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Tag: markethive

Machine learning & neural networks: The real future of SEO

Machine learning & neural networks:
The real future of SEO

Columnist Benjamin Spiegel takes a look at how machine learning and technologies like TensorFlow will change the way we think about SEO.

   I

The good old days of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

I grew up in the good old days of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) when the keyword tag still meant something and you could make it to the top of SERPs by using the same keyword over and over in the website’s title or keyword tag. That was back when exact match results were the only ones returned from consumers’ searches, and crawlers like Google spent 99 percent of their time crawling and indexing instead of cataloging and evaluating the content’s actual quality and relevance. Those days are (thankfully) over.

Those good old days were followed (for good or ill) by years of SEO practitioners focused on chasing the constantly evolving algorithms, which, in my personal opinion, we have been doing all wrong. Most SEOs start out with something like Search Engine Land’s periodic table of SEO ranking factors or similar guides. We use tools like DeepCrawl and Screaming Frog to help chase down broken links and then ask tools like Moz and others to tell us where to place keywords in the title relative to the overall title length, or how our meta descriptions need to be X pixels less and our body copy has to have X outgoing links…

WE SERIOUSLY NEED TO STOP IT!

Although these are all great practices to follow, they are really corrective actions taken after something has already been done wrong, and none of these tactics will give brands position No. 1 for any high-value keywords. Instead, these should be considered from day one of the website build, implemented during site development, and not be an afterthought once the site is launched. We recently did a test against 150,000 different SERPS, and based on a simple scoring model, the majority of the top three results didn’t follow even half of the best practice rules commonly found in the ranking feature lists.

In this test, we extracted 83 features from each of the SERPS (page speed, content length, link scoring, content density, social signals and so on) and used different models in an attempt to reverse-engineer the algorithm. Even with 83 features, we did not get any meaningful results; we found that websites in the top of the SERPs were just as poorly optimized as those on page 2. This clearly shows us that while all those tactics are important for many reasons, even if you follow them exactly, it will not move your rank from 10 to 1.

So here comes the disappointing part of this article: I also have no idea how to get you a guaranteed position 1 — NOBODY does. But what I can tell you is that there is no simple way to recreate the algorithm, no easy script you can run, no simple linear regressions that can solve for it. We have seen No. 1 rankings that literally did everything wrong, and position 60 rankings that did everything right! Here’s the good news: About two years ago, we got a look under the hood and learned why it has become so much harder to “manipulate” rankings, and why no matter how large the test or sample, it is impossible to re-create the actual algorithm.

It was November 9, 2015, the day Google publicly released TensorFlow. TensorFlow is a (now) open-source software library for machine intelligence. It is, in fact, the library that powers most of Google’s technology like Gmail, Photos, Voice and RankBrain. TensorFlow originally was released as an evolution of Google’s internal neural network training framework “DistBelief” by the Google Brain team. On the simplest level, TensorFlow enables the large-scale and parallel manipulation of “Tensors,” multi-dimensional arrays that carry vectorized data. The latest releases of TensorFlow have improved the scalability with new features that add APIs and deployments onto all types of devices.

TensorFlow & SEO

So what do machine learning and TensorFlow have to do with SEO, algorithms and reaching that coveted No. 1 spot in the SERPs? As Google’s RankBrain gets smarter in understanding users and their intent, it’s also learning to better understand content, information and if that content will provide the right answer, not only to the query but also to the individual user. With the algorithm now truly understanding the query intent on a linguistic level, it can deliver new kinds of results that are correlated and weighted in a way that a human brain can’t even begin to predict. This dramatically changes two aspects of SEO: technical SEO and content SEO.

Technical SEO

As many have said before, the role of technical SEO in the context of fixing links, optimizing title tags and ensuring correct markup is no longer a valid SEO role, meaning there should be no brands out there hiring a practitioner just for that purpose. This nuts-and-bolts work should be done from the beginning of the website build and audited by the web dev team on an ongoing basis.

