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The Future of Fintech: Technologies That Drive the Industry

fintech

By Maksim Bieliai, BA Team Leader, Fintech Market Analyst at MobiDev

The development of the fintech industry does not stand still. By adopting technologies such as Blockchain, Open APIs, Artificial intelligence and Machine Learning, fintech companies contribute to better security, improvement of efficiency, and merge of fintech solutions with traditional finances. All this leads to the emergence of new trends dictating higher standards for market players. Let’s dive into the hottest of them to find out what is the next big thing in the industry.

AI & ML Will Make Fintech Solutions Smarter

Deep learning has empowered computers to perform such tasks as object recognition, speech analysis, and face detection. The ability to analyze a large amount of data and recognize patterns forms the basis of AI decision-making solutions. Because of this, we can see how AI helps banks and financial institutions to optimize costs, personalize the banking experience, streamline workflows and improve the financial literacy of individual users and entire organizations.

However, despite all these advantages, AI has limitations and should comply with ethics, security, and privacy regulations. Fortunately, collaboration with an experienced fintech development team allows us to minimize these limitations and create software solutions that meet all regulatory and business requirements.

Considering these regulations, engineers can create fintech products like those listed below:

  • Personal financial apps analyze spending, incomes, and debts to help users manage their money more effectively.
  • Fintech apps to track customer-related data about cash and credit accounts. With such apps, financial organizations can provide clients with useful insights into their financial behavior.
  • Apps for improving financial decision-making. AI & ML models assess a large amount of complex information, visualize data, and even make predictions to assist users in meeting their financial goals.

A great variety of fintech products with AI components derives from market growth. Mordor Intelligence reveals that AI in the global fintech market will reach $26.67B by 2026.

Blockchain Will Enhance Fintech Security

Blockchain has evolved over time because of the strong community that empowers fintech innovations. One of the main benefits of this technology is that blockchain can personalize user experience while sustaining a highly secure fintech infrastructure. For instance, it allows the processing of P2P payments without bank intermediaries. Nevertheless, banks and similar intermediary financial institutions exploit blockchain to lower the cost of payments.

For example, J.P. Morgan is using blockchain to improve money transfers. Sweden’s central bank is experimenting with issuing its own digital currency called e-krona, while HSBC is relying on blockchain to securely store digital assets. Protego Trust Bank is another example of a digital asset bank, built solely to help investors securely benefit from emerging digital asset offerings. The list of successful applications of blockchain in banking continues to grow.

With the help of blockchain, financial organizations can also minimize the probability of online frauds through the reinforcement of the systems via digital signature adoption, decentralization, and other blockchain capabilities. Similar technological solutions may help manage records for KYC and AML, build data repositories for capital markets, improve the processes of lending, and simplify regulatory reporting by providing quick access to data. 

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Crypto and Metaverse Will Shift Investment Trends

Cryptocurrencies are becoming recognized financial assets that attract investors from all across the globe and they still occupy a significant role in the fintech investment trends in 2022. It seems like resounding collapses in prices of cryptocurrencies and even the demise of the crypto coins won’t somehow change the situation. Moreover, companies are gladly adopting crypto, which has a positive impact on the market. For instance, PayPal has already become crypto-friendly and supports crypto transfers to improve the customer experience. Despite volatility throughout the year, the crypto coins like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Tether, etc. are considered to be promising investments.

Non-fungible tokens or NFTs also drive the investment market. With the ability to represent unique digital assets and securely verify ownership of them, NFTs are increasingly becoming part of financial investment and trading solutions. For example, the German fintech platform NAGA is developing its own NFT staking protocol for the NAGAX social trading app. Moreover, NAGA Group CEO expects the revenue from the social trading app to exceed the revenue from the brokerage business.

Cryptocurrencies and NFTs are assets linked to the metaverse. Investors investigate the digital world and consider these options while building their portfolios. These are new investment trends of the metaverse, which are taken into account by platforms for buying and holding assets. Coinbase, for instance, introduced the intention to develop a unique NFT that represents a username and allows users to keep their identity while switching between metaverse worlds.        

Open APIs Will Connect Fintech and Traditional Finances

In 2022 and beyond, we will definitely see open banking growth. This implies the popularization of the approach in which banks and other financial institutions grant access to their data in a controlled setting via APIs, thus enabling fintech startups to build new applications and services. Instead of competing with fintech companies, banks partner with them by providing customer information through APIs and contributing to market development.

