link441 link442 link443 link444 link445 link446 link447 link448 link449 link450 link451 link452 link453 link454 link455 link456 link457 link458 link459 link460 link461 link462 link463 link464 link465 link466 link467 link468 link469 link470 link471 link472 link473 link474 link475 link476 link477 link478 link479 link480 link481 link482 link483 link484 link485 link486 link487 link488 link489 link490 link491 link492 link493 link494 link495 link496 link497 link498 link499 link500 link501 link502 link503 link504 link505 link506 link507 link508 link509 link510 link511 link512 link513 link514 link515 link516 link517 link518 link519 link520 link521 link522 link523 link524 link525 link526 link527 link528 link529 link530 link531 link532 link533 link534 link535 link536 link537 link538 link539 link540 link541 link542 link543 link544 link545 link546 link547 link548 link549 link550 link551 link552 link553 link554 link555 link556 link557 link558 link559 link560 link561 link562 link563 link564 link565 link566 link567 link568 link569 link570 link571 link572 link573 link574 link575 link576 link577 link578 link579 link580 link581 link582 link583 link584 link585 link586 link587

Tag: bitcoin

The Business Development Mix: Do You Have the Right Stuff?

The Business Development Mix: Do You Have the Right Stuff?
Aligning your sales process with your target markets

  

Ever since the release of the Society for Marketing Professional Services / SMPS Foundation report, Sell. Do. Win Business. How A/E/C Firms are Using Staff to Win More Work (pdf), I’ve had a number of very interesting conversations with senior sales and marketing executives as well as firm principals. The research — which included almost 1400 surveys and several dozen phone interviews — reinforced some assumptions and provided clarity on others related to architectural practice, engineering practice and construction industry business marketing and business development.

If there is one over-arching theme to be gleaned from the research, it is that A/E/C firms are spending more money on business development (BD) than they have in the past — and they intend to increase spending in the future. This conclusion is not based upon any concrete expense forecasts (e.g., percent of net revenue spent on BD), but rather the significant growth of both seller-doer and dedicated business developer positions at architecture, engineering, construction, and related firms.

Compared with ten years ago, architectural firms have increased the number of business developers they employ by 20%, engineers by 34%, and construction firms by 45%. A decade ago we were enjoying the pre-recession boom in the A/E/C industry, so the growth in dedicated BD professionals is significant.

   BD Staffing Trends - Past 10 Years

                                     Business Development Staffing Trends — Next 10 Years
For the number of seller-doers compared with ten years ago, the statistics are equally impressive. Thirty-three percent of architects have increased the number of seller-doers on staff, while 43% have increased the amount of time that their seller-doers spend doing business development. For engineers, the numbers are greater: 45% of firms have added seller-doers while 45% have increased the percent of time that seller-doers focus on the sales portion of the equation. And for contractors, 41% have added seller-doers while 49% report that their seller-doers spend more time on business development than they did a decade ago.

To firm executives, this means one thing: more overhead. So what gives? Why are firms willing to increase their labor expenses for business development? There are numerous factors driving this trend, but the reality is that we are in a highly-competitive marketplace. Client loyalties have changed: whereas a decade ago there was so much construction happening that a lot of firms could “sit back and wait for the phone to ring” (it’s never really that easy, is it?), that isn’t the case anymore. We’re in a new era of purchasing, with the dreaded “three-bid mentality” destroying long-term relationships and potentially negatively impacting the owners/clients — when the A/E/C firm that knows their culture, facilities, and/or structures isn’t the low bid and newbies come in, this could be a good thing. Or a very bad one!

Third-party facilities managers are increasingly common, as are prequalification/screening firms. So a client you’ve worked with for twenty years may suddenly outsource A/E/C hiring decisions to a firm that doesn’t know you, or require you to go through a screening process (often online) to see if you meet their “new” criteria. Contract language is changing as well, with the dreaded “duty to defend” clause appearing in an alarming number of contracts, forcing firms to walk away from existing clients because the contract terms have become unacceptable — or even uninsurable.

Beyond that, Baby Boomer clients are retiring in droves, taking with them the loyalty to certain architecture, engineering, environmental, consulting, or construction firms, and their replacements often have no loyalties, forcing you to “start from scratch” with a long-term client. Furthermore, depending upon your geographic area and the markets you serve, there may very well be a lack of work to go around. Some areas and markets are booming; others not so much.

So because of these many reasons, and others, A/E/C firms need to have more “feet on the street” when it comes to business development. They need to search wider and deeper to find new clients – or even gain repeat commissions with past or current clients. But this isn’t permanent, is it? Certainly, the tide will change. Right? Well, according the SMPS/SMPS Foundation research, firms believe we are in a new norm — one that may become even more extreme over the next decade.

