Students Going Crypto
A group of students and advisers from several universities collaborated to built Student Coin in 2018 (1). It is a blockchain framework designed to teach college students about crypto and how it works.
Student Coin is the first crypto portal that allows students to create, design, and manage their personal, startup, DeFi, and NFT tokens. The team is also looking to make tokenization mainstream via supporting education about blockchain technology, tokenomics, and decentralized finance.
Even though the platform languished in obscurity for a long time, their subreddit saw a spike in new members during their ICO initial coin offering. According to the Subreddit Stats (2), it landed the platform in the list of the 50 faster-growing communities of the month.
The platform makes it possible for universities and students to build their trade crypto, tokens and even issue loans through cryptocurrency.
At present, Student Coin aims to be the future of education financing with support from legacy platers like the London School of Economics and Harvard University to pull it all off.
Last month, it also secured 21 million USD to shape its STC Ecosystem. It will soon release two new products, three tokens at STC Ecosystem, and five exchanges for the community (3).
Several colleges worldwide have started considering cryptocurrency trading to better use student loan money over conventional spendings such as school supplies and other expenditures.
As per a study by the Student Loan Report, over one in five university students with student loan debt indicated that they had utilized the borrowings to invest in digital currencies like bitcoin as detailed by the New York Post (4).
Moreover, students receiving aid via loans can sometimes have additional funds that students can use in any way as per their choice, including investing.
The student loan information website and news discovered that over 21% of over 1k students surveyed indicated that they used the loan money to gamble on the highly volatile digital currency market.
While university administrators may look down on the practice of using student loans for non-school expenses, college students can use them for ‘living expenses,’ a flexible category that offers a vast range of potential necessities.
Investing in cryptocurrencies can be a quick way to add the debt burden if bitcoin and other currencies plummet. Conversely, for the lucky few, an appreciation in crypto prices could help students pay off their debts rapidly.
Since we are heading toward rebuilding the student loan industry, we believe that it is time to do a better job at upskilling students on borrowing and handling their finances to make better decisions.
There are several opportunities in a few key areas.
Entrepreneurs can leverage the trend with student-oriented businesses that accept cryptocurrencies such as university swag stores, book rentals, and more.
One can also go for crypto consulting services for students and universities. It is worth highlighting that Student Coin currently supports over 500 universities across the world. However, there are more than 5k colleges in the United States alone, and each of them would require understanding navigating in the brave new world.
Entrepreneurs can also start loan comparison platforms such as NerdWallet. It is worth highlighting that the platform makes millions of dollars each month in affiliate income through helping people and comparing loan options. Businesses can also reboot their model with free or paid content on educating students and parents on cryptocurrencies, Student Coin, and other emerging DeFi loan options (5).
Vibing with Viridian
The deep forest-green color, also known as ‘viridian,’ is the latest craze exploding on Pinterest.
Searches for ‘viridian aesthetic’ surged in February and is also growing like a weed on Google, as per Keywords Everywhere.
There is always a color of the moment. A few years ago, it was grey and beige, and as we are entering a new decade, there is a new Haute hue: Viridian.
It is pretty easy to chalk up to the current love affair with the color. While it pops, there is something different about green. It can evoke the beauty of trees, grass, and other earthly entities.
When many of us are disconnecting from nature, it has become a way to bring the outdoors inside (6). And now, with so many people looking to incorporate the color into their homes, offices, personal spaces, and their lives, there are some of our insights that can help you to bring the color into your room.
It is not easy being green. Entrepreneurs can help people figure out how they can pull off the look in their homes and places without going overboard with online interior design services.
The coronavirus pandemic led WFH movement has been immense and has led to new interior design and home decor developments. Since the coronavirus pandemic, there has been a spike in monthly search interest for interior design services and ideas, highlighting opportunities to meet demand.
Suppose one can also combine it with localism. In that case, one can create a unique opportunity to source and sell locally produced decor items such as wall decor, kitchenware, rugs, bedding, baskets, etc., in the everyday and premium range.
At the same time, businesses can also leverage the exploding trend with college decor.
The search for ‘wall collage’ went all-time high on Google and Pinterest, as the world was stuck at home amid the pandemic and looked for new ways to bring the world inside. Social media aesthetics and nostalgia for the outside would drive the trend.
It is worth noting that the term ‘wall collage pictures’ still gets over 18k searches per month on Google. Moreover, according to Jungle Scout, this set of framed botanical prints makes over 11k USD per month on Amazon (7).
Even though the government has banned TikTok in India, it remains the most popular short-video platform. And Since the emergence of the platform in 2019, there has been a surge in Google search trends for TikTok lights. Why? Adding glow effects can surely get TikTok famous as it can supercharge anyone’s short TikTok clips.
Even today, it is still getting over 49.5k searches per month on Google as per Keywords Everywhere.
There is also an opportunity for entrepreneurs to capitalize on this aesthetic craze via making wallpapers for smartphones and computers. One could sell them (NFTs, anyone?) or use them for marketing other products they sell.
Bananatex Going Bananas
The QWSTION, a Swiss design firm, has designed a new performance fabric called Bananatex (8). It is made from abaca plants, a cousin of the banana tree.
It is the world’s first waterproof and durable fabric within a natural ecosystem, sustainable forestry offering a viable alternative to synthetic materials we use at present.
The beauty of the product is that it is super strong and waterproof. It makes it a perfect choice for shoes, clothes, bags, and outdoor gear.
Moreover, it is also completely biodegradable and needs no fertilizers or pesticides to the product, unlike other natural materials such as cotton, grown with large amounts of pesticides and water.
Abaca plants grow in a forest surrounded by other trees in a diverse ecosystem rather than a single corp. Its long, strong roots also help prevent erosion. Farmers can harvest stems instead of cutting down the plan itself. Hence it would continue to grow.
The organization plans to share the material with other manufacturers, including outdoor brands that rely heavily on synthetic fabric. Several bag producers, apparel companies, furniture companies, and automotive companies have approached the Swiss firm to purchase the material.
It is also worth highlighting that the fabric is more expensive than typical synthetic material. Hence, to produce its bags, the company built designs that make the most efficient fabric use and limit the waste. The increased cost mostly comes from the labor. However, organizations that choose synthetic material based on price should consider rethinking their approach.
Instead, brands can select to prioritize offering a steady income source over selling cheaper products. They would also start to realize that the low cost of synthetics won’t account for all of its costs to the economy.
According to Hannes Schönegger, the co-founder and CEO of QWSTION (9), even if a bag is cheap because of synthetic fabric, he believes that it may not be reasonable in the long run since we would probably pay for getting them out of the ocean one day.
While Bananatex has not hit the mainstream yet, we see many opportunities for forward-thinking sustainable businesses that create fabric products.
According to Keywords Everywhere, people search for Sustainable clothing, 18.1k per month, sustainable shoes, 5.4k per month, and sustainable backpacks, 2.4k per month.
The last breakthrough in waterproof fabrics was GoreTex in 1976. It has enjoyed a strong market position ever since. However, it is made from DuPont’s Teflon (10), which is terrible for the environment.
While consumer demand for sustainable goods is surging (11), it may not be long before Gore-Tex fizzles out.
H&M recently did one of the first major collaborations with Bananatex. Who’s next?