Business · Life

How to use social media to your advantage in life, business and everything else

My phone is a job. I have a hate and love relationship with it.

It’s like carrying a pocket TV with my favorite channels in my pocket. Except that these channels are social media and the shows are my friends.

I love them, but it’s not worth being bombarded with drama and news all the time. With 24 hours of attention at my leisure, I’ll always feel like crap when I spend it going down the YouTube rabbit hole or liking puppy photos on Facebook.

So, let’s use social media to my advantage:

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Business · Life

The difference between good mentors and bad ones

There are more fake gurus and false teachers in this world than the number of stars in the visible universe. Don’t confuse power-driven, self-centered people with true mentors. A genuine spiritual master will not direct your attention to himself or herself and will not expect absolute obedience or utter admiration from you, but instead will help you to appreciate and admire your inner self. True mentors are as transparent as glass. They let the Light of God pass through them. 

Shams, The Forty Rules of Love

Note to self: anyone is a mentor in some way. You have bad ones and good ones. The bad ones barely teach you anything, and the good ones teach you naturally. The bad ones don’t care about your improvements, the good ones know how important it is for you.

In a nutshell, bad = bad. Good = good. But how do you tell the difference?

Here’s what I noticed for the time being:

Continue reading “The difference between good mentors and bad ones”
Business · Life

Motivate Yourself by Capturing the Moment

You have your tasks set for the day.

The conditions are perfect: The sun is shining, everyone is smiling, the air is fresher than usual.

When you put your hands on the keyboard, ideas just pour out from your mind and onto your screen. Everything just works: All your focus is on one task at a time, and you complete them.

You exceed expectations: your boss praises you, and you’re doing great work for yourself. You feel satisfied.

You’ve done a lot. Nothing went wrong with what you did.

It’s an amazing feeling. But it doesn’t last long: you may not be so motivated the next day.

Sometimes, you have days when you don’t feel like doing much. When you do so, you start to think about that amazing day again. It gets frustrating:

  • How do I become as motivated as back then?
  • What do I need to do to achieve the same result?
  • How do I stop comparing myself all the time?

Your job now is to capture that feeling.

How to capture the moment

Set aside one hour to yourself.

No distractions, no technology; just pen and paper.

In order to capture that lovely day, you need time to reflect. Record the following:

The Conditions

Write down what were the conditions around you, and within you.

After all, the mix of both resulted in that golden moment you were looking for.

Your conditions can range from:

  • The weather
  • The temperature of the room you were in
  • The taste of your coffee
  • Whether you’ve done much exercise
  • Your internet speed
  • The amount of time spent being distracted, etc.

The Inputs

Next, write down what are your preferred tools for input:

  • What tools do you need to work with? A good outfit, a laptop, your favorite pen and notebook?
  • What’s your style of writing? Do you prefer long-winded notes, or bullet points?
  • What inspired you to do so well that day? Did you propose to someone the day before?
  • Did you get enough sleep?

The Process

Write down the flow. This is where the magic happens:

  • What were your chosen methods?
  • What was your thinking process as you carried out your tasks?
  • What level of research was needed to achieve this?

The Output

  • Which tasks were completed?
  • Have you done the 5 most important tasks?
  • Did it turn out to be as you imagined?
  • How much time did you spend on each one?

Feedback & Reflection

It’s time for feedback! What do you think of your work? How do others think of your work?

Then, you reflect. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What did you do?
  • What were your objectives?
  • Who was it for?
  • What was your intended goal?
  • What did you have to research?
  • What skills did you have to use?
  • Were you already prepared beforehand?
  • What were your thoughts throughout the entire session?
  • How many perspectives did you use to tackle the whole situation?
  • How large of a part did the following play into your session: your phone, social media, friends, colleagues, personal worries, world events, electricity, internet speed?
  • What could you have done better? What methods can be explored further in order to be more productive?

Be as methodical as possible here. This is your chance to record down the whole process.

It is always good to have a system for self-reflection: you spend less brainpower on thinking up questions to answer, and instead use that on actually answering.

You can even play around with what you’ve written above, drawing it out like a diagram:

Conditions -> Input -> Process (Methods, Thinking, Diagrams, Research Headlines) -> Output -> Feedback

Recording your Golden Moment.

You have your diagram. Now, you have your reflection. It’s in one file, or in your notebook, or documented somewhere that is easily accessible.

Congratulations! You have just made a graphical representation of your most productive time.

The purpose of this is to remember the level of clarity and focus needed to achieve that level of output.

