Staff Showcase

The rise of the cryptocurrency

We live in a cashless society, but are we on our way to a universal digital currency? Bitcoin may seem like a digital currency for a digital age, but is it really? We investigate in this week’s round table discussion.

Transcript


Amanda: We’ve talked about Bitcoin before at the P4Digital Blog. It’s a topic that fascinates us, but 2014 was a rough year for it. In this week’s discussion, we talk about the rise of the cryptocurrency, how it works and speculate on whether or not we’ll all be paid with it in a few years.

Jeremy: Hello, today we’re talking about Bitcoins. Do they now have a legitimate trading exchange?

Archana: Yes, the topic we’re talking about today is the roll out of a new US-based exchange called Coinbase, which hopefully does legalize the cryptocurrency. What are your thoughts?

Shaheerah: Okay, so basically just to define Bitcoin in very basic terms, it is virtual cash that is generated, or rather mined by computers. It is a very sophisticated process. And Bitcoin lives on the internet, and you can use it to buy stuff both online as well as offline. In late January of this year, the Coinbased Bitcoin exchange went live. And this is actually the first one in America. And it could make Bitcoin more of a reality for the average Joe, as well as the corporate financial role. So as of now the exchange has been approved in 24 American states, and previously in the US the Bitcoin traders had to use exchanges that were based outside of the USA. And those exchanges did not have adequate regulations or security and so it made it pretty risky. So for example in February of this year, a Japan based Bitcoin exchange collapsed and they lost 750,000 customer Bitcoins, as well as 100,000 Bitcoins of their own. There are also all these problems with the security hacks. So for example recently Bitstamp lost 19,000 Bitcoins worth 5 million dollars, so that’s a lot. But now what’s going to happen is the Coinbase exchange is set to be a game changer because it is better regulated. They do have better security including insurance, which the other exchanges did not have. They have encryption, and the Bitcoins are actually kept offline so you won’t be able to hack them. There is also a one-time use passcode that you have to use, it’s texted to your phone and every time  you want to log in you have to use that one-time passcode, and you have to use the same computer every time as well.

Jeremy: Yeah, the Japanese exchange that Shaheerah mentioned is called Mt.Gox, which apparently is short for Magic the Gathering, which is a Role Playing – some type of Role Playing Dungeons and Dragons type game. So that’s not really the most credible way to be trading your Bitcoins.

Amanda: Speak for yourself! I’ve played Magic the Gathering and it’s an intense game!

Archana: Again, sort of going back to what Shaheerah mentioned, primarily the lack of regulation, inadequate security and the difficulty in getting US dollars in and out of these exchanges being the primary reasons why Bitcoin hasn’t really taken off. Coinbase really seeks to make a difference because it’s being backed by some thoughtful investors and financial venture capitalists, including the NYSE and the Citigroup CEO and Thompson Reuters ex CEO as well, so it obviously does lend a huge deal of credibility. And like what Jeremy mentioned, the Japanese company – a lot of luster was lost of Bitcoin amidst all these scandals and different scams. Case in point would be the Japanese Bitcoin exchange. And also more recently a Slovenia Bitcoin exchange also collapsed. So Coinbase does seek to differentiate itself from the rest of the crowd. What remains to be seen is how successful they’ll be.

Jeremy: And right on the heels of Coinbase is another exchange that is going to be launched later this year, which is backed by the Winklevoss twins of Facebook fame, called the Gemini exchange. So they’re not narcissistic at all! Anyway, this exchange is going to be partnered with a major US bank, which means your US cash deposits will be eligible for FDIC insurance, although I’m sure the Bitcoins held in there will not.

Amanda: It’s interesting. Amazon and I believe PayPal also are accepting Bitcoins as of last year for payment for certain transactions.

Archana:  Yes, just like what Amanda just mentioned, apparently Coinbase also already accounts for about 2.2 million consumer wallets, and nearly 40,000 merchants already use their services. So from this point on it’s really a matter of them consolidating their position and building the business.

