How Blockchain Technology Will Disrupt Financial Services Firms

How Blockchain Technology Will Disrupt Financial Services Firms

 

 

Creating Value through Platforms, People and Technology,”

authors Barry Libert, Megan Beck and Jerry (Yoram) Wind look at how blockchain technology will prove to be a major disruptor to the public and private sectors, starting with the financial services industry. Libert is CEO of OpenMatters and Beck is the chief insights officer. Wind is a Wharton marketing professor and director of Wharton’s SEI Center for Advanced Studies in Management. They also wrote a book called The Network Imperative: How to Survive and Grow in the Age of Digital Business Models. The authors would like to thank LiquidHub for sponsoring the research for this series.

“There are hundreds of startups with a lot of brains and money working on various alternatives to traditional banking.” — Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan Chase

The basic rules of the game for creating and capturing economic value were once fixed in place. For years, or even decades, companies pursued the same old business models (usually selling goods or services, building and renting assets and land, and offering people’s time as services) and tried to execute better than their competitors did. But now, business model disruption is changing the very nature of economic returns and industry definitions. All industries are seeing rapid displacement, disruption, and, in extreme cases, outright destruction. The financial services industry, with its large commercial and investment banks and money managers, is no exception.

“Silicon Valley is coming,” JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon warned in his annual letter to shareholders. He said startups are coming for Wall Street, innovating and creating efficiency in areas that are important to companies such as JPMorgan, particularly in the lending and payments space. The payments startup Stripe has a multibillion-dollar valuation and a partnership with Apple Pay. Bitcoin companies and exchanges such as 21 and Coinbase are attracting tens of millions of dollars from venture capitalists. Peer-to-peer lending is booming in the small loan market with many players, including Upstart, Prosper, Funding Circle, and more. And the financial-planning startup LearnVest just got acquired for more than $250 million.

Many of these organizations are in the lending business, but are using big data and cloud technologies rather than tellers and branches to speed lending and customer acquisition. Others are leveraging network business models, such as peer-to-peer lending, to bring together would-be lenders and borrowers. According to Dimon, “We are going to work hard to make our services as seamless and competitive as theirs.” His underlying thought is this: If his company doesn’t keep pace with today’s well-capitalized upstarts, they will begin to lose relevance in a platform-centric world.

“In lots of areas, it looks like the blockchain will replace the current centralized business model of the financial services industry.”

There are many innovative, network business models that are coming after traditional financial services and banking organizations, and big banks are beginning to realize they must evolve in response if they want to remain viable in a digitally centric world — whether it comes by acquiring, partnering or developing leading-edge technologies. But what’s less clear is why, exactly, these new entrants are so disruptive and powerful. What enables them to skirt perceived constraints of these once ‘too large to fail’ incumbents and exploit unseen possibilities? In short, it is network-centered thinking with platform-based business models.

Control Shifting Away from Central Banks

In London’s Canary Wharf, a team of technologists and executives are trying to understand how to use blockchain technology to change the future of banking globally. Their leader is Blythe Masters, an ex-Wall Street commodities trader turned digital entrepreneur focused on turning the mental model and business model of the massive financial services industry and all its related parties (consumers, lawyers, accountants) on its head.

Bank executives worldwide are trying to figure out what this evolution in technology will mean for their firms. “We could go the way that file transfer technology changed music, allowing new businesses like iTunes to emerge. That is why there is such feverish activity at the moment,” said Michael Harte, chief operations and technology officer at Barclays, according to a recent article in The Financial Times. For the massive financial services sector, blockchain technology (the software behind the digital currency, Bitcoin) offers an opportunity to overhaul its existing business model, including its banking infrastructure, approach to settlements and customer interactions. But acting on this opportunity, and making the most of the blockchain, is no easy task given the core beliefs and reinforcing systems that are embedded in the industry.

Networks Are Taking Over

What is the blockchain? It is a distributed database of computers that maintains records and manages transactions. Rather than having a central authority (such as a bank), blockchain uses the network to approve “blocks,” or transactions, which are then added to the “chain” of computer code.  Cryptography is used to keep transactions secure, and the distributed nature of transaction approval makes the system harder to tamper with.

“It is only a matter of time before the broader financial services and banking industries shift to blockchain and network-based approaches.”

Blockchain technology has been hailed by its VC supporters as having revolutionary promise for all involved. “You should be taking this technology as seriously as you should have been taking the development of the Internet in the early 1990’s. It’s analogous to email for money,” said Masters, according to The Financial Times. And blockchain enthusiasts believe that the application possibilities are endless — improving the way we hold and transfer secure goods from money to deeds to music to intellectual property. In fact, blockchain, as a pure platform technology, may be able to cut out the middlemen (or middle companies) everywhere, even disrupting other disruptors like Airbnb or Uber.

In the present financial services business model, a central ledger most often acts as the custodian of that information (such as the Federal Reserve and its member banks). But in a blockchain world, the information regarding each transaction is transparently held in a digitally shared database in the cloud, without a single central body acting as the middleman. This lack of central authority is the very feature that is turning the current mental and business models of traditional financial institutions on their heads.

In a lot of areas, it looks like the blockchain will replace the current centralized business model of the financial services industry and it is easy to see how it could revolutionize all of Wall Street. The ability of the technology to provide an unforgeable record of identity, including the history of an individual’s transactions, is one area being eagerly explored. David Grace, head of global finance at PwC, said that “if you have a secure distributed ledger, it could be used to store validated ‘know your customer’ data on individuals or companies. … It’s a potentially global application that could provide more security over identity data and where that data are stored.”

It seems that the code can perform better than a real middleman in most cases.”

Clearly, we are entering a period of rapid evolution, as the financial services industry determines blockchain and what it means for their business models. Or, another scenario: A slew of startups identifies the possibilities and pulls the rug out from under big institutions. Traditional perceptions about the roles of financial players are already under attack — as it seems that the code can perform better than a real middleman in most cases. Old business models will soon fall prey to the quickly evolving technology and mental models. The network is about to do its magic: Grow and evolve without central control.