Assign a phrase to this Moment.

Treat it like a password: It’s that important. It can be anything you want, it’s your Golden Moment after all.

Write it on a post-it note and put it somewhere visible: your workstation, the bedside table, or your phone wallpaper. You need to make every effort to remind yourself of this mindset.

This is to condition yourself into reliving that Golden Moment again.

Shocking your routine

When you need to work again, and you’re not feeling so empowered: look at your phrase. What does it mean to you?

The memories will come back: How much you did, how satisfied you were, how content you were, what you are capable of. How should you implement this into your routine?

Remind yourself over and over again what you are capable of achieving when you are productive.

Keep the phrase in your mind, and the feelings will surface again. When you capture that feeling again, keep it sustained for the rest of the day. Naturally, you would be more productive, positive and empowering on a day-to-day basis.

One thing to note: Personality is formed from habit.

Prepare yourself for the day by looking at this phrase as a routine. Write the phrase anywhere, anytime. Forgot what you wrote? Go through your answers. Your objective, is to pull yourself back into that moment again.

I have a few phrases of my own to get back into the zone. Sometimes, one phrase isn’t enough, so I have more.

  • ‘Nothing But Now.’
  • ‘Shut up and do the work.’
  • ‘The world around me does not matter until I myself move forward.’

These are my phrases. They may not mean much to you, but they do to me.

They came up when I was at my most productive, and when I am really satisfied with what I have done. These are my Golden Moments, and no one can take that away from me.

By going through these phrases over and over again, I can capture the feeling again. I can look at my past self, the great work that I’ve done, and tell myself I can do better than that.

Capture that feeling, and do better. You will do better, and nothing else will matter.

Blockchain & Crypto · Business

5 Key Points to write a good Whitepaper

Initially written for a now-defunct cryptocurrency media website.

Whitepapers are long, detailed documents about the cryptocurrency in question. Sometimes, it’s full of technical jargon. In some other whitepapers, it could just be the $100 work of some freelancer.

But, what makes an effective whitepaper? You can take a look at examples like the Bitcoin whitepaper, or Ethereum’s. If you’re an investor, what should you look for? If you’re in the middle of drafting your whitepaper, what points should you address beforehand?

I’m here to help you out. Here are some key points to take note of before reading a whitepaper:

Which industry are we looking at here?

A company declares an ICO. NEW COIN! MANY PLANS! WOW!

….we’ve heard it many times. Do we need another ICO though? Would it even work in the first place?

One of the indicators of this is the industry this ICO will take place in. Do you happen to know a ton about this field? It could range from the airline industry, to agriculture and the medical sector. It is highly unlikely that farmers would be interested in airline cryptocurrency coins (unless their pigs could fly). Given your knowledge of the industry, what are some of the potential applications for blockchain? Decentralised logistics? Rollback prevention? Client identification?

It’s up to you to imagine.

What is their differentiation point?

The USP. The extra ‘flavour’. The special sauce. What makes them different from other coins? A whitepaper needs to outline this. Investors go through whitepapers like toilet paper: if there’s shit, we flush.

I can easily set up an ERC-20 Token and sell it as another money-making scheme, but that doesn’t make me different from the other 200 altcoins out there. Not everything is about money after all.

What purpose does it serve? It’s a two-way process: if you had intended to invest into this new coin purely for profit, to what extent does a whitepaper’s contents affect your decision? The amount of detail a whitepaper should have, may influence this.

Is it purely a coin? Does it influence transactional power in its respective blockchain? The whitepaper must have these details outlined. If they leave it out, or worse, missing, why invest when there’s better ones?

You need difference. Differences help you stand out from the crowd. The whitepaper is where you show that.

What is their Roadmap?

There might be a long-term plan outlined in the whitepaper. This is good. How long is it?

6 months? 1 year? 2 years?

If there is an upcoming token sale, what are the stages? What percentage of overall coins will be distributed for sale? How much will be shared amongst the team itself?

The roadmap (or lack of) gives you a good indicator of where your investment will be going over a long period of time. You can expect new features, major changes, etc. which could be turning points for your investment goals. Some examples of investment goals could be reverting back to fiat currency after a certain coin price, or capitalizing on the incentivized rewards the company will distribute amongst investors.

Which reminds me, are there rewards? I love rewards. Don’t you?

Who is in their Team?

LinkedIn is perfect for this. It’s becoming increasingly difficult in the contemporary working world to trust someone without a proper LinkedIn profile. Having an online presence is key to showing your brand: in this case, how legitimate your team members are.

