A digital wallet, or an e-wallet, refers to software or an electronic device or online service that lets individuals and businesses transact electronically. It stores the users' information for various payment modes on several websites, gift coupons, and driver’s license.
With a digital wallet, a user can process the payment smoothly using the NFC (near field communication) technology.
Digital wallets are also used along with the mobile payment system, allowing users to make payments via smartphones.
There are three types of digital wallets – Open, closed, and semi-closed.
Closed Wallet: A closed wallet is one in which the wallet is used for storing funds. These funds can be used for making payment. Also, if any transaction is made using the wallet gets cancelled, the amount gets refunded in the same wallet. Amazon Pay is a prime example of a closed wallet.
A closed wallet is designed for making full or partial payment for the services that the wallet issuer directly offers. The best part is that it is an excellent tool for developing customer loyalty by providing reward-based cashback.
One cannot use a closed wallet to make payments to any 3rd party service provider or transfer money. Other than this, once the amount is added to a closed wallet, the user would not be able to withdraw cash. The money can be used to avail of the products and services offered by the wallet issuer.
Through a semi-closed wallet, the user can transact at listed merchants and locations. These wallets have restricted coverage area for purchasing goods online or offline. For using this type of wallet, the merchants have to sign a deal with the issuer for accepting payments from the wallet.
In a semi-closed wallet, the users can do the shopping and transfer funds to another user in the same wallet network.
Banks and institutes partners with other banks to issue open wallet. Through an open wallet, the user can transact with a semi-closed wallet and withdraw funds from banks, ATMs and can also transfer the money.
The mobile wallet works using NFC technology or QR code technology. These QR code technology or NFC technology store payment-related details in an encoded format because of security reasons. There are different ways the payment information is stored, and it differs from one wallet to another.
A mobile wallet works by communicating with terminals with the help of several types of information transfer technology. Through NFC technology, these mobile wallets communicate with each other.
How to use a Mobile Wallet?
Using a mobile wallet involves four straightforward steps:
While managing a mobile wallet has its fair share of benefits, they also have a few drawbacks. Let us delve into the advantages and disadvantages:
What is the Dark Web? The dark web is one such portion of the World Wide Web which is not accessible by regular search engines. The dark web is considered a hotbed for criminal activities, and it is much more than that. Various websites exist on an encrypted network inside the dark web. Standard web browsers and programs cannot find these websites. Once inside the dark web, different sites and pages can be accessed like one does on the web. Scientists believe that the internet we see is only 4% of the entire ocean of the web, meaning the 96% consists of the "Deep and Dark Web". The user interface used in the dark web is usually internet-based, but it utilises special software which is not part of the standard ones. There are dozens of web browsers to surf the internet, but they all work in the same way. These standard browsers use ports and protocols to request, transfer and view data on the Internet. The website you access may look familiar, but as you enter, it may be illegal or something familiar but otherwise not monitored by anyone else. Therefore, the deep web and the dark web are famous for being anonymous. Also read: Cyber Espionage Campaign: Strings that tie China, Australia and the US How to access dark web browser? In order to access a few areas which are restricted, the user may need a password and a process to follow. A special software called TOR (The Onion Router) or the Freenet has these non-standard connections. These browsers are unlike standard internet browsers and have a process to access. They allow the users to browse around the dark web and are focused on keeping the user identity anonymous. If hacked or accessed, the regular web browser can easily provide user information such as who the user is and whereabouts. Though the dark web is providing 100% anonymity, federal agencies have been successful in tracking down criminal activities on the dark web. It is often said that the person you are talking to on the dark web could either be an FBI agent or a criminal. Image: Kalkine What happens inside the world of the dark web? The dark web is famous for allowing sinister activities, but many users go on the dark web to access information which otherwise may not be accessible on standard internet. Such as users from extremely oppressive governments who cut access to the world for their citizens. Unfortunately, such confidential environments also provide open platforms to criminals, terrorists and other such individuals involved in illegal activities. Hence, experts advise users to not access the dark web even out of curiosity as it is a lawless environment. There have been many incidents where innocent, curious users were trapped and forced to get involved in criminal activities or their digital devices hacked and compromised without their knowledge. A study conducted by a University of Surrey researcher Dr Michael McGuires in 2019, Into the Web of Profit, shows that the dark web has become worse in recent times. Since 2016 of all the listings on the dark web suggested, 60% could harm companies. Everything illegal and criminal can be found on the dark web, it also has other legitimate options such as chess clubs or book clubs, but because of the anonymity, the user will not know whom he/she is interacting with. Inside the dark web, anonymity and lawless nature make the crimes which exist otherwise in our society hard to trace. The payment procedure inside the dark