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Juxtathinka

Juxtathinka

9 months ago

Why Is Blockchain So Popular?

What is Bitcoin?

The blockchain is a shared, immutable ledger that helps businesses record transactions and track assets. The blockchain can track tangible assets like cars, houses, and land. Tangible assets like intellectual property can also be tracked on the blockchain.

Imagine a blockchain as a distributed database split among computer nodes. A blockchain stores data in blocks. When a block is full, it is closed and linked to the next. As a result, all subsequent information is compiled into a new block that will be added to the chain once it is filled.

The blockchain is designed so that adding a transaction requires consensus. That means a majority of network nodes must approve a transaction. No single authority can control transactions on the blockchain. The network nodes use cryptographic keys and passwords to validate each other's transactions.

Blockchain History

The blockchain was not as popular in 1991 when Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta worked on it. The blocks were designed to prevent tampering with document timestamps. Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta improved their work in 1992 by using Merkle trees to increase efficiency and collect more documents on a single block.

In 2004, he developed Reusable Proof of Work. This system allows users to verify token transfers in real time. Satoshi Nakamoto invented distributed blockchains in 2008. He improved the blockchain design so that new blocks could be added to the chain without being signed by trusted parties.

Satoshi Nakomoto mined the first Bitcoin block in 2009, earning 50 Bitcoins. Then, in 2013, Vitalik Buterin stated that Bitcoin needed a scripting language for building decentralized applications. He then created Ethereum, a new blockchain-based platform for decentralized apps. Since the Ethereum launch in 2015, different blockchain platforms have been launched: from Hyperledger by Linux Foundation, EOS.IO by block.one, IOTA, NEO and Monero dash blockchain. The block chain industry is still growing, and so are the businesses built on them.

Blockchain Components

The Blockchain is made up of many parts:

1. Node: The node is split into two parts: full and partial. The full node has the authority to validate, accept, or reject any transaction. Partial nodes or lightweight nodes only keep the transaction's hash value. It doesn't keep a full copy of the blockchain, so it has limited storage and processing power.

2. Ledger: A public database of information. A ledger can be public, decentralized, or distributed. Anyone on the blockchain can access the public ledger and add data to it. It allows each node to participate in every transaction. The distributed ledger copies the database to all nodes. A group of nodes can verify transactions or add data blocks to the blockchain.

3. Wallet: A blockchain wallet allows users to send, receive, store, and exchange digital assets, as well as monitor and manage their value. Wallets come in two flavors: hardware and software. Online or offline wallets exist. Online or hot wallets are used when online. Without an internet connection, offline wallets like paper and hardware wallets can store private keys and sign transactions. Wallets generally secure transactions with a private key and wallet address.

4. Nonce: A nonce is a short term for a "number used once''. It describes a unique random number. Nonces are frequently generated to modify cryptographic results. A nonce is a number that changes over time and is used to prevent value reuse. To prevent document reproduction, it can be a timestamp. A cryptographic hash function can also use it to vary input. Nonces can be used for authentication, hashing, or even electronic signatures.

5. Hash: A hash is a mathematical function that converts inputs of arbitrary length to outputs of fixed length. That is, regardless of file size, the hash will remain unique. A hash cannot generate input from hashed output, but it can identify a file. Hashes can be used to verify message integrity and authenticate data. Cryptographic hash functions add security to standard hash functions, making it difficult to decipher message contents or track senders.

Blockchain: Pros and Cons

The blockchain provides a trustworthy, secure, and trackable platform for business transactions quickly and affordably. The blockchain reduces paperwork, documentation errors, and the need for third parties to verify transactions.

Blockchain security relies on a system of unaltered transaction records with end-to-end encryption, reducing fraud and unauthorized activity. The blockchain also helps verify the authenticity of items like farm food, medicines, and even employee certification. The ability to control data gives users a level of privacy that no other platform can match.

In the case of Bitcoin, the blockchain can only handle seven transactions per second. Unlike Hyperledger and Visa, which can handle ten thousand transactions per second. Also, each participant node must verify and approve transactions, slowing down exchanges and limiting scalability.

The blockchain requires a lot of energy to run. In addition, the blockchain is not a hugely distributable system and it is destructible. The security of the block chain can be compromised by hackers; it is not completely foolproof. Also, since blockchain entries are immutable, data cannot be removed. The blockchain's high energy consumption and limited scalability reduce its efficiency.

