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Web3 and the abundant future
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$ETH.X mainnet Merge with Beacon chain proof-of-stake
We are quickly approaching Ethereum's switch from a proof-of-work consensus to a proof-of-stake consensus. Ethereum will do this by merging with Beacon's proof-of-stake chain which will "reduce Ethereum's energy consumption by ~99.95%." This merge has been long-awaited, but what will be the ultimate consequences of it?

"The Merge represents the joining of the existing execution layer of Ethereum (the Mainnet we use today) with its new proof-of-stake consensus layer, the Beacon Chain. It eliminates the need for energy-intensive mining and instead secures the network using staked ETH. A truly exciting step in realizing the Ethereum vision – more scalability, security, and sustainability."

While ETH will be more energy efficient, this switch will have no effect on gas fees. Being that ETH is the home of notable NFT projects including CryptoPunks and BAYC, I think we'll still see ETH-based NFTs despite gas fees not being reduced. Even though Solana is much more efficient, Solana's novel hybrid blockchain reportedly handles 65,000 transactions per second and is built for decentralized applications, finance, and smart contracts -- supposedly making it a surefire "Ethereum Killer." It still experiences far too many issues for it to "kill" Ethereum just yet, most notably its network outages. In order for the crypto space to become "safer" for the average joe, Solana will have to suffer fewer exploits and prove that it is as safe as stocks to invest one's money in (always keeping in mind that nothing is ever 100% "safe" as an investment).

The ETH merge is expected for the end of August thru the beginning/middle of September.

I am watching this with my popcorn. The blocks before and after the merge are going to be chaotic. But odds are things will settle down into an equilibrium soon after. Definitely a big event for the whole space in general.
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Thoughts on AppLovin bid to buy $U
People across Twitter are saying that this is a bad deal, but what are your thoughts and why?

"The all-stock merger would value Unity at $58.85 a share with a $20 billion enterprise value, representing an 18% premium to Unity’s closing share price as of Monday."

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The small-ish premium is somewhat disappointing to me, but the overall consolidation in the space lately is more concerning.

I think $U would be better suited trying to digest and integrate its $IS deal for a while to get a clearer picture of how things will turn out.

This buyout would create too many moving parts IMO and feels challenging to pull off in a shareholder-friendly way.

I'm comfortable still adding to Unity right now, but would probably only hold my new shares of $APP if this went through somehow.
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Instagram will be supporting NFTS worldwide
"Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced today that the company is beginning its international expansion of NFT support on Instagram. The expansion follows the social network’s initial NFT test launch in May. With this expansion, users and businesses in more than 100 countries in Africa, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and the Americas will now be able to share their NFTs on Instagram. Prior to the expansion, the support was only available to select creators in the United States."

This is GREAT news and hopefully $META can turn their boat in the right direction since they've been losing public support since trying to basically re-create TikTok on IG. Immediately this makes me think of the company Showtime, and how they might want to absorb it/acquire it if they're considering going full NFT showcasing on IG. In addition to rolling out NFTs internationally, "The company also announced today that Coinbase Wallet and Dapper Wallet are now accepted as a third-party wallet compatible for use. Instagram is also expanding its supported blockchains to include Flow."

Overall, this looks like a step in the right direction and is good news for investors who are betting on the longevity of the company. Hopefully, they get their management together that way a coherent vision for the future can manifest.

Just the fact that they have as much money as they do and he has done what he’s done as the head of that company, I believe he will be able to continue successful growth and evolution of Facebook, Meta now, and that is why. Social media launched it but he wants an empire. I’m comfortable with 25% of my portfolio in $META, especially at todays valuations. It’s one I continue adding to position all the time, as last mg as valuation remains attractive; it’s 1 of 3 core positions I’m building in my portfolio. Is and will be a top 3 holding in my portfolio.
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The 7 Qualities of a Great Investor
When starting out on your investment journey, it’s important to set yourself up for success as to minimize blunders and maximize wins. Reading The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham with commentary by Jason Zweig, made me think about 7 qualities that I think great investors possess. They are:

Self-awareness: "To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom."—Socrates. If you’re the type of person whose emotions can get the best of them, you’re better off not checking the market every day. It’s important to know what kind of person you are and what your triggers are, to avoid making costly investment decisions. That may mean not having brokerage apps on your phone and only checking up on your portfolio on the computer, for example. When you know who you are, you will do what you must to ensure optimal outcomes.