Network Business Models Will Dominate

Blockchain is already seeing use outside of the financial services sector, where it got its start. Technology and services giant IBM is adapting the blockchain methodology to develop a currency-less system that could be used for any purpose — for example, executing contracts upon delivery.

Arvind Krishna, senior vice president of IBM Research, believes that in the long run, this technology could facilitate transactions between banks or international businesses. “I want to extend banking to the 3.2 billion people who are going to come into the middle class over the next 15 years,” he said. “So I need a much lower cost of keeping a ledger. Blockchain offers some intriguing possibilities there.” A firm-centered or centrally controlled banking system clearly will not get him there, and the blockchain will allow him to leverage a digitally-enabled network as the way forward.

Join the Network Revolution

With companies such as IBM and JPMorgan Chase, as well as preeminent venture capitalist firm Andreessen Horowitz, backing this new way of facilitating financial transactions, it is only a matter of time before the broader financial services and banking industries shift to blockchain and network-based approaches Twitter  to complement, or replace, the current centralized approach. The question is not whether network business models supported by blockchain technology will disrupt these organizations, but when. So if you are a member of the current financial services industry elite — or a local bank or credit union — it’s time to become part of the digital revolution and join the network and platform-emerging world.

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about -Bitcoin.

David https://markethive.com/david-ogden

What is Siacoin and is it a Good Investment?

What is Siacoin and is it a
Good Investment?

Sia is a platform for decentralized cloud storage.

By allowing the formation of storage contracts with peers, Sia permits its users to store data across a wide network of participants in a secure, private, reliable and fault-tolerant manner. Contracts define the conditions under which a storage provider keeps user data, and require the provider to periodically submit proof of storage to reassure the client that their data is in safe hands. These contracts are stored on the blockchain such that they are publicly auditable. Sia is considered a Bitcoin derivative that includes specialized contract support. Sia’s settlement currency is aptly named Siacoin, and in the future a two-way peg will be implemented in order to financially connect the Bitcoin and Siacoin blockchains.

Sia’s Objective

Sia aims to break into the cloud storage market. The team believe this multi-billion dollar endeavour can be facilitated through blockchain technology. Offering a cheap, reliable and highly redundant cloud storage solution may prove itself worthy of competing with extortionate storage providers at both the individual and enterprise level. Sia’s primary objective is to introduce storage into the sharing economy. As the old adage goes, ‘unused memory is wasted memory;’ the team believes it is possible to liberate the unused storage of the world and unite it into a free market. Under this configuration, data is distributed across a vast network in a highly redundant manner.

This new paradigm for the cloud, where a decentralized network of ad-hoc data centers comprise a global storage solution, is extremely promising. Data remains secure through strong cryptography, storage is far more affordable, and any single point of failure is eliminated through a network of redundant nodes, ensuring the highest possible uptimes. Sia’s affordability and innovation engages competition with even the most venerable service providers.

The Mechanics

Transactions

Sia transactions are somewhat a simplification of Bitcoin’s. They strip away the pay to script mechanism, opting for the multisignature M-of-N scheme for all transactions, the motive being to reduce complexity and therefore attack surface. Some extensions are made to the transaction format to allow for the enforcement of storage contracts, as detailed in the Sia whitepaper. Fundamentally, the concepts are similar to Bitcoin’s; outputs comprise some volume of coins, and inputs are used to reference coin origins.

Proof of Storage

File storage with Sia involves dividing files down into segments of constant size, then hashing them into a Merkle tree. The Merkle tree, along with the size of the file, is used to verify storage proofs. Hosts prove that they have a file in their possession by reporting hashes from that file’s Merkle tree, along with a randomly selected segment of the file itself. The random number generator used to select which segment to send as proof is seeded by the hashed concatenation of the contract ID and the previous block header.

It is assumed that, if a host consistently produces valid proofs, they are storing the whole file. The mathematics here is simple — a ‘cheating’ node storing only 50 percent of a large file will fail to produce a storage proof in 50 percent of cases, meaning that it will take an average of 13 storage proofs until you can be 99.99 percent sure the node is dishonest. The more successful storage proofs, the more confident we are that the node is honest. Nodes are financially deterred from cheating the system because, as we will learn in the next section, if the contract terminates unsuccessfully the node loses its deposit.

Contracts

Contracts are formed between storage providers (otherwise referred to as hosts) and clients. This contract defines the conditions for the storage of data — specifically, the regularity with which the host is required to submit a proof of their continued storage of client data. These proofs must be continually submitted until the contract expires. Contracts are facilitated through a blockchain similar to Bitcoin, but with a few modifications. Hosts are compensated for submitting correct proofs and penalized for incorrect or missing proofs. These proofs are publicly verifiable and present on the blockchain, so network consensus can automatically enforce these contracts. This is significant, since it means that clients do not need to verify their own proofs; the network can do it for them.

Contracts are supplied with some initial funding from both the renter and the host. The money supplied from the renter is to subsidize the host for storing their files, whereas the money supplied from the host is a deposit, that the host will be forced to forfeit if the contract does not complete successfully.

As well as specifying the frequency of proof submission, file contracts define a duration, valid proof reward, invalid proof penalty, and a maximum number of proofs that can be missed. If this number is exceeded, the contract is terminated. The contracts create ‘challenge windows,’ in which hosts are obliged to submit their proofs of storage. These challenge windows work like this; if the host is able to supply a valid proof in the allotted time, an automatic payment is triggered to their ‘valid proof’ address. If they submit an invalid or late proof, the payment instead directs funds to a provably unspendable address, where the coins cannot be recovered. This mechanism is in place to prevent denial of service attacks on Sia nodes.

