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The Royal Mint Digital Silver Coin

The Royal Mint is offering investors tired with the poor returns from low-interest rates an opportunity to invest in silver in its new trading platform. Collectors and investors can now buy, trade and store bullion coins from The Mint which offers a range of three silver coins. They include the Britannia fine silver coins, Lunar coins of the Shengxiao Collection, and the Queens’s Beasts range of 2oz and 10oz silver bullion.

Why Invest in Silver Bullion?

Bullion is the term used to describe silver in bulk form. To calculate its value, you first base the mass and purity of the coin or jewelry which are traded via brokers, online platforms or in auctions.

Whatever your budget, Signature is an ideal way to trade and invest in physical silver coins or jewelry. With a minimum budget of £20, Signature allows you access to the precious metal market where you can buy a fraction of silver. Royal Mint will offer you a vault, which is one of the most secure sites in the UK to store your silver.

Investing in precious metals such as silver has many advantages. For starters, you have the benefit of touching or holding the silver coin. A bullion investment will also provide useful alternatives for diversifying your investment portfolio during uncertain economic periods. Despite silver recently falling 18% in value to $17 an ounce, it still boasts a big demand, particularly for jewelry in the emerging markets and among coin collectors.

It’s worth noting silver Britannia and Lunar bullion coins are exempt from UK Capital Gains Tax for UK residents, as its considered legal tender.

Why Invest in Silver?

After the introduction of silver bullions, the precious metal market is now accessible to the average investor. This is because smaller silver coins produced by The Mint provide a cheaper means for entering the market.

Investing in coins is seen as a more suitable option for investors making a modest outlay in precious metals. Considerations you should bear in mind when investing in bullions include:

  • Capital Gains Tax – Capital Gains Tax is an important consideration to make when investing in bullions. This is because all The Mint’s current range of silver bullion coins have legal tender status and are exempt from UK capital gains tax, for UK residents. But silver bullion coins are subject to VAT at the standard rate.
  • Resale – After you buy bullion, consider how you will sell it. As bullion coins have a certain coin collectors appeal, they are easier to sell than gold bars, which tend to sell for their intrinsic value.
  • Purchase premium – In terms of cost, as the quantity of silver bullion increases from 1g upwards, the purchase premium decreases. This is partly due to The Mint’s lower storage and manufacturing costs.

Other Investment Platforms

BullionByPost offers a service that allows investors to buy and sell a range of coins and bars. They store your metals for 0.65 % per year based on the value of the precious metal held in the vault. The minimum charge is  £10 per month inclusive of insurance.

Another service is BullionVault which allows users to buy and sell metals from each other, at prices set by the service provider. It allows clients to hold their silver in vaults controlled by BullionVault in either London, Zurich, Singapore, Toronto, or New York, depending on the client’s preference.

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Hipgnosis Songs Review

With over half-century in the music industry, Merck Mercuriadis, a music investor from Schefferville, Quebec, has cut himself a niche in the music industry. Using Hipgnosis Songs, he’s one of the few music investors who fight for artists’ rights often shortchanged or exploited by record shops.

Over the years he has had the opportunity to work with legends such as Guns and Roses, Sir Elton John, Beyonce, Terius Nash (the The-Dream) and many others.

What is Hipgnosis Songs?

Hipgnosis Songs is an investment company incorporated and registered in Guernsey and located in a fashionable enclave north of King’s Cross. The company’s main goal is to offer shareholders a fair and viable level of income, potential for capital growth from investment in songs, and related music intellectual property rights.

How it Works

Hipgnosis Songs seeks to obtain 100% of a songwriter’s copyright interest in each song. This will contribute to the writer’s stake, the publisher’s stake and their performance rights. The company also aims to enter into licensing agreements, allowing Hipgnosis Songs receive payments owing to the copyright interest in the songs it owns. These payments will be in the form of license fees, royalties, or advance payments.

Mercuriadis’ role in the company is to offer a listening ear to artists, find out what’s important to them, and keep them focused on the prize. All these is down to the experience gained after the music investor horned his skills in the music industry at his favorite label, Virgin Records, in Canada.

