, and NEO. There’s also slim minority that has taken a walk on the wild side and invested in ICOs – some getting lucky, the bulk getting burnt.

Your decisions were likely fueled by news and impulse, and since your risk was relatively low, it didn’t take much convincing to place your orders

But what happens when that $100 to $10,000 figure is multiplied by 100x to 1,000x, in some cases 10,000x. And it’s your full-time job. And it’s not your money. The landscape changes a bit.

Cryptocurrency funds have a unique task ahead of them that involves navigating through a noisy and clamorous environment to get access to high-quality deal flows and investment targets. The stakes are much higher and reputation starts to matter.

CoinCentral connected with the team behind one of the world’s leading blockchain investment firms, NEO Global Capital, at their inaugural Boston meetup. The event featured heavy hitting figures from organizations such as Arrington XRP Capital, Pantera Capital, Block72, and, of course, NEO Global Capital.

The NEO Global Capital Fund I has a high-octane diverse portfolio of blockchain projects such as OntologyBluzelleZilliqa, Trinity, Mainframe, and Top.

The following interview provides some serious insights into the mechanics behind running an international blockchain fund, especially in the bear market that is 2018, from NGC Founding Partner Roger Lim.

Enjoy!


Can you tell us a bit more about what gives you a sense of a good investment opportunity? What specific traits are you looking for in the team, in the idea, in the technology?

NGC’s founding team has been involved in the blockchain industry since its early days, so we are fortunate to have worked alongside some of the early adopters of the technology. With time comes a better understanding of what industries are most in need of a digital overhaul, as well as where decentralized technologies will have the greatest impact, so our experience has certainly played to our advantage.

As such, we’ve developed a strong sense of which sectors will benefit most from blockchain; what stands out in terms of a projects founding team; and whether an idea is innovative and disruptive versus one that is similar to something that already exists and can really only offer incremental improvement.

That being said, NEO Global Capital has a well-rounded portfolio of investments, and we hope to continue supporting a variety of industries, including identity solutions; gaming; online content streaming; the financial services industry (i.e. banking, financing, payments, and exchanges); and so on.

We will also continue to invest in public chains, as well as privacy and security projects because we see them as strong examples of addressing a specific problem. Overall, it’s important to look at how competitive the market is for whatever that project is trying to solve.

Perhaps most importantly, we place a heavy emphasis on the strength of the team at the heart of a project: Does this project have strong leadership? What is their experience? Do they have high success rates from previous projects? A strong team is often the best indicator of whether or a not a project will succeed.

Could you tell us a bit about the fund’s relationship with NEO?

Our affiliation with NEO is a strategic one that allows NGC to fulfill its position as a leading investment firm. While NEO Global Capital is a fully independent entity, we are long-term believers in NEO and have created a dedicated fund aimed at fostering the growth of the NEO Smart Economy ecosystem. Through strategic capital deployment, project incubation, and utilizing all of our available resources, we believe that we can help accelerate the growth of the overall crypto market.

The NGC Fund I seems to be a newer fund compared to the NEO Eco Fund. Can you explain what are the differences between the two funds, in terms of objectives and potential investment targets?

The NGC Fund I is our for-profit fund, where we invest in the most promising and innovative projects related to blockchain. Our wider interest is in advancing the industry, so we invest in projects that have strong use cases and can help drive the mainstream adoption of blockchain.

Our second fund is the NEO Eco Fund and our goal here is to promote the growth of the NEO Smart Economy ecosystem. In alignment with our belief in NEO, we occasionally invest in projects that would specifically benefit from NEO’s infrastructure.

Overall, the goal of both funds is to help startups create lasting competitive advantages in an industry that’s become very crowded, very quickly.

NEO Global Capital

What kinds of short-term targets and goals do you typically agree with a startup firm once you have decided to invest? How do you go about agreeing on these targets?

Goals, objectives, and targets differ depending on the type of projects we are supporting. If it’s a public chain, for example, we would work with the project to identify gaps in the technical team, the roadmap, and milestones in advance of the mainnet launch. We are generous with our time for each of our investees; we want them to succeed, and if they wish to tap on the experience of any of our partners or reach out to our network, they have the full backing and support of the firm.

