Summary Of All Benefits Available In The UK – What Do I Qualify For? 

There are numerous benefits available for UK Citizens. The benefits can be summarised as; benefits for families, career & disability benefits, child benefits, death benefits, heating and housing benefits, Job seekers allowance & low income benefits and tax credit benefits.

Below is a summary of those benefits. 

1. Benefits for families

UK families are entitled to numerous benefits that range from free school meals to support services for families of military and defence personnel. Free school meals are available to school going children in the UK. Information on this benefit can be found by checking your local authority’s website.

Other benefits for families include;

• Care to learn: Helps childcare expenses while you study. You must be under 20 years to qualify for this benefit.

• Carer’s Credit: This benefit is available to individuals who care for someone for 20 hours or more a week.

• Child Trust Fund: This benefit is simply a long-term tax-free saving account for children.

• Childcare Grant: This benefit is simply a grant for full-time higher education students under 15 years.

Other benefits for families include;

guardian’s allowance, healthy start, maternity allowance, maternity pay & leave, parent’s learning allowance and sure start maternity grant. Military service men and women also get benefits if they are injured in service. Their families also qualify for special benefits.

2. Carers and disability benefits

There are numerous carers and disability benefits available in the UK. They include the access to work grant which pays for practical support for individuals with disability or health/mental conditions. Other benefits include; the bereavement support payment, ESA (Employment & support allowance), Jobseeker’s allowance and universal credit just to mention a few benefits. Carer and disability benefits are for individuals with disabilities as well as their carers.

3. Child benefit

This special benefit is given to individuals responsible for a child or children under 16 years or a child under 20 years if they are receiving approved education/training.

4. Death-related benefits

UK citizens also have access to death-related benefits such as widowed parent’s allowance, bereavement payment, funeral payment, war widow(er) pension and guardian’s allowance. These benefits are accorded to families to help them cope when a family member dies.

5. Heating and housing benefits

These benefits include winter fuel payment, cold weather payment, and the warm home discount. The benefits are passed over to UK households to help them cater for their heating and housing payments i.e. pay home heating bills during winter. UK households can also benefit from tax reductions, lower rent, etc. through heating and housing benefits. These benefits are usually accorded to low-income households as well as individuals who are unemployed in the UK.

6. Jobseeker’s allowance & low income benefits

As the name suggests, these benefits are given to individuals who are either seeking employment or in the low-income segment. Jobseeker’s allowance & low-income benefits include but aren’t limited to; constant attendance allowance, employment & support allowance, income support, In work credit, reduced earnings allowance, SMI (Support for Mortgage Interest) and pension credit.

7. Tax credits

UK citizens also get a variety of tax credits such as; child tax credit and working tax credit. Child tax credit is given to individuals responsible for children who are 16 years or less, under 20 if the children in question are in eligible education/training. Working tax credit is offered to individuals aged between 16 and 24 years who have a child. Individuals who are aged 25 and above can also qualify for a working tax credit with/without children. You must, however, fall below a certain income level and work for a specified number of hours weekly.

For more information on the benefits available in the UK as well as the criteria/requirements for enjoying those benefits,

visit https://www.gov.uk/browse/benefits

4 Shocking Truths about Paying For Financial Advice

Before you spend your hard-earned money on anything, especially financial advice, it’s important to understand what you are getting in return. It’s tough trying to invest or make informed financial decisions on your own. Some people don’t have enough knowledge. Others lack the time and passion. That’s where financial advisors come in handy. However, you must know some truths before you pay for financial advice. Here are four shocking truths about paying for financial advice.

