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Tag: bitcoin

Essential Inbound Marketing Strategies for Every Startup

Essential Inbound Marketing Strategies for Every Startup

 Essential Inbound Marketing Strategies for Every Startup

Inbound marketing has become increasingly popular in the marketing and advertising world for the last several years, and it's no surprise why. While traditional outbound ad campaigns attempt to persuade unfamiliar audiences with sales-y messages, "inbound" campaigns focus on the value they can provide users. And that prompts those users to naturally gravitate to those businesses when the need arises. Generally, inbound marketing strategies are less expensive, hold a wider range of benefits and, over the long term, will generate a higher rate of return. So, if these benefits resonate with you, consider the following inbound marketing strategies, which are among the most popular. At this point, they're essential for all new startups:

On-site content marketing.

On-site content marketing is useful in a number of ways. Not only does new content drive new readers to your site, it keeps your existing readers and customers engaged with your brand, allowing you to maximise client retention. You'll have to provide highly detailed, original and valuable content, which isn't always easy or straightforward; but, with a steady stream of high-quality content, you'll find that the advantages can be enormous. Content marketing also provides syndication fuel to your social media and email campaigns and boosts your search rankings (more on this momentarily). In a recent survey I conducted, of 357 marketers, 93 percent of respondents said they planned to increase or keep their on-site content marketing budgets the same. That's pretty high praise for the power of on-site content!

Off-site content marketing.

Your off-site content marketing campaign will function in a similar manner, prompting you to provide well-written, targeted, valuable content, but instead of publishing it on your own site, you'll be publishing it on another site (hopefully, a major media publication!). The advantage here is the opportunity to gain visibility with new audiences, who may not have heard of you otherwise. You'll get referral traffic, and your brand reputation will steadily grow as you work your way up to bigger and better publishers.

Search engine optimization (SEO).

On-site and off-site content marketing will provide you substantial fuel for increasing your search visibility. On-site content attracts inbound links, while off-site content directly builds links to your site. The more high-quality, valuable inbound links your website has, the higher it will rank in search engines. In fact, a recent report from Google noted that two of the top three ranking factors in the algorithm were content and inbound links. But there are other, more technical components to SEO you'll need to implement to boost your inbound traffic from search engines. These include optimising for mobile devices, improving site speed and targeting strategic niche keyword phrases. It's a time-intensive strategy, but it pays off in spades.

Social media marketing.

Organic social media marketing has taken its fair share of hits, but it remains one of the most effective strategies for generating new visibility. You have the power to engage with almost anyone in the world through social media, gradually building up a loyal audience (as long as you're consistently providing valuable insights and material). Throw your on-site and off-site content into syndication here, and your followers will have even more reason to stick around. Alone, social media can generate a steady stream of traffic to your site, and build your brand, but its real power is amplifying the effects of your other inbound marketing strategies. According to the same survey referenced earlier, 65 percent of respondents — the highest percentage across 10 marketing strategies included in the survey — said they believed that social media marketing was poised to become even more effective in the next five years.

Influencer marketing.

Influencer marketing is relatively simple in concept, but it's a little more difficult to carry out practically. The idea is to target "influencers" in your industry –these are thought leaders, movers, and shakers who hold the best reputations and the biggest portions of audiences in your niche. By working with these influencers on joint content projects or even just innocuous exchanges on social media, you'll cross-pollinate your audiences (oftentimes for mutual benefit), and earn a better reputation by proxy. The hardest part is identifying the influencers most likely to benefit your brand and persuading them to engage with your campaign. Influencer marketing seems to be the most cutting-edge strategy on this list, evidenced by the highest percentage of marketers (38 percent) agreeing to a statement on the survey — in this case saying they were "not currently using this strategy, but plan[ned] to in the future."

Email newsletters.

I hesitated to include email newsletters on this list, since email marketing in general, might be considered an outbound strategy. However, email newsletters usually revolve around the provision of content to subscribers, increasing their loyalty and retention while simultaneously setting up a recurring traffic stream back to your site. Because your content is providing value to your readers and subscribers, and you're not just using it as a way to advertise your products and services, it can be considered a form of inbound marketing. Additionally, email marketing may be a relatively low-hanging fruit: In the survey, email marketing was reported as the second-easiest tactic to perform, but one that provided the fifth-highest ROI of the ten strategies included.

