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Bitcoin prices are plunging. What’s really going on with cryptocurrency?

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 7:46 AM

Bitcoin is a government-free payment source some businesses accept as money. But here are things to take into consideration before you start using it.

If you own bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, it might be a bad day for you.

The price of bitcoin plunged by 15 percent this morning, dropping below $12,000 for the first time since Dec. 4. Other cryptocurrencies have also seen price declines, with Ethereum falling by 20 percent and Ripple falling by 33 percent. The plunging prices are a stark difference to the success bitcoin saw last month — hitting a record of nearly $20,000 on Dec. 16.

» Currency of the future? Some argue it’s bitcoin

As the digital currency Bitcoin surges in popularity, curious investors and entrepreneurs alike are watching closely to see what happens with the fluctuating prices. Don’t understand the basics of bitcoin? Here’s what you need to know:

What is bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency, or a digital token, that can be sent electronically and directly from peer to peer. There is no physical backing and it is a decentralized currency — meaning it is not controlled by any government or banking entity. Bitcoin is the first cryptocurrency ever created, and remains the most popular one to date.

“I tell people it’s a digital currency and it’s a program,” said Jad Mubaslat, Wright State University graduate student and founder of BitQuick.co, a bitcoin trading platform. “For the first time in history, it allows anyone anywhere in the world to send any amount of money instantly. Most importantly, it;s without a third party … like a bank or a government. Now, you can truly send your money without somebody telling you what you can or cannot do.”

» MUST-READ BUSINESS NEWS: I bought bitcion. Here’s what I learned

The record of all bitcoin exchanges and transactions are record on what is called the blockchain, which is a network of decentralized computers.

How was bitcoin created?

Bitcoin was created by an unknown programmer going by the name Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008. He communicated only through email and social messaging, and no one truly knows Nakamoto’s identity. He released the software globally in 2009, and now anyone can use and download it.

How do you buy bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies?

In the U.S., several websites have popped up where you can buy and sell bitcoin online. One of the most popular websites is Coinbase and others include Mubaslat’s BitQuick.co, Coindesk.com and bitcoin.com. Investors can also meet with other bitcoin users in person and trade bitcoin via their virtual wallets on their phones. After meeting another bitcoin user through websites like Craigslist or LocalBitcoin.com, a user simply scans a QR code with another person’s wallet to transfer bitcoin.

Some people prefer to buy bitcoin in person or through a bitcoin ATM because the bitcoin transfer over faster than when they buy it online — it can take up to seven days, and sometimes longer, for bitcoin to show up in a virtual wallet after purchasing it online.

Why do some criminals use cryptocurrency for illegal transactions?

Some criminals use bitcoin because users can open a wallet to send and receive bitcoin without giving a name or identity. There is no bank or central authority, like a government, to control this information. Bitcoin also became a popular method for making ransom payments when a computer system is taken over by ransomware.

» CRIME AND CRYPTOCURRENCY: How local criminals use bitcoin illegally

However, bitcoin is not completely anonymous and transactions can be traced by police through bitcoin trading websites. Other untraceable cryptocurrencies, like Monero, are becoming popular for dark web uses including drug trafficking and human trafficking.

How is the worth of bitcoin decided?

The price — and ultimate worth — of bitcoin fluctuates, and experts are calling the cyrptocurrency extremely volatile. The price is determined by open-market bidding on Bitcoin exchanges. The worth of bitcoin could be compared to the way that gold prices fluctuate — in the sense that gold has value because people believe it does.

What exactly is bitcoin mining?

Mining is the process that creates new bitcoins in the blockchain, or network of computers. The bitcoin miners race to process new transactions, and the fastest computers ge a chunk of new bitcoin. A miner wins the race about every 10 minutes, which will happen until there are 21 million bitcoins in the world. No new bitcoins will be created after the blockchain has 21 million, which is expected to happen in 2140.

Anyone can set their computer up to mine bitcoin, but programmers with specialized hardware are usually the only ones to win bitcoin now.