There are a few cases of fake profiles set up to fill C-Pos spots on an ICO team. We don’t want that. During your due diligence, do a thorough check on all the members. Are they the best in their field? Where did they gain experience from? Who do they know? What is their level of presence in your region?

A company doing an ICO in one country on the other side of the world from you, may not be so relevant to what you want. Unless, of course, their price is predicted to be very liquid, and in your favour. That might be up your alley.

Know this: the whitepaper outlines every single member of the team involved behind the ICO. Investors will do background checks for members – they would be encouraged to see the team advised by major Bitcoin or Ethereum influencers. Roger Ver, or Vitalik Buterin, for example.

What else?

If your whitepaper is effective, your readers would have their expectations met. This can come in many forms.

Those whom are interested in contributing to your cause will study your whitepaper extensively. Having a well-written document creates accountability, and adds legitimacy to your ICO. Some investors have technical backgrounds, and they’d want to understand the finer details in your blockchain system. In that case, having a technical version of the whitepaper would be very helpful.

The whitepaper also serves as an official ‘FAQ’: if they have any questions, consult the whitepaper. For some interested persons, they perceive the whitepaper as final and absolute. You can find long-term plans, key objectives to meet, etc. written in there, and with these come possible answers. This depends on their investing habits, of course.

It also adds a sense of professionalism: how many ICOs have you seen pop up everywhere on your news feed? 1? 2? 20? Some ICOs are just mere marketing gimmicks, and the common occurrence of these ‘shitcoins’ can confuse the average individual. With a proper whitepaper, you can reinforce your professional place in the crypto world. You don’t want people to think you’re a scam, right?

Upcoming blockchain companies, take note. These are the kinds of things investors are looking for in a proper whitepaper. If they don’t see these, they get scared and look the other way. If you want to start drafting out yours, make sure to keep these points in mind!

What else should we look at? What’s your experience with low-quality/high-quality whitepapers? Comment below, I’d love to hear what you have to say!

Blockchain & Crypto · Business

Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Gold: A Guide to all the different Bitcoins

Initially written for a now-defunct cryptocurrency media website.

Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Gold, Bitcoins – What’s the difference?

For the many analysts and investors that are financially savvy, when it comes to blockchain and Bitcoin technology, knowing the different kinds of alternative coins that we invest in is valuable knowledge.

Some of these alternative coins have distinct names, such as Ethereum, Litecoin or Dogecoin. But, what about the following: Bitcoin Cash? Bitcoin Gold? Bitcoin Diamond?

If you look back in the last few years, there were a few hard forks that gave birth to more ‘Bitcoins’. Bitcoin, the mother of all the cryptocurrencies, was struggling through tough times and in return, members of the Bitcoin Foundation were in talks to rectify the situation.

This gave birth to many more ‘Bitcoins’, aka. The ‘children’ if you can imagine it.

They have the word Bitcoin in them, but these are entirely different coins altogether.

Why?

For the average person, this can get very confusing. This article will introduce you to what these coins are.

What do the terms mean?

Some Terminology

Blockchain: The blockchain is defined as a decentralized ledger, no middleman, processes are automated, with no (read: very little) human error. Some examples of human error include: not writing in addresses properly when sending Bitcoin, falling for scams, etc.

Forks: Forks are when a Blockchain is duplicated at a certain time period and runs in parallel to the original. These normally come up due to a dispute, or differing opinions.

One prime example would be the hard fork off Ethereum into Ethereum Classic: a whale (read: entity

with a large number of coins) had sold a significant number of coins, forcing ETH’s price to go on the rollercoaster ride of its life. Some individuals find this unethical, while others advocate for the whale’s right to do this. The solution then was to resolve the conflict by making 2 copies of ETH: one with the transaction going through, and one without. This resulted in the birth of ETC!

A fork is called a fork due to how it is visualized: as a blockchain is duplicated at one point in time and branched off to make its own way, when put on paper it looks like a two-pronged fork. At least, that is how the word came to be (I think).

The coins!

Let’s take a look at all the different kinds of Bitcoin, shall we?

