Is KuCoin Safe to Use?

I was chatting in Discord today rather than creating content for Steemit. This seems to be a frequent problem lately. But an article posted by someone raised some concerns about the cryptocurrency exchange – KuCoin.

Source

KuCoin lists their address as being in Hong Kong, which makes them appear to be exempt from China’s crack down on Cryptocurrencies.  The problem is that the address listed by KuCoin appears to simply be a virtual mail box, rather than the address of a bricks and mortar business.

So it would seem that KuCoin has no real presence in Hong Kong. The article then states that KuCoin are hiring staff in Sichuan, China. So appear to be operating their exchange out of China. If this is the case, then it places them in the firing line of China’s crackdown on cryptocurrency websites and domestic exchanges.

Even more concerning, however, is that the author of this article actually visited the office in Hong Kong that KuCoin has listed as their address.  The employees in office are working for a different company that isn’t affiliated with KuCoin, who had never heard of them.

Source

KuCoin is registered under a secretarial company called Smart Team Secretarial Ltd who once operated out of this office, however the employees of this office stated that this company had moved out years ago.

So what does all of this mean?

My main concern is that KuCoin are operating from an unknown location and are potentially operating out of China, which puts them at risk of China’s current crack down on cryptocurrency trading, websites and exchanges.

But a quick search on KuCoin’s website leads you to this announcement:

“Dear KuCoin Users,There have been rumors that KuCoin’s central office in Hong Kong is empty. In fact, KuCoin’s public address in Hong Kong is merely a mailing address of one of KuCoin’s many subsidiary companies. KuCoin Headquarters is in Singapore. KuCoin has always been a global firm, with over 300 employees and four major offices in China, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.

KuCoin has been growing at an incredible speed and will be growing even faster in future. We are grateful for all of the support from our community and stay tuned for some incredible news which we will release soon.

Thanks for your support!
The KuCoin Team”
So it would seem that KuCoin at least are trying to be somewhat transparent. It still leaves a little to be desired since they haven’t listed their physical locations.  But it does give us a little confidence that they are willing to address the concerns raised.
Will I continue to use KuCoin for my trading? Yes. Will I leave my coins on the exchange? Absolutely not.
But you shouldn’t leave your coins on exchanges anyway. Trade safely!

I feel like an idiot…

So I’ve spent countless hours researching different coins to invest in recently. Coins that offer Proof of Stake and Masternodes have really taken my interest. And I’ve found some great coins to invest in amongst the utter crap that you’ll find in the vast sea of coins out there.

I had some basic criteria as to what the coin must provide in order for me to be interested in investing in it. And if these boxes were ticked I’d continue my research into the coin before investing.

  • Relatively stable price;
  • Listed on a decent number of exchanges in addition to some good exchanges;
  • Good team behind the coin;
  • A good community supporting the coin;
  • A solid purpose for the coin i.e. what problem does it solve?
  • Ability to offer a reliable and passive income stream.

The thing is, Steem ticks all of these boxes and then some. I’ve always known this, but I hadn’t really considered that what I was searching for all this time was essentially another Steem.

Image courtesy of @gamani who probably stole it from somewhere else

Price

We all know that the crypto market is in full bear mode right now. So while Steem has been on a southward trend, so has the whole market. And when we get that occasional green day, Steem is one of the coins that typically shows a decent recovery.

Exchanges

Steem is listed on all the exchanges that I need access to – Binance, Bittrex, and numerous others. This makes it easy for me to convert my Steem and SBD to other currencies or Fiat.

To date, I haven’t converted my Steem and SBD to Fiat but I have converted a portion to other currencies such as BTC, EOS and IOTA. My goal is to have a Steem funded and nicely diverse portfolio of crypto, but with Steem as my greatest holding. And I’m making some decent progress here, hence my research into other coins lately.

The Team

You’ll always get people banging on about how little Steemit Inc do and the mistakes they make, but at the end of the day I see that they are continually working on the blockchain and I’ve even been fortunate enough to speak with some of the Steemit Inc team members.

I have a lot of confidence in the Steemit Inc team and the potential of the Steem Blockchain. So I’m happy here.

Search pixabay.com for “smart people” and this is what you get

Purpose

If you don’t know the purpose of the Steem blockchain and currency then perhaps you should do a little reading. There is huge potential for the Steem blockchain and currency, just look at how insanely massive @steemmonsters has gotten… I never saw that coming.

A Passive Income Stream

And this is probably the thing that has me most excited and the one thing that made me realise how stupid my search was for a passive income stream in the crypto market.

The more Steem Power I hold, the greater my passive income stream becomes. So why the hell would I send my Steem off to the exchanges when I can simply generate that passive income right here?

There are so many options for a passive income stream on Steemit. You just have to know where to look.

If only it were that easy

 

Delegating to the bid bots

This is often one of the first methods that people think of when looking for a smart use of their Steem Power. And it could be a great option for you.  You can earn anywhere between 15% to 30% return via delegating to these bots. But, personally, this is not what I want to do.

I understand the purpose and benefits of a bid bot, but I don’t want to give them access to my Steem Power. I’d much rather use other strategies to generate my passive income.