Personal branding.

Finally, personal branding may be used in conjunction with almost any of the strategies above. For example, you might have some of your upper-level team members post more on-site content and reach out to major publications for guest-posting opportunities, or even to become contributors in order to fuel an off-site content strategy. Of course, you'll want to syndicate that content on social media. You can make a more personal appeal in your influencer marketing campaigns as well. By tying your corporate brand to a number of personal brands, you'll make your company more accessible, human and trustworthy — three qualities that are hard to come by for consumers these days.

There's an almost magical quality about these strategies, not because of how they work on an individual level, but how they work together. All of these strategies have the power to enhance and complement each other, increasing your total return by multiples if you end up using them together. Pool your resources to conquer these tactics, adjusting and refining your approach along the way, and nothing will be able to stop your startup's marketing momentum.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Bitcoin Has Power to Break People Out of Poverty, Current System Broken

Bitcoin Has Power to Break People Out of Poverty Current System Broken

Bitcoin Has Power to Break People Out of Poverty, Current System Broken

Can Bitcoin help people break out of poverty? What if we could build a financial system with Bitcoin that would lead to a more equitable and fairer society?

Bitcoin has been around for nearly a decade now and it has survived many doomsday predictions regarding its demise. It has grown to become an accepted medium of transferring money, it has also been recognized as a currency in some countries like Japan.
 

Why is the existing system broken?

The present financial system is supported by large-scale financial institutions that provide financial services. This means banks, insurance companies, credit card companies, housing finance companies, money transfer companies etc.

The problem is that while these businesses have existed for a long time, accessibility has always been an issue. According to the world bank, two bln people still do not have access to a bank account. Yet this present financial institution based payment system is stuck in an archaic era.

People are expected to use cash by withdrawing it from a bank account, they are supposed to deposit money physically at a bank teller or a machine and there are costs attached to just using and maintaining the system.
 

Digital is the answer

Digitalization and using modern technology like smartphones has many benefits. The World Bank Working Paper titled — The Global Findex Database 2014, Measuring Financial Inclusion around the World says:

“Moving from cash-based to digital payments has many potential benefits, for both senders and receivers. It can improve the efficiency of making payments by increasing the speed of payments and by lowering the cost of disbursing and receiving them.”

The report points out further that digital payments increase transparency of payments reduce leakages and provide a first entry point to a formal financial system.

 

The currency is the financial system

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies that have emerged have several advantages. Firstly they are digital. There is no cash to handle. You do not need vaults, armored cars or any of the other infrastructure that makes handling cash expensive.

Secondly, some cryptocurrencies have features like smart contracts built in, which can be used by people to conduct transactions securely with each other without the need for intermediaries institutional or otherwise.

As MIT Technology Review recently quoted Joi Ito, Director of MIT Media Lab as saying about Bitcoin:

“Whether you’re an individual trying to get access or you’re a pensioner with lots of money tied up in the market, you’re going through these intermediaries that don’t represent you very well. [Bitcoin] creates a much more level playing field, and hopefully, it will reduce the complexity of the financial system.”
 

The poor need to be unshackled

Regulatory hurdles need to be surmounted before digital currency can truly go mainstream, however, there is hope for the future as countries are getting around to the idea of Bitcoins becoming a part of the system.

There are advantages as well. Digital currencies are transparent and some currencies like Bitcoin offer a transaction ledger that is public. These currencies can help the poor gain freedom from cash which is money that offers anonymity to drug dealers, corrupt officials and others preying on them. Digital currencies also takes out the need for people living in remote areas to go to centers of population for making transactions.

Conversely, it also frees up financial institutions from having to put up infrastructure and staff in remote locations. Whichever way you look at it, the poor gain significant freedom from the advent and use of digital currencies.

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

By Shivdeep Dhaliwal

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Poloniex Altcoin Exchange Review

Poloniex Altcoin Exchange Review

Poloniex Certainly Has Its Merits

Poloniex is by far the superior altcoin exchange, base don trading volume and the number of users. The customer support is its Achilles heel, though, and the verification procedure can take longer than needed. Moreover, a few recent server and API outages have caused a fair bit of issues.In this day and age of cryptocurrency exchanges struggling with their partnering banks, the number of platforms unaffected by issues are fairly limited. So far, the Poloniex exchange has successfully avoided most problems, which allows them to continue generating significant amounts of trading volume. They are also the premier cryptocurrency exchange for altcoins traders, but is everything as good as people want the world to believe?