Bitcoin Cash:

  • What is it: A hard fork due to the bitcoin scalability debate. A lot of users wanted a block size increase, so it could account for more transactions (greater transactions = greater speed = greater liquidity = greater financial value). This change would further reinforce Bitcoin’s purpose as a transactional currency.
  • When did it happen: August 1st, 2017.
  • What should I know: If you had BTC prior to the August 1st hard fork, you would have an equivalent amount in Bitcoin Cash. Since it is a fork and uses a new hashing algorithm (think of it as a digital signature), Bitcoin Cash and BTC don’t get mixed up!
  • More info: https://www.bitcoincash.org/

Bitcoin Gold (BTG)

  • What is it: A hard fork designed to restore GPU mining functionality to Bitcoin, instead of ASICs. Since the rise and popularity of mining the cryptocurrency, ASICs’ prices have gone into thousands of dollars: BTG provides an alternative by allowing mining through GPUs instead.
  • When did it happen: October 24, 2017.
  • What should I know? A supposed developer was accused of adding a hidden mining fee when the fork had occurred, which had underwent investigations when certain mining pools were having their chains out of sync at times. There are also reports within the wallet provider mybtgwallet.com of being able to extract user’s passphrases, by retrieving them from Google Analytics.
  • More info: https://bitcoingold.org/

Bitcoin XT

  • What is it: A fork that attempted to accommodate a proposal to increase the block size to 8mb, increasing automatically.
  • When did it start: August 15th, 2015
  • What should I know: The mentioned proposal was not implemented until early 2016, and by March the usage of Bitcoin XT had started to slowly decrease. When it was implemented though, some of the largest mining pools did not provide enough support.
  • More Info: https://github.com/bitcoinxt/bitcoinxt

Bitcoin Unlimited

  • What is it: A full node implementation for Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash.
  • When did it start: January 2016.
  • What should I know: Users can choose which block size limit they prefer, and from there the majority consensus will dictate the overall true block size limit. The catch is, if the size limit is >1mb and not approved by nodes with a limit, a fork will occur, hence the ‘unlimited’ aspect. This was a potential solution to the 1mb block size problem: as more and more people adopt Bitcoin, there are so many transactions that need to be done that speed becomes concerning factor.

Bitcoin Classic (ceased operations)

  • What is it: A fork from Bitcoin to increase the block size limit. When it was first launched, it doubled the size of the block (1mb -> 2mb), therefore increasing number of transactions processed per block.
  • When did it start: 10th February 2016.
  • When did it end: November 10, 2017.
  • What should I know? Initially, Bitcoin Classic received the support of a few notable names (Coinbase, Roger Ver, Gavin Andresen to name a few). According to the entire Bitcoin community however, a hard fork wasn’t exactly necessary. This meant that the adoption rate of Bitcoin Classic from Bitcoin users wasn’t enough to sustain its blockchain, which resulted in a steady drop in usage from March 2016 onwards.

Will there be more?

There are others to take note of like Bitcoin Diamond, though it does get very technical and secret from there (eg. there’s little on the roadmap!). Due Diligence is an important part of your methods as a cryptocurrency investor, and it can be useful to have a quick overview of the different Bitcoin forks! Who knows, there could be another one coming again soon?

What factors in the future do you think will become a huge influence on a Bitcoin fork? Comment below!

Blockchain & Crypto · Business

How to Detect Scam coins in 13 Ways

Initially written for a now-defunct cryptocurrency media website.

I am not a fan of shitcoins.

These are mostly altcoins or cryptocurrencies with an underlying motive, either a pump and dump scheme or a way for those in power to earn a profit off of deceived investors. Marketing themselves as the next bitcoin to reach $20,000, or a new blockchain platform like Ethereum only to disappear at the last minute, scam coins are not for anyone.

Tired of getting ripped off? Unsure if it’s a hit or shit? Look no further, your friendly neighbourhood crypto friend is here! Here are some of the ways to tell if a coin is a scam:

They suck at marketing.

If the coin only has 1 or 2 marketing channels (ie. Facebook ads, Twitter, and one landing page), it’s a red flag. If they rarely ever give updates as to what they are doing, or if they are not putting any effort in interacting with fans, how do you know if they’re a scam or not?

All their team members are anonymous

Who’s the CEO of the team? Who’s in charge of the developers? Do they even show their faces? There have been cases of fake profiles filling up the various positions of a cryptocurrency company. If the team is not transparent enough to show their experiences and background, it’s kind of difficult to trust your capital with them right?

There is no whitepaper.

Nothing. Zilch. Nada. Do you want to know what they will do with your money? Nope, there’s nothing to show this. A website that merely introduces the coin but does not lead you to their technical whitepaper already breeds suspicion.

There is a whitepaper, but it’s shit.

Did you know that you can get someone to write a $100 whitepaper for you? This can result in an otherwise pointless whitepaper, which can be a waste of time for potential investors. That means any scam can make a document to fake legitimacy. For you upcoming coin teams, make sure your whitepaper covers everything! For investors, make sure you read it thoroughly!

