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Helping The ‘Miners’ Of 2024 Extract History’s Proven Real World Asset (RWA)

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Helping The ‘Miners’ Of 2024 Extract History’s Proven Real World Asset (RWA)

Former stockbroker, merchant banker, and gold exploration company CEO Christopher Werner spent two decades in the gold mining industry. He learned along the way that predominantly, far too many smaller mining companies run out of money before they can bring their gold to market.

Werner, now chairman and CEO of C3 Bullion, decided to create a precious metals hedge fund to provide short-term funding for mining companies entering the production stage that needed a new influx of capital to begin to cash in on their already long-term investment.

Meanwhile, former fintech CEO, Luciano Duque, now C3 Bullion’s chief investment officer, recounts watching Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary years ago telling an interviewer that, while he had included gold in his investment portfolio, he had no desire to invest in gold mines. He just wanted the gold.

Together, Werner and Duque devised a business plan to serve both gold-seeking investors and gold-producing mining companies.

They crafted the ‘C3 Fund’ as a precious metals mining fund that offered cash to mining companies in need of the capital and know-how to begin or increase production in return for physical gold. Investors in the fund get a return on investment and, at the end of a five-year term, investors can take delivery of their share of the physical gold that is held in storage.

Frankly, a gold fund investment with a five-year term and offering shipping of physical gold to investors is something not often seen in the industry.

The mission is quite simple and fairly low risk – Using proprietary software, decades of industry experience, and onsite management skills, C3 analyzes mining projects to determine their potential, assists in the capital formation strategies, lends capital for machinery and other equipment, trains miners, and streamlines and supervises the mining operation. You see, smaller mining companies are often skilled at exploration and production, but not in less tangible things – like due diligence, optimal execution strategies, risk management, business development, and collaboration.

With C3’s assistance, the mines can increase gold production, and often significantly.

They repay the loans with fiat and physical gold at a value discounted from the current market price. C3 also receives a percentage of the total production of the mine in physical gold during the duration of the loan. C3 then stores the gold with Brinks until the end of the contract period for the offering.

Once the loan is paid in full, C3’s involvement with the mine is over, and the now-profitable mine owns all of its future production.

Duque, upon first hearing Werner’s idea, remembered his young days as a tomato farm owner in Venezuela, where ketchup giant Heinz partnered with the farm, providing the tomato seedlings, agronomist support, know-how, agrochemicals and fertilizers, in return for buying the production below market price. The farmers made less, but they also had less risk – and lots of help.

The C3 Fund concept is in fact very similar – until the loan is fully repaid, the mines sacrifice a portion of their production in return for equipment, expertise, and capital, but gain what they need to produce gold long beyond the contract’s expiration date.

Smaller mines, mused Duque, love this business model – especially when they realize that C3 can close a loan within 60 days rather than 6 months to a year.

Duque also had learned another secret about investing in smaller mines – Their costs to produce gold bullion are lower than those for the larger mines, and with the gold price today breaking price records and at an all-time high, the profits for C3 Fund, its investors, and the mining companies can be significant.

At the outset of the contract periods, the mining company signs an asset-backed promissory note and begins to pay back the loan in gold. As the gold accumulates (again, partly based on production), fund investors have the option to get tokens that are essentially stablecoins. At the end of the contract period, however, they can either take delivery of their share of physical gold, sell it for fiat, or roll over their investment into a new offering.

Traditionally gold mine investment with the possibility of receiving physical gold was only available to highly specialized mining venture capital firms, with very high capital entry levels, with smaller investors often left out and with the only alternative options of getting into gold ETF and mining shares. None of these options gives the investors direct access to the gold produced in mines.

The C3 Fund concept ultimately opens the door to a wider audience of investors, those who are not traditionally gold mining investors, but who are looking to allocate a small percentage of their portfolio to gold, backed by gold, with revenues in gold, and with gold delivery – a unique combination.

