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Cred Launches Secure And Easy-To-Use Cryptocurrency Micro-Investing App For Everyday Users

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Cred Launches Secure And Easy-To-Use Cryptocurrency Micro-Investing App For Everyday Users

All-in-one platform lowers the barrier to entry for cryptocurrency buying, selling and investing; partners include Komodo, Wax, Neblio and ZenCash

Cred, the micro-investing platform for cryptocurrency, today announced the initial rollout of its mobile app for iOS and Android.

Cred is solving the main issues that mass consumers face with cryptocurrency: ease-of-access, transparency and understanding. Consumers often feel intimidated when looking to invest in cryptocurrency – Cred strongly believes this is due to the lack of education in the crypto industry, confusing product offerings, as well as a lack of trust in the industry. Cred is uniquely positioned to address this issue head-on by offering an easy-to-use platform that allows users to clearly invest in cryptocurrency, track their progress, learn about each coin prior to investing and receive daily market recaps and news updates. For its initial rollout, Cred is launching in California, Missouri, Massachusetts and Montana with more states being introduced in the coming months. Cred is available for download via the Apple app store and Google Play store.

About 69 percent of Americans expect the price of Bitcoin to rise in the next 5 years but only 5 percent own Bitcoin, according to a Global Blockchain Business Council survey of 5,000 respondents. The high prices of cryptocurrencies, complicated platforms and lack of education can make the space intimidating for first-time investors.

How Does Cred Work?
After signing up and following familiar KYC protocol¹, Cred presents investors with a variety of cryptocurrency investment options such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, XRP, Komodo and ZenCash as well as tokens including Worldwide Asset eXchange’s WAX and Neblio’s NEBL. In the app, each coin offering includes a graph that can be expanded to show the coin’s price from the last 24 hours, month and all time. Users can then press a ‘Learn’ button, which describes what each token’s purpose, as well as its history and relevance in the industry. Investors can then select the type of currency they are interested in investing in, with a minimum investment amount of $10 and a maximum of $2,000 per month. Cred’s three easy ways to invest include:

Round up everyday purchases: Investors can round up the amount they spend on everyday purchases to the nearest $1, $2 or $5 and invest the extra money in cryptocurrency. For example, if an investor who rounds up to the nearest $1 spends $3.55 on an iced coffee, the Cred platform will automatically add the $.45 to a queue. Once the queue reaches the minimum investment amount of $10, Cred will automatically invest the money into cryptocurrency.

Setup recurring investments: Investors can set up weekly or monthly recurring investments into cryptocurrency. Transactions are capped at $2,000 per month to start, adding peace of mind for first-time investors averse to spending large sums at this stage.

One time investment: Investors can simply make a one time transaction.

“I’m thrilled to finally offer a non-intimidating space for consumers to get involved in cryptocurrency.” said Brendon McQueen, Founder &CEO of Cred. “There’s an obvious gap in the market: people aren’t investing in cryptocurrency because they think it’s too complicated and complex. Cred creates a tangible space for people to take advantage of cryptocurrency at any level of experience without having to be an expert. Our platform is clear, quick and educational – helping us reach our mission of democratizing cryptocurrency and bringing it to the masses.”

Cred is currently partnering with 13 cryptocurrency platforms and coins, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, EOS, Litecoin, Stellar, Monero, Dash, Komodo, Wax, Neblio and ZenCash. Cred continues to seek out interesting coins and projects to add to their platform; which takes some time due to the company’s strict coin assessment process.

“We are super excited to be partnering with Cred as they offer a unique micro-savings and micro-investment platform that will help onboard a whole new segment of cryptocurrency users,” said Steve Lee, Chief Marketing Officer at Komodo. “Komodo has long been committed to the global adoption of blockchain technologies and enabling real world usage. Through our partnership, Komodo and Cred will be able to lower the barrier-to-entry into cryptocurrency for the mass market and offer a fiat gateway for KMD in the US.”

“Neblio is very excited to be one of Cred’s initial partners,” shared Yuval Amar, CMO of Neblio. “One of the biggest challenges with crypto-adoption is the perception that it is very complicated to begin investing. Cred is bringing crypto investing to the masses in a smart way by simplifying the process of buying. Being one of the carefully selected cryptocurrencies to be first available for Cred users will help Neblio reach audiences that are not yet engaged in the market.”

“We are committed to providing the WAX community with the most dynamic experience possible, and Cred helps us achieve this,” said William Quigley, CEO of WAX. “Through Cred’s micro-investing features, WAX Token Holders will gain access to new tools that will increase purchasing power and lead to greater flexibility within the ecosystem.”

