The first speaker today was Linda Schafer, owner of GL Specialties in Golden, Colorado. Linda worked in the insurance industry for many years and found that she needed a career that allowed her more flexibility. After looking into many Promotional Product companies, she found Kaiser Blair – the only company that had a one-page contract with no real restrictions and if she finds a better company, she can take her clients with her. Linda spoke first today about the issues with China, the tariffs are still causing price changes, that used to be guaranteed for 6 months are now only guaranteed for 2 weeks and with the coronavirus shipping and delivery schedules are in a bit of flux. Linda is working to find cost effective ways to locate promotional products in other countries and here is the United States. If there is a product out the she will find it.

Her second topic was about dealing with companies and helping her clients, Linda had a client who wanted a very specific product for a convention that happens next week. Together they started this process about 3 months ago. The first company – that carried the sunglasses – missed the deadline 4 times, After the fourth delay and with the convention approaching, Linda found a different company that had the product and could deliver on time. The good part of the story is that Linda has a happy client, the bad side of the story is that first company will not cancel the order and shipping this week. Linda’s number one priority is her client and she will make sure you get you product when you need it – going above and beyond to make sure they are happy.
Linda’s last topic has to do with picking and designing a promotional product. The most popular item Linda sells is the ever-reliable pen, pens come in a wide variety of styles and prices. The imprint area tends to be small and so if you have a large logo you may want to go with just your name and phone number. The introduction about 5 years ago of the stylus for phones and tablets have become very popular and have improved over the years – in the beginning they were to mushy to be effective all the time, the new stylus are firmer and even on low cost pens work very well. The latest popular item is the pop up for cell phones. The imprint area is 1” in diameter and with the right design can very effective and is something that people use every day. Linda’s last item was coasters – once again the price on coaster vary wildly – depending on the type of coaster you are looking at. The imprint area and design are very important on these because you want the person you give it to, to keep it on their desk where it is visible. The imprint area is between 3” and 4” in diameter and are very visible. In the promotional product industry, you can see that the possibilities are endless, and Linda can help you figure what you need for your application. So, if you are looking for promotional products to impress your clients, give Linda and GL Specialties a call for the Best Product • Best Price • Best Suppliers!
Linda Schafer * GL Specialties * 303.456.9035 * *

 Our second speaker was Susan O’Kelley, owner of Avanti Insurance Services in Golden, Colorado, our concierge insurance company. Susan started her conversation today to promote policy review, everyone should review their insurance policies once a year. This review should include policy limits, coverage and pricing – making sure that you are covered for what you truly own and that you will be made whole in the event of a accident, fire or burglary.
Susan took the rest of her time speaking about an article she just read about Cryptocurrency – here is the article she referenced.

What Is Cryptocurrency?
Elizabeth Macauley
Cryptocurrency is a term that encompasses digital, encrypted, and decentralized currencies. A recent study found there are between 5.8 million and 11.5 million active cryptocurrency wallets.

Cryptocurrency Basics
Cryptocurrencies are digital currencies that are a part of a decentralized cash system. Satoshi Nakamoto created Bitcoin in 2009.

Key Features
1. They only exist in a digital environment online.

This means you only access your currency through the internet from a computer or mobile device and doesn’t have a physical form like traditional currency at any point in time.
Cryptocurrencies are still kept in wallets called Digital Wallets and use software to help you spend and receive the currency online.

  1. They operate with a decentralized network.

They exist across a network of thousands of computers and devices and are controlled by one central authority like:

  • The government
  • Any one person
  • Any group
  • A bank
  1. They’re part of a peer-to-peer network.

Cryptocurrency relies entirely on a peer-to-peer networks to regulate transactions and ensure everything checks out. This helps prevent fraud and government interference while creating efficient transactions.
Users pass cryptocurrencies directly to other users. As each exchange takes place, it gets regulated by others in the network. Each transaction, called a blockchain, is recorded in the network’s public ledger and is visible to every user of the network.

  1. They use encryption.

Encrypted systems translate data into a code that is secure and can only be read by certain people who have the key that decodes it.
This process is called cryptography and is applied in each cryptocurrency exchange to ensure transactions are secure, anonymous, and not controlled by one central authority.

  1. Transactions are permanent.

Cryptocurrency transactions get recorded on the network’s ledger. This makes them irreversible, unchangeable, and permanent.