Instead, the true technical SEOs of the future need to understand more than just HTML and XML; they need to understand how machine learning works, how TensorFlow handles data and weighs inputs, and how to understand and train models. There will always be crawling and discovery, but the main focus is now more analytical — truly data-driven, with the SEO practitioner more a mathematician and software developer than a web designer.

Content SEO

The last few years have seen a convergence of SEO content and content marketing. We know we must now create contextually relevant content that is authoritative, not just keyword-stuffed. Now it’s time to look at more than minimum/maximum character counts and keyword density. We have to start using machine learning models and linguistic analysis to weigh and score our content to ensure it truly answers the consumer question, instead of just telling a brand story.

Personally, I am excited about the new frontiers of SEO and the evolution of the field, and I invite anyone out there who’s in doubt to just look at the growth of voice and conversational search. It’s all powered by machine learning and technologies like TensorFlow. The time is now.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor


Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Current Cryptocurrency Capital Influx Hints at Positive Bitcoin Price Evolution

Current Cryptocurrency Capital Influx Hints at Positive Bitcoin Price Evolution

No one wants to miss out on what cryptocurrency may be capable of achieving in the future.

  

People often wonder if it is too late to invest in Bitcoin

Every year, the answer is no. The Bitcoin price continues to go up in value, especially for people who hold cryptocurrency for the long-term. The year 2017 will be no different in this regard. Some experts feel a second wave of investments will come soon. If that is the case, the Bitcoin price may soar to US$2,000 or higher.

Bitcoin Price Will Go Higher in the Long-term

Investing in Bitcoin is always a smart decision. Hardly anyone will argue that point at this rate. However, there are some things to take into account. One should always look at the long-term Bitcoin price. Day trading can still be profitable, yet it is losing its appeal. Especially with so much money pouring into cryptocurrency right now. To be specific, the cryptocurrency market cap has grown to about US$45bn. That is quite a growth compared to less than a year ago. Not all of this money is going to Bitcoin directly, however. A lot of altcoins are booming in value right now. An increasing Bitcoin price is bringing more attention to altcoins. This is no longer about “bitcoin vs alts”. It is about cryptocurrency as a whole.

Rest assured a lot of people are looking to invest in cryptocurrency. It is a domino effect, so to speak. People learn about Bitcoin, see the price rocket and feel bad for not investing sooner. The smart people will understand the Bitcoin price has not even begun to peak by any means. There is still a lot of room for gains in all of the cryptocurrency. The BTC price will appreciate, and so will a lot of altcoins’ values.

An Excellent Time To Invest in Cryptocurrency

Do not be mistaken in thinking things will explode overnight either. We have seen massive value gains for over a week now. There is no sign of things slowing down either. All of this is achieved without a convenient way for institutionalized investors pour money into cryptocurrency. An ETF could shake things up quite a bit, but it is not a necessity by any means.

All it takes is a handful of high-net-worth investors, to venture into cryptocurrency. For all we know, this has already happened over the past week or so. No one wants to miss out on what cryptocurrency may be capable of achieving in the future. Regardless of how things play out, investing in cryptocurrency is a smart decision. The Bitcoin price, as well as the value of altcoins with proper use cases, will undoubtedly increase further. However, never put all your eggs in one basket.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Cryptocurrency Market Cap Soars Above $40 Billion, Boosted By Hefty Trading

Cryptocurrency Market Cap Soars Above $40 Billion, Boosted By Hefty Trading

Bitcoin may be getting most of the headlines, but cryptocurrency as a whole is on a roll. Statistics from Coinmarketcap.com reveal that 82 out of the top 100 cryptocurrencies posted gains in a recent 24-hour period. Whether all cryptocurrencies are riding bitcoin’s coattails or investors are suddenly discovering altcoins is anybody’s guess.

The total cryptocurrency market capitalization (price per coin times amount of coins in circulation) stands at $42.6 trillion. That marks more than a $10 billion gain in 10 days.

