Chinese Exchanges to Lessen Bitcoin Fees by Building Lightning-Like Tech
An insider source told Chinese cryptocurrency news agency
On June 3, an insider source told Chinese cryptocurrency news agency CnLedger that two of the largest Chinese bitcoin exchanges Huobi and OKCoin are currently working on the development of an off-chain payment channel similar to the Lightning network to lower transaction fees.
“Chinese exchanges Huobi and OKCoin are working on building a Lightning Network-like channel, to lower transaction fee and alleviate congestion.”
The utilization of private blockchain networks and off-chain solutions is not a new concept. Popular platforms such as Coinbase and many mobile applications such as BTCC’s Mobi have utilized private blockchains to increase the flexibility of their applications. On March 20, BTCC released a mobile app called Mobi designed to increase liquidity and ease trading for casual traders and users. The app offers a bitcoin debit card service that allows users to purchase items and service from both online and offline merchants. In its official press release, BTCC emphasized that Mobi operates on top of a private blockchain which can be used to send money instantly to 2 billion smartphone users. If the money is sent as a bitcoin transaction, it is first processed within Mobi’s private blockchain network and then broadcasted onto the Bitcoin public blockchain.
“Mobi accounts are linked to users’ mobile numbers; all that is needed to use Mobi is a smartphone. Mobi users can instantly transfer funds to any of the two billion other global smartphone users using Mobi’s private blockchain. Mobi also supports bitcoin transfers on the Bitcoin public blockchain,” explained the BTCC development team. There exist many reasons why companies including Coinbase and Mobi utilize private blockchains, but the major factor is speed and functionality. The presence of an off-chain solution and a private blockchain allows apps to operate on top of a more flexible platform. For instance, Coinbase serves just over seven and a half million users on its platform. In April, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong highlighted that Coinbase stored ten percent of all bitcoins in circulation. The sheer magnitude of bitcoin transactions and trades Coinbase deals with makes it impractical for the platform to process all transactions on-chain. Thus, to deal with the increasing activities, Coinbase stores and processes transactions in a separate ledger.
On non-custodial bitcoin wallet platforms such as Blockchain, only users have access to private keys, and therefore, even if accounts are hacked, hackers cannot gain access to user funds. However, on platforms like Coinbase and other exchanges as seen in the case of Bitfinex, the circumstances are different. In fact, Armstrong encouraged users to log all activities in the event of a breach of an efficient auditing process. “It is critical to have a good audit trail if there ever is an incident. The only thing worse than being hacked, is being hacked but not knowing how it happened,” said Armstrong. CnLedger’s inside source stated that the two Chinese exchanges are working hard to create a Lightning-like payment channel that will likely operate similarly to Coinbase and Mobi’s private blockchains to address increasing demand for bitcoin and trading activities.
“Details are still unknown. But one insider told me that they've been working hard on this. The result will be only one settlement each day,” revealed CnLedger. Some experts including Andrew Keys of Consensus Systems (ConsenSys) recommended networks like the Raiden Network, a high-speed asset transfer platform for Ethereum, to go with the two exchanges’ recent Ethereum integration. The activation of Segregated Witness (SegWit) is expected to drastically improve the infrastructure for two-layer solutions like Lightning and also, the Lightning-like payment channels that are being built by companies like Huobi and OKCoin.
Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak Bought Bitcoin at $700, He’s “Way Up” Now
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has spoken about his early interest in bitcoin
and an attempt to buy the world’s most prominent cryptocurrency back when it was trading at $70 per coin. He eventually bought it at $700. Speaking on stage at a tech conference in Miami, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak underlined bitcoin’s importance in bringing FinTech’s poster child, blockchain technology, to the mainstream. The tech mogul was asked by a member of the audience about the ‘meteoric rise of cryptocurrencies’ & blockchain technology and their collective potential for transformative change in society.
To this, Wozniak pointed blockchain technology’s core features in security and traceability, underlining them as factors behind every corner of the global banking industry looking into the decentralized innovation. “Bitcoin is the well-known cybercurrency that really bought all of this to our attention,” Wozniak said, in his response that was just as much about educating the audience as it was him praising the technology. Wozniak then spoke about how he tried to acquire bitcoin years ago when the now-soaring cryptocurrency was trading at $70 per coin. Not as an investor, but as an adopter who was looking to own and “play” with it.
I remember getting interested in bitcoin some time ago. It was $70 for a bitcoin. Man, I went online and you had to have a special bank account at a certain bank and I couldn’t buy any bitcoin so I gave up. Eventually I got some of them at the $700 stage and then it went down to $350. Oh my gosh. I didn’t invest, I did it so I could play with bitcoin. How do you buy things and how could you sell things?