Lease your Steem Power

Leasing your Steem Power makes sense to me. There are a few ways you can do this. The one that I am most familiar with is via Minnowbooster however you can also lease your Steem Power via Smartsteem.  Once you have created your account with Minnowbooster you can look through the available Steem Power leases available, and if you choose to, you can lease out your Steem Power to another Steemit user.  The period of time of leases can vary, as with the anticipated earnings.

Sell your vote

This is something that I have done for a long time. And I currently do it via MinnowboosterSmartsteem  also offer this service, and I’ve very recently started testing them out. For both Minnowbooster and Smartsteem, if you sell your vote you earn 85% of the profit in addition to your usual curation rewards.

From my experience, and a common recommendation by both services, is that you really should only sell a small percentage of your vote. I only sell up to 25% of my voting power. This allows me to still upvote the content posted by the people who I follow and upvote comments on my posts.  I have sold 100% of my voting power in the past, at a time when I needed to earn some quick SBD, but it takes way too long for your voting power to recover to make it worthwhile.

The biggest benefit of selling my vote is that if I cannot log on to Steemit for a period of time, I know that my voting power is being used and I am earning a small passive income from my Steem Power. It’s a brilliant service, and one that I will continue to use for a long time.

Delegate to an App, Service or Community

Some apps, services and communities will reward those who delegate to them. Not all of these are passive income streams but the rewards can be great.

For example, the @minnowsupport project will give you upvotes on your content if you delegate to them. And if you delegate to @dtube you receive a passive income in the form of delegator rewards.

Courtesy of @minnowsupport

Summary

This is far from a comprehensive write up as to what you can do with your Steem Power in order to start generating a passive income stream.

I like to control my Steem Power as much as possible so I don’t delegate anything personally (other than a short term delegation to @cyclefeed), I only sell 25% of my voting power. And I also like my vote to mean something to the people who interact with my content and the people who I follow. If I delegated most of my Steem Power my vote would return to 1 cent again which wouldn’t be much fun for anyone concerned.

But the point is, regardless of how I choose to utilise my Steem Power, I am able to earn a passive income stream by making smart use of it. And that passive income is quite likely higher than what most other currencies out there are offering.

And earning this passive income much simpler too. I don’t have to set up a masternode. I don’t have to set up a mining rig in my house.  And I don’t have to run the risk of sending my coins to an unknown wallet to be part of a shared masternode service as well.

So make smart use of your available Steem Power. Grow it as effectively and quickly as you can. It will only benefit you in the long term.

How are you currently using your Steem Power? Tell me about it in the comments.

 

Images courtesy of pixabay.com unless otherwise stated. Some links above may contain referral links.

Re-learning the art of the interview (read – I suck at interviews)

It’s time to find a boss again

I’ve decided to head back to my old career, so have been applying for jobs once again. What this means for my business, I’m not too sure. It can operate without me, but I suspect that the performance of the business will head south with me not being present on a regular basis.

I have the business up for sale anyway, so I’m not too worried about what happens to it. What I am worried about are my pitiful interview skills.

An accurate representation of my recent interview

Once upon a time, back when I was an employee, I used to be an absolute pro at interviews. It was rare that I wasn’t offered a job after completing the interview. But wow… how times have changed.

Once upon a time I would:

  • Research the company extensively to understand their direction, recent achievements, standards of practice etc.
  • Understand all requirements of the role and breadth of responsibilities.
  • Have prepared answers for the standard suite of questions and any position specific questions that I was able to anticipate.
  • Have a list of questions to ask about the company and role.
  • Know the names and positions of the people interviewing me.
    and so on.

I was always prepared, and would walk into the interview with the attitude that I already had the position. This may sound arrogant, but by acting this confident I never felt nervous.

So what happened?

I suppose it’s a lack of practice. If I total it up, it would be almost 6 years since I actually interviewed for a position. And when you’re self employed the idea of interviewing for a position sounds like hell.

I interviewed for a position early last week, and while I was well and truly qualified for the position I made some absolute blunders during the conversation.

Egg and my face were in alignment
  • I mentioned aspects of employment that I didn’t enjoy.
  • I actually swore… (facepalm…)
  • I went off on tangents rather than sticking to the topic at hand.
  • I spoke too much about my experience that was well beyond the level of responsibility of the role.

Needless to say, I could have done a lot better in this interview however I still have hopes that I am offered the role. The position, while not overly challenging, will be fun and it will allow my wife and I to move back to our home town of Adelaide.

So now it’s the waiting game, which is the worst part of interviews. Everything is an unknown until you get the call that lets you know the outcome.

Masternode Coins – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

I mentioned in a recent post that I have been on the hunt for a good masternode coin to invest in. If you missed the post and don’t know what a masternode is then check it out so that you’re up to speed.

The search for the right coin has been long, tiresome, and at times very depressing. The reality is that there are a lot of terrible coins out there. Many of them are outright scams, so finding the good ones can be a real problem.

Source

Masternode coins typically operate on a Proof of Stake model rather than Proof of Work. What this means is that if you hold a certain number of coins, and elect to operate a node then, via the running of this node, you receive regular rewards. Some coins also provide you with a reward if you “stake” or simply hold your coins rather than trading them. By holding your coins you receive a regular reward into your wallet, which is simply an incentive to ensure that the demand for the coin remains high rather than having people activity trading the coin on a regular basis.

