Tag Archives: bitcoin

Buy 20000 in Bitcoin wVisa amp Mastercard

Popular Crypto App Targets Mainstream,
Lets Users Buy $20,000 in Bitcoin
With Visa and Mastercard

Startup Abra has integrated new options for buying Bitcoin. Through its website or via the Abra app, users can now buy Bitcoin with a Visa or Mastercard credit card or debit card from anywhere in the world.

Prior to the addition of the new payment options, US Abra users could use American Express and worldwide Abra users could buy Bitcoin by linking to a bank account and making an ACH deposit or a wire transfer. Processing times are usually 1-3 business days for ACH transfers and 5-8 business days for wire transfers.

The Visa and Mastercard options dramatically increase the speed at which users can purchase cryptocurrency, and it increases the spending limit. Users can buy up to $20,000 worth of Bitcoin at a time, a ten-fold increase over the $2,000 limit for bank deposits.

The new purchasing options have the potential to reach a worldwide audience of hundreds of millions of credit card holders. Abra already has users from 70 countries. “With this launch, we can now offer a simple way for customers globally to use Abra to buy their first Bitcoin using any Visa or Mastercard, and then start investing in any of the other 24 cryptocurrencies we support today,” said Abra CEO Bill Barhydt in an interview with Bitcoin Magazine.

Abra also offers users without bank account services the option to buy altcoins using Bitcoin and Litecoin.

The company has partnered with Simplex, a fintech company, to power the new payment options. As an EU licensed financial institution, Simplex focuses on fraud prevention using an AI algorithm.

Abra is a non-custodial wallet and does not directly hold customers’ funds. Instead, it implements blockchain technology that lets users hold the keys to their own funds, facilitating trades for 25 cryptocurrencies, and allowing users to send and receive Bitcoin, Litecoin and over 50 fiat currencies.

Crypto enthusiasts can invest in the following coins:

  • Augur (REP)Bitcoin (BTC)
  • Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
  • Bitcoin Gold (BTG)
  • Dash (DASH)
  • DigiByte (DGB)
  • Dogecoin (DOGE)
  • Ether (ETH)
  • Ethereum Classic (ETC)
  • Golem (GNT)
  • Litecoin (LTC)
  • Lisk (LSK)
  • Monero (XMR)
  • NEM (XEM)
  • NEO (NEO)
  • OmiseGO (OMG)
  • QTUM (QTUM)
  • Ripple (XRP)
  • Status (SNT)
  • Stratis (STRAT)
  • Stellar (XLM)
  • Verge (XVG)
  • Vertcoin (VTC)
  • Zcash (ZEC)
  • 0x (ZRX)

For further information regarding this article and original content:
https://dailyhodl.com/2018/07/13/popular-crypto-app-targets-mainstream-lets-users-buy-20000-in-bitcoin-with-visa-and-mastercard

Disclaimer: BITCOIN July 13, 2018 Daily Hodl Staff
Opinions expressed at The Daily Hodl are not investment advice. Investors should do their due diligence before making any high-risk investments in Bitcoin or cryptocurrency. Your transfers and trades are at your own risk. Any losses you may incur are your responsibility. Please note that The Daily Hodl participates in affiliate marketing.

TP

Bitcoin Looks More Like Gold Than a Currency

Bitcoin Looks More Like Gold Than a Currency

The cryptocurrency is volatile,
costly to store, hard to use
and deflationary.

By Noah Smith

July 11, 2018, 5:00 AM MDT
______________________

Noah Smith is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He was an assistant professor of finance at Stony Brook University, and he blogs at Noahpinion.

Follow @Noahpinion on Twitter
______________________

In the seven months since Bitcoin’s price peaked, it has fallen by about two-thirds. But it’s still almost three times more valuable than it was a year ago.

But Bitcoin is only superficially similar to gold. There are powerful arguments for the Bitcoin Bust scenario, in which the cryptocurrency is abandoned. One such argument is made by University of Chicago Booth School of Business economist Eric Budish in a new working paper entitled “The Economic Limits of Bitcoin and the Blockchain.”

