Cryptocurrency felon during and after prison

Cryptocurrency felon during and after prison

Previous blockchain blogpost

Charlie Shrem was among the pioneer public faces of cryptocurrency. He co-founded a startup company in 2011 called BitInstant that was one of the earliest cryptocurrency companies processing a third of all Bitcoin transactions. In 2015, Shrem went to prison for two years for aiding an unlicensed money transmitter acquire Bitcoins to trade in the underground marketplace, where it was used to buy drugs. It was a felony that is the first of its kind in the crypto world.

Charlie Shrem entered prison in 2015 after medicating himself with vodka just before his incarceration. In the federal prison camp in Pennsylvania, Charlie Shrem began frequenting the library. It became Charlie Shrem’s sanctuary where he would stay in for hours and read 137 books.

Value of currency

Shrem found himself mulling over the question of what made money worth anything

Shrem found himself mulling over the question of what made money worth anything


Shrem found himself mulling over the question of what made money worth anything. Luckily, the jail economy provided the answer as the prison had its cash, mainly packets of mackerel. For those prison inmates in Lewisburg, sachets of mackerel were an ideal form of coins. Inmates serving long sentences would use stockpiles of mackerel as a store of value, much like a savings account. Gradually he came to believe that the acceptance of any form of money is mostly a social convention. But it was true that some features could make one currency more suitable than another.

Halfway house life

In 2016, Charlie Shrem was transferred to a halfway house and says that living not merely with embezzlers, drug dealers, and fraudsters, but also with murderers, child molesters, and bank robbers was worse than prison. One of the conditions of residency at the house was gainful employment and making money via Internet did not qualify. Therefore, during his time in the halfway house, Shrem worked as a dishwasher for $8 an hour. 

Life after prison

After serving time in prison, the 27-year old Bitcoin pioneer was looking for a real comeback. It was a time when Bitcoin and other digital currencies were about to explode in epic proportions, and their value had already risen to up to six times its previous price. When he tried to visit an online exchange, one of his old haunts, where he had once played with altcoins, he found that all familiar landmarks had gone. The website no longer existed and even the jargon and terminology had changed drastically. It was humbling for Shrem to realize that the Bitcoin community had changed in his absence. 

Rise from fall

Out of the gates, Bitcoin’s first felon took the same stance with the blockchain industry and set about catching up on everything he missed. He gracefully rose from his fall and found a new mission with a determination. Since his release, he started building the Internet’s future by strengthening the ecosystem of the blockchain. In this newly diverse ecosystem, Shrem has positioned himself to play a significant role not only as a coder but also as a connector. Although, after his comeback, he has fallen once on the wrong side, he claims that he is different now. 

Virtual money rivalry

Cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrencies

When Shrem was one of the first in the game, Bitcoin was the only virtual currency. Now that it has given rise to more kinds of digital money, he is embracing the transformation. He agrees with other pioneers that there will be not just one supreme digital currency but instead many because there is a crypto-pluralism taking hold right now. That may make Shrem the perfect poster child, as cryptocurrencies transition from a form of exchange favored by those who reviled any establishment into a rapidly growing mainstream system. The old Shrem and the likes were not above taking advantage of such a situation either. 

Dash debit card

As Dash took off, Shrem decided to get involved and proposed creating a prepaid debit card. The cardholder can load it with coins, convert them into dollars and use it at any company that accepts a Dash debit card. That way hundreds of millions of digital dollars can enter the mainstream economy. Dash-funded debit cards are several, but Shrem’s innovation would be the first to be used in America. Eventually, it allowed users to convert cash into Bitcoins at conventional banks such as Bank of America and Wells Fargo, at hundreds of thousands of locations across Russia, America, and Brazil including 7-Eleven and Walmart. His plan garnered overwhelming support because people within the Dash universe take someone like Shrem very seriously and reputation plays an important role. Its price shot up to $266/- from $50/- and Shrem became a millionaire overnight again. But expecting more than that was foolhardy and he decided that it is better to let each cryptocurrency do what it does best. 

Digital token sales

Having seen that the new frontier was token sales, Charlie Shrem became the technology officer of a startup, Intellisys Capital, that he predicted would revolutionise the investment world. The plan was to raise funds by issuing blockchain digital tokens as initial coin offerings. The issue was that under American law this would undoubtedly be classified as a security. The decision was made by the company to bar British and American citizens from participating in it to avoid legal trouble. But the idea also had other drawbacks as they would have to depend on partners to vet investors for them. Shrem was back in pitch mode and became the face of the venture, touting Intellisys to the public and the press. He described the proof of concept, a waste-management company, as the fund’s first investment. 

