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Moderna Says Its Coronavirus Vaccine Is 94.5% Effective Against Covid-19, a Crucial Victory in the Fight Against the Pandemic

The announcement closely follows similar news from a rival vaccine program by Pfizer and BioNTech, which touted late-stage success a week ago….

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A second experimental coronavirus vaccine has succeeded at preventing Covid-19 in the final stage of clinical research, marking a victory in the fight against the pandemic.

The upstart biotech Moderna announced the success Monday morning in a press release, saying its vaccine was 94.5% effective at preventing Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. An independent group of experts found clear signs of effectiveness after reviewing preliminary data from an ongoing 30,000-person study, Moderna said.

Moderna’s shot is the second major vaccine program to announce success in a late-stage trial. Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech said on November 9 that their vaccine was found to be more than 90% effective at preventing Covid-19 in an early review of an ongoing study.

Related: Pfizer Says Its Covid-19 Vaccine Is 90% Effective

Both announcements provide much-needed good news, as the pandemic surges across the world, though it could be weeks before regulators review the shots and decide whether to make them more widely available. The US is now averaging more than 140,000 new coronavirus cases a day, and the healthcare system is showing troubling signs of strain as hospitalizations and deaths rise.

Related: The New Pfizer Vaccine Needs Plenty of Cold Storage, but Will There Be Enough Dry Ice?

Moderna’s stock price gained more than 10% before markets opened Monday and was poised to hit an all-time high. US stock futures jumped as well, with the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average gaining 1.4% to 1.8% to trade around session highs.

“Those are two excellent vaccines that are going to help a lot of Americans and help a lot of people around the world,” Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said in a video interview with Business Insider.

Moderna’s release indicates its vaccine is broadly similar to Pfizer’s. Moderna said its vaccine appeared to be 94.5% effective, while Pfizer said its shot was more than 90% effective. Moderna’s analysis was based on 95 Covid-19 cases, while Pfizer’s review included 94 cases. Neither company’s data has been published in a scientific journal, and both are still collecting more information on how safe their shots are.

Moderna’s study starts counting cases of coronavirus two weeks after volunteers get their second shot, while Pfizer’s study records illnesses one week after volunteers finish the vaccination course.

It would be “naïve to compare the 90% to 94.5%,” Bancel told Business Insider, saying it’s too soon to compare the shots.

Volunteers in Moderna’s trial were randomly given a two-dose regimen of either Moderna’s experimental shot or placebo injections. The expert panel’s conclusion is based on 95 cases of the disease observed in the study.

Out of those 95 illnesses, 90 people on placebo got sick compared with five receiving Moderna’s vaccine. The vaccine also appeared to prevent serious illness. Researchers found 11 cases of severe Covid-19 among the placebo group and zero among people who got the vaccine.

Moderna’s vaccine has one crucial advantage over Pfizer’s shot: It can be stored for a month at typical fridge temperatures (36 degrees Fahrenheit to 46 degrees Fahrenheit), while Pfizer’s shot needs to be stored at minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit, requiring dry ice and special containers.

Both vaccines are still experimental and need to secure regulatory authorization before being rolled out to the public. Both companies plan to apply for emergency-use authorization later in November. It’s unclear how long the US Food and Drug Administration will take to evaluate the shots and decide whether to approve them.

Even if OK’d by regulators, vaccine supply will be extremely limited at first, though having two vaccines would be helpful.

Moncef Slaoui, the chief advisor to the US government’s vaccine initiative, called Operation Warp Speed, recently estimated that 20 million Americans could be immunized in December if both shots were approved.

Moderna was a key component of Warp Speed’s vaccine plan, with the US government investing up to $2.48 billion to fund its development and secure a supply.

Pfizer has said it hopes to produce up to 50 million doses by the end of 2020, and Moderna should have 20 million doses available in the US by year’s end. Both shots are given as two-dose regimens.

Manufacturing will expand in 2021, with Pfizer saying it will have enough of its vaccine to immunize up to 650 million people and Moderna aiming to produce enough shots for 500 million worldwide. Vaccines from other drugmakers could become available next year as well if they succeed in clinical trials that are now underway.

