Tag Archives: blockchain

Essential SEO Strategies to Incorporate in 2017

Essential SEO Strategies to
Incorporate in 2017

Essential SEO Strategies to Incorporate in 2017

If you do great work with your search engine optimisation (SEO), it could mean a significant amount of revenue for your business. At the same time, however, it is also an ongoing initiative. Once you generate a steady stream of traffic from SEO, you need to constantly be maintaining and improving your SEO in order to keep those rankings you worked so hard for.

Generally, the two most important items needed to rank well in search engines are links to your website and content — the hard part is creating great content and generating those links. It is also important to note that Google, the largest search engine, has hundreds of ranking factors with some factors having more weight than others.Here are important SEO strategies outside of the basics, that are critical to getting to — or staying at — the top of the search engines in 2017.

Create an influencer who is a subject-matter expert.

An influencer is someone who people listen to online. When it comes to search engine optimisation, having an influencer in your corner will mean more people link to your website, share your blog posts and trust your content. If possible, have an influencer who is a subject-matter expert head up the content creation on your website. This person can be you, someone from your company or someone you align with.

Develop a content marketing strategy.

Every website should have a content strategy focused around your top keywords. When you create content such as blog posts, videos, whitepapers, research reports and webinars, it gives people something to link to. In addition, the content you create can rank by itself in the search engines. For example, if you write a blog post on “How to Pick an SEO Company,” there is a possibility it will rank for some of the keywords you use in the title and in the body post, especially if the post gets linked to from other websites or shared a lot on social media. It also helps if your website as a whole already has significant high-quality links. 

This results in high domain authority, which translates into better rankings for all of your content. In addition, regular content creation shows Google that your website is alive and active. By sending this fresh content signal to Google on a continual basis, it will result in better rankings for your website as a whole.

Generate powerful backlinks to your site and pages.

Having an influencer and content marketing strategy will help you develop backlinks to your website, but it is also important to actively be seeking ways to get people to link to you. Some of the best ways to do this are to write for a large publication, do industry interviews and recommend your powerful content to people who matter. You can also hire a public relations (PR) company or an SEO company that has a strong digital PR division to help you with this initiative.

In addition, you can also use tools like Majestic SEO to see who is linking to your competitors. Once you identify the links to your competitor’s sites, you can analyse these links, learn how they got them and implement a similar strategy for your website. For example, did they donate to a charity causing the charity to link to their site? You can do the same thing.

Get your website mobile-ready. 

In 2015, there was a major Google update known as a Mobile addon. This meant that if you did not have a mobile version of your website by April 21, 2015, you lost a significant amount of your rankings in the mobile version of the Google search listings.

Moving into 2017, your website needs to be mobile-ready. There are three types of accepted options for a mobile site in Google’s eyes: responsive design, being set up on a mobile subdomain or use dynamic serving. Google also now ranks websites higher that apply SEO for their apps. So if you have an app, make sure you are taking the time to implement application SEO.

Move your website to HTTPS, a secure site.

Google’s Gary IIIyes sent this tweet on August 18, 2015, saying that, “If you're an SEO and you're recommending against going HTTPS, you're wrong, and you should feel bad.” The “S” in HTTPS stands for security, and if your URL leads with HTTPS (https://example.com) instead of HTTP (http://example.com), then your website is secure. Google wants you to move your site to HTTPS so badly that they are now giving a ranking boost to websites that are secure. As we move into 2016, we will be seeing many new websites transferring to HTTPS. 

Add schema.org markup to your website.

Schema.org is a type of markup that you can put in the code of your website. Using schema.org, you can tell Google which picture on your site is your logo, where your reviews are, where your videos are, what type of company you are, where you are located and much more. Google has hinted over the last year that schema.org will help your website rank better in Google search. Recently, Google’s John Mueller said in a Google Hangout on Sept. 11 (at the 21:40-minute mark) that “over time, I think it [structured markup] is something that might go into the rankings as well.”

When it comes to SEO in 2016, these are some of the most important items you can focus on. Make sure you are adding fresh, high-quality content and generating backlinks. Also, make sure your website is mobile ready and fully secure. Outside of this, it is also important to follow normal SEO best practices. Good luck to you in your SEO in 2017.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Steps to Building a Winning Brand Strategy

Steps to Building a Winning Brand Strategy

In their book Start Your Own Business

In their book Start Your Own Business, the staff of Entrepreneur Media Inc. guides you through the critical steps to starting your business, then supports you in surviving the first three years as a business owner. In this edited excerpt, the authors explain the three-step process of creating a branding strategy for your business plan.