Open banking capabilities are used by fintech startups that provide cost tracking, budgeting, financial planning, lending, and other services. With this technology, they can easily set up application integration with user banks to improve the customer experience and ensure customer success. For example, the MoneyBox app uses open banking to help users improve their savings and investments by collecting data from all user accounts. The application connects to the bank account selected by the user and, with his consent, collects transaction data, which is then displayed in the Moneybox app.

Plaid is one of the most popular intermediaries between financial applications and banks. The platform allows application users to securely log in and share their data. The list of products relying on open APIs goes on and on. Prospects of this technology can be easily tracked through statistics. According to Business Wire, the global open banking market will reach $19.14B in 2022.      

Wrapping Up – Global Vision for Fintech

The advancement of fintech is prompted by technological progress in such areas as Blockchain, AI, metaverse, and open APIs. Of course, this is not a complete list, as fintech is closely connected to the overall technology landscape and uses the latest advances to improve the efficiency of financial systems. That’s why a lot of banks establish partnerships with fintech startups to stay ahead of the curve of innovation and competitiveness.

Postbank is Bank of the Year

Postbank

The financial institution also received the prize in the Development Dynamics category

Postbank became the grand prize winner in the 30th-anniversary edition of the Bank of the Year Awards, organised by the Bank of the Year Association. This is the leading event through which business and the public give their assessment of the performance of the Bulgarian banking system as a substantial part of the national economy. At the ceremony, which took place last night at the Grand Hotel Millennium Sofia, the financial institution was awarded for its outstanding performance, high business results, and efficiency over the past year while also being awarded the prize for the most dynamic bank in the country.

The grand prize, Bank of the Year 2021, was bestowed on Petia Dimitrova, CEO and Chairperson of the Management Board of Postbank, by President Rumen Radev.

“This is a very emotional moment because last year Postbank celebrated its 30th anniversary. I would like to thank all my colleagues, the shareholders of our group, and our numerous customers. I believe that in the coming years we will continue to develop just as successfully and provide the same high quality of services,“ said Mrs. Petia Dimitrova during the award ceremony.

Earlier, Postbank also received the prestigious award in the Development Dynamics category. „I am proud that our success has been noticed and we have been awarded in this important category. It is at the same time very obliging, so I am convinced that we are yet to demonstrate with full force the dynamics of our development and impress the market with our products,“ said Mrs. Petia Dimitrova.

She also expressed her gratitude to Valentin Panayotov, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Bank of the Year Association, for his consistent efforts in organising the awards. „This event not only recognises the success of banks, but it is a place where we all come together and exchange ideas for the development of our sector, so I wish it many more years to come,“ Mrs. Petia Dimitrova commented.

The Bank of the Year Awards were established and presented for the first time in 1992 and have become one of the most prestigious events over the last 30 years, traditionally bringing together the country’s financial, political, and business elite. Some of the most renowned experts and professionals in the financial and banking business have been involved in the development of the methodology for assessing the performance of banks over the years, using the experience of internationally recognised best practices in assessing the annual performance of banks. The methodology uses the annual results of banks officially presented and published by the Bulgarian National Bank, as well as the audited reports of financial institutions.

Exploring Casino Gambling Shares as Smart Investments

Smart Investments

Investing is always an interesting activity to take part in. All the time, you have to wonder and ponder about which companies, industries, and people are smart to invest in. One smart investment can set some people up for life. But to make smart investments, you have to understand the market and economy around you. 

In this digitized economy, we need to seriously begin considering the worth of businesses and industries that do not exist in the physical world. The online world is vast and full of opportunity just waiting to be seized. Online casinos is one industry of the digitized economy that grows leaps and bounds every year. Let’s understand why that is, and why it is a smart investment opportunity. 

Survivability and robustness

If Covid-19 taught us anything, it is that a lot of businesses out there are very vulnerable in times of crisis. But some businesses proved themselves extraordinarily resilient. What did the resilient businesses have in common? They were all online. 

While many businesses declined during the pandemic, online Casinos only grew. In fact, despite the pandemic having struck, the online gambling industry’s value is expected to grow from 2020’s $76,792.7 million to $127,451.4 million in 2025.