Their website is not protected.

If you look in the address bar of your browser, you might notice that every link starts off with either ‘http’ or ‘https’. If this new coin’s website is missing an ‘s’ in their link, it is not protected. Don’t try to pay for anything that isn’t SECURE!

Their website has HTTPS, but it’s free.

This one can be challenged as it depends on which stage the team is currently at. Most folks start off with the free Cloudflare HTTPS service, before moving on to premium (read: paid) services to serve their needs. You don’t want your coins to leak after all!

The website is poorly designed.

When you’ve looked at enough websites, you start to see recurring themes, free ones. Google ‘free website themes’ and you can sense a pattern, as nearly all of them look the same. If a coin dev team can’t afford to pay for a premium theme filled with proper designs, effective copy and detailed information, do you think they can handle an ICO? Play it safe guys, investment carries risk.

There hasn’t been a long build-up.

A new coin just came out of nowhere! Do they have a large following? Have they been in development for several years? Or did the ads just start on a friday night? Try and look back at the coin’s timeline: if all this supposed hype just started recently, how can you tell if it’s legitimate?

It doesn’t solve a justified issue.

Most effective cryptocurrenciies are made for a purpose. If it is an issue they are tackling, like the movement of privatised medical data for example, you can see the value they are trying to bring to the table. But, if it’s just a coin that is marketed everywhere to drive the price up, it can be just as easy for someone to do a pump and dump scheme and ruin your day!

If there’s nothing in the Roadmap.

Do they have a road map? Is it detailed? What kind of services? Barely anything, just promises of getting rich? Roadmaps are a way to visualise a coin’s purpose: if there is no roadmap, there is not telling what they will do with your money. You can’t invest into thin air!

There is a lack of transparency.

For some investors, they want to see the code and technology behind this upcoming coin: what blockchain platform is it based on? Where are the devs getting their experience from? Are they answering user questions properly, or are there secrets?

Coins are pre-mined.

We already have pre-mined coins, and we are doing a tokensale to fund our development. Wait a second. Pre-mined coins are coins that are sent to one address prior to releasing the rest for the public. They can easily drop pre-mined coins to abuse the price. When this abuse happens, the reasons for it are mostly associated with pump and dump schemes. Check the technical documentation so as to check where all the coins are going!

There’s not enough technical lingo.

The whitepaper tends to house a ton of technical details: time of transactions, incentives and proof concept for example. If the majority of the text they provide you is for marketing purposes, that’s not a good sign. You want to rest assure that the coin will go a long way: looking at the technical aspects is a good indicator of that. Without any, we’re at a loss.

What else should we consider if it’s a scam? Does it look like a pyramid scheme? Comment below, would love to see what you think!

Footnotes

Blockchain & Crypto · Business

Internet Dollars? The relationship between money and Bitcoin

Initially written for a now-defunct cryptocurrency media website.

Some people don’t believe in Bitcoin. Scratch that, the majority of people don’t.

Bitcoin is a bubble. Bitcoin is a scam. Bitcoin isn’t real.

Many people find it difficult to comprehend how all this internet money, that we can’t touch, can be larger in value than USD or GBP for example.it makes sense: People tend to trust things better when they can hold it in their hands.

This is most apparent when a lot of currency pairs in the world of trading consist the main fiat currency in society today, the US Dollar. If anything happens to the Dollar, everything else gets hit.

Where does Bitcoin fit into all this?

Money and Gold: A Short History

After World War I and all its chaos, the Bretton Woods system was implemented: this was a series of monetary policies and agreements that sought to peg participants’ currencies to gold. Whatever the price of gold was at that time, it would have a profound effect on the currencies that were pegged to it.

Then, the Nixon Shock happened.

The Nixon Shock is a series of moves done by then-President Nixon to disconnect the US Dollar from gold. It went against what the Bretton Woods system was aiming to do, and as a result, the Bretton Woods broke down and canceled. Ever since then, it had always been a free-floating market for all the currencies.

Sure, there are a couple of advantages to this: protection from other countries’ macroeconomic problems, no need for any form of bank intervention, etc. But what are the problems?

When all the currencies are free-floating, their exchange rates become greater in volatility. Just as easy it is for a country’s currency to go up, it can easily go down just as fast. When countries who already have tons of problems at macro-level such as high unemployment rates and poor fundamentals for the quality of life, it doesn’t help that their currency can drop hard too.

