The big Crypt-ture

I’m not quite sure if anyone has given some careful thought, whilst in the heat of this Crypto mania, to the actual ramifications of the blockchain and its impact on the global economy.

So, this is an attempt to perform a calculated prophecy, based on the conversations had with like-minded visionaries.

An introspection into this much talked about technology has led to endless possibilities.

Presently, every Tom, Anastasia, and Patel are pursuing short-term gains. Relentlessly investigating ways in which they too can “cash in” on the new digital currency from an investment point of view.

This is mainly driven by how the altcoin is performing in value. But the real appeal for each digital “currency” comes from the security, speed and of the transactions it permits.

As well as the fact that it is decentralized, free from additional admin charges and commissions.

A case for Cryptos

Also, let’s not forget the anonymity it affords one – great for criminals, money launderers. Because of the increased risk, monetary authorities and regulatory bodies will make a case for the tighter controls.

They may even push for the outright banning of this new currency altogether.

Retail and commercial banks, are currently entrusted with the movement of funds (electronic transfers) and are governed by economic monetary policy. This happens under the watchful eye of big brother – the Reserve Bank.

These commercial banks are the “primary targets” so to say of the blockchain. They were, therefore, the first to react by investing or attempting to start up their own blockchains.

Such projects, however, prove to be expensive and still risky ventures given that no-one knows the source and destination of the blockchain.

Banks are nevertheless having to either make quick decisions as to whether they get on board or partner with developers of Cryptos such as Ripple).

Either join or get left in the dust when it comes to adopting a disruptor that seemingly works better than being used.

We also look at other financial institution such as credit lending facilities and money transfer institutions. They are also are naturally in partnerships with the banks. They however, stand to get wiped out by the blockchain if you think about it.

Really, who will want to cough up a 10% commission or a transfer fee on money sent abroad to your family? You could simply use something like IOTA which, by the way, is as a Crypto hovering around 3-5 USD per unit.

It is capable of transacting very quickly (even more so than the known altcoins as it uses a different technology altogether) and securely with no transaction fees.

And how so you may ask? Those details are listed clearly on their respective websites.

So, what does that then mean for companies like Visa, Mastercard or even a digital banking app like PayPal?

You can also imagine the implications for investment banks and its traders. That is, if markets such as the very volatile foreign exchange (Forex) are completely abandoned and substituted by Cryptos.

There are now many an exchange for Cryptos in the appearing monthly.all coin logo

You will be able to switch or trade Bitcoin for Ethereum, Litecoin, IOTA or Ripple.

Handy if you need them for a specific transaction, country or product that only deals in digital currency.

Most of you are understandably looking at it solely from an investment point of view –  greed never sleeps.

Practical uses of Crypto

Its purpose, however, is actually about changing the way we transact and pay for goods and services.

The aim is to make it a currency not only accessible to attain but to provide the resources for you to “mine “and own them.  This can be an alternative income generator alleviating the need for job creation. It can also be a substitute for those you were perhaps made redundant by Automation and AI.

So, once you mine the currency (provided you have the infrastructure and pay the overheads), you can use it to get the things you need or must pay for.

Your electricity bill, for example, can be processed and paid for directly from an IOTA-holding wallet.

And speaking of electricity, we came across a very insightful article (referenced in the resource section) focusing on the impact energy consumption that global rampant mining will cause the price of electricity and the environment.

Coupled with the switch to electric cars this could surely force us to invest in better ways to generate electricity if we are to maintain sensible levels of sustainability.

Whether the price of electricity goes up or down will be determined by how quickly energy providers globally will be able to meet this surging demand.

We can surely be in a position to observe the upcoming impact on electricity consumption from next year. More and more of the global population begin to mine altcoins for themselves.

It is the belief that the initial plan for Cryptos’ was to enable anyone to have access to a shared (decentralized) peer-to-peer type service which allows for secure transacting.

Peer review functionality

One can look at the blockchain working in the same manner as BitTorrent or E-Mule (for those who remember that far back). In the way, that data, albeit mostly bootlegged music, videos, and software, was distributed and downloaded on the web.

“Blockchain is essentially a quick peer-to-peer transaction of digital currency”

The value of Cryptocurrencies is now driven by how well it works as a system. You must look more closely at the added value it can offer society from a functional, practical, convenient and of course, cost-saving perspective.