In addition to all its other parts, your business plan should include a branding strategy. This is your written plan for how you’ll apply your brand strategically throughout the company over time. At its core, a good branding strategy lists the one or two most important elements of your product or service, describes your company’s ultimate purpose in the world and defines your target customer. The result is a blueprint for what’s most important to your company and your customer. Don’t worry: Creating a branding strategy isn’t nearly as scary or as complicated as it sounds. Here’s how you do it:

Set yourself apart.

Why should people buy from you instead of from the same kind of business across town? Think about the intangible qualities of your product or service, using adjectives from “friendly” to “fast” and every word in between. Your goal is to own a position in the customer’s mind so they think of you differently than the competition. “Powerful brands will own a word—like Volvo [owns] safety,” says Laura Ries, an Atlanta-based marketing consultant and co-author of The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding: How to Build a Product or Service into a World-Class Brand. Which word will your company own? A new hair salon might focus on the adjective “convenient” and stay open a few hours later in the evening for customers who work late—something no other local salon might do. How will you be different from the competition? The answers are valuable assets that constitute the basis of your brand.

Know your target customer.

Once you’ve defined your product or service, think about your target customer. You’ve probably already gathered demographic information about the market you’re entering, but think about the actual customers who'll walk through your door. Who is this person, and what is the one thing he or she ultimately wants from your product or service? After all, the customer is buying it for a reason. What will your customer demand from you?

Develop a personality.

How will you show customers every day what fulfil’s promises and provide value and service to the people you serve. If you promise quick service, for example, what will “quick” mean inside your company? And how will you make sure service stays speedy? Along the way, you’re laying the foundation of your hiring strategy and how future employees will be expected to interact with customers. You’re also creating the template for your advertising and marketing strategies.

In the Loop

Many companies large and small stumble when it comes to incorporating employees into their branding strategies. But to the customer making a purchase, your employee is the company. Your employees can make or break your entire brand, so don’t ever forget them. Here are a few tips:

Hire based on brand strategy. Communicating your brand through your employees starts with making the right hires. Look to your brand strategy for help. If your focus is on customer service, employees should be friendly, unflappable and motivated, right? Give new hires a copy of your brand strategy, and talk about it with them on a regular basis.

Set expectations. How do you expect employees to treat customers? Make sure they understand what’s required. Reward employees who do an exceptional job or go above and beyond the call of duty.

Communicate, then communicate some more. Keeping employees clued in requires ongoing communication about the company’s branding efforts through meetings, posters, training, etc. Never, ever assume employees can read your mind.

Your branding strategy doesn’t need to be more than one page long at most. It can even be as short as one paragraph. It all depends on your product or service and your industry. The important thing is that you answer these questions before you open your doors.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Low-Cost Marketing Strategies Every Business Should Know

Low-Cost Marketing Strategies Every Business Should Know

 Low-Cost Marketing Strategies Every Business Should Know

Let’s be real. Marketing can get expensive. With such a strong emphasis on digital marketing, it can seem like the only way to be successful is through buying ads or paying for SEO. While both of those are very popular and useful ways to market a business, there are also many marketing strategies that come at a low cost, if not for free. These four low-cost marketing strategies create organic traffic and exposure for your business, and they all place an emphasis on the most important factor of marketing: the people you’re targeting.

Network

Networking is one of the most effective marketing strategies that everyone has access to, and there are plenty of ways to do it. First and foremost, LinkedIn is a platform entirely devoted to networking. As a rule of thumb, you should be adding everyone you shake hands with or speak with, including customers, a similar business, and more. In building a personal brand through LinkedIn, you can promote your business brand. To make networking even easier, you can make a group page for your business, or join a local business group and participate with the existing members and audience to boost the exposure of your business.

LinkedIn is far from being the only way to network. Networking is a mindset and an approach that prioritises people rather than positions and businesses. In putting people first, you can determine who matters most that you need to get to know and what you can do for them. Then you can market your business to a broader audience in a less obvious, more effective manner. The best part about networking is that you can essentially do this anywhere, at any time, with anyone. Is there a local business association that holds meetings? Join it. A chapter of a marketing association in your city? Join that, too. Start utilising any and every opportunity that brings you in contact with new people.

Build a partnership.