Mired with doubts

As the date approached, Shrem had doubts in his mind and began to get cold feet. A person, already convicted of a financial crime once, selling security would bring intense scrutiny. This thought increasingly made him nervous, restless and sleepless for months leading to the sale. Fortunately for Shrem, fate intervened, and he decided to walk away because it was a bomb. It was easier to take a risk and tarnish his reputation than live in constant fear all his life. 

Taking it easy

Charlie

Charlie

The failure of Intellisys cost him, but Charlie Shrem wants to make the right comeback. He had moved with his fiancée to Sarasota and is living with her in a rented pink townhouse. His abundant off-hours, he spends on relaxing on the beach, boating, eating in upmarket restaurants, and Jet Skiing. Today Shrem is more patient and mellower and less arrogant and cocky than in the past.

Coming up next:

Today, many of the blockchain assets are tokens that are distributed as initial coin offerings. It constitutes the Internet’s second business model. Associated jobs have soared as its value has risen. Candidates who understand initial coin offerings, know how to write smart contracts, and have a good understanding of Ethereum would have an extra competitive edge. Interested applicants should read up the online literature on how blockchain works and be aware of the basics before applying in the field.

First felony in the cryptocurrency world

First felony in the cryptocurrency world

Previous blockchain blogpost

Some businesses and companies prefer to stick to their past, but this is not a good marketing strategy. Instead, it is essential to take a progressive approach and look out for the next big thing. That is what happens when companies begin to accept Bitcoin payment that put them in a position for greater success. Embracing the power of this new blockchain technology shows the customers and prospects of a business that it is well ahead of the curve.

Charlie Shrem comes from a predominantly Jewish and Russian neighborhood in Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn. His father used to work at a jewelry store, and his mother looked after his sisters and him. Awkward and shy, Shrem blossomed when he discovered that he had a passion for computers. Charlie Shrem learned computer programming and started engaging in hacker forums. While in Brooklyn College in 2009, he co-founded a deals site known as Daily Checkout and fell in love with sales.

Earliest Cryptocurrency Company

BitInstant

BitInstant Source: Coindesk

Charlie Shrem, a promoter’s promoter, was among the pioneer public faces of cryptocurrency. Shrem saw value when Bitcoins were worth practically nothing or maybe a few dollars each. Shrem claimed he was among the ten people globally to find out about Bitcoin. By 2011, he was well known in the network of Bitcoin and co-founded a startup company called BitInstant. He became the Chief Executive Officer of Bitinstant that was one of the earliest and most significant cryptocurrency companies processing a third of all Bitcoin transactions. It helped people obtain digital money and transfer it between exchanges.

Partnering for support

Shrem partnered with Gareth Nelson, a Welsh coder, and handled the business end, managing to raise funds from Roger Ver, an angel investor, and from his mom. But one person who refused to invest warned Shrem that BitInstant had no safeguards to protect against money laundering. That was fine with Shrem as a substantial portion of the clientele were users of Silk Road. These people needed to exchange dollars for Bitcoins to buy drugs on the black market. There was a middleman, a plumber in Florida by the name of Robert Faiella who had a business obtaining Bitcoins for these users.

Abetting with crime

Shrem soon found out what Faiella was up to and helped him source money for drug transactions, rather than shutting him down. Shrem’s partner, as well as the cash-processing company of BitInstant, wanted to stop it. But Shrem encouraged Faiella to disguise his identity using a new email address and username. The flow of money went on until Shrem eventually cut him off in 2012 when Faiella pleaded guilty to running an unlicensed money-transmitting business. By the time he went to prison for four years in jail, he had laundered a million dollar through BitInstant.

Vision with swagger

By 2012, Shrem was a young Chief Executive Officer, a motor-mouthed cocky capitalist, and a proud pothead. He had swaggering ambitions as he wanted to turn BitInstant into the Apple of Bitcoin and his company soon would be processing a massive chunk of all Bitcoin transactions. When a payment processor cut all connections with Bitcoin companies under pressure from MasterCard and partner banks, leaving customer funds stranded, it was BitInstant that hacked together a solution to let users withdraw their money.