The growth of the online gambling industry during the pandemic made it a very valuable industry to invest in. And it still remains that way for the time being. 

A new era of entertainment

With a digitized economy comes digitized products. One of the chief products of this age is entertainment. Movies, music, books, series, radio, podcasts, almost anything you can imagine – It’s just all online. 

As most of the Western World has adopted regular use of computers and smartphones and much of Asia and Africa is tagging along quite well, that naturally means those devices are going to be preferred methods of accessing entertainment. It’s fast, cheap, and practical. And many are already playing in their favorite casino uden ROFUS from smartphones both at home and far beyond its borders.

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Online casinos have played into this development in a smart and efficient way with their own mobile applications and well-optimized websites. And thanks to being online, the amount of games an online casino can offer has increased tremendously. By being online, online casinos have many more players, meaning they can give better bonuses and rewards for winning. 

When speaking of entertainment value, online casinos outpace physical casinos in performance and enjoyment. The same can be said about movie-streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime versus the good ol cinema. 

This development is not only affecting the entertainment industry. The financial industry is also experiencing a transformation. Blockchain technology influences the financial sector massively by decentralizing and giving more and more people the ability to seize control of their own economic fortunes. The tale goes on.

A growing trend

We’ve touched upon the fact that online industries, such as online casinos, do well in certain crisis situations where others don’t. Online casinos are also part of a new wave of digital entertainment that provides more things in a way more efficient than their physical counterparts. 

However, such a short article can hardly do this topic justice. If you want to learn more, Casinodaddy wrote a more in-depth article about this here. This article works great as a supplement to their analysis. Remember to stay as informed as possible before you invest in anything.

5 Must-Have Features to Add to Your Social Media App

Social Media App

If you are thinking about developing a social media app, then you should be knowing the answer to the most critical question. And that is what features you must add to your social media app? Although the answer seems easy but it doesn’t.

The social media app is a source of entertainment for the users as well as information. As a developer, you must add features in your app that are not only entertaining but help the users in different ways.

And if you are confused about what features you must add to your new social media app, then here is the list of a few features that are must-haves in it.

You can’t forget these features to add to your app, or it will affect your app negatively. To make your successful use these features and grip the attention.

Secure Login

Social media apps use the information of the users to log in. And they are likely to share a range of information for better access to the app. And as a developer, you must have to make sure that the information must be kept as secure as possible.

The ability to create a unique user account with personal login settings and identification which allows the users to offer their name, contact information, location, occupation, and other related personal data is the key feature of social media.

Apart from this, different methods to verify the login must be included, such as email, code authentication, or call and text authentication features. Your app has to keep the information of users secure, and if it is necessary to share the information with a third party, then you must add a clause about it on the terms and conditions.

Simple UI

User interference is the most important of any factor and there is no doubt about it. It will help if you consider the UI during the ideation process of creating an app. If you want to create an app like Instagram, you must study the platform in detail.

There are several elements that are incorporated by the UI of the app, including the content and media layout, input control, in-app navigation, and much more. Your app should have a simple UI that is also easy to navigate and allow the users to find what they are looking for with ease and hassle-free manner.

The Messages

The other big feature of any social media is the connection through messages. It is the top feature of the social media app that allows the users to send and receive both public and private messages., Many social media apps allow users to join group messaging that involves group chats and video calls.

People are considering using social media apps to use for messaging. It is considered the cheaper and more affordable plan to stay in touch with people through the app. People are considering this as a most convenient way to connect rather than expressive calls or texts.

Customize Privacy Settings

When you are working on mobile app development, then you have to take care of a lot of things, especially the privacy of the app. So, it is better to give access to the users to set their privacy according to themselves.

Not all user wants to share everything publicly, and not everyone wants to hide everything. As a developer, you can’t manage every user’s privacy. Include the customized privacy option for them.

This is the main social media feature – giving control to the users. The privacy setting should allow the users how much information they want the public to know. The ability to opt out of several forced advertisements and much more like this.

Visual Appearance and Simple Design

Most of the time, the social media app fails to gain followers because of the less appealing design and layout. There are many elements that are not attracting the users, such as the poor color theme, random and inconsistent elements that don’t mesh well with the layout, overload sensors, and much more.