Now, we have another question: how would Bitcoin solve all these problems?

The Role of Bitcoin

We now get to the good bits: how does a blockchain receive financial value?

Quick reminder: Blockchain works as a chain because each block contains the information of the previous block to connect it. This way, the blocks do not get confused, and you would have blocks in proper chronological order.

When you have a system that can’t rollback such as the description above, the information contained within becomes absolute. A bit like the gold you find in mines, every piece you find has weight, and the more gold uncovered the more it will affect the overall gold price. It is similar here: as adoption rate increases and more transactions are being recorded in each block, they become absolute and imprinted into the digital ledger that is the blockchain.

Once the ledger is set, it can’t be changed. If the very first block of the blockchain system starts off with 10,000 coins for example, and I get 5,000 of them (buying it in at a certain price), the absolute price of the coin will change as more and more blocks are introduced. With more blocks, come new coins. With more people buying into these coins, come the fluctuation of the market price: people will start trading and using these coins. The price may (hopefully) go up.

But first, you need a market. No one’s going to buy a bunch of online coins and cryptocurrencies when there is no market to trade and invest it in! How would people find out?

Dollars and Bitcoin: What’s the Difference?

In the real world. Fiat currencies are tied to their respective countries – Americans use the USD, the British use the GBP, and the Japanese use the Yen. They each have their own respective markets, and these markets interact with each other through investments and forex trading. Compared to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, the markets are decentralized: everyone who has a computer or device can buy into the blockchain and have a piece of the digital pie. Since the buy-in is easier for cryptocurrencies, the adoption rate for Bitcoin is steadily growing.

Bitcoin and cryptocurrency usage in recent times had started to follow the same patterns as currency usage, except that the key differences include the physical aspect and decentralization. If budding investors, as well as high profile investors like Roger Ver, the Winklevoss Twins, and Vitalik Buterin, had contributed heavily to this digital financial asset, at the very least it’s not a scam, right? Is it a bubble? It can happen. There is always the possibility of it happening, but the inclusion of a decentralized system on a global scale is unknown in itself. Satoshi built this system to combat the flaws of a centralized system, after all, we will need time to see just how effective it is.

Remember, we’re still in the early phases of cryptocurrency adoption: the public had only just started hearing about this new technology. It is only a matter of educating people about the different kinds of application blockchain can be in, anything with data really. It always starts with a rejection phase, and acceptance always starts off slow in the beginning. Give it another few years and we will truly see just how much impact Bitcoin, Ethereum and Cryptocurrencies will have on the world. It could be just an awareness factor, or an education factor: just give it some time.

What patterns do you see that between currency and cryptocurrency? Do you think we’re going in the right direction when it comes to global acceptance of blockchain? Comment below!

Blockchain & Crypto · Business

The 2 Year Bitcoin Hype: How did it start?

Initially written for a now-defunct cryptocurrency media website.

2017 has been a crazy year for all the digital currencies.

Bitcoin peaked at $20,000 within the last 12 months, November became the month of ICOs, and more regulations and sanctions are being passed for cryptocurrency usage. We’re expecting more things to happen this year! Even now, governments are taking interest: The Government of Canada started using the Ethereum blockchain as a public ledger for their grant and contribution data. 

There were talks of implementation by government throughout their nations for a while, but now we have proof! This is a huge difference from the year before, when blockchain technology wasn’t even considered for use in government institutions.

But, how did it become implemented to national level so quickly? How did Bitcoin rise to such a high price?

Let’s rewind the clock a bit.

How did the hype start?

For the tech-savvy, blockchain technology isn’t exactly new: since its inception in 2009 and the emergence of Bitcoin in 2011, we are reaching close to a decade since the start. Why had the Bitcoin hype rose so high in 2017 specifically? Let’s take a look at a few factors:

The Whales are coming!

As more and more people become involved in trading Bitcoin, the whales are the ones to affect and contribute to major price changes. These are the investors with large amounts of Bitcoin, most of them getting involved from the beginning. Every huge shift in price or large injection of capital meant more activity, and activity always breeds newsworthy updates. Through this, the whales can then breed the greatest level of activity – moving the prices up or down significantly, driving others to follow suit. If someone invests $1 million into Bitcoin back when it was $1 for example, that individual would have a lot of price-changing power in these times. Who knows what they’re going to do with it?