“Our partnership with Cred represents another significant step toward our goal of advancing the myriad use cases of cryptocurrency and the benefits it provides to everyday users,” added Rob Viglione, Co-Founder of ZenCash. “This exciting use case of ZenCash as a means of encouraging responsible financial habits brings us closer to a world in which cryptocurrency is used seamlessly as both a means of transaction and as a store of value. We see our collaboration with Cred as major milestone on the way to enabling widespread adoption of cryptocurrency.”

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Deloitte: Middle East organizations need to rethink their workforce in the wake of COVID-19

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Deloitte: Middle East organizations need to rethink their workforce in the wake of COVID-19 1

Organizations in the Middle East have had to take immediate actions in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as shifting to remote and virtual work, implementing new ways of working and redirecting the workforce on critical activities. According to Deloitte’s 10th annual 2020 Middle East Human Capital Trends report, “The social enterprise at work: Paradox as a path forward,” organizations now need to think about how to sustain these actions by embedding them into their organizational culture.

“COVID-19 has created a clarifying moment for work and the workforce. Organizations that expand their focus on worker well-being, from programs adjacent to work to designing well-being into the work itself, will help their workers not only feel their best but perform at their best. Doing so will strengthen the tie between well-being and organizational outcomes, drive meaningful work, and foster a greater sense of belonging overall,” said Ghassan Turqieh, Consulting Partner, Human Capital, Deloitte Middle East.

According to the Deloitte report, many organizations in the Middle East made quick arrangements to engage with employees in the wake of the pandemic through frequent communications, multiple webinars where senior leaders addressed employee concerns, virtual employee events, manager check-ins, periodic calls and other targeted interactions with the workforce.

The report also discussed how UAE and KSA governments have reexamined work policies and practices, amended regulations and introduced COVID-19 initiatives to support companies and the workforce in the public and private sectors. Flexible and remote working, team-building and engagement activities, well-ness programs, recognition awards and modern workspaces are among the many things that are now adding to the employee experience.

Key findings from the Deloitte global report include:

  • Only 17% of respondents are making significant investments in reskilling to support their AI strategy with only 12% using AI primarily to replace workers;
  • 27% of respondents have clear policies and practices to manage the ethical challenges resulting from the future of work despite 85% of respondents saying the future of work raises ethical challenges;
  • Three-quarters of leaders are expecting to source new skills and capabilities through reskilling, but only 45% are rewarding workers for the development of new skills; and
  • Only 45% of respondents are prepared or very prepared to take advantage of the alternative workforce to access key capabilities despite gig workers being likely to comprise 43% of the U.S. workforce this year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Worker well-being is a top priority today, and similarly to the rest of the world, companies in the Middle East are focusing their efforts to redesign work around well-being by understanding workforce well-being needs,” said Rania Abu Shukur, Director, Human Capital, Consulting, Deloitte Middle East.

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One in five insurance customers saw an improvement in customer service over lockdown, research shows

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One in five insurance customers saw an improvement in customer service over lockdown, research shows 2

SAS research reveals that insurers improved their customer experience during lockdown

One in five insurance customers noted an improvement in their customer experience over lockdown, according to research conducted by SAS, the leader in analytics. This far outweighed the 11% of customers who felt it had deteriorated over the same period.

This is positive news for insurers during such challenging times, with 59% of customers also saying that they would pay more to buy or use products and services from any company that provided them with a good customer experience over lockdown.

The improvement in customer experience also coincides with a rise in the number of digital customers. Since the pandemic started, the number of insurance customers using a digital service or app has grown by 10%. Three-fifths (60%) of new users plan to continue using these digital services moving forward.

However, while the number of digital users grew over lockdown, half of the insurance customer base has not yet chosen to move to digital insurance apps or services.

Paul Ridge, Head of Insurance at SAS UK & Ireland, said:

“It’s impressive that there was a net improvement in customer experience during lockdown, despite the challenges the industry was facing with a transition to remote working and increased claims for things like cancelled holidays. While many were forced to wait on customer help lines for long periods, part of the improvement may be explained by even a small (10%) increase in the number of digital users.

“However, it’s clear that a huge number of customers are still yet to make the move online. It’s vital that insurers provide the most accurate, timely and relevant offerings to customers, and this is best achieved by having additional insight into online customer journeys so they can understand them better. Using analytics and AI, insurers can seize this opportunity to digitalise their customer experience and offer a more personalised approach.”

Meanwhile, for insurers that fail to offer a consistently satisfactory customer experience, the price could be severe. A third (33%) of customers claimed that they would ditch a company after just one poor experience. This number jumps to 90% for between one and five poor examples of customer service.

For more insight into how other industries across EMEA performed during lockdown, download the full report: Experience 2030: Has COVID-19 created a new kind of customer? 

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The power of superstar firms amid the pandemic: should regulators intervene?

