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Forget Bitcoin. The Blockchain Could Reveal What’s True Today and Tomorrow

Forget Bitcoin. The Blockchain Could Reveal What’s True Today and Tomorrow

 

What’s True Today and Tomorrow

As far back as the 1880s, people stood on the curb outside the New York Stock Exchange taking bets on political elections, and newspapers would report the odds as a way of predicting the results at the polls. In the years since economists refined the concept, and more recently, prediction markets have tapped into the wisdom of the crowds via the internet, forecasting everything from presidential races to sporting events to stock prices. The concept took a hit in 2012 when a major site shut down amid financial irregularities and pressure from US regulators. But Silicon Valley hasn’t given up on the idea. It now sees a new way of building markets that predict the future: the blockchain.

The blockchain is the global ledger that securely records transactions for the bitcoin digital currency, operating outside the control of any central authority. But so many startups and online communities are now applying the same concept to all sorts of other applications. For Joey Krug, the openness of a blockchain could deliver far more powerful prediction markets than ever before, spreading them to a much larger number of people, while keeping regulators at bay. Krug is one of the young technologists behind Augur, a San Francisco nonprofit working to build a service atop the Ethereum blockchain where anyone can launch or join these markets. “It doesn’t care where you’re from,” says Krug, a 21-year-old Thiel Fellow. “All kinds of people can trade together that weren’t able to trade before.”

Thanks to the counterintuitive dynamics that drive prediction markets, this could eventually create more specific and accurate predictions—an antidote to media pundits and pollsters who bear a little cost for getting their forecasts wrong. “You put your money where your mouth is,” says Andrew Miller, a computer scientist at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign who specializes in cryptocurrencies. But like so many other technologists, financial traders, and other freethinkers working to create strangely fascinating new services atop the blockchain idea, Krug is looking even further ahead. He believes Augur, which is still under beta test, can eventually feed real-world truths into any other online application.

Though there are still many questions hovering over all these big ideas—particularly the bit about real-world truths—they’re gaining momentum. Krug and Augur built their operation with $5.3 million in crowdfunding, and others are exploring similar territory, including a service called Gnosis, another project called Bitcoin Hivemind, and even Microsoft, which now offers an Augur service that would allow businesses to run their own internal prediction markets, much as companies like Google already do.

Forecasting the Future

In theory, the better your information, the bigger the bet you’ll make. Using a blockchain, a service like Augur aims to enhance this dynamic by pushing markets across borders and removing all betting limits, roping in more people and more cash. Without such limits, people like Krug argue, the person with the best information can make their bets, which makes for a more accurate market. “If you have bet limits, you can’t have an informed trader come in and trade with enough capital to move the market and correct it,” says Matt Liston, who helped create Augur and now works on Gnosis.

If enough people stake enough money on enough outcomes, betting their own digital currency that they know what will happen, these markets become a way of predicting the future. But that’s only part of what Augur does. To pay out, prediction markets must know what happened. Did Donald Trump win or did he lose? In a more traditional prediction market, the house decides. But Augur takes a different path. Krug and his colleagues have also used their blockchain to create an engine for recording outcomes once they arrive—a way of inscribing the truth in digital form.

“It’s not just about predicting what is in the future,” Richard Craib, the founder of blockchain hedge fund Numerai, who has invested in Augur. “It’s about knowing what is happening in the present.”

A Blockchain for Facts

Here’s how it works: After one group of people joins a prediction market and bets on an outcome, Augur pays others to identify that outcome—to verify what happened. But it doesn’t just pay them a flat fee. On its blockchain, Augur houses its own cryptocurrency, a digital token that encourages people to get things right. “If you’re not telling the truth, you stand to lose a bunch of money,” Krug says.

Augur calls its digital token the Rep. This cryptocurrency doesn’t let you buy and sell stuff. It tracks your reputation—that is, how often you tell the truth. People bet their Rep tokens that they are indeed telling the truth—reporting the facts as they actually are. If most others agree, the system returns their tokens and pays them in cash. It’s a way of aligning everyone’s aims in the same direction, the sort of arrangement that so often characterizes the new breed of business built atop a blockchain. Because it’s tied to real money, the Rep token ensures that everyone is pulling in the same direction—toward the truth.

Though there are still many questions hovering over all these big ideas—particularly the bit about real-world truths—they’re gaining momentum. Krug and Augur built their operation with $5.3 million in crowdfunding, and others are exploring similar territory, including a service called Gnosis, another project called Bitcoin Hivemind, and even Microsoft, which now offers an Augur service that would allow businesses to run their own internal prediction markets, much as companies like Google already do.

Forecasting the Future

A prediction market is like the stock market, except that you’re not buying stock in companies. You’re buying stock in outcomes. Let’s say Donald Trump is running for president. A prediction market lets you buy “stock” in a Trump win or loss. If your prediction comes true, you get paid. If your prediction proves wrong, you get nothing.

As in the stock market, you can also sell your shares. You aim to buy low and sell high. If enough people participate, the trading price of the stock should indicate the likelihood of an outcome. If a prediction pays out at $1 and Trump’s “stock” is trading at 51 cents, that market predicts a 51 percent chance of a Trump victory. This odds-making reflects the efficient market hypothesis, an idea that won the Nobel Prize in economics in 2013. “Prices capture information,” says Erik Snowberg, an economist and political scientist at the California Institute of Technology. “If you have information that says the price is too low, you buy and the price goes up. If you have information that the price is too high, you sell.”

In theory, the better your information, the bigger the bet you’ll make. Using a blockchain, a service like Augur aims to enhance this dynamic by pushing markets across borders and removing all betting limits, roping in more people and more cash. Without such limits, people like Krug argue, the person with the best information can make their bets, which makes for a more accurate market. “If you have bet limits, you can’t have an informed trader come in and trade with enough capital to move the market and correct it,” says Matt Liston, who helped create Augur and now works on Gnosis.

If enough people stake enough money on enough outcomes, betting their own digital currency that they know what will happen, these markets become a way of predicting the future. But that’s only part of what Augur does. To pay out, prediction markets must know what happened. Did Donald Trump win or did he lose? In a more traditional prediction market, the house decides. But Augur takes a different path. Krug and his colleagues have also used their blockchain to create an engine for recording outcomes once they arrive—a way of inscribing the truth in digital form. “It’s not just about predicting what is in the future,” Richard Craib, the founder of blockchain hedge fund Numerai, who has invested in Augur. “It’s about knowing what is happening in the present.”

