Proceed with Caution: Cryptocurrency Is Riddled With Risks

There are all kinds of news (articles and videos) about digital currencies on traditional and social media, and it’s easy to be confused by it all. In fact, you may be left wondering if cryptocurrency in something you should be investing in.

A Look At Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency (crypto, for short) is one kind of digital currency are different from fiat currencies (dollar, yen or euro). They’re not represented by physical money but rather a unique alphanumeric line of computer code. 

A central bank does not issue cryptocurrencies but is technology-controlled. The technology regulates the amount of units generated, and the way transactions get recorded.  Most people have heard of Bitcoin, as it was one of the earliest cryptocurrencies to debut. Today, there are over 1,000 cryptocurrencies available. 

According to the U.S. government tax code, cryptocurrency is property; selling or exchanging cryptocurrency could have tax implications. 

What Are The Risks With Cryptocurrencies?

There are several risks with cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrency is a risk, and if you invest in it, it should be only for an amount you can afford to lose.  You can invest in cryptocurrencies in various ways – buying coins that could increase in value or purchasing platform shares or companies that help with blockchain technology. 

Investments can be made via Initial Coin Offering (ICO), which is how a company can raise money that includes the production and sale of digital coins. Investors often buy these coins to trade them for fiat or crypto-currencies. 

Be mindful of fraud, which has happened with direct currency buys and ICO. 

What To Remember 

Although cryptocurrency can be a wise investment for financial markets and capital raising, investors may have a hard time making a smart decision because of the lack of verifiable information.

Cryptocurrency markets are extremely volatile and are riddled with fraud potential.  People invest in cryptocurrencies because it’s an easy way to make money, but they can also lose it just as fast. 

Be wary of any site that offers guarantees, complicated strategies, account inconsistencies, missing documents, aggressive salespeople, unregistered products and dubious claims of regular returns.

Geoffrey the Giraffe Has A New Home With Kroger

Approximately 600 Kroger-owned grocery stores are getting a familiar face this holiday season. 

Geoffrey, the highly-recognized Toys R Us mascot, will bring its collection of brands to the popular grocery chain. Shoppers will once again be able to buy You & Me dolls and Imaginarium play Sets despite Toys R Us’ ultimate failure to reorganize while in bankruptcy protection. 

Kroger’s Senior Vice President of Merchandising Robert Clark said, the company is excited to bring the Geoffrey Toy Box so customers can buy the once-exclusive, highly-coveted selection of toys.

The re-introduction of the Geoffrey’s Toy Box and Geoffrey the giraffe will include a mixture of 35 toys, ranging from prices of $19.99 to $49.99. The toys will be on sale at several Kroger-owned grocery stores such as Fred Meyer, Ralphs and Smiths along with the company’s namesake line.

Many retailers are putting more attention on toys to get some part of the $27-billion toy industry after the bankruptcy of Toys R Us. Party City recently unveiled several Toy City seasonal shops, Wal-Mart and Target have increased the size of their toy aisles and FAO Schwarz will open its first store in quite some time. 

GM Introduces Electric Bike To Its Line Of Products

General Motors is expanding its line of products to include… bicycles.

GM, which manufactures SUVs and pickup trucks, revealed it had made two electric bikes and will be offering them for sale next year. The electric bikes are pedal bikes that come with an electric motor and small battery pack. While some e-bikes run on just electricity (no pedaling involved), others require pedaling to provide extra power to the motor. GM did not disclose what its e-bikes would have).

GM engineers who worked on the company’s electric cars helped in the design of the bike and the electric motors.

GM E-bike Marketing Manager Jennifer Cathcart said the two foldable bikes were created to be used in urban settings. Since they don’t need as much exertion to rise, it eliminates the usual protests people have about biking. For example, riders who bike to work won’t get near as sweaty even when they ride uphill.

GM said there are both front and rear lights on the e-bikes.

According to Cathcart, the electric bikes are in line with the company’s long-term goal to offer customers with zero-congestion and zero emissions products.

The e-bikes will include Internet connection though no disclosure of what type of connections. The company is also mum on how its bikes are going to be advertised and if they’ll be available to consumers, bike sharing fleets or both.

There is also no name for the bike line, and the company is asking for the public’s help. You can take part in the naming process by going to GM will give $10,000 to the winning submission while nine runners-up will receive $1,000 each. A panel will go through each name to determine the best one for the bike line.

FDA Approves Controversial Drug In Face Of Opioid Crisis

Although the U.S. is fighting an ongoing opioid crisis, a new opioid medication that’s up to 10 times more potent than fentanyl was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 

AcelRx Pharmaceuticals Inc. developed the drug Dsuvia, which is a tablet that comes in a pre-filled, single dose applicator. Patients are only given the drug by healthcare providers in emergency rooms, surgical centers and hospitals. 

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, FDA commissioner, swiftly defended the decision by saying the agency was trying something new to deal with the ongoing crisis while still paying attention to the patients’ needs and the doctors managing their pain. 

Gottlieb spoke with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s chief medical correspondent, in April and said the nation’s biggest issue is the opioid crisis and its over-prescription of the drug. He said more people in the U.S. die from drug overdoses than breast cancer. 

After Dsuvia’s approval, he said opioids are a unique type of medication, and he understands the debate about the class. Gottlieb said the agency is taking action to reduce the risks and maintain the benefits they provide.  He said he understands people’s concern about Dsuvia’s approval and the need for yet another powerful opioid when the nation is facing a huge addiction problem.

Public Citizen, a public advocacy group, was quick to criticize the agency’s action saying the FDA was being reckless and endangering people’s lives with its approval. It said Dsuvia is about 10 times stronger than fentanyl and 1,000 times stronger than morphine.

AcelRx said Dsuvia is only available to doctors and other care professionals in a healthcare environment – not in retail pharmacies or outpatient use. Only certified and authorized representatives of the Dsuvia Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy program will be allowed to dispense the drug. The company said it’s only to be given to individuals who cannot tolerate other forms of pain treatment or when existing pain treatment methods failed or cannot be tolerated. 

According to AxelRx, the drug would most benefit soldiers who have been injured during battle. The company said the Department of Defense helped with the development of Dsuvia, and the Pentagon deemed it a priority. 

An FDA advisory committed denied Dsuvia in 2017 because there wasn’t enough data to support an approval. The company came back to the agency, which approved the drug on Oct. 12.  Dsuvia is set to enter the market during the first quarter of 2019.

Politics 2018: What's at stake during the midterm election

The upcoming midterm election on Tuesday has major stakes for both political parties, as well as the future of healthcare, taxes, immigration and the U.S. economy.

Polls indicate Democrats have a good shot at taking control of the House, while the GOP is favored to keep a small majority in the Senate.

However after the last presidential election, no one is taking anything for granted.

Both President Donald Trump along with former President Obama hit the campaign trail on Friday to help party members in contested races across the country seal the deal before Tuesday's big vote.

While balance in Washington sounds like a good thing, the inability to to pass almost any major legislation is an unfortunate side effect.

History shows that when the president's party has a low approval rating going into a midterm election, there will likely be a major hit across the board nationally.

But we are living in a new reality in 2018.

One where President Donald Trump won the White House despite every poll saying it couldn't happen.

One where words that would have sunk any other presidency have managed to bolster his base support.

One where nothing is over until it's over.