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6 Trends Towards The Path of Sanity

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We came off a euphoric bull run in 2021 to an epic bear market in 2022. A lot has changed in this period, with protocol collapses, regulatory bans, code sanctions, CeFi obliteration, heightened FUD and bad actors causing an industry-wide contagion through acts of fraud.

There have been many positive developments in this period that lay the platform for blockchain adoption, like venture capitalist posture maturity and new technologies like Optimism and Arbitrum that address scaling issues with blockchain, the emergence of new categories like decentralized platforms and regulatory clarity in many countries. A few notable and likely trends for 2023 are shaping up.

Related: Web3, Crypto, Cybersecurity, Rural Fintech: Trends To Look Out For

Stand-alone value matters

Liquid tokens on a project’s balance sheet cannot drive valuations anymore; companies and projects must show tangible value to create free cash flow and harness network effects. Lately, the focus has been on the standalone ability to generate value versus buying growth using tokens in the short term.

Emphasis is shifting to user monetization from bought-out growth that has proven unsustainable as market cycles change. Investors view equity as claims to future cash flows and profits (minus liabilities) and tokens as value created from future utility or services delivered by the protocol.

Given the relative maturity of the market, many protocols have not charted a clear path to sustain value through future delivery of utility, causing a shift in investor mindset. Investors are now emphasizing the quality of revenue, which can raise the value of their equity profile while eventually accruing token value.

A “Tokuity” model evolves

Investors like the liquidity associated with the token; its volatility and longevity have been concerning to many. There seems to be a shift from pure short-term and liquidity-driven posture to long-term, value-creating models.

Investors would like long-term value creation incentivized by a combination of tokens (short-term liquidity) and equity (long-term incentives), reducing volatility and ensuring long-term thinking, i.e., a new model Tokuity (Tokens + Equity).

Related: Why Your Business Assets Belong on the Blockchain

ETH killers are unviable

It was once possible that multiple new players would emerge to overcome Ethereum’s technical shortcomings, slow execution and market dominance. Many Layer 1 protocols squandered their windows of opportunity, failing to drive adoption at scale.

It may be difficult for a new platform to unseat Ethereum as the dominant player anymore as it embarks on many improvements in the months ahead. Ethereum and Polygon dominate use cases, consumers, enterprises and ecosystems. Users and enterprises will trade off minor technical advantages of other blockchains for security, interoperability and network effects.

Ethereum, the blockchain everyone loved to hate in the bull market, now has the last laugh for “ETH killers.” Most Ethereum-hating chains have completed or are racing to become EVM compliant (Hedera, Solana, Algorand, Near, etc.). Others like Phantom wallet (Solana’s wallet) and Trader Joe (Avalanche’s DEX) also extend support to the Ethereum ecosystem.

The future is still multichain

Even though ETH-killers will not likely deliver the advantages amassed by the Ethereum ecosystem (including Polygon, Optimism, Arbitrum, etc.), the future will still be multichain.

The concept of a “multi-chain” system refers to using multiple independent blockchain networks that can interoperate with each other allowing flexibility in application deployment for different transactions or processes. For example, one blockchain might focus on high-speed, low-cost transactions, while another might focus on security and immutability. For Defi, users will want their collateral on one chain and borrow on another. The portability of gaming assets across metaverses is another use case. A multi-chain system could offer the best of both worlds by allowing different blockchains to work together.

Related: The Future Role of Ethereum in Multi-Chain Technology

Interoperability is a critical capability required for a true multichain world to manifest. However, the current bridge technology is fragile, leading to security risks and hacks. Blockchains using bridges to Ethereum create more risk and less value with enterprise use cases.

While niche chains, e.g., Hedera (optimized for enterprise) or Flow (optimized for metaverse and gaming), may co-exist, the market simply cannot afford the number of Layer 1 protocols/blockchains in existence today. The L1 space is crowded, differentiation is limited, and the market is finite. A multichain future requires mature interoperability solutions.

Layer 2 is the new frontier

After the Ethereum ‘merge,’ the blockchain landscape is significantly altered by negating competitive differentiation for the ETH-killers. Ethereum is repositioned as the base layer for settlement under multiple Layer 2 protocols, forming a scalable ecosystem.

