Weekend Favs March 30

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Weekend Favs March 30 written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

My weekend blog post routine includes posting links to a handful of tools or great content I ran across during the week.

I don’t go into depth about the finds, but encourage you to check them out if they sound interesting. The photo in the post is a favorite for the week from an online source or one that I took out there on the road.

  • Square Invoices – Send invoices and estimates quickly through this app.
  • Outgrow Chatbots – Always be available for your customers online with a customized chatbot.
  • ManyPixels – Discover royalty-free illustrations for your design projects.

These are my weekend favs, I would love to hear about some of yours – Tweet me @ducttape

How To Create A Great Sell Sheet

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As an entrepreneur, you’ve created a product that you can be proud of. Unlike wannabe entrepreneurs, you took an idea from concept and executed it into a tangible item that you can sell. You’re already several steps ahead of entrepreneurs who managed to fail. Now that you’ve made a couple dollars selling your product, you might want to take that traction in another direction. Logically, the next steps you might be considering is getting your product into stores. And one factor in that equation is creating a sell sheet.

A sell sheet is a document that’s just a page or two and contains all the information about a product that a decision-maker needs. This powerful sales sheet can be delivered my mail or by hand, and they’re a great tool for getting your product into stores.

Before you begin approaching distributors and retailers, it’s important to think about what’s the right approach for you. For instance, as a small local company, you might use a Venn diagram to compare and contrast the differences and similarities between separate vendors. You’ll use your diagram to hone in on companies you want to target with your sell sheet. Once you get started, here are a few tips for creating a great sell sheet:

Include All the Essentials.

There are several components to a great sell sheet, and it’s important that you cover all your bases. Any person who receives your sell sheet should have all the information they need to know about your product. Here’s a few things you should include:

  • Multiple product illustrations and/or photos (if your product is still in prototype phase, be sure to hire a professional designer to create a high-quality rendering)
  • A short, snappy description
  • Information on where the product can be purchased
  • Any documentation that could be highlight the benefits and the appeal of the product, such as any patents you might have
  • Contact details
  • A call to action that describes the next steps for interested recipients

Tailor It.

Every sell sheet you create should be customized to match the retailer or distributor you’re pitching. Sometimes, the tweaks you’ll need to make will be minor, but nevertheless, it goes a long way towards attracting potential retailers.

There are also several different purposes for a sell sheet. For instance, you can use it as marketing material (such as a handoff at a conference or event), and even send it off to publications for your PR strategy. Regardless of how you plan to use it, everything should be tailored to suit the publication you’re sending it to, the event you’re attending, or the retailers you’re interested in pitching. Model the layout of your one-sheeter to match the aesthetic of the company or magazine you’re trying to attract. This includes typography, color, and graphic style.

Keep It Simple.

Sell sheets aren’t meant to be overcomplicated; the simpler, the better. After all, these sheets are just an easy way of you showcasing the benefit of your product in a compelling way. If you have a sell sheet with a description that’s several paragraphs, the chances of capturing attention are slim to none. Use a standard 8×11 piece of paper, and communicate your intentions quickly and efficiently.

Take a Look at Other Sell Sheets.

One of the best things you can do to avoid some opportunity-losing mistakes is to take a look at how other sell sheets are being made—especially in your industry. How are similar brands marketing their products? What type of persuasive copy are they using? What colors? How is the product being portrayed? These are things you should be paying special attention to.

Once you start opening your eyes and paying attention, you’ll notice that sell sheets are all around you—and they exist in many different forms. For example, you’ll find them in magazines or on social media.  Take a look at this example of a sell sheet to give you a clear idea, but don’t forget to look at other sell sheets in your industry.

Highlight the Primary Benefit.

What is the biggest benefit of your product? You’ll need a one-line benefit statement that explains why your customers would want to purchase it. If the benefit isn’t compelling and straight-forward, people aren’t going to want to know more. According to Stephen Key, the cofounder of InventRight, “A good one-sentence benefit statement will do the selling for you. Don’t feel like you have to cram in as much information as possible. It’s not supposed to be thorough. In fact, it allows you to get to the point quickly. Everyone appreciates that.”

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13 Fatal Marketing Mistakes That Could Sink Your Business

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The right marketing strategies can elevate your brand and give your business positive attention and exposure, while the wrong ones can sink your company. To find out which strategies work—and the ones to avoid—we asked entrepreneurs from YEC Next and YEC this question:

Q: What common marketing strategies should entrepreneurs avoid and what should they be doing instead?