Survey participants were asked about anticipated staffing changes in the coming decade. Fifty-one percent of architectural firms anticipate adding even more seller-doers while 38% expect to hire more business developers. Engineers are projecting significant expansion of these positions as well, with 59% of firms planning to add seller-doers and 52% expecting to add dedicated business developers. The numbers were similar for construction firms, with 52% anticipating adding seller-doers and 53% adding business developers over the coming decade.

  
BD Staffing Trends - Next 10 Years

That’s huge. And again, that translates to major increases in overhead, above and beyond the increases that firms are seeing today. So where will this money come from? Profits? Cutting expenses in other categories (including non-labor marketing expenses)? The money must come from somewhere, but firms are expecting a simple formula to play out:

More business developers + more seller-doers = more contracts.

Simply put, in order to grow, they have to expand the ranks of people involved with sales. And they hope — expect — that “a rising tide will lift all boats,” so that ultimately they aren’t spending more for business development labor as a percentage of revenue, otherwise it comes directly off the bottom line. But are A/E/C companies approaching business development wisely? Do they have the right stuff, baby?

As much as firms would like to have a one-size-fits-all, out of the box approach to BD staffing, the reality is that every firm needs to develop the formula that works best for them, and their unique circumstances. This begins with a thorough understanding of your target markets. The majority of successful firms are focused on a few primary markets. Yes, there are still generalists, but they increasingly struggle when competing against niche firms, often being unable to pass the “sniff test” when it comes to baseline qualifications.

So take a good, hard look at the markets you pursue. Where do your firm credentials exist? How about staff credentials, which are often of equal or greater importance to firm experience? Are these markets profitable? Just because you do a lot of K-12 education work doesn’t mean you should, particularly if you keep losing money on projects!

When you truly understand your firm’s areas of focus, you next need to match your business development approach to those markets. Alignment is critical here, or you’ll struggle to maximize the value of your BD staff. Some markets make a lot of sense for the seller-doer approach. Clients are highly sophisticated and expect detailed, technical-driven conversations from the very first meeting. Failure to align your salespeople with the clients’ expectations can be the kiss of death: you won’t be invited back for a second meeting. An example of a market like this would be industrial or health care.

Even if the roadmap you are developing seemingly requires all seller-doers,t discount the role of the dedicated business developer. Other markets, however, do not require such technical conversations early on. The gatekeepers, and even decision makers, may not be technical in nature, and a non-technical business developer may offer perfect alignment for the client needs, excelling at the front-end “getting to know you” conversations. Local governments, for instance, often fall into this bucket.

Maybe all of your target markets favor the seller-doer approach, maybe they all favor the dedicated business developer. Most likely, there is a need for both. If you are a small firm, having a dedicated business developer may not be an option; yes, there are some very small firms that have fulltime sellers, but that is not the norm.

Even if the roadmap you are developing seemingly requires all seller-doers, don’t discount the role of the dedicated business developer. Recent SMPS research has found that the role of sales professionals is changing, evolving. They are still actively doing business development, but increasingly they are coaching seller-doers, training them to be effective sellers. They are looking at strategic plans and aligning the sales programs. And they are often the first voice or face that a prospective client encounters, opening the doors for the seller-doers. I often hear it said that business developers are openers — they open the doors at prospective clients, while seller-doers are closers — they are closing deals, landing contracts.

Because both roles are so critical, firms are adding and will continue to add both positions. But only you can determine what makes the most sense for your markets, your services, and your geographic regions. One size only fits one size, so don’t try to force square pegs into round holes — you may lose clients, project opportunities, and talented staff along the way.

And for many firms, losing talented staff is as terrifying a proposition as not landing new project commissions. Highly effective seller-doers are rare, and when a company loses one, they may lose a lot of business when that person leaves. Likewise, while only 8% of participants in the SMPS/SMPS Foundation survey reported that they can’t find qualified business developers, that number will certainly grow in the coming years. Rainmakers are retiring, and veteran business developers — who came into the A/E/C industry in the early days of the profession (until the late 1970s, it was illegal and considered unethical for professional services firms to sell or market) are retiring. Plus, the demand for BD professionals — and seller-doers — is growing, so it will become more difficult to find these positions in the future.

So what’s the takeaway? Look at your markets and your BD approaches to ensure that you are aligning the sales function with the client/prospect needs. Evaluate your staffing and identify the gaps. And develop a plan to ensure that you are not only effectively responding to the market today, but will be in the coming years.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Cyprus SEC gets Tough on International Forex, Bitcoin Traders

Cyprus SEC gets Tough on International Forex BitcoinTraders

Cyprus SEC gets Tough on International Forex, Bitcoin Traders

International Forex trading hub Cyprus has signaled that “comply or close shop” standards will be enforced within nine months, causing uncertainty among FX companies, some of them holding Bitcoin/fiat positions.