web is also different from the World Wide Web. Most often, Bitcoin and Monero cryptocurrency are used for the transactions. RELATED READ: Knock Knock! Cybercriminal at Your Doorstep What’s the difference between the deep web and dark web? The dark web is part of the entire deep web and is hidden from regular browsing access. Most people confuse the deep web and the dark web as one entity. It is not. The deep web content includes anything hidden and restricted behind the security wall such as content which otherwise requires paywall or sign-in or blocked by the author. Content which cannot be easily accessible on regular internet such as medical records, membership websites, paid content are available on the deep web; hence it is also called Invisible Web. No one really knows the total size of the internet, but the experts believe that the standard World Wide Web consists of only 4% internet, the deep web consists of 90% and dark web consists of 6% of the entire internet. ALSO READ: Technology has changed the way we work amid the COVID-19 crisis: A look at in-demand technologies Image: Kalkine Also read: It happens again, NZX being bullied by Cyber-attackers- Down for the fourth day What kind of risk companies face due to the dark web? The Into the Web of Profit report listed below threats various organisations around the world are facing, especially the ones who have weak or insufficient cybersecurity measures. Malware attacks Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks Botnets Trojan, keyloggers, exploits Espionage Credentials access Phishing Refunds Customer data Operational data Financial data Intellectual property/ trade secrets Also read: Cybersecurity and the Requirement of a Resilient Environment in Australia Are there advantages and disadvantages to the dark web? The dark web provides complete anonymity, the users get complete privacy to perform any activity, be it illegal or legal. Many countries in the world still have authoritarian regimes offering no civil rights to their people. To such oppressed lot, the dark web provides an opportunity to access news, information, data and also express their views. The dark web is also a perfect place for law agencies to map criminal activities while being undercover. It is also easy to commit gruesome crimes through the dark web as it is complicated and lawless. Criminals can easily use the dark web to compromise someone's privacy, steal data or private information or even hire someone to commit murder. Do internet users need to be concerned about the dark web? The simple answer is no unless the user is using the dark web. Study says that most young people visit the dark web out of curiosity. They do not want to indulge in any criminal activity but want to see how the hidden and secret world of the dark web operates. And that is where the possibility of the electronic device IP address getting hacked by other criminals to perform their criminal activities lies. The earliest use of darknet dates back to the year 2000. Freenet was created at the University of Edinburgh based on a student research paper. Ian Clark wrote the paper in 1999 on the possibility of such an encrypted internet base. Freenet was created to oppose censorship and provide a platform for free speech. The most powerful dark web is TOR, and it was created by the United States government to have a secure encrypted communication in case of emergency and complete disaster. Even today, many law agencies are secretly active inside the world of the dark web to gain access in the criminal world and stay one step ahead.
HD wallets or hierarchical deterministic wallet are those wallets that use a single twelve or eighteen-word seed phrase to produce the successive pairs of private and public keys in a crypto wallet.
In 2013, the television host of CNBC's Mad Money, Mr Jim Cramer addressed few stocks as “totally dominant in their markets”. He was referring to tech titans and named them FAANG stocks (where the extra “A” was added 5 years later, in 2017). ALSO READ: Investment in Technology Stocks - A Beginner's Guide What Are FAANG Stocks? “FAANG” is perhaps one of the most popular abbreviation of the business world. The acronym illustrates stocks of the famous five US-based technology corporations- first being social media giant Facebook Inc., followed by software and hardware developer Apple Inc., the e-commerce magnate Amazon.com Inc., and the streaming service provider Netflix Inc., along with the last FAANG member, internet ace Alphabet Inc. (formerly recognised as Google). Originally, the acronym was FANG (with an “A” for Amazon.). In 2017, investors included Apple in the group, turning the acronym into FAANG. There is an interesting fact here- The original four FANG stocks were pure internet-based companies, but the later inclusion of Apple, that is a consumer hardware manufacturer, made FAANG stocks a broader group of giant technology stocks. Widely renowned among consumers, unique in their products and services, these stocks are of few of the largest companies in the world. They trade on the NASDAQ Exchange and are included in the S&P 500 Index, making up approximately 15 per cent of the index. Market experts believe that since these stocks have a large influence on the index, they tend to have a substantial effect on the performance of the S&P 500, in general. GOOD READ: FAANGs Defining Resilience Amid Market Downtrends Why Are FAANG Stocks Popular? FAANG companies exhibit several competitive advantages that make them attractive long-term investments. Consider this- Facebook rules social networking, Amazon is the one-stop destination to buy goods online in today’s digital world; Apple’s iPhones are one of the most used and well-renowned gadgets globally; Netflix is considered to be a leader of online streaming; whereas Google is the search engine used comprehensively almost every day, everywhere. These disruptive companies benefit from what is known as the network effect (indirect value goods and services gain as more people use them). Facebook’s products are valuable to new users because of its vast other active users. Amazon’s Prime service brings