Bitcoin’s Highs and Lows: Where to Next?

Since the critical acclaim of Bitcoin and digital currencies in 2017, there has been a lot of talk about its future. Bitcoin was the first digital currency to attract mainstream attention, and after that, 2018 was less than glamorous, with the price plummeting. Are cryptocurrencies a thing of the past already, or a Hard Trend of the future?

Since the critical acclaim of Bitcoin and digital currencies in 2017, there has been a lot of talk about its future. Bitcoin was the first digital currency to attract mainstream attention, and after that, 2018 was less than glamorous, with the price plummeting.

Are cryptocurrencies a thing of the past already, or a Hard Trend of the future?

A Bitcoin Overview

Cryptocurrency uses peer-to-peer technology, similar to the file-sharing technology of the early 2000s. Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency, it being virtual and decentralized. This means no one is in charge of it and it isn’t backed by the government. Bitcoin’s value is protected only by a distributed network that maintains its ledgers and protects its transactions by means of cryptography.

The concept behind Bitcoin first emerged in 2009 by an anonymous programmer (or programmers) using the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. A single Bitcoin is today valued at $8,204, while the market cap is now at $145.66 billion.

Every Bitcoin is connected to an address and every Bitcoin is sent or received by a digital wallet attached to the address. Names aren’t associated with the transactions, creating a system that is wholly transparent while remaining functionally anonymous.

Bitcoin: A Soft Trend?

What exactly can you do with Bitcoins? It’s digital currency, so saving or spending them seems to be the immediate answer. However, in order to spend them, individuals and, more importantly, businesses must accept your Bitcoins. While a growing number of businesses accept Bitcoin, such as Overstock.com, most popular merchants and service providers including Amazon do not.

Let’s first discuss my Hard Trend Methodology and the differences between Hard Trends and Soft Trends to assess Bitcoin’s longevity.

A Hard Trend is a trend that will happen and is based on measurable, tangible, and fully predictable facts, events, or objects. They are future facts that cannot be changed.

A Soft Trend is a trend that might happen and is based on an assumption that looks valid in the present, and it may be likely to happen, but it is not a future fact. Soft Trends can be changed.

While Bitcoin itself grew in popularity, its future success is still a Soft Trend. During 2017, Bitcoin was treated by many as more of an investment than actual currency and likewise faced backlash when it was used for illegal online transactions.

However, the concept of cryptocurrencies is a Hard Trend, and here’s why:

Cryptocurrency: A Hard Trend

Cryptocurrencies are here to stay, including the underlying technology (blockchain) that enables them to function. Cryptocurrency, as well as blockchain, represents a radically new idea in finance: a decentralized system for exchanging value. Due to its open-source nature and its copyright-free core program, there will always be room for improvement. Programmers around the world have already developed military-grade encryptions and new ways to trade, thus stabilizing the prices.

Cryptocurrencies exist as mere entries in a blockchain-enabled accounting system. That system acts as a transparent public ledger that records transactions among “addresses.” Owning cryptocurrency isn’t analogous to having paper money in your pocket. Instead, it means a personal claim to an address, with your own password, and the right to do with it as you see fit. Over time, this will increasingly disrupt traditional models and global currencies, playing a role in a number of future digital transformations.

The Future of Currency: Digital Payments

Imagine you want new shoes, and your favorite shoe store accepts some form of cryptocurrency. If you don’t already possess cryptocurrency, you purchase some from a crypto-currency kiosk or an online exchange and assign it to your online account, known as a “wallet.”

When paying for your new shoes, you open your “digital wallet,” which is unlocked with passwords and/or biometrics, and the currency network is publicly informed that you’ve transferred $100 worth of cryptocurrency to the store. This happens fast, and there are almost no fees and no personal information divulged. Compare this with the slow debit or credit card counterpart, often with a third party involved. The benefits become more clear.

Other Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin was the first digital currency, but not the last. A large number of cryptocurrencies now exist, and the list is expanding. Litecoin, for example, was launched back in 2011 on the same blockchain as Bitcoin and was meant to improve it. Ethereum was created in 2015 by Vitalik Buterin and is a blockchain-based platform that can be used for developing decentralized apps and smart contracts. The list of cryptocurrencies is actually quite large and, as I said earlier, growing. And the enabling technology, blockchain, is being applied to a rapidly growing number of industries creating both disruption and new opportunities.

