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Crypto 101: What is Cryptocurrency and is it safe to buy?

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Cryptocurrency has entered the mainstream and if you feel like you’re way behind, you’re not alone.

TAMPA, Fla. — At Florida’s Bitcoin and Blockchain Summit earlier this month (which was held here in Tampa) Mayor Jane Castor announced she was going to take her next paycheck in bitcoin.

Miami and New York’s mayors recently did the same.

Over in Los Angeles, the Staples Center, one of the world’s most famous arenas, will get its name changed to “Crypto.com Arena” come Christmas Day, for a reported $700 million.

Apologies for coming late to the conversation – we’ve been busy preparing for today’s cryptocurrency conference here in the @CityofTampa. 🪙😏 But I’m certainly up for the challenge! #ForbesTopEmergingTechnologyCity #FloridasTechCapitol #TechTown

— Jane Castor (@JaneCastor) November 5, 2021

Cryptocurrency has entered the mainstream and if you feel like you’re way behind, you’re not alone. But, all of this Bitcoin and crypto talk can be a heck of a lot for us newbies to the coin game, even if it has been around for more than a decade.

So, let’s learn together. It’s a journey I like to call: Crypto 101.

To make this easier, we’ll break it down into four parts:

  • What is cryptocurrency?
  • How can I buy it?
  • How safe is it? 
  • Am I too late to the game to get in?

What is cryptocurrency?

Bitcoin, Blockchain, Coinbase, Etherium, To the Moon – it’s all a part of the crypto vernacular, but let’s get down to the basics.

In simplistic terms, it’s essentially a peer-to-peer digital cash system that’s decentralized, so it doesn’t go through any bank, government or third party, like how we’d traditionally use cash or a credit card.

“Cryptocurrency, very simply, is just a digital or virtual currency that’s secured by code, which makes it nearly impossible to counterfeit,” said Nick Agar, the founder of AXIA, an ecosystem and non-profit for hyper deflationary virtual currency. 

“These currencies run on something called a blockchain, which is a distributed ledger where these transactions are being tracked. What makes them that much more secure is they have to go through a proper validation process.”

And that process is called mining, which verifies the transaction via sophisticated computers solving very complex math problems.

“In bitcoin, all of these miners are processing the transaction, which is ultimately securing the network and making sure all the transactions are secure,” said Mark Palomba, the founder and chief investment officer at Deltacore Capital, a hedge fund for digital assets based here in Tampa. 

“In return, they get newly minted bitcoin.”

Najah Roberts, the chief visionary officer of a crypto services company called Crypto Blockchain Plug, likened it to what we’re already doing with digital payments, like Apple Pay or Venmo.

“Money is changing,” Roberts said. “We’re already in the digital space…this is just one step further, which is a digital currency, such as bitcoin. I tell people to get knowledgeable about Bitcoin first.” 

So let’s do that because there are thousands of cryptocurrencies, but Bitcoin is the most popular and the most lucrative. It’s like the McDonald’s of crypto. 

Satoshi Nakamoto created bitcoin in 2009. He wanted an independent way for users to send money to each other – fast and with little to no transaction fee.

“There will only be 21 million bitcoins ever in existence,” Palomba said. “They are slowly trickled into the flow of the system by miners, decreasing every four years until 2141.”

So, they’re limited and clearly in demand, with Bitcoin exploding over the last decade. CaseBitcoin says its 10-year compounded growth rate is unmatched in financial history, nearly tripling your money every year for a decade.

How can I buy it?

Okay, so now I’ve got your interest, but how do you buy, trade or sell crypto, like Bitcoin?

“Always make sure you’re using a trusted exchange with a lot of security,” Palomba said. “In the U.S., the biggest exchange is Coinbase, which is the quickest and easiest way for beginners to get into the market.”

“Similar to when you open a bank account,” Agar said. “You go through a registration process at one of these exchanges and then you receive one of these cryptocurrency wallets to go into the market and purchase whatever crypto you want at that time.”

How safe is it?

So, now that you know how to buy some, how safe is it?

The Federal Trade Commission says consumers lost north of $80 million on crypto scams during the back end of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021, but experts say that has more to do with a lack of research and knowledge than it does with the crypto process itself.

Blockchain technology is known for its unparalleled security. The user has their identity protected, but all transactions are public, making it nearly impossible to hack or cheat the system. With thousands of miners keeping track of the transactions and showing proof of their work to get paid, it increases the security.

“We should actually be looking to crypto as a far, far more secure way to make our payments,” Agar said. “Because of the immutable nature of blockchain transactions and because they’re so transparent on that ledger at all times.”

“Anybody that’s talking about massive gains, immediately you have to put up your red flags,” Roberts said. “I meet so many people who are scammed in this space and they don’t know better. The moment you begin to get greedy, that’s the time you begin to get scammed.”

Is it too late to get in?

