Day: May 30, 2019

Personal Finance Daily: At Disneyland’s new ‘Star Wars’ attraction, brace yourself for $200 lightsabers, $42 cocktails and 4 a.m. lines and Even in a strong economy, millions of hardworking Americans are being left behind

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Happy Thursday, MarketWatchers. Don’t miss these top stories:

Bullying kids about their weight may make them gain even more

Bullied youths gained 33% more weight each year than those who weren’t teased.

At Disneyland’s new ‘Stars Wars’ attraction, brace yourself for $200 lightsabers, $42 cocktails and 4 a.m. lines

If you stay longer than your four-hour reservation window, Disney employees dressed as Stormtroopers will escort you out.

Even in a strong economy, millions of hardworking Americans are being left behind

Not everyone is experiencing the benefits of record-low unemployment and a decade-long bull market.

Sleeping fewer than 7 hours per night can lead to heart disease and Type 2 diabetes

Decades of research has shown that chronic short sleep is associated with increased risk of clogged arteries, heart disease, and early mortality.

How you can help prevent a troubled co-worker from resorting to gun violence

Experts say two prevailing myths about workplace violence: ‘It can’t happen here’ and ‘there’s nothing we could do to prevent it.’

85% of Americans say they’ve been stung by these hidden fees

Most people have not fought against this major financial headache.

5 things to cut out of your diet right now to reduce high blood pressure and lower the risk of heart failure

A study of 4,500 people over 13 years and published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine comes to some surprising conclusions.

Google has more temp and contract workers than actual employees — but they have far fewer rights

A growing number of people are finding themselves in a non-traditional work arrangement.

How rating everything from your Uber driver to your Airbnb host has become a nightmare

Uber said Wednesday that will kick passengers and drivers off the app if they develop a ‘significantly below-average rating.’

Elsewhere on MarketWatch:
Trump Today: President insists ‘I got me elected’ as he backs decision to keep USS McCain out of sight

President Donald Trump on Thursday walked back a tweet in which he appeared to say Russia helped him win the White House, as he called a reported decision by military officials to obscure the USS John S. McCain during his Japan visit “well meaning.”

Pending home sales fall, marking the 16th-straight month of annual declines

An index of home-contract signings fell for the second month out of four so far in 2019, further evidence that the hoped-for rebound in housing is going to be hard-won.

Fed’s top Wall Street regulator says interest rates not best tool to stop financial panics

The Federal Reserve’s chief overseer of Wall Street says central banks should still focus on low inflation and stable employment when setting interest rates instead of trying to use monetary policy to head off potential threats to the financial system

Why are workers getting a smaller piece of the pie? It’s not because of weaker unions and globalization

The shrinking power of unions and globalization have often been blamed for eroding the living standards for millions of Americans, but they might not have caused all that much harm after all.

Jobless claims rise slightly to 215,000, but labor market shows little sign of trouble

The number of people who applied for jobless benefits rose slightly in late May, but not enough to put a dent in the strongest U.S. labor market in decades. Initial jobless claims, a rough way to measure layoffs, rose by 3,000 to 215,000.

It’s not a recession — it’s a reversion (to the mean)

The economy is slowing after a short-term burst, but, unless Trump’s trade war with China gets a lot worse, a recession is not in the cards, writes Tim Mullaney.

A Closer Look at Satoshi Nakamoto: Facts, Fictions, and Identities

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Satoshi Nakamoto

Satoshi Nakamoto is the alias used by a person or group who authored the Bitcoin whitepaper. Satoshi is the creator of the first release of the Bitcoin protocol and blockchain database. The alias was used in email and forum correspondence from August 2008 through April 2011.


Satoshi’s first appearance in the world was the publication of the Bitcoin whitepaper to several mailing lists on October 31, 2008. Beginning in 2007, Satoshi wrote the initial codebase for Bitcoin and released it on Sourceforge on January 9, 2009. On January 3, 2009, Satoshi created the ‘Genesis Block’ of Bitcoin containing the text, “The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks.” This text is in reference to the headline of the front page of “The Times” newspaper from England and Satoshi’s dissatisfaction with Fractional Reserve banking.

For two years, Satoshi was very active in creating and promoting Bitcoin, including:

From mining Bitcoin in the early days, addresses belonging to Satoshi have amassed approximately one million Bitcoins.

His last verifiable communication to the world was in April 2011, simply stating:

“I’ve moved on to other things. It’s in good hands with Gavin and everyone.”

