Personal Update & New Forbes Articles I’ve Written Worth Noting

d2cdf83c-9cb9-4310-8bf4-1dd59df7e015As you may know from my last post, I have been contributing to Forbes lately and writing about cloud security, technology, innovation and things like machine learning. It is a great network of various sites (or sections of the main Forbes site) all run under the Forbes banner separates by topic areas, such as my specialty: innovation. You can view a contributing writer’s profile (here is mine) and see how many views each article they wrote has gotten.

I have also just quit working in a startup gig I started that has been going on for the last four months for a company called Fakturownia.pl or InvoiceOcean.com. It was an interesting experience and I have learned how to create Google Ad campaigns (both search and visual) as well as some online marketing practices. If you look at the blog on InvoiceOcean UK (the branch I was hired for or specialized in), you can see some of my writing (the last 8, or so, blog posts are under my byline). Here are a couple:

The problem was that I have little experience in selling specialized financial software and how to attract people to it when it is so niche and they wanted to spread to English-speaking countries where their applications were not always aligned with those countries financial systems (sales tax for instance was not shown or implemented). It was still an interesting experience though and I met some good people at the company. I am still open to working with them if they need more translations of their websites (I edited their entire .co.uk and later .com versions of the sites, social media content, or blog writing among other things.

The sales were not happening no matter how many sign ups they were getting as they came with a free 30-day trial with no credit card required each time. Also, it was a specialized invoicing software mostly focusing on B2B interactions as regular users could just use something like Paypal invoices for free or even templates widely available online. I explained the problems with trying to launch software that may have been successful in one region onto a completely different region without mentioning any specific companies here and what I’ve learned works or Doesn’t.

Here was one of the display ads I created for the US Google Display network:
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I used some of my other work I’ve done recently as variations for the ads. These were mostly images I created with no, or little to none, text on the images themselves, but those I added via Google Ads editor and would display them as Dynamic Ads:

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One of the other things I did and someone in the office suggested I do in running a Google campaign was link to one of my popular blog posts — which actually compared to product to some of the biggest competitors in the UK and US — and ran a campaign from it.

I’ve also learned how to utilize Google Analytics to my advantage and track things like site visitors from various sources (social media or referrals for instance) among many other useful tools:
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Now I will be focusing on my writing for Forbes and potentially other outlets as well. I have actually written quite a bit of content since my last post about the position and here are some articles of mine worth noting:

Oh and I also recently have set up a Dribble account for my graphic design work in case you are interested and this is something I will continue to improve and hopefully land some paid positions sometime down the line with.

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How Cryptocurrency is Changing the World of Finance, Investment and Digital Purchasing Power

IMG_3142A hidden currency, a currency outside the touch and reach of governments or the major banks of the world. A currency in the hands of the people and not institutions with agendas. This has been the trademark catchphrase of the Bitcoin for most of its existence since 2009 when it made its debut. However, the Bitcoin and its offshoots have emerged as the major threat as of late to traditional money and investment.

You may have heard that investing in Bitcoins is the new trend or fad these days. After years of being translucent and ignored by lenders, investors and the market in general – outside those wanting to make anonymous purchases on places such as the Dark Web, hackers and a niche community of users who believed in the concept of such currency – the Bitcoin has emerged as the hottest investment of recent times.

Those who invested in the Bitcoin during the last few years and did not sell their assets won big, really big. Some have become rich men literally over night. When the market opened up to the blockchain and the value soared, Bitcoin was finally talked about and got the recognition it has deserved.

“Information held on a blockchain exists as a shared — and continually reconciled — database. This is a way of using the network that has obvious benefits. The blockchain database isn’t stored in any single location, meaning the records it keeps are truly public and easily verifiable. No centralized version of this information exists for a hacker to corrupt. Hosted by millions of computers simultaneously, its data is accessible to anyone on the internet.”

This has really caused the Bitcoin to transfer itself from the wild west of online hacking, gambling and shady investment into a legitimate, reliable and held in a public database currency. It has transformed it into something worth taking note by the major players in the world of investment and caused prices to spike until revcently.

