How Important Is Web Design For Your Startup?

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Digitalization is at its peak. Every aspect of our life is being influenced by the digital progressions. Every now and then we come across a number of innovations that have impacted our lives in multiple ways. The financial and business field is also influenced by digitalization.

From companies building cheap websites to the elevation of social media, there is a lot more to come. However, web design has become immensely important in this era. All businesses are operating on digital level by building websites and spreading their online presence on social media channels. Web design is incredibly important in this day and age.

Despite of its increasing importance, many businesses are still not aware of its essence. Especially beginners who are looking forward to launch their own startups are undermining the impact that a good web design can make.

Here are some reasons why web design can be so critically important:

1. More customers.

The overall purpose of your startup is to attract more customers. You want to generate more profit by providing quality goods and services. But that is not enough. You need to market the products and services in an effective manner. More and more customers can be attracted by having a good website. Website can be used as medium to attract more customers. It is a place where you can showcase the products and services in an effective manner.

2. Quality of marketing.

Quality of marketing can be increased by having a good web design. Statistics have proven that there is an overwhelming majority of customers or potential customers out there that make their purchases through online mediums such as websites. They will only use the website if the design is simple and aesthetic at the same time. It is recommendable to have a user-friendly design that can make the navigation easy but don’t keep it boring. You need to have multiple functions that make the website interesting and fun to use.

3. Obtain a competitive edge.

The area of business is immensely competitive in this day and age. There are more and more businesses making websites for the purposes of marketing. This is where you website needs to stand out amongst the rest. Perhaps the most effective way to do that is have a good web design. A good web design means better search engine ranking. The ultimate result is better online presence.

4. Online presence.

Online presence is everything a business needs. If your online presence is better than other businesses then it means that there is a high chance of getting more customers. There are many ways to increase online presence but here having a simplistic yet interesting website is one of them.

The bottom line.

The importance of web design in this era cannot be denied. It holds essential importance due to the impact it makes on the quality of marketing. Therefore, it is advisable for every business to consider the points above when making their websites.

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How To Create A Content Marketing Strategy That Works

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If you’re like most businesses and brands today, chances are high that part of your overall marketing strategy involves creating content that is both valuable and highly engaging.

Content marketing is one effective strategy to grow your brand and improve conversions.

Although creating a content marketing strategy can often feel overwhelming, the production of consistent quality content doesn’t have to be as difficult as it seems.

Have the right systems in place and use the most effective business tools for improved collaboration to significantly improve your overall content marketing strategy.

Here are a few tips for creating a content marketing strategy that works.

Know who you’re creating content for.

When developing your content marketing strategy, it’s important that you and your team get crystal clear on who you are creating content for.

HubSpot finds it helpful to really dig into your target audience: Who’s the target audience for this content? For how many audiences are you creating content? Just as your business might have more than one type of customer, your content strategy can cater to more than one type of reader or viewer.”

It’s important to use data-driven decision making when figuring out who your audience actually is — so that you can create useful content for them. To make data-driven content decisions, you’ll need to know how to use some basic digital marketing tools. For example, you can use Google Analytics to inform what kinds of visitors are coming to your website.

Brent Trotter, content strategist at Clique Studios, writes, “[data-driven decisions] keep you concentrated on the right people.” He writes that businesses should create content for their real audience — the audience who needs the product or service — as opposed to their ideal customer.

Each piece of content you create should serve to either entertain, engage, or inform. If your audience is primarily account executives looking to improve their sales, posting motivational memes or generic sales blog posts won’t cut it.

Know what you’re trying to accomplish.

In addition to knowing who you are creating content for, it’s important that you have a clear focus on what you’re hoping to accomplish when developing your content strategy.

While creating content in itself can be useful for generating general brand awareness, ultimately an effective content marketing strategy works to help you reach your organizations KPI’s (key performance indicators).

If one of your KPI’s is to get your audience to sign up for a sales demo for example, then your content should at least help drive your audience to take action.

Not all pieces of content should have the exact same call to action, of course having variety in your content marketing strategy is important. However, if you find that you’re creating content simply to create content, perhaps revisiting your overall content marketing strategy would help improve your content’s performance.

Choose the right tools to produce quality content.

When it comes to creating content regularly, use the right tools to help make it easy to go from an idea to fully-developed content.

Uran Kabashi, marketing operations lead at Aprimo writes, “Whether your organization utilizes common collaboration tools like Slack or Trello, it’s important that technology allows content leads and creative directors to visually share, iterate and conversate across a single interface so great ideas never get lost and can be produced faster.”

Content ideas that come from people across your organization will be most beneficial to your customers or potential customers. Using the right tools to communicate, brainstorm, and polish your content ideas allows for your entire organization to be involved in the content marketing process.

The life cycle of effective content.

In addition to using the right tools, knowing your audience, and having clear goals for your content, understanding the lifecycle of effective content is also crucial.

The team at Aprimo describes the content lifecycle:

The Idea Phase.

Every good piece of content begins as an idea, and during this phase, all types of content should be carefully evaluated.

Encourage your team to share any ideas they believe would be valuable for your target audience with their reason as to why they think it would be valuable.

Not all ideas will make it to the next phase of course, but empowering your team to share their ideas can help you develop some truly remarkable content.

Approval And Creation.

From your list of ideas, it’s now time to work to flesh out the piece of content out further.  Depending on the scope of content, this is the phase in which you’ll work to discuss the budget, production, needed assets, and anything else you need to bring your idea to reality.

During the creation phase having an all in one tool to keep your content assets together will help improve communication and collaboration across various teams within your company.

Once the piece of content has been fully formed, it’s then time to distribute.

Distribution.

Whether you’re publishing a blog post on your companies WordPress blog or needing to push an image across your social media platforms, having a distribution strategy for your content can be the difference between a successful piece of content or having all of your hard work go to waste.

Fortunately, there are a handful of powerful tools that make sharing your content across platforms easy and from one place.

Creating content that converts.

Ultimately, an effective content marketing strategy can go a long way in helping you continue to grow your brand improve your bottom line. By following the strategies listed above, you can improve your content marketing process and work to build high quality content consistently.

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10 Credit Myths Debunked

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by Rod Griffin, Director of Public Education at Experian

When it comes to debt, credit reports, and credit scores, conventional wisdom is peppered with myths, misunderstandings, and misrepresentations. Credit is a tool. Like any tool, it’s neither good nor bad in itself.

What matters is how you use it.

Myth #1: Debt is Debt.

Not all debts are equal. Say you’ve got a $150,000 debt on your credit report. If it’s there because you maxed out your credit cards to throw a birthday blowout for yourself two years ago, then you’re in trouble. Today, that debt is giving you nothing but memories (and maybe an ulcer). But if that $150,000 is your mortgage, then you’re probably just like millions of other responsible homeowners. That debt is giving you a warm place to lay your head at night.

Myth #2: Checking Your Credit Report Will Hurt Your Credit Score.

A notation called an “inquiry” goes on your credit report every time someone (including you) looks at your file, and rumor has it that inquiries can hurt your score. Well, yes and no. An inquiry affects your score only if it’s related to a credit application that you have submitted. If you apply for a loan or a credit card, your score might fall, because that application suggests you’ll be adding debt. But if you simply look at your own credit report, the resulting inquiry won’t affect your score. If anything, checking your report is a sign of responsible credit management, though you don’t get points for doing it.