In Conclusion

Bitcoin versus the technology category of cryptocurrency gives us a clear example of the difference between Soft Trends and Hard Trends. Cryptocurrencies will continue to evolve and integrate into our economy and everyday life, as will the enabling blockchain technology, making cryptocurrency a Hard Trend, while the future success of individual cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin is a Soft Trend: It may or may not have a bright future. When you’re able to distinguish between the Soft Trends that might happen and the Hard Trends that will happen, you will dramatically improve your ability to understand and manage risk as you become more anticipatory.

Learn how to accurately manage risk with my latest bestselling book The Anticipatory Organization.

Use Anticipation to Turn Disruption Into Opportunity

For the longest time, cable television was a miraculous technology that not everybody had in their homes, mostly because not everybody could afford it. Now, not everyone has it in their homes because YouTube TV, Sling TV, and other new, emerging technologies have disrupted the broadcast industry. So why didn’t Spectrum think of it first? Why did they become the disrupted and not the disruptor?

For the longest time, cable television was a miraculous technology that not everybody had in their homes, mostly because not everybody could afford it. Now, not everyone has it in their homes because YouTube TV, Sling TV, and other new, emerging technologies have disrupted the broadcast industry. So why didn’t Spectrum think of it first? Why did they become the disrupted and not the disruptor?

At some point, Spectrum and many others established a cash cow — a product or service that generates the majority of your income and profits — and got comfortable building a successful business around it while protecting and defending it. The fact that most of us are all busy, focused, and needing to meet or exceed our quarterly numbers keeps us from looking far enough ahead in our industries to see disruption.

In order to thrive in this time of exponential change, it is imperative to actively scan far outside of your industry looking for new ways to disrupt yourself first. When you discover a new technology or disruptive technology-driven trend, it is important to separate what I call the Hard Trends that will happen from the Soft Trends that might happen.

Anticipating disruption before it happens defines whether you’ll be the disrupter or the disrupted, using predictable Hard Trends to create the new cash cows that will disrupt your competitors and grow your future.

Another reason so many companies fail to see disruption is that the strategy most often invoked is to protect and defend the status quo. The amount of time and money organizations spend protecting and defending their current cash cows is astounding, as in the past, this was a valid strategy producing good results. However, digital disruption is different, as it tends to be game-changing with a low cost of entry.

A key to success for an established company that’s facing early-stage disruption is to adopt a strategy of embrace and extend. Spectrum continues to spend millions on bringing in customers for cable, Internet, and phone packages, mostly campaigning on the grounds that you can’t watch sports without cable. Unfortunately, Spectrum and other cable providers saw Internet TV like YouTube or Sling as a Soft Trend, much like Blockbuster viewed Netflix, that could be protected and defended against. It was definitely a Hard Trend. YouTube and Sling have conquered broadcast sports and are quickly leaving Spectrum in the dust.

The assumption that disruption won’t happen to you and your business is dangerous. Today, there are many industries still ripe for disruption. Taking the time to look outside of your industry at the Hard Trends shaping the future will amaze you. Understanding that digital disruption will happen to you if it has not already happened is important.

Ask yourself if you are looking inside and outside of your business. What are your blind spots? What fundamental assumptions about the “way things will always be” do you operate on? And what are you doing to become your own disruptor?

What is a hotel? What is a taxi? What is a bookstore? Companies like Marriott and Barnes & Noble, and even government agencies like New York’s Taxi and Limousine Commission, thought they knew the answers to those questions, and Spectrum and other cable providers are currently thinking the same way.

What do you think you know about your industry?

The connectivity of the Internet has changed so many industries. The emergence of Netflix, Hulu, and even Spotify for music has not only revolutionized the entertainment media industry and consumers’ consumption of said media, but it has also closed up some of the loopholes that fostered piracy of content. They are problem solvers, and now they are solving the problem of customers having to pay exorbitant fees to companies like Spectrum and DirecTV to merely cling to one favorite sports channel.

If these cable providers offered a cost-effective alternative with a price and framework similar to YouTube TV’s, they would be using this current disruption to their advantage. But is it too late for them? Are the days of cable as we know it over? Better yet, will Spectrum shrink exponentially until it’s merely an Internet provider? If so, it’d be foolish to ignore the possibility that a more affordable means of accessing the Internet is on the horizon as well.

