All posts by Thomas Prendergast

Malta’s PM: The Rise of Cryptocurrencies ‘Cannot Be Stopped’

European regulators should embrace cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, the prime minister of Malta argued in a speech yesterday.

Speaking at the CEPS Ideas Lab in Brussels on 23rd February, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat argued that governments in the European Union should "double down" on the tech, which he pointed out is slowly catching on amongst the bloc’s financial institutions, according to a transcript published by Live News Malta.

Muscat's remarks were in the context of reinvigorating the EU, which has faced rising socio-economic pressures in recent years. He also proposed that leaders in the bloc create financial mechanisms to invest in areas that may be inclined to leave the EU, as was with the case of the UK's so-called "Brexit" vote last year.

Though prefacing his statements by saying that he is opting to advocate for "outright insane" sounding ideas, Muscat argued that "the rise of cryptocurrencies can be slowed but cannot be stopped".

He went on to tell event attendees:

"My point is that rather than resist, European regulators should innovate and create mechanisms in which to regulate cryptocurrencies, in order to harness their potential and better protect consumers, while making Europe the natural home of innovators."

Among the firms in Europe testing the tech is Malta’s primary stock exchange, which in December formed an internal "Blockchain Committee" dedicated to exploring how the exchange might utilize the tech.

The exchange further indicated its intention to set up a domestic blockchain consortium in Malta, aimed at creating a basis for the development of new applications.

Chris COrey CMO Markethive 

Image via Wikimedia

EUMalta

 (@mpmcsweeney)

 

TP

The Many Ways You Can Book Your Travels Using Bitcoin

 

You can also earn Bitcoin and have them traded for you on auto pilot. Thomas Prendergast and myself are rolliing out a massive marketing effort to build a huge team. You can join the link

HERE https://office.tradecoinclub.com/register/ICOREY Do not drag your feet and miss out on very important placement on our team

Many bitcoiners like to travel. In 2017 there are ways for people to use their bitcoins to book flights, car rentals, and hotels. Indeed, there are many options available to purchase any travel amenities imaginable without having to convert bitcoin to fiat.

Also read: Here Are Four Bitcoin Exchanges That Require Very Little Identity Verification

Traveling the World With Bitcoin

Did you know there are quite a few options out there to pay for flights and travel accommodations with Bitcoin? In fact, everyone’s favorite cryptocurrency can pay for plane tickets, purchase a rental car, and book lodging in cities across the globe. Over the past few years, a good handful of travel companies have embraced Bitcoin, thus enabling people to visit worldwide destinations on the decentralized currency.

Cheapair

Cheapair.com is well-known in the cryptocurrency community for offering affordable flights for Bitcoin. The California-based company introduced Bitcoin support in 2013. Cheapair believes it was one of the first travel firms to accept the digital currency for payment processing.

“We will do whatever it takes to make travel buying easier and give Cheapair customers more options,” said Jeff Klee, CEO of Cheapair at the time. “We’re intrigued by the growing Bitcoin phenomenon, and we are happy to provide Bitcoin users an easy, secure way to book flights.”

The platform’s interface is pretty straightforward and operates like any other online travel service. Users can book flights to anywhere in the world from most airports and major airline services. Cheapair can also provide hotel accommodations and car rentals for trips as well. All of these services can be purchased with bitcoin immediately by using the company’s shopping cart portal.

BTCTrip

BTCTrip believes it is “the travel agency for the cryptocurrency community.” The New York-based company, founded in 2013 by Yamil Alis and Martin Fernandez, enables users to pay with bitcoin for travel needs. Currently, the service offers flight and hotel accommodations, covering many destinations worldwide. The user interface is fairly simple, allowing users to fill out where they would like to travel, followed by departure and return dates. The travel company also accepts Dogecoin and Litecoin payments.

Expedia

 

Expedia is probably one of the most popular online travel agencies and has been around since 1996. The full-service travel giant announced it would accept bitcoin back in June 2014. The announcement pleased the cryptocurrency community, as it meant a degree of mainstream acceptance. The company partnered with Coinbase to facilitate bitcoin purchases for flight and travel accommodations.

Fred Ehrsam, co-founder of Coinbase, explained that “By accepting bitcoin as a form of payment, Expedia is giving a wider community of users the opportunity to book hotels from their site’s inventory of properties all around the world quickly and easily.”

Expedia users simply choose a flight, hotel or car rental using the company’s online platform, and proceed to pay with bitcoin at checkout. Expedia does have a separate terms and conditions page specifically for bitcoin purchases. The site explains how Coinbase facilitates the payment, tells its customers about miner fees, and how bitcoin transactions are irreversible.

More Flights for Bitcoin

There are other companies that offer airline tickets for bitcoin payments. If you are planning to travel around the European mainland a company called Abitsky offers discounted flights and travel accommodations for travelers paying with bitcoin. Destinia is another company that offers trip amenities for destinations all around the world using cryptocurrency payments. Destinia recently said it would rather “build bridges than walls”, speaking out in opposition to Donald Trump’s immigration statements. The travel agency is offering a 5 percent discount for those traveling from Mexico to the U.S.

Another full-service travel agency that accepts bitcoin payments is Fluege.com, which offers flights, hotels, and car rentals worldwide. Furthermore, the well-known airline service Airbaltic has offered alternative payment choices, such as bitcoin for flights, since 2014. The well-known airline takes passengers to many Baltic state destinations, and the company can be found at many local airports worldwide.

While planning a trip can be frustrating, finding a travel agency that accepts Bitcoin is pretty easy.

Have you ever used any of these companies to purchase travel arrangements with bitcoin? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Pixabay, BTCTrip, Expedia, and Cheapair.


Whether you’re a beginner or a long-time bitcoin player, there’s always something interesting going on in the bitcoin.com Forums. We are proud free speech advocates, and no matter what your opinion on bitcoin we guarantee it’ll be seen and heard here. We don’t censor.

Chris Corey CMO Markethive Inc

http:// https://office.tradecoinclub.com/register/ICOREY

 

 

By Jamie Redman –

 

February 15, 2017

 

TP

90% of Altcoins Wont Make it But Bitcoin Will Sustain

 

Altcoins are springing up on a daily basis, you might have noticed that they appear pretty regularly in the lists of CoinMarketCap. However, Ethereum Classic's Charles Hoskinson predicts that as much as 90 percent of altcoin will probably die out in the near future.

Speaking to Cointelegraph about the sustainability of cryptocurrencies, Hoskinson, who was with Ethereum before crossing the carpet to ETC, outlined what makes a digital currency thick.

"As for most cryptocurrencies, I agree completely they will likely die out," Hoskinson related. "As 90 percent of businesses usually fail in the first few years, there is no reason to believe that coins are any different."

Treasury Mechanic system

To ensure sustainability of cryptocurrency he is convinced Treasury Mechanic measures should be explored and taken seriously:

"I think all cryptocurrencies should strongly consider a treasury mechanic. It creates long-term sustainability if it's correctly implemented. We are going to look closely at our own treasury for ETC."

Recently some altcoins have come under scrutiny for employing pump and dump tactics to swindle its holders. Case in point is CageCoin, that recently rose by 31,000 percentage point but fell miserably within 24 hours.