Attributed Innovations

Both Bitcoin and the Blockchain Protocol have been attributed to Satoshi Nakamoto, as well as Predicative Script.

Possible Identities of Satoshi Nakamoto

There has not been any verifiable proof as to whom the individual really is. The following individuals have all been thought potential Satoshi Nakamotos at one time or another.

Dorian Nakamoto

A high profile article in Newsweek penned by Leah McGrath Goodman suggested that Dorian was Bitcoin’s creator. He is a Japanese American man with the birth name of Satoshi Namakoto. He was trained as a physicist at Cal Poly Pomona and worked on classified defense projects. He has also done work for Citibank. He was laid off twice in the 1990s and was libertarian. In an interview, he responded to a question by stating:

“I am no longer involved in that and I cannot discuss it. It’s been turned over to other people. They are in charge of it now. I no longer have any connection.”

Later, it was revealed that he had no connection to the cryptocurrency, and he misunderstood the question as relating to his work with Citibank and not Bitcoin. Within twelve hours of the article being released, Satoshi Nakamoto’s account on the P2P Foundation website was hacked and posted the message:

“I am not Dorian Nakamoto.”

This message was posted by the hacker due to the vulnerabilities in GMX’s email system.

>> The Most Common Misconceptions About Bitcoin: Breaking the Mold

Hal Finney

Hal lived a few blocks from Dorian Nakamoto. Between this and a writing analysis, Hal is the closest possible candidate for being Satoshi Nakamoto. However, there is one event that discredits Hal as being Satoshi. In January 2009, when Hal and Satoshi were working on the early versions of Bitcoin, Hal encountered an error and posted a debug log to the mailing list:

“Hi Satoshi – I tried running bitcoin.exe from the 0.1.0 package, and it crashed. I am running on an up to date version of XP, SP3. The debug.log output is attached. There was also a file db.log but it was empty.”

Satoshi acknowledges the bug and releases 0.1.2 with a fix:

“All the problems I’ve been finding are in the code that automatically finds and connects to other nodes, since I wasn’t able to test it in the wild until now.  There are many more ways for connections to get screwed up on the real Internet.”

In the early days of Bitcoin, Bitcoin sent and received transactions directly between clients using IP addresses. The debug log reveals the IP address of three users connected to the IRC channel. On January 10, 2009, there were only two people working on the project at that time. Hal and Satoshi.

Tracing the IPs reveals Hal’s IP address and an IP address out of Van Nuys, California on a DSL connection.

Nick Szabo

Skye Grey, a blogger, linked Nick to the Bitcoin whitepaper using some writing analysis. Nick is a decentralized currency advocate and published a paper on “bit gold.” This is where things get iffy, vis-a-vis Szabo being Satoshi. Based on correspondence between Hal and Satoshi, while Bitcoin was being created, Satoshi was unaware of Bit Gold. Between January 2009 and March 2009, the reference to Bit Gold was added to the website.

Craig Wright

On December 8, 2015, Wired magazine wrote that Craig:

“Either invented bitcoin, or is a brilliant hoaxer who very badly wants us to believe he did.”

Craig had established an elaborate scheme of website postings and email correspondences to create the appearance that he and David Kleiman were Satoshi Nakamoto. A very lengthy article written by Sam Biddle and Andy Cush for Gizmodo on December 8, 2015, unpacks Craig Wright’s assertions and business dealings leading to many more questions than answers.

In May of 2016, Craig Wright went on several interviews with the BBC, The Economist, and GQ and claimed to provide technical proof that he is Satoshi. Gavin Andresen originally stated that Craig Wright was Satoshi before retracting his claim.

Despite his assertions, the clearest proof that he is Satoshi has never been provided—none of the original wallets with Bitcoins mined by Satoshi have ever been moved in any way.

Featured image: DepositPhotos ©

At Disneyland’s new ‘Stars Wars’ attraction, brace yourself for $200 lightsabers, $42 cocktails and 4 a.m. lines

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Starting Friday, Disneyland guests will get to visit the world of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo — but they’ll have to pay out-of-this world prices to get the full experience.

The $1 billion attraction, called “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge,” is one of the largest expansion in the history of Disney DIS, +0.14%   theme parks. It spans 14 acres and will feature two rides and more than a dozen shops and restaurants.

If you don’t have a Galaxy’s Edge reservation? There’s no reason to come to Disneyland on Friday.

A second iteration of Galaxy’s Edge will also open at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida in late August. Both versions of Galaxy’s Edge are opening earlier than Disney originally planned — a move the company said was made in order to meet guest demand.

