Blockchain business

How to Make Money in the Blockchain Business?

Blockchain business is getting more attention than bitcoin and that is because blockchain can be used in a multitude of areas. By being an early adopter of the technology one can make good money out of the blockchain business.

What is blockchain?

Blockchain is a shared database technology – a digital ledger of transactions, agreements, or contracts. The ledger is not stored in one place, on the contrary, it is stored on a network made up of thousands of nodes (computers) from around the world. Blockchain keeps track of every transaction, which gets recorded in “blocks”. These blocks provide proof of who owns what at any given point in time. Each node on the network must approve a transaction before it is recorded in a new block and added to all previous blocks, forming a “chain” of computer code. If one node does not approve the transaction, it does not take place. This makes it virtually impossible for anyone to interfere with the system unnoticed. Security makes the blockchain so appealing for many businesses.

Since all transactions are seen by everyone in the network, transparency is another appealing feature of blockchain. Blockchain allows for faster transactions that are not processed manually, which leads to efficiency and thus lower costs.

No wonder why banks such as Barclays, J.P. Morgan, UBS, Citi, Societe Generale and others are investing in the development of decentralized ledgers.

Where can it be used?

As it was originally designed for bitcoin, blockchain can be primarily used in the financial sector to make money transfers. The technology is used in trading platforms. For example, platform is based on the blockchain.

It is used by companies in the file sharing industry. Storj is a blockchain based cloud storage where one can rent a drive for a competitive price.

The health industry can benefit as well. Pharmaceutical companies could tag drugs with identification numbers on a blockchain, to track goods through the supply chain and cut theft and counterfeiting. Block Verify has recently completed the first stage of a pilot programme to test its system on pharmaceuticals produced by a Swiss manufacturer.

Painters and interpreters can use the technology to verify art pieces and to prevent piracy.

More importantly, distributed ledgers can be used by governmental institutions. The Estonian government is using a form of blockchain technology for the system known as Keyless Signature Infrastructure (KSI). Its aim is to provide digital signature-based authentication for electronic data. It allows citizens to verify their records in governmental databases. KSI has helped launch the E-business register and e-tax, which have contributed to the reduction of queues and stress levels, and to the acceleration and automation of processes.

These examples demonstrate how blockchain technology can be used efficiently on a large scale.

Who can earn money out of a blockchain business and how?

There are currently five categories of people who are making money for working in the blockchain business:

  1. Software developers and architects who specialize in cryptocurrencies and decentralized ledgers.
  2. Blockchain experts who offer their consultancy services to businesses.
  3. Project/Product managers who can develop and execute a distributed ledger technology strategy and coordinate the resources.
  4. Fintech content creators who have a deep understanding of the industry and can shed light on the current situation and its probable evolution.
  5. Blockchain interns who are learning about the field are the future of tomorrow’s blockchain business.

Considering that big players in the financial market are interested in the blockchain technology, it is going to mature in the future. Once institutions reach a point where they have created proprietary decentralized ledgers they will want to connect with other organizations. This creates new business opportunities to design connecting solutions among institutions that are not using the same distributed ledger. The blockchain business will need more professionals who can facilitate its development, because it has a tremendous potential to spread to a wide range of industries.

Did we miss anything? Do you have other ideas on how to use blockchain for profit?

OTT Services

OTT Services – Friends or Foes?

Over The Top (OTT) services allow us to send messages, make calls, or stream video over data networks (Skype, Viber, or Whatsapp are relevant examples of such services). Their popularity is a call to action for mobile operators who are suffering from revenue losses.

OTT services have become extremely widespread thanks to lower costs, overall positive user experience (even though sometimes a VoIP connection is far from perfect) and platform independence. According to Statistia, Viber had 711 million users in December of 2015. Whatsapp had reached 1 billion users by February of 2016, and 300 million people used Skype in 2015. No wonder major MNOs are trying to introduce regulations and keep up with the competition.

Even though many studies have shown that restrictions on OTT services are bad for business, back in 2012 AT&T had offered FaceTime only as an added benefit of their data plans in the US. If the customer did not have the data bundle, they could use FaceTime solely over Wi-Fi.

South Africa is another country which is now considering imposing restrictions that would slow down innovation in this field. The two largest South African MNOs have called for regulations for OTT providers such as Skype and Whatsapp. Cell C, the third largest MNO from that country, has chosen to collaborate with OTT operators instead, and is now offering free access to social network services and a range of other websites.

Not so long ago European operators such as Orange and Deutsche Telecom have called for a fair regulatory environment for all services. They pointed that the increased competition from services similar to Viber is a reason for easing up the regulatory burden on operators. The decision regarding the reform will be taken by the European Commission later this year.

According to research conducted by Technotree, mobile operators predict an increase of data usage among subscribers. In order to benefit from this, MNOs need to make sure that data remains in their network, therefore they need to introduce new services. Thus, far-sighted MNOs are either establishing partnerships with OTT providers or are launching their own OTT services.

