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Apple Trolls vs Fanboys: Fanning the Flames (Op-Ed)

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apple-fans-and-trolls-who-is-keeping-the-newsApple trolls and fanboys alike are both fanning the flames of the publicity which keeps them in the news. For as long as Apple has been a major player in tech, no other tech corporation has provoked nearly as much conversation. But most flame wars have been focused on disinformation espoused by both sides, and as the saying goes, no news is bad news.

One of the most recent pieces of misinformation to trend on social media and news recently was Slice Intelligence’s report released a month ago. This is a perfect example of one of the primary root causes for these publicity generating viral articles. Apple has complete control of its distribution, and this is especially true with new products such as the Apple Watch. Sales figures are often a major cause of controversy when a company like Slice, who base their statistics on selected sales channels (specifically citing their own), release data like this which is leapt upon by every Apple hater as proof of their conviction that each product is a useless new toy. Once the haters have been baited, they become the bait of the loyalists who jump in to scoff at the statistics, often citing their own. As Apple keeps quiet, those stats tend to be those of entirely different product lines. Thus begins an ‘infinite loop’ of heated debate, with two not dissimilar arguments facing off against each other.

In reality, there’s very little basis for either argument. It’s easy to see why Slice got the stats so wrong — they’re monitoring third party sales channels, while Apple’s new products are sold exclusively through their own retail network until supply catches up with demand. During that period, sales through alternative channels are resales bought from Apple’s storefronts and sold at a premium due to lack of availability. As supply catches up with demand these sales decrease, and when it does Apple quietly points out that the figures reported by companies like Slice are completely inaccurate. At which point they allow other tightly controlled retailers such as Best Buy to acquire wholesale quantities for resale in their own stores.

On the Watch, our June sales were higher than April or May. I realize that’s very different than some of what’s being written, but June sales were the highest. The Watch had a more of a back-ended kind of skewing. – Tim Cook

Beyond Reality Distortion

The fact of the matter is that neither sources are absolutely trustworthy. Tim Cook is traditionally conservative in the number of products he has manufactured prior to launch, preventing financial losses in the event of unexpectedly low sales, while also causing product queues outside the stores that inevitably begin outside every Apple Store in anticipation. They then ramp up supply and a few months later they can amaze their audience by showing sales (based on product availability) increase month on month for the first quarter of a new product’s lifecycle.

At the same time we should keep in mind reported ‘sales’ figures are almost always not that. They are the number of products which reach the shelves of warehouses or retailers. So neither the figures of Apple nor those of third party sources who quite often find themselves stocking huge numbers of items which go unsold. That said, given how much history we have to go on since between iMac and Apple Watch it seems Apple are doing fairly well with this strategy. Prior to Apple’s huge growth, when Steve Jobs hired Tim Cook away from Compaq his first assignment was making their supply chain more efficient. Back then it was absolutely necessary to keep Apple afloat. Since they became the most profitable company on Earth we’ve seen how supply chain management has a whole host of extra benefits that can be derived through what began as cost-cutting and quickly became the free publicity we’re all generating for Apple – whether we like them or not.

These frequently occurring sales speculation dramas may be better news than any other for Apple. After all, I’ve not once commented on Apple Watch itself despite repeatedly referencing it.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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John O'Mara is a writer of code and prose from London, UK




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Bitcoin

Morgan Chase’s JPM Coin: A Banker’s Intranet, or the First Major Attack on Bitcoin?

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JP Morgan Chase unveiled plans for its JPM Coin on Thursday, sending the cryptocurrency universe into equal fits of both rancour and rapture.

While some see institutional adoption of cryptocurrency as the most bullish news of 2019, many are not quite sold on the concept; and some are already fearing the emergence of a ‘Ripple Killer’ or even a ‘Bitcoin Killer’.

As ever, the truth is probably more subtle, and more interesting than the sensational headlines suggest.

JPM Coin ‘Would Have Pumped BTC’ In Bull Market

At the most extreme end of the enthusiasm spectrum we have the assertion by one ‘crypto influencer’ on crypto-twitter that JPM Coin would have have positive effects on Bitcoin in a bull market scenario.