But fans should be aware of one key detail: Only part of the California version opens Friday. The remainder is still under construction and expected to open in late 2019. In other words, Disney can start charging “Star Wars” fans entry to the theme park now for an attraction that’s not yet complete.

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‘Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge’ was designed to recreate what it would be like to visit the ficitonal planet of Batuu.

Here’s what you should expect if you hope to travel to a galaxy far, far away:

Getting into ‘Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge’ requires at least $129 — and an advanced reservation

Guests who want to visit Galaxy’s Edge can’t buy separate admission specifically for that part of the park — the only way to get in is to buy a regular ticket to Disneyland. A single-day ticket on May 31 starts at $129. From June 1 through September, one-day admission to Disneyland the base price goes up to $149 per person ages 10 and older.

‘Reservations at Disneyland Resort hotels for the opening of the new Star Wars attractions cost upwards of $400 per night.’

—Len Testa, president of

But having a theme park ticket alone won’t be enough to get into Galaxy’s Edge for the first few weeks after it opens. Until June 24, visitors are required to have a special, no-cost reservation for Galaxy’s Edge.

There were originally two ways to get a reservation: For guests who weren’t planning on staying at a Disneyland hotel, they could sign up online. These spots were claimed quickly though and are no longer available.

Don’t miss: How Disneyland used its ‘magic’ to persuade people to spend more money

Otherwise, people staying at Disneyland Resort hotels are guaranteed a Galaxy’s Edge reservation. As of Thursday, rooms were still available at all three Disneyland Resort hotels. But scoring a reservation will be costly.

At Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel, room rates start at $412 per night on average, excluding tax and other fees. The other two hotels are even more expensive: Disneyland Hotel rooms start at $561 per night on average, while rooms at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa start at $729 per night, on average.

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Guests can purchase custom droids like these for the hefty price of $99 each.
Lower your expectations — one of the two new rides isn’t open yet

When they enter Galaxy’s Edge, visitors will be on a planet called Batuu, a location featured in “Star Wars” comic books and television series that Disney described as “on the frontier of Wild Space — the uncharted region beyond all known star systems.” Specifically, guests will be traipsing around the Black Spire Outpost, a port on Batuu.

Here are some of the sites that will be open to the public starting Friday:

• Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run: This ride recreates the experience of flying the famous spacecraft piloted by Han Solo and Chewbacca in the film franchise. Each ride vehicle will seat six people, and the ride is designed to be interactive so guests will use controls to either pilot the ship, use blasters to defend the craft or keep the ship running smoothly as flight engineers. (Guests must be 38 inches or taller to ride.)

• Oga’s Cantina: This bar will serve cocktails and beers in souvenir glasses. It also features musical entertainment courtesy of Rex, a droid that appeared in the park’s existing Star Tours ride based on the Star Wars franchise.

Once again, however, be prepared to pay top dollar. A “Yub Nub” — made of Malibu Pineapple Rum, Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, Citrus Juices and Passion Fruit in a souvenir mug costs $42 — according to the Disney Food Blog.

• Savi’s Workshop: Visitors to this store can construct and purchase — for $200 — their own lightsabers — the famous weapons used by Jedi fighters like Luke Skywalker and Yoda.

• Droid Depot: At this store, guests can create their own droid in the vein of the R2-D2 of BB-8 characters from the films.

• The Milk Stand: This eatery will serve the plant-based Blue and Green Milk frozen beverages, which were shown on-screen in “Star Wars: A New Hope” and “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”

But one thing that will be missing from Galaxy’s Edge when it opens is the attraction’s second ride, “Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance,” which won’t open until the end of 2019.

New music composed by John Williams, who created the film franchise’s famous soundtrack, will play throughout the park.

Exploring the world of ‘Star Wars’ will be expensive

The custom lightsabers at Savi’s Workshop cost a whopping $200 each before tax. Meanwhile, the custom droids will sell for $99. Parents with little ones eager to wield their own lightsaber in Batuu may want to purchase one at home in advance to save themselves serious money: Lightsabers sell on Amazon AMZN, -0.30%  for as little as $7.

Food and drink can also be expensive in Galaxy’s Edge. A regular cocktail at Oga’s Cantina can cost as much as $17, not including the price of a souvenir mug. Single beers will cost $12 each, or $75 for a flight of beers. On the non-alcoholic side, the Blue and Green Milk drinks each cost $8.

Lunch and dinner entrees at the various quick-service restaurants will cost anywhere from $13 to $20. A bottle of Coca-Cola KO, +0.81%  in a special spherical bottle will cost $5.

