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A BP project in Oman shows how oil companies are taking fracking techniques perfected in Texas to the global stage, where they had long struggled.
WSJ.com: US Business
The nation’s top bank regulator has found evidence that institutions other than Wells Fargo & Co. may have created accounts without customers’ authorization — and a prominent Democrat wants the regulator to name names.
Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, the ranking Democrat on the Senate banking committee,…
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Have you ever wondered why, even though the freelance industry has grown tremendously in the past decades, it failed to acknowledge the recession issue at so many levels? We will come to that but let’s first explore the growing industry a little.
The industry, without a doubt, is trending upwards. To be fair, it has been growing for a couple of years, to the point that freelancers are nearly 35% of the American workforce these days. Isn’t that impressive? Those numbers show a remarkable paradigm shift in a country that, in other times, used to be the image of the 8-to-5 worker that made his, or her, living while being 100% loyal to the company or employer.
Working from the luxury of your home, at the time you feel most productive, is the real deal, and is a method that is still oozing potential for further growth; but at what cost? The freelance industry is not the fairytale that everyone wants to be in anymore. It has got its nightmares.
Granted, freelance platforms can connect people with numerous employers in almost every field: data entry jobs, writing, content creation, rewriting, editing, graphic design, programming, web designing, and so on. The world is filled with possibilities and with people that are willing to hire and pay freelancers in a timely and fair way. However, most freelance networks can’t assure you 100% that the employer is going to provide the payment, or that he/she won’t give you an unfair review despite you finishing the task in time and with wonderful results.
The never-ending quest for reliability
If it isn’t evident by now, the freelance industry is in dire need of a system or environment that can provide a sense of trust in the relationships and daily interactions between the two most relevant actors in the field, which are freelancers and employers.
In short, the industry currently lacks the foundations and principle standards to establish a trustworthy relationship between the two. That is where GigTricks comes into play, to try and solve the trust issue in the field.
GigTricks will provide all the ingredients to enhance transparency and trust levels between the clients and the freelancers. How does it do it? By implementing the blockchain technology, a very trendy measure that can offer reliability and security when it comes to transactions at all levels.
A complete, on-demand ecosystem with endless possibilities
Existing freelance platforms are excellent tools to get a job or, if you are an employer, to assign a task to someone under your own terms: you need it to be completed by a specific date and will pay a fixed, previously-agreed amount of money in exchange for the freelancer’s services and talent. However, some of these networks have issues in the reviews and skill rating sections, as they can provide a wrong public image about the business relationship established between the two parties.
GigTricks appears as a worldwide solution to those issues, as it represents the first truly 360® freelance and on-demand ecosystem, which will be reviewed and approved by millions of users around the globe.
All things considered, the platform will provide invaluable help in the freelancer community, as it is prepared to deal with any trust issues with the help of the blockchain model. The final goal is to put up a fight against global recession by giving people endless opportunities to work from their homes and generate profit to spend on their specific consumer needs.
Additionally, the freelancer community faces other challenges related to their activity, such as unstable internet connections. As the world becomes more crowded; services such as connectivity can fail in some locations. To combat that, GigTricks offers an innovative working mode: the blockchain-based Point-of-Sale will let freelancer conduct their business while being offline.
The GigTricks PoS devices will allow freelancers to have an integrated profile for both online/offline orders i.e. local clients can make payments in any currency or even crypto, and it will be converted into GBTC at real time. The local order record history will be stored in hyperledger and show in the GigTricks Pro profile. Moreover, the local clients can also submit a review that is after an initial automatic screening and manual filtration will be added to the Pro profile and incorporate in the overall profile rating as well as the individual skill rating of the freelancer.
Enhancing freelancer’s reputation with the most complete suite
The freelance industry is all about reputation. Employers tend to assess at least 50 applications before committing to giving their project to one freelancer in particular. Chances are that the person employing the subject in question spent hours looking at each profile, and he went for the one who they thought was more qualified.
How does a freelancer earn a strong profile? With skill ratings, reviews, and comments from the community, a term that can encompass previous employers, colleagues, and fellow freelancers.
The GigTricks Pro feature can be of great help for freelancers all over the world, no matter the location, as it can provide endless job opportunities by showcasing verified online profiles and portfolios.
The platforms contain several devices and tools that can make sure all actors stay connected and in constant communication in the entire process, all in a trustworthy and reliable way. The GigTricks Point of Sale (PoS), Marketplace, Social, Pro, and Learning services aim to leverage each other to offer benefits to everyone.