Shaheerah: Yes, and I also wanted to share some other facts about Bitcoin, which were published in an infographic from whoishostingthis.com. The FBI actually owns 15% of all the Bitcoins in the world. 65% of the world’s bitcoins are inactive – so they’re just left in the Bitcoin ewallets, and the remaining bitcoins are what are actually used for the transactions. You can get stuff like Pizza and plane tickets and university tuition using your Bitcoins. And even former Spice Girl Mel B, she was the first artist who started accepting Bitcoins as payment for her music. There’s also a maximum number of Bitcoins that can ever exist. The last Bitcoin is predicted to be mined in the year 2040.

Amanda: Make myself sound like a bit of a Geek here, but Mel B was always my favourite Spice Girl.

Laughter

Jeremy: Jim too

Laughter

Jeremy: Well, the problem with Bitcoins is they’re really too volatile right now to be used as an integral part of our trading economy. I mean, it would be kind of foolish to ask for your pay cheques in Bitcoin because the value fluctuates so much. I really think that if they built a good, secure system and a means of transactions- I think they’re going to around for a while, it’s not going to be worthless, it’s always going to be worth something. But to make the jump between something that you horde and something that you use to spend money on, the question is when that’s going to be.

Amanda: I have a general question for the executives here. If it was more secure, would you ever consider accepting your salary in Bitcoins.

Jeremy: I would not accept my salary in Bitcoins right now – not the way it fluctuates.

Archana: Not right now, but really whether we like it or not I think digital currency is definitely going to be a part of our lives in the coming future. Whether its Bitcoin o some other form of digital currency, I don’t know but for sure, salary one day would be in the form of Bitcoins.

Shaheerah:  And I just wanted to add, that actually Bitcoin has been known to lose up to 80% of its value in just a few days, so yes it is very volatile. And in fact both Thailand and China had put bans on Bitcoin back in 2013 for this reason.

Amanda: So that’s a no on accepting it on your salary, huh Shaheerah?

Shaheerah: Yup, that’s right.

Amanda: I have to say, after hearing that last statistic, I have to agree.


 

That was the P4Capital team discussing the rise of Bitcoin and Crytopcurrency. Apparnetly, none of us want to get paid with it in the near future. Want to know more? Check out our website  and previous posts about Bitcoin at http://www.planet4it.com or follow us @p4capital. Thanks and see you next time.

Staff Showcase: Meet Justin Park

Justin is the account executive here at Planet4IT, and he knows all about business development and client relationship management.
If you need an expert, he’s your man. In fact; he goes as far as to claim that he has never had a job that didn’t involve sales.

Also victorious  in Table Tennis, he left most of us in the dust here at Planet in our inner office tournaments. If you want to talk to Justin about business, or perhaps try your luck against him at Table Tennis, he can be reached by email, LinkedIn or by giving him a call here at Planet4IT.

Justin

 

Movember at Planet4IT UPDATED

That Mo is coming along excellently Andrew!

IMG_20141124_112420

Day 24

 

Only one week to go!

You can watch his progress or donate money to his cause HERE.

We all look forward to your fabulous Mo Andrew!

Day 10

Day 10


 

Need a reminder on who Andrew is? Check out his profile below.

andrew

Andrew is one of the newest members of Planet4IT, but he brings with him a fresh new perspective.

With one eye on the job market and the other on the IT world, he’s the man to go to for information on how the latest advancements in Data, Digital Marketing and Social Media are effecting business.

Andrew encourages you to reach out to him through not only telephone or email, but LinkedIn and Twitter as well

 

Career Change – How to Decide?

 Changing  Careers – Where to start?

It is important to assess or clarify exactly what you are looking for short term and also where you want to be long term.  Remember when changing your career it also affects your family life and your social life.  So don’t forget to include these categories in your list.  Here are 8 categories to help you analyze your next career change:

  1. ›What is your objective
  2. ›What type of organization
  3. ›Supervisory or not
  4. ›Salary
  5. ›Type of employment
  6. ›Location
  7. ›New technologies
  8. ›You and/or your family

educateddecisions

What is your objective

  • ›Are you looking to gain new skills?
  • ›Do you want to move into a leadership position?
  • ›What technologies do you like working with the most?
  • ›Where do you want to be in 5 years and what will help you get there?