1. Not knowing your target customer

When marketing a product or service, you need to know your potential customer inside out. By understanding the demographics and characteristics of your potential client, you’ll be able to focus your marketing efforts and get new customers efficiently. Start by writing down the benefits your product or service offers. Then write down who would benefit from using your product or service. —Matt Bigach, Nexus Homebuyers

2. Not tracking your data

People are quick to want to run Facebook ads or publish blog posts, but they aren’t ready to manage them. In order to manage the process, you need to have your analytics infrastructure in place so you can track the performance of your paid campaigns and outcome of your content strategy, and make sure you know what your analytics goals are and that you’re tracking them properly. —Jim Huffman, GrowthHit

3. Trying to sell to strangers

The first rule parents teach their kids is to never take candy from strangers. People are trained from birth to not listen to your sales pitch if they don’t know you, so that’s the importance of brand equity. Give value first and build a relationship before you ask anything of someone. Once the sum of your relationship and the need for your product are greater than the cost of action, selling becomes seamless. —Todd Giannattasio, Tresnic Media

4. Focusing on yourself instead of prospects

From ads to web copy, too many businesses put the immediate focus on themselves over their prospects. However, prospects want to know what value can be gained immediately—not what your business has achieved. Your goal should be to appeal to a prospect’s emotions so they’ll want to know more, and only when the conversation continues should you highlight your personal successes. —Ron Lieback, ContentMender

5. Not addressing customers’ true interests

Make sure you have analytics and are looking at them, whether it be on the back end of your app or website, or through Google Analytics, or both. We like to see what piques our members’ interest and give them more of it. Also, knowing what makes them move on from us to surf elsewhere is equally as important in order to figure out what needs to be adjusted. —Jessica Baker, Aligned Signs

6. Not letting your website be indexed properly

  • I deal with a lot of clients and get the question, “How can I generate more traffic and rank better?” One issue I see, more common than I would like, is when someone develops a new website and the developer forgets to remove the no-index tag, which tells the search engine not to index their site. For any new site, make sure your robots do not have the no-index tag so your site doesn’t vanish from search. —Bryan Driscoll, Think Big Marketing

7. Doing too much content and not enough promotion

“Content is king” is frequently repeated in marketing strategies, but no matter how great the quality of your content is, it isn’t going to matter if no one is reading it. Not promoting the content enough is a cardinal marketing mistake that is far too common. Time spent promoting should be thrice it took to create it. Use social media to reach out to your target audience and promote content. —Rahul Varshneya, Arkenea

8. Buying email lists

Purchasing email lists may seem tempting to the entrepreneur starting out, but they are not a good investment due to its low conversion. Instead, build your own email list using highly targeted content to attract your ideal customer to your site. Once your site has traffic, use exit-intent popups and content upgrades to capture their email addresses. —Jared Atchison, WPForms

Other Articles From AllBusiness.com:

  • The Complete 35-Step Guide for Entrepreneurs Starting a Business
  • 25 Frequently Asked Questions on Starting a Business
  • 50 Questions Angel Investors Will Ask Entrepreneurs
  • 17 Key Lessons for Entrepreneurs Starting a Business

9. Doing paid ads without landing pages

Don’t spend money on Facebook or Google Ads before you’ve built a great landing page, optimized your conversion funnel, and installed remarketing pixels to retarget your website visitors—that’s the horse before the cart in digital marketing. It is really easy to jump the gun on ads and become excited by metrics; however, metrics are meaningless without a clear path to conversion for your clients and customers. —Matthew Capala, Alphametic

10. Ignoring the 80/20 rule

We all have probably heard about the Pareto Principle: 80% of the effect comes from 20% of the cause. But it’s easy to forget to use it in our marketing. Regardless of your type of marketing (social media, email, or content), about 80% of your effort should be providing value to your audience, while about 20% should be promotional activity. This ratio will help your marketing sizzle. —Shu Saito, Godai Soaps

11. Having great sales, but poor support

I always tell my clients that marketing will backfire if they don’t take care of clients who actually have bought their product or service. There is no point in scaling up marketing efforts if customers are unhappy. You’ll just end up with a sea of negative reviews and your brand’s reputation will gradually fall apart. Clients should scale their marketing in parallel with their support capabilities. —Amine Rahal, Little Dragon Media

12. Lacking in consistency 

No matter what marketing strategy you have and what channels you use, you always have to be consistent in your efforts. This means that all your content has to maintain the same brand language, tone, look, and feel. The coherence and harmony of your messages make up the digital image of your brand, and it will be very difficult to achieve good results without those qualities. —Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

13. Not creating buyer personas

If you want to sell a product, you need to know who you’re selling to; that’s why it’s so important to create buyer personas. There are a lot of free buyer persona templates available online, and filling them out in detail will help you determine the needs and pain points of your ideal customer, as well as other characteristics, so you can better market to them. —John Turner, SeedProd LLC

RELATED: 6 Tips for Enhancing Your Company’s Marketing Plan

The post 13 Fatal Marketing Mistakes That Could Sink Your Business appeared first on AllBusiness.com

The post 13 Fatal Marketing Mistakes That Could Sink Your Business appeared first on AllBusiness.com. Click for more information about YEC.

