A bank in Belarus has effectively gotten the green light to process transfers related to digital assets. DFS, an affiliated company of Belveb Banking Holding’s member VEB Technologies, was recently registered as a resident of the High Technologies Park. The country’s special economic zone has already become home to many crypto businesses.
Crypto Investment Platform to Pay Dividends to Bank Accounts
DFS LLC is the operator of Finstore.by, a platform for token sales and trading. Belveb Bank will provide its clients with regular banking services, the Belarusian news outlet Dev.by reported. Corporate entities and private individuals will be able to purchase tokens from various coin offering projects that Finstore hosts.
The first such sale begins on Nov. 1, 2019 and will be conducted on behalf of Belwest, a shoe manufacturer and supplier founded by the German concern Salamander. Finstore will offer 63,000 of its digital tokens and sell them for euros, Russian and Belarussian rubles. The platform plans to issue its own token next month which will be used to facilitate future deals.
Investors buying the coins from this and other offerings will enjoy a fixed income from their investments, much like with bank deposits, at least before interest rates in Europe entered subzero territory. They will also be able to withdraw their dividends to a regular checking account or a bank card account.
Belarus legalized crypto-related activities with a presidential decree signed by Alexander Lukashenko in late 2017. Decree №8 “On the Development of the Digital Economy” came into force on March 28, 2018 to regulate crypto exchange services, initial coin offerings, mining operations, and smart contracts. A five-year tax holiday and other incentives were introduced for HTP-registered crypto entities.
The decree provides legal definitions to key terms used in the crypto space. For example, ‘cryptocurrency’ has been described as “bitcoin, other digital sign (token) used in international circulation as a universal means of exchange.” To improve the decree’s implementation, Minsk adopted new accounting standards for the industry and later expanded the applicable regulatory framework.
HTP Registers 129 New Businesses Including Crypto Companies
Finstore is designed for buying and selling digital tokens representing securities – not exactly cryptocurrencies. But it is not the only digital asset trading platform operating out of Belarus. At least two other full-fledged crypto exchanges provide services to traders and investors under the preferential terms of their registration with the Belarus High-Tech Park.
Currency.com, for instance, facilitates the purchases and sales of decentralized cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin cash (BCH) and bitcoin core (BTC) with a choice of fiat currencies, including the euro, the U.S. dollar, the Russian and the Belarusian ruble. Another Belarus-regulated platform supporting trading pairs with BCH is Iexchange.
The number of crypto and blockchain businesses applying for HTP residency is constantly growing. According to the park’s website, 684 entities are currently registered in the special economic zone. Earlier this month, its supervisory board accepted another 129 new members, including crypto companies like Belveb’s affiliate DFS.
Do you think we are going to see more traditional banks involved in the crypto industry? Tell us in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
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The idea of starting your own podcast is undeniably appealing. Not only do you get to sound off about a topic that’s close to your heart, but if you opt for the host-and-guest format, you get to engage in stimulating debates with interesting people. But before you rush off to order a USB mic and start booking your crypto heroes, there’s a few things you should know about podcasting.
The podcast’s appeal partially stems from the fact that it can be done without the aid of third parties: if you’re reasonably tech savvy, you can write, record, edit and upload every episode by yourself. This elimination of intermediaries aligns well with bitcoiners, which goes some way towards explaining the proliferation of crypto podcasts.
Some of these factors compelled Matt Aaron to create Bitcoin.com’s very own podcast, which made its debut in February 2018. Since then it’s gone from strength to strength – and for Matt, it remains a labor of love.
“The pros definitely outweigh the cons,” he says. “Hosting a crypto podcast is an excuse to spend an hour picking the brains of someone you admire or can learn from, a person who might otherwise have no interest in speaking with you. On air, and a lot of times off-air, you can glean insights that help inform your thinking about cryptocurrency.” He adds:
Podcasts have become an increasingly popular medium, and many people prefer to learn about blockchain by listening to diverse perspectives rather than toiling through dense books.
“Of course, the cons can’t be ignored,” continues Aaron. “The sheer number of podcasts in this space can be daunting for anyone looking to launch their own. The need for an original angle is becoming stronger too, because there’s only so many times you can interview the founder of “X” coin or that legendary crypto personality and mine new material.”