Why Is Blockchain So Popular?
The blockchain is a technology giant. In 2018, 90% of US and European banks began exploring blockchain's potential. In 2021, 24% of companies are expected to invest $5 million to $10 million in blockchain. By the end of 2024, it is expected that corporations will spend $20 billion annually on blockchain technical services.

Blockchain is used in cryptocurrency, medical records storage, identity verification, election voting, security, agriculture, business, and many other fields. The blockchain offers a more secure, decentralized, and less corrupt system of making global payments, which cryptocurrency enthusiasts love. Users who want to save time and energy prefer it because it is faster and less bureaucratic than banking and healthcare systems.

Most organizations have jumped on the blockchain bandwagon, and for good reason: the blockchain industry has never had more potential. The launch of IBM's Blockchain Wire, Paystack, Aza Finance and Bloom are visible proof of the wonders that the blockchain has done. The blockchain's cryptocurrency segment may not be as popular in the future as the blockchain's other segments, as evidenced by the various industries where it is used. The blockchain is here to stay, and it will be discussed for a long time, not just in tech, but in many industries.

Read original post here

More on Web3 & Crypto

Modern Eremite

Modern Eremite

6 months ago

The complete, easy-to-understand guide to bitcoin

Introduction

Markets rely on knowledge.

The internet provided practically endless knowledge and wisdom. Humanity has never seen such leverage. Technology's progress drives us to adapt to a changing world, changing our routines and behaviors.

In a digital age, people may struggle to live in the analogue world of their upbringing. Can those who can't adapt change their lives? I won't answer. We should teach those who are willing to learn, nevertheless. Unravel the modern world's riddles and give them wisdom.

Adapt or die . Accept the future or remain behind.

This essay will help you comprehend Bitcoin better than most market participants and the general public. Let's dig into Bitcoin.

Join me.

Ascension

Bitcoin.org was registered in August 2008. Bitcoin whitepaper was published on 31 October 2008. The document intrigued and motivated people around the world, including technical engineers and sovereignty seekers. Since then, Bitcoin's whitepaper has been read and researched to comprehend its essential concept.

I recommend reading the whitepaper yourself. You'll be able to say you read the Bitcoin whitepaper instead of simply Googling "what is Bitcoin" and reading the fundamental definition without knowing the revolution's scope. The article links to Bitcoin's whitepaper. To avoid being overwhelmed by the whitepaper, read the following article first.

Bitcoin isn't the first peer-to-peer digital currency. Hashcash or Bit Gold were once popular cryptocurrencies. These two Bitcoin precursors failed to gain traction and produce the network effect needed for general adoption. After many struggles, Bitcoin emerged as the most successful cryptocurrency, leading the way for others.

Satoshi Nakamoto, an active bitcointalk.org user, created Bitcoin. Satoshi's identity remains unknown. Satoshi's last bitcointalk.org login was 12 December 2010. Since then, he's officially disappeared. Thus, conspiracies and riddles surround Bitcoin's creators. I've heard many various theories, some insane and others well-thought-out.

It's not about who created it; it's about knowing its potential. Since its start, Satoshi's legacy has changed the world and will continue to.

Block-by-block blockchain

Bitcoin is a distributed ledger. What's the meaning?

Everyone can view all blockchain transactions, but no one can undo or delete them.

Imagine you and your friends routinely eat out, but only one pays. You're careful with money and what others owe you. How can everyone access the info without it being changed?

You'll keep a notebook of your evening's transactions. Everyone will take a page home. If one of you changed the page's data, the group would notice and reject it. The majority will establish consensus and offer official facts.

Miners add a new Bitcoin block to the main blockchain every 10 minutes. The appended block contains miner-verified transactions. Now that the next block has been added, the network will receive the next set of user transactions.

Bitcoin Proof of Work—prove you earned it

Any firm needs hardworking personnel to expand and serve clients. Bitcoin isn't that different.

Bitcoin's Proof of Work consensus system needs individuals to validate and create new blocks and check for malicious actors. I'll discuss Bitcoin's blockchain consensus method.

Proof of Work helps Bitcoin reach network consensus. The network is checked and safeguarded by CPU, GPU, or ASIC Bitcoin-mining machines (Application-Specific Integrated Circuit).