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9 Ways to Help You Think Like an Entrepreneur

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Going by popular opinion, being an entrepreneur seems a lot more thrilling than the typical 9-to-5 job. No bosses anymore, no pressure of completing the work in a rush, and no limited paycheck. Sure, an entrepreneur doesn’t have to go through the daily grind. However, there is so much more to the life of an entrepreneur.

Being an entrepreneur is like treading on thin ice. The moment you decide to be one, 9-to-5 will almost turn to 24×7. Your consumers will become your new bosses, and the size of your pay check will differ from month to month. If you still want to venture into it with the resolve to work hard and the willingness to innovate, you can join the club.

Now, to make your journey a little smooth, here’s presenting some pertinent ways to think like an entrepreneur:

1. Pinning your hopes in one place takes you on the road to disaster

To think like an accomplished entrepreneur, you must know that these professionals would never place all of his/her hopes in one place. Too much dependence on luck could be detrimental to the business that you are working on.

In reality, you must always be prepared for things that might never go as planned. There’s no point in being dejected about the way things are unfolding. Instead, you have to be willing to go with the flow and simply accept things as they come.

2. Treat your decision making skill like a superpower

You must be familiar with the iconic dialogue from the movie Spiderman, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Well, it’s the same with entrepreneurship.

As an entrepreneur, you’ll be the person to make decisions and be quick at it. Now, over-analysing things can take up a lot of time, and you may miss out on many opportunities along the way. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take time to decide, or shouldn’t ask experienced people for advice. When required, you must act quickly. Make more space for big decisions, and do away with the small ones.

3. Wear your confidence like an armour

This is one of the most significant aspects of developing an entrepreneurial mindset. You should have self-confidence in abundance and immense faith in your abilities. If you keep doubting and second-guessing every decision, then you will never be able to take risks.

An entrepreneur is aware of the fact that he/she is the captain of their ship. The moment he/she starts to flounder or display any signs of weakness and insecurity, the workers and investors are bound to lose faith in him/her. This is something that is harmful to any business.

“Don’t live down to expectations. Go out there and do something remarkable.” – Wendy Wasserstein

4. Never let failures get to your head (or heart)

Failures and struggles are as inevitable as the sunrise and sunset. The value of your success increases tenfold if you have gone through an insurmountable struggle.

A skilled entrepreneur always thinks in a way that they’re both willing to accept failure and success with open arms. They would never let failures bring them to heel, and at the same time won’t bask too long in the glory of successes.

If you develop such an attitude to your work and develop a positive way of thinking, then there’s no stopping you from making it big as an entrepreneur.

5. Taking calculated risks comes with the territory

An entrepreneur has to be well-versed with taking calculated risks. You should be happy when things go as planned and should gracefully accept when things don’t exactly go the way you want.

Ultimately, to thrive and prosper in today’s business landscape, it’s vital to take risks. Make sure you take risks after doing your homework. This is exactly how successful entrepreneurs think and make decisions. Make sure once you’ve made a decision, you stand by it. After all, there is no point in constantly thinking if you have done the best for your business.

6. Always stay updated with relevant information

Like every successful entrepreneur, you too have to be acquainted with the latest advancements in your field. In order to gather sufficient knowledge, you have to keep your eyes and ears open to what’s happening around you. It’s only when you’re clued in to what’s going on in the world around you, that you’ll be able to collect relevant information.

This, in turn, will help you to get ahead in life. Isolating or cutting yourself off from the rest of the world will only create a roadblock in your way to success and prevent you from moving forward.

7. Ignorance isn’t a bliss when it comes to good advice

Connecting with people in your field allows you to develop the thought process of an entrepreneur. You must interact with the industry experts and influential figures in your line of work because they’ll help you sway your thought process in the right direction.

If you are ignorant towards good advice that people offer, then you are likely to end up making mistakes. In the fiercely competitive world of business, finding a mentor to guide you in your journey to success is absolutely invaluable.

“If you cannot see where you are going, ask someone who has been there before.” – J Loren Norris

8. Your qualifications will always be useful

Having the right qualifications will propel you to think like an entrepreneur. Being an entrepreneur involves hardships and turbulence, and the journey won’t always be smooth. You must be ready to counter any and every obstacle that is thrown your way.