There is one free souvenir guests can score: The cardboard coasters at Oga’s Cantina are single-use and free to take home, said Don Munsil, founder of travel website “Even ask for a fresh one if yours is a little waterlogged,” he said.

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These special bottles of soda and water, which Coca-Cola specially designed for Galaxy’s Edge, will cost $5 each.
Guests only have four hours to visit Galaxy’s Edge, so plan ahead

If you have a Galaxy’s Edge reservation, it’s not a free pass to go into the area whenever you want. Guests are assigned specific, four-hour windows during which they can visit. Each guest with a reservation will receive a wristband that indicates when they are allowed in. Once their allotted time is over, Disney employees dressed as Stormtrooper soldiers from the “Star Wars” films will escort them out. (Guests who leave early into their reservation window won’t be allowed re-entry.)

‘Every minute earlier you arrive represents maybe 40 to 50 fewer people ahead of you …There’s always someone more hardcore than you.’’

—Don Munsil, founder of

Len Testa, president of the travel website, has a reservation for the first group allowed to enter Galaxy’s Edge on Friday at 8 a.m. Disneyland has advised these people that they can enter the park as early as 6 a.m.

But there’s a catch: The line to enter the park will start forming even earlier in the day. “I’m guessing that the line for wristbands will start forming no later than 4 a.m., depending on where Disney allows people to queue up,” Testa said.

“Every minute earlier you arrive represents maybe 40 to 50 fewer people ahead of you,” Munsil said. “If there’s one true thing about Disney and getting there early, it’s ‘There’s always someone more hardcore than you.’”

Be prepared to stand in line for several hours

If the openings of previous popular attractions at Disney theme parks are any indication, the entire park will be swamped. When Pandora, a set of attractions inspired by the John Cameron film “Avatar” opened at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida in 2017, it was not uncommon to see four- or even five-hour waits for the new rides for months, according to travel website EasyWDW. And those crowds also caused longer waits for other attractions at the park.

If you don’t have a Galaxy’s Edge reservation? “There’s no reason to come to Disneyland on Friday,” Testa said.

Guests should expect waits of an hour or longer for the popular attractions outside of Galaxy’s Edge, such as Space Mountain and Splash Mountain, Disney experts told MarketWatch. After June 23, Disneyland may institute a virtual waiting list to enter Galaxy’s Edge depending on demand — entrance would be subject to capacity, and that queue alone won’t guarantee guests will get in.

In anticipation of the new attractions’ popularity, Disney has taken steps to better equip Disneyland to handle massive crowds, a company spokeswoman told MarketWatch. As part of an initiative called Project Stardust, Disney has added new parking and expanded pedestrian walkways throughout Disneyland Resort.

Read more: The best ways to save your family money on Disneyland tickets

Inside Disneyland, ride queues have been reconfigured to put guests in the shade, and extra seating was added to the Adventureland and Tomorrowland sections of the park. The reservation system for Galaxy’s Edge may also help control crowds in Disneyland — especially within the “Star Wars” area — but that’s far from a sure thing.

“Disneyland used a reservation system and has implied that they are keeping the land below capacity during this ‘soft opening’ period,” said Tom Bricker, owner of

“That doesn’t mean a ton of locals won’t show up for merchandise sold outside the land,” Bricker added.

After June 23, all bets are off. Even without a splashy opening like Galaxy’s Edge to attract crowds, summer is by far the park’s busiest time, aside from Christmas.

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Park employees dressed as Stormtroopers will escort visitors out of Galaxy’s Edge when their four-hour reservation is finished.
More from MarketWatch

The Most Common Misconceptions About Bitcoin: Breaking the Mold

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Bitcoin misconceptions

Most people from around the world that hear about Bitcoin are confused. It is completely normal to feel like that. Bitcoin is relatively new. It appeared in 2008 as a white paper written by Satoshi Nakamoto, an alias of a person that nobody knows. Then, the official launch as a currency took place in 2009.

Nowadays, there are numerous articles written online about cryptocurrencies, and countless websites that cover other options, like stablecoins. However, there is no denying the fact that Bitcoin is the most popular cryptocurrency out there. Even so, there are many misconceptions associated with Bitcoin. Below you can read about the most common ones so that you can be better informed about the most popular cryptocurrency.

“This is a Bitcoin”

When Bitcoin is presented in the media, it is usually shown as a coin with a specific design. Because of this, the golden token is what many think Bitcoin (BTC) is. In reality, this conception of the token is worthless and just a symbol.