Are there any other cryptocurrencies as popular as bitcoin?

Other cryptocurrencies also exist, but bitcoin is the most popular one right now. Other popular cryptocurrency includes Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Ripple, Litecoin and Monero. Digital cryptocurrencies are being created for all types of uses like PotCoin, which is a digital currency and banking solution for the global legal marijuana industry. There’s Titcoin, a cryptocurrency for the adult entertainment and sex worker industry.

What are the legal uses of bitcoin?

Most transactions on the bitcoin network aren’t illegal — it’s typically people buying and selling bitcoin to each other. People in countries with high inflation or unstable governments are putting their money into bitcoin to avoid losing their savings. It’s also used to transfer large sums of money internationally. It is quicker to transfer bitcoin than it is to go through a bank transfer, which can take weeks.

Some businesses also accept bitcoin including Overstock.com, Wikipedia, backpage.com and Square. For a short time, a local franchise of Firehouse Subs in Cincinnati accepted bitcoin. The restaurant, in Clifton, shut down a few years ago. “Firehouse Subs didn’t do very many transactions in Bitcoin, but it has generated buzz around the shop,” the Cincinnati Business Courier wrote.

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7 of the most popular jobs for 2018 college grads

Published: Monday, May 21, 2018 @ 4:06 PM

Over the past four years, code schools in Central Texas have graduated hundreds of students. We spoke to graduates of three different Austin-area code schools to learn more about how they did it. Anthony Pekearo took nursing classes after high school and eventually working as a stagehand and a pedicab owner. He also dabbled in Bitcoin investment, before his account was hacked. “I lost $275,000 in one night,” he said. He discovered the University of Texas’ boot camp program, which focused on teach

It's the ultimate accessory for that fancy diploma they just placed in your hands. Not a frame, no. How about a job to go with it?

Pay attention, anxious parents, recent grads and anyone currently in the process of choosing a college major who would like to earn a healthy income post-graduation.

»RELATED: First job salaries for college grads up 5.2 percent from 2017

According to LinkedIn, the 2018 college graduating class will be applying for certain jobs in record numbers.

There are more students graduating than ever before (according to the National Center for Education Statistics), and hiring authority LinkedIn identified numerous companies, industries and locations where they are most likely to apply based on 2016-17 figures. Experts at the career site picked a short list of popular jobs for this spring's graduating class, including one sought-after job description that pays more than $90,000 annually.

So, if you want to go where the competition isn't, it's good to know that these seven jobs are like magnets (or free pizza, or naps) in their ability to draw lots of recent grads to apply.

Here are seven of the most popular jobs for 2018 college grads, along with the median income to expect:

Assistant media planner

$58,000

New York City was No. 1 on LinkedIn's list of the Top U.S. Cities Hiring New Grads and it hired the most entry level folks in Marketing and Advertising spots like this one. Hello, Big Apple?

Abelardo Asensio Callol, 30, a software engineer from Cuba, fled to the United States and applied for asylum, but has been held in a prison for months as he awaits a ruling on his case. He is part of a group of asylum seekers suing the Department of Homeland Security over their prolonged detentions.

Software engineer

$92,300

Yep, this is the heaviest hitter on the list, offering a $90K-plus income right out of school. Seattle is just one of the cities that needs software engineers–and it's also No. 10 on LinkedIn's list of the "Top 10 U.S. Cities Hiring New Grads."

Graphic designer

$45,000

The Information Age is still hopping, and graphic designer hopefuls must make sure they've got what it takes to convey information across a wide variety of visual communication media. According to LinkedIn, Chicago and New York are both hiring for lots of marketing, advertising and Internet spots.

Investment banking analyst

$85,000

Another one of the top-earning entry-level jobs for 2018 college grads is also a popular job description at some of the companies that did a lot of entry-level hiring in 2017, including Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase and Morgan Stanley. But you can only fill the investment banking analyst role if your education (like a bachelor's in finance, accounting or economics) has prepared you for duties like performing valuation analyses and building detailed financial models.