Ripple Leads In Growth Rate

Among the currencies with a market capitalization in excess of $1 billion, Ripple has posted the top growth rate of 33.6% in a 24-hour period, yielding a $2.831 billion market cap. Litecoin comes in second with a 22.34% growth rate and $1.132 billion market cap. Ripple’s gain has been credited to a strategic partnership initiative, teaming with Asian and Australian banks in conjunction with its stated goal of acting as a PayPal-like mechanism for large interbank transfers. Litecoin, for its part, has benefited from Coinbase’s decision to support it, allowing users to buy, sell and store Litecoin using its platform and wallet. It became the third cryptocurrency, after bitcoin and Ethereum, to gain Coinbase’s full support.

What Drives Bitcoin?

Bitcoin, far and away the largest market cap in excess of $25 billion, posted a 5.81% 24-hour jump. Bitcoin’s price reached a new all-time high once again, at $1,567. Brian Kelly, a financial analyst at CNBC, has attributed the recent surge in bitcoin’s price to the rise in institutional investors within the bitcoin market. Other factors include the bitcoin community’s consensus not to support Bitcoin Unlimited, and an overall increase in global trading. Some analysts have attributed some of the bitcoin’s growth to that of the altcoins; altcoins are usually bought and sold with bitcoin, requiring traders to buy bitcoin.

Ethereum Has Its Own Story

Ethereum, which has the second highest market cap at just over $8 billion, has jumped 12.12% in the 24-hour period. Its price rise is due to a number of factors. Google searches for Ethereum have spiked to an all-time high, nearly doubling in just one week. Some countries appear to be using ETH a hedge against national currencies. Switzerland, where the Ethereum Foundation is based, showed the strongest interest, followed by Venezuela, which is suffering triple-digit inflation.

South Korea seems to have fallen in love with the currency. Its three largest exchanges handle twice the ETH/fiat volume of Coinbase’s GDAX and Kraken combined. South Korea is also big into fantasy sports, an area where ETH’s smart contracts can be used to make the game more transparent and reduce cheating.

Don’t Forget Dash

Dash, number 5 with a $683.3 million market cap, jumped 6.77% in the 24-hour period. Featuring exceptional transaction speed, Dash continues to become more accessible to investors and consumers.

The cryptocurrency exchange Kraken recently announced the integration of Dash to its trading platform. BitCart, an Ireland-based discount gift card platform, recently allowed users up to a 20% discount for using Dash on Amazon purchases. Crypto-Woo, a payments plug-in, has integrated Dash, allowing users to pay for online purchases with Dash. CryptoBuyer, a Venezuela-based crypto exchange, has begun selling Dash, allowing consumers in the economically ravaged country to have another alternative to its imploding national currency.

Ethereum Classic, number six at $664.4 million, rose 8.97%.
NEM, at %521.7 million, jumped 9.5%.
Monero, number 8 at $371 million, rose 8.76%.

The top 14 cryptocurrencies all posted gains in the 24-hour period.  PIVX, which at $84.1 million has the 15th highest market, cap posted a 3.16% drop.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Cryptocurrency: Top 5 Things You Should Know About Digital Cash

Cryptocurrency:
Top 5 Things You Should Know About Digital Cash

If you’ve had your ear to the fintech

streets over the last few years, you’ve probably heard the term Bitcoin tossed around as cash’s digital counterpart. What you may not know is how Bitcoin’s emergence in 2009 has spawned a race across the globe to be part of the emerging trend. What exactly is Bitcoin? Will it replace cash? What does it mean for your small business? Here’s a quick rundown to get you up to speed.

What is it?

Bitcoin is a type of cryptocurrency or a digital currency that uses encryption techniques to create units and secure the transaction. What’s unique about this invention is it decentralizes currency away from traditional banks, meaning people can complete financial transactions without any bank involvement or regulation. Bitcoin is the first form of cryptocurrency invented, and is still by far the largest within the market.

How do you use it?