It is very imperative that community members undertake the necessary due diligence when they are investing in any coin. This is very crucial at a stage where digital currency is scaling and convincing sceptics, it is not a nine-day wonder but has really come to stay.

Bitcoin is sustainable

On the contrary, Hoskinson holds the view that Bitcoin is not in the category of the unsustainable coins and the strength of every currency is in its communities, not its technology per se.

He elaborates:

"Technology can incentivize more community to come but it cannot replace it. Bitcoin has the strongest community of all cryptocurrencies and also the most resilient. It has survived over a billion dollars of theft, dozens of death declarations and exchange failures alongside many so called leaders trying to hijack to project and the founder leaving. It's absolutely stunning that Bitcoin has survived and thrived. I don't think Bitcoin is going to die. Rather the better question is where does it stop."

Truly, that is the only thing for all currencies including the US Dollar. It is merely strong because people accept it for goods and services. Imagine if they suddenly stopped, the dollar would be in trouble

 

Bitcoin won't die

"I don't think Bitcoin is going to die. Rather the better question is where does it stop?" Hoskinson queries. He articulates it will either become a universal payment system or simply a digital gold standard that stores value.

With the standard of measurement improving swiftly with infrastructures like ATMs, debit cards, hundreds of thousands of merchants, it is hard to dispute Charles Hoskinson on this.

"Many contractors in Eastern Europe do dev work for Bitcoin – it is very popular in Ukraine, for example," Hoskinson remarked. If you would like to earn and have Bitcoin traded for you automatically? 

Thomas Prendergast and I are putting together a team in Trade Coin Club and you can join us Here https://office.tradecoinclub.com/register/ICOREY

 

Chris Corey CMO Markethive Inc

 

BY: Frisco d'Anconia

TP

As Bitcoin ETF Nears, Analysts Warn of Trading Frenzy

As Bitcoin ETF Nears, Analysts Warn of Trading Frenzy

Some predict a speculative rush if SEC approves a new fund in March

If the Securities and Exchange Commission approves a bitcoin exchange-traded fund next month, it might set off a speculative rush into bitcoin.

An easily accessed ETF that tracks the value of bitcoin could cause money to flood into the fledgling bitcoin market, analysts say. Indeed, what some see as a chance for average investors to participate in one of the great financial innovations of recent years could set off a trading frenzy in an already wild market.

“My concern is that the launch of an ETF could lead to irrational exuberance if the price of bitcoin appreciates dramatically,” says Christopher Burniske, blockchain-products lead at money manager and research firm ARK Investment Management. ARK invests in Bitcoin Investment Trust, an ETF-like fund that already trades over the counter but currently is only available to wealthy investors

After a nearly four-year wait, the SEC faces a deadline of March 11 to decide on a rule change that would allow the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust ETF to trade on the Bats Global Market exchange.

Two other funds have filed similar applications that would offer ordinary investors broader access to bitcoin investing as well: Bitcoin Investment Trust, run by tech entrepreneur Barry Silbert, and SolidX Bitcoin Trust, run by SolidX Partners, are waiting for the SEC to rule on their applications to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

There’s no guarantee that any of these applications will succeed. But most bitcoin observers say that a bitcoin ETF is an inevitability eventually.

If Bitcoin Investment Trust obtains SEC approval, it would likely mark Mr. Silbert as a new style of Wall Street wunderkind. Similarly, if the Winklevoss twins, Tyler and Cameron, succeed with their ETF, they would see vindication after they were elbowed out of social-networking phenomenon Facebook.

Further, the Winklevosses stand to gain from any price increase caused by the ETF as they are among the largest individual holders of bitcoin—alongside Mr. Silbert’s fund.

The Winklevosses declined to comment, through a representative; Mr. Silbert said, in an email, that his lawyers had put him on “total lockdown” with the press since filing for his fund’s NYSE listing.

How bitcoin works

The novel nature of bitcoin—essentially a chain of numbers linked to another number on a public ledger stored in the internet cloud—intrigues investors but has given the SEC pause.

Andrew Odlyzko, a mathematician at the University of Minnesota, compares bitcoin to the Pacific island of Yap, where long ago the people carved giant stone currency and ferried it across the ocean in canoes. On one voyage, according to an anthropologist’s work, a boulder fell off the boat. The community decided to recognize the value of the stone at the bottom of the sea, making it a virtual currency.

“Everybody knew it was there; nobody could see it; nobody could touch it…but it was there,” Mr. Odlyzko says.

Once a bitcoin is created in a computer “mining” process, the community recognizes ownership of the invisible abstraction through two numbers produced in that process. One is the public key, which is like the owner’s PayPal address. Anyone can send bitcoin to this address. The other is the private key, a number that is mathematically linked to the public key but is revealed only to the owner of the bitcoin.

Bitcoin has proved useful as a low-cost way of moving money around the world. But its price is volatile. Last year alone, bitcoin closed in a daily trading range between $358 and $993, according to data provider CoinDesk.

SEC’s task

Since the Winklevosses applied for approval of their ETF in 2013, the SEC has teased out the many, often bizarre risks of a bitcoin ETF. Among the issues: Could robots hijack more than half of the mining capacity and bring the whole system down? Could the bitcoin universe split in two as a rival cryptocurrency did? Could the fund be hacked?

(Closely held SolidX, based in New York City, and the smaller entrant in the race, distinguishes itself from the other two by promising to insure its bitcoin.)

Spencer Bogart, an analyst who follows bitcoin for boutique brokerage Needham & Co., says the Winklevosses have addressed security concerns—planning, for example, to keep private keys locked inside offline computers, which would themselves be locked away in secure locations. Multiple individuals in multiple locations would have to grant access simultaneously to a bad actor wanting to see the keys, he says, for a theft to occur—an event he considers unlikely.

Still, Mr. Bogart figures the SEC could refuse approval on more pedestrian grounds: a perceived conflict of interest because the Winklevosses have kept so many important fund functions in-house.

‘It’s just really difficult to grab that amount of bitcoin quickly.’

—Bitcoin analyst Spencer Bogart on the $300 million he says would flood into the ETF in the first week

“I don’t believe there’s any ETF that trades in the U.S. where a single entity is the sponsor of the ETF, the provider of reference price for the underlying asset and the custodians of underlying asset, and that is what the Winklevosses are proposing,” says Mr. Bogart, adding that the Winklevosses likely used proprietary indexes and security for reasons of design rather than personal gain.

In a November letter to the SEC, Kyle Murray, a lawyer for Bats, argued that the disclosure of the Winklevosses’ multiple roles and the involvement of independent auditors and administrators mitigated any potential conflicts.

The small size of the bitcoin market, however, could still be an impediment to orderly fund trading. Across all U.S. exchanges tracked by data provider CoinDesk, the average daily volume of bitcoin traded is about $30 million. Much more trading occurs in China, but those exchanges wouldn’t be used by a U.S. fund, Mr. Bogart says, because they function in an opaque manner.

Mr. Bogart estimates that at least $300 million would come into any approved ETF in the first week, as a convenient door to bitcoin opens up to investors. Institutional investors like pension funds haven’t been able to partake in bitcoin because many of their charters require that portfolio securities are registered with authorities.