An entrepreneur is someone who has a flair for thinking. That’s how they come up with solutions to problems that present themselves all of a sudden. Having appropriate training and qualifications can help you with your problem-solving skills.

For instance, if you want to set up an industry specific company, you must have the right training and qualifications to understand the nuances of the business.

9. Positivity will take you forward

In order to help an organization move forward, an entrepreneur knows that it is essential to stay positive at all times. If he/she gives in to negativity, then it won’t be long before the employees fall prey to the negative feelings.

Accomplished entrepreneurs are smart enough to ensure that the negative vibes do not affect the workflow. It’s no secret that when you maintain a positive outlook, you will also motivate your subordinates to work efficiently.

These are some ideas you can implement in your daily life to think like an entrepreneur. While entrepreneurship may come across as thrilling, there is a lot of hard work that goes into it. However, be assured that if you put your heart and soul into it, success will never evade you.

Which one of the 9 ways to help you think like an entrepreneur resonated most with you? Let us know your thoughts below!

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Bitmain Focused on 2020’s Halving as the Moment When the BTC Rally Will Begin

The Crypto
winter seems to near its end, and many people are optimistic and bullish about
the price of Bitcoin. But this excitement is not just a matter of traders and
enthusiasts, the mining community is also optimistic, and not only do they base
their motivation on technical analysis, but they have a charter up their
sleeve: The Bitcoin halving.

This event
will result in a 50% reduction in the tokens generated by the Bitcoin
blockchain for each new block uploaded to the network. Should the behavior of
the market mirror what happened in the previous halvings, it is
very possible that a decrease in the circulating Bitcoins leads to a
new bull run.

Bitmain has played a fundamental role in the development of the Bitcoin ecosystem. This company manufactures most of the miners available on the market while also maintaining the pools with the most hash power in the Bitcoin (and BCH) ecosystem.

courtesy: blockchain.com

After the Bad Decision to Support BCH, the BTC Halving Could “Save” Bitmain

The corporation had a rough season after the poor decisions taken by Jihan Wu, who supported Bitcoin Cash (and the ABC version of it during the BCH Hash War) and guided the company’s efforts to promote this altcoin, resulting in a failure that led to his replacement as CEO.

However, the Bitmain team expects to return to its former glory in 2020, according to a report published by the South China Morning Post:

“Hope for Bitmain lies in the next bitcoin halving in May 2020, a preconfigured algorithmic event that cuts the reward for mining bitcoin in half every four years or so and is designed to cap the digital money’s supply. If history is any guide, bitcoin typically rallies in the lead-up to a halving, spurring demand for the specialized computers used by hobbyists or businesses to validate transactions and earn new coins”.

2020 Will Boost Trading, But it Also Will Boost Mining

The company recently announced the release of a fresh line of miners, which surpass the performance of any other Bitmain ASIC ever produced. Despite the limited profitability because of the bearish markets, Bitmain trusts not only in the upcoming bullrun per se but in the stimulus that this event can give to the mining industry, promoting sales of their products.

According
to an interview with a Bitmain employee, the mining giant desires to replicate
past strategies to achieve positive results:

“Bitmain is now betting that its next flagship product scheduled to be released by the end of this year will turn out to be a winner in the mining gear market, capturing an expected rally, according to a company source with knowledge of the plan

It was the same strategy Bitmain pulled off in 2016, the person said, when the company launched its Antminer S9 model on the eve of bitcoin’s last halving. In the following year, the S9 accounted for an estimated 60 percent of shipments among all bitcoin mining hardware.”

Not So Fast, Bitmain… Not So Fast

Despite Bitmain‘s vision, there is an important part of the community that doesn’t share the same enthusiasm. Blockstream’s Samson Mow is one of the guys who are on the skeptical camp. Recently he tweeted that halving is unlikely to help Bitmain due to the low profitability of its new line of miners:

The BTC
Halving will occur on 23 May 2020 and will reduce the BTC reward
from 12.5 to 6.25 coins

The post Bitmain Focused on 2020’s Halving as the Moment When the BTC Rally Will Begin appeared first on Ethereum World News.

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Dash Merchant Venezuela May be Faking Numbers. Masternode Owner Reports

The DASH ecosystem is going through some very interesting moments, especially in Venezuela, when recently there was a kind of “battle of stats” that presented two different realities concerning the real adoption of this cryptocurrency in the Latin American country.

It is important to note that DASH has a strong presence in Venezuela and is one of the most traded cryptocurrencies in the country. A recent survey by Dash Merchant Venezuela showed some fairly optimistic results regarding the growth of the Venezuelan Dash ecosystem.