As we head into the festive season and bonuses are being paid out, be responsible for how you splash out. Do your research first – even if it means waiting a year to see how it all plays out.

Advertisements

Run your business on cruise control

Are you running your business like you did in the eighties, nineties? If so, you are probably working like a donkey and probably for the same kind of income – if you are even making any!

Business automation is something that has developed albeit quite slowly, over decades and accelerated significantly via the “www “.  And now even more so the with the Internet of Things (IoT).

Ways of doing business

Let’s begin looking communication – a key pillar in running any successful venture. Getting in touch with clients can now occur in numerous ways.

We have come a long way from shouting “extra, extra read all about it” on street corners, to invading places of comfort and abode with door-to-door sales visits.

We can now get in touch physically (though rarely unless required such as in a shop setting), via phone, Skype, Emails, online chatting, video-conferencing, and social media.

And though it may sound like overkill, using these tools can actually help save time and target your product offerings and marketing campaigns.

This makes them efficient and worth every penny/cent spent on them.

Hosting email nowadays does not require the expertise of IT professionals.

Likewise, IT pros are now discovering they have more time to perform administrative work (much needed productivity reports). This rather than the mundane tasks of backing up servers, or grudgingly coming out of their dark holes to walk from PC to PC installing software.

Such ‘exercises’ can consume hours during the day and, probably gets on the nerves of people trying to get work done.

Hands-free IT

As an IT pro, you can now administer and carry out IT-related tasks from the comfort of your office. You can even do it remotely (at home or while attending a conference) via your PC, laptop and even on your smartphone!

Emails can now be hosted with a few clicks and run smoothly on desktops, mobile phone, and tablets with a simple syncing feature. This is made possible by a newer mail protocol known as Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP).

You can now synchronize your emails, calendars, and events as well as your contacts on all your devices, for instance, using Microsoft Exchange Online services.

This are strenuous tasks that an IT professional would have had to manually create using special scripted rules via PowerShell, patches, domain routers  to a normal physical server to enable such functionality.

The cloud has made this all possible and while we will not get into the intricacies and workings of the cloud, we have in our working experience, seen a massive uptake of it.

Companies of all sizes, countries, and industries (including healthcare, education, financial and governmental institutions) are moving to the cloud.

This uptake of cloud services is happening on a regular basis as old servers are being made redundant and getting subjected to creative destruction in the IT industry.

Software for hire

Software as a Service (SaaS), which is what it is called, is basically the hiring of software rather than owning it and leaving the (usually costly) maintenance to the software provider.

Major cloud players such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon, IBM, Google Business, for example, offer their clients the software just as a front-end and user-friendly application.

The tech giants  will then take care of the back-end operations such as backups, updates, and upgrades, maintenance, security and compliance for an annual or monthly fee.

You can liken this to hire-purchase or the car leasing services that the automobile industry offers its clients.

The car servicing and maintenance is performed timeously by the manufacturer. You just drive it and pay for your own fuel on top of the monthly leasing fees. Such a service can even be monetized using Cryptos such as IOTA.

Great collaboration tools

Another daunting yet integral task in running a business is the act of hosting meetings. Business meetings are often rescheduled as easily as procrastinating a spring cleaning exercise in the middle of summer whilst on holiday. This is mainly because of the availability of participants or lack of the material required to make a presentation to participants. stress-2883648_1920

Tools that foster online meetings such as Skype for Business or G-Suite’s Hangouts for example, allow you to schedule meetings from a calendar entry. That is, set up in your email application e.g. Outlook.

This will send you and your meeting participants a reminder. Then, with a click of a button you can join, host or participate in a full-on HD video or audio conference type call.

This can be done from wherever you are on the globe as long as you have a good enough broadband connection.

The kicker with this tool is the ability to present your full (hopefully clean and avoid any embarrassing items) desktop, to all participants.

So, you can present an Excel spreadsheet of financial data, discuss the design of a brochure or flyer for marketing, or run a PowerPoint presentation. The apps come even complete with an infrared pointer!

Good broadband is key

Again, these services obviously require great Internet connectivity. This might also be the only stumbling block deterring many smaller companies and some big data-sensitive firms from taking on the cloud.