Werner says that, while C3’s investors are typically from countries that do not use the U.S. dollar as their base currency (but know the value of gold in their portfolios,) C3 only lends money to mines in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, and other regions with low political risk.

As to the volatility of the gold price, Duque says that political instability increases peoples’ interest in adding gold to their portfolios.

He cites a recent Wirehouse study that found that over 70 percent of its client base on the wealth management side was “underweight” in gold, with less than 1 percent, as opposed to the 2.5 to 5 percent that most investment managers deem best.

Werner, who capped the initial investor offering at $50 million, is looking forward to a second fund, given the number of mines presently interested in doing business with C3 Bullion.

Meanwhile, he adds, central banks are buying gold at record rates at the same time there is considerable outflow from gold exchange-traded funds and even from gold-backed cryptocurrencies.

These may well be signals that the price of physical gold will continue to rise as long as there are wars, inflation, and of course, hotly contested, course-changing elections.

cryptocurrency unicoin

Why The Intrepid Are Bullish On A ‘Crypto Summer’ In Winter

Suppose you have a company in need of financing to take your innovative solutions to real-world problems to a broader audience and grow your business.

You could, in theory, go to the bank and find stodgy resistance to your request for a loan – and then, of course, face interest rates that would eat up all your profits.

You may have alternatively heard a lot about bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies – and then likely, most recently, about Sam Bankman-Fried. Then you look a little deeper and find Ethereum’s Decentralized Autonomous Organization, first reading about the $168 million in investments and then about the hack attack that led to a $50 million loss and the currency’s demise.

If only there were a cryptocurrency backed by legitimate assets – a cryptocurrency that had the same type of backing as a bank, but with a lot more flexibility.

Then you learn there is such a currency – and that it is structured democratically such that individual holders of this currency can choose to help you fund your project; that it is not just the board of directors who decides your fate.

Not long ago, such a currency was a dream, but today, that dream has come true, thanks, in part, to a group of investors who pooled some of their assets to roll out the Unicoin two years ago.

By 2025, over $525 million worth of Unicoins will have been sold, according to the company website. Now, others appear to be copying the template to create additional asset-backed cryptocurrencies.

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Argentine-born entrepreneur Silvina Moschini, who created the enterprise, ‘Unicoin’. Her group was already in the business of finding quality enterprises that wanted to go public but needed a direct pathway to diversified investors from around the world.

Early on, her Executive Leadership Team saw how Web3 blockchain technologies and token-based economics are opening up wealth creation opportunities that cut across traditional pathways and provide access for first-time and experienced investors alike.

In 2021, Moschini and several other entrepreneurs unveiled a streaming televised series they called Unicorn Hunters, which Real Screen described as mixing “entertainment with the potential for consumers [as well as the show’s entrepreneurs] to back select pre-IPO investment opportunities.”

In February 2022, the panel went on to introduce the Unicoin, which fellow Unicorn Hunter and legendary Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak says is an asset-backed cryptocurrency tied to the financial results of the companies in which they and their viewers have invested. As these assets grow and pay dividends, the value of each Unicoin grows with them.

By contrast, the value of the dollar, the currency of traditional banks, shrinks with every inflationary move of the federal government.

As a corporation, Unicoin acquires a 5 percent equity stake in the companies it promotes to the investor community. Individuals can choose to diversify their own risk through Unicoin or via direct investment in those companies.

But Unicoin is far more than a tool for investing in promising businesses. Moschini says, “We think like financiers. We are building here under Unicoin a basket of high-growth potential assets already well known for retaining value and generating revenue.”

“We can,” says Moschini, “use unicoins to buy advertising, including billboards in airports using Unicoin as currency. We can use AI to develop initiatives to match investors with opportunities suited to their goals. Ultimately by decentralizing the coin, we can react to a fast-changing environment in real time.”

Again – traditional banks, by contrast, rely on a bureaucracy that moves much more slowly.