Myth #3: Closing a Credit Card Will Improve Your Credit Score.

If you have a credit card you don’t use, you’re unlikely to improve your score by closing the account. In fact, closing the card might even lower your score at first. One important thing scores use to measure risk is how much of your credit card limits you use — a ratio known as “credit utilization”. When you close an unused account, you reduce your total available credit, so your credit utilization rate goes up. (Of course, if an unused card creates an unbearable temptation to spend, you may be better served in the long run by closing the account.) Scores usually bounce back up after a few months, if your credit report is otherwise in good shape.

Myth #4: You Only Have One Credit Score.

There isn’t just one single credit scoring formula that applies to all consumers in all situations. By some estimates, there are more than a thousand scoring models in use in the credit marketplace. A consumer could therefore have dozens or even hundreds of different credit scores depending on the lender using it and the types of lending being done. Lenders and others check your credit score for different reasons, and each formula looks at your credit history in a different way, giving different weight to various factors.

Myth #5: Credit Bureaus Give Good and Bad Scores.

Credit bureaus do not create credit scores. Credit bureaus collect information about your debts and use that information to build a credit report. Credit scores are generated based on information in your credit report. Those scores are neither objectively “good” nor “bad.” They’re a measure of risk. It’s up to lenders to decide whether a given score meets their criteria for extending credit.

And, scores are usually just one factor in their decision. A “good” score might not mean much if you don’t have a job or any assets. Likewise, a high income and a stack of gold bars might outweigh a “bad” score.

Myth #6: Better Job, Better Score.

Your income has no direct effect on your credit score. Scores are based only on the information found in your credit report. Your report includes a lot of information about your use of credit and your management of debt. But it doesn’t include your income. In fact, it doesn’t even indicate you have a job. It lists the employers you’ve included in past applications, but if you haven’t applied since you last changed jobs, it might not even list your current employer.

That said, your employment situation can affect your score indirectly, in terms of your ability to pay your debts. And when you apply for credit, lenders will probably ask about your income.

Myth #7: Spouses Have a Joint Credit Report.

There’s no such thing as a joint credit report — for married couples or anyone else. Married or single, you have your own credit report. If you’re married, you and your spouse may have a lot of joint accounts, such as mortgages, car loans and shared credit card accounts. Those joint items will appear on both your credit reports and will affect both of your scores. But your credit report is yours and yours alone.

Myth #8: Paying Debts Erases Them.

Pay off a debt and you’ve eliminated your obligation — but the evidence of that debt can stick to your credit report for years. If you pay your debts on time and in full, you will likely want your paid-off accounts on your credit report because they show that you’ve used credit responsibly. If, on the other hand, you’ve been chronically late, missed payments or defaulted entirely, that’s a problem. Most negative information can remain on your report for up to seven years; some bankruptcies can stay there for up to 10 years.

Myth #9: For Those With Little or No Credit, It’s Difficult to Build Credit.

While people with limited credit history and low credit scores may have a hard time building credit, new tools are becoming available to help. One way to instantly increase your credit score is by using Experian Boost, a free service that incorporates your utility and mobile phone payment history into your Experian credit file. This can help you build up more credit history, which helps improve a credit score. It is a great first step but don’t stop there – make sure to pay all of your bills on time and don’t take on too much debt.

Being added as an authorized user or setting up a joint card (i.e. with a parent) is also a great way to build positive credit history. You might also consider opening a secured credit card account. That means you deposit money in a savings account that is tied to the card. If you don’t pay on time, the lender is protected – or secured – because they can withdraw payment from your savings account. However, they would still report the payment late, so be sure you always pay on time. If you do, you can build a positive credit history and start saving at the same time.

Myth #10:  Credit is a Measure of Your Value.

Credit scores are designed to evaluate how big of a risk it would be to lend you money. That’s it. If your score is low, it’s because your credit history suggests that there’s a higher risk that you’ll default on a debt. It doesn’t mean anyone thinks you’re a bad person. Good, honest people can have low scores (and yes, truly awful people can have high scores).

What you can do is work to generate a positive credit record: pay bills on time, reduce balances and apply for credit only when you need it.

 

Rod Griffin is Director of Public Education for Experian. He leads Experian’s national consumer education programs, oversees the company’s financial literacy grant program, which awarded more than $850,000 in Fiscal 2015, and works with consumer advocates, financial educators, media and others to help consumers increase their ability to understand and manage personal finances and protect themselves from fraud and identity theft.

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Why Businesses Should Offer Coupons To Customers

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You don’t have to be an entrepreneur to know that coupons are used by retailers and producers to attract customers on their side. However, only someone who is interested in launching or developing a business knows the other reasons why businesses should offer coupons.

If you’re still unaware of the benefits of coupons for businesses, have a look at some of the most important ones.

Coupons can Save a Shopping Cart.

Shopping cart abandonment is a serious issue that many online retailers face on a daily basis. This happens when possible customers change their mind right before the click Buy, abandoning the shopping process.

Now, some people choose to abandon the shopping cart in order to receive a discount, but others simply don’t feel like you’re meeting their price needs. So, a coupon or a promo code is a fantastic way to bring them back!

However, it’s important to be quick about this, as most shoppers will start looking at the competition in the following 24h or less.

Effective Business Advertising.

Whether you share coupons online or in print, it’s important to add your logo and business name on it. This way, people will associate your brand with happy thoughts and will learn to recognize it in the crowd.

Not to mention, if you make the coupons shareable (I am talking about online coupons here), it’s a great chance to increase brand awareness. People will share them with friends and family, and you get a strong social media campaign without investing too much.

Loyalty Builder.

Coupons can also be used to build loyalty and/or reward your best customers. Even better, online coupons can be sent via email, which doesn’t require any extra financial investment from your part.

By offering discounts to loyal customers you show them you care about their needs and notice their loyalty. You can also use coupons as a way to bring back customers that haven’t shopped in your store for a while.

A Sense of Exclusivity.

A business can use coupons to make customers feel like they are part of an exclusive club. For instance, novosbedcoupon.net offers viewers deals on one of the most interesting products in the mattress industry right now.

This is a unique chance, and many shoppers looking for a new bed will be tempted to use the coupons as soon as possible.

Learn More About Customers.

The secret to any successful business is a satisfied customer. However, in order to make sure your customers are satisfied, you first need to know about their wishes, needs, and expectations when it comes to your brand.

And this is where coupons could come in handy as well! The way customers respond to your offer, the products they buy, and when they do it represent valuable data that can predict a shift in purchase behavior.

This is why you should monitor your coupons and use the data for any future marketing campaigns.

Wrap Up.

As you can see there are many benefits to using coupons for your business! Starting with new customers, you also get brand awareness, loyal customers, a way to keep a purchase, and useful data for your marketing campaigns.

But you should keep in mind that coupons must be used with caution. If you’re not using them right, people may start to doubt your brand’s level of quality. Not to mention that, if you’re constantly offering discounts, you may end up losing money!

So, before you use coupon codes for everything, make sure you understand their power. There are many other marketing strategies available to a beginner entrepreneur, and you should always consider both pros and cons before making a decision.