1. There is serious conflict of interest

Most people don’t know this, but there are massive conflict of interest issues in the financial advice industry. The reason behind this is simple. Financial advisors receive financial incentives for recommending certain financial products and services. For this reason, the recommendations you receive may not necessarily be the best for you. The conflict of interest factor is huge in the financial advice industry since you (the client) are trying to make money off your money and financial advisors are trying to do the same. Furthermore, you are more attractive (as a client) if you have a higher net worth (more money to invest).However, this shouldn’t be mistaken to mean that all financial advisors care about themselves more than their clients. Some advisors want to see you get the best returns. Unfortunately, most will give you advice based on the amount of commission/s they will earn from you. It is therefore important to understand what’s in it for an advisor before paying and acting on advice. For instance, you should find out if your preferred financial advisor has any affiliations with the financial products/services. In a nutshell, you must be certain you won’t receive biased advice because your advisor will earn a commission or other perks, directly or indirectly.

2. Financial professionals can never substitute personal financial education

Many people who seek financial advice are guilty of relying too much on the advice they get. This shouldn’t be the case. You need to have a basic understanding of what your advisor is doing/telling you to do with your money. Educating yourself constantly also allows you to ask tough questions. You are in a better position to compare returns, analyse risk, identify conflict of interest issues, question advice, etc. if you have basic knowledge and you are open to learning. Unscrupulous financial advisors love clients who have no knowledge or interest in learning about investments. Your chances of getting advice to buy a financial product or service you don’t need are very high if your financial advisor notices you don’t know anything or know very little about investing and you aren’t interested in learning. Financial advisors work best if you are equipped with basic financial knowledge and a genuine learning interest so you still need to learn even if you are paying for financial advice.

3. Most financial advisors fail at helping their clients

This is also shocking but true. The fact is; the people who help you the most and make a lasting difference in your life are those who genuinely care about you. We’ve already talked about conflict of interest above, so it’s easy to determine if most financial advisors really care about their clients. What’s more is; financial advice is just a small part of the equation. Most financial advisors fail because their help stops after giving advice yet many factors come into play after a person has received financial advice. For instance, you need to act which is rather obvious but commonly overlooked. Many financial advisors give their clients direction but fail to give them the passion to act and other important tools like goals. However, let’s not forget the fact that financial advisors aren’t obligated to follow up. Furthermore, they don’t gain much by doing this unless they are working with high net worth individuals. Now you know why high net worth individuals tend to get the best financial advisory services.

4. You don’t need to pay for financial advice

Since you still need to know about personal finance and be open to learning even if you have a financial advisor, do you need to pay for advice? Well, No! You don’t have to pay for financial advice. You can learn everything yourself and be able to make informed financial decisions. The internet is packed with free and useful financial information and resources. Don’t get me wrong though. A financial advisor will save you a lot of time you would have otherwise spent learning about investing, analysing opportunities, etc. Nevertheless, you must be financially literate to become rich!

4 Money Lessons You Must Teach Your Kids

We all have money regrets. You’ve probably made a financial decision you regret to date. It could be anything really from a missed investment opportunity to bad spending habits. Such decisions may have had a major implication on your life to the extent you wish you had known better and wouldn’t imagine your kids repeating those mistakes. Given the importance of financial literacy in life and the fact that schools don’t teach kids about money, it’s your duty as a parent to pass this important knowledge. In case you are wondering which money lessons are the most important for your kid, you are in the right place.

Here are four money lessons you must teach your kids.

1. Saving is cool, It takes money to make money!

Your kids must understand this first for them to know the importance of saving. You can start by getting your kids piggy banks, if you haven’t already, to encourage them to become avid savers. You can also incentivize saving using monetary rewards when your kids reach certain milestones. You should encourage your kid to save pocket money as well as monetary gifts they get from relatives. Saving is a crucial money lesson that should be taught from an early age since you need to accumulate money to invest if you don’t want to take out loans. Furthermore, you need assets to secure loans so you must have some savings first to start your financial journey.

2. You need to wait sometimes to buy what you want

This is a difficult money lesson for most kids, yet it is one of the most important for financial success. A person’s ability to delay gratification plays a crucial role in their future success. Kids who are able to resist from buying things or asking for things they want immediately have an easier time succeeding financially given most important money lessons like saving are a form of delayed gratification. Most parents have a problem teaching this lesson because they want the best for their kids. Parents love giving their children things they desire like toys and gadgets. However, you should make your kid wait sometimes before they get what they want. This lesson will encourage your kid to manage their money better when they grow older. It will also help them appreciate the fact that money is scarce and you need to make smart choices like waiting before you spend.