But as Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and now local governments are now actively getting involved in making broadband (Wi-Fi and fibre cable networks) a necessity for all.

The problem of adequate broadband connectivity will, therefore, not be an issue in the near future.

So, you see, just from this highly compressed explanation and examples of two tasks carried out by businesses. There are endless possibilities that the cloud and good software, in general, can offer a business.

For more solutions, have a look at the previous blog on sales software and CRM systems. to understand a bit more about how SaaS can help grow revenue for the business.

This is also in no way advocating for substituting human personal interactions with technology.  It will, nevertheless, help you to find ways to bridge the gap when you find that personal contact is not possible.

No one wants to spend hours in traffic leading to stress at work or home. You also wouldn’t want to spend large budgets on unnecessary travel, marketing and communication tools that are not effective.

Allow software automation to help you!

Out with the old school…

Creative destruction has become our new favourite buzzword. It also aptly describes this new wave or phenomenon of Crypto-mania driven by the blockchain and its shining star – the Bitcoin.

Suddenly, risk-averse people who normally would not bat an eye at trading in normal shares(stocks) or any high-risk investment for that matter, are now pondering, asking and investigating means with which they too can cash in on the digitally induced bonanza.

One must admit that even though like anything else that goes up, and very abruptly and abnormally, it will eventually come tumbling down – like the big dot.com bubble that burst and left many in dire straits after they over-indulged in overvalued tech companies.

The Bitcoin will eventually find its peak and there will be a mass sell-out and a ‘crash’ at some point.

Where this point lies – no one knows and we even now recently have the likes of an ironically vocal skeptic – the dubious Ponzi-scammer dubbed ‘the Wolf of Wall Street’ himself Joel Belmont, weighing in and pre-empting a crash.

The funny thing is, most of the critics are those who have not invested themselves and are perhaps suffering from a case of sour-grapes or simply don’t understand the mechanisms of how it works to even get involved.

Doubt is prompted by fear of an unknown and while most investors themselves don’t understand the complex algorithms that went into designing the blockchain – it is here to stay even if the ever-climbing in

Bitcoin

value Bitcoin crashes. Bitcoin, hovering around the $17 000 after breaking its latest resistance level, is now poised to reach the 20K mark at the time of writing this.

Creative destruction does not just have a way of re-inventing a wheel but does so completely to make the previous version look ancient very quickly. So while Bitcoins and its financial furore might not even last long, it, however, has brought about it add-ons or spill-over effects.

There are now hundreds of Cryptocurrencies out there – and while not all and most will not get to realize huge price surges like that of Bitcoin, Ethereum or recently Dash, Monero, and Litecoin, they are all trading and being mined in some form or another.

The spill-over effect includes the creation jobs for new entrepreneurs, gamers, and developers across the globe.

Though it might be too late for investors to delve into the above-mentioned ‘big boys of crypto’, institutions are constantly (if not daily) developing blockchain products.

The fact of the matter is that the use and process of a blockchain makes sense and will, and is in the process of removing the old currency system.

Now, this may take a while before it completely phases out fiat money. This will also hopefully, much to the delight of governments and fiscal authorities, help eradicate the scourge of counterfeiting.  This scourge  alone costs billions annually and might even be fostering inflation in some way or another.

Application of blockchain tech

Think about the big picture, the blockchain technology will also now enable anyone or any institution smart enough to copy or modify a part the anonymously written code. Blockchain pretty much is open-source, so anyone smart enough can create their own.

There can now be a Crypto for shopping, for buying cars, for getting your contract -based salary timeously paid by a multi-national company irrespective of where you are based or paying for using Internet services (IOT).

The latter already exists and is called IOTA – read more about it on the resources page.

Like Lego blocks (excuse the pun), this technology can enable one to find creative ways to monetize a cryptocurrency to serve any purpose and provide a secure and lightning-quick means to transfer funds.

Litecoin and Dash boast amazing speeds of under 10 seconds to complete international money transfers.

It would be interesting to observe any bank try and beat that without charging an arm and leg for that type of service!

The critics, who thought people like Elon Musk was crazy for inventing electrically powered battery motors to run engines and now trucks – are constantly are eating their shorts.