 

Retail trading companies located on the island offering clients Bitcoin/fiat pair options have yet to be instructed on Bitcoin options but the latest Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) statements and the Central Bank of Cyprus’ view on cryptocurrencies may put these operations into question.

Cyprus is host to about 80 percent of the world’s retail FX and binary options companies, nestled in the financial district of Limassol. The rising number of complaints risks tarnishing the industry that is still growing at a fast pace.

Abrupt meeting

On Tuesday, CySEC Chairman Demetra Kalogerou lined up the executives of the island’s Forex firms for an abrupt closed doors meeting. Sources presented at the meeting told Finance Feeds that the change is coming to the industry in what may be a make or break phase
 

The retail forex trading industry grew rapidly lately, surviving some scandals. Some firms have already paid heavy fines, already to the tune of over three million euros on the island alone.

Uncertainty

As early as 2014, the Central Bank of Cyprus issued a warning on the risks associated with virtual currencies when certain companies have introduced the dollar/Bitcoin pair.

It still holds a neutral stance, while suggesting traders or holders of virtual currencies take steps to protect themselves as they are yet to be regulated. It is uncertain how the latest development will influence companies offering dollar/Bitcoin pairs.

New regulations aimed at protecting clients might affect the cryptocurrency trading options
 

Call centers to be banned

Calling out the boiler room tactics used via call centers, Kalogerou looks to ban them entirely. Sales staff will be required to change from cold callers into CySEC licensed and examined professionals starting this year. A warning was raised against reports of giving clients financial advice and offices will have to be set up in countries where a substantial number of clients reside to better represent them
 

Affiliate marketing has yet to be called out for a strict ban or not, while Ms. Kalogerou sternly raised concerns as to how to monitor marketers on how and what they advertise to potential clients.

“We do not like introducing brokers at all, we do not like affiliates,” said Kalogerou on the topic of affiliates.

Leverage limits

Leverage limits will now be set to a maximum of 1:50 until clients request and show an aptitude for more. Currently, leverage as high as 1:500 is available to retail clients. The commission already requested a 1:50 cap in November 2016, calling anything above that “excessive leverage.
 

With European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) and Markets in Financial Directive II (MiFID II) legislation set forth by the EU, the market it set to get its act together. Furthermore, CySEC has made it clear that the corporate tax efficient environment of Cyprus will not play host to those who cannot or will not comply.

David
Ogden

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Bitcoin’s value is set to soar – three predictions for the future of the cryptocurrency

Bitcoin's value is set to soar – 
three predictions for the future
of the cryptocurrency

  

Utah Software Engineer Mints Physical Bitcoins

Bitcoin and digital currency more broadly is one of the most divisive concepts of our time. The idea of a currency which is not controlled by a state or a corporation and which maintains such a high level of privacy for its users is a much-needed relief for some and a threat to the whole economic and political system to others. One thing is certain: its value has soared over the past 12 months from just over $400 per bitcoin a year ago to over $1,350 in recent weeks.

Here are three predictions for the future of bitcoin…

Bitcoin will be closer to £3,000 by the end of the year

As bitcoin is primarily used for trading or transferring value, the value of bitcoin is controlled by the total value of goods in transit tied to bitcoin as the payment medium. As more and more trade is taken up using bitcoin as the transaction medium, the value of bitcoin will rise to equal that trade.

With non-digital currencies, this valuation fluctuation can be controlled by the government or state monetary authority controlling supply (through variation in the amount of currency created) and controlling demand (through setting interest rates). However, governments cannot control the supply of bitcoin so as the currency becomes more widely used, a continuous increase in the value of bitcoin is predicted. This theory is born out of research undertaken by the World Economic Forum.

Money laundering poses a big threat

While many will associate the use of bitcoin with the purchasing of illicit materials from sites such as the now defunct Silk Road, there are now potentially much more lucrative opportunities for criminals. The dark or shadow economy is estimated to take up somewhere in the region of 17 percent of the world's total GDP. Due to the level of anonymity bitcoin provides, there is a huge opportunity for its use to avoid anti-money laundering legislation. Any increase in use here would result in a reflected uplift in the value.

Governments will try to control bitcoin (and fail)

As bitcoin becomes more pervasive, we predict governments will try to control it, try to understand more detail about how it is being used and try to monitor its use in the dark economy. However, because of the structure of bitcoin, and the encryption and anonymity which is baked into blockchain there is very little opportunity to control this. The only clear way for nation states to control the distribution of the currency would be for them to buy up the supply and stockpile bitcoin, as many have done with gold.