Every 10 minutes, miners are rewarded in Bitcoin for securing and verifying the network. It's unlikely you'll finish the block. Miners build pools to increase their chances of winning by combining their processing power.

In the early days of Bitcoin, individual mining systems were more popular due to high maintenance costs and larger earnings prospects. Over time, people created larger and larger Bitcoin mining facilities that required a lot of space and sophisticated cooling systems to keep machines from overheating.

Proof of Work is a vital part of the Bitcoin network, as network security requires the processing power of devices purchased with fiat currency. Miners must invest in mining facilities, which creates a new business branch, mining facilities ownership. Bitcoin mining is a topic for a future article.

More mining, less reward

Bitcoin is usually scarce.

Why is it rare? It all comes down to 21,000,000 Bitcoins.

Were all Bitcoins mined? Nope. Bitcoin's supply grows until it hits 21 million coins. Initially, 50BTC each block was mined, and each block took 10 minutes. Around 2140, the last Bitcoin will be mined.

But 50BTC every 10 minutes does not give me the year 2140. Indeed careful reader. So important is Bitcoin's halving process.

What is halving?

The block reward is halved every 210,000 blocks, which takes around 4 years. The initial payout was 50BTC per block and has been decreased to 25BTC after 210,000 blocks. First halving occurred on November 28, 2012, when 10,500,000 BTC (50%) had been mined. As of April 2022, the block reward is 6.25BTC and will be lowered to 3.125BTC by 19 March 2024.

The halving method is tied to Bitcoin's hashrate. Here's what "hashrate" means.

What if we increased the number of miners and hashrate they provide to produce a block every 10 minutes? Wouldn't we manufacture blocks faster?

Every 10 minutes, blocks are generated with little asymmetry. Due to the built-in adaptive difficulty algorithm, the overall hashrate does not affect block production time. With increased hashrate, it's harder to construct a block. We can estimate when the next halving will occur because 10 minutes per block is fixed.

Building with nodes and blocks

For someone new to crypto, the unusual terms and words may be overwhelming. You'll also find everyday words that are easy to guess or have a vague idea of what they mean, how they work, and what they do. Consider blockchain technology.

Nodes and blocks: Think about that for a moment. What is your first idea?

The blockchain is a chain of validated blocks added to the main chain. What's a "block"? What's inside?

The block is another page in the blockchain book that has been filled with transaction information and accepted by the majority.

We won't go into detail about what each block includes and how it's built, as long as you understand its purpose.

What about nodes?

Nodes, along with miners, verify the blockchain's state independently. But why?

To create a full blockchain node, you must download the whole Bitcoin blockchain and check every transaction against Bitcoin's consensus criteria.

What's Bitcoin's size? 

In April 2022, the Bitcoin blockchain was 389.72GB.

Bitcoin's blockchain has miners and node runners.

Let's revisit the US gold rush. Miners mine gold with their own power (physical and monetary resources) and are rewarded with gold (Bitcoin). All become richer with more gold, and so does the country.

Nodes are like sheriffs, ensuring everything is done according to consensus rules and that there are no rogue miners or network users.

Lost and held bitcoin

Does the Bitcoin exchange price match each coin's price? How many coins remain after 21,000,000? 21 million or less?

Common reason suggests a 21 million-coin supply.

What if I lost 1BTC from a cold wallet?

What if I saved 1000BTC on paper in 2010 and it was damaged?

What if I mined Bitcoin in 2010 and lost the keys?

Satoshi Nakamoto's coins? Since then, those coins haven't moved.

How many BTC are truly in circulation?

Many people are trying to answer this question, and you may discover a variety of studies and individual research on the topic. Be cautious of the findings because they can't be evaluated and the statistics are hazy guesses.

On the other hand, we have long-term investors who won't sell their Bitcoin or will sell little amounts to cover mining or living needs.

The price of Bitcoin is determined by supply and demand on exchanges using liquid BTC. How many BTC are left after subtracting lost and non-custodial BTC? 

We have significantly less Bitcoin in circulation than you think, thus the price may not reflect demand if we knew the exact quantity of coins available.

True HODLers and diamond-hand investors won't sell you their coins, no matter the market.

What's UTXO?