All money works via trust — you have to trust that the person paying you in a transaction won’t send you fake money, or somehow take the money back after you give them the goods. Banks, which certify fiat money transactions, have built up a large stock of trust over time, so each new transaction is very cheap to perform — to pay someone a dollar, you just have a widely trusted bank mark your account down by $1, and the other person’s up by $1, and you trust that there will be no funny business involved. But Bitcoin runs on a decentralized network, so there’s no trusted bank — in other words, trust has to be reestablished each time there’s a transaction. The innovation of the blockchain represents a way of doing this via a distributed network of competing players, who get a reward for certifying the transaction faithfully.

But Budish notes that reestablishing trust every time there’s a transaction can get very expensive. If you devote a huge amount of computing power to dominating the blockchain, you can create fake Bitcoin transactions, thus stealing things from people without paying them. Budish shows that in order to prevent this from happening, the payoff for the blockchain players has to be high relative to the value of the attack. In other words, the more there is to gain from an attack, the more each Bitcoin transaction costs.

The value of using a Bitcoin attack to steal things is related to the size of the largest Bitcoin transaction you can make, so this means that in order to keep Bitcoin usage costs low, transactions have to be kept small — which makes paying for things cumbersome and slow.

Even worse, you can attack Bitcoin in order to sabotage and destroy it — perhaps so that your own cryptocurrency or fiat currency can gain popularity in its stead. Budish conjectures that the value of this kind of sabotage could potentially be enormous — comparable, in fact, to the total value of Bitcoins in existence.

And if he’s right, it means that Bitcoin as a whole can never get very valuable. If it does, it either becomes way too expensive to maintain (because it consumes electricity), or it becomes vulnerable to sabotage by a rival. If Budish is right, it means that Bitcoin’s total value has an upper limit. And once people realize that, they’ll abandon the cryptocurrency, leading to the Bitcoin Bust scenario.

So far, Budish’s apocalyptic scenario hasn’t come to pass, even though Bitcoin’s market capitalization briefly surged above $300 billion in late 2017. So, the danger seems remote for now. But if Bitcoin is going to replace fiat money, its market value will have to reach into the tens of trillions of dollars — more than 100 times higher than anything it has attained so far. The weakness Budish has identified — the inherent cost of repeatedly reestablishing trust under constant thread of sabotage — may make Bitcoin economically unviable. If so, either another cryptocurrency will take its place, or fiat money may continue its reign as the world’s dominant monetary system.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

 

To contact the author of this story:
Noah Smith at nsmith150@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
James Greiff at jgreiff@bloomberg.net

Photographer: studioEAST/Getty Images AsiaPac

 

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Emergence of New Major Ecosystems: Ethereum amp Beyond

Emergence of New Major Ecosystems:
The Battle for Two Layer Protocols

Ethereum and Beyond

Ethereum  —  as the current incumbent among general-purpose permissionless blockchains  —  has to date offered the best resources, tooling, and incentives for developers to build on top of its protocol. These “layer-two” projects combine off-chain software with some number of smart contracts (which may include a native ERC20 token) to create markets in which users can trustlessly interact and exchange some digital resource. That resource might be the sMPC of private data, live streamed video, generic loan contracts, a CryptoKitty, or something else. These markets rely on the security guarantees and immutability of the underlying chain; so the success of a project is, to a degree, contingent on the effectiveness of the underlying chain.

For a developer seeking to build a blockchain project in 2016, Ethereum was the natural (or maybe the only) choice. If that same developer were to build a project in 2019, he or she would have significant optionality in choosing an underlying protocol.

One of the most exciting developments of 2019 will be the emergence of new “major ecosystems” and thus the beginning of the battle for layer two.

Major ecosystems are layer-one blockchain protocols that offer very compelling technical and architectural innovations such that they are likely to capture a significant portion of the technical mindshare within the space. As a number of these new ecosystems approach network launch, we can expect to see direct competition between protocols, each evangelizing its tech and incentivizing engineers to build on top of its stack.

How Will Ecosystems Compete?