Type of Investment

After working for Richard Branson’s label for several years, Mercuriadis chose to venture solo so he could wholly work for artists and also get good deals for them. Despite a few hiccups that lead to his first float crumbling, including the small number of investors who made the listing unviable, Mercuriadis managed to create Hipgnosis after raising £200 million.

The company shares have held steady at around 100p since its floating and plans are underway to pay the first dividend. Mercuriadis believes his business model of investing in well-established songs and tested songwriters’ has developed a new asset class, marketable as black gold or precious metals.

Hipgnosis Songs Portfolio

The company’s focus is on small catalogues of proven hits and not several songs that may either be a hit or miss. Thanks to Mercuriadis, Hipgnosis signed its biggest contract on listing, buying 75% of Terius Nash (the The-Dream) over 300 songs catalogue. The rapper’s catalogue features divas such as Beyonce’s single lady and Rihanna’s “Umbrella”, all for £18 million. The next project is for the company to duplicate and transition the songs from film and TV adverts to increase revenue.

Risks Associated With Piracy and Counterfeiting

Since the collapse of the first Hipgnosis Songs float, the streaming market has grown exponentially. Affordability of computers and electronic equipment and related technologies has made the unauthorised reproduction of music much easier. Besides, easy access to high-speed internet connections allows users to share or download music, without paying royalties or getting the copyright owner’s authorisation.

This form of piracy damages the fans’ perception of the recording artist and robs the artist of future earnings. The good news is investors trust in Hipgnosis Songs is at an all-time high as everything Mercuriadis predicted has come to pass.

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Nemchange Review

New Economy Movement (NEM) is a cryptocurrency platform that features a proof-of-importance algorithm. It was written from scratch in Java and JavaScript and is the first reputation based algorithm.

Its other features include P2P secure and encrypted messaging system, multi-signature accounts and an Eigentrust++ reputation system. NEM recently went through an impressive increase in price that catapulted it to the apex in market capitalization for crypto. If you intend to buy or recently bought your first XEM, the next step is to send them to your account for storage.

What is Nemchange?

Nemchange is a cryptocurrency exchange for buying and selling NEM tokens called mosaics. The exchange runs on the NEM blockchain, same as ETC20 tokens which run on Ethereum blockchain. Nemchange is the epitome of how users in the NEM fraternity can collaborate to build projects that have the potential to further advance the NEM blockchain. An engineer from Poland and member of the NEM Community called Pavel Polak developed Nemchange,

Nemchange has a simple enough interface which has made it easy to attract over a thousand traders to follow it. Its main selling point from other exchanges is the potential for automatic placement of the NEM mosaic that arrives at the stock exchange purse. It enables traders to buy or sell mosaics before their official listing on any crypto exchanges. A good example includes Loyalcoin (LYL) and ProximaX (XPX) which are both traded for XEM.

Token Pairs to Trade

The NEM platform allows you to trade any available and tradable mosaics created on the platform. Currently, it’s not possible to trade popular crypto coins apart from XEM. In the future, the exchange expects to add popular cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and other coins.

Besides, Nemchange exchange will run a NEM blockchain for future COMSA ICOs. COMSA is a cross-chain router, controller and a conduit for future ICOs that aim to exist in the COMSA system.

Nemchange Withdrawals

Currently, the withdrawals on the Nemchange exchange are operated manually thus it can take longer for a withdrawal to be processed. In the future, the process will be semi-automatic resulting in faster withdrawals. There are no private keys stored on Nemchange servers making it difficult for a hacker to steal your funds. These and other features are some of the benefits of the blockchain.

Every time you make an on-chain transaction, the sender is obliged to pay an additional transaction fee to the mosaic creator. The nature of the mosaic will determine if the fees will be a set percentage or a constant fee. The price is 0.5% anytime you make an order on the exchange. While withdrawing, the price is 3XEM + levy (of mosaic transfer).

What is Levy?

Not all mosaics have a levy in their mechanic. This means that every time a user makes on chain transactions. For example, when withdrawing in Mosaica Exchange or deposit into the exchange, the sender is obliged to pay additional transaction fees to the mosaic creator. But this depends on the mosaic if it’s a percentage fee or a constant fee.

If you have any questions or need to report a bug on the Nemchange exchange, you can contact the creators on the Nemchange Telegram channel.