Letting your ideas about consumers calcify and ceasing adapting or anticipating is when you start inadvertently digging your own grave, no matter how outlandish the disruption may seem. Believing that your business is immune to changing circumstances is the common thread between all disrupted organizations. The fundamental assumptions of so many industries have turned out to be wrong.

You need to become your own disruptor, your own best competition. Don’t get comfortable. Disrupt yourself, or someone else will.

Which technology innovations could be a game-changer for your industry? Learn how to tell with my latest book The Anticipatory Organization.

An Anticipatory Leader™ understands that technology-driven change is accelerating at an exponential rate. They have learned from a large list of high-profile Fortune 100 companies that were great at both agility and execution but experienced dramatic downturns. Reacting to problems and digital disruptions, no matter how agile you and your organization are, is no longer good enough.

Anticipatory Leaders know that a high percentage of future disruptions, problems, and game-changing opportunities are predictable and represent unprecedented ways to accelerate growth and gain advantage. They understand that there is no shortage of trends or good ideas, and they ask which trends will happen and which ideas are the best to invest their time and resources in. They have overcome these challenges by becoming anticipatory. This happens by using the methodology of separating the Hard Trends that will happen because they are based on future facts from the Soft Trends that might happen because they are based on assumptions about the future. Then they apply these Hard Trend certainties to their innovation and decision-making processes, allowing them to accelerate innovation and jump ahead with low risk.

Anticipatory Leaders know that it’s better to solve predictable problems before they happen, and that predictable future problems often represent the biggest opportunities. They know that being anticipatory means creating strategic plans that are dynamic and then elevating their strategic plans to keep them relevant and stop them from becoming obsolete before they are implemented.

They have discovered the power of using the certainty of Hard Trends to give the people that report to them the confidence to make bold moves. They know that if what they are saying is seen as opinion, listeners will want another opinion, but if they speak in future facts that are undeniable future truths, there will be far less debate and much more forward progress.

They fully understand that we are at the base of a mountain of increasing disruption that does not happen just once. It comes in waves, giving every organization and professional only two options: to become the disruptor or the disrupted.

By using the Anticipatory Model and methodology to identify the disruptive Hard Trends that are approaching, they now have the opportunity to make a strategic choice to be the disruptor. They know there is no longer a middle ground.

Anticipatory Leaders know that disruption is often seen as something negative, because it happens to organizations and individuals, forcing them to react by changing quickly or face increasingly negative consequences. Disruptors, on the other hand, are creating change from the inside out, giving them far more control of their future. Disruptors are often using technology to eliminate problems or to reduce the friction that creates a less than desirable experience. I refer to them as “positive disruptors” because they tend to use technology to improve a process, product or service. They enhance the customer experience, and in most cases they transform it!

Anticipatory Leaders know the advantage  a shared Futureview® has when it is based on the Hard Trends that are shaping the future – a windshield view versus a rearview mirror view. The Futureview principle states “How you view the future shapes your actions today, and your actions today will shape your future. Your Futureview will determine the future you. ”Change your Futureview, and you will change your future.

For example, it’s clear that Sears, which is closing over a hundred physical stores, has a different Futureview than Amazon, which is opening over three thousand brick-and-mortar retail stores and over a hundred physical bookstores. These two companies’ Futureviews will shape their future.

Anticipatory Leaders elevate their organization’s shared Futureview, based on the Hard Trends and transformational changes that are shaping the future. They know that their Futureview will change, and in many cases they transform the future of the organization for the individuals involved for the better.

Become an Anticipatory Leader™

If you would like to go beyond agility and become an Anticipatory Leader, pick up a copy of my latest bestseller, The Anticipatory Organization: Turn Disruption and Change Into Opportunity and Advantage, and consider our Anticipatory Leader System today.

The Richest Man in Babylon

In the book, they discuss experiences such as the concept of saving to become financially secure by keeping a part of your earnings. The lesson of saving money is nothing new, but the way they explain how to save your money through storytelling will help the lesson stick.

You would think that managing finances would be more straightforward today with all of the innovations in the financial industry — the use of technology, artificial intelligence, and more information on the web to better educate consumers. I believe that the opposite is true. We are more confused about how to manage our financial portfolios by having too much information at our fingertips. We are overloaded with information and uncertain on which source to trust. This reason is why we need to build a knowledge base on the fundamentals of financial literacy.