Administrative assistant

$38,000

Many different college degrees would qualify a graduate for at least some administrative spots, but one of the top degrees for this position is psychology, according to LinkedIn.

Recruiter

$48,000

It's only a little amusing that one of the most sought-after spots for first jobs involves helping companies hire much more experienced people... According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, human resources specialists who work as recruiters may travel extensively to attend job fairs, visit college campuses and meet with applicants. Applicants usually need a bachelor's degree in human resources, business or a related field, but the BLS said that might vary by position and employer. It anticipated the human resources specialist job outlook overall to grow about 7 percent between 2016 and 2026, which is about average.

Account coordinator

$40,000

Account executive also makes the list, but account coordinator (which pays about 30 percent less) is a bit more accessible for folks with college degrees, client service skills and eyes for detail. Account coordinator was just one example of a job people with a degree in marketing would be qualified for, and Marketing was No. 2 on LinkedIn's list of "The top 10 majors that led to the most varied types of opportunities after graduation."

And whether you're looking for a job with the fewest competitors or are happy to run with the pack heading for the most sought-after spots, make sure you consider this job-seeking advice. (And you thought you were through with lectures.) "Get 'em while they're hot." According to LinkedIn, the best time to apply is "right now." For 2017, LinkedIn identified April through June as the months when the most grads were hired into entry-level jobs.

Didn't march, not quite done, traveling to Europe this summer? "If you're not ready yet, don't worry," LinkedIn experts advised. "August is another hot time to apply."

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Votes boost Cargill, airport building projects

Published: Monday, May 21, 2018 @ 1:57 PM


            The Cargill plant at 3201 Needmore Road. FILE.
The Cargill plant at 3201 Needmore Road. FILE.

Real estate deals near Dayton International Airport and at Cargill in Sidney got a big boost Monday.

The Dayton-Montgomery County Port Authority Board of Trustees voted unanimously Monday to boost both business expansions, approving deals that will shield construction projects at both sites from state and local sales taxes.

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The trustees approved a capital lease financial structure to exempt from sales taxes a $175 million expansion at the Cargill refining plant in Sidney, a project expected to add 12 jobs to a workforce of 293 people.

That project is similar in size to Emerson Climate Technology’s expansion, also in Sidney, which trustees also voted to support last year.

The Cargill project will build structures consisting of 35,000 square feet of prep space, an additional 28,000 square feet of work areas, more than 11,000 square feet of office space and 5,625 square feet of a loading area, about a mile from Interstate 75 on Industrial Drive.

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Both JobsOhio and the Dayton Development Coalition asked the Port Authority to consider supporting Cargill’s plans, said Jerry Brunswick, Port Authority executive director.

“This is what they need to do to stay competitive,” Brunswick said of Cargill.

The second project trustees approved Monday supports a second building NorthPoint Development is building near Dayton International Airport.

NorthPoint has already built and opened a 570,000-square-foot industrial warehouse north of U.S. 40 near Concorde Drive for Spectrum Brands, which produces STP automotive products.

NorthPoint is building a second facility — at a cost of about $31 million — next to the Spectrum property that is 524,160 square feet in size for an unidentified user.

NorthPoint is also building a third facility in the area.

Monday’s vote supports that second building.

Erik Collins, Montgomery County development director, said no county officials have met with prospects for that second building and NorthPoint has not announced a tenant yet.

The two NorthPoint projects take up almost 90 acres. “On the western side of the airport, a lot is happening,” Brunswick said.

That latter vote approves the sale of revenue bonds from $14 million to $17 million to deal with higher-than-expected construction costs, Brunswick said.

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Port authorities are often used to make real estate deals easier. By law, they are often able to execute projects without bidding them out and they can hold titles to sites to protect primary users from taxes.