Social media must have a consistent, accessible, and seamless design with relevant and appealing fonts and a sober, suited color scheme. All the things have to be chosen perfectly and promote a united and agreeable user experience.

Wrapping It Up

So, these are some of the must-have features that social media have. There are many elements that make the app successful, especially if it is social media. Features like great UI and appealing layout are compulsory to grab the attention of the users.

And to retain them, you must provide the facilities like the perfect security system and personalization, and when it has the unique feature for the customers that make them stay on your app. So, it is better to include every best feature in your app to make it successful.

Is Renting A Home The Smart Financial Choice In 2022?

Ecological green wood model house in empty field at sunset

Traditional wisdom has it that you should buy a home as soon as you can afford it. After all, when you rent, you are essentially sending money into a void. You’re paying someone else’s mortgage and, when you leave, you’re left with nothing to show for it.

However, life in 2022 is slightly different. Inflation has led to extreme price increases across the board, and many people are struggling to pay for the basics. The higher your fixed costs are, the less you’ll have to manage these prices. Owning a home comes with many fixed costs.

Homeowners insurance is one major example of a cost you can cut if you decide to rent. Renters insurance is much cheaper. Homeowners insurance is expensive because it covers the full value of your home itself. On the other hand, renters insurance only covers your possessions and it is unlikely to cost you more than $200 a year.

But even if this inflationary cycle ends and prices return to normal, is renting a home a smart financial decision in 2022? Are there reasons to rent even if you have the money to comfortably buy a home?

The Post-Pandemic Housing Market

Over the past two years, the housing market has gone against many people’s expectations. Prices started rising in the middle of 2020 at a remarkable rate. That has only continued, in spite of a number of milestones at which it was expected to cool.

A big factor that was expected to slow the housing market was the increasing interest rates set by the Fed to curb inflation. Yet, so far, housing prices have risen regardless. As such, a house will cost you more than ever before at the moment.

This has been good news for those who invested over the past two years. They bought at high prices and have only seen the value of their assets increase. You might think that investing in a house now, at these high prices, is worth it. However, the facade may be starting to crack.

Is a Housing Crash Imminent?

As we approach the end of July, economists are warning that a housing ‘correction’ has begun. Prices are no longer rising in many of the hottest markets. In some places, prices are already going down. As of yet there have not been any major crashes.

But there are fundamental issues at the heart of the housing market that may indicate a coming crash. One of the reasons housing prices increased was that demand was relatively good while supply was limited. Construction delays caused by the pandemic had led to a massive housing shortage.

Now, demand is dropping rapidly and houses are still being built. There are many houses already standing empty. According to the basic principles of supply and demand, prices will almost certainly drop. It remains to be seen whether this will merely be a correction or whether prices will plummet.

Renting in 2022

Renting in 2022 is also extremely expensive. The cost of rent has been rising rapidly over the past two years as well. In this context, renting might not seem like a good financial decision, when you could be pouring that money into a new home. With inflation cramping your budget, paying money into a void feels like a huge waste.

However, if there is going to be a crash – or even a correction – it may be worthwhile to continue renting temporarily. Not only will you save money on things like insurance and maintenance, but you may also save yourself a lot of money on a future mortgage. In a month or two, prices may already be significantly lower, and they may only drop as the year continues.

Furthermore, eventually interest rates will come down, and you may be able to get a much better mortgage rate. Buying now may leave you with significant buyer’s remorse.

A month ago, many experts would have been cautiously optimistic in advising people to buy homes. But today, buying a home is seen as a risk. Prices are unlikely to increase much further, and there is too high a chance that they will crash. Continuing to rent for the next few months might be the best financial decision you make.

The Criterion Followed to Find the Best Payout Online Casino for Canadians

canada online casino

It is not all about finding just any casino; your aim should be to find a casino that pays out generously. When looking for a casino, it is pivotal to consider the payout rate given by certain criteria.

Certain casino activities payout more, and certain slots are looser than the others. New players might find this strange, but you will soon get the hang of it.

Canadian players want to play and win. Not just a small win, but something tangible. So, when gambling, consider the range of games and the Return to Pleasure across all games. You should consider the bonus system as well as the wagering requirements.

What are some criteria to be followed in finding the best payout casinos?