There are any number of open questions around how this might play out. What factors are developers likely to prioritize in deciding which base layer to build on? Will developers who have already built layer-two projects on Ethereum migrate their tech to new protocols? The prediction is that they will.

Engineers will congregate on the chains that have the best performance (i.e. scalability, security guarantees, privacy), the most accessible and friendly developer environments, the best perceived long-term viability, and (perhaps) the most valuable cryptocurrencies.

Another variable is the degree to which decentralization or censorship resistance are important to a given use case. For example, a gaming application may make more sense on EOS than Ethereum if “platform-grade censorship resistance” is sufficient for its use. Conversely, a decentralized financial market may be better suited for a consensus protocol that allows any participant to validate and verify blocks.

Evidently, the major ecosystems will need to compete on tech as well as on incentives to adopt the tech. Certain new ecosystems incentivize adoption by offering large pools of organized capital mandated specifically to invest in the development of infrastructure, UI/UX and developer tooling on their platforms.

These capital pools will act as growth drivers in their respective ecosystems, much like ConsenSys was a growth driver for the Ethereum ecosystem.

Technical Hurdles

For Ethereum projects seeking to move to a new chain, the process of porting a Solidity smart contract is not a trivial task. Theoretically, with new base-layer protocols using WebAssembly virtual machines, smart contracts scripted in any language that can be compiled down to Wasm (e.g. Haskell, C, Rust) should run correctly. In reality, a developer will need to customize their smart contracts for each chain’s VM, considering the security guarantees, unique native functionality, and idiosyncrasies of each.

This means projects will need to expend technical resources on adapting their codebase, run new security audits on the code for each chain, potentially hire new engineers, etc.

Given these technical and cost barriers, expectations are to see a mixture of layer-two projects that make dedicated bets on the adoption of a single chain (e.g. EOS maximalists) as well as layer-two projects that run implementations across two or three of the top chains.

What About the Tokenholders?

If a tokenized Ethereum layer-two project decides to launch on top of a new protocol, what does this mean for the project’s existing tokenholders?

The answer to this is unclear today and may differ project to project. It also depends on whether the project is “abandoning” its Ethereum implementation or simply launching a concurrent implementation on top of another chain.

Here are a few approaches likely to be seen:

Multiple TDEs. A project may elect to run alternative token distribution events (either airdrops or token sales) separately for each base-layer chain it has an implementation on. The tokenholders of a layer-two project could therefore differ from chain-to-chain.

Airdrops to ERC20 Tokenholders. A project may elect to airdrop its tokens for each new base-layer chain directly to its ERC20 tokenholders (much like BTC holders receive all of the forks of BTC). This could concentrate economic value to, and incentivize the HODling of, the original ERC20s. The downside of this approach is that the project would not raise any additional capital to finance the costs of porting onto new chains.

Sidechain Bridges. Instead of creating additional sets of tokens for each new ecosystem, a layer-two project may elect to facilitate token transfers from Ethereum to other ecosystems via sidechain bridges. This would effectively turn an Ethereum layer-two project into a “meta protocol.” The process would be conceptually similar to the DOGE-ETH Bridge launched by the Truebit team earlier this year: A user could lock up their ERC20s in an Ethereum smart contract, provide proof of such a transaction on the alternative chain, and then either mint or otherwise receive new equivalent tokens on the alternative chain. For example, a 0x user on Ethereum can lock up their ZRX tokens in a smart contract and, by providing a proof, receive DFINITY ZRX tokens on the DFINITY chain. These bridges can also be bilateral, allowing tokenholders to move their balances across chains while still maintaining a fixed total supply of tokens irrespective of the number of cross-chain implementations.

The Bet.

To be clear, it is not necessarily perceived that the battle for layer two is that of an adversarial process or a zero-sum game between the major ecosystems. It’s impossible to imagine that there will only be a single winner in the development of permissionless blockchains.

Simply put, it’s a safe bet that the market for developer mindshare is about to get a lot more competitive  —  and that this competition will inspire a great deal of innovation, more efficient capital allocation, and even some consolidation across chains and companies (which we are beginning to see with the recent M&A in the space).
 