A Blockchain for Facts

Here’s how it works: After one group of people joins a prediction market and bets on an outcome, Augur pays others to identify that outcome—to verify what happened. But it doesn’t just pay them a flat fee. On its blockchain, Augur houses its own cryptocurrency, a digital token that encourages people to get things right. “If you’re not telling the truth, you stand to lose a bunch of money,” Krug says.

Augur calls its digital token the Rep. This cryptocurrency doesn’t let you buy and sell stuff. It tracks your reputation—that is, how often you tell the truth. People bet their Rep tokens that they are indeed telling the truth—reporting the facts as they actually are. If most others agree, the system returns their tokens and pays them in cash. It’s a way of aligning everyone’s aims in the same direction, the sort of arrangement that so often characterizes the new breed of business built atop a blockchain. Because it’s tied to real money, the Rep token ensures that everyone is pulling in the same direction—toward the truth. ‘It’s not just about predicting what is in the future. It’s about knowing what is happening in the present.’ Richard Craib

There’s always the risk that the majority will deny the facts, somehow overriding the monetary incentive. Enormous bribes could be a problem, for instance. “There may be cases where you benefit by cheating,” says Miller. “If everyone goes toward the truth, you have an incentive to go along with the truth. But if everyone deviates from the truth, there is an incentive to deviate.” Still, many people seem to have faith in the idea. The Rep now enjoys a $89 million market cap, up from $50 million at the end of February.

Ultimately, Krug hopes to create a service that feeds more than just prediction markets. Augur’s reporting engine, he believes, could serve as the foundation for other applications that rely on real-world data. As he explains, it could help automate any financial contract, from options and derivatives to insurance contracts and credit default swaps. Should you be paid because a company defaulted on its debt? Check the Augur blockchain to see if the company really did.

If Augur gains a true scale, other possibilities arise. If, say, Trump’s national security adviser steps down and Augur’s Rep-funded “reporters” verify his resignation, that fact gets burned into a blockchain. Any application can then make use of this digital fact, from Wikipedia to Facebook to Google search results. In an age when fake news bounces around Facebook’s echo chambers and presidential tweets see no difference between online hoaxes and the careful reporting of the New York Times, the possibility of creating a digital market for facts becomes a powerful idea.

Like so many ideas that bubble up from the world of bitcoin, the concepts behind Augur are both strange and perhaps overly optimistic. The instability of the Ethereum tokens that people use to make bets on these markets could undermine their accuracy, says David Rothchild, a researcher at Microsoft. And the Augur reporting engine, lacking a critical mass of participants, remains unproven. But in an age when so many people feel so unsure about not just the future but the facts in the present, such big ideas are at least worth a try.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Enterprise’s technologies that will shake things up in 2017

 Enterprise's technologies that will
shake things up in 2017

Triple-A security, the Internet of Things and AR/VR to make their marks

You think you have your hands full as an IT pro now? Just wait until blockchain, IoT, augmented and virtual reality, and these other technologies really start to take hold in 2017.

The Internet of Things – for real

Yes, yes, we know – it’s one of those long-standing tech industry jokes, like “the year of the Linux desktop” and “Java security.” But 2017 really could be the year that all the hub-bub and hype around the Internet of Things comes home to roost.

The basic concept of connected devices – broadly, things that haven’t historically been connected to the internet suddenly being connected to the internet – is nothing new. The uses to which the technology is now being put, however – smart cars, smart homes, and dramatically simplified industrial management – are potentially groundbreaking in a very “the future is here” sense.

The main problem is security, as it has been since people started thinking about IoT as a concept. There aren’t many commonly accepted standards for IoT devices – though there’s no lack of candidates – and vendors don’t seem to work as hard to make connected devices secure as they do on more traditional endpoints, like laptops and smartphones.

That has big implications for security. Even if a hacked IoT device doesn’t represent much of a threat on its own, it’s simple enough to incorporate it into a vast botnet, which is exactly what the attackers behind the Mirai botnet have been up to lately, exploiting DVRs, surveillance cameras, and other poorly secured IoT devices and making them into a zombie army able to hamstring internet access across the U.S. by attacking domain registration service provider Dyn. It’s a big challenge, according to analyst and Network World contributor Zeus Kerravala.

“[IoT security] requires strengthened network access controls, including real-time application control and visibility, IoT-supported, secure authentication methods such as PPSK, granular device policy enforcement at the edge, and centralized reporting and monitoring tools,” he said, in commenting on a new IoT security offering from Aerohive Networks.

SponsoredPost Sponsored by Honda    

Forrester Research thinks more than half a million IoT devices will be compromised in 2017, which underlines the extreme importance of security. One way or another, IoT will shake up computing in 2017 – either as a key underpinning of a host of new technologies, or the venue for further devastating cyber attacks.

Augmented reality and virtual reality will take off

When the iPad was introduced in 2010, rarely would you see them in the wild—never mind being used for business. Now, iPads and tablets are everywhere. Their use exploded. Prepare for the same thing to happen with virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR)—with tablets and smartphones as the vehicle. According to IDC, 25% of enterprise IT organizations will be testing augmented reality business applications for use on smartphones by the end of 2017.

“This may sound relatively aggressive, but the conversations I’m having with the industry and some surveys that we’ve run talking to IT decision makers show that there’s a really strong interest around augmented reality,” said Tom Mainelli, program vice president of the devices & AR/VR group at IDC, during a recent webinar, IDC Futurescape: Worldwide Wearables and AR/VR 2017 Predictions. The end game is head-worn AR hardware, such as the Microsoft HoloLens, he said. But for a lot of enterprises, they are going to begin creating apps and back-end processes on devices that consumers and businesses already own.

Pokémon Go gave us a taste of AR, and we’ve seen retailers using AR technology. Walgreens and Toys R Us use an app called Aisle411 that guides customers to products with the store. North Face provides 360-degree videos of outdoor experiences using Oculus Rift in which the actors wear North Face clothing. Audi has a virtual experience that allows you to take a virtual test drive and to virtually see features and options on their cars. And Ashley Furniture will soon have an AR app that helps shoppers see how home furnishings fit into an existing space.