Not only did Tesla´s market capitalization trump that of Ford and recently BMW, but it also beat many petrol or diesel-powered vehicles in speed and performance, attractive looks and practicality – it has changed and is in the process shifting the motor industry.

tesla-1738969_1920

Manufacturers like Volvo, Porsche have now rolled out their own hybrids cars and are looking to go the route of fully electric motors within a short matter of years.

This and other notable paradigm shifts in the way we do things embody the beautiful concept of creative destruction. Those that shun it get left behind.

And while it is not all about the monetary gains, you can own the coins to use for transactions rather than for investment – or for both.

It will serve you better, in the long run, to get in the know of what is out there.

Be wary and vigilant, as like with money and investment, there are sharks out there (offering all sorts of deals and on new platforms) to exploit unknowing technophobes looking to make a quick buck or two (thousand).

Mining Cryptocurrencies (a past-time which is particularly conducive for gaming enthusiasts) and using them to benefit you quickly and securely is the way of a new digitized future.

Some Internet pirates in desperation and looking to accumulate and cash in on digital currency such as Monero are even now using java-scripted mining devices (hidden behind ads and downloads) to steal power from unsuspecting web-page browsers.

Everyone is trying to get a piece of the action! There are also legitimate paid commission-based add-ons for trading as well – opening up a new world of digital earning online.

Don’t get left behind but as with any investment, and a caution to the wise: Cryptocurrencies are highly volatile, and should not substitute any investment portfolio consisting of real-estate/property and tangible assets like Gold if attainable.

They should only and always account for a fraction of your overall investment.

Globalization 2.0

The implementation of globalization has not been without its major flaws. Abolishing it, however, is paramount to anti-socialist behaviour or looking inwards – a concept that is utterly against the tendencies of human nature.

If you read up on any definition of globalization , you will observe that the intention was always one of a genuine need to integrate and collaborate for the mutual benefit of nations.

It can, however, like any product (including knowledge), can be exploited out of selfish desires and lead to heavy exploitation.

Of course, it also doesn’t mean that globalization must apply to every sector of an economy.  Some inward investment is always healthy. It should, however, not lead to extreme nationalism for a fear of loss of national identity.

Trust issues

The problem, like many others, lies in the hands of politicians who are controlled and dictated to by a handful of large corporations. These ‘corps’ have one and only self-interest – profit, power, and control.

The main concern for sovereign governments is that ‘giving up’ or sharing one’s technological, innovative or manufacturing secrets to other countries would make them ‘vulnerable’.

The real issue lies in a lack of trust – leading to the notion: “I will not let you know how I do it because you may use it against me – in trade or war”.

Despite the existence of supposedly ‘compartmentalised’ trading blocs and free trade areas such as NAFTA, EU, ECOWAS, SADC etc, the rate of globalization has sped up significantly in the past decade.

This is due to boundless advances in information technology as accurately predicted by Neoclassical Growth Theory.

Information technology has now given us, investors, and businesses of all economic class, race, and gender, valuable new tools to identify and engage in economic activity.

Tech provides access to and faster, more informed analysis of information, transfers of assets, and collaboration.

The impact on finance

In the financial sector, a globalized world means that with the aid of technology, one can buy and sell shares of an Italian pharmaceutical firm  from a desktop in Namibia!

You would then only have to deal with the commissions and transaction fees (including capital gains tax) locally pertaining to your online trades.

And think about it, on a micro-level. If globalization is entirely a bad concept then no-one should be using Amazon, eating MacDonalds or watching Netflix in protest. Hard to imagine, isn’t it?

We must praise its positive outcomes and work hard against the negative impacts – which are also giving rise to a new era of extreme nationalism or populism.

You can only do your bit by promoting and backing policy-makers that can enforce good trade laws.  This would force both local and international competitors to play by the same rules.

The penalties for financial misconduct should be a lot greater to deter exploitation and not simply give perpetrators the proverbial slap on the wrist.

The creative destruction of the financial system will be fostered by the advent of the cryptocurrency and its underlying blockchain technology.

Depending on its uptake, and whether the authorities can legitimise its legality, we may have both individuals and governments using decentralized currencies to engage in trade.

The Venezuelan president for one, is investigating the concept of a national cryptocurrency dubbed ´Petro´ to use for trading and to alleviate dependency on (heavily interest-ridden) loans.

There are also rumours that a large Indian national banking is looking into the usage of Ripple cryptocurrency.