CREDIT: Tekin Salimi, a VC at Polychain Capital:
https://venturebeat.com/2018/07/07/beyond-ethereum-the-battle-to-own-blockchains-layer-two

TP

Before You Buy Bitcoin Read This

Many investors are asking:
Should I buy Bitcoins or other cryptocurrencies? And if not, why?

What Is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin arrived on the scene in 2009. The digital currency is created and held electronically. Its value stems partly from the fact that it's decentralized; no single institution or government controls the network. It was developed based on a proposal from a software developer called Satoshi Nakamoto, according to CoinDesk, which tracks cryptocurrency prices and reports on events in the crypto space. Low transaction costs are another feature along with instantaneous transfers.

Perhaps its biggest attraction is that its supply can't be increased or decreased at the whim of a controlling entity. Similar to gold and other precious metals, Bitcoins can be "mined," but it's done by using computing power in a distributed network. And like gold, Bitcoin supply is limited. And it's headed toward terminal creation.

Bitcoin rules state that only 21 million Bitcoins can ever be created, though the coins can be split into smaller parts. That could make Bitcoin, like gold, an attractive inflation hedge, backers say. There are 16.67 million Bitcoin in circulation now.

On the other hand, the potential creation of new digital currencies creates "the possibility of limitless supply of different cryptocurrencies," undermining the value of existing ones, UBS warned recently.

For further information: 
https://www.investors.com/etfs-and-funds/etfs/before-buy-bitcoin-know-cryptocurrency-investment-risks/

 

 

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What Determines If Cryptocurrency Will Be Regulated

In mid-June, 2018, a top SEC official said that Bitcoin and Ethereum are not securities, adding that a key point in deciding whether a coin is a security is whether a cryptocurrency network is sufficiently decentralized.

Not being securities means transactions in Bitcoin and Ethereum aren't subject to SEC rules.

"(When) purchasers no longer have expectation of managerial stewardship from a third party, a coin is not a security," said William Hinman, the head of the SEC's division of corporate finance, at the Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit: Crypto.

However this also means that initial coin offerings, which have in the past been launched by centralized teams, could fall under SEC rules.

This is because initial investors could be buying coins in the belief they can profit when they go public and increase in value. In addition, at such an early stage they are not sufficiently decentralized.

For more, see: https://www.investors.com/news/sec-explains-cryptocurrency-security-asset-ico-regulation/

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Crypto Rising: Bitcoin Rebounding From 2018 Lows

Bitcoin regained some losses Monday, breaking 2-month downtrend. Other digital currencies including Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash & Ripple were also up. 

The cryptocurrency's price jumped by 12% from Friday, its biggest intraday rise since April. 

The price rise is a boost for fans of the speculative asset class, which is based on blockchain technology. Cryptocurrencies around the world lost about half their market value from May 5 through last Friday. This, after Bitcoin hit an all-time top price of nearly $20,000 in December, 2017.

For more, see article by Michael Larkin, Investor's Business Daily: 
https://www.investors.com/news/bitcoin-rebounds-2018-lows/?src=A00220&yptr=yahoo

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Here’s How to Calculate What’s Working When You’re Marketing on Lots of Channels

Here's How to Calculate What's Working When You're Marketing on Lots of Channels

Determining which channel moved the customer to purchase is tricky when your marketing runs the gamut from Facebook ads to direct mail.


Long gone are the days of blindly spending marketing dollars

without a data first mindset to clearly calculate and prove you are driving a return on your marketing investment (your “ROMI”). This previously linked post demonstrates how to track your ROMI at the 30,000 foot view, based on your overall business revenues vs. costs, or at the unit level of an average transaction. But, if you want to really fine tune your efforts to maximize your ROMI, the best marketers turn to marketing attribution tools to help optimize marketing within every sub-channel of their business. Let me explain.

What is marketing attribution?

Your customers are interacting with your business in many ways. Let’s say you are a retailer, and one customer may be visiting your store, your website, your mobile app, your direct mail catalog, etc. Marketing attribution helps assign value to which of those channels (if not all) should get credit for the sale. So, when you go to calculate your ROMI for that business unit, you are fairly matching revenues with marketing costs.