Focus: what is your reasoning for investing? If you have no focal point, it’s going to be very easy for you to get off track and chase shiny objects. Make your future the shiny object and become extremely focused when it comes to what industries as well as what assets that you decide to invest your energy in.

Patience: in order to make real money in the stock market, you have to be in it for the long haul. Investors tend to make a lot more money in the long term versus day traders. Day trading may make you some money in the short term, but it's been proven time and again that investing for the long-term is where real wealth is built. A perfect example of someone who’s been extremely patient when it comes to investing is Warren Buffet, who as a result, has made billions in the stock market.
  • ‘“By the rule of opposites,” the more enthusiastic investors become about the stock market in the long run, the more certain they are to be proved wrong in the short run.’

Planning: “those who fail to plan, plan to fail.” Before you start anything, you should always have a plan as to what you’re going to do, even if it doesn’t follow that plan to a T. This includes things like knowing how much you want to invest, what types of industries (in the stock market), what types of assets (if you’re looking to diversify your asset classes), a time horizon, what you're willing to pay for a stock, etc. When you have a plan it makes you more confident as well as more disciplined in your investing. It's also important to be aware of the microeconomic factors that can influence the price of a stock.
  • “…it is most essential that the enterprising investor start with a clear conception as to which courses of action offer reasonable chances of success and which do not.”
  • “The value of any investment is, and always must be, a function of the price you pay for it.”
  • “The stock market’s performance depends on three factors:
  • (1) real growth (the rise of companies’ earnings and dividends
  • (2) inflationary growth (the general rise of prices throughout the economy)
  • (3) speculative growth—or decline (any increase or decrease in the investing public’s appetite for stocks)”

Research: it’s imperative that you ALWAYS do your own research and don’t outsource your investment plan to someone else—unless they are a trained financial advisor with a track record of making good financial decisions. Either way, you empower yourself when you educate yourself; make it a point to research the companies you invest in.
  • ‘…everyone who buys a so-called “hot” common-stock issue, or makes a purchase in any way similar thereto, is either speculating or gambling.’
  • “There is intelligent speculation as there is intelligent investing. But there are many ways in which speculation may be unintelligent. Of these the foremost are: (1) speculating when you think you are investing; (2) speculating seriously instead of as a pastime, when you lack proper knowledge and skill for it; and (3) risking more money in speculation than you can afford to lose.”

Persistence: don’t bank on your investments making a steady straight line upwards on a graph; prepare for a squiggly line which will likely cause you agita. When you have an investment thesis/plan that you’ve created beforehand, you must persist when things look shaky else you might let your emotions ruin your long-term investment goals.

Remaining humble: no one knows everything! While you may get some things right, you will surely get some things wrong as well. Don’t tie your ego to your investments and remain as level-headed as possible regarding them. And also, don’t be afraid to vent or ask for help! Sometimes all you need to do is ask a question of a more seasoned investor to get you back on track (which is what you can do here on Commonstock).
  • “Since the profits that companies can earn are finite, the price that investors should be willing to pay for stocks must also be finite.”
  • ‘Focusing on the market’s recent returns when they have been rosy, warns Graham, will lead to “a quite illogical and dangerous conclusion that equally marvelous results could be expected for common stocks in the future.”’
  • “The heart of Graham’s argument is that the intelligent investor must never forecast the future exclusively by extrapolating the past.”

Ask yourself, WHY are you choosing to invest?
  • It’s important to know WHY you are choosing to invest. Get clear on what your short and long-term goals are so that you have a north star to which you’re pointing.
  • Be wary if you’re only investing because you want to make a quick buck; there is no such thing as getting rich quickly. Becoming rich and building wealth take time, and it’s important to know that before you get started else you’ll only be disappointed.
  • You don’t want to end up like the Dogecoin Millionaire, who got too greedy and left losing a lot of money on the table because he didn’t lock in profits (I doubt he had a plan, too!). He held on in the hopes that $DOGE.X would hit $1, but instead, it started going the opposite way and sits at $0.067 as of writing. This is why it’s incredibly important to have a trading plan and to take profits once you’ve made a sizable ROI.