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Beyond Crypto — Blockchain Ethics

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Beyond Crypto — Blockchain Ethics

It’s easy to keep ethics away from a topic that is hard to understand

It might be a widely known fact, but I was definitely shocked to learn that the inventor(s) of bitcoin is (are) anonymous. Was a hidden identity meant to act as a metaphor for blockchain’s online anonymity? Or was it a way to hide from blame for unleashing a system into the world that holds enough power to eventually rule global currency, with no centralized entity to regulate it?

I don’t have an answer to that question. I don’t think blockchain ethics has been discussed enough for us to know yet. Honestly, I think that no one is talking about this because blockchain is such a complex topic that most people struggle to even understand how it works.

A few months ago, I too had no idea what crypto, blockchain, or bitcoin even were. This is why I wanted to try to make the inner-workings of blockchain more accessible for the ordinary, non-technical individual in an attempt to start an open dialogue. For those who have always wanted to understand the higher level, beautiful concepts of this crazy technology, or discuss the darker sides that unfortunately get ignored, here you will find it all.

Welcome to the world of Blockchain.

What Is It?

Since the White Paper, Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System was written under the alias name Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008, ‘blockchain’ has become an inescapable buzzword. With nearly 15% of the world’s financial institutions using blockchain, it is clear that the technology is quickly materializing into society. Though blockchain technology can fuel more than just cryptocurrencies (see cryptokitties), it is most famously known for running bitcoin.

At its roots, blockchain is an entirely decentralized, non-governed transactional system. It is run through many nodes that all together, result in a blockchain network. Each network contains a ledger. This ledger acts as the source of truth; it stores all of the transactions that have ever happened on the network. Similar to how a bank will store a user’s withdrawal and deposit transactions, a blockchain ledger will store every transaction that has occurred on a network. The ledger is publicly available to all of the nodes in the network.

Bitcoin miners can run their own nodes (computer hardware) in hopes of obtaining a bitcoin through the combination of processing power and a little bit of luck. The difference between a bank’s ledger and a blockchain ledger is that a bank can make changes to their ledger at any point in time, since they hold all of the power. A blockchain ledger on the other hand doesn’t belong to any central entity. It is accessible and owned by every node in the network, and is entirely immutable.

Without a central governing entity over a network, every transaction needs to be verified by a majority of the nodes. Transactions can include transferring cryptocurrency between two people, reversing old transactions, spending coins, and even blocking miners from using their own nodes. For example, if someone wanted to transfer their bitcoins to someone else, they would need their transaction to be verified by at least half of all the nodes in a network.

It’s easy to see why a system like this can be so powerful.

The Good

The most obvious benefit of cryptocurrency is that it offers greater ease and autonomy for financial transactions. Without a third party governing monetary exchanges, cryptocurrencies allow people to send money to others, especially in other countries, with more privacy and ease than ever before.

Even further, in a country where the currency is hurting it’s people (see how the Euro is hurting Greece), an unregulated form of currency could actually prove to be quite beneficial for the economy. No centralization and no government intervention on cryptocurrency means that control over the currency could be entirely up to a network of regular citizens. In this aspect, cryptocurrency is a libertarians dream.

Thinking beyond currency, humans could even begin to use blockchain as a tool for an entirely decentralized online world. Blockchain is already being used for decentralized cloud storage. In the future, we may no longer need to blindly follow large tech companies and their rules/regulations because the internet could become a blockchain net. There have even been discussions about blockchain becoming the beacon of light we’ve been looking for to store the minute, sensitive data of our personal identities.

At this point, it’s clear that cryptocurrency (and really all of blockchain) has the potential to place power over the digital world into the hands of the common person and away from oppressive corporations or governments.

What could go wrong?

The Not So Good

51% Attacks and Double Spending

As I mentioned before, blockchains are just nodes (people’s computers) working together to create a network. One of the beauties of these nodes is that their owners are anonymous. Unfortunately…. this anonymity can also be incredibly detrimental. A 51% attack is when one person or entity gains control of a majority (hence the name fifty one percent) of a blockchain network.

One of the worst case scenarios of a 51% attack is double spending, when a unit of digital currency is spent twice. This would equate to someone buying their groceries at the store with a $20 US bill, then using their newfound power over the US currency to state that they are allowed to use that same $20 bill to buy whatever they want again.

Theoretically, this can happen within any blockchain network as long as the defined majority of the nodes approve of the transaction. 51% attacks often result in an attempt to double-spend, because the ‘illegal’ transaction can easily gain a majority approval (since the majority belongs to the person attempting to make the ‘illegal’ transaction).

I’m using quotes around ‘illegal’ as a reminder that illegality doesn’t really exist for a lawless, ungoverned entity.

Last year a 51% attack on ZenCash caused $550,000 to be double-spent. An attack on Bitcoin Gold lost $18 Million. Actually, 2018 was one of the worst blockchain attack years in history. These attacks are a double edged sword, because as the public becomes informed of an attack, the targeted cryptocurrency becomes mentally devalued.

This is an important concept because it highlights the fact that cryptocurrencies are only as valuable as humans believe them to be. (For more on this topic, I highly recommend reading the amazing Yuval Noah Harari’s thoughts on how currency, just like religion, only works through mutual trust).

But Blockchain Breeds Credibility

The benefits of mental devaluation extend even further than hindering 51% attacks. The subjective monetary value of cryptocurrencies make blockchain technology less prone to corruption, because it runs on credibility. As I said earlier, a bank can make any changes to its own ledger or be at risk for hacked changes to its ledger without any of the bank’s users becoming aware.

In the case of blockchain, humans only value cryptocurrency if they trust that the transactions are true.

“Blockchain provided the answer to digital trust because it records important information in a public space and doesn’t allow anyone to remove it. It’s transparent, time-stamped and decentralized.” — Bernard Marr

Since blockchains publicly share all transactions with the nodes in the network, transparency breeds credibility; which directly gives cryptocurrencies their monetary value. Corruption is disincentivized in a decentralized network.

An Ungoverned System Breeds Misuse

While it is very good that the concept of blockchain hinders corruption, there are some more important ethical concerns accompanying this technology that I can’t leave unaddressed.

The majority of these concerns stem from the fact that no one governs the networks. In the same way that the value of stocks change the more they are traded, as more units of cryptocurrency are traded, the value of that cryptocurrency increases.

It is possible that Bitcoin’s early price increases (early trades) were almost exclusively guided by criminal activity.

Since every transaction in a network is anonymous and cryptocurrency isn’t governed by anyone, blockchain has become infamous for aiding in money laundering, selling weapons or drugs, and other traditionally black-market-aided transactions. Many have become aware of the need for the potential governing of blockchain networks, but the inherent distributed nature of the system disallows any centralized regulation.

Why not just try to regulate it then?

If only it were that easy. Even if blockchain tech was modified to allow for centralized regulation… there would still be problems. If all countries have different approaches to titles, ownership, contracts, and transactions, how can a unified set of rules or laws be brought to fruition? If any disputes over previous transactions are made, who is the governing entity responsible for resolving this conflict? Since blockchains are immutable, how would societies handle a blockchain that adheres to modern regulations but fails to comply to unknown future regulations?

What Should We Do?

At this point in time, blockchain has the potential to go in two, very opposing directions. The subjective credibility of networks could lead to an ethical, decentralized and trustworthy platform capable of unifying privatized global currency, allowing humanity to have access to a safe and private digital identity, and placing the power of the internet into the hands of the people.