“This JP Morgan news would have pumped $BTC $1000+ in a bull market…”

Of course, a $1,000 increase when BTC’s priced at $20,000 is very different from when BTC’s priced at $3,000. One would equal a 5% increase, and the other a 33.3% increase – but let’s not deprive influencers of their fun and games.

One thing that influencers are good for is that the following they attract (43k in this case) can be put to good use. The poll below, taken from a relatively large sample size, shows that opinion is split on what JPM means for the broader crypto market.

Poll results showing response to JPM Coin.

But let’s bear in mind that all that really happened was a new stablecoin was announced. The concept of it having a bullish or bearish effect on the cryptocurrency sphere is a loose one.

Bitcoin and Ripple Killer?

Any notion of JPM Coin being a Bitcoin killer was put to bed pretty quickly in this takedown by CCN’s P.H. Madore: Why JP Morgan’s ‘Bitcoin Killer’ Isn’t Even a Real Cryptocurrency – but that didn’t stop panic from spreading initially.

Where panic might be more readily directed however is in the vicinity of Ripple and XRP. Not to underplay some of Ripple’s payment solutions – which have already been massively adopted – but if major institutions now have the choice of doing business with JP Morgan Chase, or the often controversial, and relatively unknown Ripple Labs, which one are they more likely to choose?

A Banker’s Intranet?

Cypherpunk and maintenance man for one of the internet’s prime hubs of blockchain info, Jameson Lopp compared JP Morgan Chase’s stablecoin to private bankers intranets of the early 90s. He said:

“Banker stablecoins are a step forward, just as banker intranets were in the 1990s. Adoption of this technology will make the transition smoother when they are forced to capitulate and adopt the Internet of Money.”

This is probably a fairer assessment of the situation, and one that gives room for nuance – although the nuance is shattered by the cock-sure assertion that Bitcoin will become the internet of money.

Speaking of bankers intranets – one can imagine internet diehards complaining in the early 90s that the bankers were taking over their thing – their apparatus for freedom, from censorship and surveillance by corporations and the state – and that soon the internet would be taken over by the very people they had hoped to escape.

But that didn’t happen… did it?

Disclaimer: The author owns Bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 147 rated postsGreg Thomson is a full-time crypto writer and digital nomad. He eats ICOs for breakfast and bleeds altcoins. Wherever he lays his public key is his home.




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Solve.Care Has Potential to Transform the Field of Healthcare Administration

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The last few years have been a crazy ride in the crypto markets.  We’ve seen both the buying frenzy and the panic selling.  Although the industry has a lot of potential, it is undoubtedly true that many projects will fizzle out during the next 12-24 months.  Traders need to carefully analyze projects that have the best chance for real world adoption.  Part of the analysis certainly needs to center around projected industry growth.  One of the areas in desperate need of transformation is healthcare administration and Solve.Care may have just the solution.

Problems with Traditional Healthcare

Healthcare administration around the world has become plagued by inefficiencies and soaring costs.  Global spending on health exceeds $8 trillion annually and is expected to increase to $18 trillion worldwide by 2040.  In the U.S. alone, up to $1 trillion is wasted through administrative costs, over-utilization, and fraud.  Much of this waste is due to an obsolete and cumbersome healthcare system.  These issues have placed a massive strain on patients, doctors, and system administrators for far too long.

For doctors, one of their major complaints is the amount of time spent completing paperwork and dealing with insurance companies.  For patients, one of the major complaints is lack of face time with their primary care physicians.

Change is definitely needed and that’s where Solve.Care comes into the picture.

What is Solve.Care

Solve.Care is a transformative healthcare administrative platform designed for use by patients, employers, doctors, healthcare groups, and insurance businesses.  This platform is the first to use blockchain technology as the underlying distributed ledger for all care events between patient, doctor, pharmacy, laboratory, insurer, and other parties.

Patients are encouraged to manage their healthcare decisions.  Employers can use the platform to administer benefits, reduce costs, and reward their employees.  Doctors and hospitals can issue prescriptions, manage appointments, and coordinate with a specialist.

The platform has the potential to save billions of dollars in annual costs by better coordinating all the normal healthcare administrative operations and thereby eliminating all the inefficiencies.