By Jeff Mwaura, Jeff is Kenyan based freelance writer with focus on technology and finance.

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KYC Processes And ICOs

Crypto investors are now encountering many legal crypto jargons never heard before such as Know Your Customer (KYC). This digital age is making it harder for businesses and individuals to secure investments from fraudulent activities. Many social media pages reveal several warnings about fake pages and links set up for phishing scams, and credit card hacks. Counterfeit IDs and identity theft are also a big worry.

To tackle such issues, governments, regulators, and businesses now need you to identify yourself with a government-issued photo ID and to fill and sign forms. This allows the KYC process to add a layer of protection on specific accounts or transactions.

What is KYC?

KYC (Know Your Customer) refers to the verification and security processes the recipient enforces for an application to confirm the applicant’s identity. The tool allows an individual or company to prove the identity of the applicant. KYC processes not only protect customers from the theft of data and funds but also:

  • Protect institutions from possible legal penalties and fines if they don’t adhere to the policies outlined by the authorities and
  • Prevent money-laundering, terrorist financing, and tax evasion.

Examples of KYC Practices

  • Complicated usernames and passwords that are difficult to hack and need to be changed occasionally.
  • Pre-arranged questions and answers between the two parties for future transactions.
  • Background checks and credit ratings.
  • In the most extreme cases, fingerprint scans.

KYC Concerns

KYC views ICOs or token fraud as a big issue and thus discourages mainstream adoption and investment in ICOs and cryptocurrencies. This is because several crypto scams have made away with millions of dollars in fake ICOs, leaving investors with no recourse for reclaiming their stolen funds. As a result, many credit card companies have banned buying and selling cryptocurrencies.

The anonymity and decentralisation of the blockchain ecosystem make it easier for fraudsters to commit fraud and disappear. Regulators such as SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) can penalise companies which aid the sale of non-compliant ICOs or launder money via cryptocurrency.

Many ICOs are also searching for a way to put identities on-chain and establish more secure protocols for institutions to authenticate ID info and conduct KYC processes without exposing user data.

Methods ICOs Adopt for KYC Use

KYC mechanisms help ICOs install their own systems to protect from fraudulent contributions. Despite these efforts, the industry lacks a basic standard due to the decentralised space. This is because some ICOs only require an email, name and ETH address to invest, while others need more intensive scrutiny and verification similar to the ones used by financial institutions.

Many moderate countries such the US, EU, and South Korea have now decreed KYC and AML laws as the platform for all digital currency transactions. In conjunction with the European Central Bank, the European Parliament passed legislation requiring KYC and AML rules in the industry. But countries such as France and Japan have been less strict, though implement similar regulations by improving variable KYC laws to local crypto exchanges.

Previously, a crypto trader could join an exchange and leave without verification as KYC was only involved in large financial transactions. But that standard has changed as KYC comes in before a user can trade, whether in volume or not.

 

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Anti-money Laundering Processes And ICOs

Over the past year, businesses have realised that Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) is an effective new way to raise capital. In exchange for tokens, businesses receive funding in crypto coins such as ether and bitcoin. This mode of funding eliminates the intermediaries that linked investors to companies and have managed to raise billions for early-stage ventures.

Previously, ICOs operated in a regulatory vacuum but since 2017, countries including the US, EU, and South Korea decreed AMC/KYC laws to help regulate token sales, depending on the circumstances of the ICO. These enforcement actions made it a priority for companies to protect contributors and clients funds from any form of fraud.

What is AML?

Anti-Money Laundering (AML) is a due diligence process through which a company can confirm the identity of its clients. This is to ensure the background of the funds they wish to invest is legitimate, and that the client doesn’t belong to a terrorist, criminal or corrupt organisation.

Importance of AML Compliance

Regulators across the globe are now taking interest in ICOs and this has the potential to create uncertainty for cryptocurrency projects and investors. While national legislation sometimes is unclear or absent, complying with KYC/AML regulations has many benefits to both investors and the company. Some of the main advantages include:

  • Voluntary compliance offers a project and its participant’s legitimacy with regulators and financial institutions.
  • Cryptocurrency exchanges are now prohibiting cryptocurrencies that do not install KYC/AML processes. Not implementing such processes poses a long-term risk to a project.
  • Voluntary KYC/AML compliance may help ICOs access a wider global audience and increase the number of jurisdictions in which they can take part.