Trading on a cryptocurrency exchange is always a matter of positive aspects and compromises. For the Poloniex exchange, it appears the benefits far outweigh the downsides as of right now. They list a good amount of alternative cryptocurrencies and also actively remove trading pairs that are no longer relevant. Poloniex is also offering multiple exchange markets, including Bitcoin, Monero, and Ethereum. Alternative trading markets are always interesting to take notice of, even though not all coins can be traded against these three currencies.

Poloniex has been around for some time now and even underwent a major overhaul in early 2015. Ever since that time, some notable features were added, including cryptocurrency lending. Speaking of the lending service, not all supported coins are listed here either, but it does cover the most prominent currencies as of right now. It is a useful feature for traders who want to earn a passive interest on their Poloniex balances, although one should never store too much money on an exchange in the first place.

On the security front,

Poloniex seems to check the right boxes as well. Two-factor authentication is possible — and advised — which is a positive touch. Then again, nearly every cryptocurrency exchange offers this feature, as 2FA has become somewhat of the norm in the crypto world right now. Volume-wise, Poloniex seems to generate a fair amount of revenue every single day, as it is way ahead of its closest competitor Bittrex.

Unfortunately, no cryptocurrency exchange is without its issues, and Poloniex is no exception. The platform has suffered from slow trading, order book issues and even plain outages every time there is an unusually high trading activity on the exchange. Most recently, the site and its API utterly crashed when Ripple was seeing significant trading volume all of a sudden. This affected quite a lot of traders and a fair bit of money was lost due to trades not executing properly.

Moreover, some users have complained about horrible customer support from Poloniex staffers. Exchanges have a big problem in this regard, as it appears a lot of platforms suffer from bad customer support at all times. That is not acceptable by any means, and we can only hope things improve sooner rather than later.  Especially considering how the platform supports fiat currency support, aiding customers in a quick and convenient manner becomes even more important.

Speaking of support,

Poloniex conducts a thorough AML and KYC procedure for all users, even if they do not deposit or withdraw fiat currencies. This means users will need to upload documents to verify their identity, a process that can take days, if not weeks, for some users. It seems evident everyone’s mileage will vary when dealing with the Poloniex exchange. For the most part, the company does the job just fine, but there are obvious areas that need improvements.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

This Is How Cryptocurrencies & Blockchain Could Solve Asia’s Financial Inclusion Issue

This Is How Cryptocurrencies & Blockchain Could Solve Asia's Financial Inclusion Issue

  

In 2016, staff members within the International Monetary Fund (IMF)

suggested that virtual currencies could promote financial inclusion. The IMF issued the standard cautions about how virtual currencies (VCs) might be used for money laundering, terrorism and other nefarious purposes. But it also wrote that, “VCs offer many potential benefits, including greater speed and efficiency in making payments and transfer–particularly across borders–and ultimately promoting financial inclusion.”

The “across borders” benefits have led to the launch of Bitcoin startups in places like the Philippines, where remittances from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) contribute more than $26 billion to the economy. Such was the case with Coins, a mobile-first, blockchain-based platform that facilitates remittances, bill payments and mobile airtime top-ups. “I was initially looking for a way to solve the issue of expensive cross-border payments, which lead me to blockchain technologies and how they could be used to provide widespread financial access in general,” said Justin Leow, head of business operations for Coins.

Since its launch in 2014,

Coins has signed up half a million users and partnered with retail outlets, banks, and other financial service institutions to create a distribution network of more than 22,000 cash disbursement and collection locations in the Philippines. In late 2016, the company raised $5 million in a Series A fundraising round. “Our mission is to make sure our customers are able to access the financial services that they need, and building our platform on top of the blockchain has been an important component of that effort,” Leow said via email. “As long as people will continue to need cheap remittances [and] money transfers and access to financial services, we see blockchain technology as a growing area that would be able to affect positive change.”

Leow said Coins has been able to lower remittance costs from 7-8% to about 2-3% for its customers, including those who use it for bill pay and remittances, as well as merchants and service providers who accept bitcoin. The company’s ultimate goal is “to increase financial inclusion by delivering financial services directly to people through their mobile phones.”