In thinking of another definition of a great or sophisticated investor, according to Investopedia, this is what they consider a Sophisticated Investor:

someone who has sufficient investing experience and directly relevant knowledge to weigh up the potential risks and benefits of an investment opportunity. In other words, the person genuinely understands what they need and want, and what they are getting from the seller.

At a minimum, such investors will ensure that their portfolios are sufficiently diversified, monitored regularly and that buying takes place when markets are relatively low and selling when they are high. Investors who fail to heed these three basic principles are not sophisticated.

With this in mind, take stock of yourself… where are you solid and where do you need to improve? If you have all of these qualities, great. If you do not, that’s great too because now you know what you need to work on. While I shared some quotes from The Intelligent Investor, I highly suggest you read it for yourself if you haven’t yet for the full effect!

Here’s to happy investing 🤗🤑
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$F is winning
"Shares closed Monday at $15.34, up 4.4%. The gains added to the stock increasing by 31.9% in July. It was the best monthly percentage gain for Ford shares since 127.4% in April 2009, when Ford was emerging from the Great Recession without going through bankruptcy like its crosstown rivals General Motors and then-Chrysler."

I know they mentioned battery supplies for their electric vehicles, but a notable mention is how HOT the broncos are! I see a lot of them on the road now, and I think it was a great move to roll them out again. If they keep adding solid body styles to their lineup, it's likely that this stock will only continue to do well.

The uncertain metaverse
“The ‘metaverse’ is going to happen,” Buterin continued. “But I don’t think any of the existing corporate attempts to intentionally create the metaverse are going anywhere.”

The "metaverse" has been a buzzword ever since FB changed its name to Meta, but what exactly does it mean? Vitalik Buterin, the creator of Ethereum, is hesitant that what $META's building is what people will even want. The nature of web3 is decentralized, so it's hard to believe that people will want a centralized corporation to build it out, but time will tell.

"Over how the metaverse will be shaped, there is tension between the centralized authority of corporations and the decentralized forms of ownership that blockchain technology affords. Recently, a group of Web3 companies came together with the goal of establishing standards for the metaverse as companies including Microsoft, Meta, and Sony announced a separate alliance."

Zuck is still thinking positive though and looking on the bright side:
Meta divulged in the company’s latest earnings report that its metaverse-specific division, Facebook Reality Labs (FRL), lost $2.81 billion in the second quarter. And last year, the company lost $10.2 billion developing software, technology, and content for the metaverse.

“This is obviously a very expensive undertaking over the next several years,” Zuckerberg said. “But as the metaverse becomes more important in every part of how we live ... I’m confident that we’re going to be glad we played an important role in building this.”

I'm personally excited to see how this all unfolds and am happy that $META has decided to invest capital into developing it.

DeFi is up, but how will it respond to impending regulation?
The crypto market has been in a bit of a bear run for the past few weeks/months, but DeFi tokens are rebounding. Some of the standouts are $CRV.X $LDO.X $LINK.X $UNI.X

But what will happen once crypto exchanges get regulated?

Crypto definitely needs some regulation to protect investors, but if they start demanding that people be accredited investors in order to invest in crypto, that can exclude a large swath of people from sharing in this wealth creation vehicle. According to the SEC, this is what you need to qualify as an accredited investor:
  • Net worth over $1 million, excluding primary residence (individually or with spouse or partner)
  • Income over $200,000 (individually) or $300,000 (with spouse or partner) in each of the prior two years, and reasonably expects the same for the current year
  • Investment professionals in good standing holding the general securities representative license (Series 7), the investment adviser representative license (Series 65), or the private securities offerings representative license (Series 82)
  • Directors, executive officers, or general partners (GP) of the company selling the securities (or of a GP of that company)
  • Any “family client” of a “family office” that qualifies as an accredited investor
  • For investments in a private fund, “knowledgeable employees” of the fund