Calculating attribution is hard.

The above makes it sound like marketing attribution is a relatively straight forward thing to calculate. It could be if the customer only visited one channel, but what happens when they concurrently visit multiple channels? The calculation becomes much harder.  Let’s say a customer receives a catalog in the mail, goes to the website to learn more, then purchases the product in the store. Which gets the credit? The answer: they all should get partial credit, and that is where marketing attribution tools come in to help you calculate that.

Which should get the most credit?

Determining who gets the most credit for a sale is the big debate. Should the first touch point get the most credit, since the transaction most likely started there? Or, should the last touch point get the most credit, as that is where the customer actually pulled out their credit card and purchased the product?

The arguments can clearly be made both ways (especially by the marketing managers in each of those respective departments). I tend to bias toward the first touch point (e.g., the catalog that arrived in the mail), to help me assess if I should keep spending on that specific tactic. But, oftentimes, I simply split the credit evenly between each channel that touched the customer during that sale cycle.

Marketing attribution tools

Many companies turn to sophisticated software packages to help them. Some of the more sophisticated tools are found in expensive enterprise grade solutions from Adobe and others. But, there are others that serve the SMB market, as well, including Bizable, Bright Funnel, LeadsRx, Looker, Track Maven, Active Demand, Tealium, ABM Analytics and Attribution, to name a few. You can learn more about those products from their websites, or the marketing attribution sections of software user review sites, like G2 Crowd or Capterra.

You can calculate it own your own.

Let’s say you spend $10,000 on a direct mail piece, and you get 100 of those people — 1 percent —  to buy a $200 product from you. Fifty purchase through your call center and 50 through your website. You know the website orders were tied to the direct mail piece, because the user needed to enter a unique promotion code to redeem the offer in the mailer. 

I would attribute 50 percent of the 50 web orders to the catalog and 50 percent of those web orders to the website, as they both equally played a role in the sale. So, the catalog gets credit for 75 orders ($15,000 in revenues) and the website gets credit for 25 orders ($5,000 in revenues) from this one campaign.

Then, you need to carry that logic through to expenses. You need to allocate 75 percent of the mailer costs ($7,500) to the catalog division and 25 percent ($2,500) to the website division. And, in reverse, if the website has costs to operate, let’s say $10 per transaction (or $250 in total web orders from the mailer), you need to add those costs to the catalog division’s total campaign costs. The call center costs of $25 per order (or $1,875 in total catalog orders) will be incurred entirely by the catalog division, as the call center was not used by the website orders.

So, totaling it all up from this campaign, the catalog had: $15,000 in revenue less $7,500 in mailer costs, less $1,875 in call center costs, less $250 in website costs. For a total profit of $5875 and a total ROMI of 2x (ignoring product costs). And, the website had:  $5,000 in revenue less $2,500 in mailer costs, less $750 in website costs, for a total profit of $1,750 and ROMI of 1.54x. Voila! Both divisions that participated in the sale, sharing in the sale credit in a fair and equitable way.

620{P}tential pitfalls in your calculations.

There are many instances that create calculation challenges. For example, which gets credit for a repeat sale, the channel that began the customer relationship or the channel that got the repeat order? I bias the most recent channel, but give credit for the lifetime value calculations of the first channel.

What happens when the tracking data is incomplete and you are not sure who should get credit for the sale? In that case, allocate the untracked orders pro rata in the same percentages as the tracked orders. For example, if your website accounted for 50 percent of your clearly tracked orders, there is a good chance it represented 50 percent of your untracked orders, as well. So, add those untracked orders to each respective tracked channel. This is as much an art as it is a science, so it will take time to set your rules and optimize them over time.

CONCLUDING THOUGHTS

Hopefully, you now better understand what marketing attribution is, and why it is so important to track:  it helps you to fine tune your ROMI calculations by marketing channel to make sure you are optimizing your marketing spend by channel. The better you understand your customer behaviors (e.g., touchpoints) with a customer-centric omni-channel mindset, the better you will be able to truly take your marketing efforts to the next level.