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Moraine company sold to international firm

Published: Monday, May 21, 2018 @ 10:49 AM


            Aaron King, front, works with the three person team from Weiler Welding on the initial CO2 tank installation at Caddy s Tap House in Beavercreek. The other members of the team are Jeff Ungerecht, back left, and Michael Butler, back right. KAITLIN SCHROEDER/STAFF
Aaron King, front, works with the three person team from Weiler Welding on the initial CO2 tank installation at Caddy s Tap House in Beavercreek. The other members of the team are Jeff Ungerecht, back left, and Michael Butler, back right. KAITLIN SCHROEDER/STAFF

A Moraine-based gas distributor that caters to the welding industry, craft brewers and more is now owned by an international company.

Airgas, which has about 18,000 employees at 1,100 locations, said in a statement that it acquired Weiler Welding Company’s assets and operations as of April 30.

Weiler Welding has six locations, including its Moraine office, and services Southwestern Ohio and Southwestern Indiana. Weiler’s 70 employees are now part of Airgas, according to the press release.

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Weiler Welding is a full-service industrial gas, beverage gas and welding supply business.

The Dayton Daily News previously reported that Weiler Welding, a third-generation company that dates back to 1920, had been expanding its beverage gas business line that caters to restaurants, bars and the craft beer industry.

Weiler has made recent investments into its business, including a new fill plant, which opened in May 2014, that let it control its costs, turn around orders faster, and blend gases in-house for specific orders.

Airgas, a subsidiary of Paris-based Air Liquide, stated that Weiler Welding is the company’s 500th acquisition since it was founded in 1982.

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“Growth through acquisition has always been a core strategy and competency for us and we remain committed to pursuing acquisition opportunities in the years to come,” stated Andy Cichocki, Airgas chief operating officer.

Jim Weiler, president of Weiler Welding, stated in a press release that the joining of the two companies “will create tremendous value for our associates and our customers.”

“Weiler Welding Company appreciates Airgas’ customer-centric and employee focused culture,” he said. “We feel that this culture will foster opportunities for our associates and we look forward to continuing to serve our customers as a part of Airgas.”

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5 amazing flight deals we found at local airports for summer travel

Published: Monday, May 21, 2018 @ 8:16 AM

Ready for a vacation? Follow Clark Howard's method to find the best fares!

It’s time to book your next vacation.

Discount airlines flooded regional airports with cheap, new flights to destinations across the world. WOWair, Frontier Airlines and Allegiant Air added new flights in Columbus, Cincinnati and Dayton — lowering airfare for eager travelers in the region. There are plenty of cheap flight options to take advantage of this summer.

» WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: How to book cheap flights

Here are five of the best flight deals this news organization found at local airports:

1. Head to the beach from Dayton 

The ocean is calling. Book a ticket from the Dayton International Airpot to Punta Gorda Airport in Florida for a week-long beach vacation. From Monday, June 18 to Monday, June 25, travelers can pay as letter as $185 round-trip for a ticket on Allegiant Air. Allegiant flights to Punta Gorda are available on Mondays and Fridays.

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2. Jet off to Iceland for less than $300

It’s cheaper than ever to hitch a flight overseas from a local airport. Icelandic discount airline WOW air introduced service at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport earlier this month. Leave the Cincinnati airport on July 4 at 12:50 a.m. Your WOW basic ticket to Reykjavik, Iceland will cost you $109.99. You’ll leave Iceland on Wednesday, July 25. Your ticket home will cost you $159.99. You spend a total of $270 on your roundtrip travel.

3. Spend some time in the Lone Star State 

Frontier is offering one-way fare to Austin, Texas from Columbus for as low as $59 if you purchase the tickets by May 31. The deal is valid on tickets for Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Frontier offers best deals on their website every week.

4. Bon voyage! Paris is waiting for you 

You can actually afford international travel if you look for the right deals. Head off to Paris from Cincinnati with WOW air. You can leave July 30 and return Aug. 13. Your roundtrip fare could be as cheap as $610. WOW air fare varies by date so make sure to shop around to get the best deal.

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5. Go to Myrtle Beach for less than $100 

Fly from the Dayton International Airport to Myrtle Beach for as low as $100 roundtrip in July. Allegiant serves several cities from Dayton including: Daytona Beach, Orlando and Tampa, among others.

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