Mr. Burniske says it’s impossible to buy $2 million of bitcoin on any given day on U.S. exchanges without moving the market.

Yet, for every share of the ETF sold, an “authorized participant”—the fund’s market maker—will have to buy an equivalent amount of bitcoin.

“The market will feel the effect of authorized participants going out there and looking to source [$300 million,] 10 times more than the daily volume that goes through any of the exchanges,” says Bobby Cho, who trades bitcoin in “institutional sizes” for proprietary trading firm Cumberland Mining, a bitcoin-focused unit of Chicago-based proprietary trading firm DRW.

“It’s just really difficult to grab that amount of bitcoin quickly,” says Mr. Bogart.

If the Winklevoss fund isn’t approved, the closest thing to an ETF will be Bitcoin Investment Trust, which uses a private-trust structure and is managed by Grayscale Investments LLC, a unit of Digital Currency Group Inc. Only accredited investors can buy the shares on the primary private market, where they are priced in line with bitcoin. The investors must keep holdings for a lockup period of a year. Then they can sell on a secondary market, the over-the-counter OTCQX, where they currently sell at a 15% premium to the value of the underlying bitcoin, a margin that has been even wider in the past.

Strong demand and perhaps a lack of sophistication are causing OTC traders to overpay for the shares, Mr. Bogart and others say. The private trust had $162 million in assets under management as of Dec. 31. This size makes its actions influential in bitcoin markets.

 

 

 

TP

Dutch and Korean Mainstream Media Extensively Cover Bitcoin Rally

Dutch and Korean Mainstream Media Extensively Cover Bitcoin Rally

Bitcoin is sustaining a strong price rally, maintaining its stability at the US$1,020 margin. Within seven days, the price of bitcoin rose by 9%, pushing the demand for the digital currency in exchanges worldwide. As a result, bitcoin began to gain extensive coverage by mainstream media in South Korea, Belgium, and the Netherlands.

Extensive Coverage in Belgium and the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, de Volkskrant, leading daily morning newspaper with a circulation of nearly 250,000 nationwide and De Telegraaf, the largest Dutch daily newspaper with a circulation of 430,000, provided extensive coverage on bitcoin and its recent price rally to their mainstream audience ever since bitcoin reached the $1,000 milestone.

Analysts at De Telegraff offered insightful and accurate assessment of bitcoin’s rising value, stating that current global economic instability and uncertainty led to the increase of demand for bitcoin. Researchers at the firm also mentioned China’s role in bitcoin’s recent price rally, explaining that investors, traders and households purchased bitcoin to move the Chinese yuan out of the country.

De Telegraff stated:

Bitcoin has in recent months was sought after by investors due to the uncertainty in the international economy. According to analysts, the popularity of bitcoin is enhanced by strong demand from China, where virtual currency investors are seeking for an interesting alternative to the yuan.

While tightening regulations and capital controls initiated and imposed by the Chinese government indeed played a vital role in pushing the price of bitcoin, experts like Vinny Lingham told users and investors that it is important to consider the impact of the Federal Reserve’s increase in interest rates on bitcoin.

The global economy is dependent on the US dollars directly and indirectly. Currencies like the Chinese yuan and South Korean won depend on the performance of US dollars and thus, when the US dollars rise in value, they decline in price.

Inevitably, when the Fed raised rates in December, the demand for bitcoin surged in countries like China and South Korea due to the rising number of investors and traders seeking for alternative assets to avoid currency devaluation.

De Tijd, a major newspaper in Belgium with 41,000 in circulation, also provided coverage on bitcoin on its online media outlet, emphasizing bitcoin’s strong performance throughout the year. Analysts at De Tijd noted that bitcoin was worth less than $500 in the beginning of 2016 and it reached a 3-year high price on the first day of trading in 2017.

South Korea: Fed Rate Hikes, Bitcoin Demand Rises

The South Korean economy is slowly recovering from controversies surrounding President Park’s involvement in bribery and other serious offenses.

When the Fed announced its plans to raise interest rates last month, mainstream media outlets in South Korea expressed their concerns with the decreasing value of the South Korean won. Such coverage led to increasing demand for bitcoin within the country and ultimately, extensive coverage from mainstream media.

Mainstream media coverage in leading countries like the Netherlands and South Korea are exposing millions of people to bitcoin on a daily basis. If bitcoin continues rise in price, it will aid mainstream adoption of the digital currency in the long run.

Image from Shutterstock.

 

Chris Corey Chief Marketing Officer 

Markethive 

Joseph Young on 03/01/2017​

TP

2016 Review: There’s New Momentum For Bitcoin and the Blockchain Industry

2016 Review: There’s New Momentum For Bitcoin and the Blockchain Industry

https://markethive.com/chriscorey/page/mycrypto

2016 set the bull charging again. A combination of events, beginning with bitcoin’s popularity as a hedge that protects assets from the forces afflicting traditional markets, set the stage for the price more than doubling in 2016. The good news on the price front tempered the volatility that has historically plagued the cryptocurrency, helping to solidify its role in society.

The positive news on the price front facilitated the continuing venture capital investment in bitcoin that was evident throughout the year. Venture capital investment in bitcoin in the last three years topped $927 million.

Bitcoin was also the best-performing currency this year, climbing 21% in USD value. Its performance surpassed that of the U.S. dollar and the Israeli shekel.

Moving Mainstream

The currency has moved from an investment commodity to everyday use, according to Coupofy.com, a digital marketing concern that provides online coupons for retailers.

Overstock, the online retailer that has been one of bitcoin’s most visible supporters among U.S. businesses, in December became the first publicly-traded company to issue stock over the Internet, distributing more than 126,000 company shares using the bitcoin blockchain.

Through a subsidiary called tØ, Overstock created a blockchain-based technology to facilitate trading financial securities.

Bitcoin also moved deeper into the financial mainstream in 2016. In May, derivatives giant CME Group launched two bitcoin benchmark indexes. Intercontinental Exchange Inc., a CME Group rival which owns the New York Stock Exchange, also announced plans to launch a real-time price index for the bitcoin.

Price Surge Began Early

Bitcoin’s price rose to just below $500 after the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank raised its fund rate by 25 basis points in late 2015. The bitcoin price tracked the U.S. dollar rally against other fiat currencies.

The negative start of the 2016 stock market demonstrated bitcoin’s value as a hedge against more volatile investment options. Bitcoin was one of the few winning investments in the worst first week of the year for U.S. stocks in early January. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 had their worst first weeks in history. Bitcoin, gold, the yen and natural gas were in growth modes.

Bitcoin’s price in January surged more than $20 in a 10-hour period to scale beyond $450. The climb did not occur in a straight line, however.

After falling to $360 in January, the price rebounded past $400 in February.

Fed Rate Hike Doesn’t Spook Bitcoin

The Federal Reserve Bank’s 2016 rate increase announcement in March had little impact on bitcoin. Half the market passively accumulated via limit orders placed just below price while the other half actively sold at market price.

The Federal Reserve’s early rate hike did not have a telling impact on bitcoin price.

