TenX Pay – A True Value-Pick among Cryptocurrencies at the moment?

teachers-appreciation-week.jpgBlockchain is one technology that has completely caught me by the balls over the past few months. In fact I have been so involved in learning about it that I’ve already digested a handful of books, tons of tutorials, videos and numerous blog posts on the subject. Blockchain as a technology is incredible, to say the least, and I personally believe that this is disruptive technology that will create a financial revolution in the days to come.

Given that cryptocurrency (virtual or digital currency), as of now, is  the most common application of blockchain technology, it is no surprise that there is a lot of interest in this space. Unless you were living under a rock, you would have heard of a certain cryptocurrency sometime too – something called ‘Bitcoin

Bitcoin was just the beginning and while it got the ball rolling, there are many more currencies running on the blockchain today that are worth having a look into.

Over the past month, I have also been carefully building a portfolio of coins (akin to a stock portfolio stock market investors make) and trying to pick some great cryptocurrencies that seem to have ticked all the right boxes. There are well over a thousand different cryptocurrencies in the market today – starting with the gold standard called Bitcoin and its almost equally well known second-in-line, Ether (sometimes simply called Ethereum – the platform on which the Ether coin exists).

However, of the vast number of coins in the market, the majority are just worthless scams – they are coins created by a wily group of people out to make a quick buck by building coins on the open source platforms available, and then offering them for sale via what is called an Initial Coin Offering (a.k.a ICO).

Scammers create enough hype to run up the price of their coin and then once prices hit the ceiling, sell off their hoarding and strike it rich while the gullible buyers of these coins are left scratching their heads wondering where they went wrong.

Duh! If that gives you a sense of déjà vu, it’s because the whole ‘pump and dump’ scheme (as it is called) isn’t very different from the various scams running in stock markets world over with ‘penny stocks’.

Nevertheless, amidst that vast pile of rubbish lie some great coins (or tokens), that belong to companies that actually create ‘value’ in the market.

Investors in the stock market are always out to find ‘value picks’ – stocks that belong to companies that are underpriced and that have excellent potential to grow and yield rich dividends to its investors in good time. Likewise, the growing tribe of cryptocurrency investors too keeps looking out for companies that are genuinely creating value for its customers. They may not be easy to find but there are quite a few out there.

As part of my personal goal, I tried narrowed down on 10 currencies I wanted to invest into for the long haul and one of the names that frequently came up was that of TenX.

So what’s TenX and what makes it different

TenX is a Singapore based company that came up with a viable solution for one of the biggest questions facing the cryptocurrency space- how to use cryptocurrencies in the real world.

When Bitcoin kept gaining popularity these past few years, there was one nagging issue it faced. Despite all its positives and its adoption among the geek crowd that swears by it, and despite the fact that Bitcoin turned out to be an excellent alternative to currency notes, you couldn’t simply walk into your local coffee shop (or most of them at least) and pay in Bitcoin. If the virtual currency that occupies 70% of the market capital has limited takers in the real word, what chances did other currencies have?

TenX came up with this great idea – how about a debit card that allows a user to pay for anything using cryptocurrency instead of USD/Euro or whatever Fiat currency is used locally?

There were other cards that had come up with ways to spend their cypto currencies (Monero came up with a card for spending their tokens), but TenX was unique in the fact that they provided an option for cross-currency spending – that meant irrespective of whether you held Bitcoin, Ether, Ripple, Litecoin or practically any kind of cryptocurrency, you could use them for actual spending in the real world using one simple debit card – realtime!

Different coins could be on different platforms and interlinking them would be a nightmare but TenX made this possible by integrating their product with the Commit network – a solution for inter-blockchain linking.

Also, while most of these new upcoming companies of the Crypto-Era work on their solution after raising funds via an ICO, TenX went ahead and had a working product by the time the ICO for their token (named ‘PAY’) was up and ready. The company gathered a lot of interest along and got the backing of heavy weight venture capitalists firms and its ICO got a lot of publicity.

In fact the interest in the ICO was so huge that the ICO sold out in 7 minutes flat (and ostensibly even crashed a few servers)! Phew – to draw an analogy think about an IPO in a stock market that gets fully subscribed in 7 minutes – that’s quite a feat!

Anyway, to cut a long story short, TenX has been continuously gathering more followers and the card has slowly been gaining traction – in recent news, the card which was available only in a limited number of countries, also made their foray into Europe – a breakthrough that opens doors to far more users.