Regardless of what bitcoin is being used for, the key takeaway is that it is being used more and more widely and that this expanding use is resulting in a corresponding uplift in value which shows no sign of slowing anytime soon.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Bitcoin prices jump as Japan makes the cryptocurrency legal

Bitcoin prices jump as Japan makes the cryptocurrency legal

  

  Japan IT Finance MTGOX-BITCOIN

Bitcoin prices have surged following Japan’s decision to allow the cryptocurrency as a legal method of payment, marking a major step in its adoption. The price of a bitcoin rose above $1,140 (£909) according to Coindesk’s price index. Just over a week ago one bitcoin was trading below $1,000. Japan's new law will mean bitcoin exchanges have to comply with anti-money-laundering and know-your-customer regulations. The cryptocurrency was drawn to Japanese regulators' attention by the spectacular collapse of the Tokyo-based Mt Gox exchange in February 2014.

The push to institutionalise bitcoin had been dealt a blow by the failure of a new exchange-traded fund (ETF) tracking the currency to gain regulatory approval from the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Japan recognises Bitcoin as a valid

The SEC had been concerned by the lack of regulatory oversight in the bitcoin spot exchange market, which would allow market manipulation and fraud. Yet the move by Japan recognises bitcoin as a valid part of the financial infrastructure, setting an example which other governments will watch closely.

Pavel Matveev, co-founder at bitcoin platform Wirex, said: “Japan has fired a starting pistol in terms of cryptocurrency adoption. “Japan’s recognition of consumers’ appetite for cryptocurrency payments is an important development and provides other governments with food for thought if they wish to compete in an increasingly globalised and digital world."

Bitcoin’s adoption has slowly moved from the more arcane, even anarchic, corners of the libertarian internet towards being increasingly accepted in the mainstream. However, the cryptocurrency still faces barriers to institutional take-up, with massive volatility in prices and scepticism from regulators stemming from bitcoin’s central role behind online black market payments.

There are also concerns within the developer community around bitcoin’s architecture. It is based on distributed ledger technology which means every user has an identical record of payments, stored in the blockchain.

However, the rapid expansion in bitcoin activity has led to debates about increasing the size of the blocks. Some in the bitcoin community fear a “hard fork” in which two competing versions of the cryptocurrency exist, fragmenting a market with little central control.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Buy Bitcoin at Paybis With Credit Cards, Its Easy

buy bitcoin at paybis with credit cards its easy

 Buy Bitcoin at Paybis  With Credit Cards, Its Easy

 

EDINBURGH, Scotland, April 5, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Users on the leading digital and cryptocurrency exchange platform Paybis can now buy Bitcoin instantly with their credit card. The new feature makes Paybis one among the few platforms that offer such an option.

 

Paybis accepts credit cards issued by major providers like Visa, MasterCard, etc. on its secure platform. Those making use of the "Bitcoin with Credit Card" option on the platform are assured to receive the cryptocurrency as soon as the card company approves their transaction. Buying Bitcoin with Credit Card is a convenient process where users can simply create an account on PayBis.com and sign in with either Facebook or Google for speed and convenience. Once verified, users will be able to choose the amount for which they wish to buy the cryptocurrency and execute payment.

 

Paybis implements a quick, simple and easy to follow identity verification stage that takes as less as 30 minutes in processing time. The platform has a simple tiered system for those wanting to purchase Bitcoin with other payment methods, where they can increase the spending limits by successfully completing different levels of verification. New users can enjoy an impressive weekly credit card purchase allowance of $5,000 or a monthly allowance of $ 20,000 USD.
 

Other payment methods supported by Paybis in addition to the Bitcoin with Credit Card option includes the likes of PayPal, Western Union, MoneyGram, OKPay, WebMoney, Skrill, Perfect Money, EPay, Yandex Money, Payeer, and Payza. The platform also offers the popular gift card to Bitcoin option that supports a range of gift cards from Amazon, Target, Walmart and other mainstream US vendors.

 

The feature-packed Paybis cryptocurrency platform, with its attention to detail and an easy-to-use interface, provides a 24/7 live customer support for its users. The website's design shares similarities with major online trading platforms to give its customers a familiar feel. Paybis takes its users' security and privacy seriously and ensures adequate protections by implementing state-of-the-art security for transactions happening over the platform. It also has a fast, fully automated payments and transfer process to provide instant delivery of Bitcoin to the customers.

 

Paybis believes in maintaining a transparent operating process with no hidden charges for the benefit of its clients. The fee structure and exchange rates for all payment methods can be directly accessed on Paybis website. All these features make Paybis one of the trusted platform among the community members with impressive feedback ratings to prove it. Paybis has completed over 50,000 transactions so far for more than 20,000 happy customers. It is going to further improve in the coming days with the introduction of few new features and products.
 