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor

Please click either Link to learn more about Marketing.
Interested or have Questions, Call Me, 559-474-4614

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This startup is creating the cultural cryptocurrency for museums and institutions

This startup is creating the cultural cryptocurrency for museums and institutions

Cultural tourism is a big segment of the wider travel and tourism industry.

While large online players like TripAdvisor provide a huge amount of information for travellers about museums, landmarks, and historical sites, there is still a need for innovation in the space. For example, the EU has a working group for digitally capturing, preserving, and exploring cultural heritage through new technologies. Austrian startup Cultural Places believes it has an answer by bringing cultural heritage and blockchain technology together. It wants to reinvent every aspect of the cultural industry, from ticketing to fundraising.

At its core, Cultural Places is a social network for artists, curators, and patrons, built by Oroundo, whose founders developed the concept over the last three years, which is creating a cultural ecosystem connecting customers and suppliers. The first version of the app has already been deployed with more than 30 institutions and landmarks including the Stephansdom cathedral in Vienna and the Borobudur Buddhist temple in Indonesia. But now it is moving on to its next phase – the Cultural Coin. The token is the platform’s dedicated cryptocurrency for purchasing tickets to museums and theatres or supporting galleries and exhibitions. Cultural Places will be running an ICO to raise financing for further development and deployment of the platform. Long term, the founders envision Cultural Places as the go-to platform for discovering and booking trips.

Streamlining ticketing

Traditional ticket booking is dogged by high fees, sometimes up to 30 percent, not to mention the high levels of fraud and ticket touting on the secondary market. On Cultural Places, tickets are handled via smart contracts on Ethereum, which removes the need for intermediaries. Smart contracts also allow for sharing and reselling of tickets to avoid anyone being ripped off. Customers get reasonably priced tickets and artists know that their tickets are being sold to actual fans rather than ticket touts.

This has been a massive pain point for ticketing across numerous industries and several startups are trying to solve it with the blockchain but Cultural Places is one of the first to design a blockchain solution specifically for this industry.

Social network & crowdfunding

Cultural Places aims to be all-encompassing. It will be a social network for travellers and culture buffs where users can build connections with others that have similar interests and shop on marketplaces for physical and digital goods. The platform helps institutions to collect and analyse user data to refine and hone the content they share to users. Furthermore, this data will inform more precise advertising compared with other social networks. Cultural institutions, like museums, will be able to build offerings using Cultural Places’ API and receive payments using the Cultural Coin cryptocurrency. Beyond that, the platform allows institutions and bodies to digitally represent and spread awareness around their work.

All content in the app is created by the institutions themselves so it’s always up to date and accurate. Museums for example are already able to integrate beacon and NFC technology in their buildings with the app to act as a walking tour guide when you’re actually at the location. Furthermore, the crowdfunding feature will help cultural businesses and artists to raise funds in a transparent way amid an environment where cultural investments are under strain. Much like ticketing, the startup claims that the crowdfunding process will be more transparent for all parties. This may be contributing to the costs of running an exhibition or helping to fund an archaeological dig.

Lower costs for the user

Cultural Places promotes its model of transparency and lower fees compared to incumbents in the marketplace but its chief business model is still revenue from transactions like ticket booking. All purchases made on Cultural Places will incur a six percent fee. Of this, three percent goes to Cultural Places and other three percent is distributed across the community: One percent will be returned to the user in Cultural Coins as a sort of loyalty program. Another one percent of the transaction will be distributed to all Cultural Coin token holders as a reward for being part of the ecosystem. And a final one percent will be distributed to all institutions to encourage further participation.

The Cultural Coin

The company is holding an ICO for the Cultural Coin, which is supported by the digital marketing agency Digitalsunray. The  Cultural Coin is a utility token that will be operational across the platform, though payments will also be available in fiat.  In the sale, 1.5 billion coins will be generated, with 900 million (60 percent) of these coins being made public in the sale, concluding on April 5 with all unsold tokens being destroyed. 150 million coins (10 percent) will go into a stability pool; 30 million (two percent) will be reserved for a bug bounty program; 75 million (five percent) will be distributed among existing Oroundo shareholders; and 345 million (23 percent) will be held for other early stakeholders, team members, and advisors in the project.