Ever heard the saying “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine”? That’s exactly how a partnership works.  Let’s say you own a car dealership and there is an auto detailer and repair shop down the road. If you partner with the auto shop, you can refer people there for maintenance and keep their business cards or flyers in your dealership. In return, the auto detailer can refer people to your dealership when they need to buy, sell, or trade their vehicle and they can also keep business cards or flyers in their shop. Maybe there’s even a discount if they mention that the partnering business referred them.

Building a partnership can market your business to the customer base of another business, and vice versa. This works especially well for local businesses, as it fosters a sense of unity and support within the community. People are exceptionally receptive to recommendations that come from businesses they already trust and have had positive experiences with, and you can use that to your advantage through a partnership. It’s cost-effective, marketing-savvy, and will build your reputation.

Ask for reviews.

The only things people pay attention to more than what it says about your company on Google are the reviews that previous customers have left you. I once found a rental property I was interested in, and upon searching for reviews of the real estate agency I found an entire Facebook page dedicated to very passionately written bad reviews about the company (and that was in addition to a low Yelp score). I was horrified after reading all the negative experiences other customers had with the agency, and have since warned many friends to avoid renting or buying any properties from them solely based on those reviews.

What your customers have to say about you is the clearest indication of the kind of experiences future customers will have with you. By asking customers who have had positive experiences to write a quick review on Facebook or Yelp, you can accumulate endorsements and vouchers. Plus, if someone is willing to take the time to write a review, it’s likely that they’ll recommend your business to their friends and family for future needs. All of this comes at little to no cost and lets your customers do the marketing for you. According to Carlos Fearn, a Marketing Consultant at Rankology, “Consumers trust online reviews nearly as much as if it were a recommendation from a friend. It is imperative in today’s online society that a business encourages their customers to leave reviews on the major social networks and portals to show their satisfaction with your company.”

Blog.

Helping people before they actually need anything from you is a marketing tactic that A) might not even be a “real” marketing tactic and B) has great returns. An easy way to do this is by adding a blogging component to your company’s website where you can offer useful tips and insights about things related to your business. The only thing it will cost you is time, and by blogging about the topics you’re already knowledgeable about, you can market a friendly credibility that’s in the interest of the customer. For example, if you’re a bakery, share some easy recipes around the holidays, or offer tips on baking for people with food allergies. By providing a real utility to the kind of customers who have a use for the information you’re providing, you create a relationship that establishes your business as a helpful authority. People tend to value helpful over pushy and if someone has used tips or recipes from your bakery’s website, you’ll probably be their first thought when they need a sweet treat on their lunch break.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Essential Inbound Marketing Strategies for Every Startup

Essential Inbound Marketing Strategies for Every Startup

 Essential Inbound Marketing Strategies for Every Startup

Inbound marketing has become increasingly popular in the marketing and advertising world for the last several years, and it's no surprise why. While traditional outbound ad campaigns attempt to persuade unfamiliar audiences with sales-y messages, "inbound" campaigns focus on the value they can provide users. And that prompts those users to naturally gravitate to those businesses when the need arises. Generally, inbound marketing strategies are less expensive, hold a wider range of benefits and, over the long term, will generate a higher rate of return. So, if these benefits resonate with you, consider the following inbound marketing strategies, which are among the most popular. At this point, they're essential for all new startups:

On-site content marketing.

On-site content marketing is useful in a number of ways. Not only does new content drive new readers to your site, it keeps your existing readers and customers engaged with your brand, allowing you to maximise client retention. You'll have to provide highly detailed, original and valuable content, which isn't always easy or straightforward; but, with a steady stream of high-quality content, you'll find that the advantages can be enormous. Content marketing also provides syndication fuel to your social media and email campaigns and boosts your search rankings (more on this momentarily). In a recent survey I conducted, of 357 marketers, 93 percent of respondents said they planned to increase or keep their on-site content marketing budgets the same. That's pretty high praise for the power of on-site content!

Off-site content marketing.

Your off-site content marketing campaign will function in a similar manner, prompting you to provide well-written, targeted, valuable content, but instead of publishing it on your own site, you'll be publishing it on another site (hopefully, a major media publication!). The advantage here is the opportunity to gain visibility with new audiences, who may not have heard of you otherwise. You'll get referral traffic, and your brand reputation will steadily grow as you work your way up to bigger and better publishers.

Search engine optimization (SEO).

On-site and off-site content marketing will provide you substantial fuel for increasing your search visibility. On-site content attracts inbound links, while off-site content directly builds links to your site. The more high-quality, valuable inbound links your website has, the higher it will rank in search engines. In fact, a recent report from Google noted that two of the top three ranking factors in the algorithm were content and inbound links. But there are other, more technical components to SEO you'll need to implement to boost your inbound traffic from search engines. These include optimising for mobile devices, improving site speed and targeting strategic niche keyword phrases. It's a time-intensive strategy, but it pays off in spades.