In brief here are my top points that ostensibly make TenX a great investment opportunity for the future:

  1. A valuable working product that leverages Crypto currencies– There are many videos excited TenX users have posted on YouTube showing how they purchased coffee/burgers and whatnot using their TenX cards. The product is already available across Europe and South East Asia and poised to move into more markets soon.
  2. Competitive Rates for their Flagship product – The card’s fees are extremely low and this gives it distinct advantage over traditional credit cards, which in turn makes the card likely for mass adoption once the momentum takes it beyond its tipping point.
  3. An Excellent Team with good backing– the company’s impressive team (with some proven winners) is backed by heavyweight investors (including the founder of Ethereum, often seen as the Mark Zuckerburg of the Crypto World – Vitalik Buterin). The company is also among the first three startups to graduate Paypal’s Singapore incubator.
  4. Early Mover and Excellent market leader potential – Even if other players come into this space, TenX, with a product already in place, it has a first mover advantage, which it is very unlikely to squander, given that the team is working hard to capitalize on that advantage.

So what makes TenX a value-pick now?

As most people who are active in this space would know, crypto currency is still considered to be its infancy stage (ironically the market capital of this infancy stage is a staggering $147 Billion the time I’m writing this) and, therefore, is only poised to grow further from here.

There are many who are confident that cryptocurrency and Bitcoin is here to stay (including people like Bill Gates and Richard Branson, who are vocally supportive of crytocurrency) but the vast amount of speculation surrounding the space makes it currently very volatile too – movements of 10-15% within a day in the crypto world is still commonplace.

While TenX has shown potential to b a game-changer for the future, TenX Pay (its own token) has taken some heavy beating since its ICO days.

TenX currently more than 85% down (against Bitcoin) from its price on July 7th this year (this is shown in the chart taken from the Bittrex exchange). At its highest price, 1 TenX Pay token equaled 350,000 Satoshis (1 Bitcoin = 100 Million Satoshis), while today it is trading in the range of just 51,000 Satoshis, at a discount of more than 85% from its highs. TenX had briefly scaled up to 156000 Satoshis (at that time approximately $5.8) in mid-August and significantly corrected after that – that means it is at a whopping 65% discount from its recent highs.

At the level of 51,000 Satoshis or $2.17 (prices at which it is trading currently), TenX looks a great pick for any long term investor who is willing to hold it for the long term given the company’s potential and it seems only a matter of time before it surges far above the current levels.

With these views in mind, I am looking forward to going all in now since  it looks unlikely there will be much further downside from this point – if you’re a believer in the future of crypto– this might be your chance too, to pick a winner for tomorrow.

Disclaimer: Views expressed are that of the author and should not be taken as investment advice. Readers must do their own research before investing in any cryptocurrencies.

PS: Also posted on the author’s Steemit Blog


9 Points To Help You Succeed as an Indie Author

9 Points
September 2017 has been my most successful month as an author so far. Not only did my latest book gain traction and hit #1 on 3 different bestseller charts and earn the coveted orange bestseller badge on Amazon (a first for me, after being in the business for almost 2.5 years), but it has also been the month that found the largest number of buyers for my books since I first published in May 2017 – both small but cherished personal milestones.

I really owe it to my readers who were kind enough to buy my books and give them the thumbs-up. Years of effort and perseverance have finally started giving their dividends. Publishing is a bittersweet journey.

There are countless people today who have the potential to succeed as writers, and yet so often, it is only a minuscule lot from those with potential who actually make it. There are a lot of factors that are crucial in making a breaking a writer and whenever I get a chance to speak with a budding writer, I tell them about these factors, which I learnt mostly from experience.

Sometime back, I had written a small post on the 9 things that helped me to succeed as an indie-writer and I’d like to share them once again in this post. If you are somebody who wants to write and publish someday, do spare a few moments to go through them because these are things you’re unlikely to find in a writer’s manual.