Or, the immutable nature of networks and the lack of governability could lead to rampant misuse and systemic vulnerability.

This is why I asked earlier if Satoshi Nakamoto chose to stay anonymous as a statement or from fear of taking the blame for unleashing such an unwieldy peace of technology at the world.

The truth is, now that blockchain is out there is no stopping it. So, what now?

I didn’t want to write this article to diminish the benefits of blockchain. Nor did I want to ignore the hard truth about some of the darker sides of this technology. As usual, I just want to raise awareness on this topic.

In my opinion, the best solutions to problems come from communities of educated people. Hopefully my words can act as a beacon of understanding for those who have felt left out of the conversation. For those who were already in the loop, maybe these thoughts have sparked some motivation. Either way, it’s time for us to get moving. Guided by education and awareness, let’s work together to utilize blockchain for its amazing potential, while fixing some of the unintended consequences of rapid innovation.


Beyond Crypto — Blockchain Ethics 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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2019 Privacy Token Review

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Comparative Review of Privacy Token and Token Economics

Contributed by @Dennis_Z

This article encompasses pretty much everything you need to know about the Landscape of Privacy Tokens. It is a bit long and feel free to use Table of Contents to jump to specific sections. If you think the article is helpful, please Follow Me and Clap 50 Times [yes, you can clap multiple times].

Table of Contents:

  • 1. Why Privacy Token?
  • 2. Review of Privacy Tokens
  • 3. Privacy Token Economics
  • 4. Dilemma — Regulatory Surveillance vs. Privacy

1. Why Privacy Token?

Blockchain is a network allowing peer-2-peer transactions without authorities while keeping transaction counter-parties anonymous. Privacy is the ability of an individual or group to seclude themselves, or information about themselves, and thereby express themselves selectively. However, every transaction is broadcasted and viewable to all on a public ledger. Based on transaction pattern of certain wallet with known identity, the account owner can be profiled using social engineering. Just like in movie Ready One Player, “no one tells his real name in the Oasis!”

For Privacy, it means several things as follows and PRIVACY MATTERS in blockchain. The following table summarizes major privacy token functionality.

  • Sender Privacy [Wallet/Address Privacy]
  • Cryptographic Privacy [Transaction Privacy]
  • Balance Visibility [Data/Content Privacy]

2. Review of Privacy Tokens

There have been a few privacy tokens using different technology to address privacy issues mentioned above, including Dash, Monera, Zcash. There have been a few others, including PIVX, Grin, Verge, NavCoin. Also, traditional tokens, such as LTC, contemplate adding privacy features to the token to gain some comparative advantage as key player for transaction and payment. This section will discuss each privacy token individually.

2.1 Dash (DASH)

DASH was founded after a Bitcoin fork in 2014 and is not cryptographically private. Dash guarantees security through Mixing, using an adjusted variant of CoinJoin — a strategy at first made to “anonymize” Bitcoins. Dash is a Proof-of-Work framework that has two kinds of hubs on the system; masternodes and diggers. Masternodes give moment send and private send capacities.

CoinJoin is a technique to anonymize exchanges proposed by Gregory Maxwell. CoinJoin depends on the standard of collection together exchanges to make joint installments. CoinJoin-based blending techniques increment security for all clients since it is never again likely that all contributions to an exchange originate from a solitary wallet, and henceforth can never again be dependably connected with a solitary client.

2.2 Monero (XMR)

Monero is considered one of the best privacy cryptocurrencies in the cryptocurrency space. Created from a hard fork by Bytecoin in 2014, Monero uses encoded transactions that hide both the addresses and the quantities transferred, also adding fraudulent transactions that make it impossible to know the contents of the operations.

The coding has used Ring CT to maintain an anonymous transaction and wallet. The team also integrated Tails, an operating system passing transactions through the TOR network, to further protect privacy.

In addition, Monero also uses a network of stealth addresses to allow users to hide their wallet address. A stealth address is a one-time use address that is created for every transaction. Monero users also have a public address that is published on the blockchain, but most (if not all) of their transactions will be passed through unique stealth addresses.

Basically, Dash groups up small transactions while Monero breaks down into small transactions for privacy. Therefore, Monero heavily relies on network resources. They are different from Bitcoin in that regular PC can run Monero’s node service.

2.3 Zcash (ZEC)

Zcash is another Bitcoin-forked privacy coin with privacy features using zk-SNARKs. zk-Snarks, aka Zero-Knowledge Succinct Non-Interactive Argument of Knowledge, is a technology to allow miners to verify transactions without knowing who sent/received the coins. The protocol team has implemented zk-Snarks on Quorum for JP Morgan, which is an enterprise-focused version of Ethereum. The team has worked with other teams to add the privacy feature to their project/platforms.

2.4 PIVX (PIVX)

PIVX is a re-brand of the Darknet Coin, and stands for private instant verified transaction. PIVX is a fork from Dash, implementing Bitcoin Improvement Proposals (BIP), and utilizing PoS to secure the network.

PIVX users are allowed to run master nodes with at least a stake of 10,000 tokens (while Dash only requires 1,000 DASH).

2.5 GRIN (GRN)

Mimblewimble is a new privacy-focused blockchain project that is based on Bitcoin’s design. On July 19, 2016, “Tom Elvis Jedusor” dropped the whitepaper into a Bitcoin research channel and disappeared. Later, “Ignotus Peverell” started a Github project called Grin and began turning the Mimblewimble paper into a real implementation.

Mimblewimble refers to the tongue-tying curse in Harry Potter. Tom Elvis Jedusor is Lord Voldemort’s French name and Ignotus Peverell is the original owner of the invisibility cloak.

Mimblewimble/Grin is an improvement upon confidential transactions and CoinJoin from Bitcoin. Key features include no public addresses, complete privacy, and a compact blockchain. There has been a lot of excitement around Grin mining lately since Grin coins, like Bitcoin, can only be created through PoW mining. Grin uses the Cuckoo Cycle PoW algorithm, which was originally designed to be ASIC-resistant but is now considered to be ASIC-friendly.

Key Features of Grin:

  • Complete privacy as its default
  • Scalable transactions
  • Tried and tested cryptography
  • Easy design for person to person transaction
  • Community-driven — aimed at decentralized advancement and mining

Other interesting privacy coins that are relatively early in their development include MobileCoin and BEAM.

2.6 Verge (XVG)

Verge Coin started its journey as DogeCoinDark in 2014, named after the world’s most popular meme cryptocurrency. In 2016, the coin was rebranded to Verge Cryptocurrency, and has since been gaining enormous traction in technology and investment communities.

  • Verge coin is mineable. But Verge miners can choose one of three mining methods to get their Verge, rather than the expensive and limited options afforded to Bitcoin miners.
  • Verge allows for everyday payments. But where Bitcoin payments are not anonymous, Verge coin transactions are masked with TOR and i2P, for fully private transaction.
  • Verge is decentralized money. But Verge is also in the process of adding smart contract functionality, allowing it to develop for the needs of the world better than Bitcoin.
  • Verge has several key partnerships, including porn industry giant MindGeek, whose subsidiaries include Pornhub and Brazzers.

2.7 Litecoin (LTC)

Litecoin is getting tired of standing in Bitcoin’s shadow. After many years as Bitcoin’s second fiddle, Litecoin core developers are getting more interested in following the likes of privacy coins such as Monero (XMR) and Zcash (ZEC).