These benefits can also come in the form of GigBit Tokens, a special crypto utility token to interact with the GigTricks environment and that can be earned via the GigTricks Social activity. The ecosystem has a number of unblock-able achievements, skill tests, and other premium features, which can be purchased using the mentioned mean of payment.
The world’s best referee!
The freelance industry is also famous (or notorious, if you prefer the term) for hosting more than one dispute about a project. It is a natural course of things: sometimes, the client and the freelancer can’t seem to agree upon anything. However, these issues are not always solved in the fairest terms in existing freelance platforms.
However, GigTricks provides a feasible solution for disputes: the platform encourages an incentivized voting system within the community that adds the one ingredient missing in the equation that is trustworthiness. That way, both parties will have the certainty that the problem was dealt with in a fair way and not by a small, possibly biased staff.
All things told, the GigTricks ecosystem is a perfect measure to add trustworthiness to a growing industry. After all, more than 80 million people in North America, Europe, and Asia formally identify themselves as freelancers, and that number doesn’t include fast-rising markets such as South and Latin America.
Almost half of the millennials (approximately 47%) are into freelancing, and by current growth rates, by 2025, nearly half of the people in the United States of America will freelance. There is no denying that freelance-related activities represent the future of making money, and GigTricks is one of the best measures to provide the playing field with the right levels of reliability, transparency and security.
Join the freelance and on-demand revolution having 5 innovative products integrated into a single ecosystem. Presale will be live from 1st July 2018 to 30th July 2018.
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With Google’s ban on cryptocurrency advertising set to formally come into full effect this month, many representatives of the cryptocurrency and investment industries have spoken out against the company’s move.
Google Ban Expected to Come Into Effect This Month
Google announced that it would ban cryptocurrency advertising on its platform in March, following numerous anecdotal reports of declining ad performance on the company’s platforms from companies promoting initial coin offerings (ICOs). The move followed the implementation of similar advertising restrictions on Facebook.
The post stated that ads promoting “Cryptocurrencies and related content (including but not limited to initial coin offerings, cryptocurrency exchanges, cryptocurrency wallets, and cryptocurrency trading advice” would no longer be served on the company’s platforms “In June.”
Business Community Criticizes Crypto Ad Ban
The prohibitive policy regarding cryptocurrency adverts has garnered criticism from the community.
Revolut’s head of mobile, Ed Cooper, stated of the ban “Unfortunately, the fact that this ban is a blanket ban will mean that legitimate cryptocurrency businesses which provide valuable services to users will be unfairly caught in the crossfire. A more targeted approach would definitely be preferable: it would seem heavy-handed for example to put a blanket ban on all ads for job postings, anti-virus software or charities just because ads for these products and service are also sometimes used as an entry point by scammers to target consumers.”
The chief executive of UK-based investment firm Blackmore Group has accused Google of banning cryptocurrency ads due to harboring intentions of developing its own cryptocurrency. “I understand that Facebook and Google are under a lot of pressure to regulate what their users are reading, but they are still advertising gambling websites and other unethical practices. I suspect the ban has been implemented to fit in with potential plans to introduce their own cryptocurrency to the market in the near future and therefore removing other crypto adverts allows them to do it on their own terms.”
Whilst no hard evidence of Google having expressed a desire to develop a cryptocurrency exists, a spokesperson for the company told Business Insider “Like many new technologies, we have individuals in various teams exploring potential uses of blockchain but it’s way too early for us to speculate about any possible uses or plans” in March. In May, Ethereum’s founder, Vitalik Buterin, shared a screenshot of an email from Google’s recruiting department, further fueling speculation that Google may be considering a foray into distributed ledger technology.
Google as “Gatekeeper of Information”
Gareth Malna, a fintech lawyer at Burges Salmon, has stated that “The decision by Google to act as a quasi-regulator in this context is a potentially troubling development given its vast commercial power.”
“For Google to step in and block that market may sound like consumer protection, but is potentially overstepping its perceived role as gatekeeper to information,” Mr. Malna said.
Do you think that Google and Facebook will reverse their ad bans targeting cryptocurrency in the near future? Or are the restrictions here to stay? Join the discussion in the comments section below!
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This week news.Bitcoin.com spoke with the adult film star Brenna Sparks about how she’s been relentlessly promoting cryptocurrencies to her co-workers and peers throughout the sex industry. Sparks is a big believer in Bitcoin technology and thinks that someday in the future it will revolutionize the entire adult industry. Furthermore, Sparks is planning to film a few tutorials on how to use cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, but with a catch — Brenna plans on filming the educational videos naked. We decided to chat with Brenna about cryptocurrencies so our readers can get an in-depth view of how digital currencies like Bitcoin could transform the sex industry from someone who has a close perspective on how these business models operate.