About Paybis
 

Started in 2014, Paybis is a fast-growing cryptocurrency and digital currency exchange platform. It is run by a group of experienced professionals from various industries with the aim of solving one of the actual e-commerce problems faced by the cryptocurrency and digital currency segment. Paybis is one of the few cryptocurrency platforms with a valid federal Money Service Business (MSB) license in the United States.

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

How the Blockchain is Being Used Beyond Bitcoin and Finance

How the Blockchain is Being Used Beyond Bitcoin and Finance

  

The clouds of misconception and skepticism around bitcoin were

so dark in the initial years that it hid the genius behind it.  In trying to understand bitcoin, it brought into the spotlight the technology that underpins it –
the blockchain.

During the World Economic Forum at Davos, Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund spoke about virtual currencies and released a paper titled “Virtual Currencies and Beyond: Initial Considerations.” The paper examines virtual currencies as well as blockchain. It reads, “VC schemes and distributed ledger technologies can strengthen financial efficiency by facilitating peer-to-peer exchange while reducing transaction times and costs, especially across borders…Beyond payments systems, distributed ledger technologies have implications for a wide range of markets and financial market infrastructures as a fast, accurate and secure record keeping system, including for stock exchanges, central securities depositories, securities settlement systems or trade repositories.” While blockchain has applications beyond bitcoin, the two are intertwined. In fact, bitcoin can be called a beautiful, first application of this amazing technology.

Improving the Ledger

Throughout history, records of transactions have always been an essential part of tracking information, be it in commerce or government activities. Such recordings created ledgers, which house these records. Blockchain supports digital distributed ledgers that record and store data.  The data is ‘distributed’ across a whole network, which can be open to everyone (“unpermissioned”) or restricted in terms of participants (“permissioned”).

Blockchain’s distributed ledger has great potential of cost-saving especially for international remittances for the banking system. According to the IMF report on virtual currencies, “The costs of sending international remittances, however, are notoriously high: as of 2015, the global average cost of sending small remittances (for example US $200) is 7.7%, though this has declined from just below 10% in 2008. In contrast, the cost with Bitcoin is estimated to be about 1% (Goldman Sachs, 2014).” Banks are looking to act fast as blockchain-based remittance systems have already made a debut; in the Philippines and Kenya, such platforms offer transfers via bitcoin and back into fiat currency.

Besides cost advantages, the other area where banks are looking to benefit from blockchain is efficiency in operations. The use of this technology will help them get rid of ‘headache work’ like manual processes, middlemen, huge data entry and verifications; blockchain making all possible at a faster speed and greater accuracy. The blockchain technology is being looked at as a great invention, which has many potential uses in many other industries such as music, healthcare, diamond, real estate and more. Even governments are showing interest in the breakthrough technology.

Blockchain Moves Beyond Finance

A recent report by the UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser says, “distributed ledger technology provides the framework for the government to reduce fraud, corruption, error and the cost of paper-intensive processes. It has the potential to redefine the relationship between government and the citizen in terms of data sharing, transparency, and trust. It has similar possibilities for the private sector.” The diamond industry, which is highly prone to fraud, has already embraced the blockchain technology. Everledger is a permanent ledger for diamond certification and related transaction history. It provides verification for insurance companies, claimants and law enforcement. According to Everledger, “£200 million is spent by insurers each year for tackling fraud.”

Likewise, the real estate industry can benefit greatly from the blockchain technology. According to Ragnar Lifthrasir, “Putting property titles on the Bitcoin blockchain will bring the real estate industry out of its existing 18th-century technology. Title insurance is a $20 billion industry. It’s estimated that the total annual cost of fighting and resolving title fraud is $1 billion.”

The healthcare industry has shown interest in the blockchain technology and companies such as Facto, Tierion, DNA.Bits, BitHealth, and Gem are working on such projects. A tweet in October 2015, revealed a project for Philip Healthcare Group in collaboration with Tierion. The health care sector holds a lot of confidential information, like records of medical history, diseases, payments, and treatment. The blockchain not only provides a solution to the concern over the security and privacy of such sensitive data, it would help eliminate the huge costs incurred by hospitals and healthcare service providers in managing the patient and other such information.

Not far behind is the music industry, which has its own tailor-made blockchain. PeerTracks, a music streaming, and retail company is the first outfit to use the brand-new MUSE platform, in partnership with Danish exchange CCEDK and OpenLedger. OpenLedger, through its Danish registrar CCEDK, is now offering a fiat gateway — enabling anyone to buy MUSE for USD via the OPENMUSE/OPEN.USD market. On platforms using the MUSE network, such as PeerTracks, all the payments made by consumers, and income generated by artists, are in crypto-USD, so there is no confusion about how much a track costs — and no issues with crypto’s trademark volatility.