Experts see remittances as an area that could be ripe for VC disruption. The Philippines is not the only country with a high population of overseas workers whose families depend on their remittances. High transaction fees and slow or inconvenient transfer services create extreme hardships on people who can’t afford to spend hours claiming one payment, or who live far from banks or shops that manage remittance payments.

The costs of these transactions 

which can average as high as 12% in Sub-Saharan Africa — hit the poor the hardest. Technological advances like cryptocurrency and distributed ledgers may offer a solution,” Dr. Garrick Hileman, a cryptocurrency researcher at the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, told Phys.org. "It would be surprising to me if in 30 years from now we aren't looking back and saying yes this was a watershed moment for financial inclusion, and that cryptocurrency and distributed ledgers played a significant role in opening up access to the financial system in developing economies."

A 2016 KPMG article indicated that more than 70 percent of the population in Southeast Asia is unbanked, leaving hundreds of millions at steep disadvantages for achieving financial security. Not having a bank account excludes people from a range of financial products, but fintech companies see mobile technology as a means of closing that gap. Startups like Coins, which use cryptocurrencies behind the scenes to offer fast, low-cost services to their customers, may be on the front lines of improving financial inclusion in Southeast Asia and the rest of the world. Thanks to growing mobile phone penetration, even low-income consumers can take advantage of their services.

“One of the important ways to increase financial inclusion is facilitating the transition from people being purely cash-based to be able to access and use [their] money online. In this regard, cryptocurrencies work very well as railways for seamless fund transfers and being able to pay for services,” Leow said. “The advantage that cryptocurrencies provide relative to other closed-loop systems is that anyone can be connected to the payment network very easily and services can be made available to anyone else on the network.” Remittances and mobile payments aren’t the only ways blockchain technology facilitates inclusion.

“I think payments will continue to be a key functionality for blockchain technologies with adoption continuing to increase as more businesses recognize its advantages,” Leow said. “At the same time, I think that there are also a lot of application-specific solutions using the blockchain for purposes such as digital identity management and smart contracts that are actively being explored that are causing us to rethink how many (typically expensive) business processes are being done.”

For instance, Acudeen, a Filipino fintech startup that helps small businesses by streamlining the invoicing process, uses blockchain technology to ensure that its clients’ contracts are secure. If cryptocurrency does become mainstream, it will likely do so quietly, at least as far as the average consumer is concerned. Luis Buenaventura,  chief technology officer of Bloom Solutions and author of Reinventing Remittances With Bitcoin, told me for a previous article that Bitcoin is “probably best off as a backend technology." Similar to the protocols behind email systems, blockchain technology may drive common services, but users won’t ever interact with it.

Leow shared a sentiment similar to Buenaventura’s. “The challenge from a financial inclusion standpoint is how to facilitate access to these technologies in such a way that easily transitions people from using purely cash,” he said. “We should remember that at the end of the day, people want to get things done and generally care less about the actual implementation of how that happens.”

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Meet Bitcoin Plus — The Next Great Cryptocurrency

Meet Bitcoin Plus –
The Next Great Cryptocurrency

  

Let’s face it,

Bitcoin is currently dominating the market, but altcoins cannot be just brushed off, they are maturing as well and are ready to provide a keen and tough competition. There is one coin, however, which, as claimed by its founders, cannot even be called an “altcoin.” Meet Bitcoin Plus — the next great cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin, but “reincarnated”

The history of Bitcoin Plus goes back to early 2014 when the coin was launched through an ICO held on the Poloniex Exchange. However, it turned out that the ICO was carried to fund not the cryptocurrency but holidays of the original developer who escaped with collected funds somewhere in the south direction. Later on, Bitcoin Plus went into rehab as a few truly dedicated community members formed a team, hired a coder to fix the wallet and introduced the sustainability plan.

Yule Mills, one of the team leaders at Bitcoin Plus, explains to Cointelegraph:

“The original developers created a great coin but it appeared they had ulterior motives, therefore they soon abandoned the coin. I was the original investor and have loved it since I first found out about it in May 2014. I think it is Bitcoin but reincarnated with many improvements and rarities, hence the added Plus in the name of the coin.”

