How Blockchain Technology Can Transform the Economy

You must have heard about the Bitcoin. If not, here’s a link on Bitcoin basics.  Bitcoin applies peer to peer transactions implemented on blockchain technology. So, the question is blockchain technology?

Well, a relatively new and rapidly developing concept, blockchain is a type of distributed ledger that contains unchangeable digital data recorded in packages referred to as blocks. These blocks are stored linearly, and each block in the chain comprises data that is hashed using cryptography.  New blocks are created from the already existing ones in the chain which ensures that data in the entire blockchain cannot be modified. Although initially developed to track bitcoin transactions, blockchain technology which uses distributed ledger systems is increasingly becoming an inspiration for other commercial applications today.

Currently, the blockchain technology is mainly used to authenticate digital currencies transactions, code and document them into blockchains. By so doing, indelible records that cannot be modified are created. They can be validated by many people using the blockchains, unlike the traditional single centralized verification authority.

Benefits of Blockchain Technology

Blockchains technology help in costs savings.  Distributed ledger systems used in blockchain technology enable businesses to streamline processes, which as a result reduces expenses and delays brought about by traditional techniques of reconciling records. Additionally,  blockchain technology is cheaper as electronic ledgers are more affordable to maintain compared to conventional accounting ledgers. Electronic ledgers are not prone to errors and therefore result in fewer mistakes as well as reduce records redundancy. The technology dramatically lessens processing delays which means faster services processing for users.

 

How Blockchain Technology will Change the Economy

The adoption of the blockchain technology is going to bring enormous transformations to the economy.  For instance, the financial services industry is one of the sectors that is at the heart of the commercial marketplace. With blockchain, financial institutions will be able to increase value.  They will be able to develop, store, exchange, lend, fund, invest, insure as well as securely account for the value that will be able to penetrate new markets and reach the unbanked population. Adopting blockchain technology in banking institutions will enable instant secure and accounted for transactions. Financial institutions will be able to dramatically reduce errors and reduce costs thereby creating a more secure industry.

In accounting, adopting blockchain technology will allow error-free recording. Conventionally, firms use expensive auditing firms that perform double-entry bookkeeping. With blockchain, organizations can implement distributed ledger accounting systems that provide time-stamped records acceptable to business stakeholders by ensuring secure and error-free documents.

With the Internet of Things (IoT) technology developing to connect nearly all objects to the Internet,  blockchain will come in to enhance interactions among connected objects and help keep track of secure device communication.  Adopting blockchain for government agencies will offer transparency between governments and citizens. By facilitating asset digitization, blockchain technology will drive the shift from an informed view and communication to value where there will be instant secure asset exchanges. It will disrupt all industries that depend on finance, banking, insurance, real estate, legal, education healthcare and more.  Blockchain will facilitate issuing, logging, and recording of all business transactions across all industries. It will enable smart contracts, cross-border payments, secure trading, allow transparency and traceability of intellectual property, loyalty, and rewards, digital voting and more.

There is no doubt that blockchain is a disruptive technology that will revolutionize the global economy. It will facilitate secure and transparent exchanges. The faster the world adopts blockchain technology, the quicker we will create secure digital transfers.

How Can I Buy Bitcoins?

Are you wondering how people buy bitcoins? One of the reasons you could find yourself asking such a question is because you would want to get some bitcoins for yourself too.  Or, maybe you just want to stay informed about the cryptocurrency revolution. Continue reading; this article will explain how you can get this celebrity cryptocurrency.

If you have not yet to understand the whole bitcoin technology stuff, the link below has all the basics of bitcoins.

Obtaining Bitcoins

You can buy bitcoins from bitcoin exchanges, or directly from other people who already own some. A bitcoin exchange is a business that allows customers to trade Cryptocurrencies. Whether you choose a bitcoin exchange or buy directly from someone, you can pay in a variety of ways. You can pay cash, through credit and debit cards, wire transfers, or even with other digital currencies. The mode you use to pay for bitcoins will depend on who you are buying them from and where you live. But before we go too far on buying bitcoins, you need to first arm yourself with a place to store your new bitcoins – a bitcoin wallet. It’s just like a physical wallet, only that it is digital, you get the picture, right?

First, Get a Bitcoin Wallet

Obtaining a bitcoin wallet for yourself is the first step to becoming a proud owner of some bitcoins. It’s just like, if you need to keep some money in the bank, you will need to create a bank account first. So, think of your bitcoin wallet as a kind of an account for storing your bitcoins.

There are different wallets to choose from depending on the level of your security you want. Some are like the regular spending accounts, and you can think of them as the traditional leather wallets as mentioned above, while others have military-like security levels.

Bitcoin wallet options can include any of the following:

  • A software wallet which you can store on your computer hard drive
  • An online, web-based service wallet
  • A hardware wallet that keeps your bitcoins protected offline that uses some keys to protect your account.

Just like many other technologies, bitcoin technology faces many vulnerabilities. For instance, if you choose to store bitcoins locally on your computer, you need to ensure you regularly back up your wallet in case your drive becomes corrupted. If you opt for an online web-based service to store your new bitcoins, your biggest worry would be hackers who use smart tactics to obtain your private wallet keys and steal your bitcoins.