Unspent (U) Transaction (TX) Output (O)

Imagine taking a $100 bill to a store. After choosing a drink and munchies, you walk to the checkout to pay. The cashier takes your $100 bill and gives you $25.50 in change. It's in your wallet.

Is it simply 100$? No way.

The $25.50 in your wallet is unrelated to the $100 bill you used. Your wallet's $25.50 is just bills and coins. Your wallet may contain these coins and bills:

2x 10$ 1x 10$

1x 5$ or 3x 5$

1x 0.50$ 2x 0.25$

Any combination of coins and bills can equal $25.50. You don't care, and I'd wager you've never ever considered it.

That is UTXO. Now, I'll detail the Bitcoin blockchain and how UTXO works, as it's crucial to know what coins you have in your (hopefully) cold wallet.

You purchased 1BTC. Is it all? No. UTXOs equal 1BTC. Then send BTC to a cold wallet. Say you pay 0.001BTC and send 0.999BTC to your cold wallet. Is it the 1BTC you got before? Well, yes and no. The UTXOs are the same or comparable as before, but the blockchain address has changed. It's like if you handed someone a wallet, they removed the coins needed for a network charge, then returned the rest of the coins and notes.

UTXO is a simple concept, but it's crucial to grasp how it works to comprehend dangers like dust attacks and how coins may be tracked.

Lightning Network: fast cash

You've probably heard of "Layer 2 blockchain" projects.

What does it mean?

Layer 2 on a blockchain is an additional layer that increases the speed and quantity of transactions per minute and reduces transaction fees.

Imagine going to an obsolete bank to transfer money to another account and having to pay a charge and wait. You can transfer funds via your bank account or a mobile app without paying a fee, or the fee is low, and the cash appear nearly quickly. Layer 1 and 2 payment systems are different.

Layer 1 is not obsolete; it merely has more essential things to focus on, including providing the blockchain with new, validated blocks, whereas Layer 2 solutions strive to offer Layer 1 with previously processed and verified transactions. The primary blockchain, Bitcoin, will only receive the wallets' final state. All channel transactions until shutting and balancing are irrelevant to the main chain.

Layer 2 and the Lightning Network's goal are now clear. Most Layer 2 solutions on multiple blockchains are created as blockchains, however Lightning Network is not. Remember the following remark, as it best describes Lightning.

Lightning Network connects public and private Bitcoin wallets.

Opening a private channel with another wallet notifies just two parties. The creation and opening of a public channel tells the network that anyone can use it.

Why create a public Lightning Network channel?

Every transaction through your channel generates fees.

Money, if you don't know.

See who benefits when in doubt.

Anonymity, huh?

Bitcoin anonymity? Bitcoin's anonymity was utilized to launder money.

Well… You've heard similar stories. When you ask why or how it permits people to remain anonymous, the conversation ends as if it were just a story someone heard.

Bitcoin isn't private. Pseudonymous.

What if someone tracks your transactions and discovers your wallet address? Where is your anonymity then?

Bitcoin is like bulletproof glass storage; you can't take or change the money. If you dig and analyze the data, you can see what's inside.

Every online action leaves a trace, and traces may be tracked. People often forget this guideline.

A tool like that can help you observe what the major players, or whales, are doing with their coins when the market is uncertain. Many people spend time analyzing on-chain data. Worth it?

Ask yourself a question. What are the big players' options?  Do you think they're letting you see their wallets for a small on-chain data fee?

Instead of short-term behaviors, focus on long-term trends.

More wallet transactions leave traces. Having nothing to conceal isn't a defect. Can it lead to regulating Bitcoin so every transaction is tracked like in banks today?

But wait. How can criminals pay out Bitcoin? They're doing it, aren't they?

Mixers can anonymize your coins, letting you to utilize them freely. This is not a guide on how to make your coins anonymous; it could do more harm than good if you don't know what you're doing.

Remember, being anonymous attracts greater attention.

Bitcoin isn't the only cryptocurrency we can use to buy things. Using cryptocurrency appropriately can provide usability and anonymity. Monero (XMR), Zcash (ZEC), and Litecoin (LTC) following the Mimblewimble upgrade are examples.

Summary

Congratulations! You've reached the conclusion of the article and learned about Bitcoin and cryptocurrency. You've entered the future.