It tends to be typical that venture funds require a founding team to have a longer-term target that the company should be sold within a set period of time. Is it any different with NGC? What kind of timeframe do you work to for long term goals, and how do you define long term goals?

In general, token investments achieve liquidity a lot faster on exchanges than equity investments (months rather than years). Nevertheless, at NEO Global Capital we want all our investees to succeed whether we make a token or equity investment. We still hold tokens of many of our investments and we continue to work with them and expect them to continue their growth, development and to achieve the key business objectives over the coming years.

Are there any advantages to operating a cryptocurrency fund in a bear market?

In a way, bitcoin’s dramatic rise last year has solidified the blockchain industry: there is now an interest in blockchain and cryptocurrency that did not exist previously. As we move away from the crypto mania that ensued, the benefit of operating our crypto fund in a bear market is that most projects now come with good intentions.

This is not to say we have completely eliminated bad actors, but there were certainly more projects and players that emerged in the market at its peak when there was a greater opportunity for quick wins. Likewise, the current market allows investors to spend time researching, understanding a new technology or problem a project may solve — in a bull market, investors may act from a fear of missing out.

In addition to good valuations, the current market has produced stronger projects with experienced leadership teams, compelling use cases, and cutting-edge tech. We believe that the competitiveness of the market has not decreased in any way.

What separates a high-quality investment fund from a low-quality one?

A high-quality investment fund is one that makes educated and thoughtful investment decisions. One thing we are very proud of at NEO Global Capital is that our founding team comes from a varied background of crypto investment, traditional financial markets, emerging technologies, and mergers and acquisitions.

We would say that the best investment funds are those that are able to marry their crypto-specific knowledge with experience from more traditional verticals, thereby taking a more well-rounded and considered approach to investment.

A major component for any investor in the ICO space is access to deal flow. What gives NEO Global Capital an advantage here? Do you have any advice for smaller retail investors?

A strong reputation for helping projects post-investment is important and also entices more founders and entrepreneurs to want to work with us. We not only work closely with, but we welcome other funds to work with us to share deals, insights, and expertise. We strongly believe in collaboration and that a variety among blockchain investors (geographical expertise, background, and networks) brings diverse experience and immense benefits to a project.

As for retail investors, As Warren Buffet once said, “never invest in something you don’t understand” so definitely do your research, understand what you are investing in; and diversification is important. Cryptos are highly volatile and therefore risky, weigh up the risks before diving in.

Looking out on the wider market which is becoming very crowded. From the ICOs that have been completed so far in 2018, which ones stand out to you as being unique or otherwise interesting opportunities?

We think all the projects we have invested in have innovative teams and unique solutions to today’s problems within the industry. Ontology, for example, provides a solution to digital identity; Certik solves security problems in blockchain with formal verification; Hadron helps enterprises like NASA outsource their computation tasks with a large user and device population so that these tasks are done efficiently and timely. All hugely ambitious projects making immense progress and we look forward to supporting them in the future.

How does the NEO Global Capital team reach an agreement over which projects to invest in, or not?

While there are no hard and fast rules, a strong product, an effective business plan, and an ambitious, goal-orientated founding team would certainly be the cornerstone of what we consider a promising venture. Each of NEO Global Capital’s partners understands that investors are interested in seeing and investing in projects that are both unique and impactful, so we are often in agreement when it comes to whether to invest or not.

In your view, what is the outlook for the overall price of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies over the next 12 months? What are the crunch points that may end up turning the markets in one direction or another?

If I had to hazard a guess – I would say bitcoin could see new highs over the next 12-18 months. As regulations, standards, and infrastructure become more mature, I expect the market to react positively.

What would be your single best piece advice for any founders of an ICO or blockchain startup?

As the blockchain space becomes increasingly noisy, a recommendation we always make to founders and entrepreneurs is to consider whether or not they really need blockchain. Focus on the problem you are trying to solve and decide if blockchain is truly the solution.

What is the outlook for NEO Global Capital as we move to the end of 2018 and beyond?

Our primary interest lies in advancing the industry of blockchain towards mainstream adoption, so as we move towards the end of 2018, we will continue to strive towards that goal by investing in the most innovative projects; sponsoring higher education initiatives; and facilitating conversation between industry leaders and business professionals that will address what the industry needs, where exactly the market stands, and what steps can be taken in the New Year to advance the industry as a whole.