However, you can retain control of your private keys and deal with insecurity issues such as malware or hacking by choosing a hardware wallet.  It is a small device designed and built specifically for holding your bitcoin private and public keys. It is usually the size of a USB drive or even smaller, and you can connect it to a computer for bitcoin transactions. A hardware wallet cannot reveal your private keys to a hacker through key-logging malware, so your bitcoins are safe. Some of the best bitcoin hardware wallets include KeepKey, Trezor, and LedgerWallet.

 

Bitcoin Mining

 

If you don’t buy bitcoins from a bitcoin exchange or another person, you can also obtain bitcoins through a process called bitcoin mining.

The process of bitcoin mining adds transactions to the blockchain and also release new bitcoins.  It involves compiling current transactions into blocks and trying to solve some difficult puzzle. The first person to crack the puzzle gets a chance to create a block in the blockchain and earns a reward in the form of bitcoins.

Bitcoin mining was easy sometimes back. However, time and bitcoin popularity has made it increasingly difficult. Today, bitcoin mining requires a lot of computational power and chews a lot of electricity. Additionally, the number of bitcoins remaining for mining keeps diminishing with time.  All this means that bitcoin mining for an individual isn’t cheap and one may end up paying more for setting up mining hardware and paying hefty electricity bills. An ordinary PC cannot handle the mining process – an average CPU is too slow for the entire process.  These days, mining is done by domain groups referred to as pools who combine their computational resources to specifically mine bitcoins.

That said, you can’t mine bitcoins on your own. You can only join a mining pool. I will talk about bitcoin mining pools in an upcoming post. For now, the easiest way to obtain bitcoins are the two options discussed above. Whichever, you go for, ensure you also choose the right bitcoin wallet, I would personally recommend a hardware wallet.

Your Thoughts?

What’s your opinion on how to obtain bitcoins? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Everything You Need to Know About Bitcoin

There’s a good chance that you have heard of the bitcoin, but you are not so sure you understand it. If you still find the bitcoin concept confusing, read on. In this article, we are going to explain and help you understand what the bitcoin is exactly, how it works, and what you can do with it. Let’s get started!

What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is the world’s biggest cryptocurrency.  Crypto… what? Cryptocurrency refers to a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange and uses cryptography to verify, control and secure its transactions. Digital here means that bitcoin is then a digital money, it exists virtually– not in the form of coins and notes.   Bitcoin technology works without a single administrator or central bank.  I guess it would be right to say it is self-regulating. Transactions are therefore done in peer-to-peer fashion (from one person to another). That means you can get bitcoins from a person and send to another. Bitcoin transactions are recorded in a public distributed ledger that uses blockchain technology.

Bitcoin Origin

Now that you understand that bitcoin is a mobile currency, the question comes in, where did it come from? Well, this cryptocurrency that has disrupted online transactions was created in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto. No one knows whether this is just one person or a group of people under that name – it is still unknown.

The main idea behind bitcoin creation was to enable cheap and quick online payments without depending on traditional banking systems. Bitcoin popularity rose in August 2016 when its price jumped from about 572 U.S. dollars to around 4,764 U.S. dollars in August 2017. What a leap!

Today, it has become the best-known and most widely-traded digital currency with trade exchanges increasing by the day.

What Can I do with, and How Can Obtain the Bitcoin?

A lot! You can pay for products and services with bitcoins. You can also receive payment in the form of bitcoins as well as exchange it for other currencies.  But, to be able to do all this, you need to have a bitcoin wallet. A bitcoin wallet is a software that stores information about bitcoin security keys to enable transactions and you save and receive bitcoins using this digital wallet. You can obtain bitcoins by either buying or mining them in a computer process called bitcoin mining (to be covered in an upcoming post). Better yet, someone can decide to pay for your goods and services using bitcoins.

In February 2015, over 100,000 traders and vendors accepted bitcoin as a method of payment. Current research done this year estimates that nearly six million users are using cryptocurrency wallets most of which are bitcoin wallets.

How Much is Bitcoin Worth?

As of this writing, one bitcoin is approximately 20734 US Dollars.   However, bitcoin exchange rates are always changing, and trading volumes are on the rise.

The future of bitcoin is unknown. It is legal in the US, Canada, Australia, Mexico, the European Union and many other countries. In some, it is banned, and yet in others, it is a wait- and- see approach. Here in Kenya, the Central Bank of Kenya has already said bitcoin is not a legal tender since it is unregulated. However, many people have invested in it and will continue to make loads of money whenever its value goes up.  If governments and people across the globe fully start trusting in Bitcoin, and the challenges within its transactions are upgraded, it might become one of the most popular means of online payments. Well, let’s wait and see!

5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs Social Media Marketing

Did you know that there are now over 3.7 billion Internet users in the world as of March 2017? Currently, billions of people now spend their time on the Internet – and you guessed it, on social media platforms. According to recently released data, Facebook has over 2 billion active users, YouTube has 1.5 billion users, Instagram has 250 million users, and Twitter has 328 million users.

