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Your Secret Business Tool – Social Media

Your Secret Business Tool – Social Media

Over time, some social media platforms can lose their initial popularity or significance. However, 'socialness' never changes. Regardless of the platform, each one gives businesses unequaled access and insight into their customers. When this information is used thoughtfully, businesses become privy to their customer's innermost thoughts, questions, interests, concerns, and dilemmas. In this post, we will look at how and why social media is the secret tool for operating a successful business.


Start With Building Trust

Without question, trustworthy companies are created from enduring relations. Customers initiate their transactions with 'company reps', irrespective of the company's status. So, to grow these business relationships, trust must be involved. But how do you start building trust? Here's how:

You Need To Be Present

The key is being available to the community members. For example, answer and follow up with all the direct messages and comments from users. Give value to those who read and interact with your posts. View them as people who may promote your business. Not as data or credit cards. They are people.

Display Your Humanity

Showing your face in a video or an occasional selfie can really resonate with customers. Seeing you online for a long time can make them feel like they know you because they've seen how you interact with people and what you post. Showing some humanity is valuable because your followers are interested in knowing you, not just what's being marketed. Examples are posting photos of fun company staff outings or perhaps retweets from admired companies/individuals.

Additionally, don't forget the power of humility. Trust can be built by admitting your mistakes. Sharing content describing what you've learned along the way is a great place to start, along with adding a bit of humor.

Be Transparent

Trust gets built from being helpful and being honest. Just as you can see that with friends, it's also true on social media. Honesty should be applied to your customer's questions and queries. Transparency shows that you do care about them. Responding quickly and even quirkily to every customer query, whether or not they're worthy of being answered in the first place, can generate higher engagement and often praise from the social media community.

Along with being honest and transparent, having a consistent tone is vital to building trust across social media. If the best manner of voice for your business is friendly and conversational, reflect that in all the captions, answers, and messages you post and send to your users.

Even though it can take a lot of time to build up trust, it takes very little time to break it. Trust can be destroyed in an instant if people' sense' you are misleading, deceptive, or you promote some specific cause and do nothing to support it.

Learning to Listen

So far, we've outlined the importance of building trust by being present, human, and transparent. Now we'll focus on understanding the power of listening. Most people listen with the intent to reply rather than the goal to understand. Especially with social media. No matter if it's what people say about your product or service, what your competitors are doing, or what the buzz is in your industry, the key to success is listening with the goal of complete understanding. When you know what's going on in your respective industry, you're more apt to find your way to participate in that conversation.


Creating Valuable Content

The term "valuable content" for digital users has different meanings for different people. A useful identification filter to use is "help, don't hype."

Listen to the questions being asked in your industry and answer them with your product or service. Inherent value is created when problems such as "How is this done?", "Where can I find that?" or "How does this work?" are resolved rather than just selling your products. Users get the distinct impression that you know what you're doing, and they can really trust your products or services, even if a specific product isn't mentioned anywhere in the blog post.

Here are some ways to begin creating content that's of value to your users, no matter what your area of business:

Make Your Content Customer-Focused

Many companies nowadays post information about their business. The content becomes more valuable to a customer when it's personalized for them, answers a problem they might have, or inspires them. Customer-focused content is what helps your customers make informed decisions and keeps them returning to you.

Request Real Feedback

The famous phrase, "There's no such thing as a stupid question." is especially true when it involves your audience. Encourage them to ask questions and provide their feedback. You cannot define what is valuable. Only your audience can. So ask. Every question that your ideal client asks is an opportunity to create valuable content that answers that question. To determine what content appears to deliver the largest impact on your audience, review your website analytics. You can also check your website analytics to find out which content seems to have the most audience impact and concentrate on producing additional content in the same arena.

Produce Content That Reflects Your Business

Valuable content helps people to understand your product or service and stimulates positive engagement amongst the users. However, this doesn't mean re-strategizing content purely for higher engagement levels. For success on social media, your content needs to be useful and informative, or people will look elsewhere.

Which Platform Works Best for Relationship Building?

Your best social media platform to use is the one where the people you want (your potential customers) are the most active. It might be Twitter, Instagram, or one of several others.
You will need to review your business and resources. Here are some of the top social media platforms:

  • Facebook. Here you are able to interact with possible customers, competitors, professionals in my space, find new friends, and increase value. It has the most members worldwide based on population percentage. You can interact with other members, build connections, and trusted relationships. Additionally, you can benefit from Facebook ads along with 'audience tracking'. You have a dynamic retention tool in Facebook groups, where you can have one-on-one exchanges regularly with platform members.
  • Instagram. Because of its pictorial nature, Instagram is inherently very appealing. With its feed and content, members are able to have interactions in various ways from the same location.
  • Twitter and LinkedIn. The Twitter and LinkedIn platforms are a dynamic pair for social marketing. They help you to engage prospects, find alternatives, and maintain connections until people are ready to buy or would refer you to someone else.
  • Markethive. Markethive delivers an Inbound Marketing platform equal or superior to Marketo and Hubspot. It includes email autoresponders, blogging platforms, landing pages, social media broadcasting, Tracking analytics, SEO, backlinking automation, messaging, e-commerce, and SEO. The benefits of these systems are to "attract," "convert," "close," and "delight." Building a large loyal long term customer base.