3. Income counts

Your kids also need to appreciate the importance of having an income. To teach this lesson effectively, encourage your kids to earn income doing jobs like; selling lemonade, pet walking and raking leaves. Making your kids work for money is important because it teaches a valuable lesson money’s scarcity. When you teach this lesson effectively, it will be easier to teach other lessons like savings and spending money wisely since your kids will already appreciate the effort it takes to get money. Unless you are already wealthy and planning to leave your kids a fortune, it’s crucial for them to understand it takes a job to earn money.

4. Sharing is good

Kids should also learn to share from a young age. They should learn that money isn’t just for fulfilling one’s needs but also helping people who are in need. This money lesson is important for teaching responsibility and compassion for others. It’s also important for eliminating bad habits like materialism and selfishness. It’s unfortunate that kids don’t learn much about money in school yet it is a very crucial subject. Teaching your kids the above money lessons is a great way to prepare them for future success. The above lessons equip kids with important traits like self-control which are crucial for financial success in the future. Kids who learn how to save, earn and delay gratification at an early age are less likely to get into financial problems in the future according to numerous research studies. One such study done by researchers led by psychologist Terrie Moffitt from Duke University links self-control with debt problems. According to the study (which tracked 1000 kids in New Zealand from birth to 32 years), kids who had high self-control are more likely to succeed in life. In a nutshell, instilling financial self-control using the above lessons will help your kid avoid financial problems like debt in the future.

Blockchain Technology and Why It Is Here to Stay

Beginner guide to blockchain

Blockchain can be described as an incorruptible digital ledger or record of transactions programmed to record financial transactions as well as everything of value. The brainchild behind this technology is bitcoin founder Satoshi Nakamoto. Blockchain, however, goes beyond bitcoin or any cryptocurrency for that matter. Blockchain technology has become transformational because of the mere fact that it allows digital information to be distributed as opposed to being copied. Cryptocurrencies are not the only invention using blockchain today which makes it important to understand the basics of the technology. Like the internet, you just need to understand the basics of blockchain to use it/see its value.

Let’s get started.

Blockchain as a distributed database

Blockchain technology works like a distributed database which regularly updates itself, i.e., like a spreadsheet which duplicates itself multiple times across a network and updates itself frequently. Google docs is a great example of blockchain technology where you can update a document you have shared with many people simultaneously. The blockchain database isn’t stored in one location which simply means that records are truly public and easy to verify. Information held on the database is shared and continuously reconciled which offers obvious benefits. For instance, there is no specific center of information that can be corrupt or hacked. The data is also accessible to everyone online.

Before Google docs, people used to send word documents or spreadsheets to one another via mail to make revisions. The problem with this scenario is the back and forth transferring of documents as well as the difficulty in tracking changes. Blockchain has solved this problem introducing two major benefits. First and foremost, blockchain can’t be controlled by one single person or entity. Blockchain also eliminates risks associated with having a single point of failure since blocks of information are identical across the network. Blockchain robustness has been tested and proven. Since the invention of Bitcoin back in 2009, the Bitcoin blockchain has remained operational without any significant disruption.

Blockchain technology properties:

Transparent and incorruptible

The blockchain network has been built to check itself every ten minutes automatically. The network conducts a self-audit reconciling all transactions happening in 10-minute intervals. Every group of transactions occurring in this interval is known as a block. This makes blockchain unmatched in regards to transparency since data is embedded as a whole in the network and it is public. Also, data can’t be corrupted. In theory, the blockchain network can be corrupt by overriding the entire network using a high amount of computing power. In practice, this is impossible. Attempting to take control of a blockchain system such as the Bitcoin blockchain would destroy the value of Bitcoins removing any incentive for such an undertaking. Blockchain technology has solved fundamental problems like manipulation. Fiat currencies are subject to manipulation from central banks and governments. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies which utilise blockchain can’t be manipulated by individuals or entities. This is what makes cryptocurrencies so attractive. Many people today have little trust in large corporations and entities because they have betrayed people’s trust in the past.

