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What is a Bitcoin Fork?

The code for most cryptocurrencies is open-source, and the community operates by consensus, so sometimes newly modified code is released that is adopted by some, creating what’s called a fork. A Bitcoin Fork is when the blockchain, made up of interconnected computers holding a distributed and permanent record of all bitcoin transactions up to that point, is offered a modified currency protocol that is adopted by some of the Bitcoin community, which creates a “fork” in the previously longitudinal history of the ledger (i.e. “a fork in the road”), where one ledger continues to grow based on the changed protocol, and one ledger continues to grow with the old protocol still intact. Continue reading...

What is the commodity market?

The commodity market is an international network of exchanges which trade commodity spot contracts, futures contracts, and derivatives. The largest commodities exchange in the world is the CME Group in Chicago. Futures are a large part of commodities trading, and the commodities futures market includes currency futures and swaps, index futures and single-stock futures, and other derivatives based on futures contracts. Continue reading...

What is Earnings Before Interest Depreciation and Amortization (EBIDA)?

EBIDA is one of the family of earnings metrics which give the analyst, investor, or accountant an opportunity to view earnings, which is synonymous with net income, with a few factors added back into it. In this case, interest payments on debt, depreciation of hard assets on the standard IRS schedules, and amortization of principal debts are all added back into the earnings of the company for the current period. Not to be confused with EBITDA, its more popular counterpart. Continue reading...

What is the Investment Advisor Registration Depository (IARD)?

The IARD system is maintained by FINRA, and keeps track of all adviser registrations, which states they are licensed to work in, all licenses they hold, and any customer complaints. It simplified the registration requirements of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. The Investment Adviser Registration Depository (IARD) was established in 2001 to streamline the registration requirements of the Investment Advisors Act of 1940. The act required that all advisers register with the SEC and the states in which they practice. Continue reading...

What is Abnormal Earnings Valuation?

The abnormal earnings valuation method is one in which the future cash flows of a business are given significant weight in a valuation, especially when there are not many hard assets to use for valuation purposes. If a company is rich in human capital or has significant cash flows, whether or not it has many hard asset or book value, the Abnormal Earnings Valuation Model can be the most useful method for arriving at an accurate valuation of a business and its stock. Continue reading...

What is Investment Advice?

Professional investment advice is highly regulated, and all publications, seminars, correspondence and recommendations between professional advisors and clients must be kept on record and hold up to scrutiny. It is easy to mislead or misinform investors who have not had a chance to educate themselves, and their very livelihoods are at stake if their money is mishandled. Investment advice can be found at the local barber shop, bleachers, and beaches, but those who want to make sure their money is handled correctly will seek professional advice. Continue reading...

How Do You Use Ethereum?

When most people ask this question they are actually asking how to use Ether, the main currency of the Ethereum platform. But the Ethereum platform can be used in many ways as well. Ethereum is a platform that can be used by developers to create decentralized applications (dapps), tokens/cryptocurrencies, and basically anything else that can be programmed. It was the front-runner of the race to develop what is sometimes called Crypto 2.0: blockchain technologies that go well beyond singular usage as digital currency and instead reach and revolutionize every aspect of digital technology in the world today. People can and do use Ether, the primary currency of the Ethereum system, to make transactions like a currency, or as an investment. Continue reading...

What is a Federally Covered Advisor?

The Investment Advisers Supervision Coordination Act of 1996 sought to delegate the responsibility of monitoring investment advisors between the states and the federal government. It amended the Investment Advisors Act of 1940, which required all advisors to register with the SEC. The Dodd-Frank Act further amended the IAA, such that only advisors with assets under management exceeding $100 million had to register with the SEC. The IASC was part of the NSMIA legislation passed in 1996. Up until that point, all advisors were regulated and monitored by the SEC. Continue reading...

Bitcoin’s Source Code, Part 2: What Does It Mean That Bitcoin Is Open-Source?

Open-source software code can be viewed and changed by anyone, but it actually works in the favor of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin’s source code was uploaded by Satoshi Nakamoto to a code-sharing site called Sourceforge, which enabled anyone to download, use, and modify the code as they saw fit. In fact, he encouraged the community to do so. The fascinating thing about the design of Bitcoin and many other open-source software is that they will work, and will continue to exist, without anyone owning the rights to the code. In most people’s concept of ownership and responsibility, the owner is responsible for maintaining something, for protecting it from attacks, manipulation, vandalism, fraud, etc, and is also responsible for making sure that it is safe for other people to use. Continue reading...

What is Form 8891?

IRS Link to Form — Found Here Form 8891 was previously used by individuals with retirement plans held in Canada when they were living in America, each time they took distributions. The process proved to be cumbersome for many good-natured Canadians, and caused the IRS a lot of trouble as well. This form has been retired in favor of an acknowledgement on the IRS Form 1040. Form 8891 is no longer used, which came as a relief to many Canadian-Americans who had retirement plans from work they did in Canada. Certain filing requirements still exist, such as a new form replacing the FBAR, for foreign bank accounts, now called the FinCEN Form 114. Continue reading...