The technology is also being put to use for creation of decentralised credit rating and KYC. “Algorythmix has been named the most transformative use of blockchain in Citi Mobile Challenge APAC 2015, for “Cetas — The decentralised KYC and Credit rating framework. Cetas is a decentralised platform which enables sharing of the KYC data using blockchain.” There are many other projects working around the blockchain technology like Microsoft Corporation’s (MSFT) Azure Blockchain as a Service program, and the Open Ledger Project spearheaded by IBM overseen by the not-for-profit Linux Foundation. The project involves other big names like Wells Fargo & Company (WFC), London Stock Exchange Group Plc., Accenture Plc. (ACN), Cisco Systems, Inc. (CSCO), Digital Asset, Intel Corporation (INTC) and many more.

The Final Word

This is just an overview of the multiple projects being worked around this innovative technology. The blockchain technology, still in its early years, has thrown down the gauntlet in front of the current systems, challenging them to overhaul.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

 

 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Blockchain Mormons, ICOs, Aliens, Football: London Scene Round Up

Blockchain Mormons, ICOs, Aliens, Football: London Scene Round Up

  

Mormons seeing the light in Blockchain

Our London Correspondent Nick Ayton, the Sage of Shoreditch, reports on new promising ICOs, Mormons seeing the light in Blockchain, Satoshi run over in Picadilly, Blockchain entrepreneur abducted by aliens and CityChain 2017 which was a huge hit! In short, another exciting week in fintech capital whereby some Blockchain is apparently seen as a religion.

Proof of Donation

The Mormon church realized Proof of Donation consensus could be a blessing in disguise. Forget the West End play called “Book of Mormon” and let me introduce you to the Ledger of Mormon. Obsessed with record keeping, the church that is, it wouldn’t be long until it was adopted by one of the mainstream faiths. “The Ledger of Mormon is the perfect place to record all donations that come from our communities” mentions Donald Osmund.

“The Mormon community is funded by its community members and from other donations, with each recorded on the Blockchain as a separate transaction where all members of the Mormon church can see what others are contributing.”

“We decided to adapt the Proof of Work consensus alogorithm as on Sundays the server room got hot which made the lights dim as the donations were processed in real time. So we came up with Proof of Donation that is less labor and resource intensive.”

ICO RoundUp

Among the upcoming ICOs, I am looking forward to is Metal. Announcing the ICO its founder Marshall Hayner told me about their Proof of Payments Processed consensus that allows everyone to get rewarded for every dollar spent. Other ICOs are Aeternity delivering Lightning-based Smart Contracts that is already active, and of course Cosmos and TaaS ICOs gaining pace with the big one Storj attempting to solve the decentralized storage challenges of Blockchain that is expected anytime soon.

Satoshi in Hospital

Satoshi gets run over by a chocolate lorry delivering Easter eggs.

CT: I got a call from Vittalark Buttering who seemed very panicked on Tuesday.
Vittalark Buttering:
He is not that badly hurt you know.

CT: Who? Like I didn’t know.
VB:
Satoshi’s been run over by a chocolate duck shaped van on Picadilly.

CT: Is he Ok?
VB:
I think so, he is at the Royal Chelsea Hospital and I am on my way to see him. Apparently, he was impaled on chocolate bunnies and might not be able to eat chocolate ever again.

CT: Well that is a relief. Maybe he could design Proof of Cocoa.
But before I got an answer the line went dead and Vitallark was gone. We hope Satoshi makes a full recovery and he con continue to eat chocolate.

CityChain 17 lands at IBM Southbank

Following a successful Blockchain for Business People event to hot ticket, this week was CityChain 17 with some familiar names speaking. The event didn’t disappoint as it was produced by ‘mbn solutions’ based in Glasgow who are at the center of the Scottish Blockchain movement which has seen Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish Parliament support.

Hosted by Paul Forrest (Chair) and organized by Michael Young there was a healthy dose of Hyperledger ever present but it was Gideon Greenspan CEO CoinSciences and brains behind MultiChain that for me stole the show, although Dave Birch at Consult Hyperion was the audience’s favourite delivering an amusing talk announcing “Blockchain is a religion, not a technology” soundbite. With talks from Simon Taylor, Director of Blockchain at 11:FS, Peter Bidewell at Applied Blockchain and John McLean of IBM CityChain have shown it was a well-rounded event, definitely one for your Blockchain Calendar.

Abducted Again

West Ham Football Club Fan and Blockchain entrepreneur abducted by aliens, again… CT Catches up with Billy Whizz after another alien sighting when Billy’s pork pie goes missing.

CT: So Billy what happened this time?
Billy Whizz:
As usual I had just purchased a pork pie on my way out of the ground where once again we let a 2 goal lead slip.

CT: Talk us through what happened…
BW:
It was different to last time. I had just taken a bit of my pie when I was covered in a blue light.