Social media marketing.

Organic social media marketing has taken its fair share of hits, but it remains one of the most effective strategies for generating new visibility. You have the power to engage with almost anyone in the world through social media, gradually building up a loyal audience (as long as you're consistently providing valuable insights and material). Throw your on-site and off-site content into syndication here, and your followers will have even more reason to stick around. Alone, social media can generate a steady stream of traffic to your site, and build your brand, but its real power is amplifying the effects of your other inbound marketing strategies. According to the same survey referenced earlier, 65 percent of respondents — the highest percentage across 10 marketing strategies included in the survey — said they believed that social media marketing was poised to become even more effective in the next five years.

Influencer marketing.

Influencer marketing is relatively simple in concept, but it's a little more difficult to carry out practically. The idea is to target "influencers" in your industry –these are thought leaders, movers, and shakers who hold the best reputations and the biggest portions of audiences in your niche. By working with these influencers on joint content projects or even just innocuous exchanges on social media, you'll cross-pollinate your audiences (oftentimes for mutual benefit), and earn a better reputation by proxy. The hardest part is identifying the influencers most likely to benefit your brand and persuading them to engage with your campaign. Influencer marketing seems to be the most cutting-edge strategy on this list, evidenced by the highest percentage of marketers (38 percent) agreeing to a statement on the survey — in this case saying they were "not currently using this strategy, but plan[ned] to in the future."

Email newsletters.

I hesitated to include email newsletters on this list, since email marketing in general, might be considered an outbound strategy. However, email newsletters usually revolve around the provision of content to subscribers, increasing their loyalty and retention while simultaneously setting up a recurring traffic stream back to your site. Because your content is providing value to your readers and subscribers, and you're not just using it as a way to advertise your products and services, it can be considered a form of inbound marketing. Additionally, email marketing may be a relatively low-hanging fruit: In the survey, email marketing was reported as the second-easiest tactic to perform, but one that provided the fifth-highest ROI of the ten strategies included.

Personal branding.

Finally, personal branding may be used in conjunction with almost any of the strategies above. For example, you might have some of your upper-level team members post more on-site content and reach out to major publications for guest-posting opportunities, or even to become contributors in order to fuel an off-site content strategy. Of course, you'll want to syndicate that content on social media. You can make a more personal appeal in your influencer marketing campaigns as well. By tying your corporate brand to a number of personal brands, you'll make your company more accessible, human and trustworthy — three qualities that are hard to come by for consumers these days.

There's an almost magical quality about these strategies, not because of how they work on an individual level, but how they work together. All of these strategies have the power to enhance and complement each other, increasing your total return by multiples if you end up using them together. Pool your resources to conquer these tactics, adjusting and refining your approach along the way, and nothing will be able to stop your startup's marketing momentum.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Poloniex Altcoin Exchange Review

Poloniex Altcoin Exchange Review

Poloniex Certainly Has Its Merits

Poloniex is by far the superior altcoin exchange, base don trading volume and the number of users. The customer support is its Achilles heel, though, and the verification procedure can take longer than needed. Moreover, a few recent server and API outages have caused a fair bit of issues.In this day and age of cryptocurrency exchanges struggling with their partnering banks, the number of platforms unaffected by issues are fairly limited. So far, the Poloniex exchange has successfully avoided most problems, which allows them to continue generating significant amounts of trading volume. They are also the premier cryptocurrency exchange for altcoins traders, but is everything as good as people want the world to believe?

Trading on a cryptocurrency exchange is always a matter of positive aspects and compromises. For the Poloniex exchange, it appears the benefits far outweigh the downsides as of right now. They list a good amount of alternative cryptocurrencies and also actively remove trading pairs that are no longer relevant. Poloniex is also offering multiple exchange markets, including Bitcoin, Monero, and Ethereum. Alternative trading markets are always interesting to take notice of, even though not all coins can be traded against these three currencies.

Poloniex has been around for some time now and even underwent a major overhaul in early 2015. Ever since that time, some notable features were added, including cryptocurrency lending. Speaking of the lending service, not all supported coins are listed here either, but it does cover the most prominent currencies as of right now. It is a useful feature for traders who want to earn a passive interest on their Poloniex balances, although one should never store too much money on an exchange in the first place.