He then spoke about looking at websites that would accept bitcoin for payments and mentioned Tiger, presumably Tigerdirect. Since those early days, bitcoin has since come a long way with the likes of Microsoft, Dell, Newegg, Overstock and Rakuten, among a handful of many, to accept the cryptocurrency.
Bitten by the Bitcoin Bug
Long retired from his day job, Wozniak is now a philanthropist and an investor. As an early bitcoiner, he also spoke about looking for establishments – hotels and restaurants – who accepted bitcoin during his travels. “Then I found out when I travel, you could look ahead to a city and find out which hotels, which restaurants accept bitcoin,” he continued, stating that bitcoin is “getting there” as a method of payment. “It’s becoming…it’s getting there…it’s just not there enough to everything you’re used to [buying and selling],” he opined. “It’s getting there.” When reminded that bitcoin is now trading at $3,000, four times the value of when he bought the cryptocurrency,
I was just playing around to find out how to buy and sell stuff and I didn’t care about the fact that I’d lost a ton of money [when it went down, but he held on] and now I’m way up . *Chuckle*
Bitcoin checked into 2017 by trading at $1,000 on the first day of the year. Six months later this Sunday, the cryptocurrency had tripled to $3,000 to reach a new all-time high. At the time of publishing, bitcoin is trading at around $2,730 on Bitstamp.
After spending much of the last week seeking direction in the $2,700 to $2,900-range, the average price of bitcoin across major international exchanges edged up over this threshold finally at roughly 17:00 UTC.
The new record comes at a time when alternative digital assets are seeing robust inflows, with ethereum's ether token setting a new all-time high of more than $300 today as well.
Indeed, analysts spoke to the ongoing broadening of the cryptocurrency market as a tide that is benefitting bitcoin.
"The inflows into 'alts' are greater than those into bitcoin. In other words, bitcoin is growing at a very nice pace, but non-bitcoin cryptocurrencies are growing even faster," cryptocurrency hedge fund manager Tim Enneking told CoinDesk.
Jehan Chu, managing partner at cryptocurrency fund Jen Advisors, agreed, noting that bitcoin is likely benefitting from new investor interest and the surging interest of "cryptos like ether".
Still, Arthur Hayes, founder of Hong Kong-based digital currency exchange BitMEX, stated that bitcoin is still the "most talked-about cryptocurrency", even as returns become more substantial in other areas of the market.
Hayes told CoinDesk:
"As investors marvel at bitcoin's historical returns and the returns of altcoins, their natural first purchase is bitcoin. Bitcoin has under performed other coins this year, it is now playing catchup."
Investor Sean Walsh largely agreed, pointing to bitcoin's growing price as a sign of its place in the market as the first stop on a road to other assets.
"Bitcoin still seems like the dominant gateway to [alternative digital assets]. So, many first purchase bitcoin in order to then trade their bitcoin for altcoins," he noted.
The development coincides with signs that the cryptocurrency market is maturing to support new inflows and increasing interest.
As noted by CoinDesk research analyst Alex Sunnarborg today, the cryptocurrency exchange market has never been more globally diverse or buoyed by such an array of possible inflows.
Such tailwinds have combined in recent weeks to bring new investor attention to bitcoin, with expectations for bitcoin's growth becoming more and more exuberant. Danish investment firm Saxo Bank went so far as to publish a forecasting report in which it placed the possible value of bitcoin at $100,000 in the next 10 years.
How to Build an Inbound Marketing Strategy in 24 Hours
"I'm active on social media."
"I'm blogging regularly."
"I'm using SEO best practices."
"I feel like I'm doing everything right, but I'm not seeing results."
Do any of these statements sound familiar? A lot of marketers and CEOs we talk to feel like they are doing all the right things. But, they aren't achieving their goals.
A recent survey from DM (Direct Marketing) News confirms this is common. 46% of the executives surveyed, stated that a "lack of an effective strategy" was the biggest obstacle in achieving their inbound marketing goals.
So why is everyone struggling? I'm not quite sure as to WHY, but in this blog, I'll show you HOW you can overcome this obstacle…and overcome it in the next 24 hours. Let's roll!
What is Strategy?
First, let's identify what strategy actually is. It really doesn't have to be that complicated. Strategy is simply a plan of action designed to achieve an expected goal. So, we need a goal to get started. For the purpose of this article, let's say that our goal is to generate 50 qualified leads per month for my sales goal.
A worthy goal.