We’re a decade in, so is it too late to get into the crypto game, or are we just getting started?

“This is a marketplace that’s in its infancy,” Agar said. “We’re almost at an inflection point in our economic system in terms of what is possible.”

“The sky is the limit,” Palomba said. “We’re only scratching the surface on the technology and the tools and the solutions that this can really offer. In 5-10 years, I don’t think we’ll recognize a lot of the difference that it’ll make in how we transact and do things on the internet.”

TEKNOLOGI

Vodafone Ireland turns to Amdocs to drive enhanced customer experience

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Cloud Computing News

Duncan is an award-winning editor with more than 20 years experience in journalism. Having launched his tech journalism career as editor of Arabian Computer News in Dubai, he has since edited an array of tech and digital marketing publications, including Computer Business Review, TechWeekEurope, Figaro Digital, Digit and Marketing Gazette.


Vodafone Ireland has chosen Amdocs, a provider of software and services to communications and media companies, to transition its infrastructure and application workloads to the cloud, enabling an enhanced customer experience and rapid adoption of the latest 5G innovations.

Under the agreement, Amdocs Customer Experience Suite (CES) will migrate from Vodafone Ireland on-premise to the cloud, providing the Irish operator with greater flexibility and capacity to support its future growth.  

Mairead Cullen, CIO at Vodafone Ireland, said: “Moving to the cloud is a key part of our strategy as we look to become even more dynamic, agile and responsive to our customers’ needs. We have a long-standing relationship with Amdocs and we’re pleased to be collaborating with them on this important initiative.”

Anthony Goonetilleke, group president of technology and head of strategy at Amdocs, said: “By migrating its IT services infrastructure to the cloud, Vodafone Ireland can ensure it has the foundations in place to achieve growth and further enhance the experience of its customers.

“We are excited to be taking such a central role in the company’s cloud strategy.”

Want to learn more about cybersecurity and the cloud from industry leaders? Check out Cyber Security & Cloud Expo taking place in Amsterdam, California, and London.

Explore other upcoming enterprise technology events and webinars powered by TechForge här.

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How to Align Data and Analytics Governance with Business Outcomes

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How to Align Data and Analytics Governance with Business Outcomes

With access to large amounts of data made available to businesses, maintaining and governing the kind of data that is accessible to users have become significantly essential.

Proper data and analytics governance in organizations can help them in achieving on-point data and analytics processes.

The use of data and analytics is increasing across practically all industries. Due to the availability of inexpensive storage alternatives, organizations have access to more data. It’s not surprising that the usage of analytics due to access to extensive data has expanded to every part of the company when you take into account the growing number of user-friendly tools for managing, retrieving, and analyzing data. 

However, a lot of effort goes into managing data and analytics. Thus, organizations must ensure that their efforts are aligned with their business priorities, and the data is accurate in nature and thoroughly secured. Without analytics governance, even if the organization has a good hold on its data governance policies, the advantages of establishing policies and processes to govern the analytics process still stand. As data governance guarantees your business has processes and standards around the use of data, analytics governance provides the same level of oversight to the way analytics initiatives are built and delivered.

Aligning Data and Analytics Governance

Data and analytics governance initiatives must be closely related to organizational strategies. However, businesses frequently base their data and analytics governance processes on data rather than the business. Here are a few points on how businesses can align their data and analytics governance with their business outcomes.

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Trusted Governance

Forming business decisions based on the notion that “all data is equal” is no longer a sound strategy because data and analytics capabilities exist across a company and differ in nature. Instead, create a paradigm of trust-based governance that allows for a dispersed data and analytics ecosystem and is able to help business executives make decisions that are more confidently appropriate to the circumstances.

Digitization

With the essence of developing technology, digitization has taken over almost every business to stay relevant in the market. However, for businesses to gain the best outcomes from the digital space, digitization is essential. And for successful digitization, data and analytics governance must function based on factors like digital ethics and transparency. Therefore, ensuring that the values and concepts of digitization are reflected in the data and analytics governance is crucial to significantly align it with business outcomes.

Data Security

Today, organizations are aware of the potential risks associated with their businesses and securing data has become a necessity. This awareness implies that they address both the threats and the possibilities brought about by data and analytics. Organizations frequently manage risk and market potential independently, and they also do not really prioritize information security when assessing business results. Therefore, data and analytics governance authorities should have interdisciplinary teams capable of making decisions that are well-balanced, giving risk, opportunities, and security the appropriate weight while considering the organizations’ future interests in mind.

 

Today, businesses are aware of the fact that without effective data and analytics governance, their initiatives and investments in data and analytics won’t be able to satisfy important organizational goals like increased revenue, cost reduction, and improved customer experiences. Therefore, aligning it with business outcomes is critical for business success.

