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Reducing Student Debt to Find Financial Freedom!

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In an article published in December of 2011 on the financial portal ‘Business Insider’, some real life stories were illustrated about people who took out loans for their education.

These student debt stories give a clear picture on how borrowers struggle to lift the crushing burden of student loans off their shoulders.

All of these instances depicted various situations that the student community faces that makes them financially stressed.

A summary of a few stories on the website are:

Case 1:
A borrower took out a loan to study Game Art and Design and ended up owing $100,000 in debt.

Case 2:
This person’s original loan amount was $80,000 that increased to a whopping $135,000!

Case 3:
A loan was taken from a leading bank in 2005, and the repayment terms could not be negotiated. Even after the borrower’s repeated request to negotiate, the loan was sent to one of the banks collection agencies.

Many readers can easily identify themselves with the three instances mentioned above. These are some of the common scenarios that borrowers face due to job loss, bankruptcy, or heavy medical bills. Such instances create obstacles for people, making it difficult for them to pay back their debts and get rid of their financial liability.

Other Factors Causing Student Debt
Apart from current financial conditions, there are other factors that may cause student debt. It could be due to multiple loans along with variable interest rates that come along, capitalization of interest or interest-only payment options. They eventually accumulate to a huge amount.

There are many borrowers who have not missed their payments on their credit card debt, car loans or mortgage. They even have a good credit score. However, because of the reasons mentioned above, they are never able to pay off their student loans.

One of the best solutions that these borrowers have in getting relief from their debt is to consolidate their various loans into a single loan amount. In this way, they only need to make just one monthly payment at a revised interest rate.

How to Consolidate Student Loans
A borrower who can’t afford to pay off their student debts can consolidate multiple loans through federal direct consolidation programs and regain control over their financial situation.

When consolidating loans, borrowers should not combine their federal loans with their private ones. The Department of Education doesn’t allow consolidation of private loans.

Federal student debt relief services are an excellent way to get the maximum federal loan benefits. Consultants for student debt relief provide an apt solution, as they have the expertise to match each loan with eligible payment plans.

Some leading companies offer comprehensive assistance and guidance to borrowers for a reasonable one-time fee. In this way, they can find a hassle-free solution and get peace of mind.

Student Loan Consolidation Plans

Income Based Repayment Plan
Unlike traditional lending practices, the only factors involved with determining a borrowers monthly payment are annual adjusted gross income and family size. Credit score and loan amount are not taken into account.

Only loans available under the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program and William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program qualify for an Income Based Repayment Plan.

Income Contingent Repayment
This plan has been designed for those who are not eligible for the Income Based Repayment (IBR) or Pay as You Earn plans. The Direct Subsidized, Unsubsidized, Direct PLUS Loans and Direct Consolidation Loans qualify for this plan.

Standard Repayment Plan
Through this plan, student debts can be repaid in the shortest possible time. It requires a fixed monthly payment to be made for a period of up to 25 years.

Graduated Repayment Plan
Under this program, the starting monthly payments are low. The payment amount will subsequently increase by 4.25 percent (approx.) every year.

Besides consolidation, another quick way to remove all of your student loans is to qualify for a loan forgiveness program.

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TA: Bitcoin Key Indicators Suggest A Strengthening Case For Move Below $40K

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Bitcoin

Bitcoin failed to stay above the $43,000 support against the US Dollar. BTC is trading in a bearish zone and could continue to move down below $41,200.

  • Bitcoin is struggling to climb above the $42,500 and $42,800 resistance levels.
  • The price is trading below $43,000 and the 100 hourly simple moving average.
  • There is a major bearish trend line forming with resistance near $42,800 on the hourly chart of the BTC/USD pair (data feed from Kraken).
  • The pair could start a major increase if there is a clear move above the $43,000 resistance.

Bitcoin Price Is Showing Bearish Signs

Bitcoin price failed to accelerate higher above the $43,500 resistance zone. As a result, there was a bearish reaction below the $43,000 pivot level.

The price traded below the $42,500 and $42,000 support levels. It even traded close to $41,500 and settled below the 100 hourly simple moving average. A low was formed near $41,579 before the price started an upside correction.

Bitcoin price was able to recover above the $42,000 resistance zone. There was a break above the 23.6% Fib retracement level of the recent decline from the $43,800 swing high to $41,579 low.

On the upside, an initial resistance is near the $42,500 level. The next major resistance is near the $42,650 level. There is also a major bearish trend line forming with resistance near $42,800 on the hourly chart of the BTC/USD pair.

Source: BTCUSD on TradingView.com

The trend line is near the 50% retracement level of the recent decline from the $43,800 swing high to $41,579 low. A clear move above the $42,800 level might send the price towards the $43,500 resistance. Any more gains may perhaps call for a test of the $44,000 resistance zone. The next major resistance is near the $45,000 level.

More Losses in BTC?

If bitcoin fails to start a fresh increase above $42,800, it could continue to move down. An immediate support on the downside is near the $42,000 zone.

The first major support is seen near the $41,500 zone. A downside break below the $41,500 support zone could increase the chances of more downsides. The next major support is near $40,000, below which the bears might take control.

Technical indicators:

Hourly MACD – The MACD is slowly gaining pace in the bullish zone.

Hourly RSI (Relative Strength Index) – The RSI for BTC/USD is below the 50 level.

Major Support Levels – $41,500, followed by $41,200.

Major Resistance Levels – $42,650, $42,800 and $43,500.

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Green Energy: In NY, Bitcoin Mining Saved The Oldest Working Hydroelectric Plant

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Hydroelectric Plant, Mechanicville sign

Another day, another hydroelectric plant saved by Bitcoin mining. For the untrained eye, the narrative that says that Bitcoin incentivizes green energy might seem convenient. However, each day more concrete examples come to light. Like the Navajo Nation case. Or this hydroelectric plant in Costa Rica. In contrast, China banned Bitcoin mining and some hydroelectric plants immediately closed.