CT: The police?
BW:
Not it was over my head, and then I was in a misty room and it was really hot.

CT: You sure it wasn’t in the back of a Police Van?
BW:
Are you going to take this seriously or not?  When I looked down my pie had gone, and I saw some shadows at the back moving around and it sounded like they were eating my pie. Then I was back on the ground, in Upton Park Road, which is strange because West Ham doesn’t play there anymore.

CT: Did they tamper with you?
BW:
Of course not I understand Blockchain you know…

Well, Billy, there is a pattern emerging, you shouldn’t buy food after the game as it seems the aliens are hungry at this time and are tracking you.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Bitcoin Steams Ahead

Bitcoin Steams ahead

Bitcoin Steams Ahead

Cryptocurrency enthusiasts will have noticed that bitcoin’s price has been going up steadily over the past few days. It is always difficult to pinpoint the exact reason for this behavior. Japan’s new cryptocurrency regulation went into effect, and there is a big bitcoin marketing campaign on the /r/place subreddit. Both factors may contribute to future bitcoin price gains moving forward.

BITCOIN PRICE PREPARES FOR ANOTHER MAJOR RALLY

It is impossible to deny the recent bitcoin price gains. Over the past few days, the value per BTC has surpassed US$1,100 once again, after a few weeks of downward price momentum. Enthusiasts always believed this negative price trend was only temporary, though, as there is no reason for the bitcoin price to lose value over time.

That being said, the ongoing scalability debate hasn’t done the bitcoin price any good. Bitcoin Core and Unlimited supporters continue to “duke it out” on the internet, which generates some negative attention for the popular cryptocurrency altogether. However, it would appear even those debates are no longer sufficient to keep the bitcoin price down for an extended period of time.

It is also worth mentioning there is some positive attention on bitcoin right now. Japan recently introduced their new virtual currency regulation, which effectively removes the sales tax on bitcoin purchases. This makes bitcoin more approachable and affordable to everyday consumers in the country. Regulatory developments like these can pave a bright future for bitcoin moving forward.

Moreover, there is a dedicated bitcoin marketing campaign taking place on the /r/place subreddit. Reddit remains a key place to discuss bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Advertising on other subreddits will introduce more mainstream internet users to cryptocurrency as a whole, which can only be a positive thing in the long run. The bitcoin logo is getting some good exposure on this subreddit, that much is certain.

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

Author JP Buntinx

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

White House: Fintech ‘Changing Relations’ to Finance

White House:
Fintech ‘Changing Relations’ to Finance

  

US government interest in fintech continues to trend as the White House hosts a dedicated event — and says fintech is leading reforms for consumers and institutions alike.

White House Acknowledging Fintech

  

The remarks were made by Adrienne Harris, Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy following the FinTech Summit event Friday, which she led. “Technology is changing the way consumers relate to their finances, and the way institutions function in our financial system,” Harris’ blog post summarizes.

The event played host to a range of financial industry figures — “stakeholders from across the financial technology (fintech) ecosystem, including traditional financial services institutions, fintech start-ups, investors, thought leaders, and policy makers” — and discussed everything “from big data to blockchain,” she writes.

Government representatives were also present, including Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, who moderated a panel on how to ensure fintech startups and big business have the resources and support to innovate for the benefit of the US economy. Also discussed Friday were allusions to the problem of financial data handling in the US and its potential risk to consumer integrity, following a report the government published in May.

“[F]inancial data can help prevent fraud, assist consumers with managing their financial lives, and prompt access to credit for underserved populations,” Harris reports. “But these opportunities also come with risks for consumers, including risks to privacy and civil rights.” A recent Bitcoin.com piece on the problems of legacy finance for US consumers demonstrates the growing awareness of the need for change from businesses, and policy makers would appear to be making similar — if more understated — acknowledgments.

Also acknowledged were the empowering of developing-world communities to increase “resilience” through fintech, specifically mobile-based payment networks such as those active in Kenya and India.

Too Little Too Late?

More broadly, however, Harris’ comments point to a hypothetical reality which for cryptocurrency users is already the here and now. She writes:

Imagine a world in which your phone can help you make financial decisions […] Imagine a time when, as a small business owner, you can accept payments online from all over the world in minutes. Or when you can send money to relatives back home instantly and automatically.

For those with an awareness of the Bitcoin industry’s many financial service providers — from remittance to merchant solutions and beyond — calls to “imagine” such a world may well sound behind the times. While the White House may consider fintech to be “increasingly changing” consumer and business habits, the increasingly common perception is that cryptocurrency-based alternatives have already done so for an increasing section of the world’s population.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Reasons Why Bitcoin is Outperforming Everything

Reasons Why Bitcoin is
Outperforming Everything

   Bitcoin Rocket Outperforming

Bitcoin Rocket Outperforming

Favorable trade winds from the East are propelling Bitcoin’s price to new highs as the halving looms. There are numerous factors at play, however, that could create the perfect storm to test the all-time high. Let’s take a look at four major reasons why Bitcoin is outperforming other currencies and asset classes in what could be its breakout year.

