Tag Archives: Cryptocurrency

StarbucksCoin? Exec Says Coffee Seller Will ‘Probably’ Use Blockchain

Exec Says Coffee Seller Will 'Probably' Use Blockchain

Starbucks is likely to utilize blockchain technology

as part of a new payments app, executive chairman Howard Shultz said Tuesday. Speaking with Maria Bartiromo during a Fox Business segment, Schultz discussed the use of a "proprietary digital currency" in conjunction with the payments app. When asked whether the coffee retailer would use blockchain in conjunction with the initiative – as opposed to a more centralized system of accounting – Schultz said that the company "probably" would move in that direction. "I think blockchain technology is probably the rails in which an integrated app at Starbucks will be sitting on top of," he commented.

His comments come roughly a month after the former chief executive spoke broadly during an earnings call about the chain's plans to utilize the tech, especially on the payments front (although he dismissed the idea that the company would use bitcoin in some way). At the time, Schultz suggested that the tech may play a role in how Starbucks works to "expand digital customer relationships," though it remains to be seen how blockchain is ultimately used in practice by the company. "I believe that we are heading into a new age, in which blockchain technology is going to provide a significant level of a digital currency that is going to have a consumer application," he remarked during the earnings call.

Chuck Reynolds

Marketing Dept

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


Opinion: Blockchain will make today’s accountants and many Wall Street jobs obsolete

Blockchain will make today’s accountants (and many Wall Street jobs) obsolete

The Big Four accounting firms

—Deloitte, Price Waterhouse, Ernst Young, and KPMG—
seem to be taking an “if-you-can’t-fight-them-join-them” approach to the onset of blockchain technology.

As of mid-2017, Deloitte alone had 250 people working in distributed ledger laboratories, and the other three are being similarly aggressive. Of course, these labs occupy a tiny sliver of these firms’ massive payrolls, but the dedicated R&D speaks to how seriously the companies view the technology. If immutable distributed ledgers become a reality, their audit and accounting divisions will eventually become obsolete, with a huge human impact. At just under 40% of their combined $127 billion in revenues, the firms’ audit and assurance divisions directly employ around 300,000 people.

These firms are exploring how this disruptive technology could affect their clients. What will become clear to them is that accounting as we know it—as a quarterly exercise in which teams of people review samples of past transactions to judge the integrity of past events—will become obsolete.

And the Big Four’s audit divisions are just the tip of the accounting business iceberg. It’s not just the big-name auditors at risk; it’s every auditor—including companies’ internal auditors. In fact, once account-keeping itself becomes fully automated and reconciliation functions become superfluous, both those who keep the books and those who audit them will be out of work. Machines will input the financial data, analyze the financial data, and audit the financial data—all within a few minutes, if not seconds. In the United States alone, there are 1.3 million people employed in accounting, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The labor force disruption won’t stop with the accountants. The entire investment profession, which is structured around the delayed release of official, audited financial figures, is also very much at risk. The investment cycle of Wall Street stock brokerage and research is built around those data releases—analysts come up with updated projections on what they expect a company’s quarterly earnings per share will look like; the market places its bets; and then, when the numbers are dumped on them every three months, investors re-calibrate the share price, either positively or negatively. Everything in equities revolves around the quarterly numbers.

How blockchain can revolutionize government

What happens to this industry when all financial and economic data is being updated, automatically and indisputably in real time? What happens to the people who lose their jobs? What happens to the work culture? If the future foreseen by this book comes to pass, we’ll witness the biggest employment shakeup the world has ever seen. And this time, the most vulnerable jobs are not the usual suspects: the factory workers, the low-level clerks, or the retail store assistants. Now it’s the accountants, the bankers, the portfolio managers, the insurers, the title officers, the escrow agents, and the trustees—and, yes, even the lawyers.

To be sure, the common refrain that lawyers will be replaced by “smart contracts” is somewhat inaccurate since the terms of agreements, the actual contracts themselves, will still need to be negotiated by human beings. Nonetheless, the legal industry is also in for a huge shakeup. Lawyers who don’t understand code are likely going to be valued far less than those who do. (One of the most employable joint degrees to have will be a law-plus–computer science degree.) In any case, you get the idea: the middle class is facing a tidal wave.

Chuck Reynolds

Marketing Dept

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



Why Customers And Marketers Need Human-Like AI

Why Customers And Marketers Need Human-Like AI

If we could summarize our current era in one sentence,

what would that sentence be? Probably that there is no time. There are more ways to spend money, more irreversible risks and less time to make sense of it all. That’s why humanoid marketing solutions are on the rise to walk us through the myriad of options and traps.

Of course, countless product providers have been trying to cater to this problem with time-saving solutions. Since day one, every computer has claimed to be faster than the previous one — and with quantum computers in reach, we could see acceleration at 100,000,000 times the speed. However, for the same reason that widening highways doesn't reduce traffic jams, making more efficient devices will not save us. We used to make a few five-minute calls per day; now we sit on Facebook for hours. This effect, interpreted by prominent urban economist Edward Glaeser as Jevon's Complementarity Corollary, has broader implications: The more efficient the technology, the more engaged with it we become and the less time we have for important choices.

Semi-good searches lead to semi-bad choices.

We have so much information available to us that it should be easy to choose even a complex product — but it's not. Consider picking a home, business location or medical service provider. The decision comes with rational and emotional components, and the wrong choice could kill you.

Not long ago, search engines looked like an answer to the decision-making process. But with the number of new products skyrocketing each year — and up to 75% of them failing — this may no longer be the case. Even currently available AI-driven search-engine derivatives are not sophisticated enough to help with serious choices. "Hey Google, play Jain." Your Google Home begins to play songs with "Jane" in the title. Now, how about choosing your neurosurgeon this way? "Hey Google, just don’t." Because regular and AI-based search engines aren't great at facilitating complex choices for the 21st-century customer, search engine marketing and SEM may not be our future either. According to some, SEO is already dead. Even if it’s not, change in product evaluating behavior is inevitable.

Oh my bot! Star reviews haunt marketing.

Customer reviews have a major downside: You are seeing the world through someone else’s eyes at best. At worst, you bank your future on a four-and-a-half star review by Alice from Ohio. Who's Alice? It can be anyone or no one. The ideal option would be to create a product-savvy machine and have it test market options for you as you — except that sometimes you don’t want to be you. The big question of recommender systems and all marketing automation is if it should always stick to your previous choices and likes or break away to experiment. The top machine-learning algorithms cluster based on patterns that favor proximity over diversity, which is not how we as humans have evolved.

Spotify suggests weekly playlists differently, but even this feels too close to what we already like and too wary of experimentation. With product variations and communications increasingly composed by automated marketers, the need for more selective analytics and personalization is imminent. Humans without artificial support won’t make it, but AI alone won’t make it either. The combination of AI with blockchain can help as it allows for personalization and can tell the real Alice from the bot. This creates almost unimaginable possibilities for marketing that go beyond what is out there now.

Sorry Siri. We need someone else.