Decentralisation

Blockchain is decentralised by design. Whatever happens in a blockchain network is a function of the entire network. Blockchain creates a new way of verifying transactions which could render transactional aspects of conventional commerce unnecessary. Stock market trades could soon be in blockchain making them available to all. Blockchain could also be implemented in public record keeping such as land registries. Decentralisation has become a reality and blockchain leading the way.

Enhanced security

By storing data in multiple locations, blockchain has eliminated risks associated with holding data centrally. Blockchain networks don’t have centralised vulnerable points which computer hackers can target. Since internet security is a huge problem today, the world is expected to turn to blockchain technology for solutions. We already have usernames and passwords for protecting our identity as well as assets online. Blockchain uses encryption technology. In cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, for instance, users have public keys which are randomly generated numbers acting as user addresses on the blockchain. You also need a private key which works like a password to get access and send Bitcoins. Blockchain technology utilises private keys to offer access/use of digital assets. However, the private key must be kept safe preferably offline for safekeeping.

Other advantages of blockchain technology

Besides enhancing security and enhancing transparency, blockchain is also cheaper compared to traditional accounting systems. The technology has eliminated the need for middlemen such as banks resulting in lower fees in the case of cryptocurrencies. Blockchain has also reduced transaction time as well as transactional errors. In a nutshell, blockchain technology may be relatively new and complex; however, the technology is here to stay and be applied on all areas that require decentralisation and related benefits.

Christmas Fashion Tips on a Budget

It’s that period of the year when you need to celebrate and look great. However, there is this misconception that staying fashionable is costly. Far from it! You don’t have to buy the latest designer clothes and shoes this Christmas to look and feel great. A £200 designer skirt can look the same as a £20 skirt minus the tag with a few tweaks. You should focus on value for money as opposed to brand names if you are keen on staying fashionable on a budget.

Here are some affordable creative holiday fashion tips to consider.

1. Take advantage of festive season offers

This is a great shopping tip to consider anytime let alone during festivities. There is, however, an abundance of offers during Christmas compared to any other time of the year. For this reason, you shouldn’t settle for regular prices especially when you are buying clothes, shoes and fashion accessories. You can save as much as 50% or more by taking time to find the best fashion offers around you.

2. Avoid expensive department stores

You should also consider shopping in thrift, resale or consignment shops for great fashion at unbelievable low prices. This tip applies if you don’t mind second-hand fashion. Expensive department stores have almost the same kind of fashion. The main difference is the price. The quality is usually the same. Also, you are bound to get a more fulfilling shopping experience since you will be ”digging” for treasure.

3. Consider tailored fashion

You can turn cheap clothes into great outfits by getting everything tailored. A £20 skirt can look better than a £200 skirt after quick stitching. Most cheap clothes look great provided they fit perfectly so, it will be worth taking them to a tailor before you wear. It’s also worth noting that simpler garments/clothes are easier and more affordable to tailor.

4. Consider DIY fashion

You can also apply your creativity to create your own fashion pieces. This holiday fashion tip is great when you have time and a creative flair. There are very many DIY instructional fashion videos online to draw inspiration from. It is possible to make great and unique fashionable outfits from scratch at a very low cost. You can make anything really from trendy t-shirts to pants and accessories like caps, hats and beanies. You can also make fashionable upgrades with simple tweaks like replacing buttons. Consider replacing plastic buttons on cheap fashion with something richer like metal, pearl or bone. You can shop for buttons online on eBay. You can also ”harvest” buttons from old clothes. Simple tweaks can upgrade cheap clothes into fashion statements without costing you anything.