Feasibility of Attacking the Network

Two attack vectors in particular are mentioned in the Sia whitepaper. These are the so-called “block withholding attacks” and “closed window attacks.” The first of the two attacks, named “block withholding,” exploits the deterministic nature of random numbers on the blockchain. In short, since the execution of file contracts have to be deterministic, miners need to be able to reproduce random numbers with the same seed. Often, previous block header hashes are used as this seed. The idea with a block withholding attack is that an attacker could withhold blocks until they find one whose hash produces a favourable random number, allowing cheating nodes to produce valid proofs without having to store the entire file. This attack is unlikely, due to the fact that over 50 percent of the network needs to withhold blocks to manipulate 50 percent of the challenges.

Fundamentally, this kind of attack is financially unfavourable so they are uncommon in practice. Nevertheless, clients are able to avoid victimization in such a manner by specifying a high proof frequency in their storage contracts. The second, and perhaps more formidable, attack against the network is the “closed window attack.” Consider the scenario where miners decide to maliciously exclude valid storage proofs, resulting in the unnecessary burning of funds. Additionally, where malicious miners dominate the network, it would be possible for them to charge inordinate transaction fees for proofs to be included in blocks. These attacks are called “closed window attacks,” since the window in which clients are required to submit a proof of storage is artificially closed by malicious actors.

This attack is remedied by using a large window size, giving hosts a longer time to have their proofs acknowledged. Hosts can reasonably assume that the majority of the network acts in good faith, and therefore given enough time somebody will include their valid proof in a block. Not only this, but ultimately hosts are free to reject and deny storage contracts as they see fit — if they believe a contract opens them to closed window attacks, they are free to reject it.

Economics of Siacoin

Sia’s settlement currency is Siacoin. Siacoin is an inflationary currency, where supply will increase permanently. Sia uses, and will continue to use, a proof of work scheme. Like Bitcoin, newly minted Siacoins are awarded exclusively to miners as an incentive to keep the network secure. The target block time is approximately 10 minutes, congruent with Bitcoin. The genesis block reward was 300,000 Siacoin, and the network is configured such that this reward decrements until the reward reaches its absolute minimum of 30,000 coins per block.

A post regarding the coin supply from Sia's forum explains:

"By March of 2021, the inflation is about 3.4 percent. by March of 2026, the inflation will be about 2.9 percent. by March of 2036 it will be about 2.2 percent. In the long run, the inflation will be about 2 percent for long time. So in the long run, the inflation rate will probably be lower than the Sia network growth rate besides the lost coins.

In v1.2.x, Sia will implement a host Proof of Burn mechanism in which hosts have to burn certain siacoins to show that they are real and sincere for business to counter the sybil attack. When Sia network is getting mature, the estimate annual burned siacoins can be 0.1 to 0.5 percent of total available siacoins. The burned siacoins will offset the inflation in the long run. At some point, it could result in a deflation of siacoins."

The authors of the Siacoin whitepaper warn of its volatility, with particular reference to its early adoption phase. The volatility in the coin’s value might result in more expensive storage contracts being formed, where hosts hedge against potential losses by increasing their pricing in response to price fluctuations. It is expected that this unpredictability will be tamed once Siacoin and Bitcoin are connected via a two-way peg.

There are two avenues through which somebody can contribute to the Sia network and earn coins. The first, and perhaps the most obvious, is to mine them. Mining coins keeps the network secure by validating transactions. The second method is to become a host. By renting out spare storage, you will be subsidized in Siacoin in accordance to the contracts you agree to. Sia is developed by Nebulous Incorporated, a for-profit organization. The company have expressed their intent to make Sia their primary source of income, which concerns some members of the community. That said, the Sia platform is entirely open-source under the MIT license. The MIT license is renowned for being particularly lenient when it comes to forking and modifying the source code, so perhaps these concerns are unwarranted.

Siacoin and Siafunds

An important distinction between Siacoin and Siafunds needs to be made. Siacoin refers to the coin used, earned and mined by contributors to the Sia platform. On the other hand, Siafunds refers to a different premined coin. This coin represents a stake in the Sia platform as a business venture, rather than an internal currency used by the Sia network. Siafunds are how the Nebulous Corporation aim to generate revenue from Sia’s success as a platform.

Siafunds are used to generate profit proportional to the value of Sia as a platform. Specifically, this is done by imposing a contract creation fee of 4.9 percent. This fee is redistributed to Siafund holders. Siafunds are premined, where approximately 88 percent are held by Nebulous Corporation and the remaining 12 percent by early crowdfund backers of the project. Siafunds are a transferable asset, like Siacoin, but they cannot be used to finance storage contracts or miner fees. In a sense, Siafunds encapsulate a quantity of Siacoin. When Siafunds are transferred from one address to another, a transaction output is generated which contains the number of Siacoin generated from that particular Siafund since its previous movement. So, Siafunds can be thought of as an entitlement to some growing quantity of Siacoin.

The Outlook for SC-BTC

The ticker for Siacoin is SC, and with most of the traded volume coming from the Bisq, Bittrex, Cryptopia, HitBTC, Poloniex, and Yunbi exchanges. The weekly price action is displayed below for SC-BTC on the Poloniex exchange. At the time of writing, SC-BTC traded very close to an important fractal support at 0.00000253, around 0.00000321. The most recent fractal resistance lies at 0.00000838, and given a fractal support just recently formed, we expect SC-BTC begin to trend toward this level. Stronger bullish confirmation will be given if there is a weekly close higher than the base line (red), which lies around 0.00000433. Alternatively, a weekly close below the fractal support at 0.00000253 will point to a long-term bearish outlook for SC-BTC and we recommend to wait for a new floor to be established before committing to a long-term buy in this case.

Conclusion

Sia offers a scalable solution to cloud storage which introduces free memory into the sharing economy. By allowing its users to financially benefit from their spare computer memory, Sia offers unprecedented opportunities for the future of data storage. Blockchain technology has proven to be proliferating in industries where centralized solutions are withering under their deficiencies. Sia has genuine potential to democratize cloud storage, similar to how BitTorrent liberated file sharing. With its high redundancy, infrangible privacy and financial incentivisation, Sia presents an new model for the safekeeping of information where the customer has complete control of their data.