You know what Bitcoin is, how its blockchain works, and why it's not anonymous. I bet you can explain Lightning Network and UTXO to your buddies.

Markets rely on knowledge. Prepare yourself for success before taking the first step. Let your expertise be your edge.


This article is a summary of this one.

Protos

Protos

8 months ago

StableGains lost $42M in Anchor Protocol.

StableGains lost millions of dollars in customer funds in Anchor Protocol without telling its users. The Anchor Protocol offered depositors 19-20% APY before its parent ecosystem, Terra LUNA, lost tens of billions of dollars in market capitalization as LUNA fell below $0.01 and its stablecoin (UST) collapsed.

A Terra Research Forum member raised the alarm. StableGains changed its homepage and Terms and Conditions to reflect how it mitigates risk, a tacit admission that it should have done so from the start.

StableGains raised $600,000 in YCombinator's W22 batch. Moonfire, Broom Ventures, and Goodwater Capital invested $3 million more.

StableGains' 15% yield product attracted $42 million in deposits. StableGains kept most of its deposits in Anchor's UST pool earning 19-20% APY, kept one-quarter of the interest as a management fee, and then gave customers their promised 15% APY. It lost almost all customer funds when UST melted down. It changed withdrawal times, hurting customers.

  • StableGains said de-pegging was unlikely. According to its website, 1 UST can be bought and sold for $1 of LUNA. LUNA became worthless, and Terra shut down its blockchain.
  • It promised to diversify assets across several stablecoins to reduce the risk of one losing its $1 peg, but instead kept almost all of them in one basket.
  • StableGains promised withdrawals in three business days, even if a stablecoin needed time to regain its peg. StableGains uses Coinbase for deposits and withdrawals, and customers receive the exact amount of USDC requested.

StableGains scrubs its website squeaky clean

StableGains later edited its website to say it only uses the "most trusted and tested stablecoins" and extended withdrawal times from three days to indefinite time "in extreme cases."

Previously, USDC, TerraUST (UST), and Dai were used (DAI). StableGains changed UST-related website content after the meltdown. It also removed most references to DAI.

Customers noticed a new clause in the Terms and Conditions denying StableGains liability for withdrawal losses. This new clause would have required customers to agree not to sue before withdrawing funds, avoiding a class-action lawsuit.


Customers must sign a waiver to receive a refund.

Erickson Kramer & Osborne law firm has asked StableGains to preserve all internal documents on customer accounts, marketing, and TerraUSD communications. The firm has not yet filed a lawsuit.


Thousands of StableGains customers lost an estimated $42 million.

Celsius Network customers also affected

CEL used Terra LUNA's Anchor Protocol. Celsius users lost money in the crypto market crash and UST meltdown. Many held CEL and LUNA as yielding deposits.

CEO Alex Mashinsky accused "unknown malefactors" of targeting Celsius Network without evidence. Celsius has not publicly investigated this claim as of this article's publication.

CEL fell before UST de-pegged. On June 2, 2021, it reached $8.01. May 19's close: $0.82.

When some Celsius Network users threatened to leave over token losses, Mashinsky replied, "Leave if you don't think I'm sincere and working harder than you, seven days a week."

Celsius Network withdrew $500 million from Anchor Protocol, but smaller holders had trouble.

Read original article here

JEFF JOHN ROBERTS

2 months ago

What just happened in cryptocurrency? A plain-English Q&A about Binance's FTX takedown.

Crypto people have witnessed things. They've seen big hacks, mind-boggling swindles, and amazing successes. They've never seen a day like Tuesday, when the world's largest crypto exchange murdered its closest competition.

Here's a primer on Binance and FTX's lunacy and why it matters if you're new to crypto.

What happened?

CZ, a shrewd Chinese-Canadian billionaire, runs Binance. FTX, a newcomer, has challenged Binance in recent years. SBF (Sam Bankman-Fried)—a young American with wild hair—founded FTX (initials are a thing in crypto).

Last weekend, CZ complained about SBF's lobbying and then exploited Binance's market power to attack his competition.

How did CZ do that?

CZ invested in SBF's new cryptocurrency exchange when they were friends. CZ sold his investment in FTX for FTT when he no longer wanted it. FTX clients utilize those tokens to get trade discounts, although they are less liquid than Bitcoin.