The release of the code for Segregated Witness (SegWit) in April, an upgrade to the bitcoin protocol designed to enable more transactions within a single block of the blockchain, helped push bitcoin past $460.

In June, the price soared beyond $570, reaching a near two-year high. It hit $750 by mid-November.

Geopolitical Events Support Bitcoin

Global political events worked in bitcoin’s favor, beginning with the June U.K. Brexit referendum. After the U.K. pound (GBP/USD) dropped to $1.32, the U.S. dollar and gold rallied while bitcoin achieved a $140 gain.

Bitcoin prices were impacted by Britain’s referendum to exit the European Union.

The climb was not uniform.

Bitcoin’s price crashed in August as the Bitfinex exchange suffered a security breach that led to the theft of an unconfirmed number of bitcoins. The big exchange further announced a shutting down of its website and trading in ominous signs reminiscent of Mt. Gox.

Bitfinex got back online after advising users that they would lose 36% of their assets. The exchange levied a 36% price on all of its users, whether or not they were victimized individually by the hackers. The attack led some to believe the industry had not come up with a way to ensure security.

Others viewed the Bitfinex episode as proof that the bitcoin network is capable of withstanding negative events.

The Surge Continues

The price struck a new yearly high of $794.39 on the Bitstamp Price Index (BPI) in late December as the surge continued.

Financial adviser Martin Tillier observed that bitcoin’s previous price hikes were mysterious, but the current one is due to the devaluation of China’s currency.

Because there are logical reasons for the current price surge, the market is acting as a forward discounting mechanism and some degree of appreciation is now built into the price, Tillier noted. In addition, the interest from traders combined with the ability to short the currency allows the market to check upward spikes naturally, simply by attracting sellers.

Bitcoin gained more value than all other currencies in 2016, driven by China’s crackdown on the yuan, isolationist rumblings in the U.S. and the U.K, and increasing acceptance by consumers and businesses, according to Bloomberg.

By the time the price surged 79 percent since the start of 2016 to $778, it reached its highest level since early 2014, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. At that point, bitcoin quadrupled the gains posted by Russia’s ruble and Brazil’s real, the world’s top two hard currencies.

Hard Fork Debate Continues

Drama engulfed the bitcoin industry over the hard fork solution to address the bitcoin block size. The issue caused longtime developer Mike Hearn to announce his departure from bitcoin in December of 2015.

Bitcoin Classic – a successor to Bitcoin-XT – appeared on the scene as a possible new implementation of the bitcoin protocol.

Many in the industry celebrated the new solution, despite the reality that the coding was not complete, and that the main developer on the project once noted that he was an average C++ programmer. This didn’t stop industry leaders like Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong from championing the technology.

The scaling debate is set to continue in 2017.

The main controversy around Bitcoin Classic centered around two opposing viewpoints. Those seeking to increase the maximum block size from 1 MB to 2 MB claimed that it is necessary to keep transaction costs down and continue the growth of the system.

Those against the block size increase argued that important technical issues were not properly addressed.

The core development team decided to take a clear direction, yet some miners, exchanges and start-ups pushed back.

The Classic camp, consisting of entrepreneurs, wanted a more immediate fix to expanding the network by increasing the block size. The Core camp, consisting of miners, didn’t want to increase the block size since some miners will be less likely to earn mining rewards.

Mining pools representing at least 70% of the total hashing power of the bitcoin network and some of the largest bitcoin exchanges said they would not support Bitcoin Classic or any “contentious hard-fork.”

Bitcoin Price Holds

When the bitcoin reward halving occurred in July, there were no price drops. Parties were held worldwide.

There was concern about miner profitability since miner rewards were cut in half from 25 to 12.5 bitcoins.

The bitcoin price eventually resumed its upward trend. One factor noted at the time was the devaluation of the Chinese yuan, driving Chinese investors to bitcoin.

In January 2017, the foreign currency cap for the amount of foreign currency that a Chinese citizen can convert ($50,000) will be reset for the new year. Inevitably, the surge in capital outflows could weaken the yuan further, setting off a market reaction that could lead to further demand for safe assets such as bitcoin.

Other factors cited were India’s demonetization drive, the unexpected Trump U.S. Presidential election victory and the U.K. Brexit referendum.

Blockchain Continues Its Surge

Investment in blockchain technology reached new highs in 2016.

Digital Asset Holdings, the New York firm developing blockchain solutions for the financial services industry, announced two new investors. IBM and Goldman Sachs joined 13 other investors with the funding scaling beyond $60 million.

Blockstream, a startup developing blockchain sidechains, raised $55 million in Series A funding, bringing the total capital raised to $76 million.

The R3 blockchain consortium which is testing blockchain technology for securities settlements and payments continued to make news. In late 2015, 12 banks joined the group. The consortium also opened membership to non-bank financial companies, including clearing houses, exchanges, standards organizations and infrastructure providers.

In November of 2016, some banks, including Goldman Sachs, one of the earliest members of the R3 blockchain consortium, reportedly chose not to renew membership with the working group.

VISA and blockchain technology partner BTL announced in September plans to invite a select group of European banks to participate in a blockchain project that will see inter-bank payments made via transfers over the distributed ledger.

Microsoft and Bank of America Merill Lynch in September announced a collaboration with the aim to “fuel transformation of trade finance transacting” with blockchain technology. The biggest changes would mean reduced transaction settlement time and newly automated processes.

R3 and 12 member banks in October trialed Ripple’s native digital currency token XRP, using the fintech startup’s blockchain technology, for cross-border payments. The trials were conducted at R3’s lab in an effort to demonstrate cost-cutting and increased efficiency of cross-border payments using Ripple’s digital asset.

Microsoft’s blockchain-as-a-service (Baas) endeavor gained new partners, including BitPay, for the service that will be made available for its Azure cloud platform.

Bitcoin entrepreneur Jeff Garzik started Bloq, a code-for-hire service to develop features for blockchain software and provide access to blockchain support. The company charges $3,000 to $5,000 per month. PriceWaterhouseCoopers agreed to sell the service to its customers.

New Blockchain Applications Emerge

Blockchain technology continued to find new applications in 2016.

Early in the year, General Motors tweeted news of its collaboration with Lyft to create self-driving vehicles. The announcement came as the industry was awaiting Ford and Google to announce a partnership for self-driving vehicles. Both of projects promise ripe grounds for smart contracts, blockchain-powered contracts that can tie IoT and vehicle finance together.

Blockchain is allowing musicians to monetize their work and engage with fans more directly. By embedding music in the blockchain, those involved in its creation can get paid immediately in cryptocurrency. Hence, the blockchain has the potential to change the way the music industry operates.

Several initiatives were announced to use blockchain technology to connect energy grids, delivering more efficient and environmentally sustainable energy. One company, L03 Energy, is building an “open source cryptographically secure” blockchain to manage transactions across a microgrid.

The hype surrounding blockchain technology has led to numerous pilots and prototypes deployed in 2016.

PriceWaterhouseCoopers, a provider of audit and assurance, tax and consulting services, teamed with Z/Yen, a London-based commercial think tank that promotes societal advancement through better finance and technology, to study the potential of blockchain technology in wholesale insurance.