Charlie Lee opened a discussion on fungibility and hinted at the addition of Confidential Transactions in a “future release of the full-node implementation” in 2019. This will let LTC gain more comparative advantage as media of transaction and payment.

2.8 NavCoin (NAV)

NavCoin is a decentralized cryptocurrency that was forked from Bitcoin. It aims to solve 2 problems that are typically found in blockchain platforms:

  • Data is made public on the blockchain, leaving it vulnerable to malicious attacks by illicit users.
  • Most blockchains use “roll backs” as the solution to data vulnerability. They reset the blockchain to a backed-up point after a data breach, meaning transactions made leading up to the roll back are erased.

The NavTech system is a combination of the traditional Bitcoin blockchain and a NAV subchain. Using two chains allows users to send transactions with complete anonymity.

2.9 CloakCoin

Cloak is a veteran privacy coin that is growing slowly, although it has been active in the privacy niche for approximately 4 years. The blockchain is operated using a Proof-of-Stake consensus protocol. It has relatively short blocktimes and quickly processes transactions.

The platform also offers 2 different methods of making your transactions untraceable. First is their onion-routing privacy protocol. Onion routing involves encrypting messages with many layers (similar to an onion).

It also offers the Enigma process to provide additional privacy cloaking on transactions. Enigma cloaking is applied when a user requests a cloaked enigma transaction.

2.10 Enigma (ENG)

The Enigma project is entirely separate from the Enigma cloaking process used in CloakCoin transactions. Enigma is not a cryptocurrency nor a blockchain; instead, it is a privacy protocol that can be deployed on blockchains and decentralized applications. Therefore its token, ENG, is a distinct addition to the list of top privacy coins.

The Enigma network provides privacy by making nodes unable to see the data that they compute. Although they are unable to clearly see exactly what they are working on, these nodes are still capable of verifying that their computations have been run correctly. With the data masked like this, Enigma hopes to open the door for what they call a new type of smart contracts — “secret contracts” — wherein the underlying data processed in a smart contract remains encrypted at all times.

2.11 DeepOnion

DeepOnion is a new privacy coin project that is generating some interest in the community. Like a few of the other coins in this list, DeepOnion uses TOR to send untraceable transactions. It also uses a mix of Proof-of-Stake and Proof-of-Work protocols to offer fast confirmation times.

DeepOnion also employs stealth addresses to keep transactions private. The DeepOnion team is currently working on DeepSend and DeepVault. DeepSend will use a multi-signature method to prevent payments from being traced. DeepVault is an information storage service that allows users to store data in the blockchain forever. In order to verify the integrity of a file, a user only needs to compare their current version of the file with the backup. This can be beneficial for the purpose of verifying the integrity of important documents.

2.12 ZenCash

Zencash is more than a privacy cryptocurrency because it also contains a messaging platform, a Distributed Autonomous Organization (DAO). Users can send tokens anonymously (“Z” address) or pseudonym (“T” address). Even Zencash, a hard fork by Zcoin, wants to make an exchange with the same degree of privacy.

2.13 Zcoin

Zcoin also uses the Zerocoin protocol. Zcoin is burned in a Zcoin transaction and Zerocoin are created and transferred, but since they have no history, they are not traceable. This costs a 0.01 Zcoin fee. Those who receive money only know that they have received them.

2.14 Bytecoin (BCN)

Bytecoin is probably the oldest cryptocurrency to deal with privacy problem, given that its birth dates back to 2012, but has recently had a flashback. As a security system, it combines a Stealth system for addresses joined to the Ring CT, with a protocol called Cryptonote. This privacy token is the father of Monero.

2.15 Bitcoin Private

Bitcoin Private comes from a hard fork and a fusion, i.e. a hard fork of Bitcoin and then a merger with Zclassic, in turn, hard fork of Zcash in which the prize for creators was canceled. Bitcoin Private also implements the zk- Snarks.

2.16 SpectreCoin (XSPEC)

Spectrecoin (XSPEC) was created in December 2016 as a fork of ShadowCash (SDC), with its initial difference being that it ran over the tor network for added privacy. Since then, it has continued to make strides, developing into an even more user-friendly and anonymous cryptocurrency. These advancements include OBFS4 Bridges, Wallet UI improvements, improved stealth addresses, updated tor, and better syncing. At just over a year old, the project has come a long way and has big plans for the future, such as stealth staking (a first for any crypto) and the implementation of Android and iOS mobile wallets.

Key Features:

  • Tor to hide the location and make tracking more difficult
  • Stealth addresses to keep the receiver anonymous
  • Ring Signatures to keep the sender hidden

3. Privacy Token Economics

Due to different technology stacks to realize the privacy features, the token economics designs can be different to incentivize various ecosystem stakeholders. In this section, we will discuss the different token economics design for DASH, and Enigma Protocol.

First, let’s summarize some techniques used by Privacy Token.

  • CoinJoin — Join multiple transactions a group so that the transaction cannot be linked to a single wallet/address. It is a Mixing-based privacy solution.
  • TOR Network — TOR make the transaction untraceable. Another way to understand TOR is VPN. It transacts using multiple layers of proxy to hide the identity behind the transaction counter-parties. [check the 2-min video here]
  • i2P — The Invisible Internet Project (I2P) is an anonymous network layer (implemented as a Mix Network) that allows for censorship-resistant, peer to peer communication. Anonymous connections are achieved by encrypting the user’s traffic (by using end-to-end encryption), and sending it through a volunteer-run network of roughly 55,000 computers distributed around the world.
  • RingCT — RingCT stands for Ring Confidential Transactions, makes transactions harder to trace by obscuring the output of the true sender in a set of n other outputs on the blockchain, indistinguishable with respect to their amounts. It is a Mixing-based privacy solution.
  • Stealth Address — Stealth Address means that the created stealth address will be used only once for the transaction. That being said, each transaction corresponds to one stealth address, which makes it impossible to link the transactions to single wallet/address.
  • zk-SNARKS — zk-SNARKS stands for Zero-Knowledge Succinct Non-Interactive Argument of Knowledge. It is a cryptography algorithm to verify the transaction without revealing the address and balance.
  • Mimblewimble — Mimblewimble uses elliptic-curve cryptography that requires smaller keys than other cryptography types. In a network that is using the Mimblewimble protocol, there are no addresses on the blockchain, and the network’s data storage is highly efficient.[a quick example]

3.1 DASH

Dash works a little differently from Bitcoin, however, because it has a two-tier network. The second tier is powered by masternodes (Full Nodes), which enable financial privacy (PrivateSend), instant transactions (InstantSend), and the decentralized governance and budget system. Because this second tier is so important, masternodes are also rewarded when miners discover new blocks. The breakdown is as follows: 45% of the block reward goes to the miner, 45% goes to masternodes, and 10% is reserved for the budget system (created by superblocks every month).

As of February 2019, the holders of DASH that run a masternode receive ~ 7% annual block rewards. https://masternodes.online/currencies/DASH/ is a great resource for real-time DASH network metrics.

The current block reward is 3.35 DASH, or 1.5075 for miners, 1.5075 for masternodes, and .335 DASH for the DAO per block. Dash features a block interval of ~ 2.5 minutes and ~ 550 blocks per day.