Improvement Of Your Social Media Presence

Social media is never a 'One and Done' relationship. It is always ongoing and evolving. What's critical is knowing it's not only concerning increasing your number of customers but also about extending your capacity and impacting your business sector. With the intention of advancement, review these useful guides:

  • Compose a conversation. Keep in mind you should be talking, not broadcasting. Since Social media utilizes conversational platforms, you should concentrate on creating conversations. That includes listening, questioning, and speaking with people, not at people. These days audiences are sick and tired of being talked at by individuals that just broadcast. They want to connect, and you can make the connection by involving yourself in their conversations.
  • Update & Optimize your social media Bio's. This is the initial image that potential connections will have of you. Unless your profile stands out from all the others on social media, your results will be less than you would like. Identify your points of difference and share them.
  • Try A/B testing. First, brainstorm for interesting, fresh topics that would reflect your business's image. Next, run the projects through a test in terms of their subject matter, post times, and headings by managing the results. If the results are favorable, proceed to the next test. For example, on Facebook, post a rough draft on a certain topic and see the response, i.e., questions asked, comments, and likes. From there, you can determine whether to leverage the quick post into longer-form content, such as a blog post or email.


Looking Ahead

Always remember, it's not about the technology; it's about the people. Social media platforms, without a doubt, can bring us together on both a personal and professional level with others. Perhaps the best way to move ahead, no matter how big or small your business, is using social media as a tool for understanding people. When your business prioritizes this understanding using open and honest engagement, trust can be slowly built, and success can indeed be had.


ecosystem for entrepreneurs


A Markethive Entrepreneur and a strong advocate of the Markethive mission for technology, world progress, and freedom of speech. I support change and endeavor to help others understand, grow, and move forward with enthusiasm to achieve their goals.




A Time Of Reckoning For Some, Emergence For Others

A Time Of Reckoning For Some, Emergence For Others

A time of reckoning for social media

With the turbulent state of affairs social media giants are experiencing, where does that leave users and advertisers? Some think they have nowhere else to go when in reality a whole new social and market media is emerging. 

If you thought that there was a surge in social media usage as a result of the global pandemic you may be surprised to hear that although many people used social media to stay in touch with family and friends, the covid element has not substantially increased the number of people using social networks or messaging apps simply because 4 out of 5 users already engage in the activities pre-pandemic. 

According to these statistics, they speak of existing users’ engagement, not of changes in the total number of users. In the US alone, the social network user space is saturated already with 81.3% of adult internet users and 73.2% of users of all ages, so there’s little room for new growth.

On a global level, there are 4.57 billion people using the internet with 3.81 billion active social media users and 5.16 billion unique mobile phone users. GlobalWebIndex found that tutorials and how-to videos are amongst the top kinds of content that consumers want more of during the COVID-19 crisis, and these may represent a particularly compelling opportunity for B2B brands.

As you would expect, this year did see a surge greater than expected in the number of live video users, video game viewers, and subscription over-the-top (OTT) users due to the pandemic, but social networking activities have not experienced the same hike.   

Notably, the ongoing and escalating problems of fake news, misinformation, divisive content, and censorship have created a somewhat toxic environment causing past users to have little incentive to rejoin or log in and current users may feel the need for a break from the cognitive dissonance. 

A New Sense Of Urgency

A social media reckoning, post the US election of the far-reaching power of Facebook and Google is at hand and the role social media giants play in dividing us or uniting us has taken on a new urgency with long-term trends in polarization leading to an evermore fractured America. 

The percentage of Americans that use social media surprisingly is the exact same number of people saying social media has a mostly negative effect on how the state of what’s happening in America at the moment where the people are politically divided. 

Of that, 25% say it’s neither negative nor positive with only 10% saying it helps people stay informed and aware. Coming in at 3rd place was the ability to connect, communicate, and sense of community. Lastly was the visibility of marginalized groups and activism of social movements. 

People will still continue to use social media and are reflective of society at large. They continue to use it even if they are fed up with what they are seeing on the platform. This indicates the reality of how social media is embedded in our culture and reflects on what is actually going on around us. 

The intent of many users though, is to catch up with loved ones and friends and don’t focus on the divisive or high profile content so there is a disconnect, however, many look for or are subject to some kind of news. 

When asked, people said the biggest frustrations and reasons social media has a negative effect is in order of preference with an overwhelmingly lead being;

  1. Misinformation and fake news 
  2. Hate, harassment, and extremism
  3. People believing everything and not knowing what to believe 
  4. People bothered by censorship and bias
  5. Too much negativity 

A Rise In Cognitive Dissonance 

Cognitive dissonance is a primary issue and experienced by many users which can happen when we are exposed to differing opinions on social media, and when we are not able to choose which is the right one, we experience cognitive dissonance.

This behavior is more evident online and on social networking sites where people continue to bombard others with differing thoughts and opinions. With Facebook as an example, what started out as a platform to catch up with family and friends has turned into a stage for activism and movements, disinformation, segregation, politicization, and diminishing self-esteem and mental health in individuals in many cases. 

With emerging technology and the post-pandemic normal way of life, we won’t see a shift away from social media in general. However, individuals need to understand how to cope with the emotional upheaval that comes with cognitive dissonance. 

Some of the emotions that we experience as a result of cognitive dissonance are dread, guilt, anger, frustration, anxiety, stress, etc. Most of us are aware of our belief systems. However, when we realize that there may be a grain of truth in another person’s views and opinions, it conflicts with our own beliefs. 

One of my favorite sayings is “live and let live” so by accepting that there are opposing views around us and if we hold true to ourselves these conflicting opinions have no power over us. 

Lack Of Critical Thinking Skills A Culprit

At a roundtable conference, a panel of industry insiders discussed the issues about the spread of disinformation on social media. It was identified that many people are not trained well in the skill of critical thinking. They are unable to differentiate a biased or untrustworthy source of information from a reliable one. 

It was suggested to aggressively teach both confirmation bias and argumentative theory at a young age so an individual can learn to self-mitigate. A sure defense would be to equip everyone to be their own best advocate and critically evaluate all the information and the motives behind that information. 