What type of organization

  • ›Is there a specific industry you are interested in, ie finance, manufacturing, health, government?
  • ›Would you be interested in a large national/international company where there is room for transfers to other locations?
  • ›How about a start-up?  Do you have the skills that could take a start-up to the next level? Or just like the excitement of new and innovative environments?
  • ›Do you like bureaucracy or are you more comfortable in a family environment?

Supervisor or not

Some people are made to be in a supervisory position, other people find it very challenging.  There is nothing wrong with either side.  It is important for you to analyze yourself and decide if you like and want the extra challenges that go with supervising people.

  • ›Do you like a challenging puzzle? If you like getting involved in a puzzle then supervising might not be for you.
  • ›Supervising means making time for people and their problems and idiosyncrasies.
  • ›You have to be tough and soft and fair.

Salaryhousevacationloa

How important is Salary

  • ›Is money the most important thing in your life right now?  No shame in admitting this.  Money makes the world go round and helps you buy a house, go on a vacation, or pay off a loan.
  • ›Is learning a new skill more important than the salary?
  • ›Is this a good time to add extra experience and education to your resume and not worry as much about the salary?  Sometimes a long term career path means not necessarily going for the big pay cheque.

Contract or Permanent

  • ›Do you like the security of a permanent position?  These can include scheduled raises, health benefits, vacation time, possibility for advancement.  Your job may be like your family.

OR

  • ›Are you more comfortable being a contractor and being your own boss.  Like having control of your salary and where the write-offs go.  The larger salary compensates for time off between jobs.  Do you like the idea of being able to take a summer off or travel for 4 months?  Do you find that new people, new systems, new companies enhance your work experience or do they stress you?

Location – to commute or not

Commuting is a big deal breaker on my list.

  • ›Do you like to drive?
  • ›Are you and the company close to public transportation?
  • ›How about the expense of car, parking, public transportation?
  • ›How long does the commute take?  Are you going to be happy with needing an extra 2 hours for transportation?
  • Don’t forget to think about those long Canadian winters when you factor in commuting.

New and Innovative Technologies

Are you comfortable with the technologies you are using or do you want to train with the new technologies on the marketplace?

  • ›Keep up to date on new/emerging technologies and what companies/systems are using them.
  • ›What’s hot, what’s not?  COBOL, Java, Hadoop.  What companies offer training in the new technologies?
  • ›Read industry publications to keep up to date on emerging technologies.
  • ›Do you need to go back to school or take a course/certificate?

You and Your Family

Times change and so do you.  Just graduated, no family ties – then long hours and travelling with your job are great.  Add a family into the scenario or have an older parent you need to help with.  Your needs change and so do theirs.

  • ›There is nothing more fun than coaching one of your kids at yours/their favourite sport.  Will the new job provide the opportunity to get home early enough for that?
  • ›Does the new company have a day care centre?
  • ›Health Benefits can make a huge difference in your life style.
  • ›Older parents, spouse’s career, are you at an age when you would like a little more time off.  These are all factors that you have to analyze when you are looking for a new position.

What factor is the deal breaker for you?

Everyone has different needs.  As you grow in your career your needs will change.  It’s important to analyze each factor for each time in your life.  Be honest!!  Changing careers and companies is a hard decision and not something you want to regret.

Start with these 8 factors and analyze each one.  Let me know which factor, either one of these or one of your own that made the difference in your decision.

 

happyfacehanddrawn Good luck job hunting

guestpostintroduction

Lynne Carlson started her career off in administration, moved to Cobol Programming and for the last 14 years worked in all things recruitment.  Absolutely loves social media and excited about all the new innovations appearing every day!

Movember at Planet4IT

Our very own Andrew Carlson is doing his part this month by participating in Movember and raising money.

Day One

Day One

You can watch his progress or donate money to his cause HERE.

We all look forward to your fabulous Mo Andrew!

Day 10

Day 10


 

Need a reminder on who Andrew is? Check out his profile below.

andrew

Andrew is one of the newest members of Planet4IT, but he brings with him a fresh new perspective.

With one eye on the job market and the other on the IT world, he’s the man to go to for information on how the latest advancements in Data, Digital Marketing and Social Media are effecting business.