The endless stream of shit coins

In all honesty, I very nearly gave up on finding a decent masternode coin after a week of searching. Coin after coin was proving to be utterly useless and often just a blatant scam.

I generally follow a simple series of checks when assessing whether or not a coin is worth my time:

  • Does the coin serve a real purpose or solve a real problem?
  • Is there a white paper to review?
  • Have the team identified themselves?
  • Is there financial backing behind the coin already?
  • Is the Return on Investment reasonable (above 100% is preferable)?
  • Are they present on all the usual social media channels and is there an active community in these channels?
  • Is the GitHub available and frequently updated?
  • Is the road map available, current and being met?
  • Is the coin listed on multiple exchanges and is there some volume there?

I’m sure there are plenty of other checks that I could do but these are generally enough to tell me whether or not the coin is worth investigating further.

Source

If the coin passes most of the above checks I tend to then spend some time in the Discord and/ or Telegram channels for the coin to see what the community is like. I do this to see if the community is positive and excited about the coin or simply complaining about the progress/ lack of progress or the lack of communication from the development team.

If I’m happy with everything that I see then I start monitoring the price movements of the coin. I don’t want to just buy right in. If the coin is heading on a downward trend then I want to see if I can grab it at or near what I believe will be the bottom.

If you’re wondering what a shit coin looks like then look no further than many of the coins found on masternodes.online or masternodes.pro. The perfect example of a shit coin is this one right here. The coin serves no purpose, there is no team, the website is incomplete, and so much more! Finding shit coins is easy, if only the good ones were so easy to find.

Sometimes you also stumble across a coin that might not be worth investing in, but is fascinating all the same. I came across Aquila recently, which is a coin that had been abandoned by its development team (read shit coin here) but the community decided to pick up the mess and rebuild it into something worthwhile. The community behind this coin now helps other abandoned coins recover and rebuild to something better and they make some revenue from the assistance that they provide. The community behind Aquila appear to be doing some good work, but sadly the coin just doesn’t seem to be worth investing in right now.

Finding that golden egg

I have found a couple of gems though, and I’m currently getting to know the community and watching the projects for a while before jumping in with an investment.

The masternode coins that I like stand out for truly obvious reasons. So far, these projects are:

Ambrosus

Source

This project is providing a blockchain solution to supply chain management, logistics, and is providing anti-counterfeiting measures.

Other than the website being a pain in the rear to navigate, this coin has a good team behind it, is making great progress, is listed on decent exchanges and ticks pretty much all of the boxes that I need to see ticked before getting interested.

Apex

Source

I’m really excited about Apex, this company is providing a broad range of solutions and already has excellent backing:

“APEX is the blockchain infrastructure for next-generation of consumer applications, helping solve and optimize incumbent problems in consumer internet and B2C interactions. APEX provides an enterprise blockchain solution for agile creation of custom dApps with increased privacy and  ownership of data, interactivity of consumer experiences, and connectivity of value.”

What’s even more impressive about this coin is that, not only does it tick most of the boxes on my checklist, it already has a range of existing customers who are ready and waiting. The company behind this coin have made fantastic progress to date as well. What’s interesting, is that they are yet to list on some decent exchanges, but when they do I’d expect to see some great movement in the price of the currency.

There’s a lot to this coin so I’ll do a more detailed write up in the future.

The good coins exist, I promise

In the world of masternodes and proof of stake coins, the good coins can be bloody hard to find. They do exist though, but finding them can be very draining of your positivity and will to go on.

I’m yet to make an investment, given that the market overall right now is heading south. I expect to make my first investment into a proof of stake coin next week however. So will definitely let you know what that is as soon as I put my money with my mouth is.

Did Ross Ulbricht Really Deserve a Double Life Sentence?

A few months ago I listened to the fascinating story of Ross Ulbricht. If you don’t know who this man is, you’ve been living under a crypto rock. Ross is the man who created The Silk Road, an online marketplace that was located on the dark web and used to sell drugs and many other things in exchange for Bitcoin. Ross was eventually caught in 2013 and given a double life sentence for creating this marketplace, and has now served 5 years of his sentence.

Source

The brilliant thing about this marketplace is that it was one of the first places where Bitcoin could be used to buy products, and it also created a safe environment in which people could purchase their drugs. I’m not a drug user, but if I were, I would much rather purchase my drugs via an online marketplace like the Silk Road than from someone on the street. Dealers on the Silk Road built up reputations based on the quality of their product, so you’d have some confidence that the product you were purchasing was as advertised and of decent quality.

The Silk Road was incredibly successful, and Ross made many millions of dollars worth of Bitcoin during the time that he operated the site. It is estimated that Ross made more than 600,000 bitcoins in commissions from the site which, in todays value of Bitcoin, would be worth roughly US $4.9 billion.

Source

Ross’s story is fascinating stuff, and well worth reading or listening to.  I’m not going to recount the story here as I don’t believe I can do it justice. So I would encourage you to listen to the Casefile Podcast which gives a good run-down of the story. You can find Part 1 of the podcast here.