Laura DiDio, a high tech analyst remarked,

"Everyone needs to check and vet their sources of information and not simply jump to conclusions and retweet or share so-called 'facts' before they are certain that it is the factual and correct information." 

"Think for yourself and question everything! That's a good start." 


Will Advertisers Stay On These Platforms? 

Throughout the years we saw greater user adoption that led to a popular explosion and expansion of these tech giants, more and more companies and brands came on board to increase their exposure to social media users reaching into the billions. 

However, according to pundits that believe social media reckoning has already started, many companies may be questioning whether these controversial platforms are actually good for business. They may well be revisiting their priorities and social responsibilities, what they stand for, and whether they match up or want to be associated with what they are now seeing on the social platforms. 

Well over 90% of Facebook's revenue comes from advertising with 8 million active advertisers, however as recently cited in the Washington Post “outrage is built into Facebook’s ability to profit”, it seems that the most divisive and emotive content tends to be more effective. 

It’s also been the platform’s algorithms placing ads alongside this type of content that has provoked many brands to question their presence on the platform. So advertisers are suffering twofold; They are funding the continued success of Facebook by purchasing ad space in its “outrage based” ad model plus their brand name and ads are placed automatically in content that could well be damaging to their public perception. 

The Kindness Economy 

Mary Portas, creative director and well versed in the fashion and retail sector for many years spoke about how we are entering a new phase and culture she labels “kindness economy”. She explained in a recent talk on a TEDx event that people are increasingly taking into account the moral values of a brand when choosing who to buy from. 

Mary believes an economy built on kindness is not weak, but strong leading to a foundation of a business that has truth, integrity, longevity, and commerciality.  Any business that organizes itself around this kinder way of behaving, will be the ones that win. The triple bottom line is people, planet, and profit – in that order.

This philosophy rings true for many high-profile brands such as Unilever, Verizon, Starbucks, HP, Microsoft, and Coca-Cola who have already pulled their advertising from Facebook realizing an increasing need to instigate change, also self-reflect and think about how to improve the ways they communicate with consumers as an industry. 

This stance is not just about a political statement, it’s also about the chance to reassert some control over their marketing.  


Tech Giants Time Of Reckoning

The social media monopoly will either be facing some kind of reform and regulatory risk, as the US Congressional antitrust hearings with the CEOs of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google that recently concluded, hand down their findings. The investigation addressed claims that big tech firms wield too much dominance over the market. 

Any legislation of antitrust action may take some time subject to the political and bureaucratic red tape but whatever the regulators decide, users may well become alienated by the increasingly poisonous atmosphere on social media. A decline in user engagement would negate the incentive for businesses to pay for advertisements.   

We could see a mass exodus of users decamp from their once believed sanctuary as other platforms rise up as the solution to the advancing dystopia caused by the “too big to fail” data harvesters of Web 2.0. 


The Irony Of It All

Ironically Facebook sold the idea of privacy to early users, back in the MySpace era. At that time, privacy was the currency and since social media was free, the promise of privacy was an important distinction and pivotal in competition. 

Facebook made this promise initially: “We do not and will not use cookies to collect private information from any user.” In contrast, MySpace had a policy in which anyone could see anyone else’s profile. So MySpace users jumped on the Facebook train. 

As Facebook gathered market share, it attempted to roll back some of those privacy promises and in 2007, Beacon was released which tracked Facebook users while they visited other sites. The “like” button was introduced in 2010 and that also enabled the company to track users.

 By 2014, Facebook publicly announced that it would be using code on third-party websites for tracking and surveillance purposes. This is a blatant reneging on their promise it had used to establish market dominance initially. 

Facebook was fined $122 million in 2017 in Europe for violating a promise it made not to share the data from WhatsApp with the rest of the company. And in 2019, it paid a $5 billion settlement to the FTC for a variety of privacy violations. Too big to fail or too big for its boots? We’ll see. 


The New Disrupters – A New Dawn

Many have already escaped the dictatorial protocols or they’ve been banned, making their way to more sovereign platforms using Blockchain technology and cryptocurrency, making it a no-brainer for individuals and companies to take advantage of monetization with the added benefits of autonomy and privacy afforded by this technology

Known as the new disrupters they are capturing user attention and the associated advertising revenue. These platforms may not be as big or popular as Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube, yet, but given time and the way things are going, they’ve come just in the nick of time.

Companies, marketers, brands, and individuals looking for a new home in social networking and advertising now have a choice. A Market Network has emerged to give back the control to its users whether it be social, marketing, affiliate, inbound, influencer, et al, various campaigns and publishing with the SaaS tools including tracking, analytics, also digital wallet and payment processing with access to an increasing user base of entrepreneurs and publishers. 

The marketing industry in general is an incredibly sociable industry that thrives on building relationships. Markethive at its core has grown into a thriving ecosystem and is a most effective way to earn an income online, drive sales, and increase brand awareness. If the essential issue is one of control then Markethive with its varying modes of marketing puts you, as the brand in ultimate control. 


ecosystem for entrepreneurs


Deb Williams
A Crypto/Blockchain enthusiast and a strong advocate for technology, progress, and freedom of speech. I embrace "change" with a passion and my purpose in life is to help people understand, accept, and move forward with enthusiasm to achieve their goals. 