On the security front,

Poloniex seems to check the right boxes as well. Two-factor authentication is possible – and advised – which is a positive touch. Then again, nearly every cryptocurrency exchange offers this feature, as 2FA has become somewhat of the norm in the crypto world right now. Volume-wise, Poloniex seems to generate a fair amount of revenue every single day, as it is way ahead of its closest competitor Bittrex.

Unfortunately, no cryptocurrency exchange is without its issues, and Poloniex is no exception. The platform has suffered from slow trading, order book issues and even plain outages every time there is an unusually high trading activity on the exchange. Most recently, the site and its API utterly crashed when Ripple was seeing significant trading volume all of a sudden. This affected quite a lot of traders and a fair bit of money was lost due to trades not executing properly.

Moreover, some users have complained about horrible customer support from Poloniex staffers. Exchanges have a big problem in this regard, as it appears a lot of platforms suffer from bad customer support at all times. That is not acceptable by any means, and we can only hope things improve sooner rather than later.  Especially considering how the platform supports fiat currency support, aiding customers in a quick and convenient manner becomes even more important.

Speaking of support,

Poloniex conducts a thorough AML and KYC procedure for all users, even if they do not deposit or withdraw fiat currencies. This means users will need to upload documents to verify their identity, a process that can take days, if not weeks, for some users. It seems evident everyone’s mileage will vary when dealing with the Poloniex exchange. For the most part, the company does the job just fine, but there are obvious areas that need improvements.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

This Is How Cryptocurrencies & Blockchain Could Solve Asia’s Financial Inclusion Issue

This Is How Cryptocurrencies & Blockchain Could Solve Asia's Financial Inclusion Issue

  

In 2016, staff members within the International Monetary Fund (IMF)

suggested that virtual currencies could promote financial inclusion. The IMF issued the standard cautions about how virtual currencies (VCs) might be used for money laundering, terrorism and other nefarious purposes. But it also wrote that, “VCs offer many potential benefits, including greater speed and efficiency in making payments and transfer–particularly across borders–and ultimately promoting financial inclusion.”

The “across borders” benefits have led to the launch of Bitcoin startups in places like the Philippines, where remittances from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) contribute more than $26 billion to the economy. Such was the case with Coins, a mobile-first, blockchain-based platform that facilitates remittances, bill payments and mobile airtime top-ups. “I was initially looking for a way to solve the issue of expensive cross-border payments, which lead me to blockchain technologies and how they could be used to provide widespread financial access in general,” said Justin Leow, head of business operations for Coins.

Since its launch in 2014,

Coins has signed up half a million users and partnered with retail outlets, banks, and other financial service institutions to create a distribution network of more than 22,000 cash disbursement and collection locations in the Philippines. In late 2016, the company raised $5 million in a Series A fundraising round. “Our mission is to make sure our customers are able to access the financial services that they need, and building our platform on top of the blockchain has been an important component of that effort,” Leow said via email. “As long as people will continue to need cheap remittances [and] money transfers and access to financial services, we see blockchain technology as a growing area that would be able to affect positive change.”

Leow said Coins has been able to lower remittance costs from 7-8% to about 2-3% for its customers, including those who use it for bill pay and remittances, as well as merchants and service providers who accept bitcoin. The company’s ultimate goal is “to increase financial inclusion by delivering financial services directly to people through their mobile phones.”

Experts see remittances as an area that could be ripe for VC disruption. The Philippines is not the only country with a high population of overseas workers whose families depend on their remittances. High transaction fees and slow or inconvenient transfer services create extreme hardships on people who can’t afford to spend hours claiming one payment, or who live far from banks or shops that manage remittance payments.

The costs of these transactions 

which can average as high as 12% in Sub-Saharan Africa – hit the poor the hardest. Technological advances like cryptocurrency and distributed ledgers may offer a solution,” Dr. Garrick Hileman, a cryptocurrency researcher at the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, told Phys.org. "It would be surprising to me if in 30 years from now we aren't looking back and saying yes this was a watershed moment for financial inclusion, and that cryptocurrency and distributed ledgers played a significant role in opening up access to the financial system in developing economies."

A 2016 KPMG article indicated that more than 70 percent of the population in Southeast Asia is unbanked, leaving hundreds of millions at steep disadvantages for achieving financial security. Not having a bank account excludes people from a range of financial products, but fintech companies see mobile technology as a means of closing that gap. Startups like Coins, which use cryptocurrencies behind the scenes to offer fast, low-cost services to their customers, may be on the front lines of improving financial inclusion in Southeast Asia and the rest of the world. Thanks to growing mobile phone penetration, even low-income consumers can take advantage of their services.

