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10 Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Investing in an ICO

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Investing in an ICO

2017 was the year that saw cryptocurrencies hit the mainstream with the price of bitcoin rallying from $1,000 to its all-time high of $20,000 at year-end. But that was not all as initial coin offerings (ICOs) shared in the limelight gaining massive traction and interest from investors and startups across the globe. The 400+ token sales saw ICOs raise more than $6 billion in 2017 alone. While ICOs have presented a great opportunity for startups and other businesses to raise money, it is a high risk – high return venture for investors. Hence, it is important to conduct in-depth research before investing in an ICO.

In this guide, you will find the ten most important questions you should ask yourself before investing in a token sale to ensure you get off to a good start with your investment research.

Is the ICO legitimate?

The ICO market has been plagued with scams since its beginning. It is, therefore, imperative for anyone looking to invest in any ICO project to do their due diligence and verify whether the project is legitimate.

The first step in doing this is to “fraud check” the company doing the token sale. Is there sufficient information about them online? Are there reviews from other people i.e. past or potential investors? If you cannot find any information online about the company behind the token sale, that should be a red flag.

The second step is to look through the directors of the company doing the ICO. Genuine company directors should possess a digital footprint. A LinkedIn profile should not be enough to make you invest. Any entrepreneur – upcoming or successful – must have had people talking about their company and should, therefore, have several references online.

Is the team behind the ICO able to deliver?

Successful companies and products have been built because they had an excellent team. For the team to build and launch a successful blockchain project, it must have had past experience in successfully launching and running similar projects. An experienced team with the right skills and experience are a sign that it may deliver on its mission for the project.

However, if the team behind the token sale has little to no experience with blockchain products, that should be an immediate red flag to any investor as the project may end up becoming a flop. Additionally, it could be an indication that the team is in it to make “quick money” instead of truly wanting to develop a value-adding blockchain-based platform.

Does the project’s whitepaper have all the necessary information?

Investing in an ICOWhen investing in a business, investors always look at a company’s financials first. Since ICOs are usually conducted to raise seed capital, however, that information is not provided as the company has no track record yet. Hence, for ICOs, the focus needs to be on the project’s whitepaper. The whitepaper is just as important as the people behind the project.

The whitepaper needs to be clear and explain the vision and technology of the project in a professional and concise manner. It should detail how the team hopes to make the project a success with the crowdsourced funds. Should the project’s whitepaper leave out any important information or lack a well-detailed strategy needed to make the project a success, that is a very clear red flag and it will most likely be best to avoid investing in this project.

Is the ICO’s product ready or purely an idea?

Do not get me wrong. I am not saying that you should not invest in an ICO that is still an idea that is yet to be designed. However, should you choose to go ahead and invest in a token sale that is still just an idea, there is a high risk that you may lose all your investment as compared to investing in a token sale that has a ready product.

While even with a ready product you may still lose your investment, the risks are lower compared to the former as the project will more than likely have a platform that is ready and operational and just wants to prove the platform’s efficiency by adding the digital tokens and blockchain technology.

Is there transparency on what the raised funds will be used for?

This is a very important question any investor should ask themselves before investing in an ICO. The project should have a clear plan on how it intends to use the funds raised during the token sale. This can either be done via the company’s website or in their whitepaper. The more specific and detailed the breakdown is, the better.

However, if the company directors are evasive on how the funds will be used, this should be considered a red flag due to lack of transparency exhibited by the company. In addition, if most of the issued tokens will be held by the project’s operators, it could be a sign of a potential pump and dump scheme.

Does the final product from the project have a market?

When considering what token sale to invest in, it is crucial to analyse whether there is a market for the project’s final product. Lack of a possible market for the solution, technology or product may mean that there will be no demand for the product once it is launching, which would result in a drop in the value of the project’s token in the long-run.

Is the code open-source and can it be assessed?

Investing in an ICOTraditionally, most blockchain projects are known to have open-source code that can be found on GitHub and can thus be audited or assessed by third parties. If the blockchain project you want to invest in has an open-source code that has or can easily be probed by trusted community members, this should be a positive indicator of the project.

Today, however, most blockchain projects that launch ICOs tend to keep their codes private. While this may be valid in some cases as the project may have direct competitors it wants to shield its technology from, being able to audit a project’s code adds transparency and trust.

If a project’s code is not open-source and there is no evident reason for keeping the code private, may be an indicator to better stay away from the project due to its lack of transparency.

Does the project warrant a blockchain and token?