millions of shoppers to its marketplace every day, making its seller services more attractive to third-party merchants. Millions of Netflix viewers provide feedback for the kind of content the company should invest in. Lock-in effect of the Apple ecosystem creates substantial switching costs for iOS users. FAANG companies have intangible assets. This opens doors to the possibility of producing higher levels of profitability than rival companies. Consider this- Facebook, Amazon, and Google have troves of user data to pursue advertisements. Netflix offers original content, exclusive licenses that make its content library unique. Apple, on the other hand, is one of the few technology companies that makes hardware as well as software for its devices. FAANG players contribute to radical lifestyle change. One obvious reason for the popularity of these market darlings is that each FAANG company has been known to transform not just their own industries and the markets, but also how we all live in the current contemporary lifestyles. What is the significance of FAANG Constituents? As the heavy weighting of FAANG stocks in indexes like the S&P 500 gives them an outsized impact on the broader stock market, it seems worthwhile for investors to learn a bit about them. How is Investing Community Exposed to FAANG Stocks? FAANG stocks have historically outperformed the S&P 500 index. Over the last decade, this famous group accounted for a large portion of the market’s gains and American economy growth. This seems obvious given that FAANG companies have a hoard of competitive advantages making them seem like lucrative long-term investments. Offering perhaps the hottest technology trends, FAANG stocks demonstrate strong sales and earnings growth. Each FAANG company is listed on the NASDAQ, so purchasing their shares is a straightforward process for most investors. The easiest path could possibly be via online brokerage account with companies that offer this service. At this point, it should be noted that FAANG stocks aren’t cheap. For instance, for most of 2019, one share of Google sold for well over USD 1,000 and Amazon traded above USD 1,500. However, a wise investor knows that past results do not guarantee future success. Sinusoidal equity market trends deserve closer attention to a lot of other aspects before making any investment decision. Therefore, investing in FAANG stocks should be vigilantly based on one’s research of fundamental and technical aspects and risk appetite. GOOD READ: Investing Tips: 4 Reasons Big Techs can always stay your best pal Are There Any Risks Associated to Investing in FAANG Stocks? Market experts believe that there are no sure plays in the investing world. Simply put, there is a risk in every aspect of investing. Though favourable market conditions and investor enthusiasm for technology seems to be here for good, global uncertainties always should be considered. Overly bullish expectations coupled with certain political pressures and economic worries may hinder these big techs’ growth. Some experts opine that as these companies continue to mature amid mounting worldwide risks, it may get increasingly difficult for them to maintain their rapid growth pace. Legal Regulatory, market and operational risks of these FAANG players need to be considered before taking any exposure to FAANG stocks. Amazon and Google have often come under regulatory examination for potential anti-competitive business practices. Facebook and Google have faced criticism for lack of data privacy and security. On the other hand, Netflix has encountered new competitors in streaming video and as few reports suggest, a huge debt load linked with content production. Valuations of FAANG players should be well justified viz-a-viz earnings guidance of these players, before taking any investment exposure. Are There Global Peers to FAANG Stocks? Just like FAANG stocks, there are several groups of companies that can be looked upon as peers to the tech group. Let us cast an eye on similar groups- The Australian variant, WAAAX stocks comprises WiseTech Global Limited (ASX:WTC), Appen Limited (ASX:APX), Altium Limited (ASX:ALU), Afterpay Limited (ASX:APT) and Xero Limited (ASX:XRO). GAFAM is an acronym for the five most popular US. tech stocks: Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft. BATX is the abbreviation for the four popular technology stocks from China: Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent and Xiaomi. TAND, which comprise of Tesla, Activision, Nvidia and Disney are often looked up as future giants of tech. TANJ stocks in Hong Kong comprise Tencent, Alibaba, NetEase and JD.com. The Canadian big tech club DOCKS constitutes Descartes Systems, Open Text, Constellation Software, Kinaxis and Shopify. Do You Know These Interesting Facts About FAANG Stocks? The FAANG group has been a stock market superstar on both short and long-term basis. These stocks have more or less consistently delivered above-average sales and profit growth and maintained juicy margins. Let us look at a few interesting facts about these tech titans- In August 2018, FAANG stocks were responsible for nearly 40 per cent of the S&P 500’s gain from the lows reached in February 2018. Over the past decade, FAANG stocks have grown faster than the overall S&P 500 or the more technology-focused NASDAQ. There is no exchange traded fund dedicated solely to FAANG stocks. Since the market bottom in March of 2009, the worst performing FAANG stock, Apple, has returned over double that of the index average. Amid the COVID-19 market downturn FAANG companies were one of the biggest beneficiaries as the “stay-at-home” economy led to an acceleration in their trajectories as people’s lives shifted online. Rather than resting on their achievements and dominant market position, FAANG companies choose to use their cash on hand to make investments in cloud computing, AI and other technologies that they believe may lead to continued revenue growth.
ICON (ICX) is a cryptocurrency or a form of digital asset that allows multiple blockchains that includes other cryptocurrencies to exchange information via ICON's central node.