A Step By Step Guide to Inbound Marketing Strategy

A Step By Step Guide to Inbound Marketing Strategy

   Are you new to inbound or think your current campaigns could use some direction?

Over at OverGo we’ve come up with a pretty foolproof and seamless process of creating a marketing strategy. It’s really quite simple, all you need to do is set the goals, create the basics, automate the processes, and analyze the results. Let’s dig deeper!

Setting Goals

The first step to creating an inbound marketing strategy is to define your business goals. Based on where you are and where you want to go, it’s important to create a roadmap of how to get there. Along with this road you can define the KPIs that tell you how your inbound marketing campaign is doing. You can look at your competitors, your industry market, and where you are in that market to create realistic and attainable goals.

Discovery Session 

The first step in setting a direction is to set customized goals during a discovery session. Conducting a meeting with you and your team to identify your ideal customers is the best way to go about this. In this meeting, you can discuss your key metrics, revenue goals, and your sales process to produce the best-customized strategy. 

Create a Buyer Persona

A deeper understanding of your audience provides direction for the content you create and keeps your visitors coming back for more. You can create a research-based representation of who your buyers are, what they want to accomplish, pain points that shape their behavior, and how they make buying decisions.

Industry Research

An understanding of your competitors and what other companies are doing in your industry is ideal. You can pinpoint your specialty and see where the holes are in your industry that could be filled.

Getting Found

Keyword Research

Once we get an understanding of your audience, it’s important to find out how people are searching for your content through keyword research. This allows you to see the estimated global and local search volume, ranking difficulty and also predicts the cost of running paid campaigns. Through this research, you can decipher which terms and phrases to target in order to attract the right visitors to your website.

Onsite SEO

This consists of all the factors on a website page that influence search engine ranking. In order to get found for the keywords that are chosen in your keyword strategy, it’s important to optimize every page that is created on your website. All pages should include the appropriate keyword within the content, page properties, and the image tags. Performing onsite SEO for all current and future pages that you build out for your website is very important.

Editorial Calendar 

Before beginning your blogging campaign, come up with an editorial calendar to ensure that you are publishing and promoting content on a regular basis. An editorial calendar will not only make it easier to schedule content, capitalize on upcoming product or service launches, but it will ultimately encourage discipline in the running and updating of any blog.

Blog Writing, and Posting

Blogging is the basis of bringing traffic to your website and relevant visitors will come to your site when you blog about the right content. The key is to create content around your buyer personas pain points and main industry topics. Keeping up with blogging is a high priority in getting your website found online, the more frequent you blog the more visitors you will attract.

Pay-Per-Click

PPC campaigns give you an opportunity to put your message in front of an audience that is seeking your product or service. Through keyword research, strategic bidding, and a compelling advertisement you can get the results you want. PPC is no longer limited to search engines, you can also run PPC campaigns on various social media platforms.

Social Marketing

Social media is THE platform for sharing content and odds are your audience is engaging on at least one social media platform. Sharing content on your social media accounts allows you to reach your audience on multiple channels- Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn. Social media acts as a gateway for potential prospects to find your website so it is important to be relevant, active and engaging in this sphere.

Getting Leads

Premium Content Production

Premium content converts visitors to leads on your website. Specifically, premium content is an offer that contains unique informational value to your target audience. Visitors are willing to fill out a form with their contact information in order to gain access to your premium content. Examples of premium content are eBooks, Webinars, Whitepapers, Case Studies, etc.

Landing Page Design

Landing pages are where premium content lives. Sending your potential clients to landing pages where you capture their information and create new leads for your sales team is a best practice. A good landing page is eye-catching, properly designed, and attracts new leads. The basis of a good landing page is to have the desired user action, which is what you want your visitors to do once they land on your page.

Call-to-Action Creation

A call-to-action (CTA) can make or break your website's lead acquisition rate. CTA's direct visitors to your premium content landing pages. We work with the branding of your website in order to create professional and exceptional graphic buttons your visitors will be compelled to click. We think of CTA as mini billboards positioned on your website to direct visitors to the next steps you want them to take. To facilitate lead generation you can design A/B CTA test groups and position them on various pages throughout your website.