We are not talking a better Siri but about personalized distributed intelligence that is Stephen Hawking smart and has a crystal ball where all market options — including the most complex medical treatments — can be dissected to match our needs in real time. These systems must know our desires better than our best buddies and want the best for us like our moms. If they can’t help us choose the right doctor, home or business option, no one can. They must also run faster than the Flash. Technically speaking, they will be content-based and data-driven systems with deep learning abilities and deep personality profiles. Let’s call them "deep cybuddies." Marketing through such humanoid platforms will differ from that of now. Just as content marketing changed promotion and the way products are created, smart recommendation platforms will lead to clear and measurable, but multilayered, unique value proposition (UVP).

Advances in artificial imagination will also enhance the experimental, creative part of the process. Cyborgs will epitomize the best of humans and the best of machines to help us live more fulfilled lives. They may even be fun to have around. Just think about the newly appointed minister for loneliness and get the picture: We need super cyborgs to be both brainy and cool. If they are not cool, they can make you pretty mad. The latest research by Ciechanowski, Magnuski, Glor and Przegalinska shows that talking to avatar chatbots can raise your heart rate to 160 BPM.

It is possible to imagine ideal blockchain and AI-generated marketing content that is custom-tailored and can reach individuals in real time, at a decent price and without major privacy violations. As of now, however, at least one of these ideals has to be compromised: You can’t have it omnisapient, omnipotent, cheap, fair and perfectly individualized all at once. On the other hand, this is what has always been said until someone new comes out of nowhere and changes the game once and for all. Are they coming?

Chuck Reynolds

Marketing Dept

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


Venezuelan Leader Claims Big Demand for Petro Cryptocurrency

Venezuelan Leader Claims Big Demand for Petro Cryptocurrency

Venezuela president Nicolas Maduro said the government

has received more than 171,000 certified purchase orders for the petro, the country's forthcoming cryptocurrency. In a Twitter post, the country's leader claimed that 40.8 percent of the purchase orders were in U.S. dollars, 6.5 percent were in euros, 18.4 percent were in ethereum and 33.8 percent were in bitcoin. He further claimed that more than 3,500 companies placed bids for petro tokens. The remaining 82,000 purchasers are individuals, according to

Venezuela-based news group teleSUR.

#ANUNCIO "Hasta el día de hoy hemos recibido 171 mil ofertas de intención de compras certificadas para el Petro, 40.8% en $, 6.5% en €, 18.4% en Ethereum , 33.8% en Bitcoin, de las cuales 3523 ofertas son de empresas" manifestó el Pdte.

No information was provided as to who the purchasers are, or what certification procedures were followed. Despite these claims, the Caracas Chronicles pointed out that no petro tokens have yet been distributed to any potential purchasers. Indeed, a look at the NEM transaction ledger shows that the Venezuelan government's petro address still has ownership of all 100 million tokens.

Maduro last week claimed that the petro pre-sale, which will continue through the beginning of March, raised $735 million during its first day, as previously reported. However, he has not released any evidence to support this number. The lack of transfers from the government wallet has not stopped cryptocurrency exchanges from trying to set up shop in the South American nation, however. As previously reported, government documents indicate that eight exchanges may be allowed to set up in the country initially, and some groups have begun efforts to do so.

Chuck Reynolds

Marketing Dept

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


Bitcoin Ethereum Bitcoin Cash Ripple Stellar Litecoin Cardano NEO EOS: Price Analysis

Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Ripple, Stellar, Litecoin, Cardano, NEO, EOS: Price Analysis

Goldman Sachs funded, Circle, a cryptocurrency-focused financial-services firm,

has purchased the US-based cryptocurrency exchange Poloniex for $400 million. This shows that large financial institutions are looking for opportunities to grow business in the crypto world. This move, while prices have been in a downswing, might boost positive sentiment. While a number of nations are looking at ways to regulate crypto trading, the Venezuelan government believes that cryptocurrency is an easy way out of its troubles. After the launch of its oil-backed cryptocurrency, Petro, the government has started free cryptocurrency trading courses for its citizens. Still, the success of the Petro is a big question mark for the future. Meanwhile, let’s look at the top cryptocurrencies and see if we can find any profitable trading opportunities.


In our previous analysis, we had suggested long positions for the aggressive traders in Bitcoin, but it did not move according to our expectation. It turned down from $10,770.23 on Feb. 24 and fell to a low of $9,502.25 yesterday, Feb. 25, but remained above our suggested stop loss of $9,400. The bears were not able to capitalize on the weakness and break below the critical support. Today, the bulls have seized the opportunity and have broken out of the downtrend line and the 20-day EMA, which is a bullish sign. They have one more major hurdle in the way of the 50-day SMA at $10,745. Once the price breaks out of the $10,745 to $10,770 resistance zone, it should move towards the resistance line of the descending channel at $11,500.

There is no change to our recommended stop loss of $9,400, but if the traders find that the cryptocurrency is unable to break out of $10,700, they can raise the stops to breakeven. Let’s play it safe. The BTC/USD pair will be out of the woods once it clears the $12,200 mark. We also see an inverted head and shoulders pattern forming, which should complete in a few days. If this happens, it will indicate a change in trend and traders can expect higher levels. Our bullish view will be invalidated if the bears break down below $9,400 levels.


Traders who follow us would have entered long positions in Ethereum around the $830 mark, as suggested in our previous analysis. Currently, the price is at the 20-day EMA, which may offer strong resistance. But we like the way the ETH/USD pair sustained above the $808 mark on the previous two days, Feb. 24 and Feb. 25, and did not challenge the lows formed on Feb. 22 and Feb. 23. This shows that demand is at higher levels.

Once Ethereum breaks out of the 20-day EMA, it is likely to rally to the resistance line of the descending channel close to the $965 mark. We find an ascending triangle developing, which will complete on a breakout and close above the $1,000 levels. This is a bullish sign. Therefore, traders can book partial profits at $965 and trail the rest with a suitable stop loss to ride the next up move. But if the price breaks down to $780 levels, our bullish view will be proved wrong.


We don’t find any buying interest in Bitcoin Cash at the moment. It is struggling to stay above the critical support level of $1,150. Any recovery attempt will face resistance at the 20-day EMA and the 50-day SMA. The BCH/USD pair will show first signs of strength once it stays above $1,600 levels. Currently, we don’t find any buy setup, and that’s why we don’t recommend any trade on it.   


The bulls have defended the $0.85 levels for the past five days. Ripple can now remain range bound between $0.85 and $1.22961 for the next few days. The next leg up will start once the XRP/USD pair breaks out of the range and the 50-day SMA at $1.23. Until then, price action will most likely remain range bound and volatile. We don’t find any buy setups inside the range; hence, no recommendation on trade so far.        


The bulls have hung on to the critical support zone of $0.32 to $0.35 for the past few days. But they have not been able to push prices higher. As a result, Stellar continues to languish near its recent lows. If the bears succeed in breaking down below $0.32, it may push the XLM/USD pair towards $0.22 levels. However, if the bulls assert their supremacy, a range bound trading between $0.32 to $0.47 is likely to ensue. We are not certain about the next price move; therefore, we have provided our view on both possibilities to the traders.  