Anyway, today we’re talking about the Mechanicville Hydroelectric Plant in New York. Located near de Hudson River’s shore, in the Town of Halfmoon, Saratoga County. The place is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, that’s the main reason it was never torn down. According to Times Union, the plant is “the oldest continuously operated hydroelectric station in the U.S.” and it “was nearly dismantled.“

“We think this is the oldest renewable energy facility in the world that’s still running,” said Jim Besha Sr., CEO of Albany Engineering Corp.” That company owns the Mechanicville hydroelectric plant. And how does the station relate to Bitcoin mining?

“Despite getting the plant back to full power, there’s not a lot of profit in running a plant that still uses all of the original 1800s machinery. That’s why some of the plant’s energy is now being used to produce bitcoin.

“We can actually make more money with bitcoin than selling the electricity to National Grid,” Besha said.”

You don’t say, Mr. Besha. Who would have thought?

The Mechanicville Hydroelectric Plant Vs. The World

This hydroelectric plant’s story is full of betrayal, twists, and turns. The National Grid had a 40-year commitment to buy power from it. However, according to The Bitcoin Files substack, the National Grid “reneged on the deal in 1993. A decade of litigation ensued, and Albany Engineering took control in 2003.” What’s a hydroelectric plant to do? 

“Converting an outdated hydro plant into a Bitcoin mining is still quite a story, and the local Albany Times Union article from two weeks ago was picked up by Bitcoin publications around the country. Kathleen Moore, who wrote the story on the plant, told me,

“It’s something they’ve been experimenting with – they want to use their power for green uses like charging electric cars. But for now, their choices are limited. So they’re adding some Bitcoin mining.”

That’s right. People might have all kinds of ideas of what it wants to do with their power, but the fact of the matter is that only Bitcoin mining is flexible enough to accommodate any electricity source. In this case, as Besha said Times Union, “It’s the best (type of bitcoin mining) because we’re using renewable energy.”

Sadly, Besha is not going to make it. In that same article, a chilling revelation spoils the party:

“He converts the thousandths of a bitcoin they make each week to cash, rather than holding onto it. He’s skeptical of bitcoin as a long-term investment; he’s just doing it to bring in cash.”

Let’s hope that, as it usually happens, Bescha’s contact with Bitcoin changes him for the best. Let’s hope he already figured out he’s dealing with the best money ever created, and changing it for lesser money is not the best strategy. 

BTC price chart 01/18/2022 on Bitstamp | Source: BTC/USD on TradingView.com

Conclusions And Discussions

In any case, another hydroelectric plant saved by Bitcoin mining will always be cause for celebration. Bitcoin incentivizes the creation and maintenance of green energy infrastructure and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Featured Image: Mechanicville Hydroelectric Plant's sign from this substack post | Charts by TradingView

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Altcoins Are Encroaching On Bitcoin’s Dominance On Digital Payments

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Bitcoin surrounded by altcoins

Bitcoin has dominated the digital payments space for the longest time and continues to do so. However, this dominance is on the decline as more altcoins are being chosen as the preferred digital currencies for payments. This has mainly been due to cheaper fees resulting from network congestion when the price gets too high. Instead, cryptocurrencies whose fees can range from a few cents to fractions of a cent are now favored by merchants.

Altcoins Are Taking Market Share From Bitcoin

Crypto payments processor BitPay recently released a report outlining the percentages each crypto commanded in the crypto payments space. As expected, Bitcoin dominated the list but what was important to note from the report was how much the pioneer cryptocurrency’s dominance over this space dropped in the space of a year. Between 2020 and 2021, bitcoin lost about 27% dominance.

Related Reading | Why Sovereign Nation States May Begin Acquiring Bitcoin In 2022

Back in 2020, the company had reported that bitcoin made up for 92% of all digital payments being carried out on the platform. In 2021, this number was at 65% and is expected to continue to drop as merchants move to altcoins for payments.

Bitcoin market dominance down below 40% | Source: Market Cap BTC Dominance on TradingView.com

 

The use of Ethereum as a payment method was up, accounting for 15% of the total transactions carried out on the platform. Stablecoins made a big splash with 13% of all transactions.

Meme coins, which grew to popularity within this time and were added by the payments processor amid rising demand, made up a small but impressive percentage of all transactions. Dogecoin and rival Shiba Inu, alongside Litecoin, accounted for 3% of digital payments processed by BitPay for the year.

Stablecoins On The Rise

One of the factors that affect how much users are paying with cryptocurrencies has been the fluctuations in price. For Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, when the price of the digital asset moves up, the frequency in which it is being used as a method of payment increases drastically. And vice versa during the bear markets.

But with stablecoins, whose values more or less remain the same through bull and bear markets, merchants are able to eliminate this problem. BitPay noted that the use of stablecoins as a method of payment when using digital currencies has gone up tremendously.

Related Reading | What’s In Store For MicroStrategy Going Forward? CEO Michael Saylor Reveals

However, the tide seems to be changing when it comes to the correlation between bull/bear markets and how much users are spending their cryptocurrencies. CEO and founder of BitPay, Stephen Pair, stated that the recent pullback in crypto prices has not affected payments as much as it did in previous markets.

“We have not experienced as much of a decline in volume with this recent pullback,” Paid said. “It’s probably just a reflection of more and more companies that need to use this as a tool to conduct payments”

The company which processes around 66,000 transactions a month is one of the largest crypto payments processors on the globe. It processes crypto transactions for prominent companies such as AMC Theaters and the Dallas Mavericks.

Featured image from Ethereum World News, chart from TradingView.com
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