It'll be interesting to see how this all unfolds, and whether or not the SEC decides if they want to allow the average joe who doesn't meet these requirements to invest in crypto in the future. For now, DeFi is up and it's up to you to decide whether or not you find it to be a smart investment or not.
It sure why every me fears regulation. We wouldn’t have crooks like Bina ce and Luna getting away with robbery if there were some watchdogs. At least minimize the chances. I welcome regulation; without it, mainstream adoption, therefore a real return on my investment, will never happen, IMO. I love crypto, but to go mainstream, they have a long way to go.
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We're in a Recession
One of the worst things you can ever do is lie to yourself about where you are right now. It’s one thing to be delusionally hopeful and put the work in towards what you want to create, and it’s another thing to lie and say you are doing one thing when you are clearly NOT doing that thing. Right now, the US Government (and some economists) are gaslighting us all by saying that we’re “not in a recession” when the definition suggests something entirely different based on the recent GDP numbers. "The U.S. economy shrank at an annual rate of 0.9% in the second quarter despite average expectations calling for a 0.3% increase..."

According to Investopedia:

A recession is a significant, widespread, and prolonged downturn in economic activity. Because recessions often last six months or more, one popular rule of thumb is that two consecutive quarters of decline in a country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) constitute a recession.

The recent GDP numbers suggest EXACTLY that, and yet we are being told the opposite by those in power. I don’t want to make this about politics so I’m going to refrain from blaming either party, but what’s clear is that whatever is being done, is not working.

“The U.S. economy unexpectedly shrank for a second quarter in a row this year, according to data released Wednesday, signaling the start of a technical recession even as economists predict signs of a slowdown will only grow in the coming quarters, likely prompting the government to officially declare the economy has entered a recession.” (source)

"We do not think the economy is in recession at present, but if our forecast is correct, this is not so much of a head fake as it is a harbinger of worse to come," says [Tim] Quinlan [Wells Fargo Senior Economist], who argues the negative GDP growth in the first half of the year isn't likely a function of weak underlying demand but instead due to “one-off” volatile factors such as net exports and inventories. “We expect the loud wailing of an actual recession to begin early next year,” he adds. (source)

I love to think positive as much as the next person, but there comes a point where that positivity can become toxic. I think one of the major issues that the US economy is having right now—outside of rising inflation—is that productivity hasn’t really increased, even with the flush of cash that was pumped into the economy through the stimulus package(s). Unless new industries are created that make our economy much more productive, it’s unlikely that we’ll see a complete turnaround for a while. To have a rise in net exports means that we have to be producing products that people want, and we just have not been doing that as of late; countries like China are really winning when it comes to industries like manufacturing due to lower prices. Empires rise and fall, and it’s quite possible that the bull run of America is on the decline, with regimes like the CCP getting passed the baton as a result of American hubris, bad decision-making, and a lack of highly-skilled labor to keep up with the growing tech industry.

Massive change needs to occur in order for the US to keep its #1 spot, and that starts first & foremost with education. It’ll be interesting to see how the American populace responds to the reality that America is in a recession, and hopefully, it has a positive effect rather than a negative one. In order to change any situation, you must first be willing to admit that you are in that situation in the first place, take full responsibility for it, and then start from where you are to make it better.

So yes, we are in a recession, but that doesn’t mean that life is over. Looking at it in a positive light, there is so much opportunity for growth, upskilling, and trying new approaches as a means to overcome it. In the meantime though, you can always purchase a lottery ticket… 😂😭
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Web3 Domains
Technology is moving FAST, and where having a website was once the new but necessary thing, are we moving towards a world where everyone will find owning crypto domain names necessary?

At Unstoppable Domains that seems to be their thesis, and it's already paying off—they just secured $65 million in funding for their Series A round. While crypto is in a bit of a bear market right now, crypto is still here to stay, and soon you may see people buying crypto domain names similar to how people buy website domains just in case one day they want to use it or make a profit by selling it to someone else.

"Gould said that Unstoppable Domains has registered more than 2.5 million crypto domain names to date, including with extensions such as .crypto, .bitcoin, .nft, .blockchain, and .dao. Registration starts at $5 per domain and can range into the hundreds of dollars—the firm claims to have generated more than $80 million in sales so far.

Each Unstoppable Domain takes the form of an NFT asset that’s minted on Polygon, an Ethereum scaling platform that enables faster, cheaper, and more energy-efficient transactions."