Prior Accomplishments

Solve.Care completed it’s token sale in May 2018 and has since had its token, SOLVE, listed on Bittrex and KuCoin.  The company sold 350 million tokens with a 100% subscription rate.  That certainly speaks to the demand of both the token to use Care.Wallet and the platform’s potential for real world adoption.

The company had made it a priority to hire some of the best talent in the world.  More than 100 people are currently working in the company with approximately 70 of them being engineers.  The engineers are making rapid progress as the platform is being continually expanded and improved.

Whenever new technology attempts to disrupt an industry hanging on to outdated software and practices, it is imperative that startup companies have the right leadership.  Fortunately, Solve.Care appears to have someone very capable at the top.  The company is led by Pradeep Goel, who has been in the CEO, COO, CIO and CTO roles at various technology companies over the past 26 years.  Pradeep has a wealth of knowledge from both the private and public sectors, most notably from his time designing and building solutions for public programs such as Medicaid, Medicare, and SNAP.  Pradeep has also been named in the Goldman Sachs list of the top 100 entrepreneurs in the world.

The company has a growing pipeline with more than 25 clients and partnerships.  Perhaps the most impressive of which was the recent deal struck with Arizona Care Network.

Arizona Care Network Partnership

Solve.Care has a proven track record of developing blockchain-based healthcare solutions and introducing them to the U.S. healthcare market.

In February 2018, Solve.Care announced a multi-year contract for its decentralized healthcare administration platform with Arizona Care Network (ACN), one of the largest accountable care organizations in the United States.  ACN manages value-based care contracts for its network of more than 5,500 physicians covering more than 250,000 members.

David Hanekom, CEO of Arizona Care Network, had this to say about the partnership:

“ACN is focused on innovation in the healthcare industry and seeks to be the leading technology-enabled ACO in the U.S.  This is why we chose to partner with Solve.Care, a true innovator in the healthcare administration and payments sector.  Solve.Care brings a lot to the table in terms of their ability to simplify and decentralize complex processes related to value-based care delivery and payments.  We couldn’t be more excited as a result of this partnership and look forward to launching the platform with our providers and members.”

Since that announcement, Solve.Care has continued to innovate with the launch of Care.Wallet for Physician and Care.Wallet for Family.

Care.Wallet for Physician Development

Care.Wallet for Physician, launched in October 2018, allows the providers of the Network to track the successes and overall score, while receiving corresponding rewards according to the Provider Rewards Program.  These value-based payments inside the network of 5,500 physicians are happening with the healthcare digital currency, Care.Coin.  It is important to note that Solve.Care is the first company to implement digital currency and blockchain technology for value-based payments in the U.S. healthcare industry.

Conclusion

Of all the industries, I can’t think of any that needs a complete overhaul more than health administration and care coordination.  With soaring costs and an aging population that will need quick and easy access to care in the coming years, this is an area that could see a lot of innovation in the near future.  Solve.Care is already doing its part to transform the industry, and will no doubt reap the rewards for its innovative spirit.

 

 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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Gold Rush 2.0: Who’s Selling Shovels to the Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Pioneers?

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There’s an old saying that goes something like: “During a gold rush, sell shovels.”

At the height of the California gold rush, the most profitable venture (on average) was not mining for gold itself, but selling the tools that facilitated the mining of gold.

The legacy of this fact is still present even today – your Levi jeans are a product of Bavarian immigrant Levi Strauss, whose business boomed when he began manufacturing tough, durable trousers specifically for gold miners.

While adventurers took to the hills in search of their fortunes, the more conservative personalities found a way to make money from the process before a pick-axe even struck the soil.

So who are the ‘shovel sellers’ in the cryptocurrency space?

Exchanges

By the second quarter of 2018, Binance had already become more profitable than Germany’s Deutsche Bank. That was less than a year after launch, and the exchange’s meteoric rise was such that the likes of Forbes and Business Insider began writing about the likelihood of $1 billion yearly profits being recorded by CZ and the gang in 2018

By the end of the year those profits ended up being closer to half a billion, and Binance’s BNB utility token was the only major altcoin to increase in value from 2018 to 2019.