RTP (return to player)

The Return to the Player of a casino is simply the average percentage of games one is expected to win over some time and over several plays. The RTP is the average payout rate over time for a casino game. Remember that the word average plays an important role here; you shouldn’t expect to calculate an accurate Return to Pleasure immediately after playing a few games. It would be best if you played many games before calculating the Return to Player.

Practically put, if a casino has an RTP of 98.20% for poker, that means for every C$100, a payout of C$98.20 is expected. So if you stake C$1000, you should get back C$98.2 on average.

Now look at it this way, if you have an RTP of 98.20%, that means 1.80% is the house edge. The house edge is the percentage of profit the casino will make on a game over a period of play. This means that the casino would make about 1.80% profit over time.

So if you are considering a casino, ensure that the Return to Pleasure across all games is high. This betters your winning chances over time. Be sure to check the RTP for various game categories and see which games dominate the casino’s game selection.

Below is a simple highlight of various game categories and their RTS

  • Online slots – 93 – 99%
  • Baccarat – 98.5%
  • Blackjack – 98.5% (playing with a single deck)
  • Three card Poker – 98.5%
  • Roulette – 94.7% – 97.5%

We know that online slots and blackjack have the best payouts, so you can use this criterion to find a casino with great payouts.

Low wagering Requirement

The wagering requirement is also called the play through bonus. This is because you are expected to play through several games before you can withdraw your winnings. The wagering requirements will show you the expected payout and the time frame a bonus offer would last. It is important to learn about the wagering requirement before playing games.

Let us take, for example, a casino that offers you C£5 with a 35X wagering requirement for 30 days. This means that you are expected to play C$5 X 35 = C$175 over thirty days before you will be able to withdraw your winnings. So for better and easy payouts, go for casinos with low wagering requirements ranging from X10 to X20. Ensure that for each bonus, the wagering requirement is low and consistent.

Consider the providers

There are many providers:

  • Microgaming
  • NetEnt
  • Betsoft
  • Novomatic
  • IGT
  • Evolution gaming

You get the point, and there are many of them. Now, these providers determine the RTP of most games. After determining the RTP, they audit the software and ensure it is up to standard. When choosing a casino with a great payout, check which provider supplies games and software to the casino.

Good bonus System

A good bonus system will not necessarily improve your payout, but it will give you a chance to boost your payout. Check out the bonus system. This encapsulates reading through the terms and conditions; this will help you understand the wagering requirements and how to go about it.

It is good to go for casinos with generous bonus offers and promotions. This will help boost your payout.

Banking system

What good is a payout if you cannot access it on time? An important factor to also consider is the payment system. How many pay lines are there for the slots, and how long do you have to wait for transactions to be processed? It is good to look for big payouts, but ensure that the banking system will allow you to access them on time. It will help if you sort after casinos that have multiple payment methods.

Game selections

It is the games that decide the overall payout rates because it is the games that have the RTP. When selecting a casino in terms of payout, you should know that the game selection will also affect the payout. Some games weigh more than some, and some games have a higher RTP than others. It is very important to consider casinos that have a good game selection. Slots like Mega moolah have a high payout and good RTP; thus, progressive jackpots should be part of the game selection, among other games. The best online casinos Canada provides games with high RTP and good payouts. You should check them out.

Wrapping things up

Payouts play a very pivotal role in online casinos. We have articulated the yardstick to follow in finding casinos with a great payout. On your quest to find casinos with great RTPs, consider factors like the banking system, game selections, RTP, game providers and so on. These criteria are important as they control the nature of the payout.

Ultimate Guide to Mastering Soft Skills in Software Development

Soft Skills in Software Development

Soft skills are characterized by the ability to act in a positive way while also thinking and behaving ethically. These skills are imperative for a software developer because they allow you to work more professionally with others, think critically and creatively, and perform well in any team. This article gives you a list of the most important soft skills that software developers need to take into account when building their personal brand or finding a new position as a software developer.

Soft skills are often overlooked in the software development world. They are essential for success and can make or break a career. In this article, we will discuss what soft skills are, how to develop them, and how to use them in your career.

Soft skills are often thought of as personality traits that don’t have a direct impact on one’s ability to do their job. However, these skills can actually be very important for success in the software development world. Whether you want to be a successful engineer, project manager, or team lead, mastering soft skills is essential for success. Here are reasons why soft skills are so important: 

Soft skills can make or break a career. If you lack soft skills, your career prospects will be limited. Soft skills can include things like communication, problem-solving, and project management. If you lack any of these skills, it will be difficult to succeed in the software development field. Mastering these skills will help you build a strong foundation for your future career and allow you to enjoy your work more. Soft skills can help you work better with others.