Bancel predicted that a coronavirus vaccine would be widely available in the US by Memorial Day, at the end of May, based only on the results from Pfizer and from his company.

“Even if no other vaccines were going to make it, as a worst-case scenario, I think by Memorial Day, end of June, any Americans who want a vaccine will have their hands on a vaccine,” Bancel said.

The effectiveness of Moderna’s shot should bode well for other vaccine frontrunners. All these experimental shots target the same part of the novel coronavirus, the spike protein.

Slaoui told Business Insider in October that he anticipated three waves of approvals over the next few months.

Moderna and Pfizer would make up the first wave. They could quickly be followed by shots from Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca. Slaoui said he expected results in December or January from those companies.

The third wave includes two more shots — one by Novavax and the other by Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline. Those programs are expected to start the final stage of clinical trials in the US within the next few weeks.

Leading government scientists have said a vaccine should be widely available to Americans by April. Slaoui predicted in August that If people agreed to get the shots, we could return to normal in the second half of 2021.

The announcements that both vaccines are effective is a validation for the new technology that both use, called messenger RNA. The technology platform uses only the genetic code of the virus to create a shot. The approach is promising yet novel: There are no federally approved mRNA vaccines to date.

It’s too early to draw any conclusions on whether one vaccine is more efficacious or safer than the other. While Moderna provided far more detailed results than Pfizer, neither has published data in medical journals from its trials, which remain ongoing.

Both companies are still collecting and analyzing data, which means the exact effectiveness of the shots could differ from these preliminary results.

Moderna gave an overview of preliminary data on safety and side effects, while Pfizer didn’t provide that information.

Most side effects from Moderna’s shots were mild or moderate, but some volunteers did have severe side effects, which are medically significant but not life-threatening. These happened mainly after the second injection. The most common severe side effects were fatigue (9.7%), muscle pains or aches (8.9%), joint pain (5.2%), headache (4.5%), pain (4.1%), and redness at the injection site (2.0%).

While Moderna said these side effects were “generally short-lived,” specific details will be important, particularly in terms of how severe and long-lasting the side effects were.

There are some other unanswered questions.

On efficacy, it’s unclear whether either vaccine prevents asymptomatic infections. The studies probably won’t be able to answer that question definitively, as volunteers weren’t tested for the coronavirus unless they developed symptoms.

Neither company has provided detailed results by age group. Some vaccines have historically been less protective in older people.

Finally, we don’t know anything about how long protection might last. That information will only come with more time, as study volunteers are followed for many more months. It’s possible people will need to get booster shots, though no one knows whether those would be needed in six months, a year, or several years down the line.

While Pfizer is a pharmaceutical giant known for treatments like Viagra and Lipitor, Moderna is a much smaller biotech upstart that has never developed an approved medication.

Still, Moderna, which has been around for only about a decade, has quickly became one of the buzziest startups in the drug industry.

Bancel, the CEO, has had grand visions of mRNA’s potential to work in a wide range of diseases. That has driven record levels of fundraising for Moderna, including the largest biotech initial public offering in history in December 2018.

The Cambridge, Massachusetts, company is working on several other vaccine candidates for Zika, influenza, cytomegalovirus, and respiratory syncytial virus.

Moderna is hoping its coronavirus success proves that the company’s foundational technology works, Bancel said.

“It’s copy and paste,” he said. “So the Zika vaccine, the CMV vaccine, if this vaccine shows high efficacy, they are going to have high efficacy. It’s just science.”

Responding to the pandemic has accelerated the company’s progress, and Moderna has worked closely with the US National Institutes of Health since January to develop and test a Covid-19 vaccine candidate. Moderna’s vaccine candidate was the first in the world to start human testing in March.

To be able to have positive efficacy results from a late-stage study in less than a year is a scientific feat so far matched only by Pfizer and BioNTech.

Investors have noticed. Moderna’s stock has more than quadrupled this year, driven by its coronavirus vaccine progress. The company has hired hundreds of new employees, particularly to help run its Norwood, Massachusetts, manufacturing plant around the clock.

