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Collins Dictionary announce NFT as word of 2021

NFT is the word of the year according to Collins Dictionary, even though it is an abbreviation.
The Collins Dictionary has officially announced their ten-word annual shortlist for word of 2021, as well as declaring that NFT — though…

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NFT is the word of the year according to Collins Dictionary, even though it is an abbreviation.

The Collins Dictionary has officially announced their ten-word annual shortlist for word of 2021, as well as declaring that NFT — though technically understood to be an abbreviation for nonfungible token — is their word of the year, surpassing the likes of crypto, metaverse and hybrid working, among others.

The blog post spoke frankly about the prospect of a digital revolution through a "convergence of money and the internet," which seeks to challenge and evolve traditional mediums of payment into the 21st century.

Collins Dictionary defines an NFT as “a unique digital certificate, registered in a blockchain, that is used to record ownership of an asset such as an artwork or a collectible,” and it was further noted in their blog post that NFT’s signify:

“A chunk of digital data that records who a piece of digital work belongs to… what’s really captured the public’s imagination around NFTs is the use of this technology to sell art.”

The institution cited infamous NFT artist Beeple as a prominent contributor to the space and unsurprisingly denoted his landmark magnum-opus, Everydays: The First 5000 Days, a piece auctioned for a market-high of $69 million in March this year, the third-highest physical or digital art sale in history.

The NFT market has witnessed parabolic growth over the past twelve months, enticing a tidal wave of celebrities, influencers and Web 3.0 fanatics to engage with the space. Collections such as CryptoPunks, Bored Ape Yacht Club and Cool Cats have captured the essence of the Twitter-native profile picture project (pfp) space.

Furthermore, the emergence of NFT auctions by traditional auction houses like Christie’s and Sotheby’s are providing a global pedal stool to drive adoption, a theme which was shared by the co-founder and chief operating officer of CoinGecko, Bobby Ong, in a recent conversation with Cointelegraph.

Combined total sales for collectible and art NFTs surpassed $7.4 billion as of Q4 2021. For comparison, art and collectible sales recorded $17.8 million and $55.5 million, respectively, at the start of this year, figures which seem incomprehensible in current flourishing market.

For greater context into the NFT inclusion, fellow United Kingdom establishment Oxford Dictionary recently awarded their prestigious word of the year to Vax, a symbol of the significant impact COVID-19, and subsequent vaccination programs have had on the world over the past two years.

Related: How Solana and Cardano are paving new avenues for NFT growth

The Oxford Dictionary first debuted cryptocurrency terminology in their online edition in August 2013 with the introduction of Bitcoin. The word cryptocurrency followed suit just under a year later, while more recently, Satoshi joined the exclusive list of linguistic arbitration.

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Spread & Containment

Aura Private Credit: Letter to investors 02 December 2022

This week, the Australian Bureau of Statistics released the monthly consumer price index, seeing a slight month-on-month fall, the Aura High Yield SME…

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This week, the Australian Bureau of Statistics released the monthly consumer price index, seeing a slight month-on-month fall, the Aura High Yield SME Fund was recognised in the HFM Asian Performance Awards 2022, as the top performing fund in the Fixed Income, High Yield & Distressed Category over the past 12 months in APAC, and our team attended the annual Australian Securitisation Conference.

Monthly Consumer Price Index Indicator 1 ​

This month we saw a slight reduction in the rate of inflation with the monthly consumer price index indicator rising by 6.9 per cent over the year to October 2022 following last month’s 7.3 per cent increase. ​

For the month of October, the main contributors to the rise were new dwellings, up 20.4 per cent, predominantly driven by high levels of construction activity and ongoing challenges with labour and material shortages. Petrol still contributed to the pressure, up 11.8 per cent, as the fuel excise ended at the close of September. Perishables, predominantly fruit and vegetables, also increased at 9.4 per cent, although this was a significant decrease from the 17.4 per cent rise in September. Next month’s data may see an increase in the rate of inflation for perishable goods, as a result of the recent flooding events. It is too early to determine whether or not we are now seeing a shift in the trend and if inflation has peaked. With the household balance sheets not yet showing signs of retraction and with the Christmas spending period ahead, we may be in for some more inflationary pressure. ​

The RBA will be meeting to discuss their monetary policy decision next week. The market has priced in a rate rise, although today’s data showing a slight ease in inflation could potentially result in a smaller increase than what has been expected. It is however important to note that the RBA will not be meeting in January, so their decision is effective until February. ​