We had recommended traders to build long positions on Litecoin close to the $200 mark with a target objective of $240 and $260. We assume traders would have entered long positions on Feb. 24. For the past four days, the LTC/USD pair has been facing stiff resistance at the trendline. Currently, $240 is a critical resistance level; we can see a move to $270 and higher from there. Traders can hold their positions and trail their stops higher to break even. We think it’s better to wait and not lose money on the trade. The target objective on the upside is a rally to $270 where 50 percent positions can be closed. Remaining positions can be carried with a trailing stop loss with a target objective of $300. Our bullish view will be invalidated if the cryptocurrency breaks below $175.


We had suggested a short-term trade on Cardano in our previous analysis. Though the price broke out of 0.000033, yesterday, Feb. 25, it never reached our target objective of 0.00004070. It turned down from 0.00003520 levels. Traders can close their positions at the current levels with a marginal loss. The ADA/BTC pair continues to be weak as it is below both the 20-day EMA and the 50-day SMA. If the price breaks down of 0.00003033, it can slide to the next support level of 0.0000246. On the upside, the zone between the 20-day EMA and 0.00004070 is likely to act as stiff resistance.


Today, NEO has broken out of a slew of resistances. It has also triggered our buy level, recommended in the previous analysis. Traders who have entered long positions on our suggestion can keep their stop loss at $105. A failure of a bearish pattern – a descending triangle pattern in this case – is a bullish sign. On the upside, $140 is critical resistance; the NEO/USD pair should quickly rally to $170 levels above this level. On the downside, the cryptocurrency might find support at $120 levels.


EOS has held on to its critical support of $7.5 for the past five days. Though it had formed a bearish descending triangle pattern, it did not break down of it, and the price has reached the apex of the triangle. The pattern now stands invalidated.  If the EOS/USD pair breaks out of the downtrend line and the 20-day EMA, it is likely to reach the 50-day SMA. We don’t find any reliable setups on it. Hence, we can’t recommend any trade on it.

Chuck Reynolds

Marketing Dept

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


Facebook’s David Fischer Talks about the ‘Fundamental Shift’ Toward Purpose-Driven Marketing

Facebook's David Fischer Talks
about the 'Fundamental Shift' Toward
Purpose-Driven Marketing


The Ad Council's Lisa Sherman discusses pro-social initiatives

with Facebook's David Fischer in this first interview in a new series,
"The Purpose of Purpose."

Lisa Sherman:

There is a growing public expectation for private sector businesses to do their part in addressing social issues. How do you see this expectation playing out at Facebook?

David Fischer:

One very positive trend I see is a growing recognition that doing good in the world is good for companies. The question is no longer whether the private sector should be participating in social initiatives, but rather how best they should do so. It's incredibly heartening to see so many people stepping up not just to answer that question but to drive meaningful change in the world.

One example is the Unstereotype Alliance, which is a group of companies, including Facebook, who have committed to addressing outdated and harmful stereotypes in the industry. We want to ensure creativity–whether in the advertising or content we create–shows people as progressive and modern, authentic and multi-dimensional. There is also so much terrific work happening around the globe on the critical issue of sustainability, led by Coca-Cola, Unilever, Pepsico, Nestle, and many more. These are just a few examples, and we take great pride at Facebook in the opportunity to work with so many partners on social initiatives.

And we're doing our part at Facebook as well. We've invested for many years now in what we call our Social Good initiatives. These include tools such as charitable giving so that people can set up fundraisers for their favorite causes, and the elimination of nonprofit fees so that 100% of donations made through Facebook payments to nonprofits go directly to those organizations. On Giving Tuesday last year, the Facebook community raised more than $45 million dollars in a single day to support causes that they care about.

Another great example is a powerful tool called Safety Check. It's an online notification tool that lets you alert friends and family that you're safe after a disaster. We built it after the Fukushima earthquake in Japan, when we noticed that people were using Facebook to let their friends know they were okay. And now we've given people the ability to activate Safety Check themselves. In the last three years, it's been used more than 1,000 times and has notified people that their families and friends are safe more than three billion times.


Facebook was a big supporter and partner of the Ad Council's new 'Seize the Awkward' Suicide Prevention campaign. Talk to us about how that partnership fits into all that you're doing in the mental health space?


Suicide prevention is an imperative for all of us, and Seize the Awkward is an important campaign to address this issue. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among young adults. And for every youth suicide, there are 100 to 200 attempts. It's so important that the friends and family of people going through a tough time feel empowered to broach the subject. As the name of this campaign suggests, it can be uncomfortable to do so—there's so much fear of getting it wrong or offending someone you care about. By educating people that it can actually save a life to reach out to someone when you think they're struggling with their mental health, Seize the Awkward is giving voice to an issue that too many people are afraid to give voice to.

At Facebook, we're in a rather unique position to help facilitate those interactions. Sometimes, people in distress will post on Facebook giving others a chance to help. We are proud of our partnership with the Ad Council on this campaign, highlighting signs of mental health concerns and offering tips and tutorials on just how to reach out to support friends in need in those critical moments when they need a hand. Visit the new Instagram presence that we created for the campaign here. This initiative fits in well with our overall effort to build Safe Communities on Facebook. In 2017, we announced suicide prevention tools to help people in real time on Facebook Live. We also rolled out live chat support from crisis support organizations through Messenger. Over the last month we've worked with first responders based on reports we received via our proactive detection efforts.


The velocity of change in our industry doesn't seem to be slowing down any time soon—offering new opportunities for marketers. What trend do you think has the greatest possibility to change the game in social impact marketing in 2018?


What I'm most excited about it is the fundamental shift we're seeing towards purpose-driven marketing. This goes beyond tech across all industries. We're seeing a generational change taking place that's driven by a search for meaning. It's becoming a necessity to do more than just focus on the bottom line. I look at the positions that some of the most significant marketers in the world are taking on important issues like racial equality, gender equality, sustainability. Brands realize that when they do good, they also do well. And this understanding of just how important social issues are in the work of the private sector is exploding. For instance, we're seeing major investment firms make it clear that their portfolio companies need to do more than just deliver profits. They need to make real contributions to the world.

The beauty is that there are so many different ways of contributing. One of the biggest ways Facebook impacts the world is supporting entrepreneurs launching and growing their businesses. This in turn creates jobs and supports communities. There is nothing more rewarding in my job than helping fulfill a dream and create economic opportunities for entrepreneurs and their communities. And so often, this has a meaningful social effect as well.

One great example of a small business that's also doing remarkable good is Two Blind Brothers. It is an apparel company in Dallas, run by two brothers who have an eye disease that destroys central vision over time, and they wanted to dedicate their business to finding a cure. The company employs a team of blind workers and donate 100% of their profits to research. Late last year, it ran a Black Friday sale on Facebook, centered around a unique video shopping experience that replicates being visually impaired. The company raised $100,000 for research to help cure blindness. Stories like these are happening every day around the globe.


What do you think is the biggest barrier that media/tech companies are facing when it comes to doing more in the social good space and how can they overcome it?