Acquiring Customers

Alignment of Sales and Marketing 

Utilizing CRM integration allows you to provide your sales team with information that will make them better equipped for sales calls. With CRM systems you can track every action a lead takes on your website, your email marketing and on social media. This kind of information puts your sales team one step ahead on a sales call. They will be able to prepare themselves for the type of product or service the lead is interested in, and build on the trust the lead has already established with your business.

Lifecycle Communications

Getting to know your potential clients better is also important by creating a lead lifecycle plan based on your website content and sales funnel. Lifecycle plans segment leads based on who they are, how much interaction they've had with your business online, what kind of content you want them to receive, and at what part of the sales funnel you want them to receive it.

Lead Nurturing

The best way to move a lead through a sales funnel is to launch lead nurturing campaigns. You can do this with a workflow which allows you to trigger a follow-up email or a series of emails based on the action that a lead may take. This helps nurture and educate leads so they are prompted to take next steps and prepared before they even talk to a sales person.

Automated Workflows

Workflows are more than just a lead nurturing tool. They help you automate common marketing processes, moving leads through your funnel in an efficient way. Sending marketing emails, changing contact properties, and sending internal notification emails, are all possible with workflows. They bring marketers the same kind of automation a sophisticated CRM system provides to sales, bridging the gap between both processes.

Closed-Loop Reporting

Closed-loop reporting gives sales an opportunity to report on what happened to the qualified leads we provided, helping further understand your best and worst lead sources. With closed-loop reporting, you are able to plan more strategically for the future by focusing on your best lead sources, those with the best lead to customer conversion rate.

Retaining Customers

Closing sales and getting customers are great goals to have. But I think the inbound marketing mentality supports the fact that the relationship with your customers doesn’t need to end there. After you bring in leads from online tactics you can focus on turning customers into promoters of your business. After all, the best advocates of your products or services are those that have experience with them. Options for continued retention processes include implementing referral programs, continued customer education pieces, and segmenting customer newsletters in order to keep your customers coming back for more. 

Continued Education Pieces

Inbound allows you to segment your customers into lists based on their needs and implement marketing automation. You can communicate information on any additional needs they may have as a customer. Perhaps there is an opportunity to cross-sell but your customer was not aware of it, these communications will make sure they are well educated on the full scope of your products and services.

Segmented Customer Newsletters 

Newsletters aren’t just for leads and potential customers; you can send segmented customer newsletters so they continue to see you as experts in your industry. Customers receive newsletters that contain updates on current events in your industry, as well as press releases and product and service announcements.

Referral Programs 

A referral customer comes at a much lower cost and has a higher potential for retention and loyalty. If applicable for your business, you can create referral programs that make it easy for current customers to promote your product or service.

Account Analysis

Marketing Benchmarks  

Always analyzing your main marketing benchmarks is key. These metrics include customer acquisition cost (CAC) and ratio of customer value to CAC which is the total value that your company derives from each customer compared with what you spend to acquire that new customer. You can also look at the time to payback CAC which is the number of months it takes for your company to earn back the CAC it spent acquiring new customers, marketing originated customer percent which shows what new business is driven by marketing, and the marketing influenced customer percent which takes into account all of the new customers that marketing interacted with while they were leads anytime during the sales process.

Onsite Analysis 

Consistently performing a full onsite analysis of your website is also important. You do this by looking at keyword performance and rankings, organic search traffic and conversions, search engine optimization, blog performance, page performance, email click-through-rates, and much more. 

Offsite Analysis 

The offsite analysis goes hand in hand with onsite analysis. You can perform an offsite analysis which is the measurement and analysis of your online presence away from your website. This includes paid search campaigns, social media accounts and paid social campaigns. 

Monthly Reporting

Lastly, you can keep track of your unique business goals with in-depth reports based on your custom key performance indicators. Your reports are designed to foster communication and collaboration within your company so customizing it to your goals and with your sales and marketing teams is very necessary.

Takeaway

Setting up your strategy the right way might take a little bit of time, but in the end, it’s worth it and will produce the type of results that turn into leads and customers for your marketing and sales teams! If you want to learn more about how this can be applied to your business, I invite you to download our resource below!

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about – Inbound Marketing.