SBF made a mistake by providing CZ just too many FTT tokens, giving him control over FTX. It's like Pepsi handing Coca-Cola a lot of stock it could sell at any time. CZ got upset with SBF and flooded the market with FTT tokens.

SBF owns a trading fund with many FTT tokens, therefore this was catastrophic. SBF sought to defend FTT's worth by selling other assets to buy up the FTT tokens flooding the market, but it didn't succeed, and as FTT's value plummeted, his liabilities exceeded his assets. By Tuesday, his companies were insolvent, so he sold them to his competition.

Crazy. How could CZ do that?

CZ likely did this to crush a rising competition. It was also personal. In recent months, regulators have been tough toward the crypto business, and Binance and FTX have been trying to stay on their good side. CZ believed SBF was poisoning U.S. authorities by saying CZ was linked to China, so CZ took retribution.

“We supported previously, but we won't pretend to make love after divorce. We're neutral. But we won't assist people that push against other industry players behind their backs," CZ stated in a tragic tweet on Sunday. He crushed his rival's company two days later.

So does Binance now own FTX?

No. Not yet. CZ has only stated that Binance signed a "letter of intent" to acquire FTX. CZ and SBF say Binance will protect FTX consumers' funds.

Who’s to blame?

You could blame CZ for using his control over FTX to destroy it. SBF is also being criticized for not disclosing the full overlap between FTX and his trading company, which controlled plenty of FTT. If he had been upfront, someone might have warned FTX about this vulnerability earlier, preventing this mess.

Others have alleged that SBF utilized customer monies to patch flaws in his enterprises' balance accounts. That happened to multiple crypto startups that collapsed this spring, which is unfortunate. These are allegations, not proof.

Why does this matter? Isn't this common in crypto?

Crypto is notorious for shady executives and pranks. FTX is the second-largest crypto business, and SBF was largely considered as the industry's golden boy who would help it get on authorities' good side. Thus far.

Does this affect cryptocurrency prices?

Short-term, it's bad. Prices fell on suspicions that FTX was in peril, then rallied when Binance rescued it, only to fall again later on Tuesday.

These occurrences have hurt FTT and SBF's Solana token. It appears like a huge token selloff is affecting the rest of the market. Bitcoin fell 10% and Ethereum 15%, which is bad but not catastrophic for the two largest coins by market cap.

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The woman

The woman

4 months ago

Why Google's Hiring Process is Brilliant for Top Tech Talent

Without a degree and experience, you can get a high-paying tech job.

Photo by Mitchell Luo on Unsplash

Most organizations follow this hiring rule: you chat with HR, interview with your future boss and other senior managers, and they make the final hiring choice.

If you've ever applied for a job, you know how arduous it can be. A newly snapped photo and a glossy resume template can wear you out. Applying to Google can change this experience.

According to an Universum report, Google is one of the world's most coveted employers. It's not simply the search giant's name and reputation that attract candidates, but its role requirements or lack thereof.

Candidates no longer need a beautiful resume, cover letter, Ivy League laurels, or years of direct experience. The company requires no degree or experience.

Elon Musk started it. He employed the two-hands test to uncover talented non-graduates. The billionaire eliminated the requirement for experience.

Google is deconstructing traditional employment with programs like the Google Project Management Degree, a free online and self-paced professional credential course.

Google's hiring is interesting. After its certification course, applicants can work in project management. Instead of academic degrees and experience, the company analyzes coursework.

Google finds the best project managers and technical staff in exchange. Google uses three strategies to find top talent.

Chase down the innovators

Google eliminates restrictions like education, experience, and others to find the polar bear amid the snowfall. Google's free project management education makes project manager responsibilities accessible to everyone.

Many jobs don't require a degree. Overlooking individuals without a degree can make it difficult to locate a candidate who can provide value to a firm.

Firsthand knowledge follows the same rule. A lack of past information might be an employer's benefit. This is true for creative teams or businesses that prefer to innovate.

Or when corporations conduct differently from the competition. No-experience candidates can offer fresh perspectives. Fast Company reports that people with no sales experience beat those with 10 to 15 years of experience.

Give the aptitude test first priority.

Google wants the best candidates. Google wouldn't be able to receive more applications if it couldn't screen them for fit. Its well-organized online training program can be utilized as a portfolio.