Bitbengrab is the 24/7 Arbitrage Trading Opportunity Traders Crave

Bitbengrab is the 24/7 Arbitrage Trading Opportunity Traders Crave

Cryptocurrency trading has indeed evolved this past decade

– from being a space where looking for fellow traders was highly dependent on chat forums to becoming one of the most ubiquitous activities in finance as adoption frequently tends towards new horizons. As a result, there are numerous exchanges around the world – based on region, competitive service offerings, and possible ease-of-use. One thing to note is that these cryptocurrency exchanges are almost always asynchronous in their price data as the oracles that feed these them the data lag and oftentimes deviate from ‘global standards’ and exchanges aren’t always quick to react to these changes. This gives rise to arbitrage trading opportunities where traders can buy and sell assets from one exchange to another leveraging the price differences to make a profit. Sometimes, these trades are risky as the profits are negligible and could result in net losses for traders. At other times, it could be that big break the trader has been waiting for.

Here comes Bitbengrab, the seamless arbitrage trading platform

The UK-based Bitbengrab company has a team that comprises of expert traders and programmers with decades of experience on their side. They have designed the trading platform to become the go-to service point for traders seeking to take advantage of price differences that occur on dozens of cryptocurrency exchanges with just a few clicks. This absolves the trader of the daunting task of navigating through multiple exchanges to manually monitor these arbitrage opportunities.

How does it work?

Basically, Bitbengrab uses libraries to connect to multiple exchanges and fetch price data and order books at intervals, and after collecting the data tries to find price differences between multiple market pairs and exchanges. Once this is done, in a few easy steps, the trader is presented a wide range of arbitrage opportunities and can decide to either trade them manually or automatically with the trader’s exchange API connected.

Currently, Bitbengrab supports 29 exchanges with plans to add more in the future. The platform requires its users to have an account on the respective exchanges where these trades will be carried out, and enough balances to execute the trade should the trader decide to go with the API option. Once the exchange API has been linked to Bitbengrab, all the user needs to do is set permission for balance and trade as the platform doesn’t require permission for withdrawal or deposits – hence, funds are safe.

To Bitbengrab, true arbitrage trading means risk-free trading and therefore focuses on the trader to ensure that all possible scenarios to maximize profit are presented. How to begin using Bitbengrab First, users have to sign up with Bitbengrab, and by making payments through the CoinPayment gateway, they can subscribe to any of the following access plans:

  • 0.03 BTC for 1 month
  • 0.0285 BTC for 3 months (with 5% discount)
  • 0.027 BTC 6 months (with 10% discount)
  • 0.024 BTC for a whole year (with 20% discount)

Secondly, traders need to connect their exchange API(s) to the platform, and then view and manage all the opportunities available right from the Bitbengrab dashboard. Another important feature of the platform is that it’s so easy to use and can serve new and inexperienced, and savvy traders alike. A video guide has been provided to aid with the setup and begin trading in a few minutes.

Article Produced By
James Woods

Cryptophile, Tech Geek, and an avid developer.



Poll: Americans give social media a clear thumbs-down

Americans give social media a clear thumbs-down

A sizable majority say social media does more to divide the country than unite it, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.


Fifty-seven percent of Americans say social media does more to divide the nation than unite it.NBC News

WASHINGTON — The American public holds negative views of social-media giants like Facebook and Twitter, with sizable majorities saying these sites do more to divide the country than unite it and spread falsehoods rather than news, according to results from the latest national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

What’s more, six in 10 Americans say they don’t trust Facebook at all to protect their personal information, the poll finds. But the public also believes that technology in general has more benefits than drawbacks on the economy, and respondents are split about whether the federal government should break up the largest tech companies like Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook.

“Social media — and Facebook, in particular — have some serious issues in this poll,” said Micah Roberts, a pollster at the Republican firm Public Opinion Strategies, which conducted this survey with the Democratic firm Hart Research Associates. “If America was giving social media a Yelp review, a majority would give it zero stars,” Roberts added.

According to the poll, 57 percent of Americans say they agree with the statement that social media sites like Facebook and Twitter do more to divide the country, while 35 percent think they do more to bring the nation together. Fifty-five percent believe social media does more to spread lies and falsehoods, versus 31 percent who say it does more to spread news and information. Sixty-one percent think social media does more to spread unfair attacks and rumors against public figures and corporations, compared with 32 percent who say it does more to hold those public figures and corporations accountable.

And a whopping 82 percent say social media sites do more to waste people’s time, versus 15 percent who say they do more to use Americans’ time well. But those numbers also come as nearly seven in 10 Americans — 69 percent — say they use social media at least once a day. The negative attitudes about social media are shared by Democrats, Republicans, men, women, urban residents and rural ones. One variable, however, is age — with younger poll respondents less likely to believe that social media divides the country and spreads unfair attacks and rumors.

Sixty percent don’t trust Facebook to protect personal information

The NBC/WSJ poll also finds Americans are down on Facebook, with 60 percent saying they don’t trust the company at all to protect personal information. Just 6 percent say they trust it either “a lot” or “quite a bit.” By contrast, the percentage of Americans not trusting companies or institutions with their personal information is lower for Amazon (28 percent), Google (37 percent) and the federal government (35 percent).

And by a 74 percent-to-23 percent margin, respondents say that social media companies collecting users’ personal data to allow advertisers to target them is not an acceptable tradeoff for free or lower-cost services. Overall, 36 percent of adults view Facebook positively, while 33 percent see it negatively. And Twitter’s rating is 24 percent positive, 27 percent negative. “If these were political candidates, it would be one thing,” said Democratic pollster Jeff Horwitt of Hart Research Associates. “But for companies, you’d think these ratings would be [more] on the positive side.”

Down on social media, but upbeat about technology

Despite these sour attitudes about social media, the NBC/WSJ poll shows that Americans are upbeat about technology in general. Fifty-nine percent of respondents agree with the statement that technology has more benefits than drawbacks, because it means products and services can be cheaper and made more efficiently.