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Bitcoin Price Officially Doubles That of Gold

Bitcoin Price Officially Doubles That of Gold, Experiences Minor Correction

Bitcoin Price Officially Doubles That of Gold, Experiences Minor Correction

Until May 26, Bitcoin price remained at around $2,550, demonstrating a value that is double that of gold.

Gold is being traded at $1,267 in most major markets. For two straight days, from May 24 to May 26, Bitcoin was being traded at a price that is double that of gold, in the $2,600 region. In other Bitcoin exchange markets such as Japan and South Korea, Bitcoin price peaked at $4,000, demonstrating a price that is three times higher than the value of gold
 

Since then, Bitcoin price has experienced a minor correction from its strong rally and upward momentum. Bitcoin price dipped below $2,400 earlier today, stabilizing at around $2,350.

Factors driving the value

Analysts have attributed Bitcoin’s price correction to the strengthening of the US dollar and the strong performance of global stock markets. Bloomberg analysts specifically noted that the weakening oil market has led to an increase in the value of the US dollar. Although US stocks stumbled as markets closed this week, major stock markets recorded all-time highs and a strong six-day rally throughout this week.

“Markets ultimately found the renewed deal among OPEC and friends underwhelming. Essentially, the market consensus seems to have come around to a view that regardless of what effect on global inventories the deal may have for now, OPEC and its partners have little insight as to what to do later on,” said Sberbank strategist Cole Akeson.

Previously, the strengthening of the US dollar led to an increase in the demand toward Bitcoin in leading Asian Bitcoin exchange markets such as China, Japan and South Korea. China, in particular, was heavily affected by the performance of the US dollar as it influenced the value of the Chinese yuan and ultimately, the demand toward Bitcoin.

When the Chinese yuan weakened, local Bitcoin exchanges experienced a surge in daily trading volume and orders.

Overall, on a weekly basis, Bitcoin price has still recorded a 20 percent increase, which is a staggering increase in short-term value for a $40 bln financial network and digital currency. Seven days ago, Bitcoin price averaged at $1,900 in most major markets
 

Reasons behind the explosive growth

As Cointelegraph previously reported, there exists a few reasons behind the explosive growth and increase in demand toward Bitcoin while the demand for gold has remained relatively low over the past few years.

Bitcoin offers key advantages over gold: transportability, high liquidity and absolute proof of ownership. Bitcoin’s high liquidity is especially important for casual traders and conventional investors who can’t afford to hold investments in the long run. There could be investors purchasing Bitcoin to avoid economic uncertainty and financial instability.

In the upcoming weeks, as scaling sees progress and Bitcoin regains momentum, Bitcoin price will most likely recover and potentially achieve its previous all-time high price.

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

Author:Joseph Young

 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Bitcoin rival Ripple is suddenly sitting on billions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency

Bitcoin rival Ripple is suddenly sitting on billions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency

  • Blockchain start-up Ripple built a digital payments network for real-time financial transactions.
  • It suddenly has billions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency on its balance sheet.

  

Bitcoin rival Ripple is suddenly sitting on billions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency 

Blockchain start-up Ripple is in a precarious position for a 5-year-old company.The business is still in its very early days but suddenly has billions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency on its balance sheet.Ripple, which built a digital payments network for real-time financial transactions, is also the creator and biggest owner of Ripple XRP, a digital currency that has increased in value by 40 times this year.There's a total of 100 billion XRP in existence, each priced at about 26 cents. The $26 billion of total value is second among cryptocurrencies, behind bitcoin, which is valued at $41 billion.

Ripple owns about 61 percent — or $16 billion worth — of XRP. If that were factored into the company's valuation, Ripple would be worth more than all but four U.S. start-ups — Uber, Airbnb, Palantir and WeWork. XRP is surging alongside Bitcoin and ether as well as smaller digital currencies like dash and monero. They're all benefiting from the growing interest in Blockchain, a distributed electronic ledger that makes all transactions trackable. Unlike other cryptocurrencies on the market, XRP is tied to — and majority-owned by — a single company.