Unicoin also recently introduced a real estate investing platform that allows people to invest real estate into Unicoin, essentially swapping their real estate for coins. Already this platform has brought into the fold a five-star hotel in Thailand and a copper mine in Argentina among other globe-spanning initiatives wholly via coin swapping.

Unicoin does all this utilizing a highly decentralized team in the creative industry that includes developers from central and eastern Europe and other team members in nations such as Canada, Brazil, Colombia, the U.S., and Argentina.

Moschini, citing as an example how Facebook replaced MySpace, stated that Unicoin is driving this second generation of crypto – built on transparency and backed with tangible assets – in-part thanks to learning from the mistakes that caused first-generation cryptocurrencies to falter.

A primary goal now is working with lawmakers to craft a regulatory framework that does not stifle investment, but protects investors from fraudulent activity. Unicoin’s own assets are subject to auditing, which, along with transparency in transactions, must become the regulatory norm.

While Unicoin has grown rapidly, and the value of each unicoin has increased by 4,900%, Moschini envisions further expansion into such items as luxury-brand sneakers, sporting goods, and clothing – even Unicoin tee shirts – to build the brand.

Branding, she notes, along with effective communication, trust and engagement, are of paramount importance to building loyalty to the company.

Worldwide access via the Internet has changed the nature of the investing world, says Moschini. Addressing a Blockchain Expo in London earlier this week, “we were surprised to have so many investors stop by our booth.”

But then, investors in Unicoin already come from 160 of the world’s nations.

Unicoin is today applying for licenses in Dubai, indeed the United Kingdom (UK), and many other nations as part of its campaign to open up investment to the world’s masses. Their vision is to democratize access to wealth and to ensure that this vision remains central, as Unicoin diversifies and scales upward into assets far beyond real estate and IPOs – even possibly into carbon trading.

To the intrepid entrepreneurs entering the decentralized marketplace for the first time, or to the seasoned – I agree with Canadian businessman and ‘Shark Tank’ icon, self-made entrepreneur Kevin O’Leary’s recent proclamation on the future of digital finance – I too am bullish on crypto and in 2024, as the dust settles in what many considered the Wild West, with regulators clearing the field, it’s truly time for new, exciting, diverse and cross-industry endorsed “compliant platforms to unlock this sector’s true potential”.

Making Dual-Use Tech an Economic Priority

Emerging technologies like global positioning satellites, quantum computing, and artificial intelligence hold immense value for commercial and defense applications. When these technologies are developed for dual use, they can help our country stay competitive – and protect our own national security in the process.

Dual-use tech can create jobs, keep our country competitive, and let Americans live more comfortably. Meanwhile, those same emerging technologies and capabilities can help people survive on the frontlines and thwart cyber attacks.

For these breakthroughs to continue, the global investment community must, frankly, join the growing community of venture capital outfits in financing those early-stage companies focused on dual-use technology, instead of just focusing on silos of ‘defense’ and ‘civilian’ tech.

Since the 1950s, dual-use technologies have become key for advancing commercial sectors while bolstering national defense. Every day, people unknowingly use items developed by the military. A few of the biggest contributions are things like the first version of the internet, GPS systems, and microwaves. However, the tempo of innovation is starting to slow as startups focusing on dual-use technology struggle to find enough funding to benefit civilians and the military.

While federal initiatives have been made to direct funding towards dual-use startups, the private sector can commit higher amounts of capital in a shorter period. As federal entities struggle with red tape, venture capitalists can pledge millions towards dual-use commercial and defense technology.

Recently, a fund of over $120 million was established to support entrepreneurs working on the applications of AI, space, autonomy, and cybersecurity. If completed at a wider scale, these investments would sustain dual-use breakthroughs for the long term. But the interest in defense tech startups isn’t high enough to make this a reality.

Last year, many funding milestones were made for defense tech companies. One raised almost $1.5 billion for its Series E round, and this was the fourth-largest VC-backed funding deal that year. However, defense tech startups saw a measly $2.1 billion in total investments versus cybersecurity counterparts that garnered over $10 billion.