The best way to describe a Bitcoin is to say it is a digital currency. Practically, the currency does not have a physical form. You will never see coins that are minted.

“An Entire Bitcoin Needs to be Bought”

One of the most interesting things about Bitcoin is that it is divisible up to eight decimals, as opposed to a regular currency like the US Dollar, which can only be divided up to 2 decimals. This means you can hold as little as 100 millionth of a Bitcoin.

Historically, the value of 1 BTC reached a maximum of $19,783.06. This means that buying 1 BTC is not something that most people can afford. Due to this reality and the huge potential value of cryptocurrencies in general, the eight decimals are in place.

“Bitcoin has No Intrinsic Value”

Similarly to all currencies in the world, Bitcoin has value because there are millions of individuals from all around the world sharing the thought that the cryptocurrency offers a much cheaper, faster, and safer transaction network. There is a limited supply of Bitcoin possible. People have to own currency units in order to take advantage of the transaction network, so there is a value associated with Bitcoin.

“We Already Know Everything Bitcoin Offers”

When the internet appeared during the early nineties, nobody knew what the future would offer. Numerous companies appeared and started developing the online world as we now know it. Just as we have no real idea what the internet will offer in the future, we do not really know what Bitcoin can develop into.

>> Initial Exchange Offering: A Newcomer in the Blockchain Evolution

“Bitcoin Can Disappear”

You can shut down a company but you cannot shut down the internet. Because of the fact that Bitcoin exists on the internet, it is practically impossible for it to disappear.

“Dishonest People Use Bitcoin for Illicit Activities”

This is a misconception that appeared due to politics. Many that did not want BTC to succeed started spreading rumors that the cryptocurrency is used by terrorists and dishonest people in order to offer finances for illegal activities. While it is true that there are some criminal operations that use cryptocurrencies, BTC is trackable. Because of this, most criminals prefer cash over Bitcoin.

Featured image: DepositPhotos © AndreyPopov

Fat-shaming kids may make them even more overweight

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Calling someone fat doesn’t just hurt their feelings — it also hurts their chances of reaching a healthier weight.

Overweight kids who were fat-shamed about their weight increased their body mass by 33% and their fat mass by 91% more per year than those who weren’t teased, according to a National Institutes of Health (NIH) study appearing in Pediatric Obesity.

Researchers studied 110 youths who were an average of 11.8 years old when they enrolled, and were classified either as overweight with a body mass index above the 85th percentile or were considered to be at risk of being overweight because they had two parents who were overweight or obese. The tweens filled out a questionnaire about whether they had been bullied about their weight; 62% of the overweight kids had been bullied, and 21% of the kids who were at risk for weight issues had been teased even though they weren’t overweight. The kids then participated in follow-up visits over an average of 8.5 years, and in some cases 15 years.

Related: America’s childhood obesity epidemic is affecting even younger children

Kids who suffered the highest levels of bullying (which might include having rumors spread about them, being socially ostracized in face-to-face interactions, being cyberbullied and even being teased by their own parents) gained 0.44 pound (or 0.20 kilogram) each year, adding up to an extra 6.6 pounds over 15 years. And those with the worst teasing increased their body mass index, or BMI, by 0.76 point on average each year, or put on about a third more weight than those who weren’t bullied.

A similar 2017 Cleveland Clinic study involving 2,000 school-aged children also found that those who were teased by other children and family members about their weight were more likely to become obese adults. The girls who were mocked by relatives in particular had the most difficulty controlling their weight and emotional distress as adults.

“Peers or family members, they might tease, or give somebody a hard time about their weight — maybe not with malicious intent — maybe they think, ‘oh, this will be good. It will motivate them to lose weight, it will motivate them to eat in a healthy manner,’ however, it’s actually more likely to derail them,” Dr. Leslie Heinberg of the Cleveland Clinic said in a statement.

Such teasing is rampant. On Thursday, a U.K. report warned that around one in four children (23%) between the ages of 12 and 15 have been cyberbullied in the past year, which included abusive behavior or threats, while a fifth experienced trolling, or having someone say something controversial in order to upset them or cause an argument.

The NIH authors suggested that the weight-related stigma tipped the scales against these kids, making them more likely to practice unhealthy behaviors such as binge eating comfort foods and not exercising. Teens who were subjected to weight-based teasing in a 2010 study suffered anxiety and psychological distress, and practiced emotional (aka stress) eating behaviors.