What are the communication skills of software developers?

There are a lot of skills required in software development, and the communication aspect is no exception.

If you want to be a successful software developer, you need to be comfortable talking to other people in your field and understand how they work.

The following are some of the most important soft skills for software developers

  • Rapport: Building good rapport is key when working with others. You need to be able to listen and understand what someone is saying, even if you don’t agree with them. This will help build trust and teamwork.
  • Oral and Written Communication: Being able to communicate effectively both orally and in writing is essential for any software developer. You need to be able to clearly articulate your ideas and work with others on projects.
  • Problem Solving: Another important skill for software developers is problem-solving. You need to be able to find solutions to problems quickly and keep your team organized.
  • Technical Expertise: It’s important that you know your stuff when it comes to technology. Be able to explain complex concepts in an easy-to-understand way so that others can easily follow along.

What are personal skills for software developers?

As software developers we are constantly juggling different tasks, working with different technologies, and meeting different people. It can be hard to keep up with all the new skills that are required to be a successful software developer. This is where soft skills come in.

Soft skills are basically all the things that make you a good person and help you work well with others. They’re not just technical skills, like being able to code or write code reviews. Soft skills include things like being organized, having good communication skills, being able to problem solve, and being a team player.

There are dozens of soft skills that you can develop, but here are six of the most important for software development:

  1. Self-awareness – know your strengths and weaknesses and take steps to improve them.
  2. Flexibility – be able to shift your focus and work well under pressure.
  3. Aptitude – have natural talents that you can use to your advantage when learning new things.
  4. Initiative – take initiative to learn new things on your own and contribute positively to team projects.
  5. Passion – have a burning desire to learn and improve your craft.

What are must-have skills for software developers?

Soft skills can be defined as interpersonal skills such as communication, problem-solving, collaboration, and critical thinking. Soft skills are important for any profession but are especially important for software developers.

Here are must-have soft skills for software developers:

  1. Communication. It’s essential that software developers have strong communication skills. They need to be able to communicate with other team members, clients, and stakeholders. They also need to be able to write effective code and documentation.
  2. Problem-solving. Software developers need to be good problem solvers. They need to be able to find and fix glitches in code, figure out how to optimize a program and work with others to resolve conflicts.
  3. Collaboration. A key part of being a successful software developer is collaborating with others on projects. They need to be able to work well with others in a collaborative environment and share ideas and solutions.
  4. Critical thinking. As software developers become more responsible for the quality of their work, they need to develop a strong sense of critical thinking. This includes being able to evaluate data, identify problems, and come up with solutions.
  5. Strong work ethic. A successful software developer has a strong work ethic.

How to Improve Your Portfolio Returns Buying and Selling Silver

How to Improve Your Portfolio Returns Buying and Selling Silver

The world’s major stock markets have run into an extended period of volatility. Volatility in the markets means wide price fluctuations both up and down, creating uncertainty for investors and ultimately leading to losses and periods of little growth.

It’s a situation that can scare off new money from entering the stock market. If you’re reluctant to invest in stocks now, you’re likely not alone.

That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be contributing to your investment portfolio. With inflation high, you can feel trapped between two difficult places. Letting your savings sit in cash means you lose out to rising costs. Investing is usually the most effective tool you have for preventing loss of purchasing power, but you need to find assets that will hold on through the turmoil.

Invest in Silver

Silver is one asset that has historically done well when other markets are struggling. Buying silver coins and bars is one alternative that can help you increase your holdings during times of economic stagnation or even recessions.

Investing in silver can help you diversify your portfolio out of stocks and bonds. Over-exposure to any single type of asset can damage your portfolio’s performance, but when you spread risks around, you increase your ability to protect your savings from a wider variety of economic conditions.

How to Buy and Sell Silver

In order to get the most money from investing in silver, you need to know what to buy and where to sell silver when you’re ready to liquidate.

There are several ways you can buy silver. The simplest and securest option is to buy physical silver coins or bars called bullion. Bullion differs substantially from silver jewellery or junk silver. High-purity bullion is easier to sell and will sell at the best price per ounce.