“One of the important ways to increase financial inclusion is facilitating the transition from people being purely cash-based to be able to access and use [their] money online. In this regard, cryptocurrencies work very well as railways for seamless fund transfers and being able to pay for services,” Leow said. “The advantage that cryptocurrencies provide relative to other closed-loop systems is that anyone can be connected to the payment network very easily and services can be made available to anyone else on the network.” Remittances and mobile payments aren’t the only ways blockchain technology facilitates inclusion.

“I think payments will continue to be a key functionality for blockchain technologies with adoption continuing to increase as more businesses recognize its advantages,” Leow said. “At the same time, I think that there are also a lot of application-specific solutions using the blockchain for purposes such as digital identity management and smart contracts that are actively being explored that are causing us to rethink how many (typically expensive) business processes are being done.”

For instance, Acudeen, a Filipino fintech startup that helps small businesses by streamlining the invoicing process, uses blockchain technology to ensure that its clients’ contracts are secure. If cryptocurrency does become mainstream, it will likely do so quietly, at least as far as the average consumer is concerned. Luis Buenaventura,  chief technology officer of Bloom Solutions and author of Reinventing Remittances With Bitcoin, told me for a previous article that Bitcoin is “probably best off as a backend technology." Similar to the protocols behind email systems, blockchain technology may drive common services, but users won’t ever interact with it.

Leow shared a sentiment similar to Buenaventura’s. “The challenge from a financial inclusion standpoint is how to facilitate access to these technologies in such a way that easily transitions people from using purely cash,” he said. “We should remember that at the end of the day, people want to get things done and generally care less about the actual implementation of how that happens.”

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Meet Bitcoin Plus – The Next Great Cryptocurrency

Meet Bitcoin Plus –
The Next Great Cryptocurrency

  

Let’s face it,

Bitcoin is currently dominating the market, but altcoins cannot be just brushed off, they are maturing as well and are ready to provide a keen and tough competition. There is one coin, however, which, as claimed by its founders, cannot even be called an “altcoin.” Meet Bitcoin Plus – the next great cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin, but “reincarnated”

The history of Bitcoin Plus goes back to early 2014 when the coin was launched through an ICO held on the Poloniex Exchange. However, it turned out that the ICO was carried to fund not the cryptocurrency but holidays of the original developer who escaped with collected funds somewhere in the south direction. Later on, Bitcoin Plus went into rehab as a few truly dedicated community members formed a team, hired a coder to fix the wallet and introduced the sustainability plan.

Yule Mills, one of the team leaders at Bitcoin Plus, explains to Cointelegraph:

“The original developers created a great coin but it appeared they had ulterior motives, therefore they soon abandoned the coin. I was the original investor and have loved it since I first found out about it in May 2014. I think it is Bitcoin but reincarnated with many improvements and rarities, hence the added Plus in the name of the coin.”

How it will drive the market wild

The cryptocurrency has evolved greatly, especially during the last year. Originally, XBC was purely a Proof-of-Stake coin, however, a bunch of recent updates included the ability to secure the network using Proof-of-Work, therefore Bitcoin Plus is what is now known as a hybrid POS/POW. This means that if the network ever faces a serious issue, things can be moved along manually by switching on Proof-of-Work for a short period.

Bitcoin Plus has one mln coins to respond to 21 mln Bitcoins, it is characterized by a much faster block processing time and can handle eight times more transactions than Bitcoin. Mills points out that the best feature of Bitcoin Plus is the 20 percent annual staking until all one mln coins have been staked. In his opinion, this feature alone is currently driving the market wild.

Mills comments:

“Bitcoin Plus went from $.08 in January 2016 to a high of $131 just last month. That's serious.”

Bitcoin Plus, scalability issues minus

There is an opinion that what is good for Bitcoin has a positive impact on other cryptocurrencies. But what about the problems currently faced by Bitcoin, are they any relevant in the rest of the cryptocurrency space? Scalability has always been an issue for Bitcoin but recently the network has been running out of capacity, transaction fees have been getting higher, while the speed of processing was significantly decreasing.

The SegWit vs. BU debate has been going on and on for months and it doesn’t look like we are going to see a conclusion any time soon. How do these block games affect Bitcoin Plus? Well, XBC has a much shorter average block processing time – 60 seconds compared to that of Bitcoin, therefore the Bitcoin Plus network is able to handle 10 times more transactions every 10 minutes. Besides, the block size limit of Bitcoin Plus is much larger standing at 1.5 MB. The average transaction size of Bitcoin Plus is very similar to its predecessor, therefore every block is able to fit as many as 3,030 transactions or 50.5 transactions per second.