As smartphone technology improves, we will see much better AR experiences, Mainelli said. The first product working toward that is the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro, which is based on Google’s Tango technology. It uses three cameras and multiple sensors to see where it is and capture a wide range of measurements to create an enhanced AR experience, he said.

Other AR and VR predictions from IDC:

  • In 2017, retail industry spending on AR/VR hardware, software and services will increase by 145% to more than $1 billion.
    Three out of 10 consumer-facing Fortune 5000 companies will experiment with AR or VR as part of their marketing efforts in 2017.
  • By 2019, 10% of all web-based meetings will include an AR component driving disruption of the $3 billion web conferencing market.

“I really believe augmented reality is going to have the same type of impact on businesses as the PC did all those years ago,” Mainelli said. “And once developers start to figure out what they can do with this technology, business is going to change pretty dramatically. … Eventually, we will end up at a place where augmented reality really is the new way that we interface with devices, digital content, physical objects and with data.”

Triple-A protection coming to world of cyber security

It may be a brave new world in 2017 but it’s also a damn scary one for IT security professionals. Just take a look at some recent Gartner assessments of the security situation:

  • By 2020, 60% of digital businesses will suffer major service failures, due to the inability of IT security teams to manage digital risk.
  • By 2020, 60% of enterprise information security budgets will be allocated for rapid detection and response approaches, which is an increase from less than 30% in 2016.
  • By 2018, 25% of corporate data traffic will flow directly from mobile devices to the cloud, bypassing enterprise security controls.
  • Through 2018, over 50% of IoT device manufacturers will not be able to address threats because of weak authentication practices.

So what technologies are going to change this scenario back in favor of IT? The new security AAA — automation, analytics, and artificial intelligence — say proponents. When it comes to automation, security platforms will devise and execute controls based on newly detected threats and do it without human intervention. That reduces the time between a compromise and the time the threat is neutralized – reducing the window during which attackers can do damage.

Security analytics engines digest data from network gear and endpoints in search of anomalies that indicate threats. By setting a baseline for normal, these engines spot out of the ordinary behaviors and assess whether they represent malicious activity. By incorporating AI and machine learning this technology will expand its ability to detect anomalies not only in network traffic, but in the behavior of individual machines, users, and combinations of users on particular machines.

As these platforms become more sophisticated and trusted in 2017, they will be able to spot attacks in earlier stages and stop them before they become active breaches. And the big guns are all involved in making this happen: Cisco with its Tetration Analytics platform, IBM with Watson cognitive computing for cyber security; Google/Alphabet with DeepMind lab to name just a few.

Cisco’s Tetration Analytics product is a turnkey package that gathers information from hardware and software sensors and analyzes the information using big data analytics and machine learning. In the security realm, the system sets a baseline for normal network and application behavior and quickly identifies any deviation in communication patterns in real time or uses Tetration’s forensics search engine to look for other security or user behavior analytics.

“The single most important things customers can do to protect the data center is set up a whitelist of who has access to what, but it is one of the most difficult tasks to implement,” said Tom Edsall, a senior vice president and CTO with Cisco. “Tetration lets users set up a whitelist model and policies more quickly and efficiently than they could before.” This capability will address key cyber security challenges and move toward the “self-driving data center” of the future, he said. Cisco promises many new security-related applications will be layered onto Tetration.

Then we have IBM’s Watson supercomputer, which is being unleashed in corporate networks to analyze traffic in search of malware but also learning at the same time via its own experiences and by taking in white papers, threat intelligence and news about cybercrime. So over time, Watson will develop new strategies for finding attacks as they unfold. The Watson for Cybersecurity project is in beta now and likely sometime in 2017 could become a full-fledged cybersecurity service.

Separately, there is governmental research underway that could impact the cyber security world this year as well. For example, Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, the radical research arm of the of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, wants to build a system of what it calls sensors that can monitor everything from search terms to social media output to look for early warning signs of cyber attacks.

“Cyber-attacks evolve in a phased approach. Detection typically occurs in the later phases of an attack, and analysis often occurs post-mortem to investigate and discover indicators from earlier phases. Observations of earlier attack phases, such as target reconnaissance, planning, and delivery, may enable warning of significant cyber events prior to their most damaging phases,” IARPA wrote in announcing its Cyberattack Automated Unconventional Sensor Environment (CAUSE) program.

“It is expected that the technology developed under the CAUSE Program will have no ‘human in the loop.’ Experts may help develop, train, and improve the solution systems, but they will not manually generate warnings, guide the system, or filter warnings before they are delivered to the [IARPA] Team. The performer produced warnings must be machine-generated and submitted automatically…,

Bullish for blockchain

There’s no shortage of hype around blockchain’s potential to revolutionize transactions. Heading into the new year, some enterprises will put blockchain hype to the test as they start exploring its ability to reduce transaction costs, streamline partner interactions, and accelerate business processes.

Blockchains are distributed public ledgers, lauded for their ability to establish trust in the digital world by way of verifiable transactions and without the need for a middleman. The cryptocurrency bitcoin is the most familiar application. In the financial world, blockchains are expected to disrupt how financial institutions conduct payments and wire transfers, process securities trades, and handle compliance reporting, to name just a few use cases.

Outside of finance, industry watchers cite opportunities for blockchains to play a role in core business functions from the supply chain and manufacturing to legal and health care. When there’s an audit trail required – to track the provenance of finished goods, for example, or to document a real estate title – blockchain networks can be used to create verifiable, tamper-proof records in an encrypted format and without having a central authority.

Enterprise IT leaders “are not so much interested in secure, anonymous public networks like bitcoin but in closed networks that are between specific groups of people, particularly between enterprises that have to interact,” says Roger Kay, founder, and president of market intelligence firm Endpoint Technologies Associates.

In a blockchain, each page in a ledger of transactions forms a block, which is linked via a cryptographic hash to the previous block, and new transactions are authenticated across the distributed network before the next block is formed. “Blocks are always agreed on, and each one has an encrypted representation of everything that happened before, so you can tell it’s authentic. You can’t tamper with the chain at any point,” Kay says. As a trust system, “it essentially eliminates the need for a third-party guarantor.”

That’s not to say blockchain technology is mature, however. “It’s still early days,” Kay warns. Early adopters have launched hundreds of pilot projects, but there’s a long way to go before blockchain hits mainstream adoption. Among the obstacles blockchain deployments face are technical challenges, lack of standards and governance models, shortage of skills, and scalability concerns.