The sale is taking place in five phases: a pre-ICO and four separate sale phases with the value of the coin going up at each phase. In the pre-ICO, the coins are valued at €0.015 and will then increase to €0.018, €0.021, and €0.024 before finishing at €0.030 on the final phase. Unlike many ICOs, the company has already launched a working product with iOS and Android versions of the app. The funds raised by the ICO will help further development of its blockchain features and growing its partner networks. It is working with startup Flashboys for the blockchain implementations. Flashboys is the creator of Wizzle and will list the Cultural Coin on its exchange. Cultural Places is also working with customer satisfaction rating company RateMyTate.  The startup will first integrate the blockchain ticketing system this year with a view to building out the payments and crowdfunding features in 2019.

Chuck Reynolds

Marketing Dept
Contributor

Please click either Link to learn more about Bitcoin.
Interested or have Questions, Call Me, 559-474-4614

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Payment Provider Fleetcor to Pilot Ripple’s XRP Cryptocurrency

Payment Provider Fleetcor to Pilot Ripple's XRP Cryptocurrency

Workforce and fleet payments provider Fleetcor Technologies

has become the latest to trial Ripple's xRapid product, which utilizes its custom cryptocurrency XRP. New York-based financial consultants Cambridge Global Payments, which Fleetcor acquired last year, will also be part of the partnership, a Ripple spokesperson said. Cambridge has been a Ripple client since 2017, though it has largely used the startup's xCurrent product.

Stepping back, the news comes over a month after telecom provider IDT and payments provider Mercury signed on to pilot xRapid. Similarly, MoneyGram soon after revealed it was piloting the same product to test its speed and efficiency for international payments, as previously reported. At present, the companies must use pre-funded bank accounts in various countries in order to facilitate transactions. Cuallix, a Mexican financial services company, has been using XRP as an alternative since last year, and noted in a recent blog post that the liquidity provided by xRapid helps it process direct payments between the U.S. and its southern neighbor both quickly and cheaply.

Various other companies have also signed on with Ripple in recent months, using its blockchain technology stacks, but not XRP, to ease cross-border transactions. Over the past few months, Abu Dhabi-based UAE Exchange, China-based LianLian and the UK arm of Santander Bank have all signed on to use xCurrent. At the time, the companies largely announced they were looking to lower the cost and time required to send funds across borders.

Chuck Reynolds

Marketing Dept
Contributor

Please click either Link to learn more about Bitcoin.
Interested or have Questions, Call Me, 559-474-4614

Mexican Lawmakers Pass Cryptocurrency Regulation Bill

Lawmakers in Mexico have reportedly advanced a bill

that was drafted to regulate fintech, including cryptocurrencies, in the country. According to Reuters, the bill was passed by Mexico's Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of its legislature, on Thursday and currently is pending signature from Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto before it goes into effect as law. The latest legislative move follows a previous green light from the country's Senate in December 2017 that cleared the way for the bill, which is aimed to bring certainty on the status of cryptocurrency, as well as to prevent use of the tech in illicit activities such as money-laundering.

As reported by CoinDesk, the framework aims to set out that cryptocurrencies are not legal tender in Mexico, a stance in line with comments from the country's central bank in early 2017. In a local report, Agustin Carstens, the then-governor of Banco de Mexico said bitcoin should be considered a commodity, not a currency. In addition, the bill also seeks to put the operation of cryptocurrency exchanges under oversight of the country's central bank.

The Reuters report, though, indicates that the bill, drafted in general terms, will also see further development of a secondary law by other financial regulators such as Mexico's securities commission, the central bank and the finance ministry in the coming months. The changes are expected to bring rules on activities such as fund-raising by cryptocurrency firms.

Chuck Reynolds

Marketing Dept
Contributor

Please click either Link to learn more about Bitcoin.
Interested or have Questions, Call Me, 559-474-4614

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Micro-Influencers: The Marketing Force Of The Future?

Micro-Influencers:
The Marketing Force Of The Future?


