How Decentralized Finance Makes Investing Accessible
Historically, global financial markets have been restricted to those with exactly the right contacts, in the right locations, and with vast amounts of wealth already at their disposal. Investing for the general population, however, was typically expensive, cumbersome, and inaccessible.
Fortunately, today’s infographic from Abra demonstrates how the decentralized financial market has brought about solutions to these hurdles.
Why Investing Should be More Accessible
Many factors such as theft, inflation, and political or economic shifts can erode personal wealth over time.
Being able to invest in the global financial market offers a hedge against these risks, and yet for those with modest resources and limited connections, investing has typically been out of reach.
Consider several well-known platforms or funds:
- Etrade ─ $500
- T. Rowe Price ─ $2,500
- Vanguard S&P Mid-Cap 400 Index Fund ─ $5,000,000
Investment minimums range from several hundred to several million dollars—making any hope of investing impossible for most.
This is especially urgent for the global middle class, which is expected to swell 180% by 2040. Having access to more avenues to build and protect wealth will be key to sustainable economic growth for a growing majority worldwide.
But how can people actually start investing if much of the current market is still too expensive?
Fractional Investing Offers Better Access
In the past, brokers were limited to buying and selling stocks as whole units.
Fractional investing, however, allows investors with a lower net worth to access valuable, expensive stocks. It also attracts investors that are less likely to buy and sell on a whim and instead focus on long-term growth.
Blockchain technology has been a key component in this democratization of global wealth—much like fractional investing—because people are no longer restricted by their resources, location, or lack of connections.
A New Wave of Investing
Decentralized finance is:
Users no longer need a third-party to verify their transactions.
Users can access decentralized financial markets from anywhere using their smart devices.
Every transaction is made publically viewable.
No one can make arbitrary changes or cause system-wide shutdowns.
Anyone can customize smart contracts based on regional and technical requirements.
Decentralized financial tools, using blockchain and cryptocurrencies, are providing excellent alternatives to building wealth by offering smaller investment minimums, lower fees, and faster transaction times.
The rise of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies introduced the world to the simple concept of fractional investing—owning extremely small fractions of digital currencies.
Now, investors can also own fractions of high-priced stocks, ETFs, fiat currencies, cryptocurrencies, and stable coins, through Abra’s novel platform.
Abra: the Blockchain-based Investment App
Abra is the world’s first global investment app that uses the Bitcoin blockchain to make investing more accessible. Abra makes it fast and easy to manage your investments—all from one app.
- Simple: Easy to use and globally available, Abra’s app makes investing a breeze.
- Secure: Abra is secure and private—backed by blockchain and smart-contract technology—giving investors full control of their funds through non-custodial wallets.
- Fractionalized: Invest in partial shares of traditional and digital assets, starting at $5.
- Global: Trade, store value, and invest in a range of fiat currencies, cryptocurrencies, ETFs, and stocks from 154 countries.
The Future of Investing
Historically, investing in equities has been a key to building personal wealth, and Abra’s technology allows more people around the world to access the same types of investments, no matter their location or income.
A survey of Abra users shows the democratization of investing in action:
Affordability: Most Abra users have roughly US$50 in their portfolios.
Security: Abra users enjoy privacy of information and full control of their assets.
Accessibility: A top priority for Abra users, they are able to invest in financial markets and expensive equities worldwide.
With its intuitive, global platform, Abra has introduced the future of investing for everyone.
“For the first time, we can truly democratize access to investment opportunities at global scale.”
—Bill Barhydt, CEO of Abra
Brace for Impact: Industries on the Verge of CBD Disruption
Brace for Impact: Industries on the Verge of CBD Disruption
It seems as though cannabis is on everyone’s lips these days.
More specifically, the conversation centers around a major chemical compound found inside the plant—cannabidiol, or more widely known as CBD.
CBD’s far-reaching therapeutic benefits are propelling the global CBD market, which could hit $20 billion by 2024. However, industries like alcohol and pharmaceuticals are being directly threatened by this rapid rise.
Today’s infographic from CannaInsider explores how CBD is disrupting these industries, and the latter’s strategies to curb this effect.
Who will emerge unscathed?
CBD Market Spreading like Wildfire
A growing stream of robust research highlights CBD’s benefits in combating certain health conditions, such as:
- Chronic pain
- CBD for fitness: Incorporating CBD into a workout routine can boost performance, endurance, and recovery. Product types include pre-workout coffee, supplements, and post-workout smoothies.
- CBD for pets: Proven benefits such as anti-inflammatory properties are driving sales of CBD treatments for pet health. By 2022, this market could be worth over $1 billion.
- DNA-specific strains: Companies are testing people’s saliva to recommend specific strains that are tailored to their specific needs.
- Odorless cannabis: More pure, less harsh odorless cannabis will soon be available, allowing consumers to smoke in stealth mode.
- Grow your own: Cannabis consumers can cultivate their own plants at home, and even control the process from their smartphone.
Nearly every product segment, from pet health to beverages, is experiencing a CBD infusion to take advantage of these therapeutic effects.
This surge in popularity presents significant opportunities to create an entirely new consumer base. Emerging consumers seek CBD products for various applications, such as self-care, socializing, and fitness.
Going Head to Head with Big Players
The alcohol, tobacco, and pharmaceutical industries are bracing for impact, as the new variety in CBD products and formats threaten their market share.
The percentage of alcohol consumers has dropped by 4.6% since 2000, with changing tastes at the center of this cultural shift.