Many of the changes that technology has driven in society these past few decades are the result of empowering people. The democratization of access to so many tools has enabled more entrepreneurs to grow businesses, and more smaller companies to act like larger ones. For us, empowering people to do good is a key part of so much of what we do. This is because it's engrained in our mission: whether it's been to help others in times of crisis or to raise awareness for a cause they support, people on Facebook have demonstrated the good they can do when they're empowered. For example, in just the last few weeks, I've heard two separate stories where individuals have used Facebook to find a kidney donor for a loved one. There are many, many examples of amazing things like that happening every day.

The barrier is that it's sometimes hard to surface to people how they can have the biggest possible impact. It's difficult at times to activate groups of people around causes they might care about. Our job is to ensure that we build the tools that enable people to do good, and to do it more easily.

We spend a great deal of time designing the tools we build to ensure they can help businesses of all sizes, and non-profits. A good example of what happens when we get this right came in response to the terrible effects of Hurricanes Harvey and Maria last year. We saw many groups and individuals activating on our platform to support the victims of these disasters. After Hurricane Maria, Mercy Corp was able to raise over $124,000 on Facebook to expand relief efforts in Puerto Rico, 50% of which was from first-time supporters. And, in late August the community rallied to support Harvey relief by raising more than $20 million, which was the biggest fundraising effort for a single crisis in 2017 on Facebook.


What's next for Facebook in the social good space?


Facebook is very good at connecting you with family and friends, of course, but when it comes to getting support or learning a new skill, it can be just as important to connect with someone outside your social circle. One recent initiative is around blood donation. India, like many countries, has a shortage of safe blood. Every week there are thousands of posts from people seeking blood donations. So, we worked with non-profit organizations, blood banks, and donors in India to build a tool to make it easier to give blood. Donors can register on Facebook and get a notification if a person or an organization nearby needs blood, and then they connect through Facebook. Over six million people in India have signed up to be donors and this tool is already being actively used to get and give blood.

We also recently announced Mentorship and Support, a new product that combines the expertise of nonprofit organizations with the reach of the Facebook community to help connect people who have shared experiences and goals but may not already know each other. We started the pilot with nonprofits focused on education and crisis recovery: iMentor and International Rescue Committee. But we know that people on Facebook have all kinds of different needs. Our goal is to expand these tools to help connect people around a variety of causes like addiction recovery, career advancement, and other areas where having someone you can count on for support can make all the difference. We're just getting started.


Before we close, I have to ask: what's your favorite PSA ever, and why?


Love Has No Labels has been so meaningful in promoting acceptance, and in fighting discrimination. This is a campaign with the message that, deep down, we're all the same, that love is love, and that we should examine and challenge our implicit and unconscious biases about each other. The Ad Council does so much work of deep significance and effectiveness, and it is truly special to see the way our entire industry comes together to address important social issues. It's a real privilege to be a part of it.

What stands out about Love Has No Labels is how effectively this campaign has addressed a critical issue for our country, and broken down barriers. Since it launched in 2015, survey results have shown that the campaign has seen significant shifts in key attitudes and behaviors with more adults reporting that they believe they can create a more inclusive and accepting environment.

And there have been so many participants in this campaign – both individuals and companies. So many have stepped up to get involved, including corporate partners who have joined hands with their rivals to extend the message— Bank of America, The Coca-Cola Company, Google, PepsiCo, P&G, Johnson & Johnson, State Farm and Wells Fargo. We've been particularly focused on partnering with the Ad Council on the video creative, since this type of powerful content can really sway hearts and minds on our platform. In a world that can often feel divided, it's felt really good to come together and work on a project that was bigger than any one company. That's a big reason why we take so much pride to participate in the vitally important work of the Ad Council.

Chuck Reynolds

Marketing Dept

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


Be thankful for bitcoin even if you think it’s a scam

Be thankful for bitcoin, even if you think it’s a scam

You don’t have to believe bitcoin will herald a new era of nationless, inflationless finance to appreciate that it’s already achieved something previously unthinkable

Don Quixote put a barber's basin on his head
and said it was the golden helmet of Mambrino. This is how bitcoin — and all money — is made.You should be thankful for bitcoin even if you didn’t get rich, even if you think it’s a scam, and even if the Winklevoss twins don’t feature in your fantasies of financial utopia. You should be thankful for bitcoin even if it was invented by a comic-book supervillain, and even if the code he futzed with in his basement a decade ago multiplied into a power-hungry Napoleon testing the limits of our electrical and electoral grids — as well as our sanity. You should be thankful for bitcoin even if it means every financial transaction in history will be written onto one of those endlessly long drugstore receipts.

You should be thankful for bitcoin even if the most profitable use of all the world’s computing power today is solving Sudoku puzzles (in order to generate that endlessly long drugstore receipt). You should be thankful for bitcoin even if the insufferable tech bros and their Sudoku-solving supercomputers both spend their days running an infinite loop of the same word: “mine, mine, mine, mine, mine … ” We should all be thankful for bitcoin, in fact, because bitcoin made us all think. I know. I know. “Think?” Hasn’t bitcoin mania caused people to do the opposite of thinking? Yes. If all the bubbles in history from Dutch tulips to Disney superhero movies teach us anything, it’s that greed doesn’t heed.

And yet, bitcoin BTCUSD, +6.33% has made us think. It’s made us think about the very nature of money, the sheer weirdness of money, which most of the time we’re too busy spending, saving or worrying about to actually think about. In the past month alone I heard kids on the subway debating fiat currency, Uber drivers ranting about central bankers — hell, even my mom has had some choice words about the best store of value. You don’t have to believe bitcoin will herald a new era of nationless, inflationless finance to appreciate that it’s already achieved something unthinkable.

Bitcoin is a philosopher’s stone. It’s also a pet rock. It’s worthless, and it’s worth millions. It’s magic, and it’s marketing — and it reminds us that these same contradictions are true of all money. What is money? Dictionaries and economics textbooks prove inadequate to answer, as Dickens’s flustered Mr. Dombey demonstrates when his son poses the question. Money is “coined liberty,” says Dostoyevsky. It is “frozen desire,” the writer James Buchan puts it in his superb book by the same title. “Money takes wishes, however vague or trivial or atrocious, and broadcasts them to the world, like the

Mayday of a ship in difficulties.”

Is it really so absurd that some dude from MIT can point a finger and declare, ‘Let there be Litecoin,’ and suddenly he has enough cash to buy his own Caribbean island?

Money is a “social technology,” the economist Felix Martin says — one of the twin pillars on which civilization was built. Writing was the other. Of course, writing was originally money, too. When prehistoric Steve Jobs unveiled the invention of writing in his Mesopotamian keynote five thousand years ago, writing’s killer app wasn’t poetry, philosophy or presidential tweets — it was keeping track of debts. The early adopters were the proto-CPAs, and they probably drove all their friends bananas gushing about the stone slab’s cuneiform factor.