Bitinstant gaining traction

Bitinstant raised $1.5 million, most of it from Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, the twin brothers, who had a venture capital firm

The company raised $1.5 million from Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss Source: CNBC

Bitinstant raised $1.5 million, most of it from Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, the twin brothers, who had a venture capital firm. The company helped them buy their first Bitcoins. Since then they were hooked. After raising funds, the company’s future looked bright, and Bitinstant became an industry barometer because crypto-economy depended on rapid money transfers. In early 2013, during the Cypriot financial crisis, when bank accounts for regular citizens taxed them 6.75%, Bitcoin suddenly became a haven.

Chaotic early days

Charlie Shrem embodied the legally questionable, chaotic early days of cryptocurrency. Two of Shrem’s best friends quit Bitinstant due to a dispute with the investors. Something went out of Shrem with the departure of his two best friends who were his confidants. He seemed distracted, spent the night partying, sleeping in and showing up late to work. Meanwhile, the site was straining under the traffic surge, leading to waves of complaints. A platform upgrade became mired in legal concerns and technical problems. It became clear that Bitinstant had been operating without licenses, and the cost of acquiring them would be prohibitive. Bitinstant that made Shrem a Bitcoin millionaire eventually went bust and shut down in 2013 as it was all too much for everyone concerned to carry on.

Bitcoin foundation speaker

Shrem became an overnight sensation when he featured in a documentary about the new virtual phenomenon. He co-founded the Bitcoin foundation, which was the first nonprofit advocacy organization for the digital currency. He then flew to Argentina on a Bitcoin foundation mission because by then Shrem had become a proselytizer and a speaker at industry conferences. His business was now himself and not BitInstant as he began to charge speaking fees as all the while his life was a whirlwind of deal-making and partying. Everywhere he went he kept telling people that he is rebuilding BitInstant.

Crime caught up

At first, Shrem got away unscathed as he was enjoying his freedom. He took a vacation to Morocco with his girlfriend, Courtney Warner, where he tried opium. In 2014 it caught up with Shrem when he was arrested in Amsterdam as he was returning from a speech.

Arguments for defense

Robert Faiella

Robert Faiella Source: CBC

Shrem argued his case first by advancing the notion that individuals can spend their money the way they want it as long as it is not harmful to anyone else. And second, at the time he was helping Faiella, the government had not decided how to regulate or even classify Bitcoin. If they had not yet determined whether it acknowledged Bitcoin as money, how could that amount to laundering? Shrem did not know whether the law he had violated was just and had wanted to raise these issues but his lawyers advised against it.

Bitcoins buy drugs

In 2015, Charlie Shrem eventually went to federal prison for two years after pleading guilty. He was abetting and aiding an unlicensed money transmitter client, Robert Faiella acquire Bitcoins to trade in the underground marketplace, where it was used to buy drugs. It was a felony that is considered to be the first of its kind in the digital currency world. Although other Bitcoiners had broken the law, Shrem was the first to be imprisoned.

Coming up next:

Charlie Shrem the first Bitcoin felon went to federal prison in 2015 for 2 years. Upon his release he went about strengthening the ecosystem of blockchain. A real breakthrough came when he created a prepaid Dash debit card. He then joined Intellisys Capital and decided to raise funds in the form of initial coin offering but was mired with doubts, as he feared the intense scrutiny from the authorities and eventually backed off.

Accepting Bitcoin is good for business

Accepting Bitcoin is good for business

Previous blockchain blogpost

Blockchain technology represents a seismic shift. It is like that of email and web in the 90s and Facebook and Twitter a decade later. This innovative technology also makes Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies possible without centralized authority. But cryptocurrencies are just the tip of the iceberg, much bigger and more essential things lie below the surface. Blockchain technology has the potential to create countless opportunities everywhere. 21.co, a blockchain startup founded by Dr. Balaji Srinivasan, is a compelling case in point.

Some businesses prefer to stick to their past, but this is not a good marketing strategy. Instead, it is essential to take a progressive approach and look out for the next big thing. That is what happens when companies begin to accept Bitcoin that put them in a position for greater success. Embracing the power of this new technology is good for businesses. It shows the customers and prospects of a business that it is well ahead of the curve. Accepting Bitcoin is a marketing strategy that could positively impact the company’s bottom line. With such transactions on the rise, many companies are using Bitcoin to their advantage.

New market segment

There are customers out there that only work with those businesses that accept Bitcoin. The bigger such an audience, the higher chance of making sales, moving past the competition, and boosting profits. Accepting Bitcoin may be a gimmick, but it could give the company an edge over the competitors. Since many are not on board with this technology as yet, it is possible to beat them to it. Hence, companies that use Bitcoin are fortunate enough to generate business from a fresh audience and a new market segment.