How it will drive the market wild

The cryptocurrency has evolved greatly, especially during the last year. Originally, XBC was purely a Proof-of-Stake coin, however, a bunch of recent updates included the ability to secure the network using Proof-of-Work, therefore Bitcoin Plus is what is now known as a hybrid POS/POW. This means that if the network ever faces a serious issue, things can be moved along manually by switching on Proof-of-Work for a short period.

Bitcoin Plus has one mln coins to respond to 21 mln Bitcoins, it is characterized by a much faster block processing time and can handle eight times more transactions than Bitcoin. Mills points out that the best feature of Bitcoin Plus is the 20 percent annual staking until all one mln coins have been staked. In his opinion, this feature alone is currently driving the market wild.

Mills comments:

“Bitcoin Plus went from $.08 in January 2016 to a high of $131 just last month. That's serious.”

Bitcoin Plus, scalability issues minus

There is an opinion that what is good for Bitcoin has a positive impact on other cryptocurrencies. But what about the problems currently faced by Bitcoin, are they any relevant in the rest of the cryptocurrency space? Scalability has always been an issue for Bitcoin but recently the network has been running out of capacity, transaction fees have been getting higher, while the speed of processing was significantly decreasing.

The SegWit vs. BU debate has been going on and on for months and it doesn’t look like we are going to see a conclusion any time soon. How do these block games affect Bitcoin Plus? Well, XBC has a much shorter average block processing time — 60 seconds compared to that of Bitcoin, therefore the Bitcoin Plus network is able to handle 10 times more transactions every 10 minutes. Besides, the block size limit of Bitcoin Plus is much larger standing at 1.5 MB. The average transaction size of Bitcoin Plus is very similar to its predecessor, therefore every block is able to fit as many as 3,030 transactions or 50.5 transactions per second.

The Bitcoin Plus team assures that it will take a long time before users have to start worrying about any scalability issues.

Mills says to Cointelegraph:

“Regarding scaling issues, the original Bitcoin can handle, as fact, less than seven transactions per second compared to Bitcoin Plus which can handle 50+ transactions per second. We are keeping a close eye on SegWit vs. Unlimited and, truthfully, I don't think either idea is a good one. The thing about Bitcoin Plus that works is we have a team that agrees on things. If Bitcoin Plus needs to scale we will scale to Visa level if needed.”

Engaging community into development of the coin

The current team of Bitcoin Plus consists of several community members who run the website, BitcoinTalk Forum Thread, Block Explorers, 24/7 nodes and ensure the sustainability of the coin. The team is open, accessible and their intentions are transparent. It also seems that they are trying to engage the community in the development of the coin, offering ideas for updating of the network for voting and extensively reporting on the completion of upvoted ideas.

Isn’t it what the cryptocurrency space is all about? Absolute freedom, flexibility and the ability to reach consensus? With all this packaged in Bitcoin Plus, it is expected that the project will attain great success.

Mills concludes:

“Bitcoin would be an altcoin if it wasn't so successful. I don't consider Bitcoin Plus an altcoin. It's a force to be reckoned with, and you are going to see Bitcoin Plus on a mass scale soon.”

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Q1’s Top Performing Cryptocurrencies Saw Big Gains

Q1's Top Performing
Cryptocurrencies Saw Big Gains

   The first quarter of 2017 saw dramatic price gains

for the top cryptocurrencies, as the total market added nearly $7bn in value. The so-called 'blue chip' cryptocurrencies – those with a market cap greater than $30m — saw aggressive growth in the first quarter, as bitcoin's waning dominance set the stage for new players to assert themselves. Others, too, saw impressive gains that occurred relatively quickly in recent weeks. All told, the cryptocurrencies posted a median price increase (in USD terms) of 180.56% over the course of the quarter.

Top performers

The two top performers from Q1 2017 were Decred (DCR) and Golem (GNT), which gained 2,410.6% and 835.5%, respectively. Decred is a cryptocurrency that uses a hybridized consensus system instead of relying on either solely proof-of-work (POS) or proof-of-stake (POW). Similar to bitcoin, the DCR protocol sets a 21 million cap to the number of coins generated on the network.