HFM Asian Performance Awards

The Aura High Yield SME Fund, our wholesale client strategy, was recognised as the top performing fund in the Fixed Income, High Yield & Distressed category in the 12 months to 30 October 2022 in the Asia Pacific region according to HFM Data. As noted with our participation on other league tables, we are particularly proud of this recognition through a volatile bear market during a global pandemic. As a team we do not expect to feature on these tables in bull markets, as other participants will use leverage to boost returns in their strategies. Leverage is not your friend in a bear market. We prefer to take a more conservative approach to investment, focusing on protection of capital and alpha generation through asset selection and structuring. We would like to thank all of our investors for the support in making the strategy a success. I would personally like to thank the broader Aura Group team for supporting the strategy, and in particular our investment team who work hard assessing new investments and monitoring and maintaining the portfolio.    

Australian Securitisation Conference 2022

This week the team attended the annual Australian Securitisation Conference. The conference covers the broader securitisation market, the bulk of volume is in residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS). The tone was generally cautious from presenters across regulators, the central bank, investors, lenders and banks. Banks in Australia have a number of headwinds coming over the next two years. The $24 billion Term Funding Facility (TFF) which was introduced to stimulate lending during the pandemic needs to be repaid by the banks in the next two years giving the banks the option to hit the capital markets to refinance the debt or reduce their loan books. There has also been a change to High Quality Liquid Assets (HQLA) classifications by the prudential regulator (APRA) that will come into effect over the next 12 months with respect to the capital treatment of RMBS. The banks will not be able to use self securitised assets or RMBS in their HQLA for capital purposes, therefore reducing bank demand for RMBS. Banks had been a big contributor to the RMBS bid. This could see a movement in spreads, a shrinking of the loan books of the banks, or a combination of both. We anticipate this will increase demand for funding from non-bank lenders. A net positive for our strategies, potentially providing more opportunity at wider spread levels.  ​

I was also pleased to be involved in moderating a discussion with a panel of non-bank lenders, focused on the SME lending space. We were lucky enough to hear some great market insights from some key lenders and service providers within the industry. There was a consensus view that there is a significant market opportunity to build out high quality exposures in the SME sector.​

1Australian Bureau of Statistics – Monthly Consumer Price Index Indicator

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International

Modified mRNA Demonstrates 10-Fold Protein Production

Scientists at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology came up with a technique to increase the efficiency and potentially the efficacy of mRNA therapeutics….

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Scientists at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology came up with a technique to increase the efficiency and potentially the efficacy of mRNA therapeutics. mRNA molecules have what is called a poly-A tail, which is basically a string of adenine nucleotides at one end. These researchers discovered that by replacing some of these nucleotides in the mRNA tail with cytidine, a cytosine base with a ribose sugar attached, that they could enhance the resulting protein production of the mRNA and increase its stability and life-span. The technique could lead to more effective mRNA therapies and vaccines, potentially enabling clinicians to achieve similar or better effects with smaller doses.

mRNA therapies have come a long way in just the last few years. The COVID-19 pandemic has propelled this approach from an emerging technology to a mainstay of our vaccine response. The concept is elegant – deliver mRNA strands to the patient, and allow their own cellular machinery to produce the relevant protein that the strands code for. So far, so good – the approach, once considered unrealistic because of the fragility of mRNA, has proven to work very well, at least for COVID-19 vaccines.  

However, there is always room for improvement. One of the issues with current mRNA therapies is that they can require multiple rounds of dosing to create enough of the therapeutic protein to achieve the desired effect. Think of the multiple injections required for the COVID-19 vaccines. Creating mRNA therapies that can induce our cells to produce more protein would certainly be beneficial.

To address this limitation, these researchers have found a way to modify the poly-A tail of synthetic mRNA strands. They found that by replacing some of the adenosine in the mRNA tail with cytidine, they could drastically increase the amount of protein the resulting strands ended up producing when applied to human cells and in mice. This translated to 3-10 times as much protein when compared with unmodified mRNA.

The researchers hope that the approach can enhance the effectiveness and required dosing schedules for mRNA therapies.

“Increasing the protein production of synthetic mRNA is generally beneficial to all mRNA drugs and vaccines,” said Becki Kuang, a researcher involved in the study. “In collaboration with Sun Yat-Sen University, our team is now exploring the use of optimized tails for mRNA cancer vaccines on animal. We are also looking forward to collaborating with pharmaceutical companies to transfer this invention onto mRNA therapeutics and vaccines’ development pipelines to benefit society.”