Another factor that needs to be considered when looking to invest in an ICO is whether the company really needs a blockchain and a native token for its platform, service or product. Because ICOs have a low entry barrier, there are a large number of startups that run ICOs in a bid to get easy funding by claiming they will implement blockchain technology to their new product or to improve an already existing one.

If the project has the potential to run without the need to utilise blockchain technology or a native digital token, it should be a clear sign to stay away from the ICO.

What will be the function of the token?

There are a variety of digital tokens that a company can put up for sale. These include but are not limited to utility tokens, currency tokens, tokenised securities and reward tokens. When looking to buy tokens from an ICO, it is crucial for any investor to understand the role of any token that is issued. If what the company is offering is a tokenised security, will it function as a digital share by the issuing company? On the other hand, if it is a utility token, will investors have access to or specific benefits from the project’s platform?

The function or role of the token needs to make sense and should have the ability to drive demand and not just raise funds for the project.

Who are the competitors?

Finally, when considering investing in an ICO, you should also look at the project’s competitors. A competitors analysis will show you whether a company is likely to outperform its competition or not. Should a project’s competitors be more likely to succeed, then it might be better to invest in their digital tokens instead.

However, if the potential company’s blockchain platform is at par with or better than its competitor’s, then that is a good sign that its token could perform well in the secondary market.

Remember that investing in digital assets comes with a substantial amount of risk and you should never invest more than you can afford to lose. However, if you are looking to invest in a token sale, you will be well advised to answer the ten above-mentioned questions as part of your overall investment research as they cover all the key aspects of an ICO.

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Top 5 Best Bitcoin Apps That Enable You To Earn Cryptocurrency

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Best Bitcoin Apps

One of the main reason why people are getting into cryptocurrencies is to make money. A great way to earn your first cryptocurrency is through smartphone apps that reward you in bitcoin. In this guide, you will find the top five best bitcoin apps that enable you to earn cryptocurrency.

Earn.com

Earn.comEarn.com is a bitcoin-based social network that enables users to earn bitcoin by competing tasks and responding to emails. 

On the app, you can earn small amounts of bitcoin by joining lists of people with similar skills. All you need to do is apply to one of the lists and, when accepted, complete list-specific tasks in exchange for small payments in bitcoin.

Moreover, you are able to set your email contact rates, ranging from one to 100 dollars per email. You can even set up an auto-response system with your Gmail, directing emailers to instead send their message via Earn. This way you can prevent your inbox from being filled with spam as senders will need to pay you to be able to email you. This bitcoin app is available on Android and iOS.

Bituro

BituroThe Bituro app that lets you earn cryptocurrency by completing small tasks like taking surveys, watching videos and completing offers. You can get paid in both bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH) and cash out with as little as one US dollar. 

Signing up is simple – you can do it using Twitter, Facebook or Google – and you get 100 points for signing up. If you have a referral code and use it you gain an extra 50 points when signing up.

The surveys can pay from a couple of hundred points to a few thousand points. (Each point equals a cent). You can also download apps, sign up to various trial accounts and watch videos to earn crypto. The app is available for Android and iOS. 

BitForTip

BitForTipBitfortip is a mobile application and online platform that pays you in bitcoin for being helpful. On this app, anyone can ask for anything, and the answer provider gets tipped in bitcoin in exchange for their answer.

For example, if I want to know where to get a golden retriever in Kenya, I could give a bitcoin tip to whoever provides me with an answer. The platform is available in eleven languages, providing a low-entry barrier for many people globally and an easy way to earn your first bitcoin. 

Storm Play

Storm PlayStorm Play also gives out small tasks to complete for you to earn. Once the task is completed to a certain point you are rewarded in bolts. Once you have enough bolts you can trade them for bitcoin, ether or Storm tokens.

There are three ways how you can earn cryptocurrency on Storm Play. The first way is by trying out games or products and the second is by shopping for products and services. Finally, you can earn through performing micro-tasks like QA testing and completing P2P freelancing tasks. The app is currently only available for Android.

Alien Run

AlienRunBitcoin Alien is one of the most popular games with the cryptocurrency community as it combines fun gameplay with the ability to earn small amounts of bitcoin for completing levels. You will, however, need to watch a number of ads everytime you do something. 

The gameplay is very basic, you control a character called Daniel D’Alien, and must run as far as possible advancing through levels. Every ten levels, you can claim a bitcoin reward or continue running for a higher amount. There are new missions daily and levels go into hundreds. This bitcoin app is available for both Android and iOS

With a little bit of free time and a smartphone, you can install any of the apps mentioned here and start to earn bitcoin with little to no effort. None of these apps will turn you into a bitcoin millionaire but they are a fun and easy way to earn your first cryptocurrency.

