Bitcoin and BlockChain – The New Spectator Sports. A candid discussion about cryptocurrencies and the platform they hang out with.

Nauman Akbar, founder and owner of MessageMuse, a full service digital marketing agency, talks about Bitcoin and Blockchain.

Today, all the buzz is about cryptocurrencies and Blockchain. I have been quite surprised by how many digital marketing agency clients ask me what I know about the topics. The reality is digital agencies have had to come up to speed on these latest trends because our clients want us to advise them. Specifically, in the area of app development, where investors are looking for new ways to raise capital, cryptocurrency becomes the new enticement those seeking financial backing.

Bitcoin seems to get its share of publicity these days. Some of it is good; some of it is not so good but it is always food for discussion around the water fountain at work or at a meeting with my digital marketing clients. The latest ping from the world of cryptocurrency are the drop in value for Bitcoin and the announcement by Mark Cuban of Shark Tank fame that his Dallas Mavericks will start accepting cryptocurrencies next season. Since Cuban is known for bombastic moves in the investment world, let’s see if this announcement ever comes to fruition.

What I am writing here is my opinion based on my observation deck at MessageMuse. Come join me at the watercooler for a talk about the latest misbehavers and fascinators in the tech industry.

Of late we’ve gotten some pretty discouraging news about Bitcoin, the Big Daddy of cryptocurrencies. From soaring highs to plummeting lows, it has been an exciting ride with a scary decent. And its volatility has exceeded even the worst corrections of traditional currencies.

The other tough news for those looking to raise funds through an ICO is the most recent crackdowns we have seen in the Western world. Just yesterday, three cryptocurrency companies in the US have been charged with fraud and will likely see some pretty heavy handed treatment from the various government agencies who have taken on the task of a regulatory war. My best advice from this digital marketing agency is to step back until the dust settles—both legally and financially. Many financial experts are predicting that this Cinderella currency will turn back into a pumpkin and shed about 90% of its price when all is said and done.

Furthermore, US regulators are becoming heavy handed with those using cryptocurrency to raise funds for tech projects and app development. In other words, the number of attorneys and the kilos of forms you will need to keep you out of trouble with the tax man may far outweigh the value of pursuing such a venture.

In other parts of the world, cryptocurrencies and ICO structures are much easier to create and maintain. So, for clients in the US, I tell them that the use of cryptocurrency for ICO will not likely have much benefit. For my clients elsewhere, ICOs still have a life in the right situations.

But…… and it is a big but at that. Most people using cryptocurrency for their app development projects need some sort of stable currency to create a financial plan and model. With the recent wide swings in most of the cryto-world, it is hard to create a dependable ICO plan because of the value fluctuations.

What one also must keep in mind is that Bitcoin and its brothers may in fact fall prey to the very thing that its creation hoped to avoid—the impact of changing values of traditional currencies. This cruel irony of its fate may be for reasons outside its control.

I always remind my clients that their projects don’t exist in a vacuum. They can have the best app development team and hire the most aggressive digital marketing agency to complete their work but what the rest of the world is doing still impacts them greatly. Who they compete with and what others do in the market will have a big impact on their success or failure. It is no different for cryptocurrencies. It is not coincidence that the concept of cryptocurrency took off as the world faced a significant recession. That left investors nowhere to go for opportunities to grow wealth. But like all situation on this Earth, nothing is a permanent state. Economies around the world are seeing improvements, there are more goods being moved and created, and the outlook for a continued uptick in prosperity seems to be in the air. And that change once again gives investors more traditional and solid ways to invest their money.

Being in the business of digital marketing, I work with companies worldwide and I can see the change in how people feel about their futures. And the mood is hopeful. While I can’t say for sure, my guess is the first investors in Bitcoin have already done their profit-taking and have plowed much of their bounty back into traditional investments. Whether Bitcoin and its smaller brothers were created only to line the pockets of a few we will likely never know. But at the end of the day, our minds still tell us that a coin has to represent something tangible to have value. It has to have bricks and mortar, a technology, an infrastructure, customer orders, a trained workforce, and inventory. It doesn’t feel like money unless it has those traditional things to value it. And even the first Bitcoins had at its beginnings a valuation that purchased two Dominos pizzas. It is hard to understand what an ethereal concept is worth. At the end of the day, a young man wants to cash his paycheck and shove paper bills in his pocket which will later buy him a burger and a drink.