To simplify it further, it’s basically a peer-to-peer sharing network. Members can initiate transactions through the network, however, no actual currency is created or transacted until both parties agree on the amount. Here’s how it works:

1.     Someone requests a transaction.
2.     The request is broadcast to the P2P network composed of computers or “nodes.”
3.     The network initiates a validation process to verify both users and the transaction amount.
4.     Once the transaction is validated, the cryptocurrency is created in the amount that was agreed upon in the validation process. If the amounts or the network credentials don’t add up, the transaction request is denied.

The cryptocurrency has no physical form and only exists within the network. Value is only assigned once the agreed terms are validated. Holders can then withdraw the value from a cryptocurrency ATM in exchange for the currency they’d like to use.

Is it legal?

The legality of cryptocurrency varies by country. Some have explicitly allowed it for trade, and others have totally banned it. For us, the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) ruled that bitcoin will be treated as property for tax purposes as opposed to currency. So, it’s legal to own and use for trade internationally, however, it will be subject to capital gains tax.

Are US shoppers using it?

Sure. Knowledge about Bitcoin has increased so significantly since 2014 that there are now 554 Bitcoin ATMs in the U.S. These are stations that Bitcoin owners can use to exchange for U.S. currency.

How will this impact my business?

While Bitcoin is gaining steam in the US and across the globe, it will likely be a few years before this impacts the small business sector. Since the IRS hasn’t identified cryptocurrency as a legal tender, it likely won’t surface as a mainstream payment option for another decade or so.

However, cryptocurrency has the legs to gain popularity within contract-based subsectors. If adopted at full-scale, organizations like banks and insurance companies could be replaced. Access, validation and other major functions can be performed by the technology itself, so bank and insurance underwriting would no longer be a limitation for people who are typically denied credit. Rules, contracts, and processes can be programmed within the peer-to-peer network and therefore transformed into automated processes.

Insurance policies for flight delays will pay out immediately if an airline’s flight data reports a delayed plane. For example, musicians’ royalties can be automatically paid via the blockchain when people listen to their songs, without a record company being involved. People will no longer have to waste time claiming compensation. The amount of self-generated solar power can be calculated without checks by a utility company and credited to the user’s account

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Bitcoin’s price breaks records, yet again (more)

Bitcoin's price breaks records, yet again

 

  
Bitcoin is still on a major upswing. 

The price of the cryptocurrency broke $1,500 this week — a huge milestone for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.  The $1,500 price put the total value of the cryptocurrency market above $40 billion, MarketWatch reported. Bitcoin started off 2017 trading just above $1,000, which was its first time reaching that mark in three years. Then in February, the digital currency exceeded its $1,165 record price set in 2014. Last week, bitcoin rose above $1,400, an all-time high. And now it's above $1,500 — at $1,534 on Saturday afternoon, to be exact. It could all come crashing down again — in early 2017, bitcoin's swing above $1,000 was short-lived. Or maybe $1,500 will be the going rate for one bitcoin from now on.

 

Cryptocurrency Prices Explode! Bitcoin at $1600, Ethereum at $100

Almost all cryptocurrencies are way up today bringing the combined value of the market to $46 billion.

Cryptocurrency prices appear to be unstoppable today,

with the top four blockchain assets now worth over $1 billion each. It seems much of the surge is from new money pouring into the market. This is evident from the exceptionally high trading volumes, reaching new record total for the entire ecosystem of over $2.2 billion a day. One likely reason for this is that the news of recent all-time highs are drawing in more and more new traders attracted to the opportunity.

Bitcoin is now at a record high of $1600, rising 7% since yesterday, giving it a market cap of over $26 billion. Ethereum is now at a record high of $100 rising yesterday, giving it a market cap of over $9 billion. Ripple’s XRP is now at a record high of $0.09, rising 40% since yesterday, giving it a market cap of over $3.4 billion. Litecoin is now at a record high of $25, rising 20% since yesterday, giving it a marketrising over $1.3 billion.

