Tuesday, November 21, 2017

My Second Cryptocurrency - Litecoin

Exactly one week ago, I got myself a super minion size of Ethereum (SGD100 to be exact), you can read here for my earlier post. This week, I've gotten my second cryptocurrency - Litecoin , another minion size (SGD150) due to the limit imposed by the exchange. 

What is Litecoin? As at today, Litecoin is the 5th biggest Cryptocurrency in the market (after Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash and Ripple). In terms of the market cap. Litecoin is sitting at USD $3.8+ billions. It was launched 6 years ago by a former Google employee, Charlie Lee. Litecoin is quite similar to Bitcoin except for some technical differences which make it about 4 times faster than Bitcoin (in terms of transaction speed). 

So, in summary, I've accumulated the following Cryptocurrencies in my virtual piggy bank:

Personally, I am not into trading, the high volatility of the crypto market and high commission rate make it less advantage to do so. I will just slowly accumulate a few of such alternate "assets" for the long haul. Also, I make sure that these are the casino money (a term from an article I read i.e. money that I prepared to lose all).  

Cheers!

Note: This is just to share my fun (hopefully) cryptocurrency journey and by no means to encourage my reader to go into such investment/trading.  

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Singapore Fintech Festival 2017 - My Experience


Singapore Fintech Festival, the world's largest Fintech event just ended yesterday (17/11/2017) with the highlights of 3 winners in the Global Fintech Hackcelerator comptetion (more about this later).  I am privileged enough to attend the Thursday (16th Nov 2017) session as trade delegate. So, before I forget, thought to document my experience here.  

The event hall is huge (covering 3 Expo halls) with 281 exhibitors from all over the world. Ranging from big financial institutions to tech companies and of course the startups. On top of that, there are on-going panel discussion, keynotes and demos (at Sandbox stage) If you are into Fintech and Startups, I am sure you can spend pretty much the whole day here.

The morning session (on 16th Nov 2017) comprises of a speech by Her Majesty Queen Maxima (Netherland) on "A Better Future (Inclusion Technology)" followed by the Keynote on "Financial Services For The Poor" by Michael Wiegand (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation). The theme is to take care of those unbanked citizens in the poor countries like Kenya etc.

After which, 20 startup finalists pitch their ideas in the Global Hackcelerator Demo session (each team only has 5 minutes to pitch). There are a couple of wow ideas but not all.   

3 winners of the Global Hackcelerator are: Moxtra (India)SQREEM (US) and Trunomi (Singaproe). Each team walk away with cash prize of SGD50,000. 

In the afternoon, it's more like free and easy for the attendees to choose their preferred panel discussions between the AMTD, Delloitte and Prudential Stages. For me, I've attending the following panel discussions:

1. Insurtech I - Protection Disruption (Panelists: Dr Andrea Braun [Accenture Technology], Parul Seth Kanna [Pinbox Solution] and Benoit Claveranne [AXA Group]). Prior to this, there is a Keynote by Group Head of DBS, Ms Tan Su Shan on their "Road To Digitization" which is equally interesting. Looks like all big financial institutions are working hard to inculcate the startups mindset in their culture. 

2. Insurtech II - Insuring The Future  (Panelists: Al-Noor Ramji [Prudential], Julie Batch [IAG] and Willaim Fung [AMTD]). 

Following which, I've roamed around the halls and pay visit to the exhibitors that caught my eyes. Some of the interesting ones are as follows:

Interesting Crypto Wallet solution (from Singapore)

Project Ubin (MAS) - We are at Phase 2 now with 3 prototyping

Nem.io - Personally think that Smart Contract will have a brilliantly bright potential
ICO in the Healthcare front?


Ethereum on steroid? 

Read this ICO before attending the event, surprise to see them there
Overall, I have a great learning and mind-opening experience at Fintech Festival. With national effort to make Singapore a Smart Nation, we need more of such events to expose the general public (not only trade delegate) with the new and upcoming xxxTech (not only FinTech). 

Did you attend the festival too? What is your review? 

Cheers!