As 2016 closes, vendors continue to devise distributed applications and platforms based on blockchain technology, and venture capital firms continue to pour money into the effort. More than $1.4 billion has been invested in blockchain technology over the past three years, according to an August report by the World Economic Forum (WEF). More than 90 corporations have joined blockchain development consortia, and more than 2,500 patents have been filed. The WEF predicts that by 2017, 80% of banks will initiate projects that involve distributed ledger technology.

For enterprises interested in exploring how they can use blockchain and distributed ledgers, research firm Gartner recommends starting with limited-scope trials that are aimed at specific problems. Enterprises can start to investigate how distributed networks might improve business processes that are constrained by transaction inefficiency and how technology suppliers might be able to help. “The challenge for blockchain users and CIOs is to set appropriate expectations among business leaders,” Gartner writes in its 2017 strategic predictions report. “Plan for a reasonable rollout, failure, and recovery (especially through 2018); develop realistic proof of concept (POC) use cases and be agile from an IT and business perspective to follow the best path to success.”

Machine Learning – the promise of predicting the future

Historically, the challenge for organizations that want to use machine learning and cognitive computing technologies has been that it requires hiring expert data scientists who have spent their careers studying how to crunch data into artificial intelligence algorithms.

In recent years, thanks to the proliferation of public cloud computing platforms, that’s changing. Companies like Amazon Web Services, Google, Microsoft, and IBM have all rolled out cloud-based machine learning platforms. “It’s really lowered the barrier quite a bit,” says Sam Charrington, an analyst, and blogger who tracks the machine learning market, adding that the technology is being democratized for everyday developers to use in their applications.

At its most basic level, machine learning is the process of using data to make predictions of future behavior. Most commonly it’s been used in fraud protection (training computers to detect anomalous behavior) and teaching programs to predict future revenues and customer churn. IBM has trained its Watson platform to create sophisticated chatbots for customer interaction and to help healthcare workers provide better care.

It’s still early days for adoption though a recent study by consultancy Deloitte reported that only 8% of enterprises use machine learning technology today. Allied Market Research predicts the industry is growing at a 33% compound annual growth rate and will reach $13.7 billion by 2020.

“The practice of employing algorithms to parse data, learn from it, and then make a determination … is gathering speed,” reports 451 Researcher Krishna Roy. Consumer adoption of platforms like Amazon’s Echo and Apple’s Siri has seeded this market, but enterprise adoption has been held back by a lack of market education and integration of these systems with existing enterprise platforms. But, she notes that one day this technology could become a “fundamental part of an enterprise's analytics fabric.”

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Companies Focusing on Both Bitcoin and Ethereum Blockchain Development

Companies Focusing on Both Bitcoin and Ethereum Blockchain Development

The Bitcoin BlockChain

Companies and entrepreneurs all over the world are looking at blockchain technology to create new business models. Some of these projects rely on the bitcoin blockchain, whereas others seemingly favor Ethereum. Both distributed ledgers offer quite a few advantages. As a result, various companies and investors are keeping tabs on both horses in the race.

Circle

Ever since Circle started moving away from bitcoin, it was only a matter of time until the company unveiled their new plans. While Circle still uses bitcoin as a “rail” to complete global payments quickly, the team is also working on Ethereum applications. In fact, the company is using Ethereum’s blockchain for their “Spark” venture, as Ethereum’s ledger is the more mature and practical solution. An intriguing decision, although it is worth noting Spark will be interoperable with other blockchains.

Brave

The Brave browser has been well-received by the cryptocurrency community. Its ability to change the ad-viewing experience while surfing the web will have a big impact. Just yesterday, Brave announced they will provide users with an incentive. In fact, the Brave team wants to pay browser users to turn ads back on. While the browser has a bitcoin payment solution to let browser users tip their favorite content creators, this new incentive will see things done differently.

 

A digital token – called Basic Attention Token – will be released later this year. The vast majority of these coins will be sold to investors during an ICO. This new token is Ethereum-based and plays a key role in this new digital advertising platform. The source code for this new platform will be made open source on GitHub later this year.

 Storj

Even though the Storj project was designed to be based on the bitcoin blockchain from day one, it appears the team has changed their mind. In a new announcement, the company explained they are bringing the  Counterparty-based Storj token – known as SJCX – over to the Ethereum blockchain. The reason for this change is not difficult to find: mounting bitcoin transaction fees, delays, and the lack of development provided by the Counterparty platform. Another notch in the belt for Ethereum, that much is certain.

 Factom

The Factom project is quite an intriguing one. The company anchors sensitive data into the bitcoin blockchain, although they are anchoring into Ethereum as well. This dual-pronged approach will guarantee information can be kept safe and secure at all times. Moreover, this goes to show both blockchains have their role to play in the future of distributed ledger-based products and services.

Blockchain Capital

Even though Blockchain Capital is not actively developing applications and projects themselves, they are a key investor in many blockchain-based projects. Blockchain Capital has pumped millions of dollars into bitcoin blockchain-based projects, yet the focus has been divided as of late. The company has become very serious about Ethereum, and they started to deploy half of their fund toward early-stage Ethereum-oriented investments.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Bitcoin slumps as traders’ fears of a hard fork

Bitcoin slumps as traders' fears of a "hard fork"

bitcoin slumps as traders fear hard fork

Just this month the currency swelled to an intraday high of more than $1,350, but it's come crashing back down as a dispute over the underlying technology threatens to break it into two separate currencies: bitcoin and bitcoin unlimited.

Bitcoin transactions are gathered into so-called "blocks", and developers have been embroiled in a long-running debate over the size limit of a block.

Currently, there is a one-megabyte maximum on processing batches of transactions, but some in the industry want to increase the size as the network capacity increases. Others say increasing the block size would be unsafe.

The rift could cause a split, or hard fork, in the currency. If bitcoin unlimited gained enough support, it could have an impact on the underlying blockchain technology that supports bitcoin.

David Ogden
Entrepeneur

 


Courtney Goldsmith
City A.M. 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Officers Pretend They’re On Walk And Take Elderly Woman With Dementia Home.

Officers Pretend They’re On Walk And Take Elderly Woman With Dementia Home.

By Josh Starling  – Mar 30, 2016

Original article at http://www.inspiremore.com/cops-take-grandma-with-dementia-home/

Every day, 81-year-old Roberta takes a stroll down her driveway and back to her Charles County, Maryland home.  It was business as usual for Roberta last Friday, but instead of stopping at the end of the driveway, she just kept going.