That's led to concern among XRP investors and enthusiasts that Ripple will one day decide to capitalize on its massive stake and flood the market with currency. Some venture investors would surely welcome cashing in on some of that value after pouring about $94 million into the company. But for people with thousands (or millions) of dollars wrapped up in XRP, the fear of a sudden excess of supply has been unsettling, particularly considering the volatility of the currency. The price fell 13 percent late in the day on Thursday and double-digit daily moves are normal.

'Off the table'

To create some long-term stability and ease those concerns, Ripple announced a plan last week for the structured sale and use of its currency. By the end of 2017, the company will put 55 billion of its XRP into escrow and will unleash up to 1 billion into the market every month. Thus, investors will have some sense of what's coming. "We decided to take the issue off the table," Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse said in an interview. "We wanted to make sure we were combating any uncertainty about supply."

Garlinghouse is a well-known name in Silicon Valley. He had senior executive roles at Yahoo and AOL and was CEO of Hightail (formerly YouSendIt) from 2012 to 2014. He joined Ripple in 2015, and earlier this year took over the CEO role from founder Chris Larsen, a serial entrepreneur, who previously started online lender Prosper. Garlinghouse likened Ripple's situation to Yahoo, which derives almost all of its current value from its large stake in China's Alibaba. (Yahoo's core business is being sold to Verizon and the Alibaba stake is being spun out into a new holding company called Altaba.)

The analogy only goes so far, as equity investors haven't ascribed a big multi-billion dollar valuation to Ripple. The company last raised money in September, when the XRP currency was worth a tiny fraction of its current price.However, Ripple's business has picked up quite a bit of momentum since then, which helps explain at least some of XRP's rally. Last month, Ripple signed up 10 new financial institutions, including BBVA, to its payments platform that supports speedy transactions by eliminating all the friction that exists between various currencies and financial systems.

Global banks including Bank of America, RBC and UBS are also customers. While bitcoin is the more established cryptocurrency, it's primarily used today as an investment vehicle and has run into big latency problems with handling transactions. Ripple and ethereum have emerged as the early leaders in enabling business arrangements, with Ripple trying to build the digital payments standard for the financial sector. "Some of those banks are all in and some are still in the early stage running a pilot," Garlinghouse said. "We have real customers touching real production systems. We're the only company you can say that about in our space."

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about –
TCC-Bitcoin.

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Kik maker launches cryptocurrency to fight Internet ‘giants’

Kik maker launches cryptocurrency to fight Internet ‘giants’

  

Launching its own cryptocurrency called Kin

Kik Interactive Inc., the maker of anonymous chat app Kik, announced today that it is launching its own cryptocurrency called Kin in order to push back against what Chief Executive Ted Livingston calls the “copy-and-crush strategy” of giant Internet companies.

“We’ve reached a worrying point in the evolution of the internet: More and more of our everyday digital activities — from talking to friends to ordering food to share photos — are controlled by fewer and fewer companies,” Livingston wrote in a blog post. “The biggest companies use their scale to  mass advertising dollars and give everything else away for free, making it nearly impossible for smaller competitors to find sustainable business models.” According to Livingston, Kik’s new cryptocurrency will allow developers to “link arms to compete with the giants together, building a better future for society while also making money.”

Kin is based on the Ethereum blockchain, and it will be integrated directly into Kik for in-app purchases, which Livingston says will help generate demand for the cryptocurrency. He noted that Kik’s existing digital currency, Kik Points, has already demonstrated that Kin could be successful. “Despite its intentional limitations, Kik Points saw a transaction volume three times higher than Bitcoin’s,” Livingston said. “As the default currency inside Kik, Kin will go far beyond Kik Points by allowing people to participate in an economy based on buying and selling stickers, hosting and joining group chats, creating and using bots, and much more.”

Livingston said he hopes Kin will help create an open, decentralized digital ecosystem, which would allow consumers to move to other platforms without losing apps or services that they have already paid for. Kik users will be able to earn and spend Kin through the app, which could allow the app’s predominantly younger user base to spend money without having to use a credit card. Kik will have also parental controls for Kin to prevent underage users from spending the currency without permission. Each day, an algorithm will also distribute Kin to developers through the Kin Rewards Engine based on how much their service contributed on the platform. The idea behind this rewards program is to compensate developers without having to rely on an advertising model, which Livingston says will “lead to a virtuous cycle in which the ecosystem grows in both size and quality.”