I will include one caveat here though; this podcast tells the story based on the court proceedings and documents only, it fails to provide the story from Ross’s or his family’s perspective. There are a lot of problems with this case, and many errors made during the judgement. There are even examples of tampering with evidence which went unchallenged along with apparent corruption throughout the proceedings. You can read about this at the Free Ross website, this is also an interesting read and partly why I am writing this post today.

I am writing this post today because Ross has received a double life sentence for creating his online marketplace. His crime was not violent, and those who were convicted of selling drugs on his marketplace received much lesser sentences.

Source

The reality is that Ross was much like the creator of Amazon or Ebay. He provided the platform for the sale of these products, but wasn’t responsible for every item that was listed on the marketplace. Sure, he sold some magic mushrooms and possibly some weed but he wasn’t the sole distributor on the platform. In fact he sold substantially less product on the platform in comparison to most of the dealers who used his platform.

There have been examples of child pornography on Facebook, of Amazon selling cyanide to a young girl who then committed suicide, and many other examples of online marketplaces being used for questionable activities. But the CEOs and owners of these marketplaces have never been sent to jail.

Source

Ross should not be serving a double life sentence, he should not have been charged as a kingpin, which is a charge given to leaders or organised crime syndicates. Realistically, Ross should have already served his sentence. This is a man who is highly unlikely to go on and commit another crime. Let alone a violent crime.

So I encourage you to look at this case and see it for its failings. This man was given a sentence that was completely unjust and unreasonable. And I ask that you sign this petition to encourage the American government to overturn his charge.

I also encourage you to read or listen to the Silk Road story, it’s one of the most fascinating stories that I have ever heard. But a very sad one given the outcome.

Sign the petition here.

 

Ballarat, Beer & Masternodes!

Beers in the Rat (and what the hell is a Masternode?)!

And this time there’s more than one beer to talk about.  That was a beer filled weekend indeed. My wife and I ventured off to the little town of Ballarat for a friends birthday this weekend, so I took the chance to try a few new beers while there.

There’s wifey in the distance. 🙂

I was actually expecting to visit a local brewery, since Ballarat has a couple of great ones. But instead, we visited a bar next to our hotel which stocked around 200 craft beers.

It was an impressive line up, so rather than just have one or two, I once again went for the paddle.

There’s nothing quite like a good paddle.

Of course, I chose my favourite styles of beer. An IPA, an IIPA, a Porter and a Stout. All from different breweries, but all Australian.

Two Birds Brewing – Rye IPA

Two Birds Brewing is a brewery located in Melbourne. They’re well known for producing some quality beers. The brewer describes the beer as being malt driven with spicy and fruity aroma. Personally, I found it to be a fairly traditional IPA that was a little on the weak side in terms of fruity aromas, strength of hops and bitterness. It’s a decent IPA, but nothing I would get too excited about.

Bells Brewing Co. – Malted Double IPA

Bells Brewing Co. is located in Geelong, Victoria and is a brewery that I’ve never encountered before.  I’m glad I did.  This was an impressive IIPA that was both fruity in aroma, on the palate with an excellent strength of both hops and bitterness. It’s a beer with a complexity that you can appreciate, so was definitely a stand out on this paddle.

Odyssey Craft Brewing – Caramel Porter

Odyssey is another Victorian brewery, and another that I had never heard of before. This porter is pretty much as described, lots of malts and caramel on the nose, and not at all subtle hints of caramel on the palate.  It’s a sweet porter, which was pleasant. Overall this was quite an enjoyable beer, but not all all session-able.

Fox Hat Brewing Co. – Phat Mongrel

Fox Hat Brewing Co. is an Australian brewery, located somewhere in Australia. I’ve found with this review that some breweries are terrible at telling us where they are located, and these guys are the best at avoiding the provision of a location.

At least their beer is good.  The Phat Mongrel is an Oatmeal Stout. And I’ve discovered in recent months that I love a good Oatmeal Stout.  This one is very much a traditional Oatmeal Stout, it has strong hops aroma and is smooth on the palate with a mild bitterness. It’s a very easy drinking Stout and quite a stand out for me.

BeerTypeOriginABVRating
Two Birds Brewing Rye IPAIPAVictoria6.43.5
Bells Brewing Co. Malted Double IPAIIPAVictoria7.54
Odyssey Craft Brewing Caramel PorterPorterVictoria54
Fox Hat Brewing Co. Phat MongrelOatmeal StoutVictoria6.5%4

Masternodes – a worthy passive income stream?

Right now, I’m researching how I can expand on my passive income streams in the cryptocurrency world.  This research has lead me to masternode coins. If you’re like me, then you’ve probably never really learnt about masternodes before as well, and possibly have never heard of them. So what is a masternode?

Source

“a masternode is a server on a decentralized network. It is utilized to complete unique functions in ways ordinary nodes can’t. It can be used for features like direct send / instant transactions or private transactions.