When one thinks of social media influencers, who comes to mind?
Is it a group of the most highly-followed social media stars with millions of followers or is it someone more approachable and relatable, with a smaller, yet immensely dedicated following? If it’s the latter, they are likely micro-influencers.

On the surface, it seems as though an influencer’s total following matters more than anything else. And while the overall following numbers do attract attention, engagement is the key factor in an influencer’s ultimate success when it comes to commercial viability. Brands and marketers are now focusing on the interaction between influencers and their audiences and that is measured by likes, comments and the ultimate trust followers have in the influencers they are following. Micro-influencers often have very high engagement with their fan-bases and are often over-looked by brands in the social media campaigns they are pursuing.

Who Are Micro-Influencers?

Although the range of the number of followers an influencer must have to qualify as a micro-influencer is subjective, I believe that it is someone who has anywhere between 10,000 and 500,000 followers on social media channels. It's not necessarily the number of followers as much as how engaged that audience is. Micro-influencers have specific niche audiences and are deeply connected to them.

Some Examples of Micro-Influencers and Their Niches

Micro-influencers can be found in almost any sector: they could be focused on health and wellness, food and cuisine, entrepreneurship or fashion and beauty to name a just a few prominent categories. An interesting example of someone in the health and wellness world is Alexandra Lerner, who posts about her work as a yoga and wellness influencer on instagram. Allie Lerner writes about her passion in her blog (http://www.alliemichellel.com), writes and publishes books, has her own podcast and collaborates with like-minded brands like the yoga-inspired apparel manufacturer Spiritual Gangster. In the beauty and fashion world, Marta Pozzan (https://www.instagram.com/martapozzan/?hl=en) is a globe-trotting influencer who travels from fashion week to fashion week promoting brands from Kenzo to Bulgari and beyond.

How Can Micro-Influencers Help Brands?

Micro-influencers are people who have already built the audience a brand looking for, and they’ve already established trust with them. This post on social selling by Hiloipa.com, a CRM built for multi level marketers, reminds us how important it is to tell a story, rather than blatantly sell to audiences. Influencers have established relationships with their followers through their stories. And when they’re willing to share a brand’s story, their followers are ready and willing to listen. When you consider that 40% of Twitter users have made a purchase as a direct result of a tweet from an influencer, it’s easy to see why many brands use influencers to spread their message.

Working with Micro-Influencers for the Best ROI

For a brand to achieve the best possible ROI on a campaign, it’s ideal to hire a group of micro-influencers. Micro-influencers will not have the same reach as the macro influencer celebrity, therefore, working with a group of micro-influencers is necessary to increase the reach of a campaign. The concept that an influencer must have millions of followers to be valuable to a brand is misleading. The reality is that the larger the following an influencer has, the lower the engagement rate is. Hiring a combination of micro-influencers and celebrity influencers may raise the ROI of a campaign and lower the overall marketing spend.

How to Find Micro-Influencers to Work With

The first thing a brand should do is to look through its own followers on its social media channels. Who is the brand already associated with that might be a potential representative? Who is interested in telling the brand’s story and is already talking about it? This can help to find the micro-influencers that match the brand. The best way to establish and build relationships with micro-influencers is to engage with them, follow them and show appreciation for their content. When micro-influencers receive direct messages from brands, this will help to make them more likely to reply when an actual campaign is being built.

Ways to Work with Micro-Influencers

There are a number of ways to work with influencers. Sometimes speaking with them yields the best results in determining the best way to build a mutually beneficial relationship. For example, the influencer can take over a brand’s social media account for a fixed period of time.

Brands also send micro-influencers product to sample and take photos of to post on their social media accounts. Content that shows product in organic, real-life situations resonates with followers and consumers. Micro-influencers can also create content on their social media channels such as videos and blog posts. Brands can then share the content on their own social media channels with branded hashtags so followers can keep track of it all. Micro-influencers are accessible to businesses of all shapes and sizes. When a brand doesn’t have the budget to work with a celebrity, it can still get the benefit of working with influencers and watch the brand grow on social media.

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor

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