To oversee the new cryptocurrency, Kik is founding the Kin Foundation, an independent not-for-profit organization that will operate the reward engine and manages transaction services and a decentralized user identity. “It’s like Mozilla for the mobile era, but with payments built in,” Livingston said. Livingston did not name any names when describing the big “copy-and-crush” companies, but one of the most likely candidates would be Facebook Inc., which has been increasingly expanding its products to compete directly with newer social apps. For example, Facebook-owned Instagram has introduced a number of features over the last year that gives it functions similar to Snapchat.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about –
TCC-Bitcoin.

 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

The bitcoin and cryptocurrency bubble is just getting started

The bitcoin
and cryptocurrency
bubble is just getting started

  

 I attended one of the most important events in the blockchain world

The consensus is an annual blockchain technology summit in New York where industry leaders discuss all things bitcoin and blockchain, and where new blockchain companies come to pitch their ideas. Regular readers are familiar with bitcoin and blockchain. Bitcoin is digital money that is created and held electronically. At the core of Bitcoin technology is a super database called the “blockchain.” The blockchain contains every transaction in the history of bitcoin and is accessible to anyone. A lot of people think that blockchain will eventually be used to process everything from stock trades to voting.

I first recommended buying bitcoin back in March. Over the next two and a half months, the price of bitcoin soared 72 percent. Earlier this week, I reiterated my recommendation to buy by saying: “stop procrastinating!” Guess what? Bitcoin is up another 20 percent since then. But the rollercoaster ride isn’t done yet. One of my biggest takeaways from Consensus was that the boom in bitcoin and blockchain is just getting started. Everywhere I looked, conference attendees were on mobile phones and laptops trading cryptocurrencies throughout the course of the conference. Here are just a few of the things I learned at the summit:

The bitcoin boom is fuelling more cryptocurrency rallies

The market capitalisations of the two largest cryptocurrencies, bitcoin, and ether, have increased by nearly US$40 billion in the past three months. The total cryptocurrency market cap is up by $65 billion (a nearly 300 percent gain) to US$85 billion. As a result, holders of these currencies are sitting on huge wealth and they are now looking to “diversify” into other cryptocurrencies. This means that instead of being 100 percent in bitcoin and/or ether, investors are looking to take 5 or 10 percent of their cryptocurrency portfolio and buy other cryptocurrencies. This is fuelling a boom in second-tier cryptocurrencies.

Rampant speculation

As I listened in on pitches from new blockchain businesses, the most common single question was this: “when is the ICO?” (ICO means “initial coin offering”, the cryptocurrency equivalent of an IPO, or initial public offering, for a stock). Market participants are expecting immediate multiples of return on capital, regardless of the business case (if any). ICOs are viewed as near-guarantees of immediate big gains. I see a lot of parallels here with the tech bubble of the late 1990s. And there will be some spectacular blowups ahead.

But let’s be clear: at the peak of the dot-com bubble, the market cap of the NASDAQ index was near US$6 trillion. The entire cryptocurrency market cap right now is currently less than 1.5 percent of that. The point is, for all the noise in the media, the level of general public participation in bitcoin and cryptocurrencies remains extremely low. Just think about your own group of friends and associates. How many of them even own bitcoin? So this bubble is just getting started.

Regulators at the gate

The legal and regulatory system is far behind what’s actually happening in the cryptocurrency space. How do you treat cryptocurrencies? Are they securities? Currencies? Assets? Something in between? Remember, all cryptocurrencies offer different characteristics. Some offer the equivalent of a coupon or a distribution of profits, for example. But at some stage regulators (most likely the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)) will step into this market. Especially as the financial stakes increase. There are scam-like cryptocurrencies taking advantage of the huge boom. When investors start crying foul, you can expect the SEC to start weighing in. When they do, you can expect increased volatility and big drops in the scummier cryptocurrencies out there. But SEC participation will only make this industry more mainstream and bring in more money.