All of this is to say the most important thing to remember about money is that we made it all up. Money is an act of imagination. It’s a fiction. The great American novel isn’t “Huck”; it’s the buck. With that in mind, is it really so absurd that some dude from MIT can point a finger and declare, “Let there be Litecoin,” and suddenly he has enough cash to buy his own Caribbean island? OK. That is still pretty absurd. It’s as absurd as Don Quixote putting a barber’s basin on his head and insisting it’s the gold helmet of Mambrino. But if enough people believed Don Quixote or the dude from MIT, would it not be so?

Why do you think money is stamped with the words “In God we trust”? Money is a leap of faith. Even when we had the gold standard, we really only had the god standard. It’s not a god we are trusting in, however, but each other. The word credit literally means belief, my colleague Jason Zweig of the Wall Street Journal points out.

Money is ultimately backed by faith in our institutions, our government and our Facebook FB, +0.36% friends. The dollar is the value and values of America rendered into an abstraction, allowing us to trade and transact with strangers we might otherwise not trust. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are more atheistic. They run on an almost paranoiac guiding principle to trust nothing and encrypt everything — which, admittedly, isn’t as catchy a slogan. Bitcoin would be better off adopting the motto Benjamin Franklin advocated for America’s coins: “Mind your business.”

In our galaxy, money is the Force: It surrounds us, penetrates us, binds us together. Money is also the Matrix: an illusion, a simulation, a game we are all playing. Bitcoin is the red pill Laurence Fishburne gives Keanu Reeves to show him the “real world.” It’s given us a glimpse of the wires and duct work underpinning our moneyed world. Bitcoin is “forcing people to reckon with the fact that all money is virtual,” Felix Martin told me. “And this reckoning is and always has been discombobulating for people.”

No matter what you think of capitalism and free markets, money and the symphony of financial instruments performing its music have made possible much of our scientific, artistic and social achievements. As Niall Ferguson relates in “The Ascent of Money,” the advent of banking, insurance, double-entry bookkeeping, mortgages, bonds, stocks, derivatives and the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.91% all stoked innovation and the betterment of the human enterprise. Has the financial system also inflicted pain, suffering and alienation? Without a doubt. Could it be better and fairer? Yes.

This brings us to the second most important thing bitcoin reminds us about money: We can change it. Consider gold. One of the ironies of gold GCG8, +0.93% is that what was originally prized as the most malleable of all metals is now prized for being the least malleable of all assets. Though many have described it as “digital gold,” bitcoin demonstrates that money itself is flexible. It is continuously evolving. We created it, and we can re-create it. Money is a medium of world change. It can be a force for good in the world, and when it isn’t we can upgrade its operating system to be fairer, faster and more efficient.

So no matter what Warren Buffett, Jamie Dimon, Paul Krugman and all the other naysaying titans of finance and economics say about bitcoin, we are all indebted to the comic-book villain who invented it. Don’t put your whole 401(k) into cryptos, don’t jump on the bandwagon, but do give it some thought. Do try it out. Play some Sudoku. Write yourself onto that endless drugstore receipt. Bitcoin, after all, is the new Oprah: Everyone gets a Lamborghini — and then we get to complain about the taxes. Well, at least we get to complain about the taxes.

Chuck Reynolds

Marketing Dept

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


This Big Cryptocurrency Acquisition Could Create a Wall Street-Style Financial Giant

This Big Cryptocurrency Acquisition Could Create a Wall Street-Style Financial Giant

Cryptocurrency Exchanges Explained
Exchanges are one way to invest in cryptocurrencies.

Circle Trade is the primary reason behind Circle’s profitability.

Circle, a cryptocurrency-focused financial-services firm, will announce today that it is buying crypto exchange Poloniex—a move that immediately makes Circle one of the largest and most influential companies in the industry. Fortune’s Robert Hackett profiles a company that hopes to leverage the technology behind Bitcoin to become the bank of the next century.

On a crisp mid-January morning, I arrive at the Boston headquarters of Circle, a cryptocurrency startup, just as the markets tank. As the day unfolds, virtual coins hemorrhage billions of dollars in value. The price of Bitcoin—along with those of the majority of the top 50 cryptocurrencies—plummets more than 20%. It’s one of the market’s worst one-day routs in a winter full of them. Panicked investors dub the drubbing “Red Tuesday.”

But Circle’s office is unusually tranquil. No managers are throwing a hissy fit. No one is shouting “Sell! Sell!”—or “Buy! Buy!” for that matter—from behind a bank of blinking computer monitors. No subordinates are whimpering. And CEO Jeremy Allaire is the calmest of all. “In this market you have to assume regular 20% swings,” Allaire says with a shrug. The boss, who resembles a softer Steve Ballmer, saunters past a klatch of employees chowing down on Aussie-style meat pies. As we walk past a shuffleboard tabletop to chat in a conference room, he seems … pleased?

After all, whether the markets sink or soar, Circle is set to make a killing. The business operates Circle Trade, one of the world’s biggest “over the counter” trading desks for cryptocurrencies. When big price movements push investors to buy and sell, Circle acts as an intermediary between whales and shoppers. Within Circle’s circle, volatility is a moneymaker. “When things start to get really out of whack really fast, that tends to be good for us,” says Dan, Circle’s fast-talking, South Shore of Boston chief trader, who asks Fortune not to print his last name because he “prefers to keep a low profile” for security reasons.

The desk handles more than $2 billion a month in cryptocurrency transactions with a minimum deal size of $250,000. (The biggest deals run as high as $200 million.) Customers tend to fall into a few categories: early investors whose coins have soared in value; coin “mining” operations; and cryptocurrency business ventures, including other exchanges, hedge funds, and projects that have hosted “initial coin offerings.” From November through January, Circle Trade brought in more than $60 million in revenue (including several million just on the day of my visit), according to a source familiar with the company’s financials.

With wild fluctuations in cryptocurrency prices, finding clients hasn’t been hard. Dan Morehead, founder and CEO of Pantera Capital, a hedge fund that specializes in cryptocurrencies, says his firm trades on all the major online exchanges, but will turn to a trading outfit, like Circle’s, when the desk posts prices “at a discount to the market.” “That’s when we’re interested in using them,” he says. Other rivals—and trading partners—of Circle’s desk include Cumberland Mining, a subsidiary of the high-speed trading firm DRW in Chicago; Genesis Trading, a New York–based spinout of SecondMarket, the private-company stock exchange; and Octagon Strategy, in Hong Kong.

Garrett See, CEO of DV Chain, a boutique Chicago firm whose biggest cryptocurrency deals reach $5 million, says early adopters are typically the sources of the largest blocks for trading. As he puts it: “Once a quarter, someone wants to buy a jet.” But the trading desk is only part of Circle’s vision. The company has a bevy of other products, too. There’s its Venmo-like Circle Pay app, which lets users send money with the ease of a text message. There’s its soon-to-launch Circle Invest app, which aims to encourage small, steady investments in cryptocurrencies the way Robinhood does for stocks. And there’s its Centre protocol, an open-source project designed to make disparate digital wallets—like those from Alipay, PayPal, or, yes, Circle—interoperable with one another.