There are also ways to buy “paper” silver where you don’t directly own it. Those options include investing in a silver ETF, futures, or even stocks in a mining company.

When it comes to selling, going to a bullion dealer is the best option if you purchased bullion coins and bars, but a bullion dealer can also offer great prices if you’re selling junk silver, jewellery, or collectibles. Compared to pawn brokers, a bullion dealer will often offer superior prices. It can also help immensely if they post their rates publicly.

Why Does Investing in Silver Make Sense?

The economic conditions of 2022 are making silver an increasingly appealing asset. Silver has several qualities that can make it the right investment for tough times:

  • Silver and gold are often used as inflation hedges. Both metals tend to rise during long periods of rising prices.
  • Silver has little to no correlation to stock markets, which is a great quality when markets are experiencing volatility.
  • There is increasing evidence that the world is entering a commodities super-cycle. This is a period of time when all commodities experience sustained price increases, including precious metals.

Silver remains a niche investment. It’s definitely for someone who is looking for alternative investments and is not afraid to find opportunities off the beaten path. When markets are tough, those who want market-beating returns have to try different things.

The Role Utility Service Providers Play in Canadian Construction

The Role Utility Service Providers Play in Canadian Construction

Construction is one of the most integral components of the country’s economy as it creates and maintains the built infrastructure across the region. As one of the most vital industries generating about $141 billion to the economy annually, construction contributes significantly to Canada’s economic growth.

Utility service providers play a critical role in helping Canadian construction, allowing construction companies to operate smoothly while rethinking their strategies and implementing new business models and operations. Understanding the value of a utility service provider in Canadian construction is the first step to embracing their services.

Evaluate Electrical & Mechanical Systems

Electrical and mechanical systems are key construction components as these functions contribute vastly to the power system and the efficiency of a facility’s operations. It is essential for utility service providers in Canada to evaluate electrical and mechanical systems in the construction stage to ensure safety and effectiveness.

If an electrical or mechanical system isn’t appropriately evaluated, the construction site can face several problems in the long term, as the electrical power system may not work efficiently. The inefficiency of overhead and underground lines, poles, transformers, and other equipment can adversely affect the building’s functions.

Provide Emergency Response Services

Emergencies in construction are unpredictable, but a professional utility service provider will likely provide 24/7 emergency response services to protect your company. Discuss a utility service provider’s emergency plan with them when finalizing your contract. The main objective of an emergency plan is to prevent injuries and fatalities, reduce damage to buildings and equipment, protect the surrounding environment and community, and speed up the process of resuming operations.

Operate Green Energy Sources

If you’re looking to implement sustainability practices in construction, a utility service provider can simplify the process with green energy sources such as wind, hydro, solar and cogeneration.

Renewable energy has many benefits, such as reduced greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels, low air pollution, lower dependence on imported fuels, and job opportunities in manufacturing, installation, and more.

A utility service provider can help you avoid financial risks and improve power quality and supply reliability by implementing green energy sources.

Self-Perform on Projects

A professional utility service provider should know how to self-perform on projects and increase efficiency in the construction process. Some of their abilities to self-perform may include high voltage splicing and termination, substation design and construction, and distribution systems for water and phone data.

When the utility service provider manages operations and safety during construction, you can focus on other aspects, such as marketing the property or hiring employees for other operations.

Enable Safety on All Construction Levels

Safety is one of the most critical factors in construction. Since the process uses many heavy machineries and requires exposure to different electrical systems and construction materials, it’s vital that your utility service provider helps you maximize safety.

An expert utility provider will enable safety in construction by increasing awareness of safety guidelines and implementing strategies to minimize risk.

A utility service provider can enhance your construction project by helping you in various forms. Take some time to find a reputable service provider with the experience and skill set to handle any project size.

Soviet-Era Lobbyists Still Afoot In 2022’s Washington D.C.

Capitol Building

By Duggan Flanakin

An interesting new YouTube video is floating around online that indicates, despite the U.S. sanctions on Russia imposed in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine, Post-Soviet and modern Russian influence on Capitol Hill hasn’t wavered; it is alive and kicking.

The video focuses on one former Kazakhstan Prime Minister, Akezhan Kazhegeldin, whose public face today might resemble that of a displaced dissident and a human rights activist, one spearheading, again at face value, a series of rather disjointed anti-corruption campaigns.