Blockchain’s scaling problems are unfolding. As enterprise adoption of blockchains grows, we will enter a magnitude of multi-billion daily transactions, and even baked Layer 2 solutions may not be enough. We will see the rapid evolution of new categories like decentralized platforms and new forms of roll-ups. These will migrate action up the blockchain stack while letting the base protocol accrue its own value. The last few cycles were about Layer 1 and infrastructure; it will now be about scaling, interoperability, and ecosystem maturity. Layer 1 battlefield is now empty with a handful of survivors; layer 2 is the new frontier.

Decentralized platforms will accelerate ecosystem adoption

For adoption scale, technology must make it easy by reducing barriers for non-technical users, deploying faster Decentralized Applications (dapp) deployment and faster routes to value creation. The new category of decentralized platforms sits between Layer 2 chains (layer 1 chains) and the fractured landscape of dapps and use cases driving a vibrant ecosystem.

A dPlat (decentralized platform) can simulate an iOS or Android-like effect, shielding the Layer 1 and Layer 2 chain complexities and abstracting blockchain features to enable ease of development for uses. Many users will not realize the complexities of the layer-one protocol underneath, and protocols will become easier to build on. The dPlat space is one to watch closely.

Concluding thoughts

Layer 2 technologies, robust network effects, regulatory considerations, decentralized platforms, and investment outlook changes will help the inherently raw protocols to scale adoption and transactions. The next 12 months bring a lot of positive changes to the ecosystem despite a bull or bear market; let us prepare for the new paradigms.

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Entrepreneurship

10 Things Every Working Woman Should Do This Year

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Self-care has become an all-encompassing term that has strayed from the importance of everyday commodities that keep us in good health and spirits. Though pampering and “treat yourself” moments still have value, here are ten ways to invest in yourself to produce long-lasting, positive results.

Related: 8 Self-Care Tips From Wildly Successful Entrepreneurs

1. Put money into a 401(k)

It’s never too early (or too late!) to start saving for the future. Depending on your employment status, there are different retirement savings accounts. 401(k)s are the most common since these are employer-sponsored and often come with an employer match. However, freelancers also have options, such as a SEP-IRA or a high-yield savings account, to put away extra, tax-free dollars for retirement.

2. Schedule a health checkup

Self-care first includes taking care of your physical health. It’s easy to discredit regular checkups when you’re feeling healthy, but make this the year to get your blood work done. It creates a baseline for your health to identify areas needing improvement or extra attention.

Also, choose areas in your life where you can make small changes. Improving your health doesn’t always mean a drastic overhaul; it may be as simple as drinking more water or adding an extra 30 minutes of exercise to your day.

Related: 3 Key Tips for Optimizing Your Physical Health as an Entrepreneur

3. Review health insurance benefits

Many people with health insurance aren’t sure exactly what it does and doesn’t cover. If you’re unsure, talk with your HR representative or your health insurance provider to get an overview of deductibles, co-payments and other supplemental benefits you may not be aware of. Then, decide if the health care plan makes sense for your current lifestyle.

Are you paying for benefits you don’t use, or do you need additional benefits that aren’t covered? Selecting the right plan will help ensure you have what you need without paying the extra expense for anything you don’t.

4. Ignite your curiosity

Maintaining healthy cognitive functions through new pursuits gives a boost to the brain. Get curious and find what speaks to you. This can be anything from exploring local museums, embarking on different hiking trails, learning a new language or reading more books.

There’s no limit to what you can do, and these activities can ignite more creativity and motivation in your work. While it may be helpful to look to others for inspiration, make them enjoyable so you’ll want to make them a regular occurrence.

5. Prioritize mental health

Mental health has been at the forefront of people’s lives over the past few years, as many have experienced burnout. We often equate productivity with a value that drives us to go beyond our means and leads to anxiety, stress and depression. Take note of your everyday stressors and see how to reduce or eliminate them. Then, replace them with relaxing outlets that allow you to recharge.

There are various ways to prioritize mental health, from practicing positive self-talk to meditation to scheduling an electronics-free day. You may have to try different solutions before you find one that fits.

Related: 5 Ways to Protect Your Mental Health as an Entrepreneur

6. Implement good sleep habits

Consistent sleep is one of the essential factors of good health but one that is often overlooked. For many, it can be challenging to wind down from the workday. Therefore, you must “train” your body to prepare for sleep by getting into a nighttime routine.