Walmart and IBM partnered in October to manage the supply chain for Chinese pork on a blockchain, ensuring consumer confidence in the food industry. Teaming up with Tsinghua University in Beijing, it is hoped that by digitally tracking the movement of pork in China on a distributed ledger, food disasters will be prevented.

The issue of institutions hyping blockchain technology without bitcoin continued to be an area of debate in 2016. While many financial institutions expressed interest in blockchain technology but not bitcoin, some observers pointed out that the institutions ignore the fact that a cryptocurrency is needed to support a blockchain. One observer claimed that hyping the blockchain while denigrating bitcoin is an effort to blunt bitcoin’s challenge to traditional currency.

Ethereum Makes Waves

2016 was also a big year for Ethereum, which continues to make waves on the cryptocurrency landscape, with developers introducing new applications that take advantage of its smart contract and crowdsale capabilities. The market cap for ether, the crypto asset and token of the Ethereum network, soared above $1 billion.

As Ethereum grows, it earns media coverage which in turn fuels its growth. It attracted interest from major financial companies that are using it for private blockchains and smart contracts.

The Ethereum ecosystem continues to grow.

In May, the Gemini exchange, founded and operated by Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, gained the approval from the State of New York via the Department of Financial Services to offer ether trading.

Ethereum witnessed some growing pains in 2016. In June, the distributed autonomous organization (DAO) was breached when an attacker drained the ether contained in the DAO into a child DAO.

In response, Ethereum developers proposed a soft fork to be followed by a hard-fork. Miners unanimously supported the fork. The discussion and debate around the DAO vulnerability raised questions about trust and the human factor in the realm of distributed ledger technology.

Ethereum’s price jumped when the fork took effect in July. The clean resolution to the attempted heist was possible due to a new, decentralized governance model where those with a stake in the system cast their decisive votes.

Regulatory Activity Increases

While regulatory actions are not generally viewed as positive for any industry, regulations in 2016 were supportive in some ways.

A European Court of Justice ruling exempted bitcoin from value added tax (VAT), which was hailed as a victory by bitcoin advocates. The case was between the Swedish Tax Authority and the nation’s Revenue Law Commission. It commenced after a Swedish citizen asked for clarification of VAT on bitcoin.

Regulatory actions in Russia, a country that has not been supportive of bitcoin, improved in 2016. The Internet Development Institute (IRI) of Russia prepared a roadmap titled “Economics and Finance” which included a proposal for regulating blockchain.

Deputy Finance Minister of the Russian Federation stated in October that the spread of bitcoin in Russia does not represent a threat to the country’s financial ecosystem at its current rate of adoption. As such, the plan to ban the cryptocurrency was put on hold. The Ministry of Finance initially proposed a 4-year prison sentence for bitcoin users late last year. In what could be seen as a move to bring respite, the Ministry then proposed a 2-year “corrective labor” sentence – a combination of penal detention and forced labor – for bitcoin adopters earlier this year.

Bitcoin’s increasing adoption and prominence has led to regulatory moves by several countries in 2016.

document by the federal tax authority in Russia in December revealed its first official stance on the legal status of cryptocurrencies. It noted bitcoin cannot be blocked or banned since cryptocurrencies can be deemed foreign currency transactions according to Russian laws.

State regulatory initiatives in the U.S. increased in 2016, indicating growing awareness of bitcoin.

Lawmakers in the State of Wyoming proposed a bill to require that cryptocurrency be treated the same as fiat currency under the state’s money transmitter’s act. The purpose of the bill is to encourage bitcoin-friendly companies to want to do business in the state.

The New York State Department of Financial Services in June approved Ripple Labs’ BitLicense application to sell and obtain XRP – the native digital asset of the Ripple Consensus Ledger, a platform used by financial institutions and companies.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed a law that defines “virtual currency” and clarifies what activity triggers licensure. The law defined the term “virtual currency” and the activities that trigger licensure. Virtual currency miners and blockchain software providers will not require a license for multi-signature software, smart contract platforms, smart property, colored coins, and non-hosted, non-custodial wallets.

The State of Illinois sought comment on a guidance document it released on whether a money transmitter license is needed to engage in selling decentralized digital currencies. The document says the department does not require such a license since virtual currencies have not been adopted by governments as currency.

The document outlined the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) interpretation of the state’s Transmitters of Money Act and seeks to establish the regulatory treatment of decentralized digital currencies.

IRS Summons Coinbase

One of the more alarming regulatory developments in the U.S. occurred in mid-November, when the IRS summoned Coinbase to provide information about its customers to facilitate the federal agency’s investigation into possible tax evasion by users of virtual currencies at any time between Jan. 1, 2013, through Dec. 31, 2015.

A federal judge approved the IRS summons, which Coinbase said it would oppose.

Mergers And Acquisitions Continue

Mergers and acquisitions continued in 2016.

Early in the year, Barry Silbert’s Digital Currency Group, an initial investor in Coindesk, acquired the publication as a whole, with editorial and business teams at CoinDesk to merge with Digital Currency Group’s events platform to form a new subsidiary based in New York.

In January, the largest ever deal of its kind in the bitcoin industry saw leading European bitcoin exchange Krakenacquire bitcoin exchanges Coinsetter and CaVirtEx.

There were also industry casualties.

KnCMiner, after winning a lawsuit against complainants who had sued over late or failed delivery of one of the company’s previous iterations of bitcoin mining hardware, filed for bankruptcy ahead of July’s mining reward halving.

The Swedish company’s CEO Sam Cole cited energy taxes and uncertainty about the future of the bitcoin mining market.

BitLendingClub in December decided to close its service designed to help small businesses in emerging markets due to regulatory pressures, the company informed customers in a blog on its website. The blog noted the company worked hard to build a platform to provide the greatly needed service.

The blog did not expand on what regulatory pressures it was facing.

Controversies Aplenty

The Silk Road saga continued to haunt bitcoin in 2016. Ross Ulbricht’s defense filed an appeal. The defense will argue that the court prevented crucial evidence from seeing the day of light.

A federal court sentenced a Utah man, Curtis Clark Green, whose faked murder helped law enforcement put an end to the Silk Road Marketplace.

In May, Norway police made their largest drug bust ever when they arrested 15 people selling drugs on what they claim is the second version of the Silk Road marketplace that the U.S. FBI closed in 2013.

Other controversies emerged. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sought judgments against Homero Joshua Garza, GAW Miners and ZenMiner, LLC, claiming they engaged in selling fraudulent investments in virtual currency mining operations.

The SEC ordered the defendants to pay $10,384,099 in disgorgement plus prejudgment interest, along with civil penalties. The SEC charged Garza, GAW Miners and ZenMiner with securities fraud and conducting a Ponzi scheme in January. The motion seeks permanent injunctions prohibiting the companies from engaging in future violations.

As an often misunderstood cryptocurrency, controversial bitcoin headlines are never too far.

Another drama surrounded the identity of bitcoin’s founder, Satoshi Nakamoto. A text analysis of Australian Craig’ Wright’s writing by a specialist working with the U.K.-based International Business Times determined that the Australian is most likely not Satoshi Nakamoto. The company used a technique that compares texts written by Wright with anonymous texts believed to be sent by Nakamoto, including the original bitcoin white paper.