The divide shows signs of shrinking as venture capitalists are starting to see the benefits of dual-use tech. Not only are dual-use startups faster and easier to scale, but they hold more promise for generating revenue earlier.

The only problem preventing many venture capitalists from flocking to dual-use innovations lies in a difference of values. Respect for privacy and freedom has been an undercurrent in the tech world since its inception. Attempting to merge future-focused Silicon Valley startups with government partners results in conflicts like Google’s employee protest against its Pentagon contract.

However, the future can be brighter if we take a wider look at the duality of this niche.

Instead of proposing ‘winning’ concepts that exist in a vacuum that affords limited possibilities for profitability and usage, dual-use technology allows investors and companies to double their chances of success and impact. By thinking with two audiences in mind, companies can scale rapidly, employing local talent, and defense leaders can protect our nation’s most vulnerable assets.

Venture capitalists have always fueled innovation through strategic investments and additional services like mentorship. For example, Ultratech Capital Partners, – a member of the US DoD Trusted Capital Marketplace program, provides companies critical to national security with access to funding and mentorship, from inception to emerging technological breakthrough realization.

Once the mindset toward dual-use tech shifts into a positive realm, the potential for success is limitless. Make no mistake. This sector will enable us to compete as a nation and to enhance ourselves as a society, which every American should find crucial.

By prompting the private sector to drive investment and development, our citizens will dictate what inventions are later integrated for defense. If financers intentionally avoid dual-use ventures, the space will become stunted in capital and value, leading to foreign dependence and vulnerabilities.

As the arena of emerging technologies grows and diversifies, dual use will remain a highly profitable backbone of the industry. Venture capitalists who want to receive any of the financial or social rewards of accelerating development and the launch of new products will have to get involved. A fund dedicated to dual-use technologies could be created, or existing startup accelerators and firms could prioritize the sector.

If dual-use technologies become another responsibility for the government to support, the value for civilians will plummet. To expect any riches, investors must actively support these startups in finding funding and creating profitable business models.

The global investment community has the connections and knowledge that many of these teams do not. If investors spent a little time researching the market and providing financial and business resources, they would diversify their portfolio with highly profitable ventures.

Dual-use technology is not going anywhere. Countries across the globe are taking an interest in this sector, whether they are looking to create violent machines or to elevate humanity. It may be hard to tell the difference, but the private sector should not focus on these pitfalls.

Investors can turn their attention to out-innovating foes rather than monitoring their behaviors. That way, startups receive the capital they need to navigate regulatory labyrinths and start making sales that will improve everyone’s lives.

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First-Generation American Finds His Niche In Cybersecurity

Three years ago Cybercrime Magazine reported that Cybersecurity Ventures expected cybercrime costs to grow by 15 percent annually, reaching US$10.5 trillion globally by 2025.Already, the cost of cybercrime had risen from $3 trillion in 2015 to a projected $6 trillion in 2021.

If measured as a country, cybercrime would be the world’s third largest economy after the U.S. and China.

Theft from cybercrime represents the greatest transfer of economic wealth in world history. Profits from cybercrime are greater than the global trade of all major illegal drugs combined.

Data breaches, often connected to cybercrime but sometimes just the result of incompetence or hacker curiosity, have become everyday events in the cyber century. In just the first three months of 2023, major data breaches were reported by Yum Brands (KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut), Chick Fil-A, Activision, Google Fi, T-Mobile, Mail Chimp, Norton LifeLock, and even ChatGPT.

One of the largest data breaches occurred in 2018, affecting 2 billion Facebook (now Meta) users; the company was also breached in 2021, affecting “only” half a billion users.

Yahoo, Amazon, Twitter, Microsoft, Uber, AOL, Dropbox, eBay, and many other 21st Century giants have also suffered the indignities caused by hackers.