Note: This article was first published in Blockchain SG (my other blog side-project)

Friday, November 17, 2017

What type of mortgages are people getting? (Guest Post)

2017 has been a rather bullish year for Singapore’s residential property market, with a healthy number of transactions over the past few months. As the number of transactions increase, so does the number of mortgages. As such, if you wonder what kind of mortgages are people securing in this bullish market, here is the article for you.

Mortgage preferences

Singaporean mortgagees generally tend to depict a conservative approach in the mortgages chosen, loving the word ‘fixed’. In the first half of 2017, fixed deposit mortgages constitutes of 74.5% of all mortgage types obtained; a huge market share. This followed way behind by fixed mortgages that represent 19.5% of the total mortgages. Board and SIBOR/SOR rates are significantly less, representing at 3.2% and 2.8% respectively.

Number of properties owned

First-time buyers or homeowners represent a majority share of the mortgagees at 63.7%. The existence of the Additional Buyers Stamp Duty (ABSD) is seemingly effective, as those owning 2 properties followed behind at 30.8%, while collectively those with 2 or more make up merely 5.5% of mortgagees.

Age Dynamics

Contrary to the previous statistics, the market shares for the age profiles of mortgage applicants represent a close fight, with 32.7% making up of those aged 41 to 50 years old, 31.9% constituting of those 31 to 40 years old, and 27.2% making up of the older generation aged 51 years old and above.

Nevertheless, it is imperative to note that majority of those aged 31 to 50 years old are home upgraders. This may be partly due to the fact that first time homebuyers generally turn to HDB loans, however, with stronger financial standings along the way, HDB upgrader turn to bank loans which offer attractive interest rates.

Gender Dynamics

Gender-wise, majority are men with 56.8%, while women make up the remaining 43.2%. Several reasons can be attributed to this numbers, be it the fact that men are generally the sole breadwinner, or the fact women tend to be conservative investors as compared to men. Nevertheless, we can expect this gap to further narrow in the foreseeable future as more women make property investments as a result of their growing significance in purchasing power.

Reasons for Mortgages

Our findings depict that there are more people seeking to refinance their loans as they seek to capitalize on more attractive packages, as indicated by the fact that 60.9% of mortgages are for refinancing purposes, an increase from 58% on a year-on- year basis.

Property types

Most of the properties mortgaged this year make up of condominiums, constituting 71.1% of all mortgages. This is significantly higher than HDB of 23.2% and landed properties of 6.6%. The reason being is the fact that generally HDB flat homebuyers tend to seek HDB loans. Simultaneously, the private residential market has been heating up as well.

Banks of Choice

Standard Chartered Bank, making up 28% of the mortgages, was the most favored bank in the first half of this year due to their appealing promotional rates. Nevertheless, OCBC is second favorites while Bank of China, DBS, UOB, and Maybank are close market competitors as well. You can check out a detailed list of mortgage interest rates.

Source: RedBrick
Author bio: this article is contributed by Ted of RedBrick

Monday, November 13, 2017

My Maiden Cryptocurrency - Ethereum

Ethereum
I started to get interested in Blockchain Technology and cryptocurrencies only at the beginning of this year when I chanced upon an article in an in-flight magazine. After digging further on Blockchain Technology (especially Ethereum) from books and online resources, I tend to agree that the future of decentralized/Distributed Ledger, especially in the form of smart contracts, will be a revolutionary one. As some of the gurus put it:  Blockchain Technology will be the true Internet 2.0.

I even go to the extend of creating another blog Blockchain SG to share what I've discovered and learnt (mainly on Blockchain Technology). Most people interested to know more about the Blockchain Technology because of the cryptocurrencies (mainly Bitcoin). For me, it is the other way around. 