Kazhegeldin has in fact spent huge sums of money hiring lobbyists to create this image, seemingly with plans to influence politicians, the court of public opinion and then to weaponize the media coverage that would follow in pursuit of his ‘anti-corruption agenda’.

In so doing however and often through opaque third parties, he circumvents clearly marked American public disclosures and downplays public accusations that he himself has benefited from the type of corruption which he is ostensibly seeking to eradicate.

Kazhegeldin may well be a fugitive from former Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, whose family controls over half that nation’s wealth today. But, it appears that he did not leave his homeland empty-handed.

While building his anti-corruption credentials in London, Kazhegeldin lived in a luxury Belgravia property acquired through murky offshore companies, historically reminiscent of schemes by which oligarchs hide their wealth.

According to Kazakh prosecutors, before he fled to London, Kazhegeldin unilaterally sold a power station valued at more than 50 million GBP for a measly $200,000 USD.

The Kazakh Supreme Court would go on to find him guilty in absentia and sentenced him to 10 years in prison.

Later, the so-called anti-corruption activist and in fact exposed former KGB operative rather suspiciously fought against the imposition of U.S. sanctions under the Magnitsky Act, which authorizes the U.S. government to sanction foreign government officials worldwide deemed to be human rights offenders, to freeze their assets, and to bar them from entering the U.S.

Kazhegeldin reportedly has a coterie of propaganda artists like him, those who continue to use Cold War-era tactics that he helped design, to target individuals who refuse to pay bribes and to protect those who do.

Kazhegeldin’s story should be seen as a red flag in Washington, yet his story is indeed not standalone; there are numerous instances of ‘bad actors’ who hide behind their posture as defenders of freedom a record of financial misappropriation and embezzlement. He is therefore hardly not the only “anti-corruption” activist with a documented history of corruption, nor solitary in peddling influence with politicians here in the US and abroad, even as many of those same politicians would rail against Russian influence in elections and business ventures.

Prior to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, the Kremlin, along with Russian state-run companies and other firms linked to Russia’s leadership, routinely poured hefty sums into lobbying in Washington. Two enormous successes of late were the Uranium One deal and the lifting of sanctions (now reimposed) on the Nord Stream II pipeline.

Following its seizure of Georgia in 2008, Russia nearly doubled its spending on lobbyists in an effort to blame Georgia for the conflict, in doing so facilitating interviews between the New York Times and Russian military officials, distributing briefing notes on the war with the Washington Post, and arranging a CNN interview with President Putin to push Russia’s stated goal of “…a peaceful resolution in the Caucasus.”

Then, following Russia’s 2014 seizure of The Crimea, Russian interests again went to work to defeat the ‘Russian Aggression Prevention Act of 2014’, which threatened the seizure of Russian assets, including Gazprombank, founded by the state-owned energy company Gazprom.

Certain U.S. Congressional staffers and high-ranking sanctions officials actually themselves would go on to register to lobby on behalf of banks tied to the Kremlin, Russian oligarchs, and the company behind the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Millions were spent on lobbying efforts related to “banking laws and regulations”, according to public disclosures.

The world is slowly waking up to the red herrings of ‘anti-corruption activism’ and reading between the lines of the missions of ‘pop-up’ non-governmental organizations (NGOs), lobbying outfits, nonprofits and even individuals, those with underlying agendas to attack the opponents of and launder the soiled reputations of former Soviet-era operatives.

A recent American period spy drama television series set during the Cold War, ‘The Americans’, followed the story of Elizabeth and Philip Jennings, two Soviet KGB intelligence officers posing as an American married couple living in Falls Church, throughout their lives gathering intelligence, asserting influence to support their mission, all the while assuaging concerns of impropriety to those around them.

In fact, not fiction, some decades on from the Cold War and even today, amid resurgent tensions between the two once-superpower rivals, wealthy Russians and others tied to Russia’s past still have little difficulty buying influence to protect the interests of those whose motives are questionable at best. And that should serve as a contemporary challenge to America itself.

About the Author

Duggan Flanakin is the Director of Policy Research at the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT). A former Senior Fellow with the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Mr. Flanakin authored definitive works on the creation of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and on environmental education in Texas. The views expressed are his own.

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