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Receiving your salary in cryptocurrency is now a thing
Your next payday could be all digital.
- Cryptocurrencies are constantly becoming more mainstream.
- With the changing landscape of work and workers, financial systems also need to evolve.
- Cryptocrrencies have a lot to offer workers in this new age, but they still have some hurdles to face before they become the norm.
Since 2018, cryptocurrencies are no longer operating just on the fringes of the financial system.
Digital currencies have made significant inroads at traditional financial institutions so much that many banks already offer Bitcoin investment options. Several prominent retailers, including Starbucks, Whole Foods, and Nordstrom, are already accepting Bitcoin at checkout. More importantly for the future of the currency, global regulatory oversight has matured since Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies burst on the scene a few years ago.
With cryptocurrencies becoming more mainstream all the time, it only makes sense for them to be affecting other elements of the financial system, which is exactly what we are starting to see in the significant sector of employee wages.
While it's true that right now those receiving their salaries in crypto are an oddity, this won't be so in the long run.
The way we view work is changing
There is a shift happening in the very way work and compensation are viewed in the world today. Rather than working traditional 9-5 jobs, many employees, particularly younger ones, are joining the gig economy, choosing to be their own bosses and work for short-term, temporary contracts for everything from freelance work to driving an Uber.
In the U.S. alone, 57 million people participate in the gig economy, where transfers and transaction costs are the norm. This is a landscape in need of secure, fast, and cheap solutions that will improve participants' lives significantly.
Currently there are many pain points and regularly occurring annoyances in the market.
For example, 58% of freelancers have experienced not getting paid for their work, an issue that can be easily solved with the usage of smart contracts—a blockchain-based technology that enforces contracts without the need of a third party.
As Saif Benjaafar, director of the Initiative on the Sharing Economy at the University of Minnesota, notes, "Technology has emerged in the last couple of years, including blockchain and cryptocurrencies, that could in principle take the platform out of the business of payment processing and disbursement and enable peer-to-peer payments."
If the future of work looks anything like the gig economy, then it needs the future of financial technology to moderate the movement, making crypto payments a natural next step for this evolution. What's more, these developments are within reach. Already, platforms like BitPay make it possible for employees to receive compensation in crypto, with funds deposited directly into their bank accounts. It's a seamless process that reflects the ease-of-use necessary to make crypto paychecks a reality.
Eynat Guez, CEO of fintech payroll company Papaya Global, stated:
''We're seeing more and more companies inquiring about the possibility of integrating crypto payments within their payroll. At the moment a lot of the demand comes from companies having to make payments in currencies prone to fluctuations such as Chinese yen, Brazilian real and Russian ruble, but we see this broadening out to dollar, euro and pound salary payments as companies see the viability and effectiveness of crypto payments''
Of course, crypto paychecks aren't just prescient for the gig economy. They have implications for the global economy as well.
The global economy
Today's economy is undoubtedly a global economy. Still, not everyone has the same access to financial services.
It's estimated that 1.7 billion adults around the world operate outside of the financial system for various reasons, making their work compensation both incredibly important and increasingly difficult. This is why, among other reasons, Facebook recently released a white paper for Libra, a stable cryptocurrency that will allow users around the world to send and receive payments for the goods and services that they provide.
As TechCrunch explains, "It could be used to offer low or no-fee payments between friends or remittance of earnings to families from migrant workers abroad who are often gouged by money transfer services"
In this way, cryptocurrencies are equipping an entire portion of the population to better acquire and manage their financial well-being.
At the same time, today's global economy continually relies on cross-border payments, and many digital currencies, including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Ripple can make this entire process more seamless, raising the specter that cryptocurrencies will be used to remit people's paychecks.
What's standing in cryptocurrency's way?
While some companies are already compensating their employees in crypto, hurdles to broad adoption certainly remain.
Perhaps most obviously, cryptocurrencies can be extremely volatile. Employees can't afford to see their paychecks significantly diminished because of erratic market movements. At the same time, the regulatory infrastructure surrounding digital currencies still treats cryptocurrencies as appreciable assets, something that doesn't adequately account for using crypto as a payment methodology.
However, each of these problems have developing solutions, and it's easy to presume that crypto payments will become more palatable as the industry evolves further.
Even now, many companies are offering their employees compensation in crypto. SC5, a Danish, a cloud services development company, has been paying their employees in Bitcoin since 2013. Moreover, GMO Internet, an internet provider based in Tokyo, allows employees to be paid up to $880.00 of their monthly salaries in Bitcoin.
These compensation experiments underscore the fact that there is a burgeoning demand for crypto-funded paychecks, and there are several opportunities to bring that to fruition. From making the gig economy more reliable to equipping employees in emerging economies with quick and secure payments, cryptocurrencies could be coming to more paychecks soon.
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The finding is remarkably similar to the Dunning-Kruger effect, which describes how incompetent people tend to overestimate their own competency.
- Recent studies asked participants to rate the attractiveness of themselves and other participants, who were strangers.
- The studies kept yielding the same finding: unattractive people overestimate their attractiveness, while attractive people underrate their looks.
- Why this happens is unclear, but it doesn't seem to be due to a general inability to judge attractiveness.
There's no shortage of disparities between attractive and unattractive people. Studies show that the best-looking among us tend to have an easier time making money, receiving help, avoiding punishment, and being perceived as competent. (Sure, research also suggests beautiful people have shorter relationships, but they also have more sexual partners, and more options for romantic relationships. So call it a wash.)
Now, new research reveals another disparity: Unattractive people seem less able to accurately judge their own attractiveness, and they tend to overestimate their looks. In contrast, beautiful people tend to rate themselves more accurately. If anything, they underestimate their attractiveness.