That’s compared with 36 percent who believe that technology has more drawbacks than benefits, because it means workers are being replaced by robots and computers.And 60 percent of Americans say they feel more hopeful rather than more worried when thinking about the changes that technology might bring over the next five years. Asked if the federal government should break up the largest tech companies — like Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google — into smaller competing companies, 47 percent say they agree and 50 percent disagree.

In addition to the 69 percent of Americans who say they use social media at least once a day, the NBC/WSJ poll finds 63 percent saying they pay most of their bills online; 48 percent saying they’ve tried to limit their smartphone use; 42 percent saying they’ve made an effort to quit or limit social media; 26 percent who have blocked or unfriended someone on Facebook or social media because of their political views; and 14 percent saying they play an online multiplayer video game like Fortnite.

And asked how old is a child under 18 old enough to have their own smartphone, 42 percent answer ages 15 and older; 40 percent say ages 12 to 14; and 11 percent say ages 11 and younger. The NBC/WSJ poll was conducted March 23-27 of 1,000 adults – almost half reached by cellphone – and it has an overall margin of error of plus-minus 3.1 percentage points.

Article Produced By
Mark Murray

Mark Murray is a senior political editor at NBC News.




Blockchain4Humanity Awards for Social Applications to be Unveiled at Labitconf Conference 2018

Blockchain4Humanity Awards for Social Applications to be Unveiled at Labitconf Conference 2018


Blockchain4Humanity, Blockchain4Goodrocks,

Bitcoin ONG Argentina, and RSK are teaming up to create a safe environment for projects to innovate and bring solutions that contribute to a positive change in the world. Social Impact projects restore trust in the Blockchain technology’s potential to significantly change the way we interact with each other and the world around us.

Blockchain4Humanity (B4H) strives for a world where the inequality gap is minimized, where business models bring positive change in people’s lives, and where an inclusive economy flourishes. Unfortunately, looking at the world as it is now, social impact projects are few and sporadic. Last year, the Blockchain4Humanity Awards were born at the renowned South-American Bitcoin Conference: Labitconf. Initially conceptualized by RSK and Bitcoin Argentina, it was decided to support the teams using Blockchain technology to shape a better world. b4H gives them the opportunity to accelerate their ideas and concepts, and bring us closer to this ideal world.

B4H seeks strong teams that can make good use of blockchain for social good, certain that the results could be groundbreaking. For example, the 2017 Blockchain4Humanity Awards unveiled the awesome work of EthicHub platform, which makes lending accessible to thousands of coffee producers while increasing returns to the lender. Modeling high social impact while offering an attractive return to the platform participants, EthicHub is an example of projects that b4H wishes to accelerate and support the mainstream adoption.

The whole b4H family is excited to receive applications and continuous to encourage great projects to come forward for the Blockchain4Humanity Awards, that will be presented by NGO Bitcoin Argentina and RSK in December 2018 at Labitconf Conference in Santiago de Chile.  After last year’s awards were released, the Blockchain4Humanity team, collaborators and partners made 2018 the year of defining and exploring all possibilities to create a decentralized accelerator that propels promising projects. Now with a strong network of partners, and the joining of Temco Labs as sponsors, the awards and the acceleration programs have enough fuel to start for this second edition.

Next wave of promising projects is coming as applications are now open via a simple online form at b4h.world until the 15th of November. Selected projects will be onboarded on the b4H Decentralized Altruistic Community (DAC) on the Giveth platform. The b4H DAC will ensure projects will be coached and mentored on all aspects that lead to the healthy delivery of a product.

Article Produced By
Bob Keith

Chronic crypto nut and freelance writer/editor for longer than I care to remember. Have finally found a home here at Crypto Disrupt.



IBM Launches Blockchain Platform on Cloud Service in Melbourne

IBM Launches Blockchain Platform on Cloud Service in Melbourne


IBM has released its blockchain main net

out of its data center located in Melbourne, Australia. This will purportedly allow their customers to run their applications on the company's cloud, according to an article published on news outlet ZDNet on Feb 11. The IBM platform was built on Hyperledger Fabric. Hyperledger is a project that aims to improve cross-industry blockchain technologies that is hosted by the Linux Foundation.

A Sydney-based IBM data center is reportedly set to open at the end of March, joining the other centers in Tokyo, London, Dallas, São Paulo, and Toronto. The head of blockchain for IBM in Australia and New Zealand, Rupert Colchester, told ZDNet that a second center would make the technology more widely available and provide a redundancy. Additionally, with the establishment of physical infrastructure, customer data will not have to cross borders, and would provide security for regulated applications in government and financial services. Colchester said, “Customers who are deploying blockchain applications have reached a maturity of projects that requires the data to be stored in Australia."

Colchester added that blockchain technology is widely applied and is “pretty much active” across all industries in Australia. He said, “I do very few education sessions nowadays, but there is a lot of discussion whereby clients are trying to understand how best they can apply it to the business problems they have." In September of last year, Australian real estate major Vicinity announced it will trial a blockchain solution for its energy network. Through a partnership with Australian energy tech company Power Ledger, the trial became a part of Vicinity’s $75 million solar energy program in Castle Plaza — a mall located in Adelaide, South Australia.

IBM has been actively expanding its use of blockchain technology. On Jan 31, IBM completed a blockchain-based trial in which it shipped 108,000 mandarin oranges from China to Singapore. The technology purportedly reduced paperwork handling and costs for the shipment, On Feb. 8, IBM announced that a project using blockchain and the Internet of Things (IoT) to combat drought in the United States state of California is underway. IBM Research and sensor tech provider SweetSense partnered with the University of Colorado Boulder and the non-profit Freshwater Trust to use blockchain and IoT to manage the use of groundwater.