5. Stick to basics

Consider this Christmas fashion tip when you are in doubts. It’s usually cheaper and better to update basic looks than try completely new pieces you aren’t sure about. Avoid new trends. They tend to be pricey and may fail to stand the test of time. Instead, stick to the basics. Spice up winter white, black and nude pieces with the new accessories. You can pair a black blazer with black pumps and big drip down earrings when wearing nude. You can play around with complementary colors and still look great with basic fashion. You can invest in a few staples if you have multiple holiday events to attend (many reasons to dress up). It is easy and affordable to change your look when you have timeless fashion pieces like a little black dress that goes with everything. You’ll just need to add different accessories or change hairstyles to get a completely different look.

6. Shop online

The internet is the best place to get deals today. The internet also offers better avenues for comparison ensuring you get the best price possible. You can visit comparison sites as well as use coupon codes to get great discounts. Before you buy anything from any online store, check if the store is offering coupon codes. It is also important to buy directly. The internet also has middlemen so make sure you are buying from the main retailer or authorized dealers. It is possible to look great this festive season without spending much. Fashion is usually expensive when bought on impulse. Take your time and find great offers. Stick to the internet for the best deals and consider being your own fashion designer. You can also tweak old pieces to get a completely new and trendy look and when in doubts, stick to the basics. You can never go wrong with classic/timeless fashion pieces and neutral colors. Avoid borrowing to stay fashionable. Short term loans like payday loans should be used for emergency needs only.

Festive Season ”Side Hustle” Ideas to Help You Avoid Short Term Loans

If you’re keen on enjoying this festive season without taking short term loans in January, we have some useful side hustle ideas for you below. We’re all guilty of overspending during the festive season. It is very challenging trying to stay on budget during festivities. You have two main options. One, you can agree to overspend or look for ways to make more money this Christmas. There are many ways to make some extra cash today. Here are some great ideas to consider.

1. Become an Uber driver

Anyone can earn money driving thanks to Uber. This tip is great if you already have a car and wouldn’t mind making some extra cash driving during your free time. Driving for Uber is a great side hustle today because you don’t need much to get started. You just need to meet some simple prequalifications i.e. driver/car tests/inspections. Visit https://www.uber.com/en-GB/drive/requirements/ for more prequalification requirements. Furthermore, you can maintain your own schedule and benefit from Uber’s extensive network of clients globally. What’s more interesting is the fact that there are many similar opportunities. Uber isn’t the only taxi app in the UK. You can also become a taxify driver.

2. Become a freelancer

You can turn to the internet for freelancing jobs. The internet is packed with freelance opportunities in all niches. You just need to choose a niche and get started. It’s also important to choose a freelancing opportunity that is in line with your interests, passion or job description. Freelancing websites like freelancer, Fiverr and Upwork have many opportunities for people who would love to do web design, writing, internet marketing, programming, translation, etc. It doesn’t cost you anything to become an online freelancer. Simply visit a freelancing website and register to get started. All you need is a computer and internet access. You can earn hundreds of pounds in a short time which is more than enough money to cater for overspending during festivities.

3. Sell items online

You can also consider selling items online on websites like eBay. Instead of taking a short term loan this Christmas, you can sell old items like household appliances, furniture, collectibles among many other things to make some extra money. You can focus on things you don’t need to de-clutter your home as well as make some money in the process. If you are serious, you can sell items online professionally and turn it into a real business. eBay has over 18 million registered buyers in the UK today offering a ready market. You just need to familiarize yourself with the selling requirements and basics to get started http://pages.ebay.co.uk/help/sell/selling-basics.html. For instance, you need high quality photos and interesting descriptions to sell fast on eBay.

4. Rent a spare room on Airbnb

You can also earn some quick cash renting a spare room in your home this festive season. This side hustle idea is great given the number of people willing to get affordable accommodation during the festive season. You could even consider getting affordable accommodation on Airbnb as opposed to paying for an expensive hotel this Christmas. Airbnb has revolutionised the accommodations industry globally by connecting people with spare rooms/space with those looking for such spaces. Airbnb pays for guest check-ins within a day and does thorough checks so you don’t have to worry about security risks. You can visit the official Airbnb site in UK for more information: https://www.airbnb.co.uk/

5. Create and sell an online course

You can also leverage on the skills you already have to make some extra money this festive season. There are great online course platforms like Teachable and Udemy you can use to create a course in line with your profession. Your income will vary depending on the complexity of the course so it’s important to choose a subject you have mastered. Many people are looking online for courses as opposed to attending traditional classes so this idea has a lot of potential.