Dash Merchant Venezuela Could Be Faking Data

Based on publicly available data, about 2500 Venezuelan merchants accept Dash. This means that DASH has a stronger presence in Venezuela than in any other country. According to a report by Dash Merchant Venezuela of currently, 2158 merchants use that cryptocurrency as means of payment.

However, a report published by Mr. Edward Stoever concluded that these figures are far from reality. The results showed that according to a survey of 299 merchants, only 27% accept Dash.

The report shows a series of contradictions in the information that Dash Merchant Venezuela provided to the community. Not only were there merchants who directly denied accepting the crypto, but most of them did not exist, could not be found or did not respond to the pollsters.

Dash Merchant Venezuela Responds: Stoever Used a Weak Methodology

The Dash Merchant Venezuela team responded to Mr. Stoever’s accusations with a report in which they analyzed the errors in the methodology applied by the study conducted by Stoever. They also attached videos proving that some businesses listed as unreachable by Stoever were actually locatable and accepted Dash.

“Our independent audit of the same 266 merchants resulted in the following observations:

We were able to provide status to 60% of the merchants that the report specifically stated could not be contacted. This means there is only 32% with the “could not be contacted” status rather than 60.52% (as claimed by the survey) and 8% pending for contact.

14% of Merchants listed correspond to Dash Venezuela initiatives and should be excluded from the analysis.

Only 6 of the 15 days when the survey was carried out were working days (due to blackouts, public holidays). This may have had a material effect on the ability of the surveyors to contact/locate the Merchants sampled during this period and therefore invalidate the findings presented in the Survey.

At the very least, such a large discrepancy in the number of contactable Merchants demonstrates that there is a major problem with the methodology of the surveyors in the report produced.

Stoever Replies: Locating a Merchant Doesn’t Mean They Accept Dash

Faced with these accusations, Mr. Stoever issued a new report explaining that although the Dash Merchant Venezuela team was able to locate some merchants, they could not prove that they accepted the crypto, so it could not be said that the study yielded imprecise data.

“My concern is that we – Dash – are not telling the truth when we say there are “2,500 Dash merchants in Venezuela”. Post-survey, even DMV now only claims that 41.14% of the surveyed merchant count accepts Dash. My suspicion is that the true Venezuelan merchant count is likely lower than 1,000, and maybe as low as 326.

Dash Merchant Venezuela has been unfunded since January 2019. The organization has been accused of providing fake data in other audits (something they claimed to do to protect members from insecurity). Currently, DMV has a new head, and they expect a different funding proposal to be approved soon.

The post Dash Merchant Venezuela May be Faking Numbers. Masternode Owner Reports appeared first on Ethereum World News.

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Coinbase To Pay Interest to Institutional Investors on Staked Cryptocurrencies. Tezos (XTZ) is The First Crypto, MKR Will be Next

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Coinbase is committed to becoming the best option to attract
institutional investors to the world of cryptocurrencies, presenting a broad
spectrum of possibilities ranging from trading to offering rewards to those
willing to learn about these technologies.

In a post published in the official blog of the famous american crypto exchange, the team explains that as of today they are starting a program to support staking of cryptocurrencies.

Tezos (XTZ) is The First Crypto Chosen By Coinbase for Its New Program

The first token to be accepted by this program is Tezos (XTZ). A PoS cryptocurrency that allows users to earn passive income by hodling their funds without spending them.

Tezos (XTZ)

Kathleen Breitman, co-founder of Tezos explained that this
strategic decision could play a very positive role in engaging more
institutional investors. According to her, the fact of being supported by
Coinbase makes not only Tezos but the eco-system, in general, an especially
attractive investment option for previously skeptical traders and
entrepreneurs:

“The launch of Tezos staking through Coinbase Custody serves an acute need that existed up until now: a way for institutional participants who rely on a secure, offline custodian to take an active role in the network, achieving our mission of creating a ‘digital commonwealth’ means facilitating participation for all, and that includes the institutional customers that Coinbase Custody brings to the space.

Coinbase offers its clients 100% offline segregated storage
via Coinbase Custody. Likewise, Coinbase’s relationship with insurance
companies provides clients with a sense of security in the face of a possible
(but highly unlikely) loss of funds due to an attack.

In fact, it is important to note that the exposure to attacks is similar to that of non DPoS cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. This implies such a strong level of difficulty that an abuse is not profitable for the perpetrators.

Coinbase Sets Its Eyes on Maker after Announcing XTZ Stake Support

Coinbase also hopes to add governance support for Maker (MKR) protocol soon. The information was confirmed by Rune Christensen, Founder and CEO of MakerDAO who was pleased and optimistic not only about the future of the exchange but also about the adoption of MKR thanks to decisions such as this one.

