Going Beyond Crypto: Exploring the Digital Asset Ecosystem
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Going Beyond Crypto: Exploring the Digital Asset Ecosystem

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The following content is sponsored by Arca.


digital assets infographic

Exploring the Digital Asset Ecosystem

The digital asset sector has undergone a rapid expansion over the past couple of years, growing in value and functionality.

Beyond the price growth of popular cryptocurrencies, digital assets are powering innovative applications that enable value transfer beyond just payments. From tokens that grant dividend-like revenue to holders, to tokens backed by other digital and physical assets, the digital asset ecosystem is redefining asset and financial structures before our very eyes.

This framework created by Arca explores and defines the state of the digital asset ecosystem, looking at how traditional assets might one day be integrated into this new taxonomy.

The Functions and Types of Digital Assets

Digital assets can be broken down into three different types of assets that fulfill three primary functions. The first two functions of digital assets, store of value and medium of exchange, are well established functions of digital and traditional assets.

However, a third functionality of being able to pass through values to holders has emerged, with benefits like discounted application fees, governance voting rights, and monetary rewards passed onto token holders.

These functions are fulfilled by three main types of digital assets:

  • Currency: tokens that are a unit of account and medium of exchange
  • Asset-backed tokens: tokens backed by hard assets like equity, debt, or physical assets
  • Pass through tokens: tokens that grant revenues, rewards, and network benefits to holders

Many know of Bitcoin, the founding cryptocurrency that functions as a digital currency today. Along with this, tokens whose value is backed by other assets like Arca Lab’s ArCoin (Ticker: RCOIN) are also straightforward in nature and functionality.

Pass through tokens are where digital assets explore innovative concepts and structures unique to the blockchain networks that underpin the assets.

For example, cryptocurrency exchange FTX issued an exchange token (FTT) at launch, which provides holders with reduced trading fees on the platform. FTT holders can also stake, or lock up, their tokens to receive increased referral rebates, more votes in FTX polls, and more airdrop rewards (tokens exclusively given out to holders or stakers of another token).

Classifying Governance and Decentralization

Along with token types and their functionality, it’s important to understand the governing bodies and governance structures behind digital assets.

The governing body is the entity that issues and controls the function of a digital asset, ultimately defining the purpose and proposed value of a digital asset. These range from centralized governments and organizations, like the government of the Bahamas (issuer of the CBDC, the Bahamian Sand Dollar) to Decentralized Autonomous Organizations and blockchain protocols like Ethereum (ETH) and Solana (SOL).

Governing BodyGovernance Structure
GovernmentCentralized
OrganizationsCentralized
IndividualsCentralized
Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs)Decentralized
Protocols, Platforms, and DappsTypically decentralized

Governance structures define the framework and procedures which decide and implement changes for a digital asset. These changes can be about anything, like the digital asset’s tokenomics, pass through values, or future development goals.

While some governing bodies like governments and organizations have centralized governance structures, centralization and decentralization isn’t all or nothing and can be seen as more of a spectrum.

Certain DAOs or protocols might have a core team of developers that propose certain features, which are then voted on and ultimately decided by the holders of the digital asset.

The Future of Traditional Assets in a Digital Framework

With an established taxonomy of digital assets, we can start to map out how traditional assets fit into this framework.

From tokenizing real estate and commodities for easier digital exchange and settlement to equity-like tokens issued by companies that provide holders with voting rights or non-financial rewards, digital assets will reshape the traditional asset structures of today.

By providing unbound and transparent asset structures, digital assets are providing people around the world with more freedom in storing, transferring, and accruing value.

Go to Ar.ca to learn more about digital assets today.

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A Breakdown of Americans’ Monthly Credit Card Spending

Do you know where your money goes? From travel to gas, we break down Americans’ monthly credit card spending by category.

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Credit Card Spending

Americans’ Monthly Credit Card Spending

If you were fortunate enough to keep your job during the pandemic, you probably noticed a financial benefit: you spent less. Amid restrictions, credit card spending on fun activities—like going out for dinner—became less frequent.

Looking ahead, the majority of Americans plan to continue at least one budget change post-pandemic, including eating out less (49%), buying fewer clothes and shoes (41%), and traveling less (37%). Of course, the first step in budgeting is tracking where your money is going.

In the above graphic from Personal Capital, we break down Americans’ monthly credit card spending by category. It’s the first in a three-part series that will explore the spending and saving of Americans.

Behind the Numbers

Credit card spending is based on anonymized data from Personal Capital users, who tend to have a higher-than-average net worth. For this particular subset of users, people had an average net worth of $1.3 million and a median net worth of $405,000. Therefore, the credit card spending amounts may be higher than those of the general U.S. population.

It’s also worth noting that the data reflects credit card spending only. It does not include expenses such as mortgage or rental payments, which are typically paid through other methods.