FOMO and its implications

Fear Of Missing Out (or FOMO) would tempt anyone who’s worried about not being included into this ‘money-making scheme’ to start reading up about it. ‘Scheme’ is put in quotes here, as during the time the terms ‘bitcoin’ and ‘blockchain’ were not really positively looked at in the eyes of the public. People look at the the price spike and think that it’s so artificially pumped up that there’s a bubble.There were so many supposed ‘bubbles’ that it became difficult to believe anyone. What better way to not get left behind than putting just a little bit into it for the time being?

Any form of social sentiment in this case, does affect the price in some way.

FUD

Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt. These are key factors that can affect the price of any altcoin. For individuals with high levels of influence, or individuals with a strong voice or network, it is simple to inject FUD into the minds of anyone who doesn’t know any better: stating your opinions that it might crash is one good example.

An argument on Twitter could suffice. Pairing a few financial terms in your supposed technical analysis of an altcoin can cause some form of panic amongst interested investors.

The catch, is that with many different elements of FUD being observed around the internet (whether it was on purpose or not), it creates media attention. Especially on social media, when people want to consume something all the time, having an emerging technology like this can always create news. It’s a goldmine for digital marketing agencies, content creators, or any individual who just wants to be loud. In the Information age particularly, anybody with an opinion can post it online for the world to see. Bitcoin/blockchain is no different – if you show your interest in Bitcoin, you’re riding the wave already. Your network can see that, and the seeds for FUD will start to take place.

Key Influencers

People thrive on success stories. It’s like fiction: reading about someone’s success makes you feel better about yourself as you imagine being in their shoes. In the case of Bitcoin, there are so many rags-to-riches stories by people who only invested a little bit back in 2011.

It became the norm for social media to highlight the ones with the largest voice (and maybe the largest pockets): the key influencers in the blockchain space. For anyone remotely interested in Bitcoin, these are names that come up quite often. Some examples below:

  • Vitalik Buterin: Inventor of Ethereum at the age of 19. Already one of the leaders in the blockchain industry, Buterin’s Ethereum enabled the usage of smart contracts and dApps, which meant chances for more kinds of applications to be explored over the next few years. He also takes the time to handle talks all around the world on Ethereum’s benefits and roadmap, and is very active online as an influencer. His efforts have Ethereum in the spotlight at all times, and for some that is more than enough reason to start investing into it.
  • Roger Ver: Aptly nicknamed ‘Bitcoin Jesus’, Roger is an early investor in the Bitcoin movement and had helped brought up to speed many current brands you can see today. Brand names like Coinsetter, Kraken and Shapeshift helped a lot of investors to get into the trading scene, and his contributions allowed their enablement to do so. When he’s going to places all over the world to preach about the wonders of blockchain technology and its rewards (mostly monetary), it’s no wonder more and more people want to get in on it.

Regulation Changes across the World

Just recently, China escalated in doing a crackdown on Bitcoin trading within the country. Japan and the UK are accepting more and more cryptocurrencies into their financial ecosystem. Canada, as mentioned before, started using the technology as a ledger for public data. These are some examples of the different regulation changes that are happening around the world.

As larger entities are looking at blockchain technology developments and the like, the public would then take interest in their next move: What about Bitcoin? Will the government invest in Bitcoin? How about making our own?

Questions like these create hype, and hype is one of the factors that drive up the price. If the governments start taking notice of Bitcoin and its implications, then the public will naturally shift eyes towards it as well. The more impressions Bitcoin makes, the greater the chance of people participating in driving market price.

These are some examples of driving forces to up the hype. Now that it’s become the next investing scheme to look into, how will people react now? What do you think will be another rising factor in Bitcoin hype?

Blockchain & Crypto · Business

The Beginner’s Guide to Ripple: A Quick Read

Initially written for a now-defunct cryptocurrency media website.

Name: Ripple.

Symbol: XRP.

Supported Exchanges: Coinbase, Binance, CEX.io, CoinSpot, Changelly, Bittrex, Poloniex, ShapeShift, Kraken, Coinmama, YoBit.net, LocalBitcoins.

Since its spectacular rise in 2017, Ripple had risen to the top rankings. The banks love it, the network is slowly growing, and more people are talking about it. For the average person however, seeing XRP on the boards may have left you with a couple questions.

Unlike other cryptocurrencies, this is not one of those money-making schemes that result in greedy profits. Ripple serves a purpose: to help enable better transactions. This might be slightly daunting to you, which is why I’m here to help!

In case you don’t know what it’s about, here’s an introduction for you:

XRP: What is it?