Total market cap for Cryptocurrency is sitting at USD 203 billions and remains as one of the most speculative "asset class" at the moment. The Top 5 cryptocurrencies (based on market cap) are :

1. Bitcoin (USD 110+ billions)
2. Ethereum (USD 30+ billions)
3. Bitcoin Cash (USD 18 billions)
4. Ripple (USD 7+ billions)
5. Dash (USD 3+ billions)
    
Today, I've decided to get my hand "dirty" by getting my maiden cryotocurrency - Ethereum. As this is my first trade and I am using Coinbase (the exchange) to transact, I am only allowed to buy SGD100 worth of the coin. So, I am officially a cryptocurrency holder now. To be exact, I have 0.22635015 of ETH (Ethereum)  now :-)

Price of Ethereum (source: coindesk)
Coinbase charged me SGD 3.84 for the transaction which is effectively 3.84% commission (which is not cheap). I believed there are other cheaper alternatives around but I rather transact with a more established exchange as security is utmost important when come to such virtual currency holding.

You may ask, why Ethereum and not Bitcoin or any other coins? My simple answer is because Ethereum has the underlying technology (generating smart contracts) that has limitless potential, also, the price is not "obscenely" speculated yet. By the way, if you have not already know, MAS is currently working with banks to tokenised Singapore Dollars by using the Ethereum technology, they called it Project Ubin. More details of the development of this project will be shared during this week's Singapore Fintech Festival

Are you currently "investing" in cryptocurrency as well? What is your experience so far? 

Cheers!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

MyInfo (e-citizen service) - What You Need To Know

Feeling tired of filling-up all the same old personal details, again and again, in the online forms when you are requesting for services like opening a bank account If you are a SingPass holder, your life will get easier come next year when more local businesses are integrated MyInfo in their e-services and apps.   

MyInfo is an e-citizen service launched in May last year with the aim to pull personal data, such as Names, NRIC Numbers and Addresses from public agencies for the use in private sector. Pilot run has been carried out  with four banks - DBS, OCBC, UOB and Standard Chartered since May and four more banks (Citibank, HSBC, Maybank and American Express) will be on board by the first quarter of next year. 

From next month, businesses want to sign-up for the MyInfo integration can start to do so via their Partner Portal. The request will be subjected to assessment/approval. 

How Does MyInfo works?
1. All 3.3 million SingPass users will be enrolled in MyInfo by end of this year (as stated by GovTech in Sep)
2. During the online form filling-up stage, you can click on "Retrieve MyInfo" button to auto-retrieve your personal details.
3. Consent is required for each transaction, so you still can decide whether to provide your personal details via MyInfo or input manually. 

source: MyInfo official site
What digital services are integrated with MyInfo now (accurate as at 11 Nov 2017)?

Source : FAQ from Singapore Government site
For more updated list of the services, you may want to check out the FAQ link here

List Of Information available in MyInfo  (accurate as at 11 Nov 2017):
source: MyInfo official site
I foresee that local businesses like banks, insurers, telcos, utilities companies etc.. will take this opportunity to integrate with MyInfo for more seamless user experience on their respective e-services.

For more details of the latest development of MyInfo initiative, check out there official site here.

Cheers!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Second Serving With EV Energy Partners (EVEP)

If you've followed my blog from the beginning, you will know that I am currently still holding my one and only US stock, EV Energey Partners (EVEP) [O & G Industry]. I bought it in Apr 2015 at a high of USD 16.65 per share (even though only 250 shares), you know how the O & G Industry performed since then and yes, it has plunged more than 90%  and currently sitting at USD 1.07 per share (last trading @ 08/11/2017). 

I've been contemplating to average down this counter in view of the recent recovery (seemingly) of oil price as well as the O & G  Industry in general. Last night, I've made the move and added another 250 shares at USD 1.15 each. So, my average price per share now is USD 8.90. 

Oil Price chart (3 months)
EVEP  Chart
It might be a mistake, as in I might be throwing more $ into a deteriorating stock but I am prepared to take the risk (or bet) with the long term view that the oil price (and the O & G Industry as a whole) will continue to be on the recovery route. 

EVEP will be releasing their 3rd Qtr Result tomorrow (9th Nov 2017), let's see how it goes.

Cheers!

Register the 16th Nov 2017 (Thu) or 25th Nov 2017 (Sat) Preview Sessions of Factor Based Investing for FREE here!  