6. Manage social media presence for small businesses

Last but not least, you can become a social media manager for small businesses around you. This idea is perfect if you are already proficient in social media and you have some time to spare. Businesses have seen the power of social media marketing so it shouldn’t be a problem identifying those small businesses which need such services around you and convincing the owners to hire you.

In summary, there are multiple ways to make some extra cash today. You just need to be innovative and ready to try. There’s no reason why you should take a short term loan this festive season when you can try out some of the ideas discussed above.

Christmas Gifting Tips 2017

It’s that time of the year again. Christmas is several days away which means plenty of time with family, that well-deserved holiday and gifts of course. Gifting is fun, however it can be a costly affair if you don’t makes some considerations. It can also be daunting trying to figure out what you should get your loved ones. If you are clueless this time around on where you should start, what you should do/buy, here are some holiday gifting tips to consider.

1. Gift by observation – This Christmas gifting tip comes in handy when you don’t know what you should get your loved ones but you want something meaningful. You can get a lot of hints by observing your loved ones interests, what they are saying, current situation in life etc. For instance, household goods are great gifts for someone who just moved into a new house. This tip is powerful because it makes you understand the circumstances of the person you plan to gift. Considering people don’t usually ask for what they want or know what they really need, you are in a position to discover what would make them happy or what would make their lives easier.

2. Consider experiences over tangible gifts – Most people give their loved ones tangible gifts for Christmas. You can consider gifting an experience instead if you can’t think of a gift you haven’t given. For instance, you can pay for an experience they haven’t experienced like skydiving or deep-sea diving. Experiences are more memorable than tangible gifts because they last forever. Clothes and shoes will become old and forgotten. Experiences will last a lifetime especially when they are being experienced for the first time. Your kid will remember their first horse race forever but may have a hard time remembering their 11th horse race.

3. Consider DIY gifts – This tip is handy when you don’t want to spend too much and you want to offer a very personal/unique gift. DIY gifts are simply gifts you can make yourself. It could be anything really from artwork to a scarf. You can even write/perform a song/poem. DIY gifts are great because you include a bit of yourself. DIY gift ideas are also limitless. You can fuse your interests and those of your loved one together to come up with a gift they will cherish.

4. Check wish lists/social media – You can also use technology to get gift ideas for your loved one. If you are still finding it hard selecting a gift for your loved one, check their wish list on online stores like Amazon. This tip applies mostly if you share a computer or you can get access to their online store accounts. You may have to be a bit innovative to implement this tip i.e., do some stalking, check social media posts for clues. They will be surprised and delighted you bought them precisely what they wanted. Checking wish lists is a great way to gift someone exactly what they want without asking them and ruining the surprise.

5. Gift for a cause – This tip is great if you are planning to gift a minimalist, someone who seems to have ”everything” or someone who appears to desire nothing. We all have that one family member or friend who never seems to be impressed by gifts. You can consider a gift that touches on their interests i.e. a cause or charity they care about. You can check their line of work or hobbies for ideas. It would be great gifting them and giving back at the same time.

6. Ask – Sometimes you just need to ask to know the kind of gift you should buy. You can do so indirectly so it’s not too obvious. You can also ask outright if you are gifting someone who is a bit choosy. Some people don’t mind being asked what kinds of gifts they want. If you are dealing with such a person, ask by all means so that you can get them something they will cherish. In a nutshell, meaningful gifts are the best kinds of gifts.

As long as you follow the above tips, you shouldn’t have a problem gifting your loved ones this coming holiday. You don’t have to settle for typical gifts, waste precious time or spend a fortune in the process. Observe, think outside the box, make your own gifts, look for clues on social media and ask if you have to.

Bitcoin Sets a New High £14,262 ($19,000). Is It Too Late to Buy?