There are three leading reasons why company data can get hacked – One is old vulnerabilities – hackers who breach once leave a secret window to enable repeat attacks; human error by employees ranging from weak passwords to clicking on malicious links and visiting phishing sites; and the third is malicious software used by hackers – viruses, ransomware, Trojans, spyware, adware, and other traps that enable would-be criminals to steal confidential information.

Cybersecurity expert Melvin Ejiogu says he founded VeeMost Technologies in 2002 after realizing that most of the key players in the industry at that time focused more on billing their customers and responding to current attacks than on building and managing a secure cyber environment to protect those customers over the long term.

Ejiogu said he was motivated – despite a lack of capital at the time – to provide a variety of services to ensure the security of customer data rather than rely on gimmicks. His focus was on long-term maintenance protection rather than quick fixes over and over again. But, he admits, though he was a technology expert and had the financial background, he did not understand how to grow what is today a great company.

To learn those ingredients, Ejiogu, whose college days were at the University of Akron in Ohio, first partnered with companies in Cleveland Ohio to provide networking and security services for state and local government accounts and private enterprise accounts.

But Ejiogu wanted more than just a successful small company, so he relocated to New Jersey to begin a 10-year partnership with AT&T Labs.

There, he designed, implemented, and secured network infrastructures and solutions for much larger government entities and enterprise customers. His experience, along with his teammates, was critical to landing and executing a multibillion-dollar contract with the Department of Defense.

And then, Melvin muses, he began to learn “…how the big boys do business.”

The “big boys” were not afraid to invest in people, processes, and tools – the keys to growing a business that already provides high-quality services. Ejiogu decided to leave AT&T and take VeeMost “off autopilot.”

To do that, Ejiogu opted to go public. “Free advertising,” Ejiogu says. “Shareholders become your first-line customers and your first sales force.”

VeeMost, which has specialized in architecting, deploying, and managing secure digital solutions and platforms to accelerate and enhance business efficiencies for increased profitability, also expanded into India and West Africa, looking to gain some market share there as well.

It launched its own cloud services and solutions and today provides full life-cycle management for companies’ digital transformation journey to the cloud – from initial consultation and assessment to full migration and cloud management. They launched a tool called VeeShield Cloud Security, which is a suite of cloud-delivered products to protect customers from malicious content, malware, and other attacks.

At about the same time, VeeMost launched an innovation Hub Center that focuses on researching and developing new solutions to enhance its partner companies’ products and services. Those partnerships are strategic alliances with Palo Alto Networks, Cisco Systems, Splunk, and most of the other industry-leading security vendors.

While VeeMost has recently become an attractive target for acquisition, Ejiogu remains far more interested in increasing value for his shareholders through business expansion and multiple acquisitions.

Maybe it’s the thought that others might not operate the businesses he has grown according to the same moral code – or maybe it’s just because he’s not done growing.


Tomorrow’s workforce needs collaborative learning

Jeremy Tillman had a vision. “I wanted to create a marketplace that made it easy for people to find the corporate training they needed and to develop technology to allow companies to better manage the learning processes of their employees.” And so, in 2004, after an epiphany while working on another firm’s project, he started

Eighteen years later more than 60,000 companies, including 92 percent of the Fortune 500, have purchased one or more training courses from And Tillman, who grew up in public housing, has from the company’s inception traveled all over the world with training and with technology he says, “helps bring people together.”

His story is a fascinating one. Tillman started an e-commerce company while a computer sciences student at the University of Alabama – Huntsville. He managed the university’s five computer labs and built a training management system to aid in its corporate education programs. There, Tillman got his first taste of working with firms like Boeing, Teledyne, and Raytheon.

Tillman stated that truly took off by 2006 and has continued its growth and vision. The secret to his firm’s future, he lets on, lies with helping people to learn collaboratively. Traditional corporate training had been focused primarily on conveying job-related information, but adult learning theory teaches that information alone is insufficient to produce real change.

The collaborative approach flips the old narrative of, “what can I gain” to “what can I contribute to the larger whole.”