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about -Bitcoin.

David https://markethive.com/david-ogden

Bitcoin cash is crashing

Bitcoin cash is crashing

 

Bitcoin cash, the new cryptocurrency, is crashing.

Bitcoin cash has dropped 33%, to $290 a coin, over the past day, according to data from Coinmarketcap.com. That's down from its all-time high of $727 set on Wednesday, a day after its debut. Meanwhile, bitcoin is up 1.92%, to $2,852. On Tuesday, bitcoin split in two after a years-long battle in the cryptocurrency community over the rules that should guide bitcoin's network.

That split resulted in the creation of bitcoin cash, which was spun out of the same blockchain network as bitcoin — almost like a copy of it — but built to process more transactions more quickly. Many folks in the community think bitcoin cash's price has been inflated by issues with the technology underpinning the coin. When the cryptocurrency split, investors who stored their bitcoin in digital wallets that supported bitcoin cash received one bitcoin cash coin for every bitcoin. But many of them can't access their bitcoin cash coins, so they can't transfer them to exchanges where they can actively be bought and sold.

According to Aaron Lasher, the CMO of Breadwallet, a bitcoin wallet, the price of bitcoin cash could drop even further once those coins enter the exchanges, based on simple economics — when more people look to sell a good than to buy it, the price falls. Samson Mow, the chief strategy officer at Blockstream, told Business Insider the bitcoin cash house of cards could fall apart and that the cryptocurrency was unlikely to "survive at prices above $100 in the long term."

Sebastian Quinn-Watson, a venture partner at Blockchain Global, a bitcoin exchange operator based in Australia, said, "We have some of our key traders telling us that they will be getting out of their BCC positions by 8 August." August 8 is when SegWit, a software update for the original bitcoin blockchain, is set to go into effect. "We see 8 August as the day the bell tolls for bitcoin cash," Quinn-Watson said. "If the prices of BCC remain strong post the 8th then it is likely to be a currency for a long period. "Alternatively, we could see a consolidation in bitcoin and see it run well past its peak," he concluded.

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about -Bitcoin.

David https://markethive.com/david-ogden

The Blockchain: What It Is and Why It Matters

The Blockchain:
What It Is and Why It Matters

Chances are that you’ve heard of bitcoin, the digital currency

that many predict will revolutionize payments – or prove to be a massive fraud – depending on what you read. Bitcoin is an application that runs on the Blockchain, which is ultimately a more interesting and profound innovation. The Blockchain is a secure transaction ledger database that is shared by all parties participating in an established, distributed network of computers. It records and stores every transaction that occurs in the network, essentially eliminating the need for “trusted” third parties such as payment processors. Blockchain proponents often describe the innovation as a “transfer of trust in a trustless world,” referring to the fact that the entities participating in a transaction are not necessarily known to each other yet they exchange value with surety and no third-party validation. For this reason, the Blockchain is a potential game changer.

In 2008, Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous person or group of people credited with developing bitcoin, released a whitepaper describing the software protocol. Since then, the network has grown and bitcoin has become a recognized unit of value around the globe. Bitcoin is extremely important because it provides a mechanism for accessing the Blockchain – but it’s not the only application that can leverage the platform. Bitcoin has also been on the receiving end of some bad press, such as around the collapse of the Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange earlier last year. The Mt. Gox story is not necessarily an indictment of bitcoin. For the purposes of this post, simply remember this: bitcoin is just a mechanism for transacting on the Blockchain and the Blockchain is the key innovation.

The Blockchain: Trustworthy Transactions in a Trustless World

The Blockchain enables the anonymous exchange of digital assets, such as bitcoin, but it is not technically dependent on bitcoin. The elegance of the Blockchain is that it obviates the need for a central authority to verify trust and the transfer of value. It transfers power and control from large entities to the many, enabling safe, fast, cheaper transactions despite the fact that we may not know the entities we are dealing with.The mechanics of the Blockchain are novel and highly disruptive. As people transact in a Blockchain ecosystem, a public record of all transactions is automatically created. Computers verify each transaction with sophisticated algorithms to confirm the transfer of value and create a historical ledger of all activity. The computers that form the network that are processing the transactions are located throughout the world and importantly are not owned or controlled by any single entity. The process is real-time, and much more secure than relying on a central authority to verify a transaction.

There are many analogous concepts both ancient and modern. Technology has and will continue to transfer power and control from central authorities and distribute them to the masses. For example, time used to be determined and communicated by large clock towers that were expensive to build and maintain. Engineering innovations ultimately decentralized the quantification of time to the individual. Likewise, WhatsApp, a popular cross platform messaging app, cut the transaction cost of sending messages globally – and cut profits for the carriers. The central authority (phone carriers) lost to the application (WhatsApp) built on a decentralized network (i.e. the Internet).

Similarly, third parties that currently verify transactions (the central authority) stand to lose against the Blockchain (the decentralized network). As such, the Blockchain essentially disintermediates these third-party transaction verifiers: auditors, legal services, payment processors, brokerages and other similar organizations. While you may not be convinced that exchanging bitcoin is an invaluable service, there are many other examples of value transfer that are critical – and currently very slow and expensive. Consider the exchange of property: numerous intermediaries are currently involved in this process, such as a third-party escrow service that works for both parties to ensure a smooth transfer. The escrow service, like other services built solely on trust and verification, collect fees that would be mitigated by performing the transaction on the Blockchain – as would wire transfer fees, third party financial auditing, contract execution, etc.

The use case of the Blockchain enabling a decentralized currency exchange – such as bitcoin – is well defined and will likely be the dominant use case near term, however there are a multitude of innovative and disruptive use cases. Companies are already building their own Blockchains for various applications such as Gridcoin that leverages the Blockchain to crowdsource scientific computing projects. Gridcoin uses its own protocols that require much less computing power and electricity to manage than traditional bitcoin networks.