Roberta and her daughter live together, so when the daughter realized her mother had been gone for far too long, she called 911. Her daughter informed officers that her mother had dementia, and was assured they would find her soon. After about 40 minutes, a small team of officers found Roberta walking along a wooded path near her home.

Instead of embarrassing the sweet lady by informing her of her mishap, they pretended to be out for a walk too, hoping to guide her back in the process. And so, Officer Morrison was captured walking hand in hand with his new friend Roberta… gently leading her home.

The Charles Country Sheriff’s Office posted the photo and caption below.

“We often talk about the rewards of police work. On Friday, we captured a moment.

Officers responded to a 911 call from a woman who reported her 81-year-old mother missing. It seems her mother left her house to take her daily walk up and down the driveway, but when she didn’t return, things got a bit scary because the woman’s mother has dementia.

Officers P. DeBoe, C. Caywood, B. Morrison, Sgt. C. Black, and Cpl. C. Clevenger and his K9 partner responded to the scene and began a search of the heavily wooded area.

After 40 minutes, the woman was found.

At first, she seemed confused at the sudden appearance of police officers on the tree-lined trail, and she asked if the officers were out taking a walk too. They quietly replied ‘Yes,’ after all, it was a beautiful day. And then she seemed relieved and told them she had lost her way. ‘No problem,’ said Officer Morrison who then gently took her hand and, along with the other officers walked her back to her house.

Along the way, the officers made small talk with the woman, to make her feel at ease. When asked what the key to a long, healthy life was, the woman replied, ‘Eat good and stay active.’

Officers encounter different situations every day. Some good, some not so good. In this case, a frightening situation for the family ended happily. For that, they were thankful. For us, it’s the rewarding part of policing.”

Here’s to our boys in blue!  Share their gentle heroics today!

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Social Media Definition

Social Media Definition

Social Media Is an Excellent Way to Promote Your Business

Social Media Marketing

Social media is a type of online media that expedites conversation as opposed to traditional media, which delivers content but doesn't allow readers/viewers/listeners to participate in the creation or development of the content. As Ron Jones explains, "Social media essentially is a category of online media where people are talking, participating, sharing, networking, and bookmarking online." There is a wide variety of social media, ranging from social sharing sites such as YouTube and Flickr through social networks such as LinkedIn and Facebook.

In my opinion, social media has shot to the forefront of people's attention because it's fun. Thanks to social media, it's easy to share your ideas, photos, videos, likes and dislikes, with the world at large – and find out what they think of them. You can find friends, business contacts and become part of a community or a bunch of different communities. Social media gives you what TV never could – a chance to be engaged and engage others.

Because of this, social media is of particular interest to businesses. Currently, businesses of all sizes are embracing social media marketing as a low-cost form of business promotion, grappling with the question of how to get in on what appears to be an especially viral way to get their message (and their products) out there. If you run a small business, How to Create a Social Media Plan explains how you can pick the best kinds of social media to promote your business and how to design and implement a winning social media strategy.

                                                The Most Popular Forms of Social Media
Facebook

Founded in 2004, Facebook is the most well-known form of social media, with over a billion active members. It allows users to create a profile and share status updates, photos, videos, and exchange messages. Creating a Facebook fan page is a popular low-cost way to promote your business and keep your customers informed about your products and services. 

Twitter

Twitter allows registered users to send short messages (called "tweets") to "followers". Tweeting has also been referred to as "microblogging" since tweets are limited to 140 characters in length. Over 500 million tweets are sent out every day. Businesses use Twitter as a marketing vehicle by keeping followers up to date with product offerings via regular tweets. It is also commonly used by businesses to respond to customer support queries. For more information on Twitter see:

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a social networking service for business professionals.  Users can create profiles and form professional relationships by "connecting" with other users. Businesses can use LinkedIn as a low-cost marketing tool by posting product/service announcements or other company news.  Employees can post their own profiles and link to the business, thereby showcasing company talent with prospective customers.

Pinterest

Pinterest can be described as a virtual pinboard. Users can create and share collections of images, text, web page links, etc. and organize them into "boards".  Pinterest content can be shared by sending "pins" to other users. Businesses can promote their products/services by combining images and text in an eye-catching, informative way.Other Pinterest users can "repin" your content, increasing your exposure and driving traffic to your business website. To get started with Pinterest, see  as the heading suggests, only some of the more popular forms of social media; other examples include LinkedIn, StumbleUpon and Reddit. As well, new social media platforms are being created and gaining popularity every day.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Capture More Leads with Inbound Marketing Software

Capture More Leads with Inbound Marketing Software

The Best Inbound Marketing Tool

Marketing has changed. Today’s consumer take their time to get informed about a product before buying it. Thanks to Google, Yelp, Wikipedia, and a wide variety of websites, your customers can easily gather enough information to be well-informed on any topic in minutes, and that information dictates which companies they choose to work with. People have adapted their habits when it comes to browsing the internet, but there’s a way to take advantage of those new browsing habits. Just think about the last time you made a purchase decision – did you “Google It” before making up your mind?

What is inbound marketing?

Inbound marketing is where your customers find you!… Instead of you chasing them down. Inbound marketing is a method of creating SEO friendly (i.e. people can find you on Google), customer-centric content that your audience is looking for, rather than trying to reach out to someone who may or may not be interested in what you have to offer. Outbound marketing has been the standard way of doing things for a while now. You buy ads, set up a newsletter, send out cold emails, make cold calls, and generally shout into the darkness about your site in hopes that someone will hear you and respond. And to be completely fair about it, if you shout loud enough, you will attract some visitors to your site, but they might not be the visitors you were hoping for.

Inbound marketing works differently. Instead of doing everything in your power to reach outward in hopes of finding your audience, you create high-quality content like blog posts, videos, podcasts, and interactive demos. By doing so, you’re ensuring that your audience will want to find you. Outbound marketing yields a mixture of visitors who are interested in what you have to offer and visitors who had the wrong idea about your business. Some of those leads are warm, and some aren’t; it’s a mixed bag. With inbound marketing, every visitor is a warm lead. They’re coming to your site because they’re interested in what you offer, not because you were the loudest voice on the internet.

Why should you use inbound marketing?