What Can You Buy with Bitcoin?

With every day that passes, bitcoin is becoming a more usable and accepted form of payment for a variety of goods and services, even those in the mainstream economy. To be sure, it’s arguably a long way off from being able to use bitcoin for small purchases at your local coffee shop or for big purchases like buying a house, but it is not unfathomable. The financial company Visa (ticker: V) has been working with bitcoin wallet services and various cryptocurrency exchanges to make cryptocurrency debit cards easy to acquire and use. These cards are known by names such as the Shift Card, Bitwala, BitPay, and others, partially depending on the region of the world in which they can be used. These cards allow users to transfer funds from Bitcoin wallets and immediately convert them into spendable fiat currency wherever Visa debit cards are accepted. Customers can also withdraw national currencies from Visa debit ATM machines based on bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchange rates, which often fluctuate wildly. Continue reading...

What is a Debt Settlement Company?

A debt settlement company is a company who specializes in helping people with overwhelming debt settle with their creditors. Debt settlement companies can help individuals with debt issues settle with their creditors for less than they owe. Of course, this will give the individual’s credit score a significant dent that stays on public record for seven years, but at least it gets people out from under their crushing debt. A settlement company will attempt to negotiate a settlement deal on your behalf with one or all of your creditors. Continue reading...

Who is a Bill Collector?

Collections companies are known as Bill Collectors, and their jobs are to extract as much payment from those who are past-due on payment obligations as they can to settle an account or to bring it current. When people do not pay their credit card companies back within about 150 days, the card company will pass the debt off to a collections company. Other businesses who do their own billing will also sometimes find it necessary to pass off the obligation to the collections company. Continue reading...

What is Depreciation?

Depreciation is the accounting practice of recording the decreasing value of a fixed asset, such as a building or piece of equipment, over time, or, effectively, spreading the tax deduction for the cost of the asset over time. The IRS has created set schedules which describe the number of years over which a business can amortize the cost of a business asset for the purpose of tax deductions. The number of years is different for each type of asset or equipment. Continue reading...

What is a Billing Statement?

Billing Statements are primarily used by credit card companies, listing the transaction history and balance due on a customer account. A billing statement is mailed, physically or electronically, to a customer at the end of a billing cycle, which is usually monthly. The statement will show the balance due and the transaction history, perhaps including recent payments received from the customer. The term “billing statement” is sort of a blend between two distinct documents: a bill and a statement. Continue reading...

What is Working Capital?

Working capital is computed by subtracting a business’s current liabilities from its current assets. Current means that the assets and liabilities exist within the current year. The appropriate amount of working capital will vary from business to business. Some businesses have a need for a large amount of working capital, and some can maintain a healthy balance sheet with relatively little working capital. Whatever the situation is for a particular business, the approximate calculation for the amount of working capital that they have to use is arrived at by subtracting current liabilities from current assets. Continue reading...

What is the Investment Advisors Act of 1940?

The IAA sought to regulate an industry that was deemed to be of public concern and within the Federal jurisdiction, though it did define some state-specific jurisdictions. It defines investment advisors and made laws dealing with fraud, advertising, non-public client information, disclosures, handling of client funds, and so forth. The Investment Advisors Act of 1940 established definitions for the capacity in which an investment adviser and investment advice could be defined, and made rules concerning the standards by which advisors should operate. Continue reading...

What is the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP)?

In 2009 the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) commissioned the HARP program to help Americans upside-down on mortgages to get approved for mortgage refinancing. This is only available to people whose mortgages are already owned by Freddie Mae and Freddie Mac. Many Americans find themselves upside-down, or underwater, on their home mortgages, particularly after the housing bubble popped in 2008. To be underwater means that there is more owed on the loan than the home can serve as collateral for. Continue reading...

What is Bad Credit?

Bad credit implies that an individual or business has a low credit score or rating. Credit histories are reported and kept in publicly accessible databases. FICO (Fair Isaac & Company) is a credit rating institution that gives individuals a credit rating score based on reported credit histories. Scores range from 300-850, generally, but they also issue ratings based on auto loans and credit cards, which are on a scale from 250-900. Continue reading...

What is Account Settlement?

Settling an account is laying all outstanding business on an account to rest. Account settlement is an idea that can take a few forms. Settlement is when acceptable “consideration” (compensation or pay) has been provided and both parties agree that the matter is settled, resolved, and no further debts or obligations exist for that item of business. Many people have heard the term “settlement” with regards to legal matters, in which the defendant pays off the plaintiff before an actual trial and usually can avoid officially admitting guilt. Continue reading...