Related: When children stop eating these foods, they’re more likely to become obese

The NIH researchers also theorized that the stress of being bullied spiked their cortisol levels, which has also been associated with weight gain by stimulating eating and contributing to greater abdominal fat.

Just under one in five American children (18.5%) ages two to 19 are obese, or about 13.7 million youths, according to the CDC. Unhealthy weight increases their risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, breathing issues like asthma and sleep apnea, as well as lower self esteem, anxiety and depression. And children who are obese are more likely to remain obese as adults, which puts them at greater risk for heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

Initial Exchange Offering: A Newcomer in the Blockchain Evolution

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You’ve heard of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), but have you heard of an Initial Exchange Offering (IEO)? If not, don’t worry—today we’re taking a closer look at IEO.

What Exactly is an Initial Exchange Offering?

An Initial Exchange Offering and an Initial Coin Offering have the same goal—to raise funds. The key differentiating factor is that while an ICO is launched by a startup on an ICO platform, an IEO is conducted by an exchange on behalf of the token issuer.

An Initial Exchange Offering is every startups’ best friend. Why? Imagine you are burdened with the task of marketing your tokens, issuing them, and finally hoping that you reach the right investors. Now, with IEOs, you will be able to sit back, relax, and watch capital flow in, unceasingly.

Startups that partner with cryptocurrency exchanges benefit from the listing and marketing services that they provide. An IEO gives token issuers better visibility among investors and liquidity of products.

With the setbacks that ICOs are currently facing, entrepreneurs are turning to IEOs to fulfill their fundraising obligations. The exchange platform not only acts as an intermediary between issuers and investors but also creates a friendly environment for the former and a secure space for the latter.

What are the Steps Involved?

Obtaining authorization to list tokens on an exchange is no careless procedure. The exchange performs intense verification tests, KYC/AML, and more. This is crucial as an occurrence of scam could cost the cryptocurrency exchange its reputation.

>> Ripple (XRP) Records 5-Month High: Trading Volumes Continue Increasing

After the process of authorization is complete, the exchange lists the tokens. Exchanges usually charge a listing fee before listing the tokens. But some exchanges benefit the entrepreneurs by expecting payment only on the success of a token sale.

The popularity of the exchange is an important determinant that aids in providing the token with a larger audience and increased opportunities. After listing, the exchange proceeds to promote the tokens actively.

Are IEOs Here to Stay?

As of late, IEOs are earning recognition at a rapid rate. Investors can provide funds without reluctance as projects are verified by a reputed exchange. A token issuer or startup can save on costs and also reduce the tasks on hand by assigning them to the exchange.

In conclusion, an IEO is a win-win for all parties involved, even the exchanges. It is evidence of the constant progress and dynamism of blockchain, a technology that is way ahead of our times.

Ripple (XRP) Records 5-Month High: Trading Volumes Continue Increasing

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When Ripple (XRP) was created, the developers had in mind a platform that could support financial and banking institutions. Almost a decade later, the company has started to see success, and although it’s not quite at a rate that was expected, there is some visible progress.

Ripple Growing Relationship with Institutions

The company has already established an excellent working relationship with a number of central banks such as the Saudi Arabia Monetary Authority, the central bank of Saudi Arabia. According to former Chief Market Strategist Cory Johnson, the company also has an open communication relationship with the White House.

The World Bank and the IMF have lauded the efforts of Ripple in transforming livelihoods. The objective is building liquidity, and the transfer of funds in Web 3.0 will be easier if firms and people were in a position to transfer funds instantly. Ripple (XRP) enthusiasts believe that through XRP’s liquidity tool, xRapid, a facilitator can make it happen.

>> Bitcoin Acceptance Growing: Microsoft Excel Adds Bitcoin Symbol

XRP Jumps 25% in a Week

Ripple (XRP) is one of the top altcoin movers this week, with a gain of 25% in just one week. Although there is a ceiling of about $0.46 to $0.48, bulls are optimistic that the solid march will continue. At the time of writing, XRP is trading up by 4% at $0.465. Ripple has a market capitalization of $19.54 billion currently.

Although conservative investors are waiting for a breakout above the highs set on May 16, there is nonetheless a window for aggressive investors to ramp up in the near future with possible price targets expected to range between $0.60 and $0.80. Trading volumes have surged in the last six days from 19 million to around 59 million, and because of the bullish trend, any break from the May high could see volumes hit 187 million.

What do you think?

Featured image: DepositPhotos © adriantoday

Why fewer students are enrolling in college

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Most of the headlines surrounding higher education would have you believe that students are competing for a limited number of spots at our nation’s colleges. But a new report adds to a growing body of evidence that in many cases, colleges are actually in search of students.

