What retailers want from blockchain

Online retailers and those with bricks and mortar shops want to know how to use blockchain and to establish if it is a better system than the one they use now. Answering these questions is key to getting retailers to adopt blockchain solutions.

As Nikki Baird writes at Forbes, retailers are not so interested in how blockchain works, or how tokens are generated; they simply want to know how blockchain could work for them. Baird states there are three questions they need answered, and they are: Performance, Privacy and Ease of Use.

And as she points out, retailers don’t want to hear from platforms about how they intend to achieve these three things; they just want to have all of them in an operational blockchain.

So far, we’re not at that point; there is a way to go with each of the qualities retailers need to see.

Performance

When we talk about performance in relation to blockchain, we are really talking about scalability. That is the ability to handle lots of transactions, primarily for payments, but advertising is also important for online retailers. With payments, the transaction time can’t be slower than it is with the current system, and to win retailers over it needs to be faster. At the moment neither bitcoin nor ethereum can match Visa’s transaction times.

Privacy

Privacy is an important element of blockchain and cryptocurrency. The whole point of Bitcoin was to create a digital currency that could be traded anonymously, but is it truly anonymous?

Even if you don’t know who owns bitcoin, you can observe their behaviour on the blockchain. There are even businesses that track bitcoin usage and use the info to identify anonymous owners. This flaw is something that needs to be addressed, so that there is greater privacy on the blockchain, but without sacrificing scalability.

Baird writes, “For retailers, there is the additional issue of personally identifiable information and GDPR, Europe’s regulations around consumer privacy.”

Her answer to the issue is: “Blockchain has the potential to make all of that much easier, if we can evolve to a place where consumers can use blockchain to store their personal information, and decide and control which companies have access to which pieces of information.”

But as she points out, there are lots of hurdles to leap over before we arrive at this point, including identifying who is providing the service and doing more on the security of passwords.

Ease of Use

This is very important in a retail environment. And it is the one element that has been addressed more fully than the others. Baird highlights those companies that “bring blockchain to consumers without making it readily apparent that they are based on blockchain,” and “crypto wallets that make it easier to navigate between traditional and crypto currencies.”

Retailers are traditionally quite conservative, and the blockchain is still not mature enough to win them over. As Baird says, “For blockchain to make a difference in retail, it has to be much more about the experience than the technology.”

Blockchain will get there, but it isn’t ready yet!

Bitcoin is becoming a big brand

How big are these news headlines?

· Bitcoin surpasses 1 M daily active addresses.

· Uber provided an estimated 14 M rides per day in 2017.

· Apple sold 798,877 iPhones per day in 2017.

· OLA & Uber combined provide an estimated 3.5 million rides per day in India.

The virus has already spread! And it’s a good news for bitcoin.

According to CoinMetrics.io, there are now over a million daily active addresses, a number that is defined as the number of unique “from” or “to” addresses used per day. This is something we haven’t seen since November 2017, at the height of the bitcoin buying frenzy.

As Coindesk reports, one Twitter user, Kevin Rooke, noticed the movement this week and tweeted: “When Bitcoin first broke 1 million active addresses (Nov 27, 2017), 1 BTC was $9,352 and the median tx fee was $3.23.Yesterday 1 BTC was $8,230 and the median tx fee was $1.33.”

While some might say that this statistic isn’t that important, it certainly shows us one thing — there are people using bitcoin on a regular basis, whether for trading or spending. It is a good stat for bitcoin, regardless of what those who criticise it say.

From the statistics at the beginning of this article, you can see that there is a context for the figure. Take a look at the figures for Uber.

On the face of it, Uber is doing ‘better’ than bitcoin, because it has 14 million daily users globally. But you have to consider the fact that shifting from using a standard taxi to using Uber is much simpler for most people than changing from using fiat currencies to a cryptocurrency. So, the comparison is not exactly fair.

Then again, Apple is selling just under one million phones on a daily basis, putting bitcoin slightly ahead of it.

Ultimately, what can we take from these figures? The answer is that bitcoin is seeing the same kind of transaction volume as some of the world’s leading brands, which is quite an achievement, and shows that bitcoin is not just the leading cryptocurrency; it’s becoming the big brand of the cryptocurrency space.

Google Just ‘Killed’ Major Bitcoin News Site CCN In A ‘Crypto Crackdown’

At the beginning of this week, many CCN readers were hugely disappointed, and probably annoyed as well, to find press reports that CCN was closing down thanks to Google.