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The power of superstar firms amid the pandemic: should regulators intervene? 3

By Professor Anton Korinek, Darden School of Business and Research Associate at the Oxford Future of Humanity Institute. Gosia Glinska, associate director of research impact, Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Darden School of Business

Recent news that Apple hit a market cap of USD2 trillion highlights an extraordinary success story: A once struggling computer-maker on the verge of bankruptcy innovates its way to becoming the most valuable publicly traded company in the United States.

Apple’s 13-figure valuation is indicative of a larger trend that is not entirely benign — the rise of a handful of superstar firms that dominate the economy. Over the past three decades, advances in information technology, mainly the Internet, have supercharged the superstar phenomenon, allowing a small number of entrepreneurs and firms to serve a large market and reap outsize rewards. And COVID-19 has greatly accelerated the phenomenon by pushing us all into a more virtual world.

Apple — along with Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Netflix — is a case in point. The combined market value of those six companies exceeds USD7 trillion, which accounts for more than a quarter of the entire S&P 500 index. Even amid the pandemic’s economic wreckage, these megacompanies continue to prosper. The combined share price for Apple and its five peers was up more than 43 percent this year, while the rest of the companies in the S&P 500 collectively lost about 4 percent.[1]

Superstar firms can be found in almost every sector of the economy, including tech, management, finance, sports and the music industry. They command increasing market power, which has consequences for technological, social and economic progress. It is, therefore, critical to understand how their advantages arose in the first place.

THE FORCES BEHIND THE SUPERSTAR PHENOMENON

The “economics of superstars” was first studied by the late University of Chicago economist Sherwin Rosen. Forty years ago, Rosen argued that certain new technologies would significantly enhance the productivity of talented workers, enabling superstars in any industry to greatly expand the scope of their market, while reducing market opportunities for everyone else.[2] Digital innovations, including advances in the collection, processing and transmission of information, is what Rosen envisioned would lead to the superstar phenomenon.

Digital technologies are information goods, which are different from the traditional, physical goods in the economy. What it means is that fundamentally different economic considerations apply. Unlike physical goods — a loaf of bread or a car — information goods have two key properties: They are non-rival and excludable. Non-rival means that something can be used without being used up. Excludability means that an owner of digital innovation can prevent others from using it, by protecting it with patents, for example. These two fundamental properties of information goods are what give rise to the superstar phenomenon.

In a working paper I co-authored with Professor Ding Xuan Ng at Johns Hopkins University[3], we described superstars as arising from digital innovations that require upfront fixed costs that allow firms to reduce the marginal costs of serving additional customers.[4] For example, once an online travel agency has programmed its website at a fixed cost, it can easily displace thousands of traditional travel agents without much additional effort, scaling at near-zero cost.

Because a firm can exclude others from using its digital innovation, it automatically gains market power. The innovator then uses that power to charge a mark-up and earn a monopoly rent — basically, a price superstars charge in excess of what it costs them to provide the good — which we call the ‘superstar profit share’.

THE POLICYMAKER’S DILEMMA

In a vibrant free market economy, businesses compete for customers by innovating and improving their offerings while keeping prices low; otherwise, they are displaced by more innovative rivals entering the market. Unfortunately, the increasing monopolization of the economy by technology superstars is weakening the competitive environment around the world.

Monopoly power is the main inefficiency from the emergence of superstar firms, because superstars can exclude others from using the innovation that they have developed.

So, what policy measures can be employed to mitigate the inefficiencies arising from the superstar phenomenon?

We do have antitrust policies designed to promote competition and hence economic efficiency. Authorities could take a drastic measure and break up monopolies. Or they could tax all those excess profits megacompanies make.

Another policy to consider involves giving consumers control rights over their data. Right now, only companies have that data, and they are selling it. If you free it up and don’t allow them to sell it anymore, it reduces their monopoly profits. And if you give consumers more freedom over their data, they could, for example, share it with the latest start-up and create a more competitive landscape.

However, such policy remedies can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they reduce monopoly rents. On the other hand, they can also reduce innovation.

Innovation requires investments in R&D, which represent a significant sunk cost that only large firms can afford. Government regulations can easily backfire, discouraging large firms from making long-term R&D investments.

What, then, is the best policy intervention? Professor Ding Xuan Ng and I believe that basic research should be public. Digital innovations should be financed by public investments and should be provided as free public goods to all. This would make the superstar phenomenon disappear, and the effects of digital innovation would simply show up as productivity increases.[5]

We live in a brave new world that is increasingly based on information. Because the information economy is different from the traditional economy, antitrust policy should be revamped to reflect that. Instead of worrying about the economy being eaten up by these gigantic monopolies, policymakers need to focus on the question ‘What specific actions can we pursue to make the economy more competitive and efficient?’

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