In line with this, we’ve recently invested in several key blockchain-focused initiatives in higher education: most recently at Berkeley and the National University of Singapore. We also held our inaugural meetup in Boston to discuss project funding and development, best investment practices, and emerging industry trends. We plan to do more of this as we wrap up the year, and hopefully into 2019.


This article by Alex Moskov was previously published on Coincentral.com

About the Author:

Alex Moskov is the Editor-in-Chief of CoinCentral. Alex also advises blockchain startups, enterprise organizations, and ICOs on content strategy, marketing, and business development. He also regrets not buying more Bitcoin back in 2012, just like you.

Institutional investors are getting into the Bitcoin market via OTC trading platforms. Currently, the OTC trading market is said to be over two times the size of regulated exchanges with some desks handling over $100 million a day in transactions.

However, the entry of more institutional players is huge news for the crypto industry. According to many crypto pundits, institutionalized investors are the missing element needed to kick-start the cryptocurrency price recovery journey. This is after the spectacular price dip that occurred at the beginning of the year, which dragged down the market into a bearish stretch.

According to a report by Bloomberg, institutional investors have already started to invest in the industry, with some buyers currently buying over $100,000 worth of digital currencies through OTC trading platforms. This is as revealed by Bobby Cho, head of trading at Cumberland, which operates an OTC trading platform under DRW Holdings LLC.

In his view, the crypto industry has been waiting for big institutionalized investors to jump on the bandwagon, most likely following a bitcoin ETF, to help prop up the flagging market. But apparently, the big investors are already here, and many are using the OTC crypto industry to make huge buys.

Established crypto mining firms are reportedly also utilizing OTC trading platforms to sell digital coins to institutional investors at higher prices instead of waiting for the rates to go up, and many have their own liquidity desks. According to the Bloomberg report, coins from mining companies apparently command a price premium of up to 20 percent of their prevailing market value. This is because they are what many digital currency investors consider as ‘unadulterated’ crypto assets.

Because the coins are brand new and untainted by illegal activity, they easily meet regulatory requirements imposed by government bodies.

 

OTC Trading

OTC Markets Have Major Advantages for Investors over Crypto Exchanges

According to Cho, many investment firms are choosing to invest in the cryptocurrency industry at this time because of current market stability. It allows for better market prediction and risk evaluation.

Among the main advantages of using OTC trading platforms, especially for big investors, is that they generally have sufficient cryptocurrency liquidity to facilitate multi-million dollar digital coin orders. Moreover, buying millions of dollars worth of crypto on exchanges is hardly a straightforward process. Market movements arising from the huge transactions are also greatly subdued, and unlikely to sway prices by a significant margin.

Another noteworthy advantage is that cryptocurrency prices can be fixed beforehand by OTC trading entities, subsequently mollifying fears of sudden price slides and spikes, which could affect the final value of transactions.


This article by Elizabeth Gail was previously published on Coincentral.com

About the Author:

Elizabeth Gail is crypto-enthusiast and a blogger. Her specialties include cryptocurrency news and analysis. When not writing about crypto, she’s out taking part in humanitarian endeavors across the world. You can reach out and engage with her on Twitter and Google Plus.

In this article, we look at the World Bank blockchain initiative and the rising popularity of blockchain bonds. Even though this is a relatively new concept, banks and governments of all sizes are beginning to issue blockchain-based bonds and minibonds. Let’s examine these use cases and try to understand how these changes might impact the future of government fundraising.

Why Blockchain Bonds?

The first general government bonds were issued in the Netherlands in 1517. Since that time, this form of fundraising has played an integral role in public sector fundraising around the world. Traditional government bonds have served as a link between governments and citizens. Bonds of the past have usually been denominated in a given country’s own fiat currency. This, however, has already begun to change with the advent of blockchain bonds.

There are a number of reasons governments at all levels might want to use blockchain bonds over traditional bonds. For instance, utilizing blockchains can eliminate the need for third-party firms and financial institutions. In other words, blockchain technology has the potential to directly connect issuers (governments) and recipients (citizens). Now, let’s examine some relevant case studies.

World Bank Blockchain Bonds

In August 2018, The World Bank announced its plans to launch the world’s first blockchain bond. However, cryptocurrency will not be used as a form of payment. This is likely due to the fact that there isn’t a widely adopted, government-issued digital currency yet in existence.