Cryptocurrency Will Solve All of the Current Problems in the Adult Industry
News.Bitcoin.com (BC): Can you tell our readers how you first got into bitcoin and cryptocurrencies?
Brenna Sparks (BS): Silkroad! I lived in a boring old town with nothing to do, and I wanted to get weed but didn’t know any dealers. I heard about Silkroad and was guided to using Bitcoin like that, spending hundreds of Bitcoins like it was nothing. Back then I bought my Bitcoins from Silkroad members, using Greendot Moneypaks. I literally gave them money and hoped that I could trust this criminal to give me the Bitcoins! Ahhh…good times. At least, I wasn’t Goxxed.
BC: You recently wrote a blog post about cryptocurrencies providing workers in the adult industry censorship resistance from payment processor discrimination. What prompted you to write that post?
BS: It’s something that isn’t talked about often. Most of the people in the industry don’t really discuss how we can make our industry more advanced and safer from a tech perspective. Everyone, just sort of deals with it and has an “if it ain’t totally broke, it doesn’t need fixing” perspective. Also, because of the taboo nature of the adult industry, many of the industry issues have a hard time getting heard by the rest of the world, so problems have been slowly piling up in the background over the years.
My belief is that I should alert the world of potential opportunities, because if the current people in the industry don’t want to build it further, someone else will. The crypto industry is full of visionaries, so I believe sharing these problems with the crypto community will gain attention from one of these visionaries who could actually make these changes happen, because it’s become obvious that no one in the adult industry will do it. As time goes on, I’ll grow to be more elaborate on the matter.
BC: What do you think about libertarian and free market views involved with cryptocurrencies?
BS: This question reminds me of a time a while back when I thought to myself, “What if I could choose where my tax money went to? What if I could see exactly where it all went and when?” A few years later, this started becoming a clear reality with cryptocurrencies. The technology that exists today can completely turn the government upside down, and that would be a good thing. Technology is the way of the future.
Technology brings order, brings stability, brings growth, brings hope for a better future, not a government.
I believe cryptocurrency provides many of the things a libertarian wish they could have. It’s a medium that allows us, merchants of the world, to exchange in a modern and reliable way that is free from the government, built on protocols that are open to the public to view and contribute to. Cryptocurrencies are changing the way we interact at an increasingly massive scale. We can fund whatever we wish to fund, we can raise money in ways and speeds that were never possible, and for things that we, as individuals, want or need. It provides visionaries the ability to test the most ambitious ideas that no investor would ever be able to fund, which in my opinion translates to an increase in technological growth rate.
Finally, cryptocurrencies automate a giant list of tasks that we unnecessarily delegate to our government. In other words, the government is doing too many things that it doesn’t actually need to be doing. Humans may have various views on what is important to them, but we also share many as well. For example, a majority of human beings can agree that we need hospitals, we need proper health care, we need safe roadways and safe buildings. Even if some disagree, it doesn’t matter, it’ll get funded because that’s something a majority mass will agree with, we don’t need a government to “guarantee” that. Just as well, we don’t need a government to tell us what is legal tender, we can do that ourselves.
We don’t need a government producing that legal tender either, computers do a far better job at producing an acceptable medium of exchange. Finally, we don’t need a government deciding what matters on our behalf. I believe a country of millions is much more capable of making decisions than a small handful of “elected” individuals. Governments of the past and present serve as a means to an end, that’s all. The future is in less governing, and eventually no governing or autonomous governing that corresponds to a successful self-governed society (or societies). This is not to say that we don’t need a government, but rather that we need a lot less of it.
Working at a Crypto-Friendly Establishment Felt Futuristic
BC: What are your favorite cryptocurrencies right now?
BS: Besides Bitcoin, I would say – SONM (SNM), Odyssey (OCN), Spankchain (SPANK), and Ark (ARK).
BC: How do you envision cryptocurrencies helping individuals in the adult industry in the future?
BS: I talk about this further below, but basically cryptocurrency will solve all of the current problems in the adult industry without creating major new problems in the process.
BC: You recently tweeted that you planned on giving cryptocurrency lessons naked. Do you still plan on giving these lessons?
BS: Yes, I’m in the process of filming it right now. At first, I thought about filming and releasing each video at a time, but I’ve decided to film multiple videos to ensure and schedule each release. My calendar is all over the place so I figured this is the best way to approach it.