The research, published in the Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, involved six studies that asked participants to rate the attractiveness of themselves and other participants, who were strangers. The studies also asked participants to predict how others might rate them.
In the first study, lead author Tobias Greitemeyer found that the participants who were most likely to overestimate their attractiveness were among the least attractive people in the study, based on average ratings.
Ratings of subjective attractiveness as a function of the participant's objective attractiveness (Study 1)
"Overall, unattractive participants judged themselves to be of about average attractiveness and they showed very little awareness that strangers do not share this view. In contrast, attractive participants had more insights into how attractive they actually are. [...] It thus appears that unattractive people maintain illusory self‐perceptions of their attractiveness, whereas attractive people's self‐views are more grounded in reality."
Why do unattractive people overestimate their attractiveness? Could it be because they want to maintain a positive self-image, so they delude themselves? After all, previous research has shown that people tend to discredit or "forget" negative social feedback, which seems to help protect a sense of self-worth.
To find out, Greitemeyer conducted a study that aimed to put participants in a positive, non-defensive mindset before rating attractiveness. He did that by asking participants questions that affirmed parts of their personality that had nothing to do with physical appearance, such as: "Have you ever been generous and selfless to another person?" Yet, this didn't change how participants rated themselves, suggesting that unattractive people aren't overestimating their looks out of defensiveness.
The studies kept yielding the same finding: unattractive people overestimate their attractiveness. Does that bias sound familiar? If so, you might be thinking of the Dunning-Kruger effect, which describes how incompetent people tend to overestimate their own competency. Why? Because they lack the metacognitive skills needed to discern their own shortcomings.
Greitemeyer found that unattractive people were worse at differentiating between attractive and unattractive people. But the finding that unattractive people may have different beauty ideals (or, more plainly, weaker ability to judge attractiveness) did "not have an impact on how they perceive themselves."
In short, it remains a mystery exactly why unattractive people overestimate their looks. Greitemeyer concluded that, while most people are decent at judging the attractiveness of others, "it appears that those who are unattractive do not know that they are unattractive."
Unattractive people aren't completely unaware
The results of one study suggested that unattractive people aren't completely in the dark about their looks. In the study, unattractive people were shown a set of photos of highly attractive and unattractive people, and they were asked to select photos of people with comparable attractiveness. Most unattractive people chose to compare themselves with similarly unattractive people.
"The finding that unattractive participants selected unattractive stimulus persons with whom they would compare their attractiveness to suggests that they may have an inkling that they are less attractive than they want it to be," Greitemeyer wrote.
Every star we can see, including our sun, was born in one of these violent clouds.
This article was originally published on our sister site, Freethink.
An international team of astronomers has conducted the biggest survey of stellar nurseries to date, charting more than 100,000 star-birthing regions across our corner of the universe.
Stellar nurseries: Outer space is filled with clouds of dust and gas called nebulae. In some of these nebulae, gravity will pull the dust and gas into clumps that eventually get so big, they collapse on themselves — and a star is born.
These star-birthing nebulae are known as stellar nurseries.
The challenge: Stars are a key part of the universe — they lead to the formation of planets and produce the elements needed to create life as we know it. A better understanding of stars, then, means a better understanding of the universe — but there's still a lot we don't know about star formation.
This is partly because it's hard to see what's going on in stellar nurseries — the clouds of dust obscure optical telescopes' view — and also because there are just so many of them that it's hard to know what the average nursery is like.
The survey: The astronomers conducted their survey of stellar nurseries using the massive ALMA telescope array in Chile. Because ALMA is a radio telescope, it captures the radio waves emanating from celestial objects, rather than the light.
"The new thing ... is that we can use ALMA to take pictures of many galaxies, and these pictures are as sharp and detailed as those taken by optical telescopes," Jiayi Sun, an Ohio State University (OSU) researcher, said in a press release.
"This just hasn't been possible before."
Over the course of the five-year survey, the group was able to chart more than 100,000 stellar nurseries across more than 90 nearby galaxies, expanding the amount of available data on the celestial objects tenfold, according to OSU researcher Adam Leroy.
New insights: The survey is already yielding new insights into stellar nurseries, including the fact that they appear to be more diverse than previously thought.
"For a long time, conventional wisdom among astronomers was that all stellar nurseries looked more or less the same," Sun said. "But with this survey we can see that this is really not the case."
"While there are some similarities, the nature and appearance of these nurseries change within and among galaxies," he continued, "just like cities or trees may vary in important ways as you go from place to place across the world."
Astronomers have also learned from the survey that stellar nurseries aren't particularly efficient at producing stars and tend to live for only 10 to 30 million years, which isn't very long on a universal scale.
Looking ahead: Data from the survey is now publicly available, so expect to see other researchers using it to make their own observations about stellar nurseries in the future.
"We have an incredible dataset here that will continue to be useful," Leroy said. "This is really a new view of galaxies and we expect to be learning from it for years to come."
Tiny specks of space debris can move faster than bullets and cause way more damage. Cleaning it up is imperative.
- NASA estimates that more than 500,000 pieces of space trash larger than a marble are currently in orbit. Estimates exceed 128 million pieces when factoring in smaller pieces from collisions. At 17,500 MPH, even a paint chip can cause serious damage.
- To prevent this untrackable space debris from taking out satellites and putting astronauts in danger, scientists have been working on ways to retrieve large objects before they collide and create more problems.
- The team at Clearspace, in collaboration with the European Space Agency, is on a mission to capture one such object using an autonomous spacecraft with claw-like arms. It's an expensive and very tricky mission, but one that could have a major impact on the future of space exploration.
This is the first episode of Just Might Work, an original series by Freethink, focused on surprising solutions to our biggest problems.
Catch more Just Might Work episodes on their channel: https://www.freethink.com/shows/just-might-work