Long gone are the days when social media used to be a medium for personal connections only. Many businesses are now increasingly using social media marketing, and have reported the benefits.  If your business is yet to implement social media marketing – here’s the truth, you will be left behind. Here are 5 reasons why you should start social media marketing for your business.

  1. Building Your Brand

A strong brand is very essential for any business – it improves business productivity. It facilitates a business by ‘hooking’ its customers, to keep buying their products and services.  Social media will provide a channel for you to present your services, to customers who are then able to learn, know and trust your services, therefore,  strengthening your brand.

2. Increase your Customer Base

Social media is based on interconnected networks. As such, it is possible for your present customers to share your products and services with all their connections – family and friends. Personally, I have received a lot of product shares on my Facebook account from sites I have not ‘liked’. There’s a good chance a sale or business deal can come out of such networking, which will increase your regulars.

3. Cost-effective Advertising

Companies use a lot of money to market and advertise their products. However, social media advertising is not as costly as other advertising channels including print media and TV ads. Want to reduce your marketing expenses? Jump into the social media marketing bandwagon.

4. More Web Presence

Using social media will grow your business web presence, both locally and internationally. You not only will be a proud owner of your website, but also social accounts and pages. Since it provides interactive tools, social media will help increase traffic to your website. More traffic means an increase in your business search ranking, which will enlarge your web presence – when people search your business online, they will have a lot of sites to go to.

5. Real- time Customer Engagement

Like mentioned above, social media allows direct customer interactions. Customers can ask for information about your products on the social sites, which you are then able to respond to in real time. Also, your business learns about your customer preferences from such exchanges. Consequently, you can make product and service improvements where necessary, thus improving your business efficiency.

To sum it up, social media offers your business a way to market itself and improve efficiency. So, if you want to see your business ‘climb the ladder’,  well, implement social media technology.

 

 

The Importance of Information Technology in Business Today

It’s hard to imagine a business that has not benefited from computer technology. Technology has revolutionized every industry – business corporations, government agencies, educational institutions, health, manufacturing and production and more.  It is even being implemented in agriculture with farmers across the globe now using computer technology for production records, research, financial planning, and procurement.

The formula for succeeding in business today is pretty simple: adopt information technology (IT). IT is the first thing startups in any industry are trying to figure out, and in this day and age, a business is not going far without it. That said, any company out there that is yet to embrace technology will soon be closing its doors.  Why? Because competitors will have then adopted technology to improve business operations and beat it black and blue out of the market.

Innovation in Business

Information technology fosters innovation in business.  Innovation results in faster processing improved data storage, smarter applications, broader and more rapid information sharing. Innovation enables enterprises to run their operations more efficiently. Additionally, innovation increases value, enhances quality, and boosts business productivity. Business innovation as a result of information technology has brought about radical changes in business organizations. I mean we can all agree on the fact that:

  • Online shopping is more efficient than shopping in a store.
  • Digital marketing is more efficient than a high-cost newspaper, television, and radio advertising.
  • Social networking is more efficient than going to business clubs.
  • VoIP business communication is more efficient than legacy telephony
  • Cloud computing is more efficient than private computer networks

Businesses that have incorporated innovation through IT have been proven to have characteristics including more accurate business planning, effective marketing, higher global sales, improved systematic management, real-time process monitoring, and instant customer support.

5 Ways How IT Accelerates Business Growth

Technological innovations have no doubt improved modern businesses in many ways. Here are five ways as to how IT helps promotes growth

  1. Information technology provides businesses with tools to solve complex problems.

IT provides improved hardware including faster processes, more memory, improved visual displays. All this integrated with smart applications make it easier for businesses to research and analyze data as well as plan scalability and solve complex problems

2. Information technology enables enterprises to make better decisions.

Strategic business decisions are based on solid market research. Information technology provides organizations with platforms and solutions to obtain business insights through online social media platforms, video conferencing, industry forums, public sentiment reviews as well as online surveys to get customer feedback. IT also provides tools such as Google Analytics and   Microsoft CRM for business intelligence

3. Information technology improves sales and marketing.

Unlike traditional marketing, Internet marketing using online advertising methods such as pay per click (PPC), Facebook Ads, and SEO is more accurate. It allows business to find the right target market, discover customer preferences and build effective marketing campaigns that can lead to sales. It’s difficult to tell how many people will see TV ad or read an ad in the newspaper, but it’s easy to figure out the number of people who saw and clicked on an online ad.

4. Information technology enhances customer support.

IT provides a lot of tools to offer customers support. They can receive assistance through emails, telephone, social media platforms, customer support forums, webinars, and so on. Moreover, customer relationship management (CRM) applications help businesses understand and engage better with customers

5. Information technology improves resource management.

Cloud computing services now enable a business to store information resources online allowing both workers and customer’s access to company resources anywhere in the world with just any device.

IT innovations are the future of business growth and success. Are you a business owner? Innovation with IT is the way to help your business improve efficiency, reach more customers, improve productivity and increase profits.

If you don’t embrace technology for your business, you will lag behind.