The Blockchain: and Why it Matters (Let’s Not Mess it Up)

The Blockchain is a foundational technology, like TCP/IP, which enables the Internet. And much like the Internet in the late 1990s, we don’t know exactly how the Blockchain will evolve, but evolve it will. Similar to the Internet, the Blockchain must also be allowed to grow unencumbered. This will require careful handling that recognizes the difference between the platform and the applications that run on it. TCP/IP empowers numerous financial applications that are regulated, but TCP/IP is not regulated as a financial instrument. The Blockchain should receive similar consideration. While the predominant use case for the Blockchain today is bitcoin currency exchange that may require regulation, this will change over time.

Had we over-regulated the Internet early on, we would have missed out on many innovations that we can’t imagine living without today. The same is true for the Blockchain. Disruptive technologies rarely fit neatly into existing regulatory considerations, but rigid regulatory frameworks have repeatedly stifled innovation. It’s likely that innovations in the Blockchain will outpace policy, let’s not slow it down.

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about -Bitcoin.

David https://markethive.com/david-ogden

Bitcoin has split in two, so you can have double the cryptocurrency

Bitcoin has split in two, so you can have double the cryptocurrency

What the split means for you

 

Bitcoin was split into Bitcoin Cash

A little after 8AM ET today, Bitcoin was split into Bitcoin Cash, an alternative cryptocurrency, in a chain split that had been anticipated for months. The split, called a “hard fork,” comes out of a bitcoin group’s desire to combat high transaction fees and a bitcoin size limit that made mining larger blocks invalid. This has a nuanced implication for Bitcoin owners. If you own Bitcoin and control your private keys, the same private keys can be used to spend your newly minted Bitcoin Cash.

If you own Bitcoin but don’t control the keys, then it depends on whether you’ve chosen to keep your bitcoins on a Bitcoin Cash-friendly platform or digital wallet. Each platform is treating the new Bitcoin Cash differently. To enjoy this extra currency, you should check with your platform and wallet to see what the company policy is.the world’s most popular cryptocurrency exchange has rejected the new Bitcoin Cash As a prelude to the split, Bitcoin trading platforms like CEX.io suspended Bitcoin withdrawals beforehand. CEX.io will allow both cryptocurrencies and split the coins for its customers. CEX.io chief marketing officer Eugene Kovalyk says, “Whether we will list Bitcoin Cash as a new trading pair depends on the demand. If demand is big we should consider adding it definitely…No one should lose Bitcoin Cash on our platform.”

Meanwhile, the world’s most popular cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase, has rejected the new Bitcoin Cash to some customers’ chagrin. It argues that their systems can’t support Bitcoin Cash without a major system rework that is currently not worth the unknown value of Bitcoin Cash. A spokeswoman for CoinBase says, “If this decision were to change in the future and Coinbase was to access Bitcoin Cash, we would distribute Bitcoin Cash to customers associated with Bitcoin balances at the time of the fork. Coinbase would not keep the Bitcoin Cash associated with customer Bitcoin balances.” The exchange allowed a brief window of time before August 1st for users who wished to access Bitcoin cash to withdraw their funds from Coinbase.

National police forces in Europe are seeking new cash for research on how to tackle cybercrimes involving cryptocurrencies.According to an evaluation report released late last month, the Swedish Police Authority and its counterparts in Austria and Germany are preparing to bid for funding from a program called Horizon 2020, a European Union research initiative.Specifically, the funds would be sourced from Secure Societies, a sub-section of that program focused on cybercrime initiatives. Through Horizon 2020, which was launched in 2014, the EU has made a total of €80 billion ($94.6 billion) available to cover a wide range of research areas.Setting out the law enforcement agencies' plans,

The report states:

"At present, the Swedish Police are participating in a consortium with the [Federal Police Force] in Austria and its counterpart in Germany to prepare a bid for Secure Societies on virtual currencies and the Darknet."

While the report didn't reveal the amounts to be solicited by the three police agencies, it highlights the Internal Security Fund (ISF) – a European Commission funding pool with a total of €3.8 billion allocated for member countries' police forces over the seven years until 2020. The basic allocation for Sweden under this fund currently is €21 million, according to the ISF.

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about -Bitcoin.

David https://markethive.com/david-ogden

Bitcoin to surge nearly 80% to $5,000, ethereum to double, Standpoint’s Moas predicts

Bitcoin to surge nearly 80% to $5,000, ethereum to double,
Standpoint's Moas predicts

  • Analyst Ronnie Moas said in early July he bought some bitcoin and expects it to roughly double and reach $5,000.
  • He published a full report on his findings this weekend.
  • Moas said he's bought bitcoin, ethereum, litecoin and several other major digital currencies.

 

After testing out digital currencies earlier this month,

independent stock research analyst Ronnie Moas on Sunday published the first two parts of his 122-page report on bitcoin and other digital currencies. "In my view, the genie is out of the bottle, and cryptocurrencies will continue to rise and take market share away from stocks, other precious metals, bonds and currencies," Moas, founder of Standpoint Research, said in the report. "I think investors should take a shot on this and hold for a few years. If you lose a few bucks, at least you took a shot," he said. "In life, you miss every shot that you do not take. It will probably be more upsetting to watch it (from the sidelines) go up another 1,000%."

Moas gave bitcoin a $5,000 price target for 2018, reflecting nearly 80 percent upside from Monday's price of about $2,800. He also expects rival digital currency ethereum to more than double in value from just under $200 to reach $400 in the next year, and another digital currency, litecoin, to double from about $40 to $80. In the next week or two, Moas said he plans to issue the third part of the 122-page report about how a fourth and much smaller digital currency could rise a few hundred percent in the near future. The stock analyst said he's bought 10 of the top 20 digital currencies by market capitalization in order to be diversified, marking the first time in 20 years he's put money into his own recommendations.