The number of students enrolled in college in the spring dropped 1.7% from last year, continuing a spate of declines over the past several years, according to a report released Thursday by the National Student Clearinghouse, which tracks college enrollment and degrees.

In the years since the Great Recession and slow economic recovery, much of the decline in college enrollment has been driven largely by a decrease in the number of adults returning to school.

In the years since the Great Recession and slow economic recovery, much of the decline in college enrollment has been driven largely by a decrease in the number of adults returning to school, said Doug Shapiro, the executive research director at the National Student Clearinghouse.

That pattern is typical of economic downturns when adults are more likely to shelter from a bad economy by going to college and learning new skills, and recoveries when they may feel more comfortable staying in the workforce.

But the report released Thursday indicates that the number of 18- to 24-year-olds attending college is now also dropping more precipitously, Shapiro said. The number of these so-called “traditionally aged” students declined 2.4% from last year. Between Spring 2017 and 2018, that number increased by 0.4%; between Spring 2017 and 2016, it dropped 0.7%.

“That’s new this year that we’re seeing those big declines,” Shapiro said.

This pattern is typical of economic downturns when adults are more likely to shelter in college and learn new skills, and recoveries when they may feel more comfortable staying in the workforce.

The likely culprit: Demographic changes. The population of high-school graduates from which colleges can pull students is shrinking. It’s also possible that the strong economy is luring even younger students into the workforce instead of towards higher education, Shapiro said.

Though the higher education population is declining overall, there are some groups of students whose numbers are increasing, the report indicates: The number of graduate students rose by 2% since last Spring.

In addition, the number of students under 18 enrolled in college increased by 1.6% from last Spring, and at community colleges their ranks grew by 3.8%.

Over the past several years, the number of high-school students taking college courses, known as dual-enrollment, has skyrocketed amid concerns about rising college costs and growing student debt.

Read more about this trend in MarketWatch’s series on dual enrollment here.

Metals Stocks: Gold prices see muted trade as stocks attempt tepid bounce

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Gold futures on Thursday were swinging between slight gains and losses as equity markets drifted higher amid persistent worries about U.S.-China trade tensions and fears of sluggish global economic growth.

Gold for August delivery on Comex GCM19, +0.02% most recently, was down $1.30, or 0.1%, to trade at $1,285 an ounce.

July silver SIN19, +0.31% meanwhile, rose a penny, or less than 0.1%, to $14.415 an ounce. On Tuesday, prices logged their lowest settlement of 2019 so far.

Gold is set to trade lower for May and is hanging on to a 0.2% weekly gain. Silver futures were set for a weekly skid of 0.8% and a month-to-date slide of 3.6%. The exchanged-traded gold fund, the SPDR Gold Shares GLD, +0.12% meanwhile, was down 0.4% for the week, as of Wednesday’s close, with a 0.3% slide in sight, and the silver-focused iShares Silver Trust SLV, +0.37% was set for a 1% weekly fall and drop of 3.6% in the month to date.

Precious metals have enjoyed some gains from the flight to perceived safety in gold during the Sino-American trade clashes, but worries about global demand and a strengthening dollar have also capped bullion’s moves. market participants have said.

Thursday morning in New York, a popular gauge of the dollar, the ICE U.S. Dollar Index, was edging up less than 0.1%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.24% and the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.43% were advancing solidly, attempting to rebound from a downturn.

“Gold has been traditionally seen as a safe haven play, and the metal is benefiting from the slump in global stocks,” wrote David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets.

“Since February, gold has been in a downward trend, and while it holds below the $1,300 mark, its outlook is likely to remain bearish,” he wrote on a daily research note.

In economic news, traders digested a second read of gross domestic product, which showed that the economy grew at a 3.1% annual pace in the first quarter, from an initial 3.2% estimate. Meanwhile, initial jobless claims, a rough way to measure layoffs, rose by 3,000 to 215,000 in the seven days ended May 25, the government said Thursday.

Separately, an advanced reading of wholesale inventories showed that the U.S. trade deficit in goods widened slightly in April, rising to a seasonally adjusted $72.1 billion from $71.9 billion.