Andrew encourages you to reach out to him through not only telephone or email, but LinkedIn and Twitter as well

 

Staff Showcase: Meet Harnoor

Another one of our members here at Planet4IT is Harnoor Sidhu. A recent Ryerson University graduate, he is an expert on new technologies and advancements that are just appearing on the horizon.

A hard worker, Harnoor has never skipped, been late or dropped a single class through his entire University career. He brings that same determination and dedication to everyone and every project he works on.

He’s also a bit of a movie buff – so whether you want to chat about a career change, or just about the latest Sundance movie, he’s the man to talk to.

You can reach Harnoor by calling Planet4IT, his email or his LinkedIn page.

Harnoor

 

 

 

P4Digital Newsletter Issue 10

Our Digital newsletter went out yesterday! I’m sharing it with all of you here so you can take a look.

P4Digital Newsletter Candidates Issue 10

 

Staff Showcase: Meet Shaheerah

One of our talent members here at Planet4IT is Shaheerah Kayani. She brings with her a fresh new perspective of the latest technologies being used in both business and leisure.

She’s learning the ropes quickly here, and is set to soon take the Capital world by storm. With one eye on the job market and the other on the latest and greatest people, she’s the woman to go to for information on Job Search Strategies, Professional Resume Writing and Profile identification.

Shaheerah encourages you to give her a call here at Planet4IT, or if you prefer, to connect with her on LinkedIN for all of your placement needs.

 

Shaheerah

 

 

Staff Showcase: Meet James

James is a highly skilled individual with more than nine years of experience under his belt working for companies such as ScribbleLive and Right Move, he brings his many talents and skills to the team.

A fairly new resident to Canada, he moved here from London in Janurary 2010 and has since fallen in love with Toronto. If you’re looking to transition your company to cope with the new digital era, he will bring your business to the next level.
He’s already done it across the ocean!
Whether he is helping employers find the perfect solution, or trying to break 100 on the golf course, he puts his mind whole heartedly to whatever challenge he faces.

James

What are Hedge Funds?

 AN INTEGRAL PART OF A GOOD INVESTMENT STRATEGY?

Hedge Funds have over the years gained a bad rep and a lot of negative media publicity, but experts argue that they are excellent investment vehicles and can be an integral part of a well balanced investment portfolio.

A case in point, is the recent survey conducted by AIMA and Barclays which showed an increased partnership between hedge fund managers and investors. The market has grown to $2.2 trillion in 2012 from only $450 billion in 1999.

So what exactly, is a hedge fund and why is it an attractive proposition?

Hedge fund is a pooled investment vehicle that uses complex investment strategies with the goal of maximizing returns while hedging the risk for its investors.

So the two most obvious reasons often cited in favour of hedge funds include their ability to reduce risk exposure and enhance returns. In the case of risk exposure, hedge funds that offer stable returns definitely contribute to portfolio stability when on the other hand traditional investment options are highly volatile.  As far as maximizing returns is concerned, hedge funds can contribute to this in 2 separate ways. Consider, the option explained above, where low volatility hedge funds offer relatively guaranteed additional returns compared to traditional investment vehicles. The second scenario, a more riskier option is when hedge funds are a part of highly volatile environments, but in turn garner high returns e.g. commodity trading advisor’s can generate very high returns.

While the thought of high returns maybe far too appealing for us to start investing in hedge funds, there are a few things to consider – hedge funds are typically open to only accredited investors or require a minimum amount e.g. In Ontario,  you need $150,000 to invest in a fund. Other risks associated include; information is not public- hedge fund firms are mostly privately held and guard their investment strategies closely. Funds lack liquidity, since firms offer redemption only at certain times during the year.

In conclusion, the overall risk/return ratio of the portfolio should be analyzed thoroughly before including hedge funds into the mix.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Archana

 

Archana has been at Planet4IT for years, and she knows the ropes. Be it understanding the client or a candidate, she truly believes in investing the time to get to know them better.

Whether it is big corporations or small fast paced environments,  she knows who the right fit for the right job is.

Truly a people person, one of her favourite topics is consumer behaviour and it shows in her friendly personality!

An expert in Finance, Social media and how technology is changing Healthcare, you can chat with her yourself at Planet4IT.