"In my view, 10-15 years from now, the charts on a few of the top 20 names will look like the Amazon, Apple, Tesla, Facebook, Netflix and Google charts look today," Moas said in the report. Moas' report comes just before a possible split in bitcoin Tuesday, if some developers go ahead with a scheduled upgrade known as Bitcoin Cash. Direct owners of bitcoin will then hold two versions of the digital currency. "The market is telling you right now that we will get through this event tomorrow," Moas told CNBC in a phone interview Monday, noting bitcoin traded close to its all-time high. The digital currency hit a record $3,025 in mid-June, fell to $1,837 in mid-July, before recovering about $1,000 to trade near $2,800 on Monday, according to CoinDesk.

Back on July 5, Moas told CNBC he bought some bitcoin, ethereum and litecoin and expects bitcoin could reach $5,000 "in a few months." He subsequently published an article on Reddit outlining his views on digital currencies. Since then, institutional attention on bitcoin has only increased. Fundstrat co-founder Tom Lee became the first major Wall Street strategist to publish a report about bitcoin on July 7. Less than a week later, Switzerland's financial market regulator authorized the first Swiss bank to manage bitcoinfor clients, while the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission last Monday approved the first bitcoin options platform.

Last Tuesday, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission also issued a report and investors bulletin on initial coin offerings, or sales of new digital coins. I have little doubt that 1% of the money in cash, bonds, stocks and gold will end up in cryptocurrencies," Moas wrote in his report. Since the $80 billion cryptocurrency market right now is a 25th of 1 percent of the $200 trillion in gold, cash, stocks and bonds, Moas pointed out digital currencies will need to increase by 25 times in order to reach 1 percent of the overall capital market. If cryptocurrencies become part of asset allocation models and take 2 to 4 percent of capital markets, then the digital currencies will likely increase 100 times in value, Moas said

To be sure, Moas also laid out a host of risks for investing in digital currencies, including inherent high volatility, large-scale hacks on cryptocurrency firms and potential regulation, especially in China, that could cause prices to "collapse." In addition, Moas pointed out the lack of customer support for online digital currency products. "There is no telephone support," he said in the report. "You must go to the FAQs section and spend a long time looking for the answer to whatever question you may have — and then you may not be happy with the answer. Your only other option is to send an email to customer support which could take anywhere from one-to-seven days to get a reply."

Coinbase, a popular website for buying and selling digital currencies in the U.S., has repeatedly reported website loading delays or outages in the last few months due to high customer traffic. All that said, the stock analyst said he believes the time to buy digital currencies is now. He described in his report how investors can buy bitcoin, and why financial institutions are interested in the blockchain technology behind bitcoin and other digital currencies. "I watched from the sidelines for a few years and it felt recently as if the train is leaving the station," Moas said. "I think we are still in the first quarter of a four quarter game and that even though I missed out on significant gains (2014 – 2016), it is not too late to get in."

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about -Bitcoin.

David https://markethive.com/david-ogden

Bitcoin Cash: Why It’s Forking the Blockchain And What That Means

 

Bitcoin's scaling debate finally seems to be shaking out,

but some users aren't happy with the results. After a few years of debate, it was perhaps to be expected that at least some were going to come away empty-handed. Controversial scaling proposal Segwit2x tried to remedy this by joining two code change ideas – the code optimization Segregated Witness (SegWit) and a block size increase. Today, SegWit is just a couple of steps away from activating on bitcoin, but some bitcoin users are unhappy about the outcome.

Others who originally backed the Segwit2x proposal appear to be losing confidence in an eventual block size increase and are now taking matters into their own hands by making their own version of bitcoin – and they're doing so on a short timeline. On August 1, at precisely 12:20 UTC, the group claims that they will split off from bitcoin, creating a new cryptocurrency called Bitcoin Cash. Developer Calin Culianu, who's contributing code to an implementation of Bitcoin Cash, is one user who doesn't like SegWit, suspecting that others feel the same way.

Culianu told CoinDesk:

”If the Segwit2x agreement fails to implement the 2x part, which is not entirely unreasonable, and only ends up being being basically SegWit without the 2x, many miners will likely defect to Bitcoin Cash."

What is Bitcoin Cash?

So, what is it? And how does it differ from bitcoin?

There are two main changes of note:

  • It increases the block size to 8 MB.
  • It removes SegWit, a code change that might activate on the bitcoin blockchain by the end of August.

Some, including a few of the project's supporters, call Bitcoin Cash an "altcoin," a term that usually denotes a fork of the software that creates a new cryptocurrency, with its own market. Indeed, the cryptocurrency is currently trading at $461, meaning it's worth about 18% of bitcoin's current price of $2,568, in an already-open futures market. Unlike other altcoins, though, Bitcoin Cash's transaction history would be the same as bitcoin's – at least up until the point of the split. So, if and when Bitcoin Cash splits off, users would have bitcoin on both blockchains.

Another difference is the project says it will support multiple implementations of its software, a move that's not surprising given the criticism that Bitcoin Core's software is too dominant on the bitcoin network. BitcoinABC is the first software to implement the Bitcoin Cash protocol, but the goal is for there to be many implementations. Culianu said that both Bitcoin Unlimited and Bitcoin Classic, other implementations that aim to increase bitcoin’s block size, are working on a version compatible with Bitcoin Cash. These might or might not be ready for August 1.

Who's involved?

So far, most bitcoin companies, mining pools, users and bitcoin developers seem uninterested in the effort. Yet, there are some eager supporters. Beijing-based mining firm ViaBTC, which boasts roughly 4% of bitcoin’s computing power, is the clear ringleader. The firm, which also operates an exchange, has become the first to list the cryptocurrency and also has plans to launch a new mining pool dedicated solely to Bitcoin Cash. (Though, so far, it's not clear how much of its 4% mining hashrate it will commit to the effort.) Asked if he believed Segwit2x would fulfill its roadmap, CEO Haipo Yang responded: "I doubt it." Further, Bitcoin Cash has attracted support from some users who want a block size increase, as well as developers of other proposals such as Bitcoin Classic and Bitcoin Unlimited.