The company’s success has also drawn criticism. Top company executives and board members sold $236 million in stock over the first nine months of 2020, as some corporate-governance experts criticized the insider sales as bad optics.

And previous press releases about positive early data were criticized by some infectious-disease experts as “science by press release.” The eventual data was later published in a top medical journal and was in line with Moderna’s initial description.

Despite the criticism, Moderna’s late-stage success is the clearest validation of its technology to date.

“It’s just the beginning of a big wave of products,” Bancel said.

While there are major logistical challenges ahead in the fight against the pandemic, having effective vaccines will go a long way to defeating the virus.

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/entrepreneur/latest/~3/HrWpjX12J0k/359745

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Stan Lee, superheroes and the weaknesses of the entrepreneur

He was the legendary creator of some of the most iconic characters in pop culture, including Spider-Man and the Hulk. What can we learn from them? To love our weaknesses …

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He was the legendary creator of some of the most iconic characters in pop culture, including Spider-Man and the Hulk. What can we learn from them? To love our weaknesses …

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This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Of the many phrases, stories and lessons that Stan Lee left us, there is one that seems particularly valuable to me: “If Achilles had not had his heel, perhaps today we would not even know him.” The phrase reveals the value of our weaknesses, those aspects of our body or personality that make us vulnerable.

Although we normally wear them hidden, we all have them. We don’t talk about them. Better we show our strengths: we boast of what we are capable of doing well, of our gifts, of our attributes.

Of our superpowers.

Weaknesses and defects remain in the shadows as we walk through the corridors of offices and corporations, hoping that others will never perceive them. The worst thing is that sometimes, we ourselves refuse to see our flaws . We pretend they don’t exist and we obsess over showing ourselves always infallible, indestructible, like superheroes.

But just like Achilles, with that vulnerability from the day his mother grabbed him by the heel and then submerged him in the cold waters of the River Styx, wishing he were invincible, so we too have aspects that make us weak. Rather than shy away from them, we must recognize them, work on them and accept that they are part of our personality and that they contribute to making us unique and different.

THE CHARM OF WEAKNESSES

In 1954 Stan Lee was already working as an editor at Atlas Comics (a company that would later change its name to Marvel Comics). After having lived through its golden age during World War II, comics were going through a bad time: that same year the Authority of the Comics Code was created in the United States that sought to regulate the content of this type of publications because it considered them too violent and an incentive to juvenile delinquency. Hand-tied, the writers struggled to create products that would captivate young readers, and the publisher was basically betting on romantic or old-western comics.

Tired of the situation, Stan Lee confessed to his wife Joan that he was about to resign. She said to him: “Before you quit, why don’t you make a story like you would like it to be? The worst thing that could happen is getting fired, right? Anyway, you were thinking of quitting … “

His wife’s advice coincided with the appearance of the Justice League in the competing publisher (National Comics Publications, later to become DC Comics) and with the request of Atlas owner Martin Goodman to think about a cartoon starring a group of superheroes.

Stan Lee then wrote the first Fantastic Four story and gave his characters what would make them different: weaknesses, complexes, problems and insecurities.

Reed Richards was that scientist gifted with great intelligence, but who lived with a brutal feeling of guilt for having caused irreparable harm to his friends on that mission to space; Ben Grimm was transformed into a monstrous and very strong being of orange rock abandoned by his fiancée due to his horrifying appearance; Johnny was the teenager with superpowers, too immature to understand them and more busy racing cars and dating girls than defending the world from a villain; Sue Storm was trying to keep the team together and her marriage to Reed alive, despite her doubts.

The comic was a huge success, and Goodman allowed Stan Lee to continue experimenting with flawed characters. The Fantastic Four was followed by the Hulk , the story of that man doomed to turn into a green monster with an uncontrollable power of destruction every time he got angry. Then Spider-Man , a frail and insecure teenager who acquired his powers from being bitten by a spider. The young man was bullied by his classmates, he had to pay for his studies by working as a reporter and also, he did not know how to approach the girl he liked. Later, with the X-Men , Stan Lee addressed the issue of minorities through the social rejection that people with genetic alterations suffered.