Currently, the largest trading pair for DCR is DCR/BTC. Poloniex serves as the largest marketplace for DCR trading. The majority of DCR’s gains came toward the end of the quarter, and the highest daily volume was achieved on 27 March with $14.03m. As for Golem, most of its gains came during the latter half of Q1. Cryptocurrency exchange announced markets for the token on 17th February, and following the announcement, the price rose approximately 100% with 48 hours, from $.02 to $.04 on 19th February, with a volume of $6.67m.

Prior to the Poloniex announcement, average daily volume was between $20k and $100k per day. A second spike in price occurred on 21st March, following the release of news that GNT would be integrated into Shapeshift.io, an altcoin exchange platform. That particular day, the price increased approximately 22% from $0.045 to $0.055 on $5.28m in 24-hour volume. The final day of Q1, Golem developer Grzegorz Borowik published a blog post announcing Golem for macOS. The news buoyed the market, which boosted GNT to an all-time-high of $0.094 on volume of $11.4m.

Bitcoin struggles

Bitcoin's performance in the first quarter was more muted. The CoinMarketCap's Bitcoin Dominance Index – which measures bitcoin's market share relative to other cryptocurrencies — shed nearly 20%, ending the quarter at 68%. A weakening Bitcoin Dominance Index points to investor preference for alternative cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin (BTC) gained just 7.8% over the course of the quarter. This was a noticeable decrease from its 35.4% gain in Q4 2016.

General fear, uncertainty, and doubt has permeated the bitcoin community and can arguably be blamed for the anemic performance of the cryptocurrency in comparison to alternatives. Furthermore, bitcoin's volatility has tapered off as a result of its maturation, coupled with the evolving narrative that the cryptocurrency is a safe-haven asset.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

OneCoin Claims To Have Largest Cryptocurrency Market Cap After Doubling Event

OneCoin Claims To Have Largest Cryptocurrency Market Cap After Doubling Event

OneCoin Is A Scam Regardless Of What They Tell You

Yesterday was quite an interesting day in the world of Bitcoin scams and Ponzi Schemes. OneCoin, the world’s biggest pyramid scheme to date, doubled all user coins last night. This brings the total supply of “coins” to 2 billion, which is ridiculous. In fact, this means that OneCoin is now a bigger cryptocurrency than Bitcoin, according to OneCoin CEO, Ruja Whatsherface. The allure presented by this global pyramid scheme should not be underestimated. People from all over the world are falling for what OneCoin promises, even though they have no blockchain or coins in existence to speak of. The scheme entails the distribution of incoming funds to early investors, whereas new members have to recruit hard to make money.

Now that all of the non-existent Onecoin balances have been doubled, the Ponzi Scheme camp is over the moon regarding its success. Creating a 100% value increase out of thin air is ludicrous, yet millions of people seem to fall for it anyway. In fact, the team claims that their market cap is now bigger than Bitcoin’s. To put this into perspective, OneCoin’s new “blockchain” will allow for 50,000 new coins to be generated every minute. The team is also planning to “go public” with the coin come 2018. How this will be achieved is anybody’s guess, as there is no OneCoin blockchain or coins to speak of in the first place.

What is rather worrisome is how every OneCoin is valued at nearly 7 euros per piece. Keeping in mind how this is all vaporware, one can see that the team is making big money off the backs of gullible people. In this day and age, fooling people with financial promises has become very easy, especially when it’s related to “virtual currencies”.

Anyone who still believes OneCoin is a legitimate scheme will be in for a rude awakening very soon. Governments and law enforcement agencies all over the world are looking to investigate what this cult is offering its members, and it will be shut down sooner or later. Everyone who has funds in OneCoin should pull them out as soon as possible and see if they can pay out. In most cases that will not be possible.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Bitcoin Price Tripled in Last Year

bitcoin price trippled in last year

A collection of Bitcoins stand in this arranged photograph in Danbury, U.K., on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015. Bitcoin, the digital currency, climbed on Wednesday to hit its highest levels since early November, amid fresh speculation that the identity of Satoshi Nakamoto — the virtual currency’s creator — may have finally been revealed. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Bitcoin Price Tripled in Last One Year

A collection of Bitcoins stand in this arranged photograph in Danbury, U.K., on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015. Bitcoin, the digital currency, climbed on Wednesday to hit its highest levels since early November, amid fresh speculation that the identity of Satoshi Nakamoto — the virtual currency’s creator — may have finally been revealed. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images

In April of 2016, Bitcoin price averaged at around $420 on most major Bitcoin exchange markets. Since then, over a period of 12 months, Bitcoin price tripled, increasing from $420 to $1257.