BC: When you work at clubs like the Legends Room how many tips have you gotten in cryptocurrency, and can you tell our readers what it’s like working at a crypto-friendly establishment like that?
BS: I was tipped pretty often in cryptocurrency, mainly because the clients had crypto and wanted to actually use it.
Working at a crypto-friendly establishment felt futuristic, for lack of a better word. It really feels like you’re in a new world and it just feels right. When it came to using it, everything was straightforward and comfortable.
Cryptocurrency Takes the Best Parts of Cash and Debit Cards and Removes the Other Junk
BC: Do you still use the Bitcoin.com Wallet?
BS: As of this moment, no. Reason being is that most of my coins are in deep cold storage.
BC: Are there any other people you know that work in the adult film industry that also accept cryptocurrencies?
BS: Yep! There is a growing number of talent, both male and female, like Shelby Paris, Holly Hawkes, and Kyle Mason. I also have directors approaching me for help regarding crypto on set and on my social media. It’s growing quietly, but noticeable. I believe camgirls and individual content produces will be the ones that utilize it the most though, especially in the early stages. I can only see it becoming a standard in the adult industry once a large number of people have become familiar enough with it.
BC: Do you envision cryptocurrencies taking over the adult industry online in the future as far as payments are concerned for subscriptions, cam shows, pics, movies, and other services?
BS: I definitely think so. For one, cam sites already use a token system so it’ll be quite easy for camgirls to pick up on it. Escorts can perform a transaction safely and discretely, especially when using a privacy-oriented coin like Monero or Bitcoin Private. Production companies can skip using checks and performers can get paid same day. Production companies won’t need to pose under different company names to get around bank etiquette. Performers don’t need to explain where their legally obtained funds came from. Individual content producers can easily set up a reliable payment method for their customers without running through a processor that will shut them down and take their money.
These are just common issues and aren’t even all that creative. This whole industry can be flipped around by cryptocurrency, for the betterment of it. Bottom line is, people love cash, but it’s becoming more and more inconvenient to carry it. If a company like Brazzers had to pay everyone on set using cash, it’d be a nightmare for whoever is responsible for distributing the money. Our evolving lifestyle is pushing us to move our cash into a bank account and turn it into digital money which we can then use with a debit card, but then that has its plethora of problems and limitations attached to it too, many of which severely impact the adult industry.
Cryptocurrency takes the best parts of cash and debit cards and removes the other junk. I think life has shown that humans are very flexible with what they consider is money and what isn’t. Cryptocurrency is just the natural step forward when it comes to using money in a modern society and I am convinced that that majority of us will adapt to it.
BC: Since you got into bitcoin do you have a lot of cryptocurrency followers now on social media?
BS: There has been a growing number of crypto followers on my twitter and it’s all been pretty gradual. One day I figured I’d start mentioning crypto in passing, which led to more and more engagement from the crypto community. Now I’m starting to think that the future of my social media will consist mostly of crypto fans, which I’m okay with!
Check out our podcast series ‘Humans of Bitcoin’ featuring Brenna Sparks below.
What do you think about cryptocurrencies transforming the adult industry? Let us know your thoughts on this subject in the comments below.
The post Adult Film Star Brenna Sparks Discusses Transforming the Sex Industry With Bitcoin appeared first on Bitcoin News.
A Falcon 9 rocket lifted off perfectly from pad 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base on March 30, carrying aloft satellites for Iridium Communications Inc. Video from the vehicle flipped on 2 minutes and 35 seconds later, just in time for webcast viewers to witness the first stage falling to Earth and…
A banking and finance trade body said the City’s ability to attract talent was at risk from proposed tougher entry rules after Brexit.
WSJ.com: What’s News Europe
On its 6th birthday, Coinbase received high praise from Shapeshift’s Erik Voorhees. He Tweeted, “Coinbase remains the most successful and important company in the crypto industry.” Arguably, that is very much the case. The San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange with its barebone menu of offerings, combined with its easy user-interface and relatively smooth onboarding (almost no upfront deposit needed), provide an envious business model. That’s not to write the company is without faults, as it has many. It might not even be the future of retail crypto access, and perhaps it shouldn’t.
Coinbase is Easy, Light, Feisty
“Today is Coinbase’s sixth anniversary,” wrote COO Asiff Hirji. “We’re celebrating six incredible years working toward our mission to help create a more open financial system for the world! […] We are in the early days of our mission and there is still so much to do […] Have to know when to follow the rules, when to bend them and when to push to change them. Breaking them is neither ethical nor sustainable.”