Like the superheroes of the golden age of comics, Stan Lee’s characters were strong and powerful, loaded with incredible abilities, but what made them truly different and charming were their flaws, problems, and fallibility. That and the way in which they managed to, despite everything, get ahead …

THE INCREDIBLE STORY

Both in life and in entrepreneurship, our biggest obstacle will always be ourselves. Our ideas, our fears and our complexes could prevent us from reaching the potential that we truly have. To the extent that we accept that, like the characters imagined by Stan Lee, we are fallible, erratic and weak beings, we will have the possibility to improve ourselves.

Just as we are captivated by the story of that teenager who loses his uncle at the hands of a criminal that he himself could have arrested and then begins to use his powers to fight crime, so too could our own story captivate us. The one that narrates the path of beings willing to get ahead despite adversity and doubts in a complex environment in which the only way to win is to work tirelessly from dawn to dusk, believing in the superpower that ideals and goals have. dreams

That story of superheroes, of ourselves, of our weaknesses transformed into strengths. But above all: of our undertaking.

Although we normally wear them hidden, we all have them. We don’t talk about them. Better we show our strengths: we boast of what we are capable of doing well, of our gifts, of our attributes.

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/entrepreneur/latest/~3/LOcGn3pVKFY/368999

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How Cultural Changes in the Workplace Can Grow Your Business

Does your business culture support and leverage demographic, cultural, and experiential differences? If not, find out how you can begin to do so and grow your business.

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Does your business culture support and leverage demographic, cultural, and experiential differences? If not, find out how you can begin to do so and grow your business.

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February 16, 2017 7 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The following excerpt is from Glenn Llopis’s book The Innovation Mentality. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble or click here to buy it directly from us and SAVE 60% on this book when you use code LEAD2021 through 4/10/21.

The Cultural Demographic Shift (CDS) is driving the fastest-growing part of our U.S. workforce, and shift populations represent the largest segments of America’s potential purchasing power. But they also represent some of the fastest-growing demographics of business owners in the U.S. You want them to be your customers, but they’re also fast becoming your competitors.

Related: What Magic Johnson Can Teach You About the Advantages of Cultural Demographic Shifts

Shift populations, like immigrants, have been compelled to use the innovation mentality to see opportunity and embrace an entrepreneurial spirit. This is part of the reason why black women are the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the U.S. (up more than 322 percent from 1997 to 2015 according to the “2015 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report” commissioned by American Express Open) and why the number of Hispanic-owned businesses grew 15 times faster than other U.S. businesses (or at a rate of 7.5 percent from 2012 to 2015, according to a study by the consulting firm Geoscape and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce).

Those shift population businesses present opportunities to reach the populations a business doesn’t have the talent internally to connect with. That’s how we come up with the three most visible areas where the CDS has created immediate and obvious opportunities for growth:

  • Workplace/workforce
  • External partnerships
  • Marketplace/consumers

Solve for the gaps in these three areas using the six characteristics of the innovation mentality, and you solve for high-performance teams through diversity of thought; authentic workplace cultures whose values are defined by individuals who are encouraged to breed continuous innovation; and intellectual capital and know-how previously unseen that enables the full potential in people. All this results in an intimate engagement that maximizes the full potential of people who are your employees and your customers. That’s sustainable ROI!

So ask yourself: “Does your workplace culture support demographic, cultural and experiential differences and leverage them in these three areas?” Probably not. Most current leadership in the U.S. is woefully unprepared or unwilling to see the opportunity gaps, let alone invest in them. Unfortunately, American corporations see all this activity as an initiative (cost center) and will see the CDS as the last remaining true growth opportunity (profit center) only when Latin America and other international regions begin seizing the previously unseen opportunities because they had the vision to see it first.