The problem is a thing called Google’s June 2019 Core Update that rolled out on 3rd June. CCN reported a drop in mobile traffic volume of 71% overnight, following the launch of this Google tool. It isn’t the only crypto-related news site that has seen a drop-off in figures: Coindesk’s traffic dropped by 34.6% according to Sistrix, a data company that tracks website visibility on Google, and Cointelegraph by 21%.

Billy Bambrough at Forbes writes, “The sudden drop in traffic to bitcoin and cryptocurrency websites has caused editors to question whether this was an intentional attempt to undermine their coverage of the cryptocurrency sector.”

But, it wasn’t just the crypto-related sites that have been hit hard by the Google Core Update; mainstream news outlets are also seeing a distressing downturn.

CCN founder Jonas Borchgrevink wrote just after the first announcement of CCN’s closure, “While all major crypto focused sites have taken a hit by Google’s June 2019 Core Update, other sites that are not affiliated with cryptocurrencies have experienced a startlingly similar impact.” And he called on journalists and editors to resist Google’s attempts to “control the world’s news consumption” and a future “Googlémocracy.”

“We have tried to find out why our stories are no longer visible on Google by asking for guidance in Google’s Webmasters Forum. While we appreciate the help of the experts from the Google Forum, their theories for why Google has decided to basically ‘shut down’ CCN does not appear to be entirely accurate. Why would simple fixes be the cause of the immense Google-listing drop, when other similar sites are experiencing the same blowback,” Borchgrevink asked.

CCN rises from the dead

If you go to the CCN website today you’ll see it is still posting current stories. I expected to get some 4040 error, or other notice indicating the site was down So I found the post by Jonas Borchgrevink explaining just how CCN appears to have come back from the dead. He addresses the readers to thank them for their support and then says, “While we’ve been working in the dark, trying to get to the bottom of our massive visibility drop on Google, a friendly helper in Google’s forum mentioned that ‘CryptoCoinsNews.com’ — our previous domain- is reappearing in Google searches.” He goes on to say, “That was a massive surprise for us as I personally requested a domain name change in 2017 from CryptoCoinsNews.com to CCN.com.”

And he concludes by saying, “Whether or not the Google June 2019 Core Update is to blame, we are fixing it. We’re receiving help from multiple SEO teams to understand what has transpired.

There’s still a good chance that this won’t correct our visibility on Google overnight, but I’m hopeful we are on the right path to figuring it out.”

So, there you have it: CCN died, but is dead no more!

Bitcoin gets some bling!

Image result for bitcoin

I didn’t think it was possible that bitcoin might ever be described as ‘blingy’, but over the past few days I’ve seen some news items that suggest the leading cryptocurrency is having some shine put on it by the luxury goods market and political fundraising. And I have a feeling this may just be the start.

First, Franck Muller, the high-end Swiss watch designer whose work is known for being quirky, has added cold wallet bitcoin storage to his latest watch. The Encrypta watch includes its own unique public address etched on the dial and a sealed USB containing the private key. Plus, owners will be able to add Bitcoin to their wallet and monitor their balance directly through the dial. Each model includes a dial that incorporates the QR code of Satoshi’s Genesis Block address, as well as a custom-designed “B” within an emblem of circuitry.

And just so you know, the Encrypto collection of men’s and women’s watches are advertised as costing between $10,780 and $55,880. It’s a pity they didn’t quote the price in BTC as well.

Next there is an app that supposedly makes investing in bitcoin much easier. Erik Finman, who started buying bitcoin when he was 12 and is now only 20, has designed the CoinBits app that allows users to buy fractions of a Bitcoin from spare change. The amount of the purchase is rounded up to the nearest dollar and the additional change is invested into small amounts of Bitcoin.

Last, Eric Swalwell, a Democrat and presidential candidate for the 2020 elections is accepting crypto donations for his campaign. Unsurprisingly, he is the Bay Area congressman, which puts him in close proximity to Silicon Valley and to all the crypto-relatd startups based in San Francisco. So, it makes sense that he should accept crypto. Apparently he is partnering with the White Company, a blockchain firm that will facilitate the donations and make them fully compliant with Federal Election Commission regulations.

Swalwell had this to say about crypto: “Blockchain can change the world, if we let it. So much of our public life now exists online, and there’s no reason to believe we can’t extend this further into our democracy and our economy – from exercising our right to vote, to how we look at cryptocurrency.”

Perhaps the way to encouraging mass adoption is to make bitcoin more ‘trendy’, almost a fashion accessory even. Political donations aside, the app and the watch are likely to turn up in a List of 10 Things You Must Have in some glossy magazine. Expect to see it in Vogue soon!