Appeals younger generation

Just the same as the conventional form of payment, every one of all ages can use Bitcoin. But it is the younger generation who are most likely to adopt this fast-growing form of payment. Companies that work towards appealing to such a demographic needs to give them something to get excited. One of the many ways is accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment for the products or services. It is a differentiating factor that the younger generation look at when purchasing items.

Peace of mind

Data breaches that rock the world may not have impacted many companies. But there is no guarantee of that not happening in the future. In regards to data security, Bitcoin gives peace of mind since it does not store payment information. Or not at least in the way traditional financial sector does. That way, it provides the prospects and customers a higher level of trust in the companies.

Traditional affiliate networks

Bitcoin is going to affect traditional affiliate networks, which may have to reexamine their minimum network fees for the commissionable transaction. Affiliate marketing uses Bitcoin because of the cost-effective manner of rewarding virtually any purchase. It also allows paying in real-time in which case purchase transactions are not reversible.

Impacts variable rates

Bitcoin impacts the prices of those products marketed through the affiliate program. Those who offer automatic services or intangible products may be able to consume the risk of the variable value of Bitcoin. Companies selling tangible products may likely keep their prices in their currency and then convert it on the fly. Merchants may give some extra incentives to affiliates who promote Bitcoin-priced products and also to those affiliates accepting Bitcoins as commissions. Again, it will be easier for merchants to edge potential changes when the value of Bitcoin becomes stable.

Lead generation companies

Lead-gen marketing companies may receive high payouts for hot leads but a fraction of that for cold leads. The first examples are in the Bitcoin space itself whereby the firms refer active users to Bitcoin Exchanges. CoinMate.io is a British based Exchange that serves continental Europe but does not operate in North America and offers a fee for recommended users. On the other side is Coinbase, a leading exchange who pays handsomely to both the referred user and the referring user. Considering Bitcoin can reward almost any transaction, in the future it will adopt a percentage approach and would add premium percentages for referring top-tier customers. As the value of Bitcoin becomes stable, commissions will be expressed more frequently in Bitcoin.

Cheap website traffic

Faucets are a cheap way to get traffic on to a website by rewarding the people who either visit the site or complete specific actions

Faucets are a cheap way to get traffic on to a website by rewarding the people who either visit the site or complete specific actions Source: Steemit

Faucets are a cheap way to get traffic on to a website by rewarding the people who either visit the site or complete specific actions. If an overlap exists between the company’s customers and the users of the Bitcoin faucet, there may be value for the company.

Binary options trade

Satoshi option trading

Satoshi option trading

Bitcoin is very beneficial for binary options because it allows traders to transact business when other markets remain closed. Accepting Bitcoin payments from traders will have many implications on the product itself. The binary options brokers, e gaming, and daily fantasy sports operators accept Bitcoin and convert it into a currency that goes to the customer’s account. However, bearing the risk of receiving Bitcoins, and then having to pay winners a different amount of Bitcoins, requires careful planning, until their value stabilizes.

Decentralised digital currency

Bitcoin is similar to Euro or Dollars or Yen with the difference that Bitcoin is not under the jurisdiction of a bank or a country. This digital currency is not supported by economic drivers and exists only on computers. Like standard money, Bitcoin can be used to buy services and goods from companies who accept it. The details can get complex, but a simple example can explain how it works on a fundamental level.

Illustration with example

Let us assume that an online store sells a bat for $100/- and accepts Bitcoin as a form of payment. If the purchaser pays $100/- today and if the rate drops by 30%, effectively, that bat was sold yesterday for $70/-. If, on the other hand, the rate goes up by 30%, that bat was sold yesterday for $130/-. And that makes good business sense, but the exchange rate is hard to predict on a day-to-day basis. Domino’s Pizza was the first company to take Bitcoin back in 2013. Some companies already take Bitcoin; most notably among them are Dell, Newegg, and Overstock.com.

Establishing Bitcoin functionality

For those websites that already allow Bitcoin payments in the online store, such as Shopify, they have to establish and enable the functionality of a Bitcoin wallet. Otherwise, the more straightforward solution might be a Bitcoin Payment Processor or Gateway such as CoinGate, Stripe, BitPay, or any of the others. If everything else fails, consider changing the website hosts but only as a last resort.