As previously reported, Bitcoin price is nearing its all-time high price set at $1,277, primarily due to the explosive growth of the Japanese Bitcoin industry.

Analysts expect Bitcoin price to increase consistently in the mid-term if key markets such as Japan and the US sustain their growth and if relatively small markets like India experience a massive change in regulatory frameworks for Bitcoin trading and usage.

Two key factors: India and Japan

For years, India was considered to be one of the more important markets for Bitcoin to penetrate because of the country’s poor banking system, declining financial platform and weak infrastructure. Today, local analysts and researchers note that 40 percent of Indian population remains unbanked.

The vast majority of households and individuals in India do not rely on banks or established financial institutions to manage their money for a few reasons.

Recently, the demonetization of 500 and 1,000 bank notes initiated by the Indian government led to a nationwide financial crisis, as banks and ATMs ran out of cash to dispense. Both the banked and unbanked populations of India have been struggling to obtain cash to fund day-to-day operations and basic necessities ever since.

Moreover, research and professional services firms such as PwC revealed that by October of 2015, 233 mln Indians had no access to bank accounts. According to Times of India, a prominent local publication, a UN report further revealed that 43 percent of adults in India made no deposits or withdrawals in banks.

“I have nearly Rs 20,000 saved up from the last so many years. I never knew how to do bank work, so I never had an account. I’ve had no need for one, and now I am stuck with all the cash but can’t use it to buy my supplies. I have some money saved but all in cash at home, as I did not know how to deposit in the bank,” said a full-time professional who resides in India.

Over the past few years, major Bitcoin exchanges and service providers in India were not able to demonstrate an exponential rate of growth in terms of user base and daily trading volume. It was only by early 2016 that exchanges such as Zebpay and Unocoin began to see a spike in their user base and trading volumes.

One key factor that would allow the Indian Bitcoin industry to grow at a rapid rate similar to China, South Korea and Japan is the legalization of Bitcoin as legal tender and currency. The central banks of the Philippines and Japan most recently legalized Bitcoin as legal tender, to help their local industries to grow and allow the general consumer base to utilize bitcoin.

For Bitcoin to achieve mainstream adoption in India, a legalization of the digital currency by local authorities is necessary. If Bitcoin becomes legalized by the end of May as many predicts, and millions of new users from India emerge as a result, Bitcoin price will likely surge in the mid-term. Therefore, for the mid-term, the performance of the Japanese, US and Indian markets should be considered as reasons to hold onto Bitcoin as an investment.

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

Source : Cointelegraph

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

US Government Hacks Global Bank System, Necessity of Bitcoin

US Government Hacks Global Bank System, Necessity of Bitcoin

The US government’s ongoing extensive surveillance

on the global banking system and payment, transfers are demonstrating an urgent necessity of a decentralized financial network such as bitcoin. Over the past few months, various organizations including Wikileaks and Shadow Brokers have exploited most of the malpractices of the National Security Agency of the US. One of the recent tools of the NSA that was leaked and exploited on the dark web was the NSA’s surveillance tool on the Swift global banking system.

Motive of the US Government

Government agencies and law enforcement are required to undergo a lengthy process of filing a complaint and request to the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (Swift) in order to gain necessary financial information of certain bank accounts of businesses and individuals.

With a surveillance and hacking tool, however, the NSA can surpass the above-mentioned process by simply gaining access to the actual Swift network without alarming its system and infrastructure. According to representatives of Shadow Brokers, a hacking group that has leaked many pieces of malware in the past, the hacking tool of the NSA allows the US government to surveil financial transactions settled within the Swift network with full transparency. Matt Suiche, founder of the United Arab Emirates-based cyber security firm Comae Technologies, said in an interview with Reuters:

“If you hack the service bureau, it means that you also have access to all of their clients, all of the banks.”

While some security analysts and firms including EastNets denied the claims of Shadow Brokers, prominent whistleblowers and security experts including Edward Snowden explained that if the exploitation of the NSA hacking tool by the security firm Shadow Brokers is in fact, true, it could be described as the “Mother of All Exploits.” In the meantime, Swift announced that its cyber security and research team were not able to find any evidence to conclusively determine the surveillance allegation against the US government.