Each masternode requires 1,000 DASH as collateral. The 1,000 DASH are used as bonded collateral and required to earn the inflation funded block rewards. The collateral is always safe and never forfeited during masternode operation.

Since masternode rewards are fixed at 45% of the block reward, or 1.5075 DASH per block, and the number of active masternodes on the network is dynamic, expected masternode rewards will vary according to current total count of active masternodes. Masternodes are currently yielding ~ 7.01%.

The average Dash masternode reward frequency is just shy of nine days.

3.2 Enigma

Enigma is a protocol related to process information securely. Its token must be purchased in order to run a node on their network. After buying the Enigma token, you can receive rewards for processing data. But in order to process data, each node must make a security deposit. If the data is tampered during the verification process, the deposit will be split between any nodes that processed the data without error.

In effect, owning ENG allows people to get started using the network. ENG also serves as a reward for participation in the network.

Image result for enigma protocol token economics

Other factors affecting the Token Economics include: randomness of miner/node selection, front-cost of providing mining service (e.g., ASIC vs. PC) and also coin reward number and coin prices.

4. Dilemma — Regulatory Surveillance vs. Privacy

Recently, there have been different voices on SEC approving BTC ETF proposals. For people who don’t think it will come soon [Brian Kelly].

Over 2018, the SEC has received multiple Bitcoin ETF applications from various players, such as the Winklevoss twins, but is yet to approve any one of them. Expanding on his point of view, Kelly said that the agency is unlikely to change its opinion in the near future, as “there is too much that is unresolved.”

SEC officials have demanded better cryptocurrency surveillance and custody before approving BTC ETF applications for multiple reasons:

  • Concerns about hacking events and market manipulation
  • Concerns of money laundering without transaction traceability
  • Concerns of linking transaction with wallet/address for taxation reasons.

Here is the dilemma between regulatory surveillance vs. privacy. Until a balance/compromise is reached, the next bull market might be delayed as long as possible.

Disclaimer:

All of the information of projects are sourced from online materials and do not necessarily reflect the current state of the projects. The information here does not constitute any advice on investment or consequence of any investment.

Reference

  • https://hackernoon.com/an-overview-of-privacy-tokens-19f6af8077b7
  • https://steemit.com/cryptocurrency/@develop.unicorns/privacy-tokens
  • https://thecontrol.co/an-overview-of-privacy-in-cryptocurrencies-893dc078d0d7
  • https://masterthecrypto.com/privacy-coins-anonymous-cryptocurrencies/
  • https://www.investinblockchain.com/top-privacy-coins/
  • https://coinsavage.com/content/2018/08/privacy-coins-comparison-review/
  • https://cryptonomist.ch/en/2018/06/04/privacy-tokens-2/
  • https://www.bitstarz.com/blog/introduction-to-grin-coin
  • https://zcoin.io/zcoins-privacy-technology-compares-competition/
  • https://coinlist.me/altcoins/verge/
  • https://medium.com/@staked/dash-staking-guide-e8d671d0ce03
  • https://dashpay.atlassian.net/wiki/spaces/DOC/pages/56655887/Mining+vs.+Masternode


2019 Privacy Token Review 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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The dexFreight platform business model and triple token model

Forex stock trading

A conceptual framework. Pt I

Introduction

In designing the dexFreight token model, we have taken a business model first approach. First design our business model, that is how we are going to create and capture value. Then design a high-level token model and finally design the specific mechanisms to implement the design.

This article sets out the first two stages of this process: the dexFreight platform business model and high-level token model design. In subsequent posts we will detail the token model and specific mechanism designs.

About dexFreight

dexFreight is a decentralized platform for the logistics industry. It provides stakeholders with an end-to-end solution to book, contract, move loads locally and globally within a community-owned marketplace powered by an ecosystem of open source protocols using smart contracts, blockchain technology, and machine learning.

Platform structure

dexFreight is a multi-sided platform comprising:

  • Shippers- who send freight
  • Brokers- intermediaries who connect carriers with shippers
  • Carriers- who deliver freight
  • Consignees- who receive freight

Our approach

Our approach is to design token-powered, network-effects business models which combine the now traditional science of platform, loyalty and gamified business models with the emerging field of cryptoeconomics and mechanism design.

Some examples…

1 Web 2.0 saw the rise of the platform as the dominant business model. However, the biggest challenge when building a platform is overcoming the bootstrapping problem. Since, the value of a network typically rises in accordance with nlogn, where n is the number of users; when n is low, the network utility and incentive to join is also low.

Web 3.0 introduces a powerful new tool for bootstrapping networks: tokens. As Chris Dixon points out, by rewarding early users, crypto-networks can net-off the initial lack of network value with an early adoption bonus.

https://medium.com/@cdixon/crypto-tokens-a-breakthrough-in-open-network-design-e600975be2ef

2 Whereas cryptoeconomics assumes that actors behave in an economically rational way. Loyalty business models rely on providing customers with high-perceived value versus low actual cost. Instead of discounting a $100 product by $1, a loyalty program might reward with 100 loyalty points each worth a cent. These points can then be used to redeem products and services- giving a much higher perceived value to the customer than discounting.

Thus our approach is closely allied with the nascent field of behavioural cryptoeconomics which proposes to extend cryptoeconomics’ assumptions of economic rationality to:

“an understanding of the complex, nuanced, illogical ways in which humans actually behave “ [Behavioral cryptoeconomics, Elad Verbin]

Vision

The vision for dexFreight is to become the decentralized platform that powers global freight. Our goals for this break down into:

Goals

  • increase adoption– key to this is overcoming the chicken-and-egg problem
  • increase engagement– in order to drive retention, usage and virality
  • increase usage– in order to increase transaction and network value
  • attract investment– to fund development of platform
  • decentralize ownership– in order to create a community-owned network

Strategies

In order to achieve the platform goals, we have formulated the following strategies:

Platform strategies

  • Incentivize early adoption of brokers- as brokers bring concentration of volume of shippers, carriers and transactions.
  • Reward early users– to overcome the chicken-and-egg problem.
  • Partner with load boards as concentrated sources of supply.
  • Seed platform via broker standalone mode — come for the tool, stay for the network’ strategy, (Chris Dixon).
  • Distribute via widgets and integrations- with transportation and fleet management systems.
  • Create a goldrush effect — by rewarding brokers, who refer high transaction volumes, with equity.

Business model strategies

  • Freemium business model- to drive usage of the platform via ‘free’ and then upgrade to ‘’core’ premium services provided by dexFreight.
  • App store business model, where third parties build ‘non-core’ apps on dexFreight platform- captures value from external innovation.

Governance

  • end goal: become a fully decentralized organization
  • start in God-mode, and distribute control

Triple token model

The dexFreight token model is designed to optimise for our goals and to synergise with our platform strategy. The token model comprises three tokens:

  • a stable coin, dexFuel
  • a utility rewards token, dexMiles
  • an equity token, dexCoin

Complexity

One potential disadvantage of a triple token model is complexity, we would have preferred to have one, maximum two, tokens. However, all three tokens perform a necessary and distinct function within the network, and also interact with each other as an integrated system. So we take the view that our token model is necessarily complex, and therefore our job is to hide this complexity from our users in much the same way that complex, tiered loyalty programs do.