Although exchanges aren’t in the business of selling physical tools essential to cryptocurrency mining or usage, they do occupy a gatekeeper role similar to local goldsmiths in the old west. Yes, gold miners could just keep their bounty to themselves and use it (with some difficulty) as its own self-contained currency. But if they wanted to exchange it for an equivalent value of fiat currency, then they’d have to go through a confirmation and notarization process – one which would require some form of KYC, and would ultimately demand a percentage fee.

With the presence of authority-less services like Local Bitcoin, and a recent increase in the number of decentralized exchanges, it may seem surprising that one of the most profitable gigs in the cryptocurrency space happens to be that of a centralized exchange.

However, this phenomena makes a little more sense when viewed through the lens of human nature: Read: 5 Things Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Investors Should Beware of in 2019.

Mining Tools

Perhaps the most obvious example of ‘selling shovels’ to the crypto space comes from the mining hardware industry.

Bitmain Technologies Ltd has already earned its co-founder and CEO, Micree Zhan, an estimated $4 billion in profit – all from selling mining equipment to would-be cryptocurrency prospectors.

Towards the end of last year Bitmain announced its intention to undergo an initial public offering (IPO) – predicted to be worth an estimated $18 billion if it goes ahead. There are some obstacles to overcome before that can happen, such as gaining the approval of Hong Kong’s financial regulators.

But with that kind of money flying around, there’s a good chance Bitmain could become the modern day Levi. Even if crypto mining fades out due to concepts like Proof-of-Stake, we’d most likely see Bitmain continue to sell shovels of some kind, even if it were just general computing technology.

Bitmain’s estimated worth if the IPO goes ahead will eclipse the market capitalizations of Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), EOS (EOS) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) combined – possibly the best example of ‘selling shovels’ since the gold rush itself?

Storage

Cryptocurrency can be stored safely on its native blockchain without too much trouble. However, if you want to gain access to your funds in order to spend it, divide it, or move it from place to place, then you’re going to need a wallet service of some kind.

Many free software wallets exist for this purpose, however not all of them can be trusted. The most secure way to store cryptocurrency is with a hardware wallet.

The popularity of the secure storage service offered by Trezor is such that it had become a multi-million dollar industry by as early as 2017. That’s the same year the company had to issue an apology to its customers after it ran out of stock due to high demand, when a spike in the value of BTC saw a sudden influx of Trezor orders:

“With much regret, Satoshi Labs would like to inform you that due to the exceedingly high and unanticipated demand associated with the increase in bitcoin value, our stock at TREZOR Shop has been depleted. We would like to sincerely apologize for this inadequate foresight related to the development of bitcoin value. Production plans have been fixed and this situation should not occur in the future again.”

Ledger hardware wallets have proven just as popular in recent years, or even more so considering their compatibility with a higher number of cryptocurrencies. Meanwhile numerous would-be usurpers to the Ledger/Trezor dominance have also attempted to make their presence felt, with varying degrees of success.

Conclusion

In terms of pure profit, wouldn’t it be accurate to say that the people involved in the peripheral industries surrounding cryptocurrency have found more success than those involved in the main industry itself?

This also raises the question of just what the main industry is – is it mining? Is it trading? Is it purely the pursuit of profit? Or does all of this amount to no more than the setting of foundations for the true crypto use-case – i.e. it’s role as a global transactional currency?

Note that I didn’t mention the phenomena of ‘blockchain influencers’ and self-professed ‘experts’ – another booming industry that seeks to siphon off value from the main expedition; and one that also had its equivalency during the gold rush era.

When the global cryptocurrency market struck its all-time high on January 7th, 2018, its $835 billion valuation was worth 11% of the total value of all the gold ever mined (according to current gold prices).

If the value of cryptocurrencies continue to increase as the global supply available from mining continues to decrease (as predicted), then the gold rush isn’t anywhere close to being over – and it may be worth figuring out how to sell a few shovels of your own.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 147 rated postsGreg Thomson is a full-time crypto writer and digital nomad. He eats ICOs for breakfast and bleeds altcoins. Wherever he lays his public key is his home.




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