It’s probably less of an exchange proper and more of a conservative cryptocurrency bank. It might be fair to simply label it a broker (without bids, asks, limit orders, margin trading, etc). Coinbase, founded six years ago this week, is arguably the most important company, regardless of its technical classification, within the space. It alone is responsible for introducing millions and millions of Americans to the wild phenomenon that is decentralized currency speculation.
Offering bitcoin core (BTC), bitcoin cash (BCH), ether (ETH), and litecoin (LTC), its sparse choices work to underwhelm those new to speculating on cryptocurrency. The format is light and only requires a linked bank account. Without the bother of having to hold and maintain decentralized currency, users can simply use the Coinbase client and trade for fractions, sometimes as low as $ 2.00. Fees, of course, apply.
At the time of available statistics, the Northern California broker had something like 13 million users (Altana Digital Currency Fund), some days back in 2017 clocking them at 100,000 new sign ups every twenty four hours. For a little while there, Coinbase was a top ten downloaded application in the Apple Store. Its yearly revenue eclipsed venerable legacy houses such as Charles Schwab.
Embarrassment of Riches
It continues to nab top professional financial sector talent such as Asiff Hirji from TD Ameritrade; to that end, it poached Facebook Messenger’s David Marcus to join its Board, and the two are exploring ways to exploit the social media platform’s giant user base in terms of blockchain technology (probably a proprietary token is in the works, but that’s a guess). Heck, even its alumni go on to do big things: Charlie Lee of Litecoin fame was a former director of engineering.
Merchants Dell and Expedia use it as a point of sale processor. For trading professionals, its Coinbase Exchange was rebranded to Global Digital Asset Exchange (GDAX), becoming one of the earliest to offer ether to financial pros.
For better or worse, Coinbase is the most prominent version of mainstreaming the crypto revolution. It’s young (CEO, Brian Armstrong, is barely in his mid 30s), feisty, ambitious, cocky, and sporting for market share. Its flounders are largely an embarrassment of riches: demand so great the company’s system crashed a few times during the runups of 2017, and its customer inquiries languished at times in ten day backlogs. Mr. Armstrong fired back, “There’s so many people rushing into the space, if it’s a bit of speculation, I’m O.K. with that. But we can’t guarantee the website’s going to be up exactly when you need it. Everyone needs to take a deep breath.”
That particular hiccup hasn’t been put away altogether just yet, as in January of this year alone formal complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rocketed by more than 100%. Almost half were filed regarding “money not available when promised,” which is no small matter.
Peril’s of Centralization
In the scaling debate, Mr. Armstrong came firmly down on the side of big blockers, and, according to various sources, holds most of his crypto wealth in ether. Under his leadership, the company embraced economic reality, choosing when to fight on principle and where to give-in. For example, it was one of the notable in its class to snag a controversial Bitlicense from New York. Howls of sell out and capitulation could be heard far and wide. But this move signaled to potential investors and the broader financial community the company was less strident and more pragmatic in the all-important ‘business sense.’
It would regain some of its punkier credibility, at least for a time, when the United States’ taxman came calling. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) evidently can read eye-popping price headlines. As market leaders such as BTC rose exponentially, so did United States citizens’ tax obligations. Yet nearly no one was complying. History will show the company did fight back, but history will also show it lost, having to hand over customer information for those who moved more than $ 20K in crypto (small percentage of its users).
Then again, when New York’s top cop poked and prodded at exchanges, asking they account for this and that, Coinbase jumped as high as asked, issuing a very detailed letter. Kraken, on the other hand, went sideways at the presumption and hubris of such an invasion. The contrast could not be starker, and the more principled in the community noticed … as it did when it shut off access for Wikileaks, a seemingly purposeful separation from crypto’s anarchic roots. Such are the perils of centralization in the sense there are doors to kickdown, masters to please other than market demand.
For the more cypherpunk among us, it is critical to acknowledge the truth. Coinbase is good people, but Coinbase is also in bed with the same folks who prompted crypto’s birth. That won’t do, and won’t do by a lot. If censorship resistance and decentralization are fundamental pillars, then we should look for exchanges in those images. Leave traditional banking schemes itching to please governments to their future: slow death.
Is Coinbase an overall positive or negative in the crypto community? Tell us in the comments below!
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Coinbase, Twitter.
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This is an Op-ed article. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. Bitcoin.com does not endorse nor support views, opinions or conclusions drawn in this post. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the Op-ed article. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the content. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any information in this Op-ed article.
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