Token functions

We provide below, a high-level description of functions and desired attributes of each token. A detailed specification of each token will be provided in subsequent posts.

dexCoin security token

The benefits of the dexCoin security token include:

  • access to global pool of investors via emerging security token exchanges.
  • rewards investors & founders with equity in the underlying company and captures value from company profits, rather than just a portion of network value as for utility tokens
  • grants voting and dividend rights to holders
  • provides increased liquidity from secondary markets and 24/7 trading
  • provides automated compliance, e.g. to ensure that KYC/AML is followed and that investors are accredited (where appropriate)
  • can be an interoperable redemption item for the dexMiles loyalty program, whilst decentralizing ownership.

For more on security tokens check-out Jesus Rodriguez, Stephen McKeon and Bruce Fenton.

dexFuel stable coin

As a global logistics platform, dexFreight needs a mechanism for enabling cross-border transactions which supports fast settlement and low transaction fees, and which is stable against fiat for the duration of a freight transaction.

We are researching a number of stable coin options including implementing an external stable coin, as well as the development of our own stable coin. Our preference is to focus on our strategic objectives of building and scaling the platform, whilst partnering with experts in this complex field, rather than building a stable coin ourselves. We are in conversation with a number of teams including MakerDAO and MoneyOnChain and will provide more detail on our stable coin in a subsequent post.

With billions of dollars of transactions projected to flow through the platform, one research area for our economists is the use of freight invoices as collateral for dexFuel. A number of protocols have emerged which are doing similar things. For example, the integration between Dharma and Centrifuge protocols is enabling off-chain invoices to be tokenised by Centrifuge, and then used as collateral for onchain loans within Dharma, as an alternative to invoice factoring and trade finance.

https://medium.com/centrifuge/centrifuge-tokenized-invoices-as-collateral-for-dharma-loans-b214a23bc66

dexMiles, rewards token

The dexMiles token is a utility token that aligns the incentives of the platform and its participants, by creating a vested interest through decentralising network ownership and rewarding target behaviour. As Chris Dixon points out in his seminal article ‘Why decentralization matters’, platforms tend to start-out cooperating with their network participants, but invariably they move to a zero-sum game of competition.

https://medium.com/s/story/why-decentralization-matters-5e3f79f7638e

However, Dixon asserts that by providing a vested interest in the form of a utility token: “cryptonetworks align network participants to work together toward a common goal — the growth of the network and the appreciation of the token”.

Why rewards tokens?

Rewards tokens are an abstraction mechanism that removes the need to set and describe the reward for every action. For example: instead of the offer ‘If you onboard a shipper, for their first transaction you receive a month of free insurance benefit’, we can simply assign a dexMiles value to the earn activity and then separately assign rewards for the burn side.

dexMiles will leverage the RSK equivalent of ERC-20 tokens, and will have the following advantages over standard loyalty points:

  • enable earning, holding and trading of reward currency
  • capture and potentially appreciate with network value
  • gain increased utility from use outside of the ecosystem
  • do not no expire
  • have a fixed monetary policy, preventing devaluation
  • value increases when demand exceeds supply

The earning of rewards tokens is mapped against the target behaviours of the system, and also the the platform tactics and strategies. Below is a draft of the rewards points to activity map.

dexRewards points to activity map

The rewards token also enables us to tune and control the flow of value in order to overcome the chicken-and-egg problem.

dexFreight Triple Token Network effects

The chart below maps the expected value to users versus number of users for the dexFreight triple token model. The red line, dexFreight platform utility, is an nlogn curve that shows the delayed onset of user value as per the Chris Dixon chart above. The green line shows the value of dexMiles kicking-in before platform utility, as we reward early users with dexMiles. However, the value of dexMiles will primarily be derived from accessing premium services on the platform. These services will go-live over a 6 month period after platform launch, and the value of services such as machine learning and load optimization depends on data, which is correlated with the number of users. Therefore, the onset of user value for dexMiles will also be delayed . This is where the dexCoin redemption path comes into play.

The dexMiles system will be constructed to create a goldrush mechanism for early adopters. The primary target for this redemption mechanism will be brokers, due to their role as mavens within the freight network, however key shippers and carriers will also be targeted. Brokers who join early, and bring shippers and carriers who then transact on the platform, will be rewarded via a redemption path to dexCoin equity tokens. A detailed description and specific mechanism for the dexMiles token model will be provided in a subsequent post. An overview of the equity redemption path is provided below:

Brokers

  • join the platform early
  • refer many shippers and carriers, who then make transactions (referred transactions)
  • earn dexMiles for actions and referred transactions
  • are promoted through rewards tiers
  • earn rate is multiplied in higher tiers (positive feedback)
  • earn dexMiles at an accelerated rate
  • exhaust their supply of new shippers and carriers
  • rate of earning dexMiles subsides (negative feedback)

Brokers who have reached the top tier of the rewards program, will be able to redeem their large balances of dexMiles for equity tokens via a reg-compliant process (note: this process and the interchangeability between rewards and security tokens is subject to final legal and regulatory approval.) Thus we meet two key objectives of overcoming the chicken-and-egg problem and decentralizing ownership of the platform to its users.

System-level view: how the three tokens interact

As we stated above, as well as an individual function, the three tokens each play a role in an overall system. The diagram below depicts the standard interactions between tokens (the goldrush equity redemption path should be viewed as a special process used to jump-start the network).

  1. Fiat is deposited.
  2. Fiat may be exchanged for dexFuel stable coin
  3. dexFuel may be used to transact on the platform
  4. Transacting with dexFuel earns dexMiles
  5. dexMiles may be redeemed for premium platform services
  6. dexMiles may be redeemed for dexCoin equity token

Conclusion

The above design follows a business model first approach and uses tokens as a powerful tool to tune and operationalise well-established platform and loyalty business model mechanisms. We have shown that the additional complexity due to three tokens is justified. Each token has a necessary and distinct role to play, as well as a role within an overall system.Through tokenising platform and loyalty business models we intend to capture the power of network effects, whilst overcoming the chicken-and-egg problem by rewarding early users with a goldrush mechanism for earning equity. In so doing we also meet a core philosophical objective of decentralizing ownership to platform participants.

Subsequent posts will dive deeper into the specifics of the token models and their mechanism designs.

About the author: As well as being an integral member of the dexFreight leadership team, Justin Banon is CEO and Founder of meltfactory, a blockchain venture architecture and strategy consultancy specialising in the design of token-powered, network-effects business models and ventures. Having previously built and led a billion dollar global rewards business, Justin is also an academic and researcher in the area of token-powered network effects business models.

Previous posts by Justin Banon: https://hackernoon.com/the-nature-of-the-crypto-technological-revolution-4eb883c54d56


The dexFreight platform business model and triple token model 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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Video: Forex Trading Opportunities for the Week Ahead 18 February 19

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Here is the video version of our Forex trading opportunities for the week ahead.

Please go here for the written summary: Forex Trading Opportunities for the week ahead

About the Author

Sam Eder is a currency trader and author of the Definitive Guide to Developing a Winning Forex Trading System and the Advanced Forex Course for Smart Traders (get free access). He is the owner of  www.fxrenew.com a provider of Forex signals from ex-bank and hedge fund traders (get a free trial). If you like Sam’s writing you can subscribe to his newsletter.