What might be more surprising, though, is who's not involved. Even former supporters, including mining firms Bitcoin.com and Bitmain, seem hesitant to back the effort. For now, they remain committed to controversial scaling proposal Segwit2x. Mining company Bitmain even inspired Bitcoin Cash. Yet, the firm said that they only planned on going through with making the switch under certain conditions. Still, the firm might support both Segwit2x and Bitcoin Cash in the future. In a PSA statement, Bitcoin.com said that it will allow miners in its pool to choose if they want to mine the Bitcoin Cash token BCC. For now, though, it will mine on Segwit2x chain, though it said it "will immediately shift all company resources to supporting Bitcoin Cash exclusively" if the block size increase part of SegWit, scheduled for roughly three months from now, falls through.

Wait, but why?

There are a few reasons users and mining pools might like to break off from bitcoin:

  • These users want an increase in bitcoin's block size parameter, and believe that the cryptocurrency's future depends on it.
  • SegWit is likely going to activate soon and some users want to avoid the feature.
  • There's a possibility that Segwit2x's block size parameter increase will ultimately fall through.

This mix of ideological and technical reasons was also on display in conversations with users.

When asked by CoinDesk what BitcoinABC's goal is, Culianu responded:

"To save bitcoin. We want to scale bitcoin up so that it won't die. It's already a bit sick and dying."

What's different here?

Many other efforts over the last couple of years have said they would split off from bitcoin, if they gained enough support from those operating the computers that secure the network. But, to date, no group has actually carried through with this plan so far. Bitcoin Cash might be unique in that it's actually committing to a deadline to split bitcoin into two, and that deadline is less than a week away. If miners and users indeed go ahead with the split, it would mark the first time a cryptocurrency split off from bitcoin, carrying with it bitcoin’s transaction history.

Like past efforts intended to replace the bitcoin used today with a new bitcoin, however, Bitcoin Cash has the same goal, but it seems willing to wait and see if users join the effort. Rather than call it bitcoin, ViaBTC, as well as a group of bitcoin companies in China, signed an agreement to label it a "competitive currency," not the "real" bitcoin. The move could set up the split to happen more quickly, as in the past exchanges have expressed confusion over how to handle a fork.

What's next?

If a new cryptocurrency splits off from the main bitcoin network, it will mark a first. So, some users are curious to see what happens. Still, without much support from miners and users, it might not end up having that much of an impact on the course of the main network. Nonetheless, it might if be worth watching if the second half of Segwit2x falls through. That's when it might see some more supporters.

Culianu, for example, concluded on an optimistic note:

”My secret gut feeling is Bitcoin Cash may surprise all of us. It is not entirely impossible that it will be the de-facto bitcoin after a few months. The much roomier 8 MB block space is attractive."

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about -Bitcoin.

David https://markethive.com/david-ogden

A little cooperation goes a long way

I like this story I read on LinkedIn. 

"A father left 17 ducks as asset for his Three Sons. When the Father passed away, his sons opened up the will.

The Will of the Father stated that the Eldest son should get Half of 17 ducks, The Middle Son should be given 1/3rd of 17 ducks, Youngest Son should be given 1/9th of the 17 ducks. 

As it is not possible to divide 17 into half or 17 by 3 or 17 by 9, the sons started to fight with each other. So, they decided to go to a wise man who lives in a cave. 

The wise man listened patiently about the Will. The wise man, after giving this thought, brought one duck of his own & added the same to 17. That increased the total to 18 ducks. 

Now, he started reading the deceased father’s will. Half of 18 = 9. So he gave 9 ducks to the eldest son. 1/3rd of 18 = 6. So he gave 6 ducks to the middle son. 1/9th of 18 = 2. 

So he gave 2 ducks to the youngest son. Now add this up : 9 + 6 + 2 = 17 & This leaves 1 duck which the wise man took back.

MORAL : The attitude of negotiation & problem solving is to find the 18th duck i.e. the common ground. Once a person is able to find the common ground, the issue is resolved. 

It is difficult at times. To reach a solution, the first step is to believe that there is a solution. If we think that there is no solution, we won’t be able to reach any"

If you would like to see how Markethive can solve your marketing problems, login here.  —-> Markethive

Markethive is always completely free and your best social network for entrepreneurs.

Thanks to 

Akella Gourisankar

Akella Gourisankar  for this information

 

David https://markethive.com/david-ogden

Why a Multilingual Website

10 Reasons why you need a Multilingual Website

10 Reasons why you need a Multilingual Website

The internet continues to grow and has become the default point of call for businesses and individuals searching for goods, services or information.

For businesses wishing to get that competitive advantage, a multilingual website now presents one of the most high impact means of expanding a client base and securing greater sales volumes.

The multilingual website will continue to become a necessity for businesses and organizations as the process of internationalization unfolds.

1 Shift Away from English Internet Users

The internet began as an English speaker's invention and as a result was dominated by English speaking users and sites. However, times are changing. With the growing numbers of people buying PC's and internet access available from Nigeria to New Zealand, English speakers will soon be in the minority when it comes to internet use.

Results of research carried out by Nielsen-Netratings in March 2005 described foreign internet markets as "low hanging fruit," i.e. if you have the will and foresight there are massive revenues to be found for relatively little effort. The results showed that internet use in the traditional strong holds of the USA, Germany, the UK and Sweden is flat lining. On the other hand countries such as France, Hong Kong, Italy and Japan are seeing substantial growth in internet usage.

As Kaizad Gotla, senior analyst at Nielsen-Netratings states, "The easiest opportunities are in countries where internet usage patterns and user/site relationships are less established. Acquiring users in markets that are currently in their growth stages will lead to a loyal user base that will pay dividends for internet companies in the future."

2 Cost Effective Marketing Tool

Having the ability to communicate to a whole new international audience in their own language will undoubtedly yield results not only in a financial sense but also in terms of marketing and creating awareness of your brand, service or product.

A multilingual website in the grand scheme of things is probably one of the most cost effective ways of marketing your company, capturing new users, building relationships with new clients and giving your brand an international outlook.