That’s just the start. Now Circle is preparing to take another major leap forward by tacking on an entirely new business as part of its underlying market infrastructure. On Monday Circle will announce, as Fortune can confirm for the first time, that it has bought Poloniex, one of the world’s most active cryptocurrency exchanges. A person familiar with the terms of the deal who was not authorized to speak about it tells Fortune that the price tag comes in around $400 million.

The acquisition will instantly make Circle a rising threat to Coinbase, the biggest cryptocurrency exchange in the U.S., as well as Bittrex and Kraken, the runner-ups. Counting contributions from Poloniex, Circle’s revenues over the past three months, excluding February, exceeded $250 million, placing the company on an annual run rate greater than $1 billion. Not bad for a 5-year-old upstart.

With the expansion, Circle is laying the groundwork for a day when cryptocurrencies become pervasive, prices grow less volatile, and the utility of digital tokens goes undisputed. If most of the dozens of exchanges competing today are just places to buy and sell coins, Circle has loftier ambitions: It wants to eventually help consumers turn their trading profits into a Tesla, a mortgage, or a portfolio of blue chips. Circle has ample funds, mainstream investors, sophisticated tech, a new network of customers annexed from Poloniex—and, with some luck, a legitimate chance at building the bank of the next century around crypto-finance.When Jeremy Allaire cofounded Circle in 2013, dark-web markets and criminal activities dominated the discussion about cryptocurrency—and he cut against the grain by resolving to work closely with regulators.

At an early Bitcoin conference in London, Allaire and his cofounder, Sean Neville, Circle’s president, laid out their vision before a rowdy throng of crypto-anarchists and libertarians. One audience member asked whether they, if presented with a subpoena requesting customer information, would hand over data. Allaire didn’t hesitate in his response—Hell yeah, of course! The confab nearly broke out into a brawl, Neville recalls, with one rabble-rouser rushing the stage, pumping his fist, and shouting to the others, “I will go to jail for you!

Despite the early tumult, Allaire and Neville found support. The duo’s broader, pragmatic vision attracted big investors—including Goldman Sachs, Chinese Internet giant Baidu, and venture capitalist Jim Breyer, one of the earliest backers of Facebook. In its last round of funding, in June 2016, Circle was valued at $480 million. (It’s no doubt worth a lot more now.)

“We’re very stubborn about the overall vision, but really flexible about how to get there,” Neville says. It’s this seemingly contradictory quality that Raj Date, a Circle investor and erstwhile architect of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, dubs “paradoxical conservatism”—as demonstrated by Circle’s tightness with regulators. The company was the first startup to be awarded a BitLicense, a certification for virtual currency businesses issued by the New York State Department of Financial Services. It was the first Bitcoin outfit to earn an electronic money license from the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority. And Allaire, since last year, has advised the International Monetary Fund on fintech policy.

Breyer compares Allaire to Mark Zuckerberg in terms of long-term strategic thinking: Just as the Facebook founder “instinctively understood” the need for an overarching, sticky social platform, not just a network for colleges, Allaire has designs on an entirely new financial operating system—not just another bank. “Our vision was always how to fuse the existing financial system with cryptocurrency as a hybrid, digital model,” Allaire says.

The approach has had hiccups though. After Circle debuted its Bitcoin product in May 2014, fraudsters used stolen credit card numbers to make purchases with the speculative cryptocurrency, thus saddling the startup with high fraud-mitigation costs. Circle eventually pulled the plug on the Bitcoin capability within the Circle Pay app, earning the ire of early proponents. “circle stopping what they did best is a travesty and the ceo should be fired,” one user ranted on Reddit at the time. “they just screwed thousands of people, a LOT who were with them from the very beginning (yours included…), and they just decided to hang themselves from the rafters…. good riddance…”

Even so, Circle outlasted the shutdowns, bankruptcies, and arrests that bedeviled the first round of Bitcoin entrepreneurs—thanks to its deep pockets and discretion. Behind the scenes, the company supported Circle Pay with its trading desk, which provided users with liquidity in all sorts of currencies, virtual or otherwise. Beginning in 2016, that desk focused on becoming a cryptocurrency market maker, and it flourished.

“This thing went hockey stick in the last eight months but, like, it’s been around for four years,” says Dan of Circle Trade. While cryptocurrency prices have been spectacularly mercurial over the past few months, a boon for the business, he says he’s not worried about the market settling down. “As this thing becomes a 10x bigger asset class and has volatility on par with gold, we’ll be dealing with larger tickets and smaller movements. That’s how this thing scales.”

Counterintuitively, Circle has hit its stride just as onlookers might have assumed the company had all but abandoned cryptocurrency. Through its trading desk, Circle created a growth engine—one responsible for spinning up the next phase of its expansion. The desk struck a relationship with Poloniex, its Boston neighbor, after Poloniex became one of the earliest exchanges to list Ether, the native coin of Ethereum, the biggest cryptocurrency network next to Bitcoin. Poloniex, which for now trades only digital tokens (about 70 types), needed a way to translate its cryptocurrency exchange fees into fiat money like U.S. dollars—“to buy cookies and milk and pay rent,” as Allaire likes to say. Often Poloniex did so through Circle’s trading desk. And so began a relationship that would culminate in Monday’s acquisition.

Like many of the big cryptocurrency exchanges, Poloniex has struggled to service an influx of customers over the past year, as has been well documented in complaints on online forums. Users have griped about missing deposits, trouble withdrawing funds, locked accounts, and months-long silences on support issues. In a blog post set to go out Monday, a draft of which Fortune reviewed, Circle promised, “First and immediately…to address Poloniex customer support and scale risk, compliance, and technical operations.”

In interviews, Circle’s executives were reluctant to divulge anything at all about the inner workings of Poloniex, including who runs it, and they declined multiple requests for interviews with the exchange’s principals, saying that Poloniex’s leadership wished to remain out of the spotlight. It’s hard to imagine that kind of caginess flying at a public company, but it works in the privately funded world—and especially the enshrouded Wild West of the cryptocurrency industry, where the risk of crime and legal gray areas lead many players to fiercely guard their anonymity.

In past posts on Poloniex’s Twitter account and website, and on a LinkedIn profile page, a man named Tristan D’Agosta has identified himself as Poloniex’s founder and CEO. The LinkedIn page says D’Agosta is a composer who studied music at Rutgers University. Records show that in 2010 he founded another company, Polonius Sheet Music, based in Highland Park, New Jersey, that sold classical sheet music fastened with spiral bindings. (D’Agosta did not respond to a note from Fortune seeking to confirm the details of his biography.)

“Ever have sheet music misbehave while you’re trying to play from it?” says an early version of Polonius’s “about us” page, available as a cached page on the Internet Archive. The publisher’s website now redirects to real estate listings.If exchanges like Poloniex have helped build the infrastructure for today’s cryptocurrency mania, their relative secrecy and lack of accountability to customers and regulators have helped fuel the backlash to that mania, especially outside the U.S.

Governments have been struggling to bring down the fever for cryptocurrencies overseas. In the fall, the Chinese government clamped down on the frenzy by banning initial coin offerings, or ICOs, and by tightening controls on cryptocurrency exchanges. South Korea put the kibosh on ICOs, too, and has threatened to levy major taxes on exchanges. Earlier this year, when a popular cryptocurrency tracker, CoinMarketCap.com, delisted Korean exchanges from its pricing calculations, the move triggered a massive selloff and market crash.