So, if Bitcoin is in question, then there is Bitcoin’s support system—Blockchain? Blockchain is the one buzz word that my digital marketing agency hears the most followed by the client expressing he wants it. But for all the projects that have come across my desk to date, I have yet to see the need for this gargantuan process. It would be like purchasing a race car to visit your next door neighbor whose front door is 25 feet away from you. I am thinking, “Yes, let’s use an expensive sledge hammer to kill that fly.”

A digital marketing agency that will sell you a Blockchain platform without asking some hard questions is highly suspect.

While Bitcoin brought Blockchain to the dance, Blockchain is going out on its own to find its own opportunities. Spinoff applications, morphing of its original concept and modifications to meet the needs of large companies really takes Blockchain back to its origins instead of moving it into new environments. In effect, it is an old process with new efficiencies.

But who really must have this new technology? To determine your need for Blockchain, one must look at the core of its function. It is basically a decentralized ledger system—nothing very new or innovative about it. The concept was customized for use by Bitcoin to keep up with transactions and the history of Bitcoins. My clients talk about Blockchain as though it were some genius platform that fell from the sky which will deliver answers to all your problems, make you wealthy, and double the IQ of all your children. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Blockchain, in its most rudimentary form, has been around since there was accounting and a need to track things as they move from one place to another. Most of these systems and their concepts are internal in structure and are created for the specific needs of a business. They are designed in a way that the owner of the system has total control of the data and how it is expressed. These systems track all sorts of things and have only recently seen the assistance automation.

But I can’t tell you the look of disappointment on the face of my digital marketing client who comes to me wanting Blockchain and I have to tell him all he needs is an enterprise app and an e-commerce website. It is like I ate all the cake and popped all the balloons at his birthday bash. That I have saved him some $300,000 is not a consolation. That I have told him he needs something that others have is crushing.

To understand the viability of a fully integrated Blockchain system, we only have to look at who is using one. To date, only smaller, usually tech companies, have a full system. And their purposes for this system is to sell it to others. But all the large companies, primarily financial institutions, have committed sizable sums of money to R&D only. Whether the concept will be vetted and implemented is still to be seen. Large companies with big R&D budgets also have a short attention span which quickly shifts to the latest new thing.

From a digital marketing standpoint, my hunch tells me that Blockchain will not do much in the end. Why? For the opposite reason that Swiss bank accounts were popular for their secrecy and discretion. In reverse, Blockchain will be a detailed record of the comings and goings of a person’s finances. Blockchain tells you every detail of the history of every monetary unit. When we look at how world leaders, deep-pocket investors, and people who get their money from questionable arenas take great pains to keep a low financial profile, I think that financial institutions having a Blockchain technology in place will lose business. In court cases those monetary records, which are very hard to come by at the current time, can be subpoenaed to tell an entire story of what happened when, where, how and with whom. Sometimes detailed record-keeping is not always a good thing. A bit of murkiness can be appreciated on occasion.

So as with Bitcoin, Blockchain may not be the answer to all technology challenges—not because of its structure but because of human propensities have much more control over the success and failure of a technology trend than one would ever guess.

This article is brought to you by Nauman Akbar, founder and owner of MesssageMuse, a leader in offshore digital IT services. We are a full service digital marketing agency offering website development, enterprise app solutions for businesses, mobile app development, reputation management, logo design, and branding. We currently have customers internationally and in the US. We are now expanding our services to South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, and Virginia. We are a registered business with the Delaware Secretary of State. We welcome individuals, businesses, and brokers to check out all the services and skills we offer. Give us a call at +1 (704) 315-2120 or check out our website at https://www.messagemuse.com/ or send us an email at agency@messagemuse.com . Let us help your business find creative digital solutions at any price point.