Credit Card Spending by Category

Here’s a breakdown of monthly credit card spending, based on averaged data from November 2020 to October 2021.

CategoryMonthly Spend% of Monthly Spend
Travel$82216.9%
General Merchandise$81516.7%
Restaurants$56711.6%
Groceries$56211.5%
Clothing/Shoes$52210.7%
Home Improvement$51910.7%
Healthcare$3587.4%
Online Services$3316.8%
Entertainment$2104.3%
Gas$1683.4%
Total$4,874100.0%

Users with no transactions in a particular category were excluded from the average spending amounts. Data is statistically weighted by age to ensure accurate and reliable representation of the total U.S. population, 20 years of age and older.

As border restrictions ease, Americans are spending the most on travel. In fact, 83% of Americans say they are excited to plan a trip in a post-pandemic world. The most popular merchant within travel is Airbnb, followed by airlines such as Delta and United as air travel recovers from its pandemic slump. However, this recovery could be in jeopardy amid fresh concerns over the Omicron variant.

Travel is closely followed by general merchandise, at places like Amazon, Costco, Walmart, and Target. Monthly spending in this category has averaged at $815 over the last year. Of course, this could climb even higher near year-end due to the holiday spending boom typically seen in the U.S. every year.

On the other hand, Americans spend the least on online services (such as Google and Facebook), entertainment, and gas. Though the average monthly spending on gas was the lowest of all categories, it increased by 60% from November 2020 to October 2021. This is likely due to gas being one of the categories hit hardest by inflation, along with increased travel.

Turning Reduced Spending Into Savings

With the swipe of a credit card, it can be easy to underestimate how quickly eating out and online shopping add up. However, by taking a closer look at your credit card spending, you can get a sense of where your money is going.

Like most Americans, you may also decide to carry over at least one budget change post-pandemic. What do Americans want to do with the extra cash? Over half plan to put it towards savings, and 16% aim to contribute more to retirement savings or investments.

In Part 2 of the Americans’ Spending and Saving series, we’ll break down Americans’ financial assets by age.

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Copper’s Essential Role in Protecting Public Health

Copper can kill up to 99.9% of bacteria on surfaces within two hours of exposure and slow the spread of diseases.

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Copper’s Essential Role in Protecting Public Health

Every day, high-touch surfaces present health risks to people in public spaces, and especially the most vulnerable in healthcare. In fact, of every 100 hospitalized patients at any given time, seven will get at least one healthcare-acquired or “hospital infection”.

With naturally antimicrobial properties, copper can kill up to 99.9% of bacteria on surfaces within two hours of exposure and slow the spread of diseases.

In this infographic from our sponsor Teck, we explore copper’s bacteria-fighting abilities and its crucial role in public health.

How Copper Kills Bacteria

Due to its powerful antimicrobial properties, copper kills bacteria in sequential steps:

  • First, copper ions on the surface are recognized by the bacteria as an essential nutrient and enter cell.
  • Then, a lethal dose of copper ions interferes with normal cell functions.
  • Finally, the copper binds to the enzymes, impeding the cell from breathing, eating, digesting, or creating energy.

This rapid killing mechanism prevents cells from replicating on copper surfaces and significantly reduces the amount of bacteria living on the surface.

Antimicrobial copper is effective against bacteria that causes common diseases like staph infections and E. coli that causes foodborne illness. The metal continuously kills bacteria and never wears out.

Besides bacteria, researchers are currently studying copper’s impacts on the virus that causes COVID-19. A previous study suggested that SARS-CoV-2 was completely destroyed within four hours on copper surfaces, as compared to 24 hours on cardboard, and up to three days on plastic and stainless steel. Pre-pandemic studies also demonstrated copper’s ability to kill other coronaviruses.

The Applications of Antimicrobial Copper

Institutions around the world have already deployed antimicrobial copper solutions relating to hospitals, fitness centers, mass transit systems, schools, professional sports teams, office buildings, restaurants, and more.

To date, antimicrobial copper has been installed in more than 300 healthcare facilities around the world. Taking the reduced costs of shorter patient stay and treatment into consideration, the payback time for installing copper fittings is only two months, according to an independent study by the University of York’s Health Economics Consortium.

In Canada, Teck has worked with its partners to install antimicrobial copper coatings on high-touch surfaces in hospitals, educational buildings and transit.

The Stanley Cup champions Los Angeles Kings have installed antimicrobial copper surfaces in their strength and training facility in California. Furthermore, over 50 water bottle filling stations made from antimicrobial copper can also be found throughout the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta.

Copper’s Role in Public Health

While many hospitals and other institutions are already using copper fittings, others are still not aware of its impactful properties.

As awareness increases, copper can become a simple but effective material to help control the spread of infections.

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