In fact, most of the other 700+ blockchain assets traded around the world are up significantly today. In total, the combined value of the entire market is now at a record $46 billion. While the speed at which we are seeing the value grow can cause fears of a bubble, the figure is not that unbelievable if we compare it to another online payments solution,  Paypal (NASDAQ: PYPL) which has a market cap of $58 billion. All this actually leads to some contradiction regarding the strength of bitcoin. While the original blockchain is the most valuable and keep setting new records, its cryptocurrency competitors are raising relatively faster — and bitcoin’s dominance of the market has fallen to just 57%.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Digital Gold’: Cryptocurrencies Soar as Investors Swap Dollars for Bitcoins

Digital Gold':
Cryptocurrencies Soar as Investors
Swap Dollars for Bitcoins

Cryptocurrencies are gaining in value because many see them as a new type of digital investment that has advantages over the US dollar or even gold, Economic Historian Dr. Garrick Hileman told Radio Sputnik.

  

The price of Bitcoin was soaring to new highs

during trading last week, amid an upsurge in demand. According to the CoinDesk Bitcoin Price Index (BPI), it broke through the $1,500 barrier for the first time on Thursday; trading on Saturday has reached $1,550 so far. Since reaching $1,000 at the turn of the year, the cryptocurrency has surged in recent months and added over 20 percent of value during April alone. The steep rise in price has led some analysts to wonder whether Bitcoin, which was invented in 2009 and broke the $100 barrier in 2013, is heading for a second wave of price growth as new money enters the market.

Cryptocurrencies expert Dr. Garrick Hileman, who is an Economic Historian at Cambridge University and the LSE, as well as a founder of the macroeconomic news website Macro Digest, told Radio Sputnik that all cryptocurrencies, not just bitcoin, are gaining in popularity. "Three years ago when Bitcoin crossed $1,000, there were still a lot of other cryptocurrencies but Bitcoin represented 90 percent of the total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies. Today, it's just over 50 percent so there's a broader story going on beyond Bitcoin," Hileman said.

Bitcoin's steep price increase has caught the headlines but other blockchain platforms have been gaining price at an even higher rate. For example, the blockchain Ethereum, which offers native support for automated "smart contracts," is now worth $7 billion.While cryptocurrencies are being used for more and more tasks, such as cross-border payments or online transactions, financial speculation is still the source of most demand."Most people would agree that cryptocurrency today is still considered primarily a speculative instrument, a stored value. It's a bet on people needing cryptocurrency to do things like power the 'internet of things' economy and machine to machine transactions."

"We don't know how big that segment of the economy is going to be, but a lot of people think that something like Bitcoin or Ethereum or one of these other currencies could be the payment rail for a machine-to-machine economy," Hileman explained. The idea of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies being used as a kind of digital gold, an alternative way of storing money outside of traditional banks and currencies, is also gaining in acceptance. Most recently, bitcoin and other virtual currencies received official recognition in Japan last month. "More and more people are waking up to cryptocurrency as an alternative to something like the US dollar as a traditional way to opt-out of your national currency."

   Standard 24 karat gold bars being cast in the foundry of the Novosibirsk gold refinery
Why Russia's Central Bank is Stacking Bullion Bricks Like There's No Tomorrow

However, investors in virtual currency should be aware that since there is no national or international regulation of bitcoin, buyers can be the victims of theft or fraud. In addition, the price is very volatile and could end up sky-high — or zero."These are incredibly volatile instruments, there's no government or central bank standing behind them to help try to regulate the exchange rate." 

"If cryptocurrency is really a new type of digital asset, if it's a new digital gold then it's really hard to know what the price ceiling is. All the gold today is worth roughly about $7 trillion, all the cryptocurrency in the world today is worth about $45 billion so it's a small fraction of gold." "Yet, cryptocurrencies like bitcoin offer a number of advantages over gold. They are a lot easier to store, in some ways they are certainly easier to send to someone else around the world, they may be even more convenient to acquire. So, if cryptocurrency is becoming a new kind of digital gold, a new commodity, then really the sky could be the limit on the price."