Unfortunately, most of these options are regarded as Ponzi schemes. Therefore, fiat currency will be used. On August 10, 2018, the World Bank designated the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) as the sole arranger for a two-year bond. The organization aims to raise 50 million $AUD (the equivalent of $36 million).

Paul Snaith, manager of the World Bank’s Treasury Operations Capital Markets, has said that the institution is partnering with Microsoft in order to meet the technical demands necessary to create their software and platform. While World Bank blockchain bonds offer a promising step forward for investors, it’s important to note that anyone who purchases a bond will still follow the traditional path.

For instance, each individual purchaser still has to go through an official registration process. In addition, all cash will be transmitted separately from the blockchain through normal bond channels.

World Bank Blockchain

BNP Paribas Minibonds

The World Bank blockchain effort to become the first global issuer of blockchain bonds is quite an accomplishment, but it isn’t the only large financial institution working on such an initiative. BNP Paribas, France’s largest bank and the 8th largest bank in the world, also has a similar program in the works. In 2016, this bank started building and testing a blockchain platform to allow private companies to issue minibonds.

BNP Paribas Securities Services, the bank’s custody arm, is actively developing a solution that can maintain records of all minibond issuances as well as ownership changes. The bank also partnered with three French companies to further its eventual goal of real-world implementation. These included two renewable energy companies as well as an investment platform called SmartAngels, which worked on creating the first pilot platform.

According to a February 2018 article, Johann Palychata, head of blockchain at BNP Paribas Securities Services’ digital transformation department, said that more improvements are needed to integrate blockchain with existing market practices and stakeholders. Palychata also cited the need for regulatory changes to make widespread adoption a reality.

There haven’t been many updates regarding the possibility of BNP Paribas’ real-world implementation of blockchain minibonds. Nonetheless, BNP Paribas is also bringing blockchain innovation to other areas of finance like asset management. In January 2018, BNP Paribas Asset Management announced that it had utilized BNP Paribas Securities Services’ blockchain technology to conduct the successful trial of blockchain-based fund distribution in Luxembourg.

BNP Paribas Blockchain Bonds

Berkeley, California: First Blockchain Bond Municipality?

When it comes to bond issuance, most people likely first think of either international institutions like The World Bank or large banks like BNP Paribas. But local governments also have the authority and ability to issue bonds. Now, local and state governments across the globe are starting to implement a variety of blockchain solutions.

In May 2018, the city council of Berkeley, California voted to move forward on a project that would make it the first municipality to offer blockchain bonds. What makes this initiative interesting is the fact that it would lower the investment threshold for all investors. Typically, the minimum investment for municipal bonds is $5,000. In contrast, Berkeley’s program would allow people to buy bonds for much smaller amounts (i.e. $10 or $25) to support community projects.

This concept is similar to how cryptocurrency projects have reduced or even eliminated the minimum amount of funds required to participate in ICOs. Additionally, the city plans to issue the bonds in dollars. There is also the possibility that the city could create its own token, offering citizens two currency options.

Berkeley’s Vice Mayor Ben Bartlett told Bloomberg that circumventing Wall Street is one of the city’s motivating factors. If this initiative is successful, it could set a model where governments are no longer dependent on the services offered by traditional debt capital markets. For the city of Berkely, some possible initiatives include a muni-bond backed ICO for affordable housing. The city has already partnered up with a tech startup called Neighborly to make this vision a reality.

Berkeley University

Trends and Takeaways

Blockchain bonds and minibonds can change the future of bond financing. Governments and banks haven’t been quick to utilize cryptocurrencies in bond issuance or payments, but this could be a possibility in the future.

It’s yet to be determined whether governments and financial institutions are firmly in the “blockchain but not bitcoin” camp. Regardless if fiat or crypto is used, blockchain bonds create another potential use case for decentralized technologies. Most importantly, they represent a big step forward for the adoption of blockchain technology.


This article by Delton Rhodes was previously published on Coincentral.com

About the Author:

Delton Rhodes:

I enjoy researching new, innovative, and interesting blockchain/crypto projects that have the potential to impact the world. Whenever I’m not writing, I’m usually playing sports or producing music.


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