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Beyond Bitcoin: The Future of Blockchain Technology

Bitcoins were introduced in 2009 to great fanfare. Although there had been predecessors, Bitcoins were framed as the first form of cyber currency.

Shortly after Bitcoins were introduced, I labeled them a Soft Trend—one whose future was looking good, but not a future certainty. I also labeled cyber currency a Hard Trend that would continue to grow, predicting that there would be many more cyber currencies.

Since then, I’ve seen no need to change either designation, as there are now more than 100 different cyber currencies. At the same time, as Bitcoins struggled to gain widespread use, blockchain—the technology Bitcoin transactions are handled with—were growing.

Unlike bitcoins, blockchain development has shown no signs of slowing down and represents a Hard Trend that will continue to grow. The rapidly evolving technology of blockchain holds enormous promise for game-changing disruption across any number of industries and fields.

O’Reilly Media presciently noted in early 2015: “The blockchain is the new database—get ready to rewrite everything.”

Blockchain Explained—Security in Numbers

A blockchain is a system of decentralized transaction records. This means a transaction is created without any input from a controlling entity. A blockchain also employs cryptography to keep exchanges secure, incorporating a decentralized database, or “digital ledger,” of transactions that everyone on the network can see. This network is a chain of computers, needing exchange approval before it can be verified and recorded.

The Game-Changing Opportunity in Financial Transactions

Roughly $20 billion in gross domestic product is currently held in blockchain form, according to a study by the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council. However, projections show blockchain use will increase significantly in the next decade as banks, insurers and technology firms embrace the technology to boost transaction speed and security, and trim expenses. This is already taking place, for example, with Swiss banking giant UBS and banks such as HSBC, Santander, and BBVA, which launched corporate venture funds to make equity investments in financial technology companies.

More Than Just Money

The future of blockchain is exciting. Outside of its use solely in financial transaction applications, it can transform several other industries. Other examples include:

  •      Data Storage—Current storage services using cloud technology are centralized around a single provider. A blockchain lets users store data and information via a decentralized platform, improving security and lessening reliance on any one provider.

 

  •      Voting—A blockchain voting network is inherently more reliable than paper or electronic ballots since changing one vote would require changing multiple votes simultaneously. A blockchain voting network has already been used—Denmark’s Liberal Alliance employed a blockchain for internal voting back in 2014.
  •      Military Use—The U.S. Department of Defense and NATO are actively investigating the use of blockchain. Among other applications, they’re interested in messaging platforms capable of transferring information by way of a secure decentralized protocol.
  •      The War on Terrorism—In May 2015, the Isle of Man implemented the first government-run blockchain project, leveraging it to create a registry of digital-currency companies operating on the island. The system also counters money laundering, helping prevent terrorist financing since the flow of money can be traced specifically to the source of the transaction.
  •      “Smart” Contracts—The idea behind a smart contract is that it self-manages the fulfillment of the agreement and is verified programmatically via the blockchain instead of a third party. Two or more parties agree on terms, program those terms into the blockchain, and allow for payments and other transactions once those terms are fulfilled and validated by the blockchain.
  •      Regulation—Because a blockchain cannot be changed without a majority of participants agreeing to do so, the underlying technology might be used in place of a variety of regulations, such as those mandated by Know Your Customer (KYC).
  •      Identity Management—Labeled the first comprehensive blockchain-based identity service, Onename allows users to create tamper-proof digital identities for themselves called Passcards that replace conventional usernames and passwords.
  •      The Music Industry—In October 2015, Ujo Music unveiled a working example of how blockchain-based technology would allow consumers to purchase registered works directly. We can also pre-solve the problem of legalities, where artists publish policies on how their music may be used to avoid legal action against misuse.

More Reasons for Excitement

Blockchain use is largely restricted to private forms of transactions, but when looked at in an anticipatory way of thinking, blockchain could be used for anything that requires proof of identification, the exchange of goods or verification of contract terms.

One executive involved in the development of blockchain summarized its potential in a framework we can all appreciate: “‘Check it on the blockchain’ will be the phrase of the twenty-first century. It will be as commonplace as people saying ‘Google that.’”

When it comes to blockchain, get ready to rewrite everything.

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How To Fight The Negativity Of Cyberbullying

“Cyberbully – A person that seeks power by hiding behind the cloak of anonymity due to his cowardness to confront others head-on. Or, someone too weak in personality that it causes him to seek pleasure by denigrating others.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert

“He constantly picked on me by posting untruthful things that he said I engaged in. Then, he made unflattering comments about my mother. I found that of particular distaste.”

You may have thought the words above stemmed from two friends in their teens. The statement did come from two friends, but they were CEOs of major corporations. They were discussing the cyberbullying effects targeted against one of the CEOs in cyberspace.

Anyone can come under attack in cyberspace. The reasons for such don’t have to be valid. Do you know how to fight the negativity of cyberbullying? Continue reading this article to gather a few tips that you can use to combat a cyberbully.

Prevention:

Keep your guard up.

Be on the alert for those that might attack you. Some will do so because of the assets they perceive you to have. They may also do so because of the industry your business is in, your ethnicity and/or gender. Some people may just be mentally challenged, which causes them to seek out a target to bully.

None of this is to say that you should become paranoid. It simply means that you should be alert about how and why someone might attack you in cyberspace.

Turn yourself into a small target.

Know that some people engage in cyberbullying for pleasure. Others may do so as the prelude to extortion; extortion can be in the form of gaining leverage to achieve a goal, especially when negotiating.

To thwart a bully’s efforts, turn yourself into a small target. Don’t flaunt your assets in the manner that would attract and invite a possible attack. If you become a victim, keep a prepared set of documents that show you may not have what the bully wants. To do this, you must know what his ultimate goal is. You don’t want him to turn your perceived lack of assets against you and use that to enhance his position. Remember, it’s harder to hit a small target, but you must know what to morph that target into before it can be effective.

Fighting back:

Why me?

Bullies tend to target those persons or entities that they sense as being vulnerable. So, project strength when responding to the bully. You can do this by having others come to your defense and responding on your behalf. You can also respond by hitting the bully where he’s most vulnerable; it’s obvious that you’ll have to know his vulnerabilities to do this, which may require research.

I used the above strategy in an online forum in which someone attempted to bully others in the group. I asked the group if anyone knew that the bully had done the same thing in other groups. Someone said they did and that individual took the bully head-on. The bully retreated and was never heard from again. As an aside, I and the cohort that I used to fight the bully had already discussed this tactic before my ally engaged him. The bully had perpetrated the same tactics in a different forum that my ally and I were in.

Depending on the severity of the cyberbullying, you can get law officials involved, private detectives, etc. Regardless of the countermeasures you engage in, use them strongly enough to arrest the bully’s activities. Crush his will to engage you further so he dares not return to his former activities against you … and everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!

After reading this article, what are you thinking? I’d really like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com

To receive Greg’s free “Negotiation Tip of the Week” and the “Sunday Negotiation Insight” click here http://www.TheMasterNegotiator.com/greg-williams/

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