New research that tracked behavioural change from 2018 to 2019 found similar results. The percentage of alcohol consumers consuming cannabis has increased from 36% to 45%, while the percentage of cannabis consumers who consume alcohol has decreased from 72% to 65%.
These behavioural shifts have influenced a significant number of alcohol industry titans to partner with cannabis companies. For example, Molson Coors is entering the cannabis space with HEXO Corp to launch CBD-infused beverages.
Similarly, declining smoking rates continue to negatively impact tobacco sales. As many tobacco giants pivot to reduced-risk-products (RRPs) such as vapes, cannabis is also catching their eye.
Most notably, Altria invested $1.8 billion for a 45% stake in global cannabis company Cronos, potentially signalling the start of many partnerships between the two industries.
The pharma industry is particularly interested in CBD’s therapeutic properties. Medical cannabis sales for 2019 will reach $5.9 billion—poaching $4 billion from Big Pharma’s bottom line.
This is triggering multinational companies to collaborate with cannabis companies at a furious pace. Partnerships—such as Novartis and Tilray—could unlock more international distribution of medical cannabis, and new pharmaceutical growth opportunities.
Continuous CBD innovations will not only impact these industries—they could enhance human capabilities and unleash our full potential.
A tsunami is unlocking new CBD sub-segments all over the world, with many offering solutions for mood and performance enhancement for both people and animals.
The Unknown Potential
Applications that will allow a personalized cannabis experience are also on the horizon:
As CBD consumption grows, many industries will need to decide to disrupt, or be disrupted.
Several other cannabinoids have also been discovered, but they have yet to be researched in depth—which means the investment potential of CBD could be just the beginning.
CRU Group: Where Macroeconomics Meet Commodities
For 50 years, the CRU Group has tracked the commodities that drive the modern world, bringing macroeconomic insights to investors for accurate pricing.
CRU Group: Where Macroeconomics Meet Commodities
Commodities are crucial to our everyday lives. From the homes we live in, to the energy we use and the food we eat—none of these would be possible without commodities.
Today’s infographic from CRU Group celebrates 50 years of commodities research and charts the prices of the materials that make our world work.
The Importance of Commodities
CRU Group has 50 years of experience in providing business intelligence on the global metals, mining, and fertilizer industries. Regularly analyzing over 50 commodities, here are CRU’s highlights on four key commodities: aluminium, copper, steel, and nitrogen.
Similarly to stocks, commodities are available for sale on the open market, and prices are susceptible to changing economic conditions.
Factors Affecting Commodity Markets
CRU Group has identified five key factors that are currently affecting commodity markets.
- China Stimulus: China’s economy has recently slowed and policy makers are using stimulus to support sustainable economic growth. However, the delivery of stimulus is different from the past, moving away from infrastructure investment and towards tax cuts for businesses and households.
- Recession: Some analysts have been warning of a recession since 2018. When the economy is in decline, commodity sectors feel the downturn more acutely, because industrial production tends to slow down and there is less demand for materials.
- Automotive Tariffs: During 2019, there was a sharp contraction in automotive sales and production, due to the threat of U.S. auto tariffs. However, the main driver is stricter auto emissions standards introduced in Europe and Asia, creating uncertainty for consumers.
- Environment: Governments continue to adopt regulations in response to rising environmental concerns. Green policies will encourage investment in renewable energy infrastructure and electric vehicles, changing the type of minerals required for these technologies.
- Rise of Asia: By 2035, 3.5 billion people will be living in Asian cities, an increase of 47% from today. These growing cities will necessitate large-scale infrastructure projects, which consume vast amounts of resources.
These five factors will drive the economic patterns of key commodities into the future.
CRU Group has been providing business intelligence on the global metals, mining and fertilizers industries for over 50 years. Regularly analyzing over 50 commodities, CRU highlights four key commodities here:
Aluminium is one of the most in-demand metals in the world by volume, second only to steel. Its lightweight, reflective, ductile and anti-corrosion properties make it the metal of choice for a range of applications. It takes four to five tonnes of bauxite ore to produce one tonne of aluminium.
Copper plays a huge role in the transition to clean energy. It is a good conductor of heat and electricity, and is also ductile and recyclable. These properties make it a crucial material in electric vehicles and renewable energy infrastructure, as well as electronic goods and construction.
In the past 5,000 years, 550 million tonnes of copper has been produced. To keep up with demand, the world will need the same amount in the next 24 years.
Steel is lightweight, flexible, tensile, and recyclable. Its versatility and cost-saving benefits make it a preferred material within the construction sector. Demand for steel across various sectors signals growth and is a good indicator of the health of the general economy.
China is responsible for 51% of the world’s steel production, and accounts for 49% of its demand.
Nitrogen is an odorless, colorless gas that makes up 78% of the earth’s atmosphere by volume. Industrial processes capture ammonia from the air and convert it to other nitrogen compounds. Urea is the most common, and is primarily used as fertilizer. The global nitrogen market is worth $62.8 billion.
How CRU Navigates Complex Commodity Markets
Commodity prices have many different drivers, from supply and demand dynamics to exchange rate movements. Volatility is a common feature to all these commodities and up-to-date pricing and information is critical.
CRU commodity specialists disentangle these forces to interpret and forecast price movements. They apply a range of modelling techniques, as well as their experience and expert judgement.
For 50 years, CRU Group has tracked the commodities that drive the modern world, bringing macroeconomic insights to investors for accurate pricing—and will continue to do so for the next 50 years.
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