Find Your Niche
Matt’s right: you need to find a niche. Are you doing a series on the history of bitcoin, focusing on flaws in the current financial system that crypto solves? Perhaps you’re interviewing movers and shakers, from programmers and dapp developers to UX designers and entrepreneurs. The important thing is that you have a good idea what your podcast is all about, and who you’re pitching it to.
While it might be tempting to make no topic or subtopic off-limits, be aware that there is a ton of competition out there. As such, you’ll need to think long and hard about how you differentiate yourself from other crypto-themed podcasts. It might be with a particular brand of humor, in-depth conversations with high-profile guests (how’s your contact book?) or aggressive marketing strategies, but overcoming the saturation is no picnic.
You should also perform due diligence on any potential guest. As Matt Aaron explains, “Many people in crypto end up being exposed as frauds or embroiled in some sort of legal snafu. If that happens and they’ve been a guest on your show, your name will appear next to theirs in a Google search. It’s bad publicity your podcast could do without. So, vet your guests properly and make sure they’re unlikely to be the next crypto meme.”
Write an Episode Outline
Once you’ve decided on your niche, it makes sense to come up with an outline for your first ‘season’ or batch of episodes. Focus on providing your audience with valuable and entertaining content and bringing a fresh perspective to the topic. Ask yourself: what is a crypto-curious listener getting out of subscribing? If you struggle to answer that question, you’re in trouble.
Having a clear episode outline will also prevent a form of mission creep, whereby you wind up losing sight of what it is you’re trying to achieve and resort to simply ranting about the latest happenings in the blockchain space. Having a clear, coherent structure is the best way of engaging listeners.
Essential Tools of the Trade
So what about the practicalities of actually creating and launching a blockchain podcast? How much work is required, and do you need to recruit a producer?
First things first, invest in a good-quality USB microphone – this will save you from having to use your computer’s built-in mic. Thankfully, the explosion of podcasts in recent years has led to the creation of dedicated apps that do a lot of the work for you, from cutting out audio gaps to recording each contributor’s audio on separate tracks, thereby making it easier to edit during the final mix.
One great tool – particularly if your podcast is a question-and-answer format with a remote guest – isSquadcast. You hit record, conduct your interview and end up with a high-quality, lossless audio recording. Video recording also comes as standard with each package so you can upload your podcast to Youtube, and up to three guests can feature on the same episode.
As for editing your recording, there are few better software suites thanHindenberg, which was originally built for radio journalists. Nifty features include automatic audio leveling, sound effects, royalty-free music tracks and noise-reduction capabilities. There’s also a clipboard feature, which is great for organizing audio material. It’s like having a sound engineer sitting by your side the whole time. Hindenburg is offering a 30-day free trial, so it’s worth experimenting to see if it suits your needs.
There isno shortage of options when it comes to online podcasts editors either:Alitu,Audacity,Spreaker andGarageband to name just a few. If you have the time and inclination, there’s no harm in giving each one a go. Sometimes it really does come down to personal preference.
Although Matt Aaron acknowledges the multitude of helpful apps available, he says budding podcast producers should not lose sight of the work required. “Getting the sound quality and editing just right is trickier than it might appear, it requires some trial and error. You want to be on the ball from the first episode, as no-one wants to be known for poor production standards. If there are any faults in the audio, it’s another excuse for the listener to switch off and find one of the many alternatives out there.”
Marketing and Monetizing Your Podcast
Once you’ve completed the fun stuff, it’s time to think about how you’re going to get your podcast out there. The cryptosphere is a hive of activity, and people get their information from various places: blogs and forum threads, Youtube interviews, tweets, Telegram, books. There’s no denying the popularity of podcasts though, so the question is, how are you going to publicize yours?
There are a few traditional marketing strategies of course, like churning out SEO blog content or throwing your money into pay-per-click advertising. Needless to say, you should also get some social media channels up and running to get the word out. Interact with others in this space, leverage guests’ audiences by compelling them to share the podcast with pull-quote images and video/soundbite snippets, run giveaways, and run paid promotions. It’s not a bad idea to also submit your podcast to podcatchers, aggregators, influencers, journalists and bloggers covering your beat.