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A Guide to the Best Cryptocurrency Tipping Bots for 2018/19

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Cryptocurrency Tipping Bots

Cryptocurrency tipping bots enable users on social media platforms – such as Twitter, and Reddit – to send micro-transactions or “tips” to other users to reward them for their content contributions.

In this guide, you will discover the most popular ones and find out how to use them to send and receive tips in cryptocurrency.

A Brief History of Cryptocurrency Tipping Bots

In the early days of bitcoin, before altcoins gained popularity, it was the favoured option for micro-tipping within crypto communities. The very first cryptocurrency tip bot ever to facilitate bitcoin micropayments between users on Reddit was BitcoinTip in July 2012. BitcoinTip stopped functioning in April 2014 after helping Reddit users migrate to a new tipping service known as Changetip.

ChangeTipChangeTip, founded in 2014, was by far the most widely used bitcoin tipping bot. The bot processed about 350,000 bitcoin tips, serving over 100,000 users, by 2016 when the company announced that it would be shutting down its operations after its developer team was acquired by Airbnb.

To fill the void left behind by ChangeTip, several tipping bots have emerged to offer cryptocurrency users to ability to tip fellow users using an array of different digital currencies.

How Cryptocurrency Tipping Bots Work

Tipping bots effectively all work the same way with only minor differences in commands for each bot.

Step one is to create an account and then fund your tipping wallet with the bot’s native digital currency. Step two is to learn to commands to use the bot. The command line will look something like /u/tippingbotsname or @tippingbotsname @username, depending on the social media platform you are using.

Finally, step three is to start tipping, for example, by typing @botname @recipientname 0.001 BTC on Twitter.

The recipient can then collect their cryptocurrency tip by creating an account with the tipping bot and then transfer the received digital currency from that account into their personal wallet.

The Most Popular Cryptocurrency Tipping Bots

In this list, you will find the most popular and actively used cryptocurrency tipping bots. Enjoy!

Tippr Bot (Bitcoin Cash)

The popular bitcoin cash tipping bot, Tippr bot, allows anyone to send microtransactions using BCH. The BCH Tippr bot is available on both Reddit and Twitter, where it has seen substantial traction. Since Tippr was launched, the bot has seen over $100,000 worth of bitcoin cash transactions. Statistics detail that Reddit users have sent 34,227 BCH tips to over 15,000 unique users.

TipJar Bot (Ether)

TipJar is a free, Ethereum-powered service that allows Redditors to easily send micropayments (in the form of ETH) to other Redditors just by leaving a comment. The tip bot also accepts a range of ERC20 tokens for its micropayments service.

SoDogeTip (Dogecoin)

SoDogeTip was created to replace the dogetipbot, a popular dogecoin tipping bot that went bankrupt in 2017 after the owner spent all the coins after he himself ran out of money.

The difference between the two bots is that SoDogeTip is on-chain, whereas dogetipbot was off-chain. In fact, it is Reddit’s only on-chain tipping bot. Like for every tipping bot, the new bot’s users should not hold more coins in this service than they are willing to lose. However, the fact that SoDogeTip is more transparent than its predecessor is a good sign for fans of Dogecoin.

NanoTipBot (Nano)

The NanoTipBot is tied to the payment-centric Nano (NANO) cryptocurrency and processes its high-speed micro-payments in roughly two seconds. The process they follow is simple, you just have to type: @NanoTipBot tip ‘amount’ @Receiving username. The NANO community received this very well and are also excited about the project’s new roadmap.

Stellar Tip Bot (Stellar)

The Stellar Tip Bot belongs to the Stellar Community and works on Reddit and Twitter. It was created to “thank people for help, be friendly, buy someone coffee and spread [the] word about the Stellar Network,” and supports the digital currency, stellar lumens (XLM).

Reddcoin TipBot (Reddcoin)

The ReddcoinTipBot came out in 2014 to support the Reddcoin, the “social currency of the digital age.” The bot’s features include; working in every subreddit, tip any Redditor, he/she doesn’t have to register first, and it is a free service. The Reddcoin TipBot currently works on Twitter, Twitch.tv, and, of course, on Reddit.