“We have no evidence to suggest that there has ever been any unauthorized access to our network or messaging services,” said the representatives of Swift.

Necessity of Bitcoin

Whether the US government actually utilized the NSA’s hacking tool to surveil the Swift network without permission from Swift and its clients is not the major issue. The main problem is that such hacking tools exist and they are capable of unraveling transactions settled across the world. Any centralized financial networks such as Swift impose such vulnerability, as any network, server or database connected to the Internet is vulnerable to hacking attacks, surveillance and data breaches if it is not designed to be immutable or decentralized, unlike bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Each transaction on the bitcoin blockchain is identified with cryptographic proof and it can be accessed on the bitcoin blockchain. Most importantly, because the bitcoin blockchain is public, it cannot be manipulated by a government agency like the NSA with sophisticated hacking tools. Although there exists strict Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer systems in place on the majority of the world’s bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchanges, government agencies and law enforcement agents must go through proper channels to obtain the data.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

What Is a Bitcoin Worth?

What Is a Bitcoin Worth?

The virtual currency has seen its value soar in recent years.

  

Bitcoin has existed for less than a decade,

but it has achieved amazing popularity across the globe, and its value has risen along with its use. Shortly after its creation in 2009, one could buy the virtual currency for less than a penny per bitcoin. Now, a bitcoin is worth about $1,250, and many believe that the upward trend for bitcoin could continue indefinitely. Despite there being plenty of skepticism about the inherent value of bitcoin, the currency has survived dramatic volatility without losing favor among its core users.

The history of bitcoin's value

During the first couple of years of its existence, bitcoin saw dramatic gains in price. From its penny valuation in 2009, bitcoin rose to $0.10 by 2010 and first hit the $1 mark in early 2011. That ignited a huge wave of new demand for bitcoin, sending the currency up to more than $10 by mid-2011. Yet at that point, bitcoin showed its propensity for big ups and downs. Within just a few months, bitcoin prices dropped 80%, punishing those who had gotten in at the top and were looking for quick gains. Still, those who stuck with bitcoin earned back their losses, with the currency reaching the $10 mark again in late 2012.

From there, the next wave of interest in bitcoin took the currency to the $100 mark and beyond, climbing to nearly $200 by early 2013. The bankruptcy of the Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange briefly took a big toll on prices, cutting bitcoin's value in half, but before the year was out, the digital currency climbed above $1,000 as market participants increasingly believed that bitcoin would achieve global currency status and prove to be a better alternative to traditional government-issued currency. The frequency of financial crises across the globe during the first several years of bitcoin's history certainly helped feed that theory and added to bitcoin's appeal.

Since then, bitcoin has remained volatile, but not to the same extent as it was earlier in its existence. Prices sank to around $200 in 2015, but the currency picked up steam again more recently. This year, bitcoin regained the $1,000 level and has climbed as high as nearly $1,300.

The true measure of bitcoin's worth

One concern that some have expressed about bitcoin is that the currency has no intrinsic value. Gold coins, by contrast, represent a given weight of an actual commodity with practical applications, and gold investors take comfort in the fact that their bullion is worth something beyond monetary terms. That's not true of bitcoin, which one receives as a reward for solving complex mathematical problems.

Yet bitcoin advocates note that the same is true of paper currency. It used to be that Federal Reserve notes were tied to the value of gold or silver, but those days are long gone. Just as a dollar bill only has whatever value a buyer and seller assign to it, so too does bitcoin have practical value to the extent that those who make exchanges of the digital currency agree on what it's worth.

One reason why bitcoin has become more valuable likely has to do with the fact that one can use it more widely now than early in its history. Many major technologies and retail companies accept bitcoin in the same way they would older currencies, and small businesses have jumped on the bitcoin bandwagon as well. Moreover, with relatively low transaction fees for transfers, bitcoin has become a popular way to move money while avoiding the costly charges that banks and other financial institutions often impose.

Keep an eye on bitcoin

Bitcoin has seen dramatic price increases recently, but the one thing investors in the currency can be certain of is that volatility in both directions will continue. With some calling for continued exponential growth in the value of bitcoin while others believe it's a bubble waiting to burst, the market for bitcoin is sure to be exciting for the foreseeable future.

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Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member