Now, we need a plan of action that will get us there.
Note: You may have a different inbound marketing goal, so just apply this same framework in order to backtrack from your goal, to an activity plan.
If we're going to generate 50 qualified leads per month for your sales quota, we need to define a "quality lead". Let's pretend we're a coffee distributor that provides energizing weight loss coffee for coffee drinkers, dieters, fitness, etc. If we can get a “Sample” Request, a pre enrolled lead, we consider that a quality lead.
Okay, so now we've got an audience and we know what a quality lead is. We're getting closer to being able to build our plan of action.
Action Steps for Identifying Your Audience:
Nail down your target market. Target Market Example: Diet sites located in the United States, health clubs that are doing between $500,000 and $20M in revenue annually.
Talk to the sales team and establish what a quality lead is. In this case, we know we need 50 Sample Requests and Pre Enrollments each month.
Time Estimate: 2 hours
Honestly, this should be something you already know (your target market).But give yourself an hour to talk to a few people inside your sphere, friend networks and groups, read through your messaging, and establish who you're really after.
Give yourself another hour to talk to a few reps or the sales people in your network. Or potentially, set up a conference and invite others in your network that is similar in their business to yours.
Identify Where Your Audience Lives Online
Once we know who our audience is and what our goal is, we need to locate our audience. Where are they online? You'll want to look at social media, blogs, websites, and forums. Make a big list! Here's what I might do if I were looking for vertical markets.
First, I'd dive into social media. I know LinkedIn is better for B2B, so I head there first. There are tons of various groups, so I started looking for groups full of my audience. A quick search for "dieters" brings up 978 different groups.
I will continue my search for "fitness", " coffee drinkers ", and "weight loss". After spending some time gathering a list, hopefully I've identified at least 500 solid groups that have my target audience.
Next, I'll explore other social media options to see if there is anything market specific. After spending some time on Google, I run across Over Coffee, a social network for coffee drinkers, marketers and socializers.
Still further, I'll spend some time on Google again looking for blogs, forums and other websites where I might find my audience. As an example, it is a pretty sure assumption the Fast Diet forum fits. https://thefastdiet.co.uk/forums/
Another excellent tip is searching for the topics in Discuss. Since Discuss has no search abilities, Google comes in handy. But you have to know the tricks to search. I made a little video here to explain how quickly.
At the end of this research process, you should easily have 500-1000 websites (forums, blogs and other websites), groups (on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook) and communities (on Google+) on your list. Now, we're getting somewhere! We're narrowing down the Web and locating the corners in which we want to spend our time and effort.
Action Steps for Finding Your Audience:
Spend time looking at social media, websites, blogs and forums for your target audience.
Create a master list with links to these places. Utilizing Markethive’s Backlink System, you can track backlinks, store login data, and manage campaigns easily.
Time Estimate: 4 hours
Don't shortchange yourself here.Put in the time to locate your audience.This step will serve you well for many inbound campaigns into the future, so spend about four hours doing your research.
Create the list in your MH backlinks as you go along.
Identify Pains, Problems, Questions
Ok, just to re-cap. We now know:
Who we're targeting
Where they live online
Now, it's time to dig for pain. As you're doing your research and visiting groups, websites and blogs with your audience, start listening. What does that mean, really? How do you listen? What are you listening for?
What you want to do is listen to the problems that your audience is expressing. You want to write down the questions they are asking. Write down the things they are complaining about. You want to be able to speak their language.
You'll start to see different discussion questions, comments on blogs, or frustrations. Here are a few sample discussion topics I pulled from a LinkedIn Group full of dieters.
Obviously, you want to identify challenges and pains around the product or service you offer, but sometimes you can get some really powerful insight just by writing down any common questions or problems. You'll start to see some trends.
As you'll see in the next section, we want to use these questions, pains and problems in our content and messaging.
Action Steps for Identifying Pains, Problems and Questions:
Go to 10-20 places on your master list and start copying and pasting your audience's discussions and questions.
Time Estimate: 2 hours
This should take you about 2 hours, but don't be afraid to spend 3 or 4 if you feel you're not seeing any trends.
Create a Content Calendar
Alright, now we're ready to create a content calendar. Most people want to rush into this step because it feels like you're accomplishing something. However, this step won't be worth much if you haven't dedicated the time to your research.
There are articles that walk through this step in much more detail, so I'm not going to do that. This will be a high level overview.
Basically, now that we've got a sense for what our audience is dealing with, we can brainstorm some effective blog titles, maybe some webinar topics and definitely some e-book ideas. If we think back to our goal of 50 qualified leads per month, you might be asking, "How many blog articles should I be writing?" or "How many capture pages, do I need?"