“Decentralized governance is fundamental to the success of the Maker project. Coinbase Custody will provide an essential service by providing a way for institutional holders to participate in the system and vote with their MKR.”

The post Coinbase To Pay Interest to Institutional Investors on Staked Cryptocurrencies. Tezos (XTZ) is The First Crypto, MKR Will be Next appeared first on Ethereum World News.

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Anonymous Trading on PrimeXBT: 6 Things You Should Know About KYC

Anonymous Trading on PrimeXBT: 6 Things You Should Know About KYC

Anonymity has always been an important aspect of the
cryptocurrency industry, stemming back from the early beginnings of Bitcoin.
Even Bitcoin itself was created by the mysterious pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto,
who chose to keep his or her real identity private from the rest of society.

Whether Nakamoto did this to protect Bitcoin itself, or to protect
his or her own personal details is not known, but the powerful message remains
today that cryptocurrency users prefer to remain anonymous.

The need for anonymity has
sparked a whole subset of privacy coins such as Monero or Dash, which are aimed
at keeping the user’s identity, address, and other private details, hidden from
the rest of the world.

With remaining anonymous so important to cryptocurrency users,
it’s bewildering that so many cryptocurrency exchanges mandate extensive
know-your-customer (KYC) processes that demand private user information and can
often delay the user’s access to a platform.

One cryptocurrency exchange, however, PrimeXBT, cares about the
privacy of their users, and offers quick registration with no KYC procedure.
This allows traders to sign up quickly, make their first deposit, and start
trading, long before a user of any other exchange is able to upload their
personal identification cards.

For any traders unsure if going through a KYC process is right for
them, here are 6 things you should know about KYC.

Data
Leakage Risk

The number one reason for identity theft is due to other websites
and platforms being hacked and having sensitive user information stolen. By
uploading important government documents to an unknown cryptocurrency exchange,
users are put at great risk to have their information stolen, which could
potentially make its way into the wrong hands. This could lead to identity
theft, credit issues, and much more, as the same identifying documents the user
uploaded can be used to steal their identity.

Earlier in 2019, a dark web hacker admitted to stealing customer
KYC data from some of the world’s leading exchanges and was selling it to
others on the dark web for profit. This wouldn’t have happened if users elected
to avoid the KYC process at these exchanges, or used exchanges that don’t
require KYC, such as PrimeXBT.

Long
Registration Process

When any trader finds an exciting new platform to trade on, they
want to get started profiting right away. However, with KYC, documents must be
reviewed extensively by support staff at exchanges and it could lead to
significant delays in the registration process.

This leads to a lot of frustration for users, who simply want to
make a deposit and start trading immediately. A Reddit user recently complained
of Coinbase representatives being unable to verify a document after repeatedly
uploaded the same document again and again. Eventually the trader decided to
give up and move along to another exchange.

Not
Anonymous

This one might be obvious to most, but it’s worth noting that the
second a trader adds their personal information to an exchange, they are no
longer anonymous. Not only is their personal and private information living on
some server at an exchange, the information is being shared with government
agencies and who knows who else. Once they have your information, it is no
longer yours.

Inability
to Open an Account

Sometimes, for reasons not always communicated, exchanges can and
will deny a user access to a platform, even if they have included all relevant
personal details and uploaded the proper required documents. Unfortunately,
users are up to the exchange’s mercy, and even if there are no issues on the
user’s end, exchanges can make mistakes, and deny people for the wrong reasons
mistakenly.

Worse-yet, these exchanges don’t usually give a reason, leaving
the user scratching their head wondering why their KYC was rejected.

Account
Restrictions

On some exchanges, depending on the level of KYC passed and which
documentation is offered, certain limits are added to withdrawals. This means
if a user hasn’t passed all of the KYC levels, the exchange can limit a user
from withdrawing their own money! This is completely against the goals behind
cryptocurrency as a whole, as it was designed so individuals can control their
own money. No exchange should be able to tell you how much or how little of
your own money you can use and for what.

For example, even Binance limits withdrawals for non-verified
users to just 2 BTC every 24 hours. If a user gets verified, they can withdraw
up to 100 BTC each 24 hour period.

Illusion of
Security

KYC can give users a false sense of security. The thought is, if a
user uploads their ID and other sensitive information, then no hacker can get
into their account without providing the details. However, in addition to
exposing personal information to potential theft by uploading it to an exchange
in the first place, it isn’t uncommon for hackers to simply obtain information
another way, possibly via the dark web, and gain access to the user’s account.
Things like SIM-card swapping scams have become rampant, causing users to lose
their crypto assets. If a hacker truly wants into your account, they’ll get in
one way or another. The addition of KYC is never a replacement for personal
presence.