Over in The UAE, Etisalat launched its own eLife on app, allowing customers to watch more than 200 TV channels, movies and series on the go. The Spanish Telefonica launched a Tu Go app in the O2 UK network. The application allows customers to make calls from one’s desktop and be charged by O2 on the same bill as the cell subscription. This elegantly solves the problem of having too many invoices for using communication services.

Nevertheless, the approach of creating OTT services in-house has some disadvantages. Here are some of them:

  • Usually the apps are available only for existing subscribers, thus it creates no opportunities for acquiring new customers. In other words, to increase the amount of users operators have to work on increasing their subscriber base.
  • Considering the bureaucracy within MNOs,it takes  longer to develop, design, launch and market the product
  • It is virtually impossible to convince a Viber user to switch to a new application with the same functionality.

The second option is to start partnerships with OTT providers which is a far-reaching strategy. MNOs can benefit from collaboration by using OTT brands to sell more data bundles, charging for subscriptions or advertising their services and initiatives.

OTT providers don’t own any infrastructure. Operators have invested heavily in building the infrastructure and they own one of the most valuable assets – customers’ mobile phone numbers, which are needed for seamless communication between the telecom network and the internet. In other words, OTT providers and telecoms both have a lot to gain from a productive collaboration.

Operators must be responsive and adaptable to market changes in order to keep creating value. Partnering with a small and agile tech startup could be the perfect boost for any MNO or MVNO that is looking for a fresh take on offering their clients a valuable OTT service.

How to Use Mobile Banking Apps Securely?

While the amount of people who are using secure mobile banking apps increases every year, customers of online banking set themselves up for security threats, frauds, and other forms of cybercrime when using their smartphone.
According to a 2014 Deloitte report cited by Tripwire, 61% of people who do not use mobile banking apps said that security is their primary concern. So how big are the chances that someone can break into your bank account really?

In 2014 a malware called Svpeng has been detected in the U.S., the U.K, Switzerland, Germany, Russia and India. In the States the malware blocked the user’s phone and asked for $200 to unlock the smartphone. Once Svpeng got into the phone it began to look for applications from a range of financial institutions. The Trojan did not steal money or credentials, but rather it looked as if it was gathering statistics on mobile banking apps usage.

In Australia and New Zealand, a malware called Android/Spy.Agent.SI has been detected on Android devices this year. This time, the malicious software was able to steal a person’s bank details and even knew how to bypass 2-step authentication procedures. With all information in hand, fraudsters could easily transfer funds to a different account. Most importantly, the malware had not come from Google Play. The user would have had to deliberately install the application from other sources online, which means that security options had been changed by the phone owner so that applications from unknown sources could be installed. The takeaway: Don’t root your device and then install banking apps on it!

It is useful to know that iOS or Android smartphones don’t allow users to make admin-level modifications natively. Additionally, a verified market is available for downloading applications such as the App Store or Google Play. Mobile banking apps should also be secured by SSL security technology . Many large companies put their applications through source code obfuscation. This means that it will be more difficult for an intruder to figure out the source code.

Even though a lot of security features are currently in place in many apps, mobile banking applications still have security challenges that must be tackled. Security is one of the main concerns for financial institutions. People who wish to use mobile banking also need to keep security in mind. Finally, here are some useful security tips:

1. Don’t use mobile banking apps on a rooted or jailbroken device
2. Don’t download apps that did not undergo a vetting process (by either the App Store or Google Play)
3. Use secure Wi-Fi connections whenever possible
4. Put a password on your smartphone.

By following these recommendations, you will minimize security risks and diminish the odds of falling prey to cybercrime.

Are You Using Instant Messaging to Chat with Clients?

Instant messaging has been a part of daily routine for years. IM delivers many benefits, such as: ease of use, video streaming, screen sharing, real time communication. It is handy for companies that have offices in different countries. If your company decides to use instant messaging for internal and external communication with partners and clients, make sure you do the following in order to avoid common annoyances and even threats that come with some IM systems:

  • Take control over instant messaging

Ideally you need to have a custom enterprise IM for communication. All instant messages sent and received by employees can be then channeled via a central server, archived for future reference, encrypted and subjected to security processes and policies. Contact us, if you wish to keep your business safe from malware and hackers.

Otherwise, you can use a known IM with tools that were designed for enterprises. Use features that track history and back up messages to create a knowledge base for future reference. Don’t forget to utilize encryption technologies so that anyone who tries to access your messages sees only encrypted (gibberish) text.

  • Minimize the risks

Lower the risks of using IM by verifying the domains that can send and receive messages. The system administrator can block the source of potentially malicious messages. If the company policy forbids the transfer of files to unknown recipients, the risks associated with the loss of confidential information, are mitigated. This is especially relevant in the financial and insurance industries, where data confidentiality is particularly critical.

  • Educate employees

Most importantly, employees need to be aware of security risks. Develop an instant messaging usage policy and make sure that it gets followed. Employees need to understand clearly what kind of information they can provide to clients and partners by IM and what sort of documents can be sent by email. Training end-users to be more skeptical about the messages they get must be part of the strategy.

Instant messaging is the preferred communication channel when it comes to brief conversations with prospects, clients and partners. IM bears risks and requires thorough management to be a safe tool.

Moving Forward,
DAS Solutions Team.