Related: 4 Steps to Profiting from the Cultural Demographic Shift

Solving for workplace/workforce

Do you celebrate differences and individuality in your workplace? Or are you like the hundreds of companies I’ve worked with that have said something similar to what senior executives from a major investment-banking firm told me: “Today, we’re afraid for the future of our business because our employees don’t relate with our emerging global client base. Many of our new competitors are now owned and operated by Indians, Asians, African-Americans and Hispanics. We continue to lose key diverse members of our workforce to these same competitors because we lack the cultural intelligence to keep them.”

Remember, you can’t develop this cultural intelligence, let alone define your business platform, unless you have leaders who own the experiences and influence their cultures can bring to how they think, act and are motivated to perform. This is part of their leadership identity. That’s why it’s important for you and your managers to spend time defining your personal brand value propositions and leadership identities.

When you’re in evolution mode, you have to create your own platforms. Otherwise you just keep substituting, which is exactly what workplace programs like Employee Resource Groups do. ERGs are growing initiatives in corporations as the CDS has required new, diverse talent in management, director level and senior executive management roles. I used to think ERGs could play this role and have a purpose beyond events, social aspects and focus groups that usually define what they do at most companies — in a strictly voluntary capacity, mind you. But I realized that they almost always have no real strategic value. They’re just initiatives. Even when they have hundreds of members, only a small percentage of ERGs are active. It’s difficult to recruit new members when these volunteer groups are not incentivized or properly invested in. And why should people participate when no one in senior leadership is active or sees any real strategic value in them, other than as initiatives that exist solely to check off another box on the “compliance” list.

That’s irresponsible. ERGs and workplace groups like them have value only if they matter and have quantitative influence — and that happens at such a small percentage of companies, it’s almost statistically irrelevant. Until then, ERGs will likely make an organization more divisive until that organization can recognize the value that comes from different types of people. Which is why, like job descriptions, I believe they should be eliminated until organizations clearly define what their ERGs are solving for. Before it makes sense to reinstitute ERGs, organizations should view these groups as profit centers not cost centers, pay active members a small bonus to remain active and quantifiably contribute to business growth. Without that, ERGs will continue to play the role of “diversity checkboxes” that unknowingly create more tension and widen engagement gaps among their members.

So what’s the solution? Instead of large groups of inactive members, I’d rather see small “idea labs” led by subject matter experts who serve as examples of how their unique differences cultivate innovation and initiative. You can’t come into the group unless you’re a subject matter expert or have a desire to be one, because as experts, you know what you can solve for, see the opportunity gaps and identify them quickly to build a plan around them. This group and its plan then serve as examples of how their unique differences cultivate tangible change and growth that impact the bottom line.

Related: 6 Characteristics of an Innovative Leader

That’s how ERGs become smarter about defining what they’re ultimately trying to accomplish for themselves and the business, and then create a metric to enforce accountability to assure their objectives are being measured and attained. ERGs must view themselves as formidable advancement platforms for talent and market development activity. They must be focused on defining a value proposition that is more strategically aligned to seeing and seizing business innovation and growth opportunities that are directly related to a person’s cultural, gender, sexual-orientation and societal identity. They must be more forceful and encourage different points of view and perspectives that translate into solutions to meet corporate growth objectives and initiatives across channels, brands and business units. Until then, they will do little to alleviate the fact that the changing face of America is being met with tremendous resistance. That’s how and why the “old guard” remains uncomfortable with the CDS; it still represents uncertainty and change for those who are uninformed about what diversity means to enabling business growth, which brings us to external partnerships.

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The NFT Gold Rush: Here’s Why Everyone Is Talking About Non-Fungible Tokens

Bitcoin remains the undisputed blockchain industry leader, but as the major banks and investment funds accumulate BTC, retail investors always try to find the next big thing.

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Bitcoin remains the undisputed blockchain industry leader, but as the major banks and investment funds accumulate BTC, retail investors always try to find the next big thing.

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The crypto market moves in waves. Bitcoin remains the undisputed blockchain industry leader, but as the major banks and investment funds accumulate BTC, retail investors always try to find “the next big thing” that would be able to repeat the unparalleled success of the original cryptocurrency.