Because of their increased capabilities, masternodes typically require a sizable investment in order to run. But this is where incentivization comes into play, as masternode operators are rewarded by earning portions of block rewards in whatever given cryptocurrency they’re facilitating.” Source

When purchasing a masternode you are buying a set number of coins and staking these coins in a wallet that is left open to verify that you hold the required number of coins in order to operate a masternode. The number of coins can vary from 1000 to 50,000 coins, depending on the coin.

The first and most popular of the masternode coins is DASH. And for many, DASH has proven to be a great investment. Due to the popularity of DASH however, a masternode costs a substantial amount of money – as of right now the cost to purchase a DASH masternode is almost $240,000.

Source

Are masternodes worth investing in?

Essentially, by running masternodes you can generate a passive income stream of your chosen coin. But the good quality coins in this space are limited. It appears that this type of coin is becoming increasingly popular, and with it are all the scams and shit-coins.

Finding a good quality coin to invest in is hard, and I’ve spent many hours sifting through the wide range of coins listed on sites such as masternodes.online and masternodes.pro to see if I can find something suitable to invest in.

The return on investment varies massively from coin to coin as well.  There are some coins that only provide a few percent return, while others can offer many thousands of percent return. And of course, with the increasing promise of return comes an increase in risk. What goes up fast, often falls very fast as well.

Source

So, if you’re thinking of investing in a masternode you’ll need to do extensive research to confirm that you have found a quality coin with a solid purpose and team behind it. I’ve found many coins don’t even list the team behind them, and have come across some where the developers have simply walked away from the project. I was even quite sad to enter a telegram channel where the masternode holders had only just discovered that the developers had left the project. And as I sat there chatting to the people who were left holding large bags of a worthless coin, they discovered that the developers had just launched another scam coin and had listed it as offering a 30,000% return on investment. This is clearly a risky game.

The point is, masternode coins can offer an excellent source of a passive income but you need to be aware of the risks involved.  My checks to confirm that a coin might be worth investing in tend to include the following:

  • Does the coin serve a real purpose?
  • Is there a decent team behind the coin?
  • Is the return on investment worth the effort?
  • Is there an active and engaged community behind the coin?
  • Is the coin listed on a number of exchanges, including reputable exchanges?
  • Is there a decent volume of coins being moved every 24 hours?

I’m yet to find a coin that I feel comfortable investing in, so will report back once I make my first investment in a masternode and will provide a write up on how I went about setting one up.

Have you invested in masternodes yourself? I’d love to hear your experience in the comments below.

My Steem Story – 297 Days of Steemit

This is my entry into an excellent competition being run by @whatsup.  If you don’t know who @whatsup is, he’s a very active Steemit user who works hard to increase the level of engagement we see on our posts. He also creates consistently interesting content, so check him out.

This competition is quite simply telling your story as to how you came across Steemit and your experience to date on the platform. So here’s my little tale.

Source

Finding Steemit

I heard about Bitcoin back around 2012 when it reached $20 and hit the mainstream media for this price rise. I was working on a mine site and thought I’d grab $1000 worth as soon as I got to my computer.

As with many people, I forgot about it, and never bought a single coin. So when cryptocurrency started getting back into the media in October 2017, I remembered hearing about Bitcoin back in 2012 and kicked myself very hard for not buying $1000 worth back then. In 2012, $1000 worth of bitcoin would have bought me 50 coins, and 50 coins when Bitcoin reached its’ peak of $20,000 would have been worth $1,000,000. I could have quite literally become a millionaire with an investment of $1000.

Source

As a result of recognising this missed opportunity, I started researching the cryptocurrencies a little more deeply. I was reading blogs, listening to podcasts, and watching various YouTube videos on the topic. Eventually, I stumbled across a podcast by Chris Coney (@marketingmonk) where he was discussing Steemit and other currencies.

Naturally, being someone who enjoys writing, I headed straight over to Steemit and created an account.  I didn’t even browse the posts on Steemit before creating an account, and if I’m honest, that’s probably a good thing.  Many a content creator could easily be scared away if they looked at the posts under the “new” tab and even the trending tab for that matter.

My Steemit Journey so far

I didn’t take Steemit all that seriously when I first started.  Initially, I just wanted to see how easy it was to earn some free crypto. So I was posting what can only be considered rubbish. In time though, I started taking the platform a little more seriously and started to think more seriously about the type of content that I wanted to produce and the topics that I wanted to discuss on my blog.

I started writing about wildlife photography, beer, wine, my early research into cryptocurrencies and a few other topics.  I started entering writing competitions and writing about very personal stories and experiences.

When the crypto market went through the highs of late 2017 I started pumping out as many as 5 posts a day on Steemit and it was at this time that I discovered what it was like to be a shit poster. My content wasn’t great and my posts were only taking a few minutes to produce. Thankfully, I started questioning what I wanted to be known for on Steemit, so in early 2018 I pulled back on my posting frequency and started caring about the quality of my content.

Source

Over time, my writing style has evolved and become more structured. I’ve started learning about the strategies that can be used to increase engagement if that’s what I’m after or simply how to properly structure a post in order to communicate your chosen message.

And I haven’t just produced written material over this time. I’ve even tried my hand at creating videos on DTube which is something that I never before would have done had it not been for some encouragement from a fellow Steemit user and a curiosity to see if I could actually do it.