The darknet continued to poke its unwelcome head in 2016. The late February terror attacks in Brussels caused French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve to cite the darknet as a terrorist tool and call for measures to improve intelligence expertise in technologies terrorists use.

Ransomware Attacks Expand

Ransomware attacks quadrupled this year over last year, averaging 4,000 per day, according to the U.S. Justice Department, The Wall Street Journal reported in a front-page story. This is because ransomware has become easier to deploy and more profitable than other scams, and bitcoin is more widely used.

Nearly one-third of bitcoin trading platforms have been hacked, reported Reuters, while about half have closed up shop in their first six years.

Also read: Bitcoin Classic releases new code that could double the block size in bitcoin

Bitcoin Questions Remain

Bitcoin’s dual role as a commodity and a currency can create financial recovery disputes when a company that pays for services using bitcoin goes bankrupt.

Bitcoin’s identity as a form of money also remains undecided. A bankruptcy court judge ruled in February in one such case, stating that the cryptocurrency is not the same as U.S. currency, but making it clear that he wanted the ruling confined to a specific legal framework.

Miami judge ruled that bitcoin isn’t real money, so someone accused of laundering it shouldn’t be convicted of money laundering. This was the argument that attorneys used in asking a Florida judge to dismiss money laundering charges against Michell Espinoza, a Miami man who police say sold and laundered $1,500 worth of bitcoins to undercover detectives.

Crypto Innovations Continue

There were new cryptocurrency innovations in 2016. Zcash, a “zero-knowledge proof” alternative to bitcoin, publishes its payments on a public blockchain, but the sender, recipient, and amount of a transaction remain private. It works like bitcoin with the guarantee of anti-forgery assurances. No one can counterfeit Zcash, or spend the same Zcash “coin” twice. But thanks to its “zero-knowledge feature”, any spender or receiver can also choose to keep their Zcash payment entirely secret.

Bitcoin’s Outlook Positive

report by Denmark-based Saxo Bank claimed bitcoin’s price could rise by 165% to more than $2,000 due to an economic stimulus expected from incoming President Donald Trump. The bullish bitcoin outlook was one of 10 Saxo Bank “Outrageous Predictions for 2017.”

Bitcoin is poised to grow in 2017.

The Trump-promised fiscal spending binge is expected to add to the approximate $20 trillion of U.S. national debt, tripling the current U.S. budget deficit from about $600 billion to $1.2 trillion to $1.8 trillion.

The spending will cause U.S. growth and inflation to skyrocket, forcing the Federal Reserve to accelerate its hikes and the U.S. dollar to soar to new heights.

This creates a domino effect in emerging markets and China in particular, leading people globally to seek alternative currencies and payment systems that are not tied to central banks. Central banks engage in exhausted monetary policies that are in full financial repression mode.

Images from Shutterstock and Ethereum.

Chris Corey 

CMO Markethive Inc

Lester Coleman on 31/12/2016

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China To Support Blockchain Development Under New Five-Year Plan

https://markethive.com/chriscorey/page/mycrypto

China, a country that already plays a critical role in cryptocurrency due its dominance in bitcoin trading and mining, will support blockchain development as part of its recently-announced five-year plan, according to the state council website. The 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) period has had a strong start and is poised to fulfill all key targets set by the central government for economic development.

 

According to the “13th Five-Year Plan” national information planning document, the “Thirteen Five” period is the stage for building a moderately prosperous society, with information and communication technology to provide a breakthrough in the initial development stage.

Profound Changes Coming

The document noted that the development of the global information technology environment, conditions and content are undergoing profound changes.

“Internet, cloud computing, large data, artificial intelligence, machine learning, block chain, bio-genetic engineering and other new technologies to drive cyberspace from everyone to the Internet to the evolution of everything, digital, network, intelligent services will be everywhere,” the document stated.

With the “real” and the digital worlds’ increasing convergence, the global governance system is facing profound changes. The global economy is expected to accelerate information technology innovation, the maximum release of the “digital dividend”, in response to a “post-financial crisis” era of “growth instability and uncertainty,” the document further noted.

Technologies Cited Include Blockchain

The document also noted “new technologies such as quantum communications, future networks, brain-like computing, artificial intelligence, holographic display, virtual reality, large data cognitive analysis, new non-volatile storage, unmanned vehicles, block chaining, gene editing, etc.” will build a new game-leading advantage.

The development of the “real economy” is based on both technology and financial innovation, meaning the capital market should be further improved to encourage more venture capital investment to boost the country’s entrepreneurship and innovation.

New modes like crowd sourcing and crowd funding should be coordinated with mass entrepreneurship to boost innovation, the state council website stated.

Also read: China’s central bank will look to issue its own digital currency ‘as soon as possible’

Central Bank To Issue Digital Currency

China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), announced earlier this year that it will make the necessary moves to work toward issuing a digital currency, as soon as possible, CCN reported.

A “special” research team put together by the PBOC was set up as early as 2014 to conduct research and look into all possible regulatory frameworks for the issuance of a nationwide digital currency and the impact it may have on the economy, the PBOC’s website noted.

The central bank engaged experts from Citibank and Deloitte to discuss the frameworks required for the issuance of a national digital currency.

Some of the stated benefits include:

  • Reducing costs incurred during issuance and circulation of traditional fiat currencies.
  • An increase in the transparency and convenience of economic transactions
  • The curbing effect on tax evasion, money laundering and other criminal acts.
  • Improve the central bank’s control over the money supply and circulation.
  • Breaking barriers to bring financial solutions for those unbanked in the country.

Some of the tasks set by the PBOC include the mandate of designing the proposed digital currency based on strong “economic, safety and service principles.”

Image from Shutterstock.

Chris Corey

CMO Markethive Inc

 

TP

The Biggest Influencers of Bitcoin Price in 2016

Can the surge continue? A review of bitcoin’s 2016 performance indicates the cryptocurrency’s fundamentals are such that the party is far from over.

With incoming U.S. President Donald Trump promising a fiscal spending binge that could push the $20 trillion U.S. debt even higher, the fundamentals that have served to more than double bitcoin’s price this year could deliver even greater gains in 2017.

A combination of events, beginning with bitcoin’s popularity as a hedge against increasingly volatile markets, set the stage for a repeat performance in 2017, if not better.

The cryptocurrency began 2016 trading at $428 and hit $928 by the end of December, a 114% gain. Growth was not uniform, but momentum accelerated in the fourth quarter. Bitcoin gained 25% in value since the beginning of December alone.

It was also the best-performing currency this year, outpacing the U.S. dollar and the Israeli shekel.

A Weak Beginning

The year did not begin on a positive note when Mike Hearn, a bitcoin developer, announced he was leaving bitcoin, claiming its fundamentals were broken and the long-term price outlook was negative. He claimed the system was controlled by a handful of people and the network was on the brink of collapse.

The market did not react favorably to Hearn’s pronouncements, which yielded the most damning media coverage the cryptocurrency had ever experienced. The price tumbled around 15% after his departure.