Here are those 9 things that helped me over the years and those that can help you too:

  1. Practice, Practice, Practice : I worked on my writing for over 10 years before I wrote my first book. I maintained three blogs at one point, and wrote a variety of articles that were between 1500–3000 words in length. Additionally, I never missed an opportunity to write articles for company magazines. I ended up writing so much that whenever I sat down to write, I could write 1000–3000 words effortlessly on any topic I had chosen to write on.
  2. Ask for Feedback : I encouraged readers to comment and rate my articles, and slowly, over many years, I learned what resonated best with readers. I identified my flaws and worked on them, and started leveraging my strengths.
  3. Work on your Language Skills : Despite possessing better vocabulary and language skills than most of my peers, I still kept learning. Most people know as much English (I write only in English) as they did when they were in high school; I made a conscious effort improve my grasp of the language. Even today, if I am not clear about the usage of a particular phrase, or a word, I look it up instead of simply avoiding it.
  4. Read, Read, and Read : I read books both on general topics, and books on writing – there are many factors that symbolise good writing. Many of these are oblivious to layfolk. If anybody thinks he/she can become a good writer without ever reading or learning from great writing, he/she is incredibly naive. I had cultivated a reading habit when I was very young, so as I grew older, I found it easier to shift from reading popular fiction to more serious topics.
  5. Change your Priorities and Started Valuing Time: I gave up watching TV almost permanently. I’ve watched only 2 TV shows over the past 3 and half years, one episode per week, (online streaming) and I seldom watch movies on my computer – instead I watch a movie at a local cinema with my wife on weekends.This change alone gave me a lot of time for writing. I stopped doing activities to just ‘kill time’. You never realise how much time you can save once you make an effort. Almost every free moment I get is spent on either reading something of value, or on doing something that contributes towards my writing. I don’t indulge in idle gossiping at my workplace and always take a book to read when I’m having lunch or dinner (if I’m alone). Apart from reading and writing, I love playing my guitar (I’ve been playing for almost 19 years now) and I play it only during the weekends or when I miss it sorely nowadays. Everybody gets 24 hours, it’s about how you use it that matters.
  6. Learn from your Mistakes – My first book, despite getting a lot of positive feedback got buried because I didn’t know anything about the publishing process and didn’t have any friend who had written a book. Writing a book is not even a third of the work that one needs to do to get published. I failed miserably in my first outing as an author despite writing a book into which I poured my heart and soul, and despite it being loved by readers; only because I didn’t know anything about the system. My second book, a non-fiction management guide that didn’t require a third of the effort I put into my first one, did much better – it still features in Amazon’s top 100 for its category, after almost a year.
  7. Get involved in the Processes of Self-Publishing – Content editing, proof-reading, cover designing, blurb writing, formatting, setting up web-pages, setting social media pages, publicising, networking – I didn’t know the importance of many of these activities before I published a book. In the past couple of years, I’ve done these all myself and have also outsourced critical activities such as editing, and proofreading (these definitely need to be done by a third party because writers are oblivious to their own mistakes.
  8. Stop Looking for Support from the Wrong People : I’m the first author in my entire extended family and yet, I found very little support from within my family. It’s probably more to do with cultural values than anything else. I found it disheartening that most of my family members were mostly indifferent to my endeavours. It wasn’t surprising that many of them didn’t read either. They were more interested in pestering me about not being married even after I turned thirty (I suppose many Indians can relate with this feeling). Apart from one very supportive cousin, there were few in my family who were supportive. I found support instead from a few good friends, and from my fiancée (who’s now my wife). Nowadays, I never speak about my writing to any family member unless they ask me about it.
  9. Stop Looking for Short Term Gains – Every newbie author dreams big before publishing and in ninety nine instances out of a hundred, he/she ends in disappointment. I’ve stopped becoming disappointed or dejected in failures and keep doing what I do, because I love doing it. I improvise each time and as long as I’m moving forward, I know that someday I will attain the level of success I have targeted. It could be tomorrow, it could be years or decades from now but I believe it is only a matter of time.

There are far more factors that could influence your success as an author and this is not a comprehensive list. Nevertheless, once you take care of the nine points listed above, your journey as a writer will become far more easier that it would be otherwise.

Note: This post contains content that was posted in one of the author’s responses to a question on Quora: https://www.quora.com/What-have-you-done-so-far-in-order-to-become-a-writer/answer/Roji-Abraham. Also posted on https://steemit.com/@roji.abraham


Fight or Flight–Evolutionary behaviour that has overstayed its welcome…

Many thousands of years ago humankind lived in caves, wore animal skin for clothes, and stalked deer (or whatever beast they found fit to consume) so that they could hunt them down with spears or other rudimentary tools, in order to get their daily dose of protein. And despite all that healthy living – they ate pit roasted steaks (Colonel Sanders’ chicken wasn’t quite the rage then), naturally grown fruits and got plenty of exercise – they would’ve been lucky to live till they were forty! The far unluckier ones often ended on the dinner menu of a saber-tooth or any other hungry large predator that was on the prowl and had a taste for slow moving claw-less, fang-less, two-legged animals.