Create a sanctuary for yourself to improve your sleep habits. Enjoy a soothing cup of herbal tea, perform a skincare routine, and snuggle in with a good book rather than scrolling through your phone. Additionally, ensure your bedroom is dark and cool for ideal sleep comfort and turn on soothing sounds if it helps lull you to sleep.

7. Try something new

What have you wanted to try but have always held back? Maybe it’s public speaking or contributing to a blog. Whatever “new” has been on your to-do, make a plan, schedule it on your calendar and go for it. It’s common to hold back from these activities due to fear of the unknown or failure, but trying new things helps create confidence and can be the catalyst you need to push you to the next level.

8. Learn to set boundaries

Boundary setting is crucial to relationships yet can be difficult to master. It doesn’t always involve simply saying no to people’s requests. Instead, it requires protecting your own values when people violate them. Setting boundaries may mean spending less time with certain people, removing yourself from toxic situations, or declining invites to events that don’t improve your life. Explore areas where boundaries will help you grow, and keep in mind growth itself is a work in progress.

Related: How to Set Boundaries to Build Thriving Relationships

9. Spend quality time alone

Learning how to enjoy time spent alone is a valuable gift. We are inundated by a false sense of connection through the internet, which often makes us feel lonelier than ever. Then, we overschedule our calendars to make up for human connections, only to feel drained afterward. Slow it down and plan a few solo dates a month to see how it feels to be truly present with yourself.

For those who aren’t used to spending quality time alone, it can feel awkward and uncomfortable initially, but these stem from your own perceptions. Take in a matinee, sit in a coffee shop and read, or enjoy a concert or event you’ve wanted to attend. Alone time has been linked to improved stress management and greater life satisfaction, so it’s worth trying to give yourself more time.

Related: Turns Out, Those Who Like Being Alone Can Be More Creative

10. Get active

Getting active can take on several directions. It can be physical, emotional or spiritual. The point is to engage with people and pursuits that feed your soul. Whether volunteering within your community, setting yourself an exercise goal, or learning more about personal development, there are endless ways to get active and invest in yourself this year.

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Are You a Winner? How to Truly Define Winning in Your Business

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Businesses gauge their performance typically with dozens of goals and metrics. But you can’t do everything at once. The challenge is to get people focused on the one thing that’s most important right now. If it moved in the right direction, it would eliminate a weakness (or capitalize on an opportunity) and improve financial outcomes. You improve that, and you win.

However, not every company clearly defines winning. A catalog of goals can pull the organization in multiple directions and stretch finite resources. Numerous goals can inherently be at odds, working against each other and for conflicting purposes. For example, a cost reduction goal might undermine an innovation goal requiring a significant investment.

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Gen Z Is Making Ugg Boots Fashionable Again: Report

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Ugg boots, the furry, sheepskin boots that defined the 2000s are back, apparently, with spiking interest and Gen Z cachet, according to data from shopping website, Lyst.

The site’s annual quarterly report that highlights the “hottest” 20 fashion brands was released on Thursday, and, as Insider noted, Ugg is on it for the first time since the index began in 2017.

“Gen Z shoppers are breathing new life into once dormant brands … with over 1.2 billion mentions on TikTok — Ugg’s influence is undeniable,” the report notes.

The boots were also sold out of stores during the holidays, it added.

Generation Z, or people born between 1997 and 2012, has demonstrated a penchant for bringing back old technology and trends, from flip phones to “vintage” headphones with cords.

But Ugg boots go back much further — the word “ugg” is actually a general term in Australia that means boots made from sheepskin and fleece, according to the BBC.

The company that created the “UGG” boot, Deckers Outdoor Corporation, is based in the U.S. and has tried and failed to trademark the word in Australia (where a court decided it was a generic word and thus could not be trademarked), the outlet added.

The company says the boots began to gain popularity in California in the 1980s. They were first featured on Oprah’s Favorite Things in 2000 (a huge brand-maker back then) and became “cherished commodities” early in the decade, according to Vogue.

The boots later gained prominence again with a fashion movement that prioritized “ugly” clothes, and have since become an unironic Gen Z favorite, per Insider. Kylie Jenner was also spotted wearing them in November.

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