In the meantime…

This was just a quick wrap-up of what’s going on in cryptocurrencies. I’ll be bringing you more insights on this space in the future. But for now, everyone should be accumulating a little bitcoin. A few hundred dollars, a couple thousand… whatever you can afford to allocate in the super-speculative portion of your portfolio. Now, bitcoin will not keep increasing in value at its current rate of growth forever. At some stage, the market price will correct.

But everyone needs to familiarize themselves with the process of buying, trading and storing cryptocurrencies. Blockchain and Bitcoin are here to stay. This technology will only grow in scale and opportunity. And being on the outside (and not understanding it) will limit your ability to profit from it. Remember, this rollercoaster ride is just getting started. So there’s no reason not to be buying now.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about –
TCC-Bitcoin.

 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

The Kin Token Is Set To Kick Off On Kik Messenger

Ontario Canada’s Kik Interactive will dive into the cryptocurrency market with Kin, an Ethereum-based ERC20 token.

  

The company plans to extend blockchain technology

May 25, 2017, during Token Summit at New York University (NYU), Kik's founder Ted Livingston announced a whitepaper outlining the creation of Kin, an ERC20-based token. A designer of the popular messenger app Kik, the company plans to extend blockchain technology into the messenger market, allowing users to make transactions in cryptocurrency. Kik's rise as a messenger is indisputable; the company boasts 300 million users according to Tech Crunch and received a nearly $1 billion valuation in 2015 after Chinese investment firm Tencent invested $50 million in the company. Now Livingston has set his eyes on blockchain technology.

During the announcement today at Token Summit in NYU, Livingston stated he doesn't want to simply create a token, he wants to build a system of value. "We give Kin value," said Livingston. "Could we use some of that value to spark the creation of a new ecosystem of digital services?" Livingston also emphasized that his intentions are not to create an advertising platform. "We just built a place that people come to together to provide value for each other, and if you do that, you can make a better future and you can also make money," he said.

Kik did tests with virtual currency in 2014 with a service called “Kik Points” which could be traded for limited edition emoticons. Now, Kik plans to manifest Kin as an ERC20 token which can be used as a general purpose cryptocurrency for services like chat, social media, and payments. To meet financing goals, a trillion units out of 10 trillion total will be distributed at a token sale to be later announced. The company plans to use the remaining unsold tokens to fund Kik operations and deploy the Kin Foundation.

The roadmap for token allocation is clear and laid out in the Kin Whitepaper:

  

It will take four straightforward steps to reach Kik's goal; first coining the Kin tokens, next integrating Kin tokens into the Kik platform. Then, development will begin on a system called Kin Rewards, which will introduce Kin into circulation as a daily reward, distributed amongst developers whose contributions are gauged by a disbursement algorithm. The final step will be to launch the Kin Foundation as a non-profit governance body to manage the entire ecosystem surrounding Kin. Kin Rewards presents users the opportunity to earn Kin for engaging other users in transactions. The proportion of rewards received is relative to transaction engagement.

If a good or service is provided in exchange for Kin, the total amount of transactions completed by that vendor is logged. Rewards are provided based on the percentage of those overall transactions that were made with Kin on a daily basis. Fred Wilson, a partner at Union Square Ventures and Kik board member, said in a release, “cryptocurrency is the next important business model innovation in tech.” He went on to say, “Kik will be the first mainstream application to integrate a cryptocurrency. This could be a watershed moment for the blockchain sector.” Kik's capability to advertise Ethereum to its numerous users may be a boon to holders of the currency as mass awareness may cause a surge in the value of Ether, which recently rose above the $200 USD mark.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about –
TCC-Bitcoin.

 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Bitcoin is going wild — here’s what the cryptocurrency is all about

Bitcoin is going wild — here's what the cryptocurrency is all about

Bitcoin is going wild — here's what the cryptocurrency is all about

Bitcoin is a currency just like the US dollar or Mexican peso. It's also back in the headlines after soaring in value. One bitcoin was worth $2,800 on May 25, up from $1,200 at the end of April.

In countries that accept it, you can buy groceries and clothes just as you would with the local currency. Only bitcoin is entirely digital; no one is carrying actual bitcoins around in their pocket.