Strategy enhances brand

Merely having a payment method that is Bitcoin-friendly will become the mark of a forward-thinking company. In other words, using blockchain to formalize digital payments between companies can work in one’s favor. From a business point-of-view, not only is this secure but from a marketing perspective, it helps add to the branding. A mass-adoption future where the world would just use Bitcoin instead of paper currencies is a little far-fetched right now, but having a strategy in place will help in the long run to be ahead of the game.

Businesses follow suit

Bitcoins is a celebrity of its own, but their chief value in marketing and digital commerce may be that they introduced blockchains. The technology that makes Bitcoin possible is the aspect that makes it most disruptive giving rise to different kinds of applications. Very soon, companies or banks will be managing blockchain technology because they see the potential in its ability to record transactions permanently and globally with one entry.

Blockchain resembles Internet

The blockchain movement feels like the Internet primarily because both offer decentralized systems, except that Bitcoin is about a rapid transfer of value, and the Internet is about the transmission of information. Consumers can purchase blockchain-generated tokens representing values or products, employing the power of falling and rising token prices in a self-regulating, decentralized blockchain environment. In the most idealized version, a community of developers will be maintaining each blockchain faithfully and owning tokens that would increase in value.

Coming up next:

Charlie Shrem was among the pioneer public faces of cryptocurrency. He co-founded a startup company in 2011 called BitInstant that was one of the earliest cryptocurrency companies processing a third of all Bitcoin transactions. In 2015, Shremwent to prison for two years for aiding an unlicensed money transmitter acquire Bitcoins to trade in the underground marketplace, where it was used to buy drugs. It was a felony that is the first of its kind in the crypto world.

Blockchain technology creates untold opportunities everywhere

Blockchain technology creates untold opportunities everywhere

Previous blockchain blogpost

A war is over the future of Bitcoin, the first digital currency, and is already showing strain. Among the competitors of Bitcoin, two of them are Darkcoin and Ethereum. People use these younger cryptocurrencies for much more versatile purposes. Hence Bitcoin faces a threat from more nimble competitors. Digital currencies will drive new company model innovation at unprecedented levels. This revolution could be either a bubble or the onset of a financial realignment.

Blockchain technology represents a seismic shift like that of email and web in the 90s and Facebook and Twitter a decade later. Also, the novel technology is changing the world for the better rapidly in a radical manner. Furthermore, even mainstream players like Goldman Sachs, Visa, Capital One, New York Stock Exchange, and Nasdaq have invested in this groundbreaking technology.

No central authority

Blockchain

Blockchain

Blockchain processes transactions without recourse to a central body like a payments company, bank or government. Finally, services and businesses can be decentralised, cutting out intermediaries and removing points of failure. The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger that tracks transactions of any kind that is of value. This innovative technology also makes Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies possible without centralized authority.

Key success factors

Many factors are driving the cryptocurrency boom today whose price is double the price of gold

Many factors are driving the cryptocurrency boom today whose price is double the price of gold

Many factors are driving the cryptocurrency boom today whose price is double the price of gold. First of all, miners get motivated because of the incentivized system where they can earn digital money. Second, it allows for privacy that separates people’s identity from their transactions. Third, it is a public ledger validated by peer network and mathematical calculation. Another advantage of cryptocurrencies is that they are run on this blockchain technology that uses a public record created using a crowd-sourced system. And last but not the least, the approach of blockchain is decentralised that eliminates dependency on financial institutions. Alternative currencies are in direct contrast to the image of traditional finance. In contrast to fiat currencies, the early leaders of digital currencies would never pass muster at legacy institutions.

Various industry applications

Cryptocurrencies are just the tip of the iceberg, much bigger and more essential things lie below the surface

Cryptocurrencies are just the tip of the iceberg, much bigger and more essential things lie below the surface

Cryptocurrencies are just the tip of the iceberg, much bigger and more essential things lie below the surface. Much like no one predicted Uber, Spotify or Seamless, it is difficult to tell how blockchain will evolve or impact us. Decentralisation and cryptocurrencies are not getting here next week or even next year per se. However, the data and preliminary research are amassing that this technology is for real. Homeland Security is considering blockchain to track people and goods across borders. Similarly, Food and Drug Administration is looking at it, among scores of others, to help with population health management. And Financial Services Industry are making numerous efforts in this arena too. So, Blockchain technology has the potential to create countless opportunities everywhere. Certainly, 21.co, a blockchain startup founded by Dr. Balaji Srinivasan, is a compelling case in point.