Article Produced By
Miranda Karanfili

Miranda is a journalist based out of New York City. She is a dedicated writer, passionate about storyelling and making voices heard through her writing. She has joined Cointelegraph as a News Editor.



Hyundai Commercial Partners With IBM to Accelerate Blockchain Development

Hyundai Commercial Partners With IBM to Accelerate Blockchain Development


Hyundai Commercial — a financial services subsidiary

of leading South Korean automobile manufacturer Hyundai — has announced a partnership with American tech giant IBM to modernize its business model using blockchain. The news was announced on Feb. 13 at IBM’s annual tech and business conference “IBM Think 2019” in San Francisco, California. Hyundai Commercial is reportedly “a corporate finance company that provides leasing and financial services for commercial vehicles and construction equipment.” The partnership with IBM will focus on using open source Hyperledger Fabric blockchain technology to create a new supply chain financing ecosystem for the Hyundai Commercial network.

Network participants — which include automobile dealers, distributors and manufacturers —  will have access to a real-time, shared view of all transactions on the blockchain, allowing for this data to be securely managed and efficiently distributed. The technology will also offer efficiency gains by automating hitherto manual processes. The announcement also reveals that a separate Hyundai financial services subsidiary, Hyundai Card, will be partnering with IBM to implement its machine learning technology to create an artificial intelligence-based chatbot for customer services.

As previously reported, IBM is fast developing its blockchain-based offerings — across financial services, supply chain, government, retail, digital rights management, healthcare and insurance. Recent projects include the use of blockchain and Internet of Things (IoT) to combat drought in the state of California, as well as a $700 million deal with one of Europe’s largest banks, Banco Santander, to accelerate the Spanish bank’s use of blockchain technology.

As reported, Chung Dae-sun — the nephew of the CEOs of Hyundai Group and Hyundai Motors — founded HDAC, a Korean blockchain-based IoT platform and issuer of the Hyundai-DAC token (DAC), alongside a fintech and blockchain subsidiary HyundaiPay. Earlier this week, HyundaiPay signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote the growth of fintech startups in Busan, South Korea’s second most populous city.

Article Produced By
Marie Huillet

Marie Huillet is an independent filmmaker, with a background in journalism and publishing. Nomadic by nature, she’s lived in five different countries this decade. She’s fascinated by Blockchain technologies’ potential to reshape all aspects of our lives.




Top 10 Messenger App Telegram Plans Blockchain Platform Launch in March: Sources

Top 10 Messenger App Telegram Plans Blockchain Platform Launch in March: Sources


Global messaging app Telegram plans

to release the mainnet and token for its blockchain-based Telegram Open Network (TON) platform as early as March 2019. The news was revealed to Cointelegraph by a source close to Telegram founder and CEO Pavel Durov today, Jan. 23. Telegram — which reportedly counts 200+ million active users per month, placing it among the top ten most popular messaging apps worldwide — raised almost $1.7 billion in two private initial coin offering (ICO) rounds last year for both Telegram and its forthcoming platform TON.

Cointelegraph’s source has emphasized that Durov was reluctant to confirm a concrete date for TON's release and that the March estimate remains subject to change. According to a separate report from Russian business media outlet The Bell, Durov’s team has told investors that TON is 90 percent ready, but that delays are possible, due to the “innovative nature of the development.” As reported, details released so far have suggested that TON will aim to function as “new way of exchanging data,” and will be powered by the platform’s native cryptocurrency, dubbed “Gram.”

As reported in May, 2018, the staggering success of Telegram’s pre-sales prompted the company to subsequently decide to cancel a public ICO that had been slated for later in 2018. Despite rumors that the Russian billionaire and former owner of Chelsea FC Roman Abramovich backed the project, only two entrepreneurs — co-founder of payment service Qiwi, Sergei Solonin, and co-founder of dairy giant Wimm-Bill-Dann, David Yakobashvili — have publicly confirmed their investments to date.

Following news that TON was “70 percent ready” last October, the government of Iran stepped up its restrictions on the messaging app, declaring that any cooperation with the app to launch its Gram token would be considered an act against national security and a disruption to the national economy. Iran has enforced a spate of bans against Telegram since April 2018. The app has also notably been blocked in Russia — Durov’s birthplace — since April 2018, officially due to Durov’s refusal to share the app’s encryption keys with authorities in compliance with a local telecoms law. According to data at the time of the block, around 10 million of Telegram’s users are based in Russia.

Article Produced By
Marie Huillet

Marie Huillet is an independent filmmaker, with a background in journalism and publishing. Nomadic by nature, she’s lived in five different countries this decade. She’s fascinated by Blockchain technologies’ potential to reshape all aspects of our lives.



Facebook agrees to do more to tackle scam ads after celebrity defamation lawsuit

Facebook agrees to do more to tackle scam ads after celebrity defamation lawsuit

Facebook has agreed to plough more resource

into combating the use of its advertising platform by scammers, saying it will do more to tackle scam ads that use well-known public figures to try to trick consumers. It plans to launch a dedicated scam ad report button in the UK, slated to go live in around three months’ time, as well as set up a specialist, locally-based team to monitor ad reports, keep an eye on scammer trends and generally work on getting celebrity-exploiting scam ads taken down more quickly than its current AI-aided ad review systems have been doing.

The new measures were announced in a joint press conference with UK consumer advice personality, Martin Lewis, who launched a defamation lawsuit against Facebook in April, saying the social network giant had failed to stop scammers using his image on scores of ads that aimed to swindle consumers, thereby damaging his reputation.