We have come a long way since then – forget hunting, a fair number of people no longer eat meat, and those who do, mostly their meat from nicely stacked rows in supermarkets that they pay for in bits of fancy paper. And of course, we live far longer on an average and many of those savage things that hunted us are mostly gone for good – the few large predators that are still around are either showpieces in enclosures we pay to visit, or in pockets of jungles far moved from civilization posing no threat to humans. We are a few million times more likely to die from a collision with a metallic beast, driven by an idiot behind the wheel, than we are from the attack of a savage predator.

Ah! Modern times.

Nevertheless, there are certain aspects of our inbuilt behavior that has survived this larger drastic transformation.

Ever felt a sudden sense of heightened awareness that seeps through us when a stranger passes us in a dark creepy alley? That’s pretty much the same sensation that our ancestors possessed when they walked in the dark and heard a dry twig snap in the vicinity.

This sense of heightened awareness is called the ‘fight or flight’ response and it helps us identify dangerous situations and act instantly – gather either the strength to confront the danger or run away as fast as we can. This dramatic shift to ‘survival mode’ is often described as that instinctive feel that ‘something isn’t right’. This is also accompanied by a sudden feeling of cold (‘shiver down the spine’?), and an increase in heart rate and respiration rate.

This sense is an outcome of a rather complex mind-body process that involves the mind’s ‘fear-centre’ called the hypothalamus which advises the nervous system and the adrenal-cortical system to work together to create a mix of hormones and chemicals secreted into our blood-stream. Skin feels colder because blood is redirected to larger muscle groups to prepare them for confrontation or for flight. All other thoughts usually as discarded as the brain prioritizes the big-picture at that time – survival!

Of course, over the ages, human beings probably wouldn’t have survived had it not been for this response system that gave them the added advantage in a rough era where split second decisions could make the difference between saving oneself to live another day and ending up on a saber-tooth’s dinner plate.

However, it is rather ironic that in present times, where such instances of physical threats have drastically decreased, the activation of the fight or flight has supposedly increased because of mental frustrations.

You would really think of this as a problem when a life-saving system that was supposed to warn you in times of intense bodily peril such as the presence of a predator, or a falling tree, gets triggered because of a snappy boss or an argumentative spouse, or even a traffic-rule bending idiot who cuts your lane on the road. In such situations, the triggering of the fight or flight response aggravates the problem (rather than help the person, as it was originally intended to).

In the bygone times, the initiation of the fight or flight response was immediately followed by physical exertion (in all probability you’d be running for your life or would be in a violent fight).

But in present times, that vital element of physical exertion following the triggering of the fight or flight response is missing – you can’t really punch your boss in the face (even though you’re tempted to), or slam the erratic driver into a wall (though some people can’t just resist the urge). And this leads to something that is a major contributor to a large number of modern illnesses – stress!

So now that you realize, your daily stress can be partly accredited to your biological conditioning, the next question is what can be done about it?

Neil F Neimark, a stress researcher, actually recommends physical exertion as a really useful strategy (no, he doesn’t recommend bashing the boss though). The researcher suggests ‘fooling’ the body into metabolizing stress hormones by doing physical activities (such as hitting a punching bag instead of punching the boss). The brain isn’t smart enough to realize this exercise isn’t related to the original stress stimulus and hence carries out the metabolism of these stress hormones that help a person reach his normal stress-free state faster. A different set of techniques suggested by Harvard cardiologist Herbert Benson were deep breathing, meditation and the repetition of affirmative phrases that help calm the nervous system.

So to sum up, next time you feel a sudden heightened blood boiling sensation triggered by a somebody’s callous statements or behavior, go punch a bag, or better still (since punching bags aren’t around all the time) take a deep breath and repeat to yourself ‘I’m a peaceful person who will not get triggered by my animal senses’ for a few times and you’ll feel much better at the end of it!

Oh, alternatively, go try screaming into a pillow – that really works too! Seriously!

PS: Also published on https://steamit.com/@roji.abraham