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Billionaire bitcoin enthusiast Tim Draper is backing a new cryptocurrency for the first time

Billionaire bitcoin enthusiast Tim Draper is backing a new cryptocurrency for the first time

  • Draper was an early supporter of bitcoin and its underlying blockchain financial ledger technology.
  • He told Reuters in an interview he will for the first time participate in a so-called "initial coin offering" of Tezos slated later this month.
  • Most traditional venture capital firms are prohibited by agreements with investors from deploying cash into such high-risk assets as digital currencies.

Venture capitalist Draper wins US Marshals bitcoin auction.

Billionaire venture capitalist Tim Draper soon plans to take a step that even he, a long-time bitcoin aficionado, has eschewed until now: Buying a new digital currency offered by a technology start-up.Draper, an early supporter of bitcoin and its underlying blockchain financial ledger technology, told Reuters in an interview he will for the first time participate in a so-called "initial coin offering" (ICO) of Tezos slated later this month.

Tezos, a new blockchain platform launched by a husband-and-wife team with extensive Wall Street and hedge fund backgrounds, will launch the ICO on May 22. Draper will also invest in U.S.-based Dynamic Ledger Solutions Inc., the creator of Tezos, but did not disclose details. Draper, who scored big as an early backer of Skype and Baidu, becomes the first prominent venture capitalist to openly embrace initial coin offerings. This would be a significant stamp of approval for this new financing model Blockchain start-ups. Some investors have expressed concern about the lack of regulatory oversight for ICOs.

                                         Bitcoin on the rise

Over the last year, blockchain start-ups have been raising cash by creating and selling their own currencies or tokens in unregulated offerings that bypass banks or venture capital firms as intermediaries. Interest in these deals has been stoked by the runaway performance of the original cyber currency, bitcoin, which has surged more than 67 percent in the last six weeks to hit a record high. "The best thing I can do is lead by example," said Draper, on his plan to participate in Tezos' token offering.

"Over time, I actually feel that some of these tokens are going to improve the world, and I want to make sure those tokens get promoted as well. I think Tezos is one of those tokens." Most traditional venture capital firms are prohibited by agreements with investors from deploying cash into such high-risk assets as digital currencies. But Draper said the contract terms with his investors allow investing in pretty much any vehicle. "I think most investor contracts did not anticipate something like an ICO," said Draper. "But we did anticipate that certain things are going to happen and finance is going to be transformed."

Draper said his firm has specifically carved out money for non-traditional investments. Tezos is similar to bitcoin and other blockchain platforms, but its design allows for decentralized and automated upgrades. Most software platforms provide for automated updates, but blockchains remain notable exceptions because update procedures are typically centralized. Tezos touts itself as the first blockchain platform to overcome that hurdle.

Tezos was created over a span of three years by Kathleen and Arthur Breitman. Arthur Breitman had worked at the high-frequency trading desk at Goldman Sachs and was an Options Market maker at Morgan Stanley, while Kathleen Breitman is a former management associate at Bridgewater Associates, the world's largest hedge fund. Unlike previous ICOs, Kathleen Breitman said, Tezos' deal would not be capped by a set number of tokens to be created. "What we're going to do is allow as many people who want to buy into the crowd sale over a two-week period," she said.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Study highlights growing significance of cryptocurrencies

Study highlights growing significance of cryptocurrencies

Study highlights growing significance of cryptocurrencies

 

More than 3 million people (three times previous estimates) are estimated to be actively using cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, finds the first global cryptocurrency benchmarking study by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance.

While many members of the general public may have heard of "bitcoin", the first decentralised cryptocurrency launched in 2009, a new report from the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF) paints a broader picture of "cryptocurrencies".

The report shows that cryptocurrencies — broadly defined as digital assets using cryptography to secure transactions between peers without the need for a central bank or other authority performing that role — are increasingly being used, stored, transacted and mined around the globe.