Foray into blockchain

Dr. Balaji Srinivasan is an entrepreneur, an academic, investor, and a thought-leader in the blockchain. Also, he is the founder of a blockchain-based genome startup called Counsyl that started in the Stanford dorm and examines 5% of all births in America. But most noteworthy, it won the Innovation Award, raised $65M in funding, was one of the Top 10 Ideas and is arguably the world’s largest genome centers. Dr. Srinivasan teaches at Stanford University, manages the Stanford Bitcoin Group as well as advises and invests in startups. He was a Partner at Andreessen Horowitz before being the Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of 21.co. Through this innovative website, one can earn digital currency and have exposure to an already vetted Silicon Valley group.

Earn digital currency

According to the webpage of 21.co, a user sets up an account for paid messages. Account holders can answer the messages on web or mobile and make money anywhere anytime – while lining up, when at work, or during the morning commute – and it works in all the countries in the world. Users get paid for their services in Bitcoin and have the option to either donate the money to charities such as Black Girls Code or keep it. One has to be techno-savvy to earn digital money or take a risk and purchase digital currency.

Silicon Valley exposure

Apart from allowing access to earn or mine Bitcoin, another beneficial service of 21.co is exposure to the critical people in technology to pitch a startup. It has lists of 200 blockchain experts, 400 founders, 100 Chief Executive Officers, 50 investors, 50 capitalists, and 37 Horowitz partners.

Already vetted group

The business practice of yesteryears was to invest in database lists that companies use for cold calling. This process is inefficient – no consent or introductions or incentives, resulting in a huge number of deleted and unread messages. Research-driven companies and marketing utilize this blockchain-based website to get input from a vetted group who are eager to participate in the joint benefits. Using the platform of 21.co users can conduct research, assign tasks, and respond to email. The business outcomes and performance results at 21.co have stunned everyone concerned. The success of 21.co has made it clear that data-driven sales and marketing companies can receive feedback and completed tasks with a highly robust and efficient framework built on consent, trusts and mutual benefit.

Social interaction network

Digital currencies derive value the same way offline traditional currencies get theirs. According to Srinivasan, if there is a region of people or nation-state, it becomes reasonable and legitimate for that group to have local money. In the new phenomenon of Bitcoin, that currency is called a social network, and it is a crucial prerequisite. They are agglomerations of people that are online and not necessarily in a physical location. This logic and process do not have dependencies in the physical world, and users can widely distribute them.

Branching of blockchain

Srinivasan described that blockchain has branched into private and public blockchains. Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Etherium, Dash, Ripple, etc. work within the public blockchain space and private blockchains include Interledger, Hyperledger, and Cords. It is the popularity of Bitcoin that led to the expansion of blockchain into these models. A good analogy regarding public vs. private blockchains is Internet vs. Intranet.

Advise to entrepreneurs

According to Dr. Balaji Srinivasan, the founder of 21.co, two kinds of startup entrepreneurs exist in this world. There are the ones who are already running a company, and there are those who want to build a business. Srinivasan says that the key to success is a higher-level motivation that will get people up and about in the early morning hours and through the initial startup chore. He advises startup founders to build it entirely on blockchain as opposed to starting a business. Technology that can create value in other people’s lives can bring impact, influence, and monetization. More decentralized companies of commercial value will arrive in the future, powered by blockchain.

Coming up next:

Some businesses and companies prefer to stick to their past, but this is not a good marketing strategy. Instead, it is essential to take a progressive approach and look out for the next big thing. That is what happens when companies begin to accept Bitcoin payment that put them in a position for greater success. Embracing the power of this new blockchain technology shows the customers and prospects of a business that it is well ahead of the curve.

The 4th missing key element to sales success

The 4th missing key element to sales success

According to IDC, despite a “typical” $1 billion company spending a large amount of resources devoted to training for customer-facing people, poor sales enablement results in around $14 million of wasted sales and marketing expenses, and $100 million in lost sales opportunities. Where could they be going wrong?

Imagine for a moment that you’re a sales manager evaluating how to deliver a sales enablement program that will benefit both new hires who need to ‘hit the ground running’ and provide value to more experienced team members. What would you include?

When we think of sales training, the first thing that usually comes to mind is a series of workshops – usually instructor-led and evangelically-delivered – designed to hone performance in time management, listening and communication, objection handling, closing, and so on. So far, so good; this is crucial stuff for all salespeople regardless of experience levels. It’s what your competitors are all doing, it’s what staff expects, and so you should rightly be making ‘classic’ sales training available.

elements of sales success

What next?