Circle, eyeing an opening, aims to get in on the action abroad. In the long term, its Centre protocol aspires to string together the world’s digital wallets, no matter their provenance. In the short term, Circle Pay has been gaining steam in Europe, where rival Venmo has no operations. Circle’s Asia Pacific team plans to grow to 100 employees this year. And Asia remains one of Poloniex’s biggest market opportunities: The exchange’s token-to-token business model already fits with Chinese regulations, which prohibits fiat currency, like the renminbi, in cryptocurrency swaps.

While many Western companies have gotten crushed in their attempts to cross the Pacific, Circle’s executives have navigated the waters successfully so far. The company has taken money from strategic Chinese investors, including Fenbushi Capital, China Everbright Investment Management, China International Capital Corporation, and Baidu Ventures. In 2016, Jim Breyer launched a $1 billion China-focused fund in partnership with IDG Capital Ventures, another Circle investor, and he has toured China with Allaire to meet entrepreneurs and government officials on several occasions. “Much of the innovation today in fintech is occurring outside the U.S.,” says Breyer, who has a long history with Allaire’s earlier ventures, including Macromedia, which acquired the eponymous Allaire Corp. for $360 million in 2001, as well as the video service Brightcove, which held a successful IPO in 2012. Few stateside companies “have their pulse on global blockchain innovation in the way that the leaders of Circle do,” Breyer says.

Unlike the U.S., where cryptocurrency believers are eagerly awaiting Wall Street’s entrée, in China, consumers seem ready to embrace new regimes. They’re already accustomed to digital first payment platforms, like Alipay and WeChat. “In Asia people are daring to imagine an entirely new world,” says Jack Liu, Circle Trade’s Asia chief. Allaire knows this. In the fall of 2016, during one of our first in-person meetings, he invited me to a WeChat channel where Bitcoin miners across the world—many of whom live in China—jabber all day long. Allaire told me that he believes the strange mishmash of Mandarin and English concocted there is likely to become the lingua franca of the future, a prediction that reminded me of what sci-fi enthusiasts might have said about a Japanese-English hybrid in the ‘80s, when the cyberpunk aesthetic of Neuromancer and Blade Runner held sway.

Many of Circle’s top executives have a worldly bent too. Marieke Flament, Circle’s lead in Europe, speaks English, French, Spanish, and Mandarin. Rachel Mayer, head of Circle Invest and an alum of Lehman Brothers and J.P. Morgan, is Venezuelan. And Circle Trade’s Jack Liu, born in China, has lived in Japan, Canada, and the U.S. (He’s now building out the trading desk in Hong Kong.) Circle’s 175-person team expects to roughly double its headcount this year—and its composition reflects the border-smashing promise of the digital currencies it holds dear.

“Incorporating these assets into your wider portfolio is going to become the standard sooner rather than later,” says Mayer in an interview at the company’s WeWork outpost in Manhattan. Formerly the cofounder and CEO of Trigger, a retail investing app, Mayer envisions millennials will become the main market for Circle Invest, while more sophisticated investors will prefer Circle Poloniex—likely to be renamed Circle X in time to come. In any case, crypto assets are here to stay, she says.

The future is already here, as Neuromancer author William Gibson is said to have so eloquently put it. It’s just not very evenly distributed.To Allaire and Neville, the cryptocurrency boom represents an inevitable transition: money evolving from cloth to code.

Over the next five to 10 years, they say, all sorts of traditional securities will become “tokenized”—divvied up into virtual stakes recorded on blockchains, the shared ledgers that power cryptocurrencies. People will own and trade small digital slices of everything from real estate, to cars, to houses, to patents, to stocks, to artwork—many of which may programmatically pay out dividends via software-defined “smart” contracts. Advocates say this tokenized future will make new asset classes accessible to smaller investors and lower the costs of transacting and investing, across borders as well as within them.

“Often the question we get is, ‘Is this all a speculative bubble? Is there going to be a big shakeout? Or will there be real institutional money from established players coming into this?’” Neville says. His view: It’s not an “either, or,” proposition. Both premises can be true. “We’re on the cusp of the tokenization of everything,” Allaire says from his seat in Circle’s “Cheddar” conference room in Boston on the day of the market rout. (All of the meeting areas are named after slang for money, like “Benjamins,” Dough,” etc.) In view outside the window, across the street, the white tower of the Boston Fed looms. It looks like a gargantuan

cheese grater.

“I don’t know who the CEO of Sears was back in the mid-’90s… Maybe in 20 years no one will know who Jamie Dimon is.”

– Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire, on mainstream banks’ aversion to cryptocurrency

While the cryptocurrency markets ride out their growing pains, Circle’s trading infrastructure is providing the company with a runway for its longer-term goals. Bobby Cho, the head trader at Circle rival Cumberland, predicts that 2018 will be the inflection point when more Wall Street institutions get involved—lured by client enthusiasm and potential upside. For months, rumors have swirled that Goldman Sachs will fire up a cryptocurrency trading desk of its own. “In response to client interest in digital currencies, we are exploring how best to serve them,” a spokesperson tells Fortune. But for now, Goldman’s sole exposure to the industry is through its investment in Circle.

Time will tell whether Wall Street jumps into the fray, as so many cryptocurrency bulls hope and anticipate. I ask Allaire whether he believes the incumbents, atop their loaded coffers, should take the idea of a tokenized market more seriously. Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, the largest retail bank in America, has made no secret of his lack of interest in Bitcoin and its brethren, after all. “I don’t know who the CEO of Sears was back in the mid-’90s, but I bet that CEO was making remarks about Internet shopping that were pretty dismissive,” Allaire says. “Maybe in 20 years no one will know who Jamie Dimon is.”

Chuck Reynolds

Marketing Dept

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


Ways Machine Learning Is Revolutionizing Marketing

Ways Machine Learning Is Revolutionizing Marketing

84% of marketing organizations are implementing or expanding
AI and machine learning in 2018. 75% of enterprises using AI and machine learning enhance customer satisfaction by more than 10%. 3 in 4 organizations implementing AI and machine learning increase sales of new products and services by more than 10% according to Capgemini.Measuring marketing’s many contributions to revenue growth is becoming more accurate and real-time thanks to analytics and machine learning. Knowing what’s driving more Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs), Sales Qualified Leads (SQL), how best to optimize marketing campaigns, and improving the precision and profitability of pricing are just a few of the many areas machine learning is revolutionizing marketing.

The best marketers are using machine learning to understand, anticipate and act on the problems their sales prospects are trying to solve faster and with more clarity than any competitor. Having the insight to tailor content while qualifying leads for sales to close quickly is being fueled by machine learning-based apps capable of learning what’s most effective for each prospect and customer. Machine learning is taking contextual content,  marketing automation including cross-channel marketing campaigns and lead scoring, personalization, and sales forecasting to a new level of accuracy and speed.