The Global Cryptocurrency Benchmarking Study gathered data from more than 100 cryptocurrency companies in 38 countries, capturing an estimated 75 per cent of the cryptocurrency industry.

Prior to this research, little hard data existed on how many people around the world actively use cryptocurrencies. The conventional wisdom has been that the number of people using bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies was around 1 million people; however, based on newly collected data, including the percentage of the estimated 35 million cryptocurrency "wallets" (software applications that store cryptocurrencies) that are in active use, the CCAF research team estimates that there at least 3 million people actively using cryptocurrency today.

While bitcoin remains the dominant cryptocurrency both in terms of market capitalisation and usage, it has conceded market cap share to other cryptocurrencies — declining from 86 per cent to 72 per cent in the past two years.

The study by the CCAF at Cambridge Judge Business School breaks down the cryptocurrency industry into four key sectors — exchanges, wallets, payments, and mining. Highlights of the findings are:

Exchanges

Cryptocurrency exchanges provide on-off ramps to cryptocurrency systems by offering services to users wishing to buy or sell cryptocurrency. This sector was the first to emerge in the cryptocurrency industry, and has the most operating entities and employs the most people. Currently, about 52 per cent of small exchanges hold a formal government license, compared to only 35 per cent of large exchanges.

Wallets

Wallets have evolved from simple software programs to sophisticated applications that offer a variety of technical features and services. As a result, the lines between wallets and exchanges are increasingly blurred, with 52 per cent of wallets providing an integrated currency exchange feature.

Payments

Cryptocurrency payment companies generally act as gateways between cryptocurrency users and the broader economy, bridging national currencies and cryptocurrencies. They can fit into two broad categories: firms that use cryptocurrency primarily as a "payment rail" for fast and efficient cross-border transactions, and firms that facilitate the use of cryptocurrency for both users and merchants. The study found that the size of the average business-to-business cryptocurrency payment ($1,878) dwarfs peer-to-peer and consumer-to-business cryptocurrency payments.

Mining

In the absence of a central authority, cryptocurrencies are created by a process called "mining" — usually the performance of a large number of computations to solve a cryptographic "puzzle". The study shows how cryptocurrency mining has evolved from a hobby activity into a professional, capital-intensive industry in which bitcoin miners earned more than $2 billion in mining revenues since 2009. The cryptocurrency mining map indicates that a significant proportion of publicly known mining facilities are concentrated in certain Chinese provinces.

The study found that more than 1,800 people are now working full time in the cryptocurrency industry, as more companies are engaged across various cryptocurrency sectors.

"Cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin have been seen by some as merely a passing fad or insignificant, but that view is increasingly at odds with the data we are observing," says Dr Garrick Hileman, Research Fellow at the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF) at Cambridge Judge Business School, who co-authored the study with Michel Rauchs, Research Assistant at CCAF.

"Currently, the combined market value of all cryptocurrencies is nearly $40 billion, which represents a level of value creation on the order of Silicon Valley success stories like Airbnb," Dr Hileman says in a foreword to the study. "The advent of cryptocurrency has also sparked many new business platforms with sizable valuations of their own, along with new forms of peer-to-peer economic activity."
 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

Source: University of Cambridge

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Bitcoin is roaring back

Bitcoin is roaring back

Bitcoin is higher for a second straight day on Tuesday, trading up 5% at $1,093 a coin as of 10:33 a.m. ET. The tw0-day win streak has tacked on about 13%, rebounding from a slump over the weekend that followed a Wall Street Journal report that the cryptocurrency's developers were threatening to set up a "hard fork," or alternative marketplace for bitcoin.

The new platform would be incompatible with the current platform, thus creating a split and two versions of the currency. That news sent bitcoin crashing 20% over the weekend to about $950 a coin, its weakest since January.

2017 has been a volatile year for the cryptocurrency.

It gained 20% in the first week of the year after soaring 120% in 2016 to become the top-performing currency for the second year in a row.

Bitcoin then crashed 35% on news that China was going to consider clamping down on trading.