Ripple is a decentralised global payments blockchain system. Sounds like a mouthful, doesn’t it? Let’s break it down:

Have you ever tried to transfer money across multiple banks? If you have had experience doing third party transfers, through traditional bank payment systems such as SWIFT or Western Union (I’m sure we’ve all been there!), you might have noticed some disadvantages. There can be high transaction costs, slow processing times (overseas transfers can take 3-5 days!) as well as room or human error. This is partly because the current global payments industry has solely been on said traditional technology systems moving trillions of dollars every year. Why would there be a need to innovate when things are working fine?

In this day and age, there has been an increase in alternative payment systems that serve the public better, whether it meant cheaper services or faster transaction times. The flaws of current large-scale payment systems meant that in an effort to innovate, banks are looking at blockchain technology as the next stepping stone to provide services. Noticing this demand, Ripple was created to combat these, and do more.

How is it different?

Ripple, highly regarded by banks recently (citing names like Westpac and Standard Chartered), was made for the sole purpose of moving fiat currencies, collaborating with them as opposed to replacing them like the usual cryptocurrency. This is all done with their created network RippleNet, which allows connectivity through different payment networks regardless of their differences. As long as there are fiat currencies involved, Ripple could help it in various ways!

It is good to note that there is a total of 100 billion XRP – already mined and ready to deploy. Though the coins are deployed over time (controlled amounts are released every month), this means that unlike other conventional cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin, you won’t find value in mining this one. You can save that mining rig for something else now!

Compared to the big names like Bitcoin, Ripple is faster and cheaper when it comes to transaction fees, going up to 4 seconds faster than it. This is partially influenced by the growing adoption of Bitcoin by the mass public, as more and more people are buying into the big coin.

Who made it?

Having multiple offices all around the world, Ripple is going global. Their presence can be found in San Francisco, London, New York, India, Sydney, Luxembourg, and Singapore.

If you’d like to have a look at some of the minds behind Ripple, have a look below:

  1. Brad Garlinghouse – The CEO and a member of the Board of Directors, Brad had previously served in multiple high-level positions across various fields (file collaboration services, the VoIP industry, etc.).
  2. Asheesh Birla – an entrepreneur by heart, Asheesh is the current SVP of Product, having joined in 2013 to lead development. A leader and active speaker in the blockchain space, he has had previous experience working in Thomson-Reuters.
  3. Patrick Griffin – previously an equity trader covering telecoms, technology and media, Patrick is currently the SVP of Strategy Growth.  He has had experience in business development and sales for Jumio, an internet identity and payments company.
  4. David Schwartz – Known better to the online community as ‘JoelKatz’, David is the Chief Cryptographer at Ripple. Previously he had developed cloud storage and enterprise messaging systems for the National Security Agency and CNN.

I could provide an overview of the full team, but for more information it would be better to check out their company profile!

Why should I consider Ripple?

Ripple serves a specific purpose: to create an effective system that enables the transaction of fiat currencies. As opposed to replacing them, this cryptocurrency is an addition, complementary to the currencies that are running the world today.

For the risk-averse, taking a big dive into the world of cryptocurrency can be a scary thought. Fiat currencies still have a large role to play in many nations and industries, while cryptocurrencies are currently in their infancy stage. Unlike some investment drives, coins aren’t pegged to physical commodities and that may be one of the many factors that are included when a coin’s price rises and drops all of a sudden. What with many scam coins running rampant nowadays, tread carefully when looking into a coin! For Ripple specifically, the advantage for fiat currencies may be a good thing to consider.

For those who prefer to look at who is supporting this coin, check out their website to see some of the big players who support Ripple: other than the above names mentioned, others include the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (MUFG) and American Express. You can rest assured that these large institutions would have done their due diligence before advocating for Ripple, and if you trust these brands enough then you may have your answer!

Here is something else to note: All of the XRP is already mined and undergoing controlled release. That means that in essence, Ripple is centralised as compared to other cryptocurrencies. As they control the release, XRP goes to Ripple the company first, before distributing it out onto the network. As an update, coins are locked into smart contracts to address this. However, if the level of decentralisation is something you consider to be a very important aspect of your investing decisions, this is something to consider.

Overall, Ripple is a blockchain network that enables faster fiat currency transactions, and is highly favoured by multiple financial institutions. Is that aspect something you would consider investing in? How long would you hold XRP for? Would you use their services? Let me know what else we should consider before taking a look at Ripple, I’ll be keeping up to date on this exciting coin!

Disclaimer: The contents in this article should not be taken as financial advice. Please conduct your own research before making your own investing decisions. Investment carries risk.