You can make an educated guess, but this is always the unknown with strategy. (Strategy is a high level plan to achieve one or more goals under conditions of uncertainty) You make the best plan of action you can to achieve your goal, but you'll need to adjust your plan over time depending on how close you are getting to that goal.
Based on my experience, without knowing how much traffic this hypothetical website is getting or how many leads it's currently generating, you'll want to be creating 2-3 blog posts per week.
With your blog posts WordPress plugin, your Markethive blog system becomes a BlogCasting system.
The subscribing potential your blogs will have with other Markethive social members. Case in point the Proprietary subscribe system.
Blog Casting option that allows others to “plagiarize” your work with your permission thereby automatically taking an exact copy of your blog to their account
The Markethive Blogcasting Word Press plugin allows your blog articles massive syndication to other Markethive members Word Press blogs.
The SNAP plugin for Word Press then allows greater broadcasting to over 25 social networks and literally millions of LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ groups and Twitter hash tagged directories.
The potential of just the “SNAP | Word Press | Markethive Broadcast” plugins can literally build reaches into the billions. We know because we have achieved this.
You'll also want to have at least two or three e-books that you can leverage to capture leads. This is not a difficult process. Spend some time writing your story, your perspective of the industry you are chasing. For instance I have written the following ebooks (7):
You also have Markethive to offer. It is a million dollar platform, offering a monthly service others charge $1000s for, with free membership. But if you are in a vertical market, like diets or coffee, you might want to offer ebooks, live webinars, samples, etc.
In addition to the e-books, you'll want to integrate the Markethive nurturing program that moves leads down the funnel towards the level of being joined to you as an Alpha Entrepreneur. Markethive’s lead nurturing system is a quantum leap from other so called lead nurturing when in reality they are nothing more than disguised email espionage.
Don’t know how to produce an ebook? No problem, I wrote a blog on how and why just for you.
Markethive uses Google’s calendar. It is available on all platforms, Droid, iPhone, Tablets, Laptops and Desktops. It integrates with other Google calendar accounts; it allows events, notes, hidden appointments and reminders, to do lists, and sharing with others who have set up a calendar. Like Markethive’s calendar.
Brainstorm blog topics, e-book and/or webinar topics.
Map out how many blog articles you'll need to create each week.
Plan your e-book creation.
Plan your lead nurturing sequences.
Time Estimate: 2 hours
Spend 1 hour brainstorming topics and titles.
15 minutes for mapping out your blog calendar.
20 minutes for planning out your e-books.
20 minutes mapping out your lead nurturing sequences.
Create a Promotions Plan
Your promotions plan is just as important, if not more important that your content plan and calendar. Most marketers feel like once they hit "publish", it's time to start working on the next piece. Not true! Once you hit publish, it's time to go to work promoting that article.
You spent time writing it, editing it, finding an amazing photo and placing a relevant call to action. Now, it's time to zero in on our audience and share that content with them. This is how we'll drive people back to your content, they'll click on your e-books, receive your emails and ultimately sign up for that demo, service or product!
Creating your promotional plan will be much easier now that you've got a master list of where your audience lives. You'll be able to share your blog articles as discussions in exactly the right Facebook Groups, Google Groups, LinkedIn Groups and Twitter automatically as you blog. (it is a SNAP)
See blog on video on SNAPPING https://markethive.com/group/marketingdept/blog/the-reach-aka-blog-casting
You'll be able to comment on other websites and blogs and reference your content in a super relevant fashion because you know exactly what your audience’s challenges and pains are. You'll be able to craft blog titles that are irresistible to your audience because you studied their problems and pains.
Your promotions plan should basically be the time you spend promoting your article to all the places on your master list. It might look something like this:
Blog Title: Lose Weight with Coffee
Create a discussion in all 20 LinkedIn Groups and frame it with the question "What is your biggest weight lose challenge right now?"
Share article on Twitter using the hashtags #coffee diet #lose weight with coffee #healthy coffee. Rotate hashtags. Schedule 10-20 Tweets over the next 30 days. (Markethive automates this)
Jump into a couple of forums and find the discussions around coffee and diet. Add value to the discussion and add a link to the blog post as a reference point.
Find individual dieters on Facebook Groups or other websites and send a personal email with a link to the article.
Send out an email to all current leads in the database and share the article.
So, your promotions plan will have some activity that you'll do every time you create a blog post. Then, for specific topics, you may have additional activities you'll want to add that make sense based on the topic.