And when it comes to Steemit, there are many ways to earn your currency.  A few months ago I launched Steemit Shop Australia, which was an online store that sold Steemit and DTube merchandise. People could pay in Steem and SBD if they chose to, and many people did.  The store was fantastic, but sadly wasn’t earning enough to maintain itself. So I have closed the store for the time being with plans to open a new one in the coming weeks. You can still by merchandise from me though, check out the post I wrote about this yesterday. One of the coolest things about my shop is seeing people all over the world wearing my merchandise (check the shirt that @snook is wearing in her video, here, that’s one of mine).  It’s been amazing to see just how far reaching this little shop that I built one night over a few beers has reached.

I was even involved in the creation of @blockdeals, which was a deals and coupon listing platform built on the Steem Blockchain. This is an awesome use of the Steem Blockchain where users can be rewarded for finding awesome deals and coupons, and sharing them with the community. Through their sharing of these deals, the user gets rewarded in Steem and SBD. So, in theory, a person could earn enough currency to buy the product they find if the community likes their post enough. We were unable to get the delegation needed to make this project a success though. So the team has disbanded. There is hope though, I don’t think the devs have entirely given up on the project so we may see something come of it yet.

And through my writing posts and engaging with other Steemit users, I  stumbled across some fellow Australians on Steemit and was invited to join the #TeamAustralia community. This proved to be an excellent decision as I’ve since met a number of Steemit users face to face at meet ups in Melbourne and even a couple of Steemit users in Adelaide.

So lets summarise my mistakes on Steemit to date and the things I’m glad I did and experienced and will continue doing.

Source

My mistakes

  • Cashing out my earnings early on. Don’t do it, power up everything. I’d be at more than 2000 SP by now if I hadn’t tried my hand at trading on the exchanges with the Steem and SBD that I made in the early days.
  • Shit posting – just don’t do it. It ruins your reputation as a content creator and it can be hard to earn the the respect and trust of your fellow Steemians if you become known for it.

Things I’d do again and keep doing

  • Going out of my way to meet people, both online and in real life. I’ve met so many amazing people on Steemit so far, and continue to do so.
  • Having a big focus on creating quality content rather than a vast quantity of content.  It doesn’t matter if your earnings are a little less, your followers will appreciate you all the more if they see you care about quality over quantity.
  • Entering as many competitions as possible. Getting your content in front of new people through competitions is one of the best things you can do. Plus the prizes can be great.
  • Getting out of my comfort zone and making videos on DTube.
  • Getting involved in new projects on the Steemit and the Blockchain.  My online shop and @blockdeals were both excellent things to create and be involved in. And my online store will definitely be live again soon.

The Future

Right now, I’m trying out @steempress for my blogging and have returned to creating written content rather than blogging.  I’m also spending a large amount of time researching cryptocurrencies and the various ways in which we can invest in them.

This is partly so that I can diversify my cryptocurrency holdings but also so that I can help others learn about this little world of ours.

I’ll probably continue to create video content, but for the time being I’m enjoying writing again. It’s what I do best.

And of course, I’ll be releasing my new store in the future as well, which will hopefully stock some different products from what I have listed previously.

 

Taking on the Giants – The IAGON Solution

Taking on the Giants with Cloud Computing

Cloud computing services are currently highly centralised and are controlled by a select number of companies, the main companies being Google, Microsoft, IBM and Amazon.

This means, that these companies are in absolute control of vast amounts of data, which they can and will use as they please. And it also means that should there be a security breach, these companies could potentially leak this vast amount of data to anyone with ill intentions for its use. We’ve seen data leaks occur on multiple occasions, and these leaks continue to happen on a very frequent basis.

Source

What’s more, the need for increased computational processing power and and cloud storage is on a continuous uptrend, and with the development of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, and the increased utilisation of Big Data, cloud storage and processing power services are only going to be in greater demand as we progress through the years.

And these services are already big business, but it’s growing at an amazing rate:

“The size of the cloud services market providing both storage capacities and computational    processing capabilities to companies and to corporates is estimated by 45 billion USD per annum and it steadily grows.” Source

Decentralising the Cloud Services Industry

So I was very interested to read about IAGON in this week’s @orignalworks writing contest.  It’s not every day that you hear someone say that they plan to take on the likes of Amazon, Google, Microsoft and IBM.  But that’s exactly what IAGON are planning on doing.

Source

IAGON aims to, in their own words:

“revolutionize the cloud and web services market by offering a decentralized grid of storage and processing. By joining the unused storage capacity in servers and personal computers and their processing power, we can create a super-computer and super data center that can compete with any of the current cloud computing moguls.”

They’re doing this through the creation of a decentralised cloud service network. This network will offer highly secure cloud storage services while also offering additional processing power for organisations and individuals who need additional computing resources for performing complex tasks such as processing Big Data and developing AI technology.  These services will be highly secure via military grade encryption and completely decentralised. IAG tokens will used by companies as the currency for paying for access to the network.

Individuals and organisations will be able to earn IAG tokens by “renting” their computers unused or under-utilised storage and processing power to the IAGON network.   And anyone will be able to purchase storage and processing power via these tokens.