Read: From mining lore to lode: Gold grows on trees in Australia

Outside the Box: How 401(k) savers can avoid a nasty surprise come retirement

This post was originally published on this site

Since its debut nearly 40 years ago, the 401(k) has emerged as one of the premier tools to save for retirement in America. In fact, when we poll 401(k) participants across the country, the majority of them consistently say it’s their largest — or only — source of retirement savings.*

One of the main reasons 401(k) accounts are so popular and effective is their tax treatment. A traditional 401(k) is funded from your pretax paycheck, so the money you put into your plan, and any potential gains on your investments, are not taxed until you ultimately withdraw the money. Importantly, contributions lower your taxable income, and contributing enough could even move you into a lower tax bracket in a given year.

The flip side is that when you eventually withdraw money from a traditional 401(k) in retirement, those withdrawals are subject to ordinary income tax. That’s why it’s referred to as a “tax-deferred” vehicle — taxes are deferred until you begin to take the cash out.

Those of us who work in the retirement industry tend to assume that people who are utilizing a 401(k) plan understand this basic tenet, but that isn’t necessarily the case, and it’s something that’s been on my mind as we’ve reached the end of another tax season.

Read: The money in your 401(k) and IRA accounts doesn’t belong entirely to you

On the eve of retirement, a diligent saver might see a million-dollar account balance and assume that’s the amount they have to work with to cover their expenses in their golden years. If so, they are in for a rude awakening. Realistically, today that million dollars is probably closer to $700,000, assuming they are paying federal, state and local income taxes. The same principle is true for those with lower balances. Simply put, a sizable chunk of the money in your 401(k) will be paid to the government.

With that in mind, it’s important for those saving in a traditional 401(k) — especially if they’re relying heavily on it for the money they’ll need in retirement — to keep their tax obligation in mind when they are setting and working toward a specific savings target. We don’t know where tax rates will be in the future, but you should probably plan on at least 20% in federal tax, and maybe another 2% to 10% in state and local tax, depending upon where you live.

And if you are using a retirement calculator to help you plan and estimate what you’ll have in retirement, make sure you understand whether or not it takes taxes into account. Let’s say an online calculator shows you might have $5,000 a month in income from your 401(k). Is that $5,000 a month after you pay taxes, or before? For example, that $5,000 may only be $3,500 to spend, plus $1,500 you’ll owe in income tax.

Everyone’s strategy for building a “retirement paycheck” will be different, but there are certain rules that apply based on age. For instance, once you turn 59½, you are able to take money from your 401(k) without an extra tax penalty, but again you likely will still pay at least 20% in federal income tax (or more if you’re at a higher income-tax rate), plus any state and local income tax. Keep in mind, if you withdraw at this age but are still working and taking home a regular paycheck, you could very well be putting yourself into a higher tax bracket, as the money you took out of your 401(k) will be factored into your taxable income along with your salary. And once you hit age 65, withdrawing enough to cross into a higher income bracket might also leave you paying higher Medicare premiums.

If you continue to work into your 60s or 70s, you may wish to preserve your 401(k) balance for as long as possible. You are not obligated to take money out of your traditional 401(k) until the year you turn age 70.5, at which point required minimum distributions (RMDs) come into play. RMDs are a minimum amount you must withdraw from your 401(k) each year once you reach that age — or else face a very steep IRS penalty. Those withdrawals are, once again, taxed as ordinary income.

Some retirees may be tempted to dip into their 401(k) to make a big one-time purchase, like a child’s wedding, or to pay off a mortgage or other large debt. But it’s important to keep in mind that that, too, is a taxable withdrawal.

To help streamline this process for workers, many 401(k) plan administrators will include tax withholding options on the withdrawal paperwork. Some might automatically withhold 20% and allow you to elect a percentage over and above that, as well as a certain percentage for state and local tax, if applicable. It’s important to pay attention to whether your plan administrator follows this practice so you’re not faced with a huge surprise come tax time.

In addition to traditional 401(k) plans, many companies offer what’s called a Roth 401(k). Unlike its traditional counterpart, the Roth is funded with after-tax money and then withdrawals you make in retirement are tax-free. A Roth often makes sense for those who anticipate retiring in a higher tax bracket — that is, they’ll bear the tax burden upfront and then not have to worry about it in retirement when it might be significantly larger. Some savers may devise a strategy wherein they split money between traditional and Roth accounts to give themselves various tax options. Consulting with a tax or other financial professional is a great way to come up with a plan suited to your situation.

To that point, working with a financial professional to figure out how much you should save, set retirement goals and make investment choices can help you become more educated about the nuances of 401(k) investing — and help you avoid surprises by the time you reach retirement. For now, remember that “tax-deferred” does not mean “tax-free” and prepare in the present for your obligations down the road.

Catherine Golladay is chief operating officer of Schwab Retirement Plan Services.