Action Steps for Content Calendar:
Write out all the possible promotional activities you might have for a specific blog post. Each time you publish, go to that list and execute as many as possible!
Time Estimate: 1 hour
Spend an hour brainstorming all the ways you could promote a blog post, e-book or piece of content.
Phew! There's a lot of work there, but you can do it… and you can do it in less than 24 hours! The total time spent in this process totals 11 hours. Obviously, it would be a long work day to push through these activities, but you'll be setting yourself up for success over the next several months, if not years. If you can't block off an entire day to do this, spend a couple hours each day for a week and you'll be all set.
Your goals and strategy will change over time, but I wanted to break down a very simplistic way to create a strategy quickly and start moving forward.
Just to re-cap what you need to do:
What is your goal?
Who are you targeting?
Where do they live online?
Develop your content calendar.
Create a promotional list.
I'm curious… how much time do you spend on research before diving into content creation?
European regulators should embrace cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, the prime minister of Malta argued in a speech yesterday.
Speaking at the CEPS Ideas Lab in Brussels on 23rd February, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat argued that governments in the European Union should "double down" on the tech, which he pointed out is slowly catching on amongst the bloc’s financial institutions, according to a transcript published by Live News Malta.
Muscat's remarks were in the context of reinvigorating the EU, which has faced rising socio-economic pressures in recent years. He also proposed that leaders in the bloc create financial mechanisms to invest in areas that may be inclined to leave the EU, as was with the case of the UK's so-called "Brexit" vote last year.
Though prefacing his statements by saying that he is opting to advocate for "outright insane" sounding ideas, Muscat argued that "the rise of cryptocurrencies can be slowed but cannot be stopped".
He went on to tell event attendees:
"My point is that rather than resist, European regulators should innovate and create mechanisms in which to regulate cryptocurrencies, in order to harness their potential and better protect consumers, while making Europe the natural home of innovators."
Among the firms in Europe testing the tech is Malta’s primary stock exchange, which in December formed an internal "Blockchain Committee" dedicated to exploring how the exchange might utilize the tech.
The exchange further indicated its intention to set up a domestic blockchain consortium in Malta, aimed at creating a basis for the development of new applications.
Microsoft Announces Availability of R3’s Corda Blockchain Platform on Azure
R3’s blockchain software Corda, developed by the Fintech startup alongside 70 of the world’s biggest banks forming the R3 consortium, is now available on Microsoft’s cloud computing platform, Azure.
Announced quietly last week, the revelation comes soon after Corda’s code was contributed to the Linux Foundation-led Hyperledger Project on November 30. R3 first announced its decision to go open-source with Corda, the product of its Concord blockchain product, in October this year.
Elaborating on R3’s year-long development, Richard Brown, technology chief at R3 claims:
Corda is a distributed ledger platform designed from the ground up to record, manage and synchronize financial agreements between regulated financial institutions. It is heavily inspired by and captures the benefits of blockchain systems, without the design choices that make blockchains inappropriate for many banking scenarios.
Corda’s availability is the latest offering and addition of Microsoft’s blockchain services toolkit called Project Bletchley. First announced in June 2016, Project Bletchley is Microsoft’s endeavor to push for “an open, modular blockchain fabric powered by Azure.” Fundamentally, Microsoft is looking to provide comprehensive solutions with blockchain technology for customers on various platforms, as Blockchain as a Service (BaaS).
R3’s Blockchain Demo Available
Microsoft’s announcement includes a demo offering of Corda via virtual machine image. While this author hasn’t tried the demo prior to publishing, Microsoft claims the demonstration will showcase Corda’s capabilities through real-world scenarios such as interest rate swap deals. Details reveal that deployment will take 3-5 minutes for the virtual machine to be created, one which will deploy a multi-member Corda demo network. The demo isn’t charged, but usage of Microsoft’s resources including storage, networking and computing will be billed.
R3’s blockchain software Corda is now available on Microsoft’s clould computing platform, Azure.
Brown’s comments above point to a marked difference in the ‘design choices’ made by Corda compared to a public blockchain, like bitcoin’s ledger. These choices include developing the Corda blockchain platform within the confines of legal and regulatory frameworks, a focus on privacy and the means to achieve a modular consensus.
R3’s CTO added:
By making simple Corda demos available on the Azure Marketplace, R3 and Microsoft are making it easy for newcomers to experience Corda for themselves before joining the community.
R3’s efforts to push its blockchain product for wider adoption (with its notable call to go open-source) comes during a time when the New York-based startup is losing some of its notable banking members. The likes of Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Banco Santander have all decided to exit the consortium after a year’s membership.