After first considering workshops, how about motivational training to foster the kind of positive attitude that helps staff better deal with the ups and downs of the sales cycle, to more effectively develop prospects, build value, and open up new business opportunities? Absolutely right, this is often central to the annual kick-off meeting, and can be an element of monthly meetings in addition to any specific training.

Thirdly, we’ll need product knowledge training in the mix, too. Most companies have a wealth of technical product information available in-house, and which can be delivered via multiple formats (documents, videos, webinars, workshops etc) and when the sales teams need it.

So, we’ve now invested a lot of money in our integrated sales enablement initiative, and in doing so we’ve created an army of charismatic, enthusiastic, mentally-resilient, product-aware salespeople who are all ready to get out there out flood the business with new orders.

But experience shows that, even now, the fourth key element, Industry Knowledge, is still missing.

  • Only 1 in 5 execs say that meetings with sales people meet expectations
  • 76% said sales reps didn’t understand the role and responsibility of the execs they were meeting with well enough
  • 77% said sales teams weren’t able to demonstrate to them how their company’s products or services can help their prospect due to their lack of industry or business knowledge

                                                                                                Forrester research

Supporting this is IDC research indicating that less than half of the companies they interviewed considered their own sales reps to be ‘very prepared’ for an initial meeting!

So it seems as though there are plenty of salespeople constrained not by technical sales skills per se, but more by lack of knowledge of their prospects’ industries and the buying motivations of the decision-makers they meet with.

The customer’s crucial question is ‘How is what you’re selling going to help my business?’ – That’s something that just isn’t being answered most of the time. Knowledge of your product needs to exceed an understanding of mere technical specifications and encompass its various applications and how it can be used to serve your customers’ clients.

Imagine that one of your technology sales reps has an initial meeting with an Oil & Gas client. They might have watched a short video about big data. He might even have watched an overview of upstream operations. But when you’re sitting in front of the buyer, understanding disparate concepts without knowing the broader context won’t give you the confidence and credibility you need.

Can your rep contribute meaningfully if the conversation turns to how your products or services can help mitigate the financial impact of rising production costs, falling EROEI, the cost of complying with regulations, and so on.

Perhaps that suggests a quick test you can use – do all the reps you send to Oil & Gas clients know that EROEI stands for ‘Energy Returned On Energy Invested.’ If not, it’s a clue that your company may not be able to get involved in the early stage project definition and planning discussions, so you are destined to end up in the late stage price-based battle trying to supply into a configuration that someone else has designed.

Conclusion

Truly effective selling comes, in part, from:

  • Becoming fluent in a whole new language of industry-specific terms
  • Using these terms to position your offer in the context of real-world business problems that matter most to the executive you’re meeting with
  • Being able to anticipate the direction the discussion is headed
  • Being able to guide the discussion towards areas in which your offering has a proven record of delivering benefits

By Rory Christian, Senior Consultant, Cambashi

SMEI is the worldwide professional association for sales and marketing. To join as a member visit our website.

The scope of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies

The scope of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies

Previous blockchain blogpost

Cryptocurrency is a digital payment maintained by a network of computers that uses cryptography to authenticate transactions. Depending on how investors expect to make money and how they are structured, some cryptocurrencies may count as securities. If traders of these currencies prop up the price and go online to spread gossips, that might count as fraud. It can be hard to determine if a bubble exists. The only way to ensure that they avoid a burst is mass adoption.

The first digital currency was Bitcoin mined by millions of people in different locations around the world. It was Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin’s pseudonymous creator, who built its decentralized system that anyone could participate in, but no one could own. Although it was open to all, ironically, Bitcoin transactions were supposed to be anonymous. When Bitcoin came into being in 2009, the promise was to be the universal electronic currency that passed around the world in minutes. However, Bitcoin has qualities that make it not only a coin but also a store of value and a network of payments.

Store of value

The exponential jump in the rate of Bitcoin has stoked interest from big banks and even Wall Street. For example, in 2010, using the forum bitcointalk.org, a developer bought two pizzas by paying Bitcoins for the purchase. Fast-forward a few years, and the value of that Bitcoins shot up to 425 million dollars. They are now trading for more than $2,600/- but hardly anything to spend it on.

Network of payments

The software stores a continuously updated ledger that records all Bitcoin transactions. The code sets the scarcity of Bitcoin, and mining introduces new Bitcoins at regular intervals. This form of earning Bitcoins consists of solving the math problems necessary to confirm transactions. Successful solving of those problems using mathematical calculations triggers the creation of more currency.