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Forex Trading Opportunities for the Week Ahead 18 Feb 19

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Note that this is my current view, but if market conditions change my view can change too. Generally I will trade in alignment with what I have noted here, though I will wait for a set-up before I enter. I base my view on technical and fundamental information. This is my beliefs and you are welcome to have opposite ones. Having a plan is more important than the actual direction for me. 

  • Wait DXY.  – MT is bull normal. While we have entered a bull MT, but there is clear topping price action with a minor double top and formation of a bearish hammer. The drivers of the USD remain mixed and unclear. Trade talks with China is progressing with some optimism out there, but a positive conclusion is not yet certain. Price action on this news has been mixed for a long time and I am not sure how much a resolution or lack there of will impact the USD. While data in general remains ok, retail sales came in with a big miss on Thursday. This should encourage the Fed to stick with their message of patience about rate hikes. What may support DXY is weakness in the EUR, but otherwise the dollar looks like more of a sell than a buy to me.
  • Buy GBP/USD. – MT is sideways volatile. A bullish engulfing candle off the lower Bollinger Band (and prior support turned resistance) is indicative of GBP strength. There is not much progress at all with regards to Brexit talks, but the market is hopeful that there will be an extension to the rapidly approaching end of March exit deadline. Prime Minister May is engaging in Brinkmanship with her position that there will be no extension unless a deal is reached. I like to buy GBPUSD from here, but this trade certainly has it’s risks.
  • Wait USD/JPY. – MT is bull normal. We have broken out into a bull MT but Thursdays bearish candlestick, along with the topping pattern in DXY suggests caution should be had. Importantly bond yields remain flat. On the positive side, stocks are rising steadily. But price action is not correlating with the movements in stocks yet.
  • Buy AUD/USD. –  MT is sideways normal. Optimism that there could be the framework of an agreement between the US and China or that the deadline for additional tariffs has been benefiting the Aussie. Both Iron Ore and Gold have maintained the uptrend. Typically AUDUD has a high correlation with gold and the Aussie may well play catch up. Positive China data has helped the pair. Price action is suggestive of a long-term bottom in AUD. I would have preferred a re-test of 0.70, but given the rejection of the prior low at 0.71, Aussie looks like a good buying opportunity to me.
  • Wait EUR/USD. –  MT is sideways volatile. A long pin candle just ahead of support along with the accompanying price action suggests that the low may hold for now. A cautionary note is Bunds yields remain within a steady downtrend and have shifted well in favor of USD. There is more emerging political risk in Spain as a snap election has been called. Data out of the Euro-zone remains weak. Given price action has been responding negatively to negative news this should cap any gains in the pair.
  • Wait NZD/USD. –  MT is sideways normal. The RBNZ has acknowledged the improvements in the outlook for NZ with a less dovish monetary policy statement. Price was up significantly after the event and has subsequently maintained the gain. Technically, I don’t have entry given the price action, but shorter-term traders in the current week ahead may find this one of the better options to focus on.
  • Wait USD/CHF.  – MT sideways volatile. The topping action we saw on DXY is mirrored on USDCHF. This is despite stocks rising significantly on Friday. If you like it, this is an interesting opportunity to sell.
  • Sell USD/CAD. – MT is sideways normal. Oil has risen through the key $55 figure again. Data has been mixed in previous months but there was a huge jobs beat in January. BOC remains relatively upbeat. Given anticipated USD weakness and the price action, CAD looks like a sell.
  • Sell EUR/GBP.  – MT is bear normal. The bearish price action looks much stronger this week than it did last week. Look to sell targeting 0.8630.

Crosses

  • Wait EUR/CHF. – MT is sideways normal. Wait.
  • Wait AUD/JPY.  – MT is sideways normal. Wait.
  • Wait NZD/JPY. – MT is sideways normal. Wait.
  • Wait GBP/JPY. – MT is MT is sideways quiet. Wait.
  • Wait EUR/JPY. – MT is sideways quiet. Wait.
  • Wait CAD/JPY. – MT is MT is sideways normal. Wait.
  • Wait CHF/JPY.  – MT is sideways quiet. Look to buy a break above 110.50.
  • Sell GBP/NZD. – MT is bear normal. Look to sell.
  • Sell EUR/NZD. – MT is bear normal. Look to sell.
  • Sell AUD/NZD. – MT is bear normal. Look to sell.
  • Wait EUR/AUD.  – MT is sideways normal. Wait.
  • Wait GBP/AUD. – MT is sideways normal. Wait.
  • Sell AUD/CAD. – MT is bear normal. Continue to sell, low conviction.
  • Wait GBP/CAD. –  MT is sideways volatile. Wait or buy.
  • Sell EUR/CAD. – MT is bear normal. Look to sell.
  • Wait NZD/CAD. – MT is sideways normal. Wait.
  • Wait GBP/CHF. – MT is sideways normal. Wait
  • Buy CAD/CHF.  – MT is bull normal. Look to buy.
  • Wait NZD/CHF.   MT is sideways normal. Wait
  • Wait AUD/CHF.  MT is sideways normal. Wait

Other Markets

  • Wait USDSGD. – MT is sideways normal. Wait
  • Wait USDCNH. – MT is sideways normal. Wait
  • Buy Gold. – MT is bull normal. Continue to buy.
  • Buy Oil. – MT is bull normal. Look to buy.
  • Buy S&P 500.  – MT is bull normal. Continue to buy.
  • Wait DAX. – MT is sideways normal. Wait
  • Buy Nikkei. – MT is bull normal. Look to buy.
  • Wait T-Notes. – MT is sideways normal. Wait.

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(MT = Market Type: Click for more information on market types.)

About the Author

Sam Eder is a currency trader and author of the Definitive Guide to Developing a Winning Forex Trading System and the Advanced Forex Course for Smart Traders (get free access). He is the owner of  www.fxrenew.com a provider of Forex signals from ex-bank and hedge fund traders (get a free trial). If you like Sam’s writing you can subscribe to his newsletter.

The post Forex Trading Opportunities for the Week Ahead 18 Feb 19 appeared first on FX Renew.

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Twitter Link Roundup #357 – Terrific Reads for Small Business, Entrepreneurs, Marketers, and Designers!

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Cabin fever is a phenomenon known to any of us who have suffered through cold, unreasonably long winters.

While the specifics may vary from person to person, cabin fever generally encompasses feelings of boredom, irritability, restlessness, and the vague impulse to set fire to the walls.

Feeling stressed out because of a marathon of mandatory stay-at-home days is common, even for people living in routinely cold places – we’re looking at you, Winnipeg.

The restrictions imposed on lifestyle, routine, even the view out the window, can all result in significant elevations in cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone linked with increased blood pressure, decreased immune-system efficiency, and problems with memory and learning. Yikes.

To understand more about how the stress of being confined over the long winter can impact your health, read this piece from The Atlantic here.

Now, we hope you enjoy another great set of links and articles that we shared with you over the past week on our crowdspring Twitter account (and on Ross’s Twitter account). We regularly share our favorite posts on entrepreneurship, small business, marketing, logo design, web design, startups, leadership, social media, marketing, economics and other interesting stuff! Enjoy!

smallbusinessblog

startupsblog

socialmediablog

designblog

otherblog

 

The post Twitter Link Roundup #357 – Terrific Reads for Small Business, Entrepreneurs, Marketers, and Designers! appeared first on bitcoin binary options.

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