First it was altcoins, then it was ICOs (which was another name for altcoins), in 2020 it was DeFi (which was yet another name for altcoins). NFTs can already be declared the most popular crypto trend of 2021. But unlike the previous fads, NFTs are not just rebranded altcoins – they have a unique use case, and they might stay here for longer.

What are NFTs?

One of the reasons for the rapid rise of the popularity of NFTs is that it’s very easy for everyone to immediately get what they’re all about. Imagine collectibles like baseball cards, or works of art like paintings, only stored in the form of tokens on a blockchain. That’s what NFTs essentially are: digital collectibles kept on a decentralized ledger.

Related: What Is an NFT? Inside The Next Billion-Dollar Crypto Sensation.

The word NFT is an abbreviation of “Non-Fungible Token”. Typical cryptocurrency tokens, like the thousands of altcoins launched on the Ethereum network, are all fungible. This simply means that 1 XYZ token in your wallet is worth exactly the same as 1 XYZ in anyone else’s wallet. It’s the same with traditional currencies like euro or dollar: 1 USD in your bank account has the same value as 1 USD in somebody’s pocket.

The word “non-fungible” means that all NFTs are unique, and each of them has a different, individual value. Simply put, NFTs are collectibles very similar in nature to traditional baseball trading cards. A common card can be worthless, but a very rare card can be worth millions.

The History of NFTs

NFTs are by no means a new thing. The first NFT project called CryptoPunks was launched in 2017. Originally, 10,000-pixel art characters named CryptoPunks were created, and anyone with an Ethereum wallet could claim one for themselves for free – back then, NFTs weren’t considered a business opportunity but a silly novelty only intended to make crypto a little bit more popular.

The first NFT project which gained wider recognition was CryptoKitties. CryptoKitties weren’t really that much different from CryptoPunks – the only difference was that instead of collecting pixel art “punks”, the users collected digital pets.

For a few years, projects like CryptoKitties were only enjoyed by a small number of Ethereum enthusiasts. NFTs weren’t really considered an investment back then. They were just fun collectibles that utilized the new, exciting blockchain technology.

The NFT Revolution

The situation changed in 2020, with the advent of DeFi (decentralized finance) solutions. DeFi developers reinvented Non-Fungible Tokens, and soon started to find new applications for what was once considered a mere novelty.

The NFT projects of today are much more advanced than the original CryptoPunks and CryptoKitties. Thanks to smart contracts technology, almost anything can be tokenized and stored on the blockchain, and NFTs that are created now can be very complex.

Related: Tampa Bay Buc Rob Gronkowski Is Launching His Own NFT

A good example is the NFT virtual painting of the Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin entitled “EthBoy”, which sold for 260 ETH (almost $500,000 with today’s prices). EthBoy is much more than just an image stored on the blockchain – it is a fully interactive work of art that changes its appearance every day based on external data such as the ETH price and Ethereum gas fees.

The Future of NFTs

The groundbreaking moment in the history of NFTs happened when Twitter founder Jack Dorsey sold the NFT of the first tweet he ever made for $2.9 million. Suddenly, everyone realized that there’s money to be made with Non-Fungible Tokens, and celebrities like Lil Pump, Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton started selling their own NFTs. Even Elon Musk tweeted about selling an NFT, but he eventually turned down all the offers.

Perhaps even more important than individual celebrities selling NFTs is the fact that many reputed companies are now launching their licensed NFT projects. The two best examples are NBA Top Shot and Sorare, which allow people to trade virtual baseball and football cards respectively.

Related: 3 Tips for Creatives Looking to Break Into the NFT Industry

The NFTs are getting more advanced and complex. Currently, many companies are working on utilizing NFTs to create blockchain-based video games, which could make Non-Fungible Tokens even more popular. Unlike the ICO craze of 2018, the NFT phenomenon is built on unique technologic fundamentals. Who knows, maybe in the future owning an NFT project will become as common as owning a website?

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/entrepreneur/latest/~3/fIaNQHBFQD4/368124

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