The strongest marketing departments rely on a robust set of analytics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure their progress towards revenue and customer growth goals. With machine learning, marketing departments will be able to deliver even more significant contributions to revenue growth, strengthening customer relationships in the process.

The following are many ways machine learning is revolutionizing marketing today and in the future:

57% of enterprise executives believe the most significant growth benefit of AI and machine learning will be improving customer experiences and support.

44% believe that AI and machine learning will provide the ability to improve on existing products and services. Marketing departments and the Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) running them are the leaders devising and launching new strategies to deliver excellent customer experiences and are one of the earliest adopters of machine learning. Orchestrating every aspect of attracting, selling and serving customers is being improved by marketers using machine learning apps to more accurately predict outcomes.

58% of enterprises are tackling the most challenging marketing problems with AI and machine learning first, prioritizing personalized customer care, new product development.

These “need to do” marketing areas have the highest complexity and highest benefit. Marketers haven’t been putting as much emphasis on the “must do” areas of high benefit and low complexity according to Capgemini’s analysis. These application areas include Chatbots and virtual assistants, reducing revenue churn, facial recognition and product and services recommendations. Source:  Turning AI into concrete value: the successful implementers’ toolkit, Capgemini Consulting. 2017. (PDF, 28 pp., no opt-in).

By 2020, real-time personalized advertising across digital platforms and optimized message targeting accuracy, context and precision will accelerate.

The combined effect of these marketing technology improvements will increase sales effectiveness in retail and B2C-based channels. Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) lead generation will also increase, potentially reducing sales cycles and increasing win rates. Source: Can Machines be Creative? How Technology is Transforming Marketing Personalization and Relevance, IDC White Paper Sponsored by Gerry Brown, July 2017.

Analyze and significantly reduce customer churn using machine learning to streamline risk prediction and intervention models.

Instead of relying on expensive and time-consuming approaches to minimize customer churn, telecommunications companies and those in high-churn industries are turning to machine learning. The following graphic illustrates how defining risk models help determine how actions aimed at averting churn affect churn impact probability and risk. An intervention model allows marketers to consider how the level of intervention could affect the probability of churn and the amount of customer lifetime value (CLV). Source: Analyzing Customer Churn by using Azure Machine Learning.

Price optimization and price elasticity are growing beyond industries with limited inventories including airlines and hotels, proliferating into manufacturing and services. All marketers are increasingly relying on machine learning to define more competitive, contextually relevant pricing. Machine learning apps are scaling price optimization beyond airlines, hotels, and events to encompass product and services pricing scenarios. Machine learning is being used today to determine pricing elasticity by each product, factoring in channel segment, customer segment, sales period and the product’s position in an overall product line pricing strategy. The following example is from Microsoft Azure’s Interactive Pricing Analytics Pre-Configured Solution (PCS).

Improving demand forecasting, assortment efficiency and pricing in retail marketing have the potential to deliver a 2% improvement in Earnings Before Interest & Taxes (EBIT), 20% stock reduction and 2 million fewer product returns a year.

In Consumer Packaged Goods (CPQ) and retail marketing organizations, there’s significant potential for AI and machine learning to improve the entire value chain’s performance. McKinsey found that using a concerted approach to applying AI and machine learning across a retailer’s value chains has the potential to deliver a 50% improvement of assortment efficiency and a 30% online sales increase using dynamic pricing. Source:  Artificial Intelligence: The Next Frontier? McKinsey Global Institute (PDF, 80 pp., no opt-in)

Creating and fine-tuning propensity models that guide cross-sell and up-sell strategies by product line, customer segment,

and It’s common to find data-driven marketers building and using propensity models to define the products and services with the highest probability of being purchased. Too often propensity models are based on imported data, built in Microsoft Excel, making their ongoing use time-consuming. Machine learning is streamlining creation, fine-tuning and revenue contributions of up-sell and cross-sell strategies by automating the entire progress. The screen below is an example of a propensity model.

Lead scoring accuracy is improving, leading to increased sales that are traceable back to initial marketing campaigns and sales strategies.

By using machine learning to qualify the further customer and prospect lists using relevant data from the web, predictive models including machine learning can better predict ideal customer profiles. Each sales lead’s predictive score becomes a better predictor of potential new sales, helping sales prioritize time, sales efforts and selling strategies. The following two slides are from an excellent webinar Mintigo hosted with Sirius Decisions and Sales Hacker. It’s a fascinating look at how machine learning is improving sales effectiveness. Source: Give Your SDRs An Unfair Advantage with Predictive (webinar slides on Slideshare).

Identifying and defining the sales projections of specific customer segments and microsegments using RFM (recency, frequency and monetary) modeling within machine learning apps is becoming pervasive.

Using RFM analysis as part of a machine learning initiative can provide accurate definitions of the best customers, most loyal, biggest spenders, almost lost, lost customers and lost cheap customers.

Optimizing the marketing mix by determining which sales offers, incentive and programs are presented to which prospects through which channels is another way machine learning is revolutionizing marketing.

Specific sales offers are created supported by contextual content, offers, and incentives. These items are made available to an optimization engine which uses machine learning logic to continually try to predict the best combination of marketing mix elements that will lead to a new sale, up-sell or cross-sell. Amazon’s product recommendation feature is an example of how their e-commerce site is using machine learning to increase up-sell, cross-sell and recommended products revenue.

Chuck Reynolds

Marketing Dept

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


Without Mentioning Blockchain Putin Says That Russia Must Stay Ahead In Technology

Without Mentioning Blockchain,
Putin Says That Russia Must Stay Ahead In Technology

During a meeting with Herman Gref,

the president of Russia’s largest bank Sberbank, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke about the importance of not falling behind in Blockchain development. Sberbank already introduced Blockchain in their document transfer and storage systems by partnering with Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) in December of last year. The bank is also reportedly soon opening a cryptocurrency exchange in Switzerland. Gref addressed Putin directly, speaking about what he sees as the need for programs for training professionals in Blockchain due to the sheer size of the industry worldwide. Gref also spoke of a need for “very careful regulation,” not “prohibitions,” in order to promote innovation.

In response, Putin, without specifically mentioning Blockchain, brings up the question of why Russia needs this industry, when “we have everything […] oil, gas, coal, metals of all kinds […] gold, platinum, diamonds, everything!” He then says that the industry is developing well in Russia and has a “good intellectual base.” Putin then adds that Russia needs its own “burst,” and quotes an analogy given by a former minister of oil of an

unnamed Arab country:

“The Stone Age did not end due to the lack of stones, but because new technologies appeared.”

In Putin’s opinion, countries that are late to adopting this new technology, which he never mentions by name, “will very quickly fall under the dependence of the leaders of this development,” which is something that

“Russia cannot allow this in any case:”

“We need to take the maximum advantage of these factors […] to guarantee this progress into the future.”

Putin has brought up the idea in the past of Russia launching its own “CryptoRuble,” but its legality and launch is a continuous grey area. More recently, in January of this year, after consulting with Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, Putin suggested launching a new multinational cryptocurrency to be adopted by BRICS and EEU countries to take advantage of Blockchain and smart contracts.

Chuck Reynolds

Marketing Dept

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