 

Let’s start with the cold hard facts. According to Hubspot, inbound marketing costs 61% less to implement than outbound marketing, and it has been proven to generate 54% more leads. If your marketing budget looks a little like the piggy bank above, those two facts alone should be reason enough to give it a try, but there are plenty of benefits beyond the severely decreased cost per lead. For starters, each lead you get will be warm. With inbound marketing, your audience finds you naturally; in other words, they’re already interested in what you have to offer before they ever hear your sales pitch. Even better, if you start with great content, your visitors will come back to your site, again and again, giving you more chances to take advantage of a warm lead!

You have good content! Now how do you make that content work for you?

 

If you start with good content, every visitor to your site will be a warm lead. All you have to do from there is capture the leads, and that’s where Digioh comes in. Our lightbox is a robust and powerful tool that helps you put the right call to action in front of the right visitor. Once you’ve used inbound marketing to bring warm leads to your site, the Digioh Lightbox can help you to capture your visitors’ interest by presenting a compelling offer to them. By offering a free guide, a one on one consultation, or a discount on their next purchase, you can get your visitors to subscribe to your mailing list, or provide their contact info. Once you have that contact info, you can help them understand why they should buy your product.

The Digioh Lightbox is designed to put the power in the marketer’s hands. Once it’s installed on your site, you won’t need to deal with the IT department to make changes. Just log into Digioh, and use our user-friendly editor to change your call to action, or alter the appearance of the lightbox, and then just hit the publish button to push those changes to your site. Our lightbox also offers a suite of powerful rules you can use to set who sees it and when you can create a lightbox that will only show to users who came to your site from a specific referrer, you can target your lightbox based on the visitor’s geographic location, and you can target it based on the page your visitors are viewing. These customization options make it easy to put the right call to action in front of the right visitor.

All of those customization options make easy to create an engaging form to present to your visitors. If you know where they came in from, and what page on your site they’re reading, it’s easy to craft a message that’s going to appeal directly to their needs. You know what they’re looking for, and now you can craft an opt-in form that shows them you can give them what they need! With all of these powerful tools at your disposal, it’s easy to turn visitors into leads, and leads into conversions!  Don’t let all that time and effort you put into making great content go to waste; use the Digioh lightbox to engage your visitors, and you’ll be able to take full advantage of the audience your content has brought to your site!

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Effective Business Development Strategies to get started

 

  Effective Business Development Strategies to get started

 

Over the past few years, organizations worldwide are beginning to understand the importance of business developers and the value they bring to the organization, although not all companies quit comprehend what business development managers do exactly.

Let us say you have just moved into a business development position from a sales or a marketing background, normally, big enterprises provide their employees with training and orientation, small and medium size companies on the other hand usually lack such processes, if you want to find out where to start, then keep on reading…

In this article we will discuss business development activities that successful business development managers adopt to ensure success in their work, these main strategies are divided to three main parts:

  1. Business Development Activities
  2. Enhancing Public image
  3. Increasing market exposure

 Business Development Activities

Market Research

Performing market research is highly important in order to understand your company current position and determine where it is headed, for that, you will need to do the following: Perform research about the industry you are in, the geographical area you cover and the market segment you are targeting. There are many ready made reports about the industry, market, country over the Internet sphere that you can find useful, they inform you about market trends and value, you can then calculate your market share out of the total market value.

Research for contracts, bids and opportunities of cooperation with other companies that your company can take to increase its channels of revenues. Subscribe to industry related databases, forums and blogs; these can be of great value to you, if you were in the construction or building industry for example, such databases will provide detailed information regarding all projects within your area from concept to execution, this would save you plenty of time consumed normally in collecting information and vastly reduce your market intelligence efforts, use them wisely as leverage over your competition.

Competitive analysis

Once you learn everything you can about the products/ services your company offers, you have to learn about your competition in order to understand where you stand compared to others, it will also help you determine your desired market positioning, for that you will need to do the following:

  1. Determine your company top competitors (4-6 competitors)
  2. Set up a criteria or mechanism of comparison, choose different variables of which you will do the comparison with, this could be in the form of strengths/ weaknesses or in other form such as price, product quality, exposure, brand reputation, etc.
  3. Try to find out what are the projects your competitors are targeting within your market segment, assess if you can develop an offering that can win those business from them.
  4. Since you are a new employee, competitors do not know you yet, use that to visit your competitors showrooms (if they have any), therefore you can visit them anonymously like any regular customer and collect valuable input to use in your research.

Current Client Relations  

  1. Conduct warm calls to your existing clients, in order to assess the company current situation, what are you doing right/ wrong? In order to assess your strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats (SWOT Analysis) and ensure your clients are not being tempted by other competitors.
  2. Build close relationship with your clients, through the use of emails, phone calls, face to face meetings and product technical presentations in order to assess your client requirements and needs, do not forget to provide them with the latest copy of your marketing material.
  3. Follow up, Follow up, Follow up, do not push hard, but also do not give up easily, 80% of B2B sales are conducted after the 5th encounter.
  4. Identify your main target audience sectors, then categorize the main companies you want to approach within these sectors.
  5. Conduct cold calls with the desired company and arrange meetings in order to identify their current supplier or service provider, find out why they are currently working with that supplier/ service provider and if they were happy about their current provider, tailor your sales pitch based on the given feedback to win the business.
  6. Email your marketing materials to existing clients & potential clients within your target audience in order to raise awareness about the latest products you added or new services you provide.
  7. Follow up, Follow up, and Follow up! Don’t push too hard but also do not give up. There are several email tracking tools that you can use, these can be useful as you will find out when a certain person have checked your email recently therefore you know that something must have come up and perhaps you should give your client a call.

Reach out to new clients

  1. Identify your main target audience sectors, then categorize the main companies you want to approach within these sectors.
  2. Conduct cold calls with the desired company and arrange meetings in order to identify their current supplier or service provider, find out why they are currently working with that supplier/ service provider and if they were happy about their current provider, tailor your sales pitch based on the given feedback to win the business.
  3. Email your marketing materials to existing clients & potential clients within your target audience in order to raise awareness about the latest products you added or new services you provide.
  4. Follow up, Follow up, and Follow up! Don’t push too hard but also do not give up. There are several email tracking tools that you can use, these can be useful as you will find out when a certain person have checked your email recently therefore you know that something must have come up and perhaps you should give your client a call.