See a short animation about the technology below.

Study in journal Molecular Therapy – Nucleic Acids: Cytidine-containing tails robustly enhance and prolong protein production of synthetic mRNA in cell and in vivo

Via: Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

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Mercantile Appoints New Members to Bank Board of Directors

Mercantile Appoints New Members to Bank Board of Directors
PR Newswire
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Dec. 1, 2022

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Dec. 1, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Mercantile Bank Corporation (NASDAQ: MBWM) (“Mercantile”), announced today the appointments o…

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Mercantile Appoints New Members to Bank Board of Directors

PR Newswire

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Dec. 1, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Mercantile Bank Corporation (NASDAQ: MBWM) ("Mercantile"), announced today the appointments of Amy L. Sparks, CPA and Nelson F. Sanchez, CPA to the Bank's Board of Directors in the second half of 2022.

"We are thrilled to welcome two new Directors who bring a wealth of experience in business, finance and manufacturing as we expand the diversification of perspectives across our Board. Amy's executive leadership of solidifying financial performance, organizational development, diversifying into new markets and increased employee engagement, coupled with Nelson's deep experience in a variety of business sectors encompassing domestic, international, private, public, and family-owned organizations across start-ups, turnarounds, mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures, and strategic planning will help support our growth as a leading community bank," said Robert B. Kaminski Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer of Mercantile.

Ms. Sparks has nearly three decades of demonstrated expertise and success. She is the Owner, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Nuvar, Inc., a Michigan-based manufacturing company specializing in finished product contract manufacturing for the office furniture, health care, education, appliance and transportation industries. Ms. Sparks is also a Certified Public Accountant and currently serves on the Grand Valley State University Seidman School of Business Dean's Advisory Board and is the West Michigan Chair of the Great Lakes Women's Business Council.

Mr. Sanchez is a strong finance executive with broad strategic leadership experience in all aspects of finance, operations, marketing and general management. He is the Chief Operating Officer of RoMan Manufacturing, Inc., where he has also served as the Chief Financial Officer. Nelson is a Certified Public Accountant, is fluent in Spanish and has an extensive background in leadership and diversity training. He serves on various boards and committees in the West Michigan community, including the Grand Rapids Community Foundation, Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce and Holland Home.

About Mercantile Bank Corporation

Based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Mercantile Bank Corporation is the bank holding company for Mercantile Bank. Mercantile provides banking services to businesses, individuals, and governmental units, and differentiates itself on the basis of service quality and the expertise of its banking staff. Mercantile has assets of approximately $5.0 billion and operates 46 banking offices. Mercantile Bank Corporation's common stock is listed on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol "MBWM." For more information about Mercantile, visit www.mercbank.com, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @MercBank and on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/company/merc-bank

Forward-Looking Statements

This news release contains statements or information that may constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements can be identified by words such as: "anticipate," "intend," "plan," "goal," "seek," "believe," "project," "estimate," "expect," "strategy," "future," "likely," "may," "should," "will," and similar references to future periods. Any such statements are based on current expectations that involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from the results expressed in forward-looking statements. Factors that might cause such a difference include changes in interest rates and interest rate relationships; increasing rates of inflation and slower growth rates; significant declines in the value of commercial real estate; market volatility; demand for products and services; the degree of competition by traditional and nontraditional financial services companies; changes in banking regulation or actions by bank regulators; changes in tax laws; changes in prices, levies, and assessments; the impact of technological advances; potential cyber-attacks, information security breaches and other criminal activities; litigation liabilities; governmental and regulatory policy changes; the outcomes of existing or future contingencies; trends in customer behavior as well as their ability to repay loans; changes in local real estate values; damage to our reputation resulting from adverse publicity, regulatory actions, litigation, operational failures, and the failure to meet client expectations and other facts; changes in the method of determining Libor and the phase-out of Libor; changes in the national and local economies, including the ongoing disruption to financial markets and other economic activity caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and unstable political and economic environments; and other factors, including those expressed as risk factors, disclosed from time to time in filings made by Mercantile with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Mercantile undertakes no obligation to update or clarify forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements contained herein.

For Further Information:


Robert B. Kaminski, Jr.

Charles Christmas

President & CEO

Executive Vice President & CFO

616-726-1502

616-726-1202

rkaminski@mercbank.com 

cchristmas@mercbank.com

 

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SOURCE Mercantile Bank Corporation

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