But recovery was evident by February. Some observers postulated that Hearn’s real motivation for exiting bitcoin was the lack of support for his solution to bitcoin’s scalability challenge, BitcoinXT.

Financial adviser Martin Tillier observed that the very issue that drove Hearn’s departure – the need for a more scalable bitcoin network – was the result of a very positive underlying fundamental – its growth as a currency.

Signs of bitcoin’s ability to hedge against other markets were already evident in late 2015. The price rose to just below $500 after the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank raised its fund rate by 25 basis points in late 2015. Bitcoin’s price tracked the U.S. dollar rally against other fiat currencies.

It didn’t take long for Tillier’s predictions to materialize.

Pricing Surge Began Early

The weak start of the 2016 stock market demonstrated bitcoin’s use as a hedge against more volatile investment options. Bitcoin was one of the few winning investments in the worst first week of the year for U.S. stocks in early January. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 had their worst first weeks in history. Bitcoin, gold, the yen and natural gas were in growth modes.

The price in January surged over $20 in a 10-hour period to scale beyond $450.

The climb did not occur in a straight line, however.

After hitting a low of $360 in January, the price rebounded past $400 in February.

In another article, Tillier observed that bitcoin’s price hikes in previous years were mysterious, but the current one can be traced to the devaluation of China’s currency.

Because there is a logical reason for the price surge, the market is acting as a forward discounting mechanism and some degree of appreciation is now built into the price, Tillier noted. In addition, the interest from traders combined with the ability to short the currency allows the market to check upward spikes naturally, simply by attracting sellers.

The Scalability Factor

The network scalability issue remained a background theme.

In February, Bitcoin Classic released code that could double the bitcoin block size, offering a solution to the scalability issue. Bitcoin Classic, however, drew controversy within the developer community, which investors naturally noticed.

Those seeking to increase the maximum block size from 1 MB to 2 MB claimed that it is necessary to keep transaction costs down and continue the growth of the system.

Those against the increase said questions surrounding a hard fork, which can occur when non-upgraded nodes cannot validate blocks created by updated nodes that follow updated consensus rules, had not properly been addressed.

The Classic camp, consisting of entrepreneurs, wanted a more immediate fix to expanding the network by increasing the block size. The Core camp, consisting of miners, didn’t want to increase the block size since some miners would be less likely to earn mining rewards.

Mining pools representing at least 70% of the total hashing power of the bitcoin network and some of the largest bitcoin exchanges said they would not support Bitcoin Classic or any “contentious hard-fork.”

The release of the code for Segregated Witness in April, an upgrade to the bitcoin protocol designed to enable more transactions within a single block of the blockchain, pushed bitcoin’s price past $460. Segregated Witness fundamentally removes signatures from the transaction, thereby compressing transactions within blocks to leave more space for transactional data. This would serve as a less drastic, soft fork.

Market Forces Converge

The scalability debate did not undermine investor confidence and had less bearing on bitcoin’s price than its growing reputation as a safe asset in a tumultuous global market. Pricing activity was stable during February, March and April.

The U.S. Federal Reserve Bank’s 2016 rate increase announcement in March had little impact on bitcoin. Half the market passively accumulated via limit orders placed just below price while the other half actively sold at market.

The U.S. dollar, by contrast, weakened while but gold jumped nearly $30.

The Fed cited a weak global economy as the reason for its decision and forecasted two more hikes, fueling a desire for safe assets.

Global political events, meanwhile, worked in bitcoin’s favor, beginning with the June U.K. Brexit referendum. The surprise referendum sent markets reeling. After the U.K. pound (GBP/USD) dropped to $1.32, the U.S. dollar and gold rallied while bitcoin achieved a $140 one-day gain.

Around this same time, rumors indicated Steam, the global online gaming store and distributor, was preparing a bitcoin implementation as a payment method to its base of some 125 million active users.

In June, the price soared beyond $570, reaching a near two-year high.

A Setback Strikes

The climb was not over, but it was not uniform.

The price crashed in August after the Bitfinex exchange suffered a security breach that led to the theft of an unconfirmed number of bitcoins. The exchange announced it was shutting down its website in ominous signs reminiscent of Mt. Gox. The attack led some to believe the industry had not come up with a way to ensure security.

But the naysayers would again be proven wrong.

Bitfinex got back online after advising users that they would lose 36 percent of their assets. The exchange levied a 36% price on all of its users, whether or not they were victimized individually by the hackers.

The Bitfinex theft quickly sent bitcoin price tumbling.

Bitfinex delivered a blow, but the market began a gradual recovery that gained momentum as fall approached. Some viewed the Bitfinex episode as proof that the bitcoin network is capable of withstanding negative events.

The price struck a new yearly high of $794.39 in mid-December as the currency’s fundamental strength became evident.

Bitcoin gained more value than all other currencies in 2016, driven by China’s crackdown on the yuan, isolationist rumblings in the U.S. and the U.K, and increasing acceptance by consumers and businesses.

By the time the price surged 79 percent since the start of 2016 to $778, it reached its highest level since early 2014, data compiled by Bloomberg. At that point, bitcoin quadrupled the gains posted by Russia’s ruble and Brazil’s real, the world’s top two hard currencies.

Mining Reward Halving: No Impact

When the halving of the bitcoin mining reward occurred in July, there were no price drops. Bitcoiners celebrated worldwide.

There was concern about miner profitability since miner rewards were cut in half from 25 to 12.5 bitcoins.

But the price resumed its upward trend. One factor noted at the time was the devaluation of the Chinese yuan, driving Chinese investors to bitcoin.

China’s role in bitcoin trading has emerged as a key factor in is price performance. The country accounts for more than 90% of the cryptocurrency’s trades, and has become a natural hedge against the devaluation of the yuan.

In January 2017, the foreign currency cap imposed by the Chinese government for the amount of foreign currency that a Chinese citizen can convert ($50,000) will be reset for the new year. Inevitably, the surge in capital outflows could weaken the yuan further, setting off a market reaction that could lead to further demand for safe value assets, which bitcoin is fulfilling a role as.

What’s Ahead?

Central banks may give up on qualitative easing and negative interest rates, but they are far from being finished with intervention and distorting the allocation of capital and the price of money, according to Steen Jakobsen, CIO at Denmark-based Saxo Bank. Hence, bitcoin’s role as a hedge against volatile currencies remains intact.

Meanwhile, the Trump-promised fiscal spending binge is expected to add to the approximate $20 trillion of U.S. national debt, tripling the current U.S. budget deficit from about $600 billion to $1.2 trillion to $1.8 trillion.

Could the Donald Trump presidency push bitcoin price higher?

The spending could cause U.S. growth and inflation to skyrocket, forcing the Fed to accelerate its hikes and the U.S. dollar to soar to new heights.

This could create a domino effect in emerging markets and China in particular, leading people globally to seek alternative currencies and payment systems that are not tied to central banks.

If the banking system, as well other nations such as Russia and China, moves to accept bitcoin as a partial alternative to the U.S. currency and the traditional banking and payment system, bitcoin’s price could hit $2,100 and beyond as the blockchain’s decentralized system, an inability to dilute the finite supply of bitcoins, and low to no transaction costs gains more traction and acceptance globally.