Bitcoin is divorced from governments and central banks. It's organized through a network known as a blockchain, which is basically an online ledger that keeps a secure record of each transaction all in one place. Every time anyone buys or sells bitcoin, the swap gets logged. Several hundred of these back-and-forths make up a block.

No one controls these blocks, because blockchains are decentralized across every computer that has a bitcoin wallet, which you only get if you buy bitcoins.

Why bother using it?

True to its origins as an open, decentralized currency, bitcoin is meant to be a quicker, cheaper, and more reliable form of payment than money tied to individual countries. In addition, it's the only form of money users can theoretically "mine" themselves, if they (and their computers) have the ability.

But even for those who don't discover using their own high-powered computers, anyone can buy and sell bitcoins, typically through online exchanges like Coinbase or LocalBitcoins.

A 2015 survey showed bitcoin users tend to be overwhelmingly white and male, but of varying incomes. The people with the most bitcoins are more likely to be using it for illegal purposes, the survey suggested.

Each bitcoin has a complicated ID, known as a hexadecimal code, that is many times more difficult to steal than someone's credit-card information. And since there is a finite number to be accounted for, there is less of a chance bitcoin or fractions of a bitcoin will go missing.

But while fraudulent credit-card purchases are reversible, bitcoin transactions are not.

21 million

Bitcoin is unique in that there are a finite number of them: 21 million. Satoshi Nakamoto, bitcoin's enigmatic founder, arrived at that number by assuming people would discover, or "mine," a set number of blocks of transactions daily.

Every four years, the number of bitcoins released relative to the previous cycle gets cut in half, as does the reward to miners for discovering new blocks. (The reward right now is 12.5 bitcoins.) As a result, the number of bitcoins in circulation will approach 21 million, but never hit it.

This means bitcoin never experiences inflation. Unlike US dollars, whose buying power the Fed can dilute by printing more greenbacks, there simply won't be more bitcoin available in the future. That has worried some skeptics, as it means a hack could be catastrophic in wiping out people's bitcoin wallets, with less hope for reimbursement.

The future of bitcoin

Historically, the currency has been extremely volatile. But go by its recent boom — and a forecast by Snapchat's first investor, Jeremy Liew, that it will hit $500,000 by 2030 — and nabbing even a fraction of a bitcoin starts to look a lot more enticing.

Bitcoin users predict 94% of all bitcoins will have been released by 2024. As the total number creeps toward the 21 million mark, many suspect the profits miners once made creating new blocks will become so low they'll become negligible. But with more bitcoins in circulation, people also expect transaction fees to rise, possibly making up the difference.

 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur
 

Chris Weller

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

As bitcoin prices soar, messaging app Kik launches cryptocurrency payment service

As bitcoin prices soar, messaging app Kik launches cryptocurrency payment service

  • Cryptocurrency will be the primary transaction currency on Kik.
  • Kik's implementation of cryptocurrency is relatively unusual because most apps use local currencies for payments.

   Messaging app Kik announced Thursday it will use cryptocurrency tokens

as the primary transaction currency on the platform. The announcement comes as Bitcoin and other so-called decentralized currencies are riding a fresh wave of interest. Bitcoin prices hit a record level of $2,500 on Wednesday — a 150 percent surge this year. Using messaging apps for activities like listening to music, ordering food or making payments is already popular in Asia, where WeChat is a dominant app for sending messages on mobile phones. The new program means that Kik can now use an internationalized currency for many transactions.

In the competitive world of technology, that's no small accomplishment.

  

A Bitcoin rival also has the market's attention  

Creating a WeChat-like ecosystem could be a lucrative, even existential, opportunity for other messaging companies like Line and Apple, Technology analyst Ben Thompson wrote earlier this month. Many messaging apps, like Facebook Messenger and Snapchat, offer peer-to-peer payments and transactions with businesses. The company behind WeChat, Tencent, invested $50 million in Kik with that goal in mind. Still, Kik's implementation of cryptocurrency is relatively unusual because most apps use local currencies for payments.