  1. They guarantee anonymous transactions.

Most cryptocurrencies allow you to stay anonymous during transactions. Encrypted codes and other security measures conceal users’ identities on the network.

How Does Cryptocurrency Work?

As mentioned earlier, cryptocurrencies get transferred from one user’s wallet to another user’s wallet.

To send and receive cryptocurrencies, you must install a digital wallet. Once installed, you generate an address then give this address to those you’re planning to make a transaction.
After a transaction, other users—known as miners—verify it on the public ledger. Miners verify each transaction by solving a mathematical problem associated with the exchange.
When the problem is solved, the transaction is verified. Verified transactions are recorded in blocks on the blockchain, which makes up the public ledger. Blocks consist of multiple transactions, similar to a page of records.
Miners involved in verifying the transaction receive Bitcoin rewards for their efforts. In addition to these rewards, miners also get to keep the transaction fees paid in the exchange.
The public ledger also prevents fraudulent double spending. For example, if you copy your currency to pay a friend then try to use the copy to pay for items online, the network would decline the transaction because the public ledger shows the prior transaction record.

Should You Use Cryptocurrency?

Benefits of Cryptocurrency
Buying cryptocurrency  has proven to be profitable for many early investors.
1. You manage your transactions.
As the cryptocurrency owner, you manage where you send and receive currency. There’s less opportunity for funds to get diverted without your knowing and helps reduce and eliminate fraud risk.
2. Track your payments at any time.

Track cryptocurrency payments by the second showing when your payment got delivered.
3. Your transactions are private.

Different cryptocurrencies have different levels of privacy.  Some cryptocurrencies allow you to stay anonymous through an entire transaction such as:

  • Monero doesn’t show the amount exchangedbetween users.  Sender and receiver identities are also hidden.
  • Verge keeps every transaction anonymous and untraceable by:
  • Encrypting messages multiple times
  • Changing computer IP addresses
  • Ensuring messages are not sent through the same channel as responses
  1. Each transaction processes quickly.
    Although cryptocurrency transaction speeds can vary (see above), they’re usually quick and occur instantly.
    It means you’ll have access to funds fast if you’re selling something without waiting a day or two for the funds to get transferred to you.
    5. You can make international transactions efficiently.
    Send and receive cryptocurrencies no matter where you’re located on the globe – instantly – without paying foreign transaction fees.
    6. Transaction costs are affordable.
    Cryptocurrencies usually have low transaction fees because there is no central authority governing these currencies. Some cryptocurrencies with low transaction fees include:
  • Bitcoin
  • Ethereum
  • Cardano
  • Litecoin

Drawbacks of Cryptocurrency
1. Prices can change frequently.
Prices are affected by supply and demand meaning a cryptocurrency’s rate may fluctuate. For cryptocurrencies with a limited supply, you’ll could encounter big price changes in future years.
Also, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) considers cryptocurrency to be property. This means you’ll likely need to pay taxes on your earnings. With fluctuating prices, it can be hard to determine just how much you’ll have to pay in taxes.
2. Cryptocurrency is vulnerable to hacking.
A recent report stated $927 million was stolen in the first three quarters of 2018. Hackers can get to your cryptocurrency in a variety of ways. These include:

  • Gaining access to your digital wallet.  Hackers attempt to steal your password by hacking into your email accounts then reset your password. Prevent this type of hacking with “two-factor authentication.” This security measure detects new devices attempting to log in to your account and asks for a temporary key that is sent to your cell phone. This helps prevent hackers from getting into your email, even if they have your password.
  • Phishing scams. Hackers often set up fake websites to resemble ones you normally use. These websites look and feel exactly the same as your regular site but when you fill out personal information on them, it goes straight to the hackers. Hackers then get into your actual accounts and steal your currency. Hackers also send out emails that seem like they’re from a recent cryptocurrency exchange. These emails will ask for your private information, such as passwords and may include links to fake websites. One way to identify these fake websites is by looking at the domain address. They’ll often be off by one letter that is difficult to notice.
  • Phone porting schemes.This involves scammers calling your mobile phone carrier and asking to switch your phone number to another account. They may use information like your name and date of birth. Once they get it switched, they reset your account passwords where your phone number is used as a security backup – see “two-factor authentication”
  • Malware programs. Malware infect your computerthrough spam emails that trick you into downloading files. You also can get malware through infected USB flash drives or other drives that are inserted into your computer. In some cases, malware can spread through holes or gaps in your software. Update software regularly. Many of these programs can replace your digital wallet address with their own wallet address allowing them to transfer your cryptocurrencies into their wallet.
  1. Cryptocurrencies run the risk of becoming obsolete.
    For cryptocurrencies with a set amount of currency available, the possibility of becoming obsolete is very real. For instance, once the 21 million Bitcoins in the network are mined, there isn’t any way to create more. This will not only change the network but also give it the potential to come crashing down.
    This crash may occur because miners won’t be getting Bitcoin rewards from mining. Instead, miners will only receive transaction fees. This lack of funding may cause miners to drop out of the Bitcoin network all together.
    4. They’re not regulated.
    Cryptocurrenciesare not regulated by the federal government making them a risky choice for investors. Without investor support, cryptocurrencies may have trouble growing in the future. Users also may not trust cryptocurrencies when they lack federal regulations.
    5. Criminals use them.
    Unfortunately, both criminals and terrorists use cryptocurrency. Some reasons they use it include:
  • Cryptocurrency wallets don’t have a location attached to them. This makes transactions hard to trace and finding who’s behind the transactions even harder.
  • Transactions are quick, easy, and anonymous.This encourages drug dealers to use them.
  • It’s easy to send large amounts of money out of the country.Cryptocurrencies are not bound by any country territories or borders. This makes it easy to transfer money across borders.
  • They can be used in scams. Some scams that surround cryptocurrencies include:
    • Fake opportunities to invest
    • Setting up fake exchanges between people
  1. There’s a security backup in the event of a loss.

    What Is a Crypto Market Cap?
    The cryptocurrency market cap is a measure of security in the market. Basically, it can tell you how valuable the cryptocurrency is.
    To determine your cryptocurrency market cap, multiply the circulating supply of cryptocurrencies by their current price. For example, say there are three million coins in circulation. Each coin is worth $2. This makes the market cap $6 million.
    Larger caps represent less risk to investors compared to smaller caps. For example, Bitcoin has a market capitalizationthat is approximately five times that of its nearest competitor.
    How to Buy Cryptocurrency
    Buying cryptocurrency can be very simple and include:

  • Using Coinbase and Coinmama to purchase Bitcoins with your credit card.
  • Using Bitcoin ATMs.Some cities and towns have Bitcoin ATMs. To find a Bitcoin ATM near you, use an online map like Coin ATM Radar.
  • Transferring currency directly to others. Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies can be passed from one person to another as soon as you join the network.

The most difficult method for getting cryptocurrencies is by mining them yourself. To do this, you must join the network. Then invest in expensive computer equipment for solving the complex math problems presented by the network.

Are Cryptocurrencies Legal Everywhere?
Before investing in cryptocurrency, check that it’s legal—especially since it’s not regulated by the government.
Cryptocurrency is legal in the U.S., as well as other countries, such as:

  • Canada
  • Australia

The European Union has not made an official decision on cryptocurrencies however, some countries have forbidden it all together. These include:

  • Iceland, which doesn’t consider Bitcoin a currency by law
  • China, which has banned Bitcoin exchanges
  • Russia, which considers Bitcoin payments to be illegal

Source: downloaded 01/27/2020
Can You Pay for Insurance with Bitcoin?
Unfortunately, no U.S.-based auto insurance company accepts Bitcoin as payment directly – yet. Same for Homeowner insurance, other personal lines policies, Commercial insurance, or Health insurance. (SPECIAL NOTE: For recurring Health Insurance payments, ONLY bank transfer such as EFT is acceptable.)
However, digital forms of payment are mainstream and nearly every major auto insurer accepts at least some form of digital payment including credit cards, debit card, and electronic fund transfers from banks.
Additionally, State Farm, USAA, and Liberty Mutual currently accept Apple Pay while Essurance and Progressive accept PayPal.

Note: PayPal doesn’t require a credit card or bank account so, in a round-about-way, you can indirectly purchase your State Farm or USAA policy with Bitcoin.

While it doesn’t appear that Bitcoin is accepted by banks and car dealerships, or even third-party bill payment companies like Tio and Venmo – at least not directly – you can get a BitPay credit card with which you could pay a third-party company like Tio or Venmo to then pay your bills.
If you are in need of an insurance agent that is truly interested in finding the best fit for your insurance needs give Susan O’Kelley and her team a call!!
Susan O’Kelley * Avanti Insurance Services * 303.278.2788 *