Images from Shutterstock.Chart from BitcoinChart.

Chris Corey 

CMO Markethive Inc

 

Lester Coleman on 29/12/2016​

TP

Seven Reasons Salespeople Have The Best Job On The Planet

Chris Corey

Seven Reasons Salespeople Have The Best Job On The Planet

I took my first sales job at the ripe age of thirteen. I had been working at the same car wash company since I was eight years old. I started mowing their yard, and then at age 12 they let me vacuum cars. Mowing yards and vacuuming cars is no joke in the 100-degree Texas heat. While working the vacuums, I noticed the guy who sold the washes to the customers got to stay in the shade all day. This was very appealing to me.

After paying closer attention, I also realized the salesman didn’t vacuum or wash cars. He literally had the easiest job on the lot. It was in that moment I knew I was going to be a salesman. A year later, I made it a reality. Funny thing is, I had to really sell myself as a 13-year old capable of communicating to adults. When I closed the boss on it, I proved I was worthy.

Since that moment, I’ve been 100 percent convinced salespeople have the best job on the planet. Nowhere else can you make your own rules, your own money and do your own thing. In sales, it happens every day. I’ve made a list of the top seven reasons working in sales is where it’s at.

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#1: We Make Our Own Rules

Name another job where you can come and go as you please. I’m pretty sure there’s no other position where the employee is above management’s rules either. If you’re a good salesman, you can tell the manager to kiss your ass and they just might have to do it. 

When I worked at Texas Lending, casual Friday was the only day you could wear jeans. I wore jeans every day and even the CEO never said anything. Why? Because I made them $50-100 grand every month. Therefore, they let me make my own rules. It’s a pleasure only top dogs can experience. 

#2: We Have No Income Ceiling

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want anyone telling me what I’m worth. I don’t allow another single person to place value on my worth. Instead, I’ll go out and prove my value to multiple people. I’m the type of person, who, if you put a limit on my income, I’ll put a limit on the production I give you.

Earning what you are worth is way more fun than settling for a salary. Let the salaries go to the people who are afraid to take risks and live by a budget. We salespeople can blow all our money on Friday and make it all back on Monday. Take that HR!

#3: Our Clients Love Us

One thing I love about sales is there are other departments that deal with complaints. The only time we hear from our clients is when they thank us and tell us how much they love what we sold them. We don’t have to do anything but solve problems and close.

When you’re a Grade A problem solver, your clients love you. Who doesn’t love someone who helped them fix an issue? If there’s a problem, they still don’t complain to us. They take it out on the operations and support staff.

#4: Our Employers Love Us

When you make the person or company you work for a lot of money, they love you. It’s simple math. You + Sales = Happy Employer. Yeah, the boss may have taken Dorothy from accounting to lunch that one time she uncovered a huge error that saved the company, but he’ll take someone in sales out often.

I’ve never seen a manager or CEO walk into a company and high five the operations department. I have seen them take shots at 10am with the sales team, though!

#5: We Travel Often

When you’ve got the killer instinct and the company knows it, they want you to be the face of the enterprise any chance you get. This means when they have meetings, events, conventions and the like, you’re the go-to person. If they know you can sell, they will send you to tell.

They can’t send Dorothy and Harold off to some convention as the face. They need a salesperson to do that. Nobody buys from the accounting department. So, Harold and Dorothy can just stay behind at the office, while we salesmen handle the big boy business.

#6: We Meet New People Constantly

If you’re in sales and you’re not a people person, you’re not really in sales. You have to know and like people in order to sell to them. By liking people, I mean the idea of bonding and solving another human’s problem. Every day, we are looking for new people to meet. From cold calls to networking events to inbound leads, we are constantly meeting and helping new, cool people.

A good salesman knows that when you meet people, you ask those new people to introduce you to more people…AND repeat. New people are key to growing a sales pipeline. Getting to learn more people’s stories is exciting to most of us. It’s a blast to help someone with a problem and then convert them from stranger to client.

#7: We Have Connections Everywhere

No one calls Harold in HR when they need a hook-up somewhere. They call the guys down in the sales department for that. All those new people I mentioned previously come with connections—who are eager to help a salesman.

Plus, everyone wants to know a salesman they can trust. They know trustworthy salespeople also have other trustworthy salespeople in their network. When I was a LO, people asked me to connect them with car people, clubs and pretty much anything. They knew I knew people, that the people I knew were good.

CMO Markethive Inc

Chris Corey

RYAN STEWMAN | 1.10.2016

TP

Microsoft Announces Availability of R3’s Corda Blockchain Platform on Azure

Microsoft Announces Availability of R3’s Corda Blockchain Platform on Azure

R3’s blockchain software Corda, developed by the Fintech startup alongside 70 of the world’s biggest banks forming the R3 consortium, is now available on Microsoft’s cloud computing platform, Azure.

Announced quietly last week, the revelation comes soon after Corda’s code was contributed to the Linux Foundation-led Hyperledger Project on November 30. R3 first announced its decision to go open-source with Corda, the product of its Concord blockchain product, in October this year.

Elaborating on R3’s year-long development, Richard Brown, technology chief at R3 claims:

Corda is a distributed ledger platform designed from the ground up to record, manage and synchronize financial agreements between regulated financial institutions. It is heavily inspired by and captures the benefits of blockchain systems, without the design choices that make blockchains inappropriate for many banking scenarios.

Corda’s availability is the latest offering and addition of Microsoft’s blockchain services toolkit called Project Bletchley. First announced in June 2016, Project Bletchley is Microsoft’s endeavor to push for “an open, modular blockchain fabric powered by Azure.” Fundamentally, Microsoft is looking to provide comprehensive solutions with blockchain technology for customers on various platforms, as Blockchain as a Service (BaaS).

R3’s Blockchain Demo Available

Microsoft’s announcement includes a demo offering of Corda via virtual machine image. While this author hasn’t tried the demo prior to publishing, Microsoft claims the demonstration will showcase Corda’s capabilities through real-world scenarios such as interest rate swap deals. Details reveal that deployment will take 3-5 minutes for the virtual machine to be created, one which will deploy a multi-member Corda demo network. The demo isn’t charged, but usage of Microsoft’s resources including storage, networking and computing will be billed.

R3’s blockchain software Corda is now available on Microsoft’s clould computing platform, Azure.

Brown’s comments above point to a marked difference in the ‘design choices’ made by Corda compared to a public blockchain, like bitcoin’s ledger. These choices include developing the Corda blockchain platform within the confines of legal and regulatory frameworks, a focus on privacy and the means to achieve a modular consensus.

R3’s CTO added:

By making simple Corda demos available on the Azure Marketplace, R3 and Microsoft are making it easy for newcomers to experience Corda for themselves before joining the community.

R3’s efforts to push its blockchain product for wider adoption (with its notable call to go open-source) comes during a time when the New York-based startup is losing some of its notable banking members. The likes of Goldman SachsMorgan Stanley and Banco Santander have all decided to exit the consortium after a year’s membership.

Images from Shutterstock.

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Chris Corey 

CMO Markethive Inc

 

TP