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Why Social Media is Crucial for All Start Ups

Whether you’re in Singapore, or anywhere else in the world, and you’re starting your own business, you’ll want to look into social media and tie it in with your business. Social media plays an unbelievably important role, especially for a startup that yet hasn’t sailed into stardom. It’s not just about funny memes and pretty pictures, it’s a whole world of businesses and entrepreneurs making their way through the crowds, and seizing every single opportunity they can to convert leads into sales.
There are plenty of great examples of small businesses soaring sky –high thanks to social media. Social media platforms offer so much potential,and here’s why.
  1. Getting to Know the Audience
It’s obvious that social media is great for exposure, as you can reach as many people as you could want. But, it’s not just about reach, it’s about going in-depth and investigating what your target audience wants. Social media gives you insight into what your audience and potential customers are doing, what they are looking for, what kind of questions they have, and this immediately changes your game, because you’re right there with them, offering a solution to their problem. Package it just right, and in the right time, and your business will definitely feel the difference. The best part is, no investment is necessary.
  1. Engaging Your Audience
When your audience goes onto your social media profile, it’s like they are window shopping. You get a chance to display your business free, but it’s also a great opportunity to get your audience hooked to your brand. Although everyone is on social media, trying to sell something or tell their story, the goal is to entice your audience and get them excited over your brand. Whether you’re a florist in Singapore or someone who’s launching a new app. If you can tell your story, but put a unique spin on it, so that intrigues your audience, social media will basically do all the networking for you.
  1. Monitor Competition
As a start up, not only are you striving to lift your business of the ground, but you want to do it, by staying ahead of the competition. What better way to monitor your competition than on social media, where everything is out in the open and you can see what your competition is offering. For example, if you’re a flower shop, you could see what kind of designs florists are using, and then tailor your offering so that you have something that they lack. Use this as a startup to learn from them and tailor your business so that it’s always one step ahead.
  1. Generate Sales and Leads
Social media is a world where you can basically gather leads and make sales without making any kind of an investment. You can spread your message to the entire world, join communities and engage with them, and potentially grow your business faster than you initially thought you could.
Social media is no longer just for fun, and business are flocking to the digital world and using every chance they have to grow their business. As a start up, this is a great opportunity, because it’s essentially free, and you get to put yourself to a large number of people, without actually investing any funds.

Author bio: I've teamed up with fellow content writer Elma Humpries to recommend the social media platforms

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Origin - What I Like And Dislike About The Latest Novel From Dan Brown

Origin, authored by Dan Brown is the the fifth installment in his Professor Robert Langdon series. As per his previous work, it's a fast pace thriller with intertwined clues and multiple twists at the end. 

I've never written a novel review in this blog before so thought of trying something new here. I've just finished the book (within 11 days, considered an achievement for me since speed reading is not my forte). Anyway, just like to share my review after reading the book.  

The Plot:
This time round, the story happens mainly in Spain (Madrid, Bilbao and Barcelona etc..) the plot revolve around the age-long debate/battle between religion and science about the origin of human beings. 

"Where we came from?" and "Where are we going?"

An earth-shaking discovery by a futurist, Edmond Kirsch (student of Prof Langdon), facing off with the clerics from all key religions, coupled with the intertwined side-plots of the secret between the King of Spain and the Bishop, the Prince Julian and his fiancee, Ambra Vidal. Viola! You have a face pace, page turner novel.     

What I Like:
1. It is a fast pace thriller, it all happen within x hours and I like the multiple twists at the end (even though I have guessed it right for one of the twist half-way through the book) 

2. As per Dan Brown's previous works, he managed to bring alive the uniqueness of the ancient churches/buildings/structures purely with words. I especially like his vivid visualization (with words) of Museum Guggenheim, Casa Milaa and Sagrada Familia
Casa Mila
Casa Mila

museum Guggenheim
Museum Guggenheim

Sagrada Familia
 Sagrada Familia
Personal note: after reading the book, I've decided to include Spain in my bucket list of country to visit. 