We are too busy looking at the next big thing. We want to make money fast without putting in the hard work. The concept of getting rich schemes is all make-believe. If it sounds too good to be true, then the chances are that this may not be worth your time. A good example is Bitcoin. A lot of people jumped on the bandwagon in investing in Bitcoin. The value of Bitcoin was driven up by hype. Eventually, people lost a lot of money in their investment. This example of Bitcoin is a good reason why we need to understand the basics of finances.

The Richest Man in Babylon is a book written in 1926 by George S. Clason. This book is considered to be one of the cornerstones by the business community in teaching people the basics of managing finances through parables. What is interesting is that initially, the parables were separate stories given to customers as pamphlets at banks. The settings of each of the leaflets took place in Babylon. Each booklet discussed an essential financial lesson to consumers. Eventually, the brochures were assembled together to be published a book in 1926.

The Richest Man in Babylon

In the book, they discuss experiences such as the concept of saving to become financially secure by keeping a part of your earnings. The lesson of saving money is nothing new, but the way they explain how to save your money through storytelling will help the lesson stick. Sometimes, taking lessons from a book published in 1926 can provide the clarity that is needed for today. Check out the book on Amazon and learn the fundamentals of managing your finances.

The Richest Man in Babylon: Original 1926 Edition

The 4-Hour Workweek

The 4-Hour Workweek is intended for anyone looking for a lifestyle change where they don’t have to overwork themselves to the ground, while still making an excellent living.

New York Times bestselling author of the 4Hour Body, Timothy Ferriss, is back with an expanded and updated version of the 4-Hour Workweek with 100 extra pages of innovative content.

The 4-Hour Workweek

It’s time to forget the old idea of retirement and the rest of their deferred-life plan, especially with the unpredictability of the economy. If you’re looking to travel the world in first class, or earn a monthly five-figure income without any management, the 4-Hour Workweek is your go-to blueprint for achieving those goals.

Ferriss offers his thorough guide to a luxury lifestyle where he went from making $40,000 a year working 80 hours per week to making that same amount per month while only working 4 hours per week. He discusses how to eliminate 50 percent of your workload in 48 hours, trading in a long-haul career for short work bursts with multiple “mini retirements”, and outsourcing your life to overseas virtual assistants for $5 per hour.

In the updated expanded edition of The 4-Hour Workweek, you can expect more than 50 tips and cases studies from readers and families who doubled their income, overcame the most common sticking points, and reinventing themselves thanks to the original book, which was their starting point.

Inside the book are real-world templates readers can follow to make improvements. These tips include removing e-mail, negotiating with clients and bosses, or getting a private chef for less than $8 a meal. Also inside the book are life-changing principles suited for an unknown economic time. Lastly, readers will learn important tips and tricks, and high-tech shortcuts, for living life like a millionaire without being one.

The 4-Hour Workweek is intended for anyone looking for a lifestyle change where they don’t have to overwork themselves to the ground, while still making an excellent living.

The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich 

Financial Education: The Key to Rich Dad Poor Dad

If you think a balance sheet is a piece of linen that helps you with your equilibrium, there’s probably a good reason why you have not achieved your financial goals.  And make no mistake about it, no matter what some authors tell you, becoming wealthy is much more complicated than sacrificing your daily latte.  Instead, wealth is a matter of education.  That’s the idea behind Robert Kiyosaki’s classic 1997 book, Rich Dad Poor Dad.

Rich Dad Poor Dad

Make no mistake about it.  If you have ever listened to anyone who knows anything about making money, it’s often like being in a foreign country, with all the buzzwords and complicated concepts to be heard and understood, but just like visiting a foreign country, once you understand the language and the concepts, you will be in a better position to absorb everything and learn a lot that you can put into play.

The same is true for earning your way to wealth and prosperity.  Once you understand the language of business and how the concepts work together to form a unified whole, you can better understand what the gurus (not to mention the financial books and newspapers) have to teach you.  That’s the whole idea behind Rich Dad Poor Dad, which gives the reader a basic understanding of financial matters so they can use them to their benefit.

Kiyosaki is careful from page one to tell the reader that his book is not a complete financial education, but once you read the book, you will be in a good position to understand the concepts of financial matters and use them to help you build a bright financial future.  Will you get rich by reading Rich Dad Poor Dad?  It’s hard to tell, but the results reported by numerous readers are encouraging.  You have nothing to lose by reading Rich Dad Poor Dad, only the financial mistakes of the past and perhaps a financially independent future.

Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!