The Bitcoin Plus team assures that it will take a long time before users have to start worrying about any scalability issues.

Mills says to Cointelegraph:

“Regarding scaling issues, the original Bitcoin can handle, as fact, less than seven transactions per second compared to Bitcoin Plus which can handle 50+ transactions per second. We are keeping a close eye on SegWit vs. Unlimited and, truthfully, I don't think either idea is a good one. The thing about Bitcoin Plus that works is we have a team that agrees on things. If Bitcoin Plus needs to scale we will scale to Visa level if needed.”

Engaging community into development of the coin

The current team of Bitcoin Plus consists of several community members who run the website, BitcoinTalk Forum Thread, Block Explorers, 24/7 nodes and ensure the sustainability of the coin. The team is open, accessible and their intentions are transparent. It also seems that they are trying to engage the community in the development of the coin, offering ideas for updating of the network for voting and extensively reporting on the completion of upvoted ideas.

Isn’t it what the cryptocurrency space is all about? Absolute freedom, flexibility and the ability to reach consensus? With all this packaged in Bitcoin Plus, it is expected that the project will attain great success.

Mills concludes:

“Bitcoin would be an altcoin if it wasn't so successful. I don't consider Bitcoin Plus an altcoin. It's a force to be reckoned with, and you are going to see Bitcoin Plus on a mass scale soon.”

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Q1’s Top Performing Cryptocurrencies Saw Big Gains

Q1's Top Performing
Cryptocurrencies Saw Big Gains

   The first quarter of 2017 saw dramatic price gains

for the top cryptocurrencies, as the total market added nearly $7bn in value. The so-called 'blue chip' cryptocurrencies – those with a market cap greater than $30m – saw aggressive growth in the first quarter, as bitcoin's waning dominance set the stage for new players to assert themselves. Others, too, saw impressive gains that occurred relatively quickly in recent weeks. All told, the cryptocurrencies posted a median price increase (in USD terms) of 180.56% over the course of the quarter.

Top performers

The two top performers from Q1 2017 were Decred (DCR) and Golem (GNT), which gained 2,410.6% and 835.5%, respectively. Decred is a cryptocurrency that uses a hybridized consensus system instead of relying on either solely proof-of-work (POS) or proof-of-stake (POW). Similar to bitcoin, the DCR protocol sets a 21 million cap to the number of coins generated on the network.

Currently, the largest trading pair for DCR is DCR/BTC. Poloniex serves as the largest marketplace for DCR trading. The majority of DCR’s gains came toward the end of the quarter, and the highest daily volume was achieved on 27 March with $14.03m. As for Golem, most of its gains came during the latter half of Q1. Cryptocurrency exchange announced markets for the token on 17th February, and following the announcement, the price rose approximately 100% with 48 hours, from $.02 to $.04 on 19th February, with a volume of $6.67m.

Prior to the Poloniex announcement, average daily volume was between $20k and $100k per day. A second spike in price occurred on 21st March, following the release of news that GNT would be integrated into Shapeshift.io, an altcoin exchange platform. That particular day, the price increased approximately 22% from $0.045 to $0.055 on $5.28m in 24-hour volume. The final day of Q1, Golem developer Grzegorz Borowik published a blog post announcing Golem for macOS. The news buoyed the market, which boosted GNT to an all-time-high of $0.094 on volume of $11.4m.

Bitcoin struggles

Bitcoin's performance in the first quarter was more muted. The CoinMarketCap's Bitcoin Dominance Index – which measures bitcoin's market share relative to other cryptocurrencies – shed nearly 20%, ending the quarter at 68%. A weakening Bitcoin Dominance Index points to investor preference for alternative cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin (BTC) gained just 7.8% over the course of the quarter. This was a noticeable decrease from its 35.4% gain in Q4 2016.