It’s More Predictable

Bitcoin was officially the top performing currency of 2015. At press time, BTC price is up over 50% against the US dollar since Jan. 1, 2016. Meanwhile, traditional investors are scratching their heads. A hawkish Fed one day, then dovish the next. Current economic data is mixed at best and headed toward another global recession at worst as all eyes are on “stock whisperer” Janet Yellen.

“Market players are pricing in just a 2% chance for a rate hike this week and 23% for July, according to CME Group’s FedWatch tool,” reports Investing.com. “September odds were at about 37%.” By contrast, one important feature of Bitcoin is its certainty. Not only is its total supply of 21 million bitcoins known and set in stone, but its block reward —the rate at which bitcoins are created — will be cut in half about 26 days from now. Presumably, pricing in odds of a Fed rate hike in a “casino gulag” economy is shaking investor confidence. Let’s also keep in mind that every fiat currency is not only uncapped but has failed throughout history.

‘Hot’ Money in China

It’s no secret economic trouble is brewing in China. Recent numbers show that a slowdown in private investment in May is overshadowing other, more upbeat economic data. This has resulted in a recent 3.2% drop in Shanghai shares. What’s worse is that European businesses are expressing “growing pessimism” about doing business In China, reports the IBTimes.

   Specifically, a recent EU chamber report found that 57% of respondents felt foreign companies were “treated unfavorably compared to their domestic counterparts,” and 56 percent said that doing business getting more difficult. At the same time, China has a lot of so-called “hot” money “that has to go somewhere,” explains Huobi CMO, Du Jin.

Moreover, the halving scenario is already being felt as we move closer to July, according to the Beijing-based exchange. “Bitcoin supply is limited, the soon to come production halve is generating reactions in the market, which is reflected in the price variation,” explains Huobi CEO, Leon Li. “[…] China’s stock market crashed in late April, the performance of futures and bonds were also not good, which pushed investors to seek for other investment products, such as bitcoin.”

It’s Gaining Legitimacy

As the regulatory landscape becomes clearer and security improves, confidence in Bitcoin exchanges is being restored in the post-Mt. Gox world. “There is a strong trust in exchanges and platforms for purchasing Bitcoin, such as Bitstamp, which recently got EU regulatory approval,” writes Civic CEO, Vinny Lingham. As a result, interest in Bitcoin seems to also be crawling out of the trough of disillusionment. Hype is jumping from buzzword to buzzword: from Bitcoin to blockchain, from permissioned distributed ledgers, but ultimately back to Bitcoin. This is because, in time, more and more people will realize the superiority of the open blockchain, much like an open internet. 

A continued increase in price also means more attention from traditional finance. Traders will not only find it increasingly hard to ignore such a performer, but also the clear frontrunner in the blockchain technology arms race. Incidentally, today’s sole Bitcoin exchange trusted fund (GBTC) is hitting new highs, boosting Bitcoin’s legitimacy in the process.

To boot, Goldman Sachs even admitted that Bitcoin is an “ideal vehicle” for public transactions while predicting that its blockchain technology could “disrupt everything.” 

It’s a New Store of Value

   Bitcoin offers unprecedented mobility and security of funds for the user. Today’s financial system makes moving money and gold around the world slow, costly and inconvenient due to friction and capital controls. Not so with Bitcoin. Whether a few pennies’ or a million dollars’ worth, transfer fees are negligible while your funds are always with you on your device. In fact, it is reportedly becoming a new favorite method for wealthy Chinese to move capital out of the country and as a store of value similar to gold.

But unlike gold and traditional money, you can easily secure your funds without a need for a vault. To wit, your gold, cash, and even your bank accounts can be stolen, hacked or even confiscated on a whim by the authorities, even if you’ve done nothing wrong. Your bitcoin funds, on the other hand, will always be under your control if your secret passcode is protected. In fact, there are numerous ways to safely store your bits.

Outperforming Paper

So why is Bitcoin outperforming everything along with its crypto counterparts such as Ether? Because they comprise a new niche that’s fostering real innovation in finance. It could soon add 4 billion unbanked individuals to the global economy as Bitcoin empowers every individual to be their own bank.

  

In the shorter term, however, the upshot of the soaring price is increased attention that will add a new wave of users and set the stage for mainstream adoption. Meanwhile, traditional investors will find it increasingly hard to ignore what Forbes calls a “new asset class,”  which is poised to outperform every fiat currency for the second year in a row.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member