Bitcoin has set a new high, again. One Bitcoin will set you back £14,262 or $19,000 as of 16th December 2017 representing a 7% price increase in a day. This puts the total market capitalization of Bitcoin at £238 billion ($318 billion). Cryptocurrencies are now controlling over £420 billion according to the latest statistics. Following the latest statistics, Bitcoins Year to Date return is approximately 20 times.

Bitcoin which is the world’s most popular and valuable cryptocurrency has increased in value by over 30% in the past seven days alone. Back in 2009 when the cryptocurrency was created, one Bitcoin cost less than a pound which leads us to a critical question; is it too late to buy Bitcoin? Is the current run sustainable? We’ve gone through the trouble of doing some in-depth research and compiling options from leaders in the cryptocurrency space.

Here’s what you need to know.

Insider sentiments – According to Early Investing Co-founder and cryptocurrency expert Adam Sharp, Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies as a whole are yet to reach their full potential. Snapchat’s first investor Jeremy Liew also shares similar sentiments. Liew has even been on record stating that the price of one Bitcoin could reach $500,000 realistically in a recent interview with Business Insider. Liew and Sharp attribute their views to Bitcoin’s surge in global adoption.

Bitcoin is officially a global currency with Asian countries leading the way on adoption. The latest statistics show that Asian countries like Japan and South Korea account for 75% of Bitcoin’s trading volume currently. This is clear given most Bitcoin buys are taking place using the Korean Won and Japanese Yen. Bitcoin is also growing in popularity in emerging countries and troubled economies. Bitcoin is preferred over traditional currency because it is impossible to manipulate. The currency isn’t controlled by entities like central banks and governments which can print more money or introduce fiscal and monetary policies resulting in inflation or deflation.

Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in extension solve a fundamental problem that has affected regular currency for decades. This is among the underlying reasons why experts like Adam Sharp feel the currency hasn’t scratched the surface yet. However, it is important to understand that Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, in general, have shortfalls such as volatility. For instance, Bitcoin has registered more than a 10% drop in a single day in the past. Cryptocurrencies are at the mercy of news to a larger extent when compared to traditional currency. This can result in significant losses when you buy cryptocurrencies for speculative purposes. This simply means that the current rally could stop and reverse at any moment. The rally could also continue upwards given fiat currencies are still the most widely used form of currency today. According to Adam Sharp, Bitcoin offers a great opportunity in the future. However, new and alternative coins (altcoins) offer greater opportunities.

Are altcoins a better alternative?

Instead of focusing on Bitcoin, Sharp sees greater opportunities investing in altcoins or IPOs for new coins (Initial Coin Offers or ICOs). The creator of Bitcoin opened up the cryptocurrencies code allowing the creation of other coins. Currently, there are 1300+ cryptocurrencies today some of which are better than Bitcoin is some ways. Ripple, for instance, has a higher potential (in terms of settling global transactions). This is according to its developers. Some cryptocurrencies are also offering faster transaction times than Bitcoin making them preferable means of payment. Although Bitcoin already has an outright advantage (it enjoys approximately 50% of the entire cryptocurrency market share), new, cheaper coins promise higher gains. According to Sharp, investors stand to gain the best returns by participating in initial coin offers. With ICOs, investors don’t need to invest as much to enjoy unmatched returns. Sharp believes there are better returns buying into new cryptocurrencies just before they are launched or immediately after. There are however shortfalls to ICOs since cryptocurrencies are being launched every day most of which aren’t great. Furthermore, it is a new and challenging experience trying to figure out if a new cryptocurrency is worth it. ICO investors focus on the people behind the cryptocurrency as well as what is different about the new cryptocurrency. Unlike participating in IPOs for stocks, there is very little to work with when analysing ICOs. Nevertheless, investing in the right ICO offer enormous returns given the low initial price of such offers. In a nutshell, there’s nothing wrong with buying Bitcoin now, even later as many cryptocurrency experts have predicted the price of one Bitcoin may reach and surpass $500,000. However, you stand to enjoy higher returns buying newer cheaper and more promising coins.