Lewis filed suit after becoming frustrated by the scale of scam ads bearing his image and Facebook’s tepid response to the problem its platform has created — telling the Guardian last year: “What is particularly pernicious about Facebook is that it says the onus is on me, so I have spent time and effort and stress repeatedly to have them taken down.” He confirmed today that he’s dropped the lawsuit after Facebook agreed to make changes.

“There were over 1,000 on Facebook in a year. And the way that the company acted then wasn’t good enough, so I had to resort to [taking legal action],” he said during the press conference, adding that he had wanted to see “tangible real change to the number of scam ads on the platform”, so was happy to drop the lawsuit because he believes the new report button will do that. Facebook has also agreed to provide funding to help get a citizens scam advice service up and running in partnership with UK consumer advice charity, Citizens Advice. Lewis said he was delighted with that outcome.

The social network giant, which took in $13.73BN in revenue last quarter, said it will donate cash and Facebook ad credits to the value of £3 million over the next three years to help set up the new scam advice bureau within the charity. This will be called ‘Citizens Advice scams action project’ (aka Casa), and the pair said it will aim to provide information and support to consumers who are concerned they are being targeted by or have fallen victim to a scam.

Facebook’s support for Casa breaks down into £2.5M in cash over the next two years, and £500,000’s worth of ad credit coupons for ads on its own platform, which it said will be distributed in tranches over the next three years. There was little detail on exactly how Casa will operate at this nascent stage but given the ad credit donation its work will presumably include running scam awareness ads on Facebook — funded (initially) by Facebook itself. Ergo, part of the company’s donation will be ploughed straight back into its own ad business.

Pressed on whether its approach with an ad report button still puts too much onus on consumers to have to protect themselves from scams being spread on Facebook’s platform, its regional director for Northern Europe, Steve Hatch, claimed it does already take down “huge amounts of these ads” but admitted its ad review systems are “not perfect” — hence the company seeing value in introducing a button for direct user reports of dodgy ads.

For his part Lewis said he had never wanted to have to go to court but said his intention had rather been to draw attention to the problem and pressure Facebook to do more. He said he was therefore pleased it had agreed to do more to tackle scam ads. “This button is only in the UK. This is not Facebook worldwide. This is unique to the United Kingdom that has not been done anywhere else and it is a direct result of this scam ads campaign. And I’m actually very grateful to Steve and his team here in the UK for pushing this on what is normally a global organization that works in a global way,” he said.

Albeit, to be clear, Facebook is not accepting legal liability for scam ads. And there’s no suggestion that any existing victims of the scam ads which bore Lewis’ image are going to be in line for any direct compensation from Facebook for their losses. Asked directly about the compensation point, Hatch sidestepped the question, saying Facebook is focusing on what more it can do to stop scammers from defrauding people in the first place.

Also pressed on why it had taken a lawsuit by a celebrity consumer champion to get it to do more, he said: “This is an area we’ve focused on for a very, very long time. But what [Lewis] has really pushed us towards is this specific focus about the use of public images and celebrity.” While the new measures are UK only for now, Hatch suggested Facebook might look to expand the approach elsewhere if it proves successful.

“We’ve started in the UK,” he said in response to another question. “Like any system if we find it works — and we sincerely hope that it does, we think we’ve got the right amount of focus, we think we’ve got the right amount of investment behind it — it’s very imaginable that we would take this out to other markets. But what we want to make sure is we’re getting this right.”

He also said it would be important for Facebook to find the right partner to work with in other markets, as it’s doing with Citizens Advice in the UK. While Lewis sounded happy to end his publicity focused legal battle against Facebook, having won some tangible concessions from the company, he warned that unchecked scam ads persist on other platforms, and said he is “not ruling out another lawsuit if things don’t improve”– namechecking Google and Yahoo as two of the other platforms now in his sights.

“Over the last few weeks I have again been plagued by scam adverts. A few of them have been on Facebook and when we’ve told Facebook they’ve taken them down very quickly. I can’t expect more. I accept that the technology isn’t perfect. What I want is proactive response, good team set up and them being taken down quickly. But that’s not the case with Google,” he said, adding that the problem is even more difficult to combat where Google is concerned given it’s more difficult to know where the ads are being served, as they can be served across even more touchpoints.

“I believe they’re not even giving us a direct contact at the moment,” he added, discussing Google’s response to complaints his team has filed about scam ads bearing his image. “We’re just having to go through the normal reporting channels, that everything goes through, even though I’m a major target of scam ads. By the nature of what I do, by both being on television and the subjects that I talk about — and being relatively trusted on that subject — means that my click through rate, apparently, for scam ads is really good!” We reached out to Google and Yahoo for a response to Lewis’ comments. (Disclosure: TechCrunch’s parent, Verizon Media Group/Oath, is also the parent company of Yahoo.)

A Google spokesperson told us:

Because we want the ads people see on Google to be useful and relevant, we take immediate action to prevent fake and inappropriate ads. We have a tool where anyone can report these ads and these complaints are reviewed manually by our team. In 2017, we removed 3.2 billion bad ads and we’re constantly updating our policies as we see new threats emerge.

A Verizon Media spokesperson also sent us the following statement:

Deceptive and misleading ads are not acceptable, and we expect our partners to comply with all laws, regulations and our policies, which prohibit this activity. We block ads in violation of our policies, as well as bad actors who work to circumvent our human and automated controls. The landscape of bad actors is continually evolving and we are committed to evolve with it to help keep our platforms and users protected.

“The big problem that we face is that [online advertising] is a Wild West,” Lewis continued, saying the problems he’s faced extend to “many other online advertising tools”. “This is an absolute Wild West with people sitting all over the world, and with very little regulation, no criminal enforcement — because frankly the Met Police are not going to go to whatever these country these people are in and arrest them, and that’s the problem with online advertising. Hence why I’ve targeted the platform to say the only thing we can do… is deny them the oxygen of publicity and deny them access to the individuals.”