However, what many didn’t know until recently and until they started investing themselves, Bitcoin isn’t the only cryptocurrency on the market. There are also Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash and Ethereum as options for purchase among many other cryptos. The cost of the Bitcoin right now rises high above the rest, but this raises an aspect of speculation whether some of these up-and-coming cryptocurrencies may be a better investment for the future.

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Will it bottom out? Or will it continue to rise exponentially and annually, despite fluctuations? This question is often raised by the media and analysts. Some predict due to the recent volatility and even prices lowering at the end of December by quite a bit when compared to previous months, the Bitcoin will just continue to stumble. However, the last week or so proved otherwise as it is rising at a slow albeit steady pace. The same for most of the competing options, especially Ethereum, which has been picking up pace this past week with price spikes.

The amazing thing about cryptocurrency and the thing that makes such currency stand out from other liquid assets is that it is not government regulated nor is it backed by a standard such as gold. It is mined through complicated algorithms where there is a finite supply of digital coins possible. This has caused controversy and speculation on how real or liquid such currency is and what are its long-term prospects. This is especially true as government or other regulations come into play.

Right now, Bitcoins are priced astronomically high at $14,970.36 for a single coin as of this writing. So if investors or dibbling hobbyists want to make a purchase they would really have to commit an investment for a coin. However, with options such as the Coinbase app available on mobile devices as well as desktop browsers to purchase, transfer and sell cryptocurrencies, investors can purchase a small fraction of a coin and see that number grow in real time.

IMG_3144The great thing about it is that anyone can make a purchase with a valid form of ID and payment method, such as a credit card. Anyone can also sell these coins at a whim as they fluctuate in prices. Coinbase offers purchasing options across various cryptocurrancy wallets — Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin and Ethereum. So investors and prospective buyers can choose to spread their investments out as they see fit.

However, there are other cryptocurrencies out there and digital currencies that aren’t part of the app and will require separate purchases, such as Ripple (XRP). A cryptocurrency that also saw huge strides for some months, but also had a recent “crash”period not unlike Bitcoin. Of course, as investment rises and foreign markets are stabilized, it should start to go back up in value.

Right now it is still too early to tell if Bitcoin is just a fad that got some rich within a year and will not continue to fluctuate upward at such or even close to what happened during 2017 where Bitcoin prices spiked by as much as 900%.The same can be said for any cryptocurrency. However, interest and public knowledge now is higher than ever, which should mean more investment, thus higher yields and growth in the future. Only time will tell for sure.

We can analyze and look at market trends for the Bitcoin when it comes to cryptocurrency by looking at charts shown over an annual, or longer, basis from, for instance, Coindesk’s charts:

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However, each cryptocurrency is unique and offers different value for the dollar so to speak. Coindesk focuses on Bitcoin, but those who want to go full into cryptocurrency investment need to see the whole picture before making an investment and see how they want to divide their money, or go all in on one of the currencies. By some analysists, and looking at the data from a sound perspective, Ethereum may be the big ticket for 2018, and not without reason. It has continued to climb in price despite competitors slipping or being much more volatile since the beginning of the year and really end of last year.

What makes this so hard to follow and predict is that these cyrptocurrencies fluctuate literally on a hourly, or even minute basis. You can look at your Coinbase app prices chart and see a decline in some of the currencies and 15 minutes later you will see a positive outlook again. The only sure bet as of late is really Ethereum. Although, as previously mentioned, Bitcoins were the ticket last year and years previously as the currency just toppled investment charts with unprecedented hikes.

Will all currencies start going up once again, or will some stay volatile and others take their place this year (such as Ethereum)? We will never know and can only go by market trends, our gut instinct, and what analysists predict. As foreign markets, such as China’s exchanges, can determine things totally out of our control at any given time.

Here are some of my own small investments into a few cryptocurrencies available:

 

New art postscript added related to the Bitcoin. This was all done in Illustrator and part of my learning process of Vector art:

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