General fear, uncertainty, and doubt has permeated the bitcoin community and can arguably be blamed for the anemic performance of the cryptocurrency in comparison to alternatives. Furthermore, bitcoin's volatility has tapered off as a result of its maturation, coupled with the evolving narrative that the cryptocurrency is a safe-haven asset.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

OneCoin Claims To Have Largest Cryptocurrency Market Cap After Doubling Event

OneCoin Claims To Have Largest Cryptocurrency Market Cap After Doubling Event

OneCoin Is A Scam Regardless Of What They Tell You

Yesterday was quite an interesting day in the world of Bitcoin scams and Ponzi Schemes. OneCoin, the world’s biggest pyramid scheme to date, doubled all user coins last night. This brings the total supply of “coins” to 2 billion, which is ridiculous. In fact, this means that OneCoin is now a bigger cryptocurrency than Bitcoin, according to OneCoin CEO, Ruja Whatsherface. The allure presented by this global pyramid scheme should not be underestimated. People from all over the world are falling for what OneCoin promises, even though they have no blockchain or coins in existence to speak of. The scheme entails the distribution of incoming funds to early investors, whereas new members have to recruit hard to make money.

Now that all of the non-existent Onecoin balances have been doubled, the Ponzi Scheme camp is over the moon regarding its success. Creating a 100% value increase out of thin air is ludicrous, yet millions of people seem to fall for it anyway. In fact, the team claims that their market cap is now bigger than Bitcoin’s. To put this into perspective, OneCoin’s new “blockchain” will allow for 50,000 new coins to be generated every minute. The team is also planning to “go public” with the coin come 2018. How this will be achieved is anybody’s guess, as there is no OneCoin blockchain or coins to speak of in the first place.

What is rather worrisome is how every OneCoin is valued at nearly 7 euros per piece. Keeping in mind how this is all vaporware, one can see that the team is making big money off the backs of gullible people. In this day and age, fooling people with financial promises has become very easy, especially when it’s related to “virtual currencies”.

Anyone who still believes OneCoin is a legitimate scheme will be in for a rude awakening very soon. Governments and law enforcement agencies all over the world are looking to investigate what this cult is offering its members, and it will be shut down sooner or later. Everyone who has funds in OneCoin should pull them out as soon as possible and see if they can pay out. In most cases that will not be possible.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

US Government Hacks Global Bank System, Necessity of Bitcoin

US Government Hacks Global Bank System, Necessity of Bitcoin

The US government’s ongoing extensive surveillance

on the global banking system and payment, transfers are demonstrating an urgent necessity of a decentralized financial network such as bitcoin. Over the past few months, various organizations including Wikileaks and Shadow Brokers have exploited most of the malpractices of the National Security Agency of the US. One of the recent tools of the NSA that was leaked and exploited on the dark web was the NSA’s surveillance tool on the Swift global banking system.

Motive of the US Government

Government agencies and law enforcement are required to undergo a lengthy process of filing a complaint and request to the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (Swift) in order to gain necessary financial information of certain bank accounts of businesses and individuals.

With a surveillance and hacking tool, however, the NSA can surpass the above-mentioned process by simply gaining access to the actual Swift network without alarming its system and infrastructure. According to representatives of Shadow Brokers, a hacking group that has leaked many pieces of malware in the past, the hacking tool of the NSA allows the US government to surveil financial transactions settled within the Swift network with full transparency. Matt Suiche, founder of the United Arab Emirates-based cyber security firm Comae Technologies, said in an interview with Reuters:

“If you hack the service bureau, it means that you also have access to all of their clients, all of the banks.”

While some security analysts and firms including EastNets denied the claims of Shadow Brokers, prominent whistleblowers and security experts including Edward Snowden explained that if the exploitation of the NSA hacking tool by the security firm Shadow Brokers is in fact, true, it could be described as the “Mother of All Exploits.” In the meantime, Swift announced that its cyber security and research team were not able to find any evidence to conclusively determine the surveillance allegation against the US government.

“We have no evidence to suggest that there has ever been any unauthorized access to our network or messaging services,” said the representatives of Swift.

Necessity of Bitcoin

Whether the US government actually utilized the NSA’s hacking tool to surveil the Swift network without permission from Swift and its clients is not the major issue. The main problem is that such hacking tools exist and they are capable of unraveling transactions settled across the world. Any centralized financial networks such as Swift impose such vulnerability, as any network, server or database connected to the Internet is vulnerable to hacking attacks, surveillance and data breaches if it is not designed to be immutable or decentralized, unlike bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Each transaction on the bitcoin blockchain is identified with cryptographic proof and it can be accessed on the bitcoin blockchain. Most importantly, because the bitcoin blockchain is public, it cannot be manipulated by a government agency like the NSA with sophisticated hacking tools. Although there exists strict Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer systems in place on the majority of the world’s bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchanges, government agencies and law enforcement agents must go through proper channels to obtain the data.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member