“We learn things faster when we gain the insights from others and brainstorm to find solutions to on-the-job problems. The end-result is often a richer learning experience that has ongoing impacts for individuals and companies alike,” Tillman noted.

That’s the view of training, one that multitudes have undertaken. is also on the cutting edge of creating custom learning, performance, and talent management solutions for building, tracking, managing, and assessing enterprise-wide initiatives for multiple large, recognizable corporations.

And in 2022, as companies across myriad sectors face the challenges posed by the new paradigm of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), Tillman believes his training methods are a perfect fit.

The collaborative approach which has developed over nearly two decades is particularly geared toward Inclusion. Diversity and Equity are largely hiring decisions, while Inclusion requires a change of culture from the bottom up.

“Building inclusive workplace cultures has to include everyone on the job. The key to successful inclusion training is connecting people together rather than presenting training as divisive – and allowing employees to recognize contributions from those they may have previously discounted. These principles apply across the board, from global corporations to small businesses, and even church organizations. Good training is founded in connectivity, and that requires inclusivity,” he tells me.

Tillman cited a recent four-nation, 1,000-person pilot training session for a multinational corporation. In the pilot, 250 people each from China, India, the United Kingdom, and the United States were encouraged to leverage the platform for training. Prior to the event, over 600 of the participants were engaging together and interacting to address serious discussion questions, actions that surely enhanced the collective learning experience and that of the most active participants.

Plus, says Tillman, obtained lots of data on how the people engaged both before, during, and after the event. The platform enables participants in such group trainings to continue their conversations and share their successes and failures. The outcome has been impacts in areas far beyond the scope of the specific training. Once again, the key is creating community out of diverse parts, not just talking diversity.’s latest initiative to addressing contemporary adult corporate learning is its Institutes project, due to launch in April 2022. Therein are four planned courses – leadership skills, inclusive leadership skills, essential skills for first-time managers and supervisors, and customer service skills. The company asserts that unlike most online courses, participants do not have to schedule their lives around expensive live webinars and overpriced course libraries. Instead, these institutes are both on-demand and rooted in community.

In the Leadership Institute, the mantra is “you manage things; you lead people.” The program teaches the difference between people management and visionary leadership – which includes learning and putting into practice essential leadership skills including communication, strategic thinking, and empathy. The institute seeks to provide tools for beginning a lifelong journey.

The Inclusive Leadership Institute prepares students for creating and inspiring diverse workplaces. Students learn the basic building blocks like Cognizance of Bias, Collaborative Training, and Cultural Intelligence. Inclusive leaders must be able to tackle the challenges of diversity, equity, and inclusion with a confidence founded in practical implementation. has learned that jumping from individual contributor to manager is a difficult challenge requiring many skills that all too often are not in the toolboxes of first-time managers. To empower first-timers to achieve the goal of maximum team performance, the curriculum includes such skills as goal setting, time management, giving and receiving feedback, and employee recognition.

The Customer Service Institute teaches participants skills for retaining customers, in recognition that it is much cheaper to keep old customers than to acquire new ones. This institute focuses on elite ‘soft skills’, such as emotional intelligence and communication, and ‘hard skills’ such as time management and support metrics.

Tillman recounts one client company’s focus on customer service as a strategy for retaining top talent. Disaffected salespeople were reassigned to customer satisfaction roles. They had to refocus from short-term sales to helping customers feel value and satisfaction. The result was that the sales force found a new level of pride of accomplishment in satisfying customers that made them better salespeople.

Tillman, who knows something about the power of inclusion and overcoming adversity, says he dedicated his career to empowering growth and shaping the future of learning. His reason? “It is what takes someone from where they are today and get them to where they want to be tomorrow.”


And that, he adds, is best done by encouraging everyone in the workplace to maximize their potential and actual contributions to the work at hand – and to their individual futures.


Duggan Flanakin is a journalist and policy analyst who writes from San Marcos, Texas.