Conclusion

KYC is rarely helpful to anyone other than companies bent on
tracking individuals, or hackers seeking to steal personal information. But,
regardless, it’s something that so many crypto traders and investors are faced
with each and every time they try a new exchange.

PrimeXBT puts user
privacy and safety first, above all else, and ditches the lengthy KYC process
in order to streamline the registration experience and get traders using their
cutting edge platform quickly. In just a few clicks, users can sign up, make
their first deposit and start profiting more than ever using 100x leverage.

The post Anonymous Trading on PrimeXBT: 6 Things You Should Know About KYC appeared first on Ethereum World News.

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Crypto Fundamentals Are Booming, But That Doesn’t Imply a Bitcoin (BTC) Rally

Booming Crypto Industry

Many argue that it’s hard to make a case that the crypto industry is healthy. The value of Bitcoin (BTC) collapsed by 80% of 2018, as the zany bubble of 2017 unwound; retail investors fled; and many Wall Street firms, who were previously enthused about cryptocurrencies, pulled their partnerships, deals, and ambitions.

However, MarketWatch reports that Flipside Crypto, a Boston-based industry analytics provider, believes that fundamentals are, believe it or not, stronger than ever. Huh?

Flipside’s FCAS 25 index, which tracks the market maturity, developer behavior, and user activity of the company’s top 25 crypto picks, is nearing its highest reading, well, ever. The FCAS 25 currently sits at 794 — giving it an A for Attractive rating. This is 24 higher than when Bitcoin sat at $8,000 last spring, and just shy of its ~804 all-time high set earlier this year. In a comment given to MarketWatch, Flipside’s Dave Balter explained that while stakeholders hear a lot of post-mortems (statements like “the industry must be over,” “crypto is dead,” etc.), “it is far from over, it’s humming.”

Balter notes that his firm’s index is primarily weighted using developer statistics (network activity, GitHub commits, etc.), showing that there is development in spite of the collapse that Bitcoin experienced over 2018. He looks to EOS as an example, explaining that while “their public price has fallen off,” there remain a “tremendous amount of developers” harnessing the platform as a platform for smart contract and token development, deployment, and subsequent use.

More on the matter of why FCAS 25 is rallying, he looks to growing institutional interest, like Fidelity’s recent foray, and the seeming death of classical initial coin offerings, as this has sparked a “rise in legitimate developers moving into this space and real teams being built around new use-cases.”

Despite all this, Balter makes it clear that the uptick in the index isn’t exactly signalling for a rally. And this makes sense. Over recent months, fundamentals have failed to really spark a material movement in Bitcoin-specific markets (altcoins are a different story), even in terms of negative news. When Bakkt was delayed a number of times, for example, the market barely budged, in spite of the project being effectively the most-awaited throughout late-2018.

Then What Will Drive A Bitcoin Rally?

So, what will end up driving a crypto rally? If those types of fundamentals don’t drive a market, maybe the impending block reward halving will, some are sure of it.

Industry researcher PlanB recently shared his thoughts on 2020’s halving in an extensive Medium post. PlanB explains that it would be fair to model Bitcoin’s future valuation through the stock-to-flow ratio (SF), which looks at assets’ above-ground stock and their inflation (flow), especially due to the asset’s Proof of Work (PoW) model.

As it stands, BTC currently has an SF of 25, meaning that it would take 25 years of current issuance levels to produce the current stock (17.5 million BTC). This is similar to silver’s SF of 22, but far under gold’s 62. With these sums in mind, PlanB goes on to remark that there is a “nice linear relationship” between SF and the market valuation of an asset. Thus, with the halving, which will increase the SF ratio, the analyst predicts that Bitcoin’s market capitalization could reach as high as $1 trillion prediction, which would place BTC at around $55,000 apiece.

Photo by Dil on Unsplash

The post Crypto Fundamentals Are Booming, But That Doesn’t Imply a Bitcoin (BTC) Rally appeared first on Ethereum World News.

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How Do Neural Style Transfers Work

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How Do Neural Style Transfers Work?

Deep Learning made it possible to capture the content of one image and combine it with the style of another image. This technique is called Neural Style Transfer. But, how Neural Style Transfer works? In this blog post, we are going to look into the underlying mechanism of Neural Style Transfer (NST).

High-Level Intuition

Neural Style Transfer Overview

As we can see, the generated image is having the content of the Content image and style of the style image. It can be seen that the above result cannot be obtained simply by overlapping the images. Now, the million-dollar question remains, how we make sure that the generated image has the content of content image and style of style image? How we capture the content and style of respective images?
In order to answer the above questions, let’s look at what Convolutional Neural Networks(CNN) are actually learning.