But it managed to rip higher by more than 50% even in the face of several pieces of bad news.

First, China's biggest bitcoin exchanges said they were going to start charging a 0.2% fee on all transactions (previously there was no fee). Then, China's biggest exchanges said they were going to block withdrawals from trading accounts.

Still, bitcoin put in a record high of $1,327 a coin on March 10 as traders piled in ahead of the US Securities and Exchange Commission's ruling on the Winklevoss twins' bitcoin exchange-traded fund. The SEC denied the ETF, sending the price crashing by 16%. Bitcoin, however, managed to quickly recover those losses.

Two more SEC rulings are on the way, the next being March 30. Neither one is expected to pass.

Thomas Prendergast
Founder and CEO
Markethive Inc.

 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Bitcoin Is Advancing Rapidly Like In Early Days Of Internet

Bitcoin Is Advancing Rapidly Like In Early Days Of Internet

Bitcoin Is Advancing Rapidly Like In Early Days Of Internet: Experts

Mainstream adoption of Bitcoin

Bob Wood of Nexxus University says:

“Cryptocurrency is advancing rapidly with technology solutions that are far outpacing the marketplace development of the mainstream public.”

Mainstream adoption of Bitcoin goes hand in hand with an increase in market capitalization as well as the price of Bitcoin and top altcoins. Still, in the very early stages of development with a consistently growing density of adoption, certain factors are considered of utmost importance and fundamental to the development of the crypto industry in general.

Elements of adoption

Wood explains that the most important elements for mainstream adoption mirror those of previous new technologies like the personal computer and the Internet. They include public awareness and knowledge, a perceived user benefit sometimes referred to as the "killer app," convenience and ease of use, safety, and security.

According to Wood, very little is currently being done to advance the benefits of cryptocurrency from the tech world to the mainstream public. As more business-oriented entrepreneurs develop cryptocurrency solutions, more thought will go into meeting the needs for mainstream adoption. He notes that the prevailing rate of growth for mainstream adoption of cryptocurrency will need to be accelerated to see acceptance rates similar to previous new technologies.

Wood says:

“The personal computer was invented around 1975 but didn't see mainstream adoption until 1990 with the prevalence of the graphical user interface for usability. The Internet was commercially available around 1990 but didn't see mainstream adoption until after the turn of the century. Cryptocurrency is in the early stages of only eight years since its invention and is currently comparable to green screens and floppy drives of the personal computer era in the early 1980s. Based on these previous new technologies, cryptocurrency may not reach full mainstream adoption until after 2025.”

Nexxus is assisting non-tech mainstream public users in learning what cryptocurrency is and how it can benefit them. Wood says Nexxus is taking the technology to the people rather than trying to take the people to the technology:

“We need to meet people where they are most comfortable and lead them to the virtues of cryptocurrency.”

Adoption is subjective

The CEO of Netcoins, Michael Vogel, thinks that the idea of mainstream adoption of cryptocurrency is subjective:

“Personally, I've never seen Bitcoin as something that needs to be accepted by brick and mortar retailers in order to be considered mainstream.”

He continues by explaining that Bitcoin is a valuable tool for e-commerce, remittance, micropayments, peer to peer lending, store of value and many other applications. The use cases continue to grow and Bitcoin is already being used in ways that cash, credit cards, and gold simply cannot function. Vogel also notes that there are major league American sports teams that accept Bitcoin as a form of payment. “I would absolutely consider that mainstream adoption,” he says.

Internet comparison

Also making particular reference to the early days of the Internet, Vogel notes that even though a lot of users were actively online by the late 1990s, the majority of the population simply had no Internet access (or perceived need for access), while some even shunned the idea of owning a computer. Vogel explains that the Internet was not doomed to fail because it wasn't being used by everyone at that point in time. He concludes by noting that he expects a similar trajectory with Bitcoin, except with Bitcoin serving as a behind the scenes backbone for consumers accustomed to fiat currency.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member