Networking Events

As a BDM, spending your whole day inside the office will not be the best use of your time, you need to spend time out there, meeting people related to your market. Attending networking events can be of great value to you, you get to meet new people and learn new things about your market.

Attend industry related networking events, exhibitions, seminars, conferences and trade shows to be in contact with new; potential clients, having a booth in the exhibition is an advantage, however make sure it presents a good image and reflects the company brand identity, otherwise, you may be perceived to be unprofessional or cheap. Attend as many industry related events as you can, make sure you follow up with a thank you email to everyone you meet the second day.

Enhancing the Public image

This strategy addresses the company’s image and how it is perceived by the different stakeholders, the company is a brand, and like any brand, you cannot control the way perceive it, however you can only try to influence your audience perception, this can be achieved through:

Website 

  1. You can work with the marketing division or marketing specialists on enhancing the company website, making it more user friendly, with a clear call for action message to converge views into actions, a poorly designed website can repulse people from your business and can cause you to lose customers before you even have them.
  2. Make sure your website is ‘responsive’, what responsive means is that your website should be able to adapt to whatever browser used for view and it should also be able to fit multiple screens sizes depending on the gadget used to view your website (PC, Tablet, Laptop, Mobile, etc.)
  3.  Proof your website content and ensure there are no punctuation or grammatical mistakes within, your font must be clear enough to read without problems, these small mistakes can go unnoticeable most of the time, however for clients with an eye for details, your company will be perceived as unprofessional or of low quality.
  4. Use only high quality images on your website, low quality images may reflect bad image or poor quality, consider hiring a professional photographer to take some shots of staff in office or engineers working on site, these photos can be used on the website and for other marketing materials so don’t forget to archive these photos and label them for ease of use in future.
  5. Consider adding the organizational chart of your company to the website, at least for upper management, this could ease the life of the website viewers as it would be clear who does what inside the organization, and whom they need to contact.

 Branding 

There should be only one integrated communication theme that governs all aspects of your brand, whether online or offline your brand must reflect consistency. Creating and implementing the below in compliance with your brand guidelines will ensure your company is presented with one unified, cohesive and professional image, addressing your customers in English is important, you need to consider your target audience, therefore adding the native language of your target audience is as important, your marketing material should include:

  • Company Profile
  • Generic Company Brochure
  • Product Catalogs
  • Branded Folder
  • Branded CD’s
  • Customer testimonials
  • Press Releases
  • A unified presentation template, also be sure all employees use it.
  • Short 1-3 minutes promotional videos that promote the company and its products to be used on multiple platforms (YouTube, Exhibitions, Reception area, etc.).
  • A unified company signature for emails and make sure all employees use it.

Office

Ensure your company offices reflect the company brand image, this includes:

  • Reception Area should be equipped with marketing materials and business cards displayed in an attractive manner, available as takeaways for visitors.
  • Company videos are displayed on loop in the waiting area, it gives your visitors an opportunity to know more about your business while waiting.
  • Proper Signage displayed in all the company common areas, clearly displaying the company name and logo.
  • Common areas and staff offices must be clean, tidy, uncluttered and inviting, bathrooms must remain clean at all times.
  • Make sure that snacks and hot beverages are available at all times for visitors, served in an attractive dish wear.
  • Your conference room should always be ready to accommodate guests, training, seminars and meetings, therefore it should be equipped with a screen or projector, a laser pointer, teleconferencing equipment and a white board.

Increasing market exposure

Optimize your online presence 

  1. Conduct and online reputation management research, this would ensure that all articles, posts, videos and comments out there present your brand in a positive manner.
  2. Develop your company presence over different social media platforms, ensure you choose your platforms according to your target audience (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.)
  3. Develop content to post on your different social media platforms, such as (Press releases, Success stories, case studies, promotional videos, ongoing training activities, testimonials, etc.)
  4. Increase your online exposure by applying search engine optimization techniques to enhance your online visibility.

By applying the above strategies, you can get ahead of your colleagues and reflect a professional image in front of your superiors, make sure you get upper management support for your actions, present them with a plan of what you want to do, they need to believe that what you are doing is in the best interest of the company, you will find that without upper management support, accomplishing the above strategies will be difficult if not impossible.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

A Regulated Cryptocurrency

A Regulated Taxable Cryptocurrency

A regulated Chrypto currency

Regulatory compliance and cryptocurrency are unlikely bedfellows; paying tax on crypto transactions isn't even in the room.

But times are changing. We are seeing a crop of services doing just those sorts of things, leveraging the transparent, immutable nature of distributed ledgers to track and trace cryptocurrencies.

Recently the IRS has been rattling sabres at Coinbase in a move to get cryptocurrency holders to pay tax on transactions. According to court filings, less than 1000 people have registered to pay tax on Bitcoin transactions in the last three years.

Enter Node40, a blockchain accounting system which has grown out of a business hosting Dash masternodes.

Node40 co-founder Perry Woodin explained the company was being paid mostly in Dash for its infrastructure services and had to report US taxes.

"We asked our accountant how to do that and he wasn't sure. Most accountants look at capital gains for gains and losses; they look at first in, first out.

"That strategy doesn't work for digital currencies because of the way transactions are built with multiple inputs and all these inputs have potential gains and losses and various days carried."

Sean Ryan, co-founder Node40, wrote a program to figure out gains and losses. Users import transactions from their Dash wallet and these are analysed against the blockchain to work out the average US dollar value for every single transaction.

Ryan said: "You upload your list of transactions and you get the final number. We don't actually calculate any percentages for taxes – so, for example, your jurisdiction would say that if you made this much income, we are going to tax you at say 22%.

"What we do is present numbers that you would be obligated to pay taxes on. There are levels that allow you to get to those answers, all the way down to the individual components that make up an individual transaction.

"Because these ledgers/blockchains are open they are mathematically sound, all you need to do from an engineering perspective is extract the pieces of data from the blockchain that are most relevant to specific transactions."

The user can then annotate transactions using Node40, like they might with QuickBooks or TurboTax: who they sent the funds to, who they received them from, marking certain things as tax exempt in the case of assets purchased rather than income received.

"There are some additional nice things like being able to set custom values on what your incoming purchase was. If the market value says one Dash is worth $100 but you bought it from somebody who was willing to sell it to you for $90, we allow people to override that initial value," said Woodin.

"Once people have gone in and started annotating transactions, we produce nice reports that show then their performance of their asset with their portfolio. Then as a last step they are able to generate their IRS documents, and that's a capital gains document – form 8949."