Despite bitcoin's association with crimes committed on the so-called Silk Road, technology trend watchers like venture capitalist Fred Wilson have high hopes for cryptocurrencies. Wilson said at a conference this month that consumers would eventually revolt against the data collection from platforms like Facebook and Google, opting to pay small amounts of cryptocurrencies for a more private Internet experience. Canada-based Kik's implementation, Kin, will be based on a different type of technology, ethereum blockchain. Canada is one of the top 10 areas most interested in ethereum over the past 12 months, Google Trends data show.

In its announcement, Kik also called out the omnipresence of giant tech companies. Only about 5.8 percent of U.S. internet users use Kik, according to a May 2016 usage study by AYTM Market Research, compared with 38.9 percent of respondents that use Facebook Messenger. "More and more … services are controlled by a diminishing number of companies, resulting in a future of less innovation and less choice. Decentralization provides a sustainable way forward," the company said.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about –
TCC-Bitcoin.

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Did this not-safe-for-work internet sensation just signal a top in Bitcoin?

Did this not-safe-for-work internet sensation just signal a top in Bitcoin?

   Dan Bilzerian’s penchant for automatic weapons,

high-stakes poker, fast women, and faster cars have made him an unfiltered internet phenomenon. Now you can add go ahead and bitcoin BTCUSD, +3.10%  to his list. Bilzerian told his 22.3 million Instagram followers on Wednesday afternoon that he “just bought a sh*tload of Bitcoin” and that “it’s so crazy watching that sh*t f**king go up it’s like… betting a bunch of money on the Super Bowl.” Do you trust this guy’s judgment?

Bilzerian, of course, knows all about betting a bunch of money. He once claimed he won $50 million over the course of a year playing poker. He also said that he flipped a coin for $2.3 million and lost. So, yes, Bitcoin sounds about right, considering the cryptocurrency’s volatility. On Thursday, Bitcoin rallied to yet another record high and has now jumped almost 50% in the last week alone. Since last year, Bitcoin has surged more than 400%. As you can see, however, Bilzerian’s endorsement didn’t exactly thrill many of the investors frequenting Reddit’s Bitcoin group:

“If that’s not a sign of a bubble IDK what is lol.”  “NORMIES INCOMING!”  “F**k I just sold some because of this, not even joking.” Does Bilzerian’s post, indeed, mark a potential top for bitcoin, like a cab driver tipping you off about the next hot semiconductor stock?  Who knows, but he has backed a winning long shot before.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
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TCC-Bitcoin.

 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Bitcoin’s appeal is at an all-time high

Bitcoin’s appeal is at an all-time high

  

Global stock indexes are not the only asset

class making new highs on a daily basis. Cryptocurrencies — specifically Bitcoin soaring to fresh levels as well. Despite two major setbacks for bitcoin in 2017, it has soared nearly 55 percent from its year-to-date lows as Asian investors flock to the new-age currency. Bitcoin prices are now trading at previously uncharted levels as the value of the cryptocurrency reached a high of $1,588 on CoinDesk on Friday morning. In January the People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank, launched a crackdown on bitcoin, believing that citizens were using it to move wealth out of the country. Prices fell as low as $750 on Jan. 12 before recovering.

In March the cryptocurrency had a run-up on anticipation that the Securities and Exchange Commission would decide in favor of a bitcoin exchange-traded fund driven by the Winklevoss brothers. Bitcoin prices reached a high of $1,350 before the feds nixed the proposal, sending prices to a low of $891 soon afterward. Prices began to recover as Japan officially acknowledged the use of cryptocurrencies and passed legislation allowing retailers to accept payment in digital form. Russia and India have also loosened restrictions on cryptocurrencies, leading to wider acceptance within their borders as both countries — India especially — struggle with their own internal currency crises.

The SEC announced in April that it would take a second look at a bitcoin ETF by reviewing its ruling in the Winklevoss brothers’ application. No timetable has been released on when that may happen. Bitcoin’s market cap is now north of $23 billion, which is chump change for any asset class. But with more acceptance and wider appeal, the digital currency can be divided into smaller units such as decibits, millibits, and centibits to make smaller transactions possible. Ethereum, which is the second-most prominent cryptocurrency after Bitcoin, struck a new all-time high Tuesday as well, trading at $85. It now has a market cap of $7 billion on the strength of its acceptance in gaming circles in Asian countries.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about –
TCC-Bitcoin.

 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

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