3. Always can learn new riddles from his book, here are 3 that I've learnt from Origin:
a. From first glance, the following Roman-numeral equation seems to be FALSE, but there is a way to make it a TRUE. How?   

    I + XI = X

b. We all know "&" (ampersand) means AND, but do your know that it was originated from two alphabets? What are they? 

c. Do you know there is a hidden symbol in the following Fedex logo? 
    
What I Don't Like:
1. The final revelation is kind of anti-climax, at least to me.

2. Some of the subplots seemed a bit too pretentious or unnecessary.  

Overall Verdict:
If you are a fan of fast pace thriller or his earlier Prof Langdon series, you will definitely like it. Even though there is no ground-breaking stuff here but overall it is still an entertaining read (click on the book cover below to find out more about book). 
Origin Dan Brown
Click on ME to find out more
My rating : 3.5 (out of 5 stars)

Have you read the book, Origin? What is your review?

If you are interested to read more about the earlier Prof Robert Langdon series, check out below:


Alternatively, you can sign-up for the Audible for 30-Days FREE Trail and get 2 FREE audiobooks:

Cheers! 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Having Fun In My Maiden Hackathon-like Experience

On Monday and Tuesday, I've participated with an Hackathon-like event called IdeaSmash (organized by my company). The idea is to let the employees experience the start-up process (from ideation to pitching the idea to the judges, yes, it's a competition too) and along the way pick-up the design thinking skill. 

It's an eye-opening experience and an action-packed one as well. It's chaotically fun! Within the 36 hours, we are literally created SOMETHING (at least the prototype) from NOTHING. There are 10 teams in total and we (from the Football Kakis team of four) managed to pleasantly surprise even ourselves to clinch the champion spot for this maiden event.

Personally, the experience and knowledge that we gained from this event outweigh the prize itself. Some of the key learning points are:

1. Idea generation is easy, the tough part is generating the idea that the potential customers/users care about. 

2. There are so many free tools around in the market to help the start-ups (or for that matter, any individual) to:
a. Create cool Landing Page within minutes (Strikingly is the tool that we've used to create out landing page) 
b. Prototype your idea (POP or InVision, there are three types of prototyping: Paper Prototyping, Digital Prototyping and Native Prototyping, these 2 tools/apps enable user to create the clickable digital protoypes in minutes) 
c. The 10-20-30 Rules of Pitching (Maximum 10 slides , maximum 20 minutes, 30 point of font size)


What we've achieved within the 36 hours?
1. Generated an idea : Football Kakis
2. Created and published the Landing Page
3. Created and launched the first Facebook Ad
4. Did the market research of our idea through face-to-face interview
5. Created the prototype of our App via InVision.

Start-up is a teamwork and it needs lots of collaboration, communication, validation and learning/relearning. 

Cheers!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Investor One - New Catalist Investment Portal By ShareInvestor

If you have not already known, the new investment portal, Investor One, focusing on Catalist companies has been officially launched on 25 Oct 2017. It was developed by ShareInvestor, a subsidiary of SPH and the Investment Social Network, InvestingNote is part of it too. Personally I think it is a good sign to see more of such mainstream investment portals to improve the financial literacy of the general public.

I've just drop by the site and I must say that its user interface is quite refreshing and neatly presented. 

Beside the usual news articles and interviews (they lump them under Editorial section), they also have the following sub-sections:
Investor One

1. Performance - Showing the performance of "Top 5 Catalist companies" basing on your selected category like Today's Top Active, Hitting 52 weeks High, Highest Dividend Yield etc...     
Investor One

2. Quick Facts - Just like the StockFacts feature in SGX site but with lesser details and focusing on Catalist companies. 
Investor One

3. Social - This section is powered by InvestingNote with the sharing of articles from users/bloggers.
Investor One

4. IPOs - List down the recent IPOs in Catalist and showing their performances within the page. 
Investor One

5. Academy - To be frank, I am a bit clueless about this sub-section at the moment as so far there are too few information/sharing within this section. Looks more like news to me. 
Investor One

Have you check out this new portal? What do you think?

Cheers!

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