“I want online advertisers to see this as a warning shot across their bows,” he also said, calling on Google and the online advertising industry as a whole “to start to take responsibility”, adding: “Real people are seeing their livelihood taken away, their life savings taken away. People are losing money that they need to live on by irresponsible advertising protocols. It’s about time other firms stood up, took responsibility, improved their reporting protocols and started to give money to Citizens Advice scam action.

“Scam adverts make people distrust advertising. So this isn’t just an issue for the people who put the adverts out there but any company who does advertising in the UK legitimately, trying to get their message across, this is diluting what you are doing. So the advertising industry as a whole — not just the platforms — need to try and make sure this stops. Otherwise you’ll get close to the point where someone like me says never trust an advert online.” The issue of direct compensation for consumers scammed via online platforms is a matter for policy makers and regulators to work on, he added.

Article Produced By
Natasha Lomas


Natasha is a senior reporter for TechCrunch, joining September 2012, based in Europe. She joined TC after a stint reviewing smartphones for CNET UK and, prior to that, more than five years covering business technology for silicon.com (now folded into TechRepublic), where she focused on mobile and wireless, telecoms & networking, and IT skills issues. She has also freelanced for organisations including The Guardian and the BBC. Natasha holds a First Class degree in English from Cambridge University, and an MA in journalism from Goldsmiths College, University of London.



From Tim Cook to Yuval Harari – Disrupting Data, Protecting Privacy, Building Blockchains and Hacking Humans

From Tim Cook to Yuval Harari – Disrupting Data, Protecting Privacy, Building Blockchains and Hacking Humans

In a recent Time article,

Apple CEO Tim Cook calls for legislation to prevent data breaches and irresponsible collection of user profiles. “I and others are calling on the U.S. Congress to pass comprehensive federal privacy legislation—a landmark package of reforms that protect and empower the consumer.”

In 2018, Cook laid out four principles to guide legislation. The principles presented to a global body of regulators included the right to have data minimized, the right to knowledge of data collected, the right to access data, and the right to collect and delete personal data.Still, he believes that laws alone will not ensure privacy rights are observed. He wants tools that can help protect consumers from the shadow economy where data is sold to data brokers without users’ consent.

Cook explains,

“Meaningful, comprehensive federal privacy legislation should not only aim to put consumers in control of their data, it should also shine a light on actors trafficking in your data behind the scenes. Some state laws are looking to accomplish just that, but right now there is no federal standard protecting Americans from these practices.”

“That’s why we believe the Federal Trade Commission should establish a data-broker clearinghouse, requiring all data brokers to register, enabling consumers to track the transactions that have bundled and sold their data from place to place, and giving users the power to delete their data on demand, freely, easily and online, once and for all.”  In 2018 Cook championed the same principles blockchain developers are prioritizing: efforts to build transparent, decentralized systems that give users greater control over their digital identities.

While Cook proposes the creation of a centralized body to tackle privacy issues on the internet, blockchain developers are working on decentralized projects to solve many of the same issues. But the approach is fundamentally different. Cook trusts that a new group of people can sort out privacy issues; blockchain developers put more faith in math and machines. They’re building automated systems that can operate in cryptographically secure environments to monitor and enforce agreements and data-access privileges.

Different blockchain technologies, both public and private, offer different solutions for various privacy issues.

You can check "Have I Been Pwned" to see if your data has ever been breached.

Privacy focused internet browser Brave, for example, is designed to protect consumer data. Brave works closely with blockchain identity startup Civic, using its verification services to protect users’ identities. Brave reports that it currently has 5.5 million monthly users that avoid data-harvesting intermediaries.

Projects such as Enigma, Dfinity, Ethereum and Tron are building scalable blockchain solutions to create a decentralized internet. The idea is to rethink how data is moving in and out of vast silos that are controlled by corporations and governments. By giving users control of their data, and not clearinghouses, blockchain developers are potentially averting what author and historian Yuval Harari believes is the most challenging dilemma of our lifetime.

Says Harari,

“There is a lot of talk about hacking computers and emails and bank accounts, but actually we are entering into the era of hacking humans. And I would say, the most important fact anybody who is alive today needs to know about in the 21st century, is that we are becoming hackable animals. This is the most important thing….

“It starts on the surface. And this is what we already see today. It starts by having corporations and governments amass enormous amounts of data about where we go and what we search online and what we buy, and things like that. But this is all surface, and outside: how I behave in the world. The big watershed, the big change will come once it starts penetrating inside, inside your body. Once you can start monitoring and surveilling what’s happening inside your body, inside your brain, then you can really hack human beings. And this – we’re very close to it.”

Harari says an external system can eventually learn to know people better than they know themselves. “It will never know you perfectly. There is nothing perfect in the world. There is no such thing as perfect knowledge. Amazon or the government will never know you 100%. But it doesn’t need to. It just needs to know you better than you know yourself. And this is not very difficult, because most people don’t know themselves very well.”

It could take decades before the first human being is potentially hacked. Until then, the focus remains on securing data and eliminating abuses by profit-driven business models. As people try different methods to solve a common problem, from the creation of more centralized bodies or clearing houses, to the proliferation of decentralized blockchains that are both public and private, several outcomes could emerge. And there is no certain way to predict the future. But one question is becoming strikingly clear and increasingly critical as engineers and entrepreneurs move forward to advance various technologies. Which one should we trust more – man or machine?

Article Produced By
The Daily Hodl Staff



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