It takes a lot of work, but busily promoting your podcast is the best way to find an audience. At this stage, you can monetize the endeavor by bringing partner brands on board, identifying possible sponsors using advertising networks likeMidroll orAdvertisecast. Alternatively, invite listeners to contribute on a pay-what-you-can model using a service likePatreon.
Getting a crypto podcast off the ground and then achieving success with it are two different things. But avoiding common mistakes is a good basis to start from. Despite the saturation, there’s never been a better time to launch a podcast centered on crypto themes, so if you have the passion and commitment coupled with realistic expectations, what are you waiting for? Get out there and start casting.
What are your favorite crypto podcasts? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
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At the World Digital Mining Summit in Frankfurt, Germany, Bitcoin.com’s CEO Stefan Rust sat down with Jihan Wu, cofounder of Bitmain Technologies and Matrixport. The two discussed how cryptocurrencies being used for payments is spreading and how Bitmain is doing after the bear market last year.
A Virtual Economy at Work Approaching Critical Mass
The World Digital Mining Summit (WDMS) is a two-day mining conference that hosts an assembly of industry leaders, mining rig manufacturers, cryptocurrency pool operators, and other individuals passionate about crypto. During the event, Bitcoin.com’s CEO, Stefan Rust, had the privilege of sitting down with Bitmain cofounder Jihan Wu and discussed a wide variety of subjects. At first, Wu explained how he got into Bitcoin and that while working for an investment firm, he happened to read something about Bitcoin and found it “really interesting at that time.” After looking into it for two days straight he decided that bitcoin was a good idea. Wu was actually the first person to translate Satoshi’s Bitcoin white paper into Chinese for residents living in the region.
“I was the first one to translate the [white paper]. At that time in the Chinese media said Bitcoin was either a scam or it does not work,” Wu explained to Rust. “I happened to understand economics and some high-level principles of computer science so I knew [Bitcoin] works in both economic ways and in computer science ways. So I translated the white paper and tried to get more positive feedback from Chinese social media.”
While recalling his old QT wallet, Wu emphasized that it’s been an amazing journey. “I still remember back then no one knew about bitcoin and right now there are 20 million or 40 million users around the world and almost everyone now more or less have heard about bitcoin — I believe there are actual users getting involved in the cryptocurrency economy and those [individuals] are really starting to use cryptocurrencies for payments. A way to store their cash account — I believe this kind of user base will increase more and more.” Wu continued:
This is a virtual economy at work and it’s quite difficult in the beginning but I think we are almost near critical mass.
The Bitmain cofounder remarked that he believes the 40 million crypto users globally had initially stemmed from investor types, but nowadays he sees more ordinary people joining the economy and “especially young people.” “[Individuals] are really pushing cryptocurrency into the local payment network and people start to use it,” Wu said. Rust also brought up spending bitcoin cash (BCH) in Slovenia where there are hundreds of merchants that accept digital assets for products and services. “Lots of people still today believe [Bitcoin] is undoable or it’s out of their imagination how cryptocurrency can be really adopted by real life use cases,” Wu replied. “I think it’s a miracle, I think it’s amazing and lots of miracles are happening nowadays.”
Bitmain Continues to Produce Next Generation Mining Rigs and Chips
After discussing cryptocurrency adoption, Wu also explained how Bitmain was doing this year. “After the bottom of the bearish trend last year we’ve seen a very fast recovery in the money industry and we can see the hashrate growing very fast. Bitmain’s sales volume increased a lot and we released a new generation of mining rigs and mining chips.” Wu detailed that the company also released new artificial intelligence (AI) chips. He further explained that Bitmain’s mining pools mined different cryptocurrencies and remain top-ranking mining pools. Wu stressed:
It’s a good year for Bitmain.
Additionally, Rust and Wu talked about regulations in China and how roughly 60% of the world’s hashpower is located in the country. The two executives discussed the possibility of China banning bitcoin mining and how the Chinese government is dealing with oversight. The Bitmain cofounder and Bitcoin.com CEO conversed about a slew of other subjects like the ecological impact of bitcoin mining, the reward halving, and a lot more insights from someone who’s seen the cryptocurrency mining industry grow immensely, first hand. If you want to check out our exclusive interview with Bitmain’s Jihan Wu, check out the video below.
What do you think about Jihan Wu’s perspective of the mining industry and cryptocurrency ecosystem? Let us know what you think about the interview in the comments section below.
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