The “mining” of IAG tokens is essentially undertaken through the provision of storage or processing power to the network. And this makes it possible for anyone to get involved in mining IAG tokens and participating in the network.

Big plans and bigger targets – can they achieve them?

There’s a lot to love about this project. And their goals are massive. Taking on the big players in the cloud services arena is a huge undertaking so you want to make sure you’ve got the right people around you and a solid strategy to make it happen.

IAGON have provided a very clear roadmap, which can also be viewed on the IAGON website. So far, all development of the project has met the deadlines listed on this roadmap.

You’ll find the roadmap here.

The first thing that impressed me about this project was that there are a lot of people giving this project a great rating, check out these scores:

Source

It’s a rare day that you see an up-coming project with ratings like this. The next thing that gives me confidence that this group know what they’re doing is the team.

The IAGON Team

The team behind this project is extensive and brings a wealth of expertise to the platform.  More importantly, the founders are highly qualified and experienced, and have employed the necessary people where their knowledge may be lacking.

See the full list of IAGON team members here.

It’s rare to see a platform with so many Doctors on the team. But with a project like this it’s not at all surprising.

And there are Partnerships

The IAGON team have brought on a number of partners into this project, which is a fantastic indication of just how much of a demand and support there is for a project such as this.  Below is a selection of some of the partners involved in this project, however even over the past couple of days there have been more announced

Source

The IAGON Main Net

IAGON have a functioning Main Net which, once the project has officially launched, will be comprised of the network of data centres and individual computers which have offered their under-utilised storage capacity for the storage of Big Data and any other information that users of the network choose to store on the platform.

What’s even more interesting, is that IAGON plan to implement the network on a hybrid blockchain/ tangle platform. I won’t comment on this given that I’m not technically astute enough to do this particular detail justice. However I did hear some talk of work taking place with IOTA to make this happen on one of the various YouTube interviews with the founders that you can find.

And the data centres and computers which have offered up their processing power will in-turn have their processing power combined into what can be considered a decentralised super computer which can be used to perform the complex tasks required for processing power intensive tasks such as AI technologies, speech recognition, robotics and so on.

And it is through this process that users offering storage and processing power to the network will earn IAG tokens, after corporations and individuals who need access to the network purchase their access using these tokens.

Decentralisation provides more than one solution

Creating a decentralised cloud services platform has enabled IAGON to solve two problems with the one solution.  Through a decentralised network, IAGON are able to provide a level of security that will prevent the types of data leaks that we’ve seen in this industry in recent weeks, months and years.

In addition to this, IAGON are able to combine the storage and processing power of data centres and computers globally to provide the level of processing power that is required to perform the increasingly complex tasks that we require with our rapid advances in the AI and Big Data processing space.

Source

Finally, IAGON will also be implementing machine learning and AI into their network which will allow the network to intelligently decide how to allocate storage and processing power resources to those who need them.  Using AI in this network will allow the network to continuously advance and improve on itself

Concluding Remarks

I think it’s quite obvious that I am a huge fan of this project. So much so that I have created an account and have submitted a mining application.  I’ll be offering part of my computers processing power and storage for use by the IAGON network right from the beginning.

I completely agree that we’ll be seeing a huge demand for cloud storage and processing services in the future, and IAGON are offering a fantastic solution to the limitations faced in this market.

Main Sale

The pre-sale for the project took place back in May this year, with the soft cap being reached. Now, the main sale is currently underway. So, if you want to get involved, then head on over to the website to find out more.

And if you want to get involved in setting up a mining account, then click here to get involved.

Learn more

Learn more about the project here.  IAGON are on Steemit!

iagon2018

Does earn.com really give free Bitcoin?

It does, but the real question is – Is it worth the effort?

I discovered a little website called earn.com from the #BeerSaturday creator @detlev.  Mr Detlev wrote about this site quite some time ago, and I’ve been using the site ever since with the view to write about my experience here on Steemit. Which I never really got around doing until now.

Source

Earn.com is a site where you get invited to complete simple tasks and in return you get paid a small sum of Bitcoin. The site claims that you can earn anywhere from $1 to $100 for completing tasks.  And it seems that if you have skills and high level knowledge in blockchain, engineering and other IT related skills then you may very well be able to earn at the higher end of the spectrum.  If you’re a well established investor or influencer then you might find yourself in demand in the platform as well.

You receive jobs by applying to be included on “lists” which match your skills and knowledge. And given that I don’t have a background in IT and my knowledge of Blockchain is entirely self taught, the lists that I am on are for all fairly low value tasks. As a result, I only get contacted by companies launching new ICOs and wanting me to sign up to their Telegram channel and other platforms. And by doing so, I receive the equivalent of $1 US dollar in Bitcoin per task.

So, for the minimal time that I’ve put into earn.com thus far, I’ve made around $25 in Bitcoin which I have transferred to Bittrex and converted into Steem Power. I should mention though, that through the process I’ve had to sign up to numerous email lists.  So if you’re going to get involved, I’d recommend setting up a separate email address so that you don’t get your main account spammed with endless emails for ICOs etc.