The Threat of Money Laundering and ICOs

The big question over ICOs concerns anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorism financing regulations. The lack of record keeping in ICOs, the large amounts involved and the speed at which they can occur make them attractive money laundering conduits, especially for money gained from cybercrime. By swapping cryptocurrency for tokens, ICOs issuers could be redeeming cryptocurrency earned from illicit activity for new tokens which the users can sell for Euros, US Dollars, or other fiat currency Anti-Money Laundering/Know Your Customer (AML/KYC) legislation in relation to ICO projects help prevent unnecessary scrutiny from security and financial regulators.

Smart Contracts’ coding associated with AML may be the best way to interface between investors with genuine resources and illicit resources from illegal operations by requesting proof of identity that is digitised and stored in a database. This has the potential to affect the long-term prospects of the ICO community as anonymity is one of the benefits most online entrepreneurs gain from blockchain.

ICO projects that lack an AML application code embedded with the smart contract can discourage token buying, as investor confidence is low in such projects. Luckily, some of the main jurisdictions make KYC/AML compliance easier encouraging ICO activities in the long run. Terms of service are also useful tools that ICOs offer. This is because they’re reliable legal options pending when jurisdictional interest parties will release regulatory standards.

As mature startups and existing businesses continue to embrace ICOs, more organisations will comply voluntarily with AML/KYC directives as this will better their ICO potential, improve credibility with investors and banks, expand their reach, and offer clients better protection.

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How To Buy Bitcoin In Kenya

Since mining Bitcoin is an expensive and inefficient task, the next best alternative is to buy bitcoin through a coin exchange.

Most of the coin exchanges online do not accept Kenyan traders and the ones that do require much verification that doesn’t work in a Kenyan setting. But for the few that accept Kenyans, below are some of the requirements and procedure:

  • To get started you’ll need a MasterCard or Visa card and a Neteller or Skrill account. Load your Neteller or Skrill account with your desired amount.
  • You can open an account with exchanges such as Remitano, Belfrics Kenya, Bitpesa, Localbitcoins or Paxful. Once you’ve done the verification, within your exchange is the option to deposit via Neteller or Skrill.
  • You can then buy bitcoins instantly. Secure your bitcoins by storing them in a private wallet such as MyEtherWallet. Your wallet will give you an option to exchange your Bitcoin for other cryptocurrencies.
  • Protect your wallet with a strong password and set up a backup mechanism in case you lose your computer.
  • Neteller offers a tool for converting Bitcoin to USD, and it deposits the amount into your Neteller account. You can use Neteller to transfer your money via Mpesa instantly.

Which are the best Bitcoin Exchanges in Kenya?

Remitano

This company just recently entered the Kenyan market. Remitano is a peer-to-peer bitcoin exchange which allows you to buy and sell bitcoin through an escrow service. You’ll need to sign up using your email address to buy bitcoin on Remitano’s platform. After account verification, you can access a list of local buyers and sellers and place orders instantly. Remitano acts as an escrow account to ensure transactional security. Once the transaction is complete, bitcoins will appear on your Remitano wallet.

Belfrics Kenya

This bitcoin exchange and payment gateway charges a 5% fee on transactions and has no minimum limits on buying bitcoins. For account verification and payments, you’ll need to top your account using a bank transfer. Once you complete this process, you can commence trading immediately. Your account will also double up as your wallet.

Bitpesa

Bitpesa provides a bitcoin cross-border payment platform that doubles up as a bitcoin marketplace. This company is the most established and well-funded bitcoin startup in Africa. To trade on the exchange you’ll need to register and go through the standard processes of verification. This exchange requires you upload a picture of your ID for verification. You can then buy bitcoin in Kenya shillings as yourself, a different person or a contact you’ve used before.

In September 2017, Bitpesa introduced a minimum transaction limit of $25,000 for Kenyan clients. It no longer verifies new Kenyan accounts due to the complex regulatory environment in the country. This limits the company’s ability to make payments in Kenya shillings, thus only high net Kenyan traders can use Bitpesa to buy bitcoin.