What Convolutional Neural Network Captures ?

Look at the following image.

Different Layers of Convolutional Neural Network

Now, at Layer 1 using 32 filters the network may capture simple patterns, say a straight line or a horizontal line which may not make sense to us but is of immense importance to the network, and slowly as we move down to Layer 2 which has 64 filters, the network starts to capture more and more complex features it might be a face of a dog or wheel of a car. This capturing of different simple and complex features is called feature representation.
Important thing to not here is that CNNs does not know what the image is, but they learn to encode what a particular image represents. This encoding nature of Convolutional Neural Networks can help us in Neural Style Transfer. Let’s dive a bit more deeper.

How Convolutional Neural Networks are used to capture Content and Style of images?

VGG19 network is used for Neural Style transfer. VGG-19 is a convolutional neural network that is trained on more than a million images from the ImageNet database. The network is 19 layers deep and trained on millions of images. Because of which it is able to detect high-level features in an image.
Now, this ‘encoding nature’ of CNN’s is the key in Neural Style Transfer. Firstly, we initialize a noisy image, which is going to be our output image(G). We then calculate how similar is this image to the content and style image at a particular layer in the network(VGG network). Since we want that our output image(G) should have the content of the content image(C) and style of style image(S) we calculate the loss of generated image(G) w.r.t to the respective content(C) and style(S) image.
Having the above intuition, let’s define our Content Loss and Style loss to randomly generated noisy image.

Working of NST model

Content Loss

Calculating content loss means how similar is the randomly generated noisy image(G) to the content image(C).In order to calculate content loss :

Assume that we choose a hidden layer (L) in a pre-trained network(VGG network) to compute the loss.Therefore, let P and F be the original image and the image that is generated.And, F[l] and P[l] be feature representation of the respective images in layer L.Now,the content loss is defined as follows:

Content Cost Function

This concludes the Content loss function.

Style Loss

Before calculating style loss, let’s see what is the meaning of “style of a image” or how we capture style of an image.

How we capture style of an image ?

Different channels or Feature maps in layer l

This image shows different channels or feature maps or filters at a particular chosen layer l.Now, in order to capture the style of an image we would calculate how “correlated” these filters are to each other meaning how similar are these feature maps.But what is meant by correlation ?

Let’s understand it with the help of an example:

Let the first two channel in the above image be Red and Yellow.Suppose, the red channel captures some simple feature (say, vertical lines) and if these two channels were correlated then whenever in the image there is a vertical lines that is detected by Red channel then there will be a Yellow-ish effect of the second channel.

Now,let’s look at how to calculate these correlations (mathematically).

In-order to calculate a correlation between different filters or channels we calculate the dot-product between the vectors of the activations of the two filters.The matrix thus obtained is called Gram Matrix.

But how do we know whether they are correlated or not ?

If the dot-product across the activation of two filters is large then two channels are said to be correlated and if it is small then the images are un-correlated.Putting it mathematically :

Gram Matrix of Style Image(S):

Here k and k’ represents different filters or channels of the layer L. Let’s call this Gkk’[l][S].

Gram Matrix for style Image

Gram Matrix for Generated Image(G):

Here k and k’ represents different filters or channels of the layer L.Let’s call this Gkk’[l][G].

Gram Matrix for generated Image

Now,we are in the position to define Style loss:

Cost function between Style and Generated Image is the square of difference between the Gram Matrix of the style Image with the Gram Matrix of generated Image.

Style cost Function

Now,Let’s define the total loss for Neural Style Transfer.

Total Loss Function :

The total loss function is the sum of the cost of the content and the style image.Mathematically,it can be expressed as :

Total Loss Function for Neural Style Transfer

You may have noticed Alpha and beta in the above equation.They are used for weighing Content and Style cost respectively.In general,they define the weightage of each cost in the Generated output image.

Once the loss is calculated,then this loss can be minimized using backpropagation which in turn will optimize our randomly generated image into a meaningful piece of art.

This sums up the working of Neural Style Transfer.

Implementation of Neural Style Transfer using tensorflow :

Implementation is on my github account : https://github.com/ayu34/Neural-Style-Transfer .

Conculsion

In this blog, we went deep to see how Neural Style Transfer works.We also went through the mathematics behind NST. I would love to have a conversation in the comment section .Hit “Clap” if this contributes to your understanding of Neural Style Transfer

I would love to connect with you on #instagram .


How Do Neural Style Transfers Work was originally published in Hacker Noon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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