Source

It’s also very sporadic with the job requests. So while I’ve mentioned that I haven’t put much time into this, the time has been spread over numerous weeks. And it can be a little distracting seeing these job requests pop up from time to time.  The job requests also have a time limit on them, so if you leave them too long the will expire.

One of the good things about the site is that you can transfer any amount you like to an off site wallet. My first transfer was worth all of $11 in Bitcoin. So at least the site has passed my first and most important test:

Yes, you can actually earn Bitcoin from earn.com.

Will you make a tonne of money there? Probably not. Is it worth your time and energy? Maybe, but you could invest that time into creating content on Steemit and quite probably make the same amount of money, if not more.  Will I continue using earn.com? Well, I’ve just applied to be included on some extra lists which might lead to higher paying jobs, so yes, I’ll give it another month. And I’ll certainly report back if I make anything worthwhile from the site.

If you’re curious and want to give it a shot, you can get a little bonus by using my referral link, and naturally, I’ll get a little kick back as well.

Beer and Blockchain – When will mass adoption happen?

My days have been pretty quiet of late. My little man had surgery on his knee so I’ve been at home and looking after him for the past 3 weeks.

The little man himself.

This has meant that my ability to visit local breweries, which I generally write about for my #BeerSaturday reviews, has been severely hampered. One benefit of sitting at home with my pup is that I’ve been able to spend a lot more time on Steemit and researching cryptocurrencies along with reflecting on some of the cryptocurrency related services that I’ve been participating in.

And that led me to think about these beer reviews, perhaps it’s time to change these up where I’ll discuss something that I’ve encountered in the cryptocurrency space along with the beer that I’m drinking. I feel that this may fit better with the overall theme of my blog.

What will it take for mass adoption of cryptocurrencies to be a thing?

This week saw me enter the @orignalworks writing contest with this entry.  In the entry I discuss the GRAFT Network and their technology which has the potential to greatly aid in the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies.  Basically, what they are doing is creating a payment system that will allow businesses to incorporate cryptocurrency payments into their existing Point of Sale (POS) systems, and allow for these currencies to be automatically converted into Fiat or another currency of their choosing.  The technology and concept is fantastic, and will greatly help with cryptocurrencies becoming a part of every day society.

Source

But for cryptocurrencies to reach the mainstream and become part of our every day lives, we need to see them in all institutions and markets. So I was really pleased to see in the media yesterday an article about cryptocurrency courses now being offered at Russian Universities. And while this is nothing new in Russia, there was a similar article back in 2017, it is extremely exciting to see that courses are now being developed with a focus on cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. It gives me hope that these types of courses will soon be offered across the globe. And if a course is ever offered in Australia, I’ll be one of the first to jump in to gain a formal qualification in this field.

And finally, today an article was published where Mike Novogratz (a former Wall Street Executive and founder of Galaxy Digital crypto merchant bank) claims that the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies is five to six years from taking place. This time-frame seems perfectly reasonable to me. Mike believes that cryptocurrencies need to “not feel like something new” before they become an accepted part of our lives.

Source

He also believes that the cost of technical talent and the doubts of conventional investors are holding back the acceptance of cryptocurrencies. And while the cost of talent may not decline any time soon, the doubts of investors (both retail and large scale) will certainly pass as more professional institutions start moving into the cryptocurrency space.

So it seems to me that with new systems being built to allow for easy use of cryptocurrencies for the purchase of goods and services, with educational institutions getting on board with the technology, and with the view that investors, both large and small, will start to be more trusting of the technology, a view that mainstream adoption of blockchain technology is quite realistic in my eyes.

What was I drinking while writing this?

A few days ago, I was able to escape the home briefly to grab some beer for a party that my Wife was holding. I found a Californian craft beer at my local bottle shop that sounded quite interesting. I haven’t had many American craft beers so was eager to give it a shot.

Ballast Point – Sculpin IPA

Ballast Point’s Sculpin IPA

Ballast Point is a brewery that was established way back in 1996.  It was started by a small group of home-brewers, and is now a well established brewery in San Diego.

The Sculpin IPA is their flagship beer and they describe it as:

“inspired use of hops creates hints of apricot, peach, mango and lemon flavors, but still packs a bit of a sting, just like a Sculpin fish.”

The beer pours a deep amber, with a decent head that lingers for a while.  I love a good aromatic and fruity IPA, it’s these traits that keep me coming back to them. But with this beer, I found the aroma to be quite lacking.  There were some fruity notes, but it was mild, and there were strange malty notes as well, which don’t really belong in an IPA.  The carbonation is quite high, which again is a little unusual, and on the palate you’ll be hit with a powerful bitterness, fruity flavours, hops and malts.

This is a decent beer, it’s quite enjoyable. But the maltiness doesn’t belong in an IPA.  I found it a little off putting as I know it shouldn’t be there. But overall it’s still a pleasant brew and I’m happy to still have a couple of them sitting in the fridge.

The Beer Data

BeerTypeOriginABVRating
Two Birds Brewing Rye IPAIPAVictoria6.43.5
Bells Brewing Co. Malted Double IPAIIPAVictoria7.54
Odyssey Craft Brewing Caramel PorterPorterVictoria54
Fox Hat Brewing Co. Phat MongrelOatmeal StoutVictoria6.5%4