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TEKNOLOGI

IBM launches new way to partner through IBM Partner Plus

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Cloud Computing News

IBM has developed IBM Partner Plus, a new program that reimagines how IBM engages with its business partners through unprecedented access to IBM resources, incentives, and tailored support to deepen their technical expertise and help speed time to market.

The program is designed to fuel growth for new and existing partners, including resellers, hyperscalers, technology providers, independent software vendors and systems integrators, by putting them in control of their earning potential. IBM Partner Plus is central to the company’s Hybrid Cloud and AI strategy and aims to empower partners to help clients automate, secure and modernize their businesses.

IBM Partner Plus offers partners a transparent, simple and modern experience. By growing technical expertise and demonstrating sales success, participants can progress to three tiers – Silver, Gold and Platinum – which unlock specialized financial, go-to-market support and education benefits. In the new program, badging will become the standardized measure of skills and validated solutions will demonstrate expertise. The enhanced IBM Partner Portal consolidates and tracks all expertise, revenue, and deals globally, offering each partner a clear line-of-site into their progression through the program.

“IBM Partner Plus introduces a new way for IBM to deliver value to new and existing partners by helping them gain skills, grow faster and earn more,” said Kate Woolley, GM, IBM Ecosystem. “We’ve heard from partners that they want a simplified experience that helps them win with clients. I’m confident these changes and our continued investment in our ecosystem will make IBM the partner of choice across the industry, and together we can drive growth for partners, clients, and IBM.”

IBM Partner Plus results from the company’s journey to put partners at the centre of IBM’s go-to-market strategy and act as a growth engine to help capture the $1 trillion hybrid cloud and AI market opportunities. IBM has invested in elevating the role of partners and accelerating partner-led sales by enabling the ecosystem to become a preferred route to market, offering clients an optimal mix of technology, services, and consulting expertise. To drive continued growth, IBM will increase its capacity to support partners by doubling the number of partner-facing brand and technical specialists to help them prospect and win additional client business.

“The new IBM Partner Plus program provides an enhanced experience that sets our company up for success by offering employees access to skills and opportunities, so we can help more clients utilise IBM’s technology portfolio to modernise their operations,” said Bo Gebbie, President, Evolving Solutions. “IBM is more serious than ever about putting partners first. They’ve listened to our feedback, and it is reflected in the new partner experience that makes it easy for us to collaborate, rewards our investments and fuel growth.”

IBM Partner Plus brings all partner types and programs together – whether they sell, build on or with, and/or provide services for IBM technology – into one integrated ecosystem. For example, to help broaden the market opportunity and create new revenue streams for its ecosystem, IBM recently enabled partners in North America to resell IBM products through other cloud marketplaces. This allows for independent software vendors to embed IBM Software from partner marketplaces into their own solutions. All partner sales through the marketplace accumulate towards their progression in IBM Partner Plus. 

Competitive incentives

Partners can advance through tiers to unlock benefits and demand generation programs which could offer them up to a threefold increase in total investment from IBM. The IBM Partner Portal gives partners real-time visibility into the incentives they are eligible for, predictability into potential earnings, and includes an automated deal share engine that helps them surface quality leads. This has improved deal registration and introduced partners to more than 7,000 potential deals valued at over half a billion dollars globally.*  IBM investments in co-marketing campaigns and co-sell support with partners can also help bring solutions to market and generate demand.

Insider access

IBM Partner Plus builds on the successful release of its October badging and selling enablement materials to partners, which has driven more than 15,000 partner enrollments in sales and technical badges. Offering partners the training, enablement, and experiential selling resources available to IBMers at no cost can help better equip them to win with clients. Additionally, access to IBM’s seller tools can help them generate competitive and transparent pricing. Partners can also attend IBM’s quarterly Sales Kickoffs together with IBM sellers, and participate in live training sessions and other global technical advocacy events to help upskill, increase eminence, and engage with technical experts. For new partners, IBM is launching the IBM New Partner Accelerator, which provides onboarding, training, and other benefits during their first six months in the program to help accelerate their path to profitability.

Enhanced support and benefits

Partners can grow skills, develop solutions, and build sales expertise with technologies like AI, security, and cloud on an open hybrid cloud platform by leveraging technical experts from IBM. IBM will also assist partners in the development of minimal viable products, proofs of concept, and custom demos to help them win client business and accelerate growth. In addition, as partner businesses grow with IBM, they can unlock additional benefits designed to help them expand capabilities and find new clients.

PartnerWorld will transition to a new IBM Partner Plus experience on January 4, 2023, with the new incentive program taking effect on April 1, 2023. Registered PartnerWorld members will maintain their current tier through July 1, 2023 and can progress to the new tiering system during this time as they meet criteria.

Want to learn more about cybersecurity and the cloud from industry leaders? Check out Cyber Security & Cloud Expo taking place in Amsterdam, California, and London.

Explore other upcoming enterprise technology events and webinars powered by TechForge här.

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