Limitations of Bitcoins

A civil war is over the future of Bitcoin ever since its launch, and it is already showing strain. Bitcoin’s share of the market cap of all cryptocurrencies fell from 85% to 41%. Its price has soared and not dropped, but many rivals have risen even faster. Moreover, the Bitcoin network can only process seven transactions a second due to code limitations. This quantity is trifling considering that the system aspires to serve the masses. As the load increases, it takes time to confirm transactions, and customers have been at odds. The bickering threatens to condemn Bitcoin to obsolescence or divide the currency into two versions. All in all, although Bitcoin allows the transfer of value, it is slower and more limited in its capacity than some of its latest rivals.

Biggest cryptocurrency competitor

One of the biggest among the competitors of Bitcoin is Darkcoin, a portmanteau of digital cash. Part of the stellar success of Dash is due to Bitcoin’s flaws and limitations. This cryptocurrency emerged following Bitcoin’s rise in price in January 2014. Dash is one of the most popular digital currencies because it promised untraceable transactions. Although it saw plenty of dumping, its creator continued to add new features and refine the software. In 2015 it was rebranded as Dash so that it would not be mistaken for a single-feature coin. Gradually Dash gained legitimacy, and its currency’s total value has grown every year.

Advantages of Dash

A new payment method has to be easier to use, more secure and faster than others to attract customers. Bitcoin and the other digital currencies in the market fail on all these three metrics. Dash has functions and features to address such concerns and weaknesses that most others do not have. Also, Dash offers its users a quick send feature that is as easy as using a credit card. People who hold 1,000 coins and above are required to submit all future projects for a vote. The benefit of such a system is that it is a decentralized network that allows making decisions rapidly, avoiding conflicts such as that of Bitcoin, which has no way to compel anybody to adopt a new version.

The next version of Dash will include features that protect against fraud or theft such as moderated transactions. This function would allow funds to be released only upon the receipt of products, and vault accounts, which can stop an impending withdrawal of funds within 24 hours. The goal is to have a medium of exchange that can facilitate everyday commerce. The one of its kind governance system of Dash is its clearest innovation, one that is impossible to replicate.

Smartest cryptocurrency competitor

Ethereum’s creators have built a network that allows developers to create agreements written into the software. These intelligence contracts can dispense funds and perform functions automatically in response to triggers.

"<yoastmark

Emergence of altcoins

Many of the players in the digital currency world, known as altcoins, were exclusively used as vehicles for use-and-discard schemes. An altcoin’s creator would often pour funds into a coin and build hype. Novices would jump in, the price would spike, investors would throw them away, and the amount would plunge downward.

"<yoastmark

Bitcoin versus altcoins

People use many of the currencies younger than Bitcoin for much more versatile purposes. That means Bitcoin faces a threat from more nimble competitors such as Litecoin, Zcash, and Monero. On the other hand, just as Bitcoin struggle against the American dollar, new cryptocurrencies face an uphill battle against Bitcoin, which has the most significant user base and the broadest name recognition.

Today, there are many digital currencies in the world worth billions of dollars

Today, there are many digital currencies in the world worth billions of dollars

Total market value

Today, there are many digital currencies in the world worth billions of dollars. In 2017, digital currencies in aggregate had a total market value of approximately $100 billion. Based on market cap, the price of digital currencies can be possibly ten times that of the most significant companies.

Cryptocurrency becoming mainstream

People are using cryptocurrency wallets because retailers are now starting to accept them. Japan’s new legislation in April 2017 and Australia’s in July allows retailers to take Bitcoin as a legal tender. Ten financial institutions have put enough trust in Bitcoin that they use Ripple to send payments in real-time. There is a consensus among 56 companies worldwide on scaling Bitcoin, reaching an agreement on a settlement process.

Driver of innovation

Blockchain will disrupt every business, and digital currencies will drive new company model innovation, accelerating and scaling business outcomes at unprecedented levels. This revolution could be either a bubble or the onset of a financial realignment. Therefore, investors are cautiously bullish on the success of blockchain, which is crypto currency’s groundbreaking technology.

Coming up next:

Blockchain technology represents a seismic shift like that of email and web in the 90s and Facebook and Twitter a decade later.This innovative technology also makes Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies possible without centralized authority. But cryptocurrencies are just the tip of the iceberg, much bigger and more essential things lie below the surface. Blockchain technology has the potential to create countless opportunities everywhere. 21.co, a blockchain startup founded by Dr. Balaji Srinivasan, is a compelling case in point.