Cointippy (Bitcoin & Several Altcoins)

Finally, there is CoinTippy, which allows you to you reward content creators on Reddit, Twitter, Telegram and Twitch with cryptocurrencies. It supports the following cryptocurrencies: bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ether, and zcash. The service is free with zero restrictions, meaning one can send tips to anyone in the world at no cost.

If there are more cryptocurrency tipping bots out there that you believe should make this list, please tell us on Twitter

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Top 5 Freelancer Jobs Platforms That Enable You to Get Paid in Bitcoin

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get paid in bitcoin

Blockchain startups across the world are in need of developers, marketers, social media managers, graphic designers, content creators, customer service reps, and more. Fortunately, for freelancers, this opens up a wave of opportunities to find remote employment and get paid in bitcoin.

In this guide, you will discover the five best online freelancer jobs platforms that enable you to find employment in exchange for payments in cryptocurrency.

The Top 5 Bitcoin Jobs Platforms for Freelancers

Today, freelancers are able to work from anywhere around the globe and get paid in bitcoin regardless of where they are based thanks to online jobs platforms that process payments in cryptocurrency. The best of these platforms, you can find listed here:

  1. XBTFreelancer

XBTFreelancerXBTFreelancer is a popular online job board that allows employers to post the projects they have while allowing those looking for opportunities to bid on them for free, contact employers and start working on secured projects. Although the amounts are stated in US dollars, employers will pay for their projects in bitcoin.

The platform has different job categories of jobs writing, web design and development, translation, social media moderation, among others. XBTFreelancer encourages its users to utilise its escrow service feature to protect freelancers from getting scammed. Having been around for several years now, the platform has become the go-to platform for several top blockchain employers such as Coinbase and Shapeshift.

  1. CryptoGrind

cryptogrindCryptoGrind is another great platform where freelancers can find jobs and get paid in bitcoin. Freelancers have the opportunity to browse through different job sections that are available using keyword tags or basic words.

Freelancers are able to set up their profile, include basic information, their resume as well as the type of service that they can render. The best part about the platform – compared to some of its competitors – is that freelancers have the ability to set their own price for the service that they offer.

Additionally, by leveraging the escrow service feature, CryptoGrind is able to hold onto the agreed amount until the service being offered has been fully rendered.

  1. Coinality

coinalityCoinality is one of the most prominent bitcoin job board platforms in the market today. Coinality owes its popularity to the fact that it has a good number of employers on the platform that are in search of different freelancers, ranging from content writers and programmers to web developers and graphic designer, among others.

An outstanding feature of Coinality is that most of the jobs posted on the platform are usually for long-term employment.

  1. BitGigs

BitGigsCalling itself “A KickAss Bitcoin Job Board”, BitGigs is another freelance job platform that allows users to market their skills by offering services such as content writing, SEO, graphic design, programming, advertising, music/audio, etc.

Users need to sign up, create a profile and then place their first gig for the services they are offering. Once customers are found and services are rendered, freelancers receive payments in bitcoin (BTC) to complete the transaction.

  1. r/Jobs4Bitcoins

r/Jobs4BitcoinFinally, there is r/Jobs4Bitcoins. While this popular subreddit may not be your typical job board, it still provides freelancers with potential clients and the option to receive payments in bitcoin.

Applying for a job on r/Jobs4Bitcoins is easy as all you need to do is send a chat message to prospective employers. Also, it has a notification function that alerts Reddit users whenever a new job has been posted, which is handy for those who do not check the platform regularly.

Why It is Good for African Freelancers to Get Paid in Bitcoin

Africa Fintech SummitThere is massive demand for freelancers who have experience with blockchain technology and digital currencies. This creates an opportunity for Africans who are struggling to find work locally or who prefer to work remotely on a freelance basis.

Considering that most African countries are troubled with high rates of unemployment and it is estimated that by 2035 the continent will have more than 750 million people entering the job market, the gig economy can help the youth find means of fending for themselves.

Moreover, there are ample benefits of getting paid in bitcoin. Unlike banks that delay payments by a few days and have high transfer fees, bitcoin payments are fast, secure and incur much lower transaction fees. In addition, with bitcoin, all you will need is a bitcoin wallet, which requires no lengthy setup process – as opposed to opening a bank account – and you will not have to deal with account closures as has been the case with PayPal for African freelancers in the past. Finally, by receiving payments in bitcoin, freelancers are also immune to volatile or weakening local currencies.

If you want to learn more about cryptocurrencies and the blockchain, you should consider attending a blockchain conference or event near you. Moreover, if you want to dive into the world of blockchain development as a profession, we have compiled a complete list of blockchain jobs platforms for you.

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