The recent surge in cryptocurrency values, not least Dash which has shot up in price, is probably also garnering attention. But Woodin pointed out that holding crypto that goes up in value does not constitute a taxable event.

"If you are just buying something and holding it, there is no taxation even though there's an increase. If you received it as income or if you are exchanging it for some other asset like dollars, euros then that's a taxable event."

Woodin said the ongoing IRS Coinbase scenario has definitely got people edgy and this may be the year people begin to start paying their taxes on crypto.

"I think by next year it's just going to be assumed that if you are transacting in digital currency, you are going to be paying taxes. It's that conversion from digital currency to fiat where the government is going to say: why do you have a deposit in your bank account with no record of income?"

Node40 Balance is now live to use with Dash and will be ready for Bitcoin later in the year.

"There are certain exemption limits and thresholds that we observe. We have four different KYC levels that we enforce. Up to €150 we just need to know the shopping cart details from the merchant which includes the name of the consumer and the email address," said Kaufmann.

"If it goes higher there is another flag at €800, then at €4000 and every time the consumer has to provide more information."

So rather like transaction reporting as it exists today. Kaufmann added that a large transaction – say €25,000 to buy a load of servers – would merit closer scrutiny.

"We have the capability of doing an online verification where people can jump on Skype with our customer support. We will take a picture of their passport number using machine readable zones that are scanned into the system and then we verify it and run it against a sanctions list.

"There is some very profound filtering going on. We do have tools that allow us to look back at the history of Bitcoin transactions. We are careful to follow Swiss data privacy laws and have the support of a fintech-friendly regulatory regime," he said.

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 


 

By Ian Allison

 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

The sudden rise of cryptocurrency in 2017 explained

The sudden rise of cryptocurrency in 2017 explained

The online cryptocurrency Bitcoin is rapidly becoming 2017’s go-to currency. The Bitcoin demand is on the rise, and one Bitcoin is worth around $1010 and rising. Currently, there is a threat of a “hard fork” on the cryptocurrency network, causing many users to concern over their cryptocurrency accounts. Bitcoin is a form of digital currency, which is not controlled by any organisation originally developed by a software developer called Satoshi Nakamoto. The idea was to create a decentralised form of currency, which would be used for economic transactions with low transaction fees, according to CoinDesk.

Bitcoin price surpassed the $1,115 mark during the early hours of March 22, 2017.

Where does a Bitcoin come from?

Bitcoins are not printed physically because they are created digitally by a community of people that can be joined by anyone in the world. The currency creates “mining” bitcoins, which means that transactions for online coins are tracked by computers, in order to confirm that they have a monetary value.

The copy for every blockchain is available for anyone participating in the cryptocurrency business, but miners have to confirm that the blocks -seeing as they’re not being regulated by anyone- are in fact a legitimate transaction. To do this, they run a mathematical formula to the block, turning it into a “hash,” that allows miners to know if a block has been tampered with, meaning that the block is fake.

 

Bitcoins are not physically printed, but instead, they are digitally verified.

“The bitcoin network deals with this by collecting all of the transactions made during set period into a list, called a block. It’s the miners’ job to confirm those transactions, and write them into a general ledger,” explains CoinDesk. “This general ledger is a long list of blocks, known as the ‘blockchain’. It can be used to explore any transaction made between any bitcoin addresses, at any point of the network”.

Miners use hashes to seal off a block, and they use software written to mine the blocks. When a miner creates a successful hash, they earn 25 bitcoins, and the information is added to the blockchain. However, creating hashes from data available isn’t too hard -although more specifications to filter the number of successful hashes have been added- and the cryptocurrency network is growing larger every day.

Upcoming hard fork could be worse than ‘Ethereum’s hard fork’

Cryptocurrency is growing so fast as a currency option, that a hard fork is predicted for Bitcoins. Circle Internet Financial, a technology company that offers user online wallets for cryptocurrencies, sent out an email to users on Monday suggesting that they should sell all of their bitcoins, to avoid the potential consequences of the upcoming hard fork.

The tech company used to trade bitcoins while users were able to sell and buy bitcoins on the page, but it stopped offering the service in December, only keeping the online wallets. The company explained in the email, that if a hard fork were to happen, their bitcoin services would be disrupted for an extended period of time.

 

Analysts are predicting a possible hard fork regarding Bitcoins.

As it relates to blockchain technology, a hard fork (or sometimes hardfork) is a radical change to the protocol that makes previously invalid block/transactions valid (or vice-versa), and as such requires all nods or users to upgrade to the latest version of the protocol software,” according to Investopedia. “This essentially creates a fork in the blockchain, one path which follows the new upgraded blockchain, and one path which continues along the old path.”

The hard fork is not unheard of in the cryptocurrency network. Last year, the “Ethereum hard fork” took place in October, when a software development team, named Ethereum, designed a hard fork to increase the gas cost of transactions. However, the hard fork increased the number of service attacks, known as DoS attacks. This has lead to Bitcoin users raising their concern about the called “replay” attacks that the server may suffer after the hard fork. The Merkle describes the bitcoin replay attack as an issue that would allow attackers to steal other user’s coins. The coins stolen may or may not go to the attacker’s wallet, but either way, the vulnerability could empty users’ wallets.

The rise in cryptocurrency exchange

The rise of cryptocurrency is fueled by economic measures around the world, as the bitcoin is calculated taken the world’s economy into account. Estimates predict that with President Trump’s economic policies, the currency could rise to $2,000 dollars in 2017. The rise has been real, as in early December the Bitcoin was traded at $754. Boby Lee, CEO of BTCC talked to CoinDesk about the rise in the cryptocurrency.

“I think 2017 could be a continuation of 2016, in terms of it being a growth year for bitcoin’s price,” said Lee. “We are clearly in a bull market for bitcoin now, and my experience tells me that bitcoin bull markets don’t end until the previous high ($1,150 in December 2013) is exceeded, and that the new price is several multiples higher than the previous high.”

Experts and cryptocurrency-trading companies say that there is a plan to protect users’ Bitcoins in the event of a hard fork. However, if a hard fork takes place, two copies of the blockchain, two networks and two versions of the software would be created, leaving users to gamble on which one to use. Experts also said that if the hard fork takes place, all exchanges are likely to freeze for a period of time before and after it occurs.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member