Google learns a lot about an applicant through completed assignments. It reveals their ability, leadership style, communication capability, etc. The course mimics the job to assess candidates' suitability.

Basic screening questions might provide information to compare candidates. Any size small business can use screening questions and test projects to evaluate prospective employees.

Effective training for employees

Businesses must train employees regardless of their hiring purpose. Formal education and prior experience don't guarantee success. Maintaining your employees' professional knowledge gaps is key to their productivity and happiness. Top-notch training can do that. Learning and development are key to employee engagement, says Bob Nelson, author of 1,001 Ways to Engage Employees.

Google's online certification program isn't available everywhere. Improving the recruiting process means emphasizing aptitude over experience and a degree. Instead of employing new personnel and having them work the way their former firm trained them, train them how you want them to function.

If you want to know more about Google’s recruiting process, we recommend you watch the movie “Internship.”

DC Palter

DC Palter

21 days ago

Is Venture Capital a Good Fit for Your Startup?

5 VC investment criteria

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

I reviewed 200 startup business concepts last week. Brainache.

The enterprises sold various goods and services. The concepts were achingly similar: give us money, we'll produce a product, then get more to expand. No different from daily plans and pitches.

Most of those 200 plans sounded plausible. But 10% looked venture-worthy. 90% of startups need alternatives to venture finance.

With the success of VC-backed businesses and the growth of venture funds, a common misperception is that investors would fund any decent company idea. Finding investors that believe in the firm and founders is the key to funding.

Incorrect. Venture capital needs investing in certain enterprises. If your startup doesn't match the model, as most early-stage startups don't, you can revise your business plan or locate another source of capital.

Before spending six months pitching angels and VCs, make sure your startup fits these criteria.

Likely to generate $100 million in sales

First, I check the income predictions in a pitch deck. If it doesn't display $100M, don't bother.

The math doesn't work for venture financing in smaller businesses.

Say a fund invests $1 million in a startup valued at $5 million that is later acquired for $20 million. That's a win everyone should celebrate. Most VCs don't care.

Consider a $100M fund. The fund must reach $360M in 7 years with a 20% return. Only 20-30 investments are possible. 90% of the investments will fail, hence the 23 winners must return $100M-$200M apiece. $15M isn't worth the work.

Angel investors and tiny funds use the same ideas as venture funds, but their smaller scale affects the calculations. If a company can support its growth through exit on less than $2M in angel financing, it must have $25M in revenues before large companies will consider acquiring it.

Aiming for Hypergrowth

A startup's size isn't enough. It must expand fast.

Developing a great business takes time. Complex technology must be constructed and tested, a nationwide expansion must be built, or production procedures must go from lab to pilot to factories. These can be enormous, world-changing corporations, but venture investment is difficult.

The normal 10-year venture fund life. Investments are made during first 3–4 years.. 610 years pass between investment and fund dissolution. Funds need their investments to exit within 5 years, 7 at the most, therefore add a safety margin.

Longer exit times reduce ROI. A 2-fold return in a year is excellent. Loss at 2x in 7 years.

Lastly, VCs must prove success to raise their next capital. The 2nd fund is raised from 1st fund portfolio increases. Third fund is raised using 1st fund's cash return. Fund managers must raise new money quickly to keep their jobs.

Branding or technology that is protected

No big firm will buy a startup at a high price if they can produce a competing product for less. Their development teams, consumer base, and sales and marketing channels are large. Who needs you?

Patents, specialist knowledge, or brand name are the only answers. The acquirer buys this, not the thing.

I've heard of several promising startups. It's not a decent investment if there's no exit strategy.

A company that installs EV charging stations in apartments and shopping areas is an example. It's profitable, repeatable, and big. A terrific company. Not a startup.

This building company's operations aren't secret. No technology to protect, no special information competitors can't figure out, no go-to brand name. Despite the immense possibilities, a large construction company would be better off starting their own.

Most venture businesses build products, not services. Services can be profitable but hard to safeguard.

Probable purchase at high multiple

Once a software business proves its value, acquiring it is easy. Pharma and medtech firms have given up on their own research and instead acquire startups after regulatory permission. Many startups, especially in specialized areas, have this weakness.

That doesn't mean any lucrative $25M-plus business won't be acquired. In many businesses