LocalBitcoins

This company is a world leader in peer-to-peer cryptocurrency exchange that assists over the counter bitcoin trades. After creating an account on the platform, you can proceed to buy bitcoin in Kenya shillings. The platform ranks sellers according to transactional history.

Paxful

Paxful is a peer-to-peer bitcoin exchange that connects buyers and sellers in one central point. The platform also allows traders to buy bitcoin using Kenya shillings. They rate the reputation of sellers same as LocalBitcoins, thus it’s important to choose buyers with high ratings.

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What is Electroneum ICO?

Electroneum ICO is a cryptocurrency developed on its own blockchain.

The currency aims to target the world’ 2.2 billion mobile gaming and online gambling markets. Its mobile friendly design is ideal for fast transactions, and simple micropayments.

Electroneum’s main goal is to make cryptocurrency easier to understand for the average person. The currency’s platform will employ the CryptoNote algorithm used by Monero and ByteCoin currencies.

Who is the Founder?

Electroneum has a team of talented developers led by the founder Richard Ellis. Richard Ellis set up SiteWizard digital agency 20 years ago. More recently in 2013, he founded Retortal.com which designed a social media management platform that’s adopted by fortune 500 companies. Retortal is currently valued at USD $50 million.

Why is Electroneum Different?

Electroneum total coin supply is 21 billion with transactions having two decimal places. The currency will have a ‘real money’ impression with prices labeled 15.20 Electroneum instead of 0.009734 BTC.

In contrast to Bitcoin, the currency’s intention is to offer a convenient, acceptable transaction amount whose total supply is higher than bitcoin.

How Electroneum Works

Rather than presenting users with the option of buying an expensive mining rig or buying coins on a random exchange, Electroneum users only need to download a free app available on iOS and Android. This will allow users to begin mining immediately.

Electroneum will allocate coins to your wallet, based on a calculation of how powerful your phone is. The rate of allocating points will depend on factors such as the number of users, and the number of coins mined in the pool.

Electroneum wallets are designed to be compatible with any smartphone. A unique mobile miner running a background activity on your device will generate coins. The currency is transferable between different games, apps, and users enabling fast micro-transactions.

Electroneum ICO Target Market

The currency’s two main target markets are:

  1. a) Computer gamers: The retention rate of multiplayer online games is 20% after 30 days. The intention is to convince gamers to use the currency for transferring some of their earnings to new games by monetizing their in-game currency.
  2. b) Gambling markets: Despite many people saying bitcoin is complicated and hard to buy, many gaming companies now accept it as a form of payment.

Products

The team at Electroneum claims to have readied various products and platforms. The said products are set for release on October 31 after the conclusion of the ICO crowdsale.

The ICO Crowdsale

The Electroneum crowdsale was set to begin on September 14, with the currency selling at a 50% bonus. Buyers will receive 150 coins for every $1 USD contributed. The rate is expected to drop to $1 USD per 100 coins on the last week of sale slated for October 19 to 31, 2017. You can take part in the crowdsale by using Ethereum, bitcoin or bank transfer.

Unsold Coins

Once the ICO concludes, unsold coins will be used as a mining bonus. They’ll be allocated to a mobile mining pool to increase the chances of miners finding the mobile mining experience fun and rewarding.

Electroneum has a talented team of programmers with vast experience. The high token reserve may be questionable but their aim of making crypto payments similar to FIAT with a 2 decimal point system is commendable.

For further information visit Electroneum website.

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Islamic Financial Trading

You have some money saved up and you are thinking about investing that money somewhere to make profit off it.

So you start to explore your options and you stumble upon the vast trading options offered by financial markets. Trading in financial markets is a lucrative option because the returns are usually instant and significant.

However, Forex trading and trading in the stock markets is a controversial topic. People are concerned about whether investing and trading in these markets is halal or haram.

There are many rulings about the final verdict and every school of thought rules in the favour or against of it, based on their particular teachings. But the ruling against the trading activities that involves interest is definitely certain.

Is trading in shares and stock market halal?

A popular consensus amongst the scholars from major school of thoughts is that investing in shares per se is not haram. Buying shares of a company means that you own a percentage in that business and you are deemed as a partner of profit and loss, of that percentage.

However, one important thing to note here is that the individual has to make sure that the company he is investing in does not deal in unislamic activities. Riba or making profit in the form of interest is prohibited in Islam. Therefore, trading the stocks of the companies in which interest is integrated in the business models is regarded as haram.

What if a company deals in partially unislamic activities?

For instance, a pharmaceutical company that deals in the trading of alcohol. General ruling for such cases is that if a company deals in only an insignificant fraction of unisalmic activities (let’s say less than 10%) then it is perfectly fine to invest in buying the shares of that company.

It all comes down to common sense and your knowledge of the company’s dealings. Investing in the shares of a company that solely deals in alcoholic beverages is not allowed. On the contrary, a pharmaceutical company that deals with alcohol but not as a final product is allowed.

Is Forex trading halal?

Before dwelling into the discussion of the halal or haram nature of Forex trading it is important to understand what the term implies.

Forex trading means trading in foreign currencies in the foreign exchange market. It is a very lucrative industry that promises significant returns. And apparently there seems nothing wrong with simply trading currencies.

However, to understand the rulings of Islam on the subject, it is imperative to look at the intricacies of the process.

Forex trading is deemed permissible under following conditions:

  • The cost of transaction should be remitted immediately
  • The trading should be instantaneous.
  • Accruing interest on the trade is considered unislamic therefore the transaction should be free of interest

Usually currency trading takes place with the help of a financial institution as an intermediary, usually banks. And banks are involved in usurious interest, which is prohibited in Islam. Therefore, Forex trading under such conditions is not permissible.

Shariah law

If you want to invest in financial markets but are also concerned about following Shariah law, UFX online trading platform is the best trading option available. It provides Islamic accounts for trading Forex and CFDs. UFX is in compliance with the Shariah Law because it is a broker and not a bank. Therefore, this eliminates the chances of ‘usury’ or interest involved activities.

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Trading Penny Stocks in the UK

If you are reading this, chances are that you have recently been thinking about investing in the stock market.

Now either you are wary of investing a large amount into something as unpredictable as a stock exchange market or you simply don’t have the means to. Either way you are left with an option of trading penny stocks. If done properly, trading penny stocks can be equally beneficial with an added advantage of minimised risk, which makes it essentially a win-win situation.

Penny Stocks

Penny Stocks are generally described as the company shares that are valued at less than $5. Timothy Sykes is a popular name in penny stock trading. He turned his investment of nearly $12,000 into a whopping $4 million holding. In his own words, he was able to achieve such a fascinating growth by understanding the dynamics of penny stock trading market. As simple as that sounds, the process require keen observational skills, a not so ‘risk-averse’ attitude and lots of patience.

Previously trading of stocks required agents and only those who were able to afford the hefty trading fees of those agents were able to trade. But with the introduction of the financial platform such as Admiral Markets anyone with the understanding of financial markets can trade the stocks online.

Accessing the US penny stock market from the UK

One of the biggest concerns for people in UK, who are interested in trading penny stocks, is to gain access to the market through a reliable source. Penny stock market is volatile as it is, therefore it is imperative that the broker you choose keeps a transparent flow of information. This is where we come in. At Option.Finance we aim to provide you with all the available opportunities to give you a reliable access into the stock market in United States, whether it’s NASDAQ or NYSE. If you want to know more about our services, you can find it here.

One of the most important things that you should know before getting started with penny stock trading, is that most of the penny stocks are not listed on NADAQ or NYSE. Penny stocks are usually listed on OTCBB (Over-the-counter Bulletin Board) and on Pink sheets. OTCBB is a comparatively safer way to search for the penny stocks to trade in because they are registered with SEC, while pink sheets are not, which makes them highly prone to scams.

Gained access? What’s next?

So now that you have access to US stock market and have a better understanding of where to look for penny stock listings, what’s next? You need a reliable broker that is compatible with your trading requirements. Some of the prominent names, operating in the market currently, are IQ OptionAdmiral Markets and eToro, and we have partnered with them to provide our clients the best possible online stock trading experience. You can sign-up with any of our brokers here.

With the right understanding of the penny stock market and a powerful brokerage platform, anyone can turn their investments into a profitable venture. We at Option Finance make sure that we provide you access to stock markets globally and connect you with reliable brokers and get you the deals through our partnerships.