More than anything, Unstoppable Domains brings us closer to a future where every person can one day have a decentralized identity where they can own their information and rent it out, as opposed to the current model where companies own your data and make money off of it without you getting a piece of it. This can equally do a lot to clean up the internet and incentivize people to make better decisions when it comes to what they post online because it'll affect their reputation.

"Beyond allowing users to control their respective digital identities with a crypto wallet and NFT domain, Gould said that it has serious implications for online reputation, with the ability to track negative behavior (such as propagating scams) from users across various platforms... With an NFT-based online reputation system, however, he believes that there’s potential for such actions to be tracked across platforms."

To me, this is one of the most EXCITING aspects of crypto. It'll be interesting to see how Unstoppable Domains evolves over the years, but more importantly the idea of a digital identity.

Pre-money valuations should warrant skepticism.

I'll probably sound a bit cynical asking, and don't mean to be a downer, but what exactly are crypto domains solving that isn't already solved?
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Heeding the wisdom of Bablyon
Financial literacy is unfortunately not something that most people have. I am one of those people, and I learn more each day, but it troubles me that such practical advice is not preached from the metaphorical mountaintops. The harsh reality is that I don’t believe financial literacy is taught for one reason: it keeps people enslaved. I just finished another reading of The Richest Man in Babylon, by George Clason, and in those times, not spending, saving & investing one’s money effectively could result in that individual (and possibly family members) ending up as slaves to account for their debts. While someone won’t become a literal slave today because they lack financial literacy, they lose their freedom because they have nothing to show for all of their work. In a culture focused on ego and materialism, people go broke trying to prove to everyone else that they’re rich.

Commonstock is great because it enables people who have a desire to accumulate wealth to congregate in one place and share what they learn in the hopes of helping someone out, connecting with others, and we can’t forget the good ‘ole ego stroke. When I initially joined I was scared shitless posting memos that I’d done adequate research on, but deep down felt weren’t good enough. Little did I know, this was because I still hadn’t grappled with my own lack of financial literacy among a sea of people who seemingly had it “figured out.” I’d been reading the books, listening to the podcasts and audiobooks, and joined a community focused on investing, but had yet to deal with my deep-rooted subconscious belief that I did not see myself worthy of acquiring wealth. It’s easy to point the finger and say that someone is “dumb”, “stupid”, or “irresponsible” for not handling their money correctly, and it’s an entirely different thing to uncover what a person’s subconscious money beliefs are, and start building new ones that align with the creation & retention of wealth.

Ultimately, it is up to the individual to decide that they want to change their life, but I can’t help but think that there are ways to subconsciously encourage people to do so. To me, this means putting messages in the movies, music, tv shows, and books we consume, but that also requires a massive overhaul of the current entertainment industry. While this is not impossible, it will definitely take some time. In the meantime, I’m doing what I can to help myself so that I can help others—as is what most people do. That being said, the five laws of gold from Clason’s book have become my new money manifesto, and if you haven’t heard of them, here they are below:

  1. Gold cometh gladly and in increasing quantity to any man who will put by no less than one-tenth of his earnings to create an estate for his future and that of his family
  2. Gold laboreth diligently and contentedly for the wise owner who finds for it a profitable employment, multiplying even as the flocks of the field
  3. Gold clingeth to the protection of the cautious owner who invests it under the advice of men wise in its handling
  4. Gold slippeth away from the man who invests it in businesses or purposes with which he is not familiar or which are not approved by those skilled in its keep
  5. Gold flees the man who would force it to impossible earnings or who followeth the alluring advice of tricksters and schemers or who trusts it to his own inexperience and romantic desires in investment

All in all, I believe that no matter where you begin if you have a burning desire to do something you will find a way to do it. Napoleon Hill first made this known to me, and I am determined to see it become my reality because now I believe I’m actually worthy of it. Commonstock helps anyone to ensure that 2-5 are carried out, but it is up to the individual to ensure that they are carrying out number one.

People say they want to become wealthy, but how many actually believe they can and follow through with the proper action? If you’re like me and are starting from ground zero, know that you took a significant step by joining the Commonstock community and that “Rome was not built in a day,” so don’t expect your portfolio to be valued at a billion in a day. Wealth takes time, and you are worth it!