3 New Customers

Ultimately what a multilingual website brings you are new customers. By having your site accessible to potentially thousands of people you are showcasing your company across the globe. For non-English speaking users looking for your product or service, you automatically capture their attention.

4 Sales

With every language added to a website there is the potential for an increase of between 100% in sales. Even if a multilingual website is translated into a few of the major world languages, i.e. Spanish, French, German and Italian there is potentially a 400% increase in sales. There are few other ways to get such an increase for such little investment.

5 Customer-Centric

A multilingual website demonstrates you are thinking about the customer. That little extra effort shows you have thought and cared enough about them to offer the website in their language. As with anything in business, if the customer thinks you care, they will want to do business with you.

6 Trust

For many cultures there is an issue of trust when it comes to buying over the internet, especially if they feel it is in a language they are not fully proficient in. Offering them a language alternative allows the customers to feel secure in the fact they know what they are buying, how and who from.

7 Culturally Sensitive

A multilingual website, if designed properly, overcomes potential cultural barriers through allowing access in a native language. This automatically puts the user in a 'cultural comfort zone' due to their being able to navigate, understand and interact with the website.

8 Beat Competitors

To get the competitive advantage in today's environment you need to think outside the box. Many businesses try to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Look at your competitors – if they have multilingual websites then why don't you? If they don't, then why not lead the marketplace and establish your company or brand abroad before they do.

9 Shows International Nature

Image is everything. A multilingual website demonstrates you think, work and deal internationally.

10 Search Engines

Search engines lead people to your site. In countries such as China, Japan and France, Google, Yahoo and MSN are not the default search engines. Home grown search engines are emerging and they are proving successful because they work in native languages and are focused on the habits and needs of their users. Such search engines are a key to tapping those markets and unless they have access to a particular language through your multilingual website then you will not be found.

In addition, many of the key search engines, especially Google, are developing the capacity to run searches in foreign languages. Having pages of your site available in those languages ensures maximum potential for your site being picked up in searches.

Conclusion

Business continually sees shifts and changes. At present the multilingual website is still in its early stages, with mostly large multinational companies using them to secure an international foothold. However, the trickle-down effect will naturally occur and the multilingual website will become part and parcel of an internet presence. Whether people chose to invest now or later is the only choice they have.

 

David https://markethive.com/david-ogden

Entrepreneurial Social Networks

Top 5 Social Networks Entrepreneur Strategy

There are hundreds of social networks out there. You can’t be everywhere and we all need to focus our efforts and time on the most effective social networking sites. Here are the social networks I would recommend most for entrepreneurs.

Looking for a job? Consider creating your own. There are a number of social resources to help you connect with other entrepreneurs and get your business ideas off the ground.

Here are the top 5 social networks for entrepreneurs. Each helps entrepreneurs succeed by providing them with the guidance, tools and resources they need to setup their company and gain exposure.

Nothing compares with the brute force horsepower Inbound Marketing engine that comes free with Markethive, but we need to build alliances among our peers and this list is the top 10 of other Entrepreneurial social nets we recommend you frequent as well.

1. Markethive

I am putting Markethive as number one for many reasons, including a serious case of bias. I built it, aside from that. Markethive is a traditional easily navigated and profile oriented network similar to Facebook, oriented like LinkedIn but unique in that it's engine is a multimillion dollar Inbound Marketing platform. As entrepreneurs, we invest (spend) millions on autoresponder systems, capture page systems, blogging platforms, broadcasting technologies, known as Inbound Marketing today. Markethive's founder is the same man the developed Veretekk and invented Automated Marketing, auto responders, capture pages basically what has become today known as Inbound Marketing. There is no other Inbound Marketing solution on the Internet that comes close, has the level of integration found on the Internet at any price and the other systems cost upwards of $10,000 per month. Markethive's Inbound Marketing platform is free included and built into the social network.

2.  StartupNation

Most social networks neglect the content aspect that makes StartupNation so useful.  With articles, forums, blogs, on-demand seminars, and podcasts, entrepreneurs will be better prepared for their ventures and have the resources required to make better business decisions. 

There are a wide range of topics being discussed on StartupNation right now, including business planning, marketing and web-based business.  The site also offers a series of competitions, such as a dorm-based 20 contest and an elevator pitch competition. If you're an entrepreneur or hope to become one, this site is definitely one you can’t miss out on.

3.  LinkedIn

It’s difficult to leave LinkedIn off of any social networking list because it’s so useful for anyone who's either searching for a job, is trying to network with like-minded individuals, or building a company.  LinkedIn offers many resources for entrepreneurs, such as groups, including the very popular “On Startups” group that has over 54,000 members. 

Entrepreneurs on LinkedIn should brand themselves properly so they can attract the right kind of business opportunities, and perform searches to find service providers or partners.  As an entrepreneur, you should also be looking to participate in LinkedIn Answers, events and applications to spruce up your profile and become a valuable member to your community.

4.  Perfect Business

If you want to meet thousands of serious entrepreneurs, experts and investors from a variety of industries, then Perfect Business might be the perfect social network for you.  The type of people you’ll find are potential business partners, potential clients and advisers. Additionally, the site has leading business partners like Entrepreneur and Virgin Money.

From business networking to a video center where you can learn from successful entrepreneurs, a business plan builder and even an investor center, you’ll have most of the resources you need to create or regenerate your business. There is a free basic membership and a gold membership that costs $29.99 per month.

5.   The Funded

The Funded is an online community of entrepreneurs who research, rate and review funding sources.  Entrepreneurs can view and share terms sheets to assist each other in finding good investors, as well as discuss the inner workings of operating a business.  General benefits of this site include viewing facts, reviews and commentary on funding resources, and accessing RSS feeds of the most recent public comments by members. 

By joining the site, you have access to detailed fund profiles with specialty, reference investments, and investment criteria, in addition to accessing partner vCards that have full contact information of all partners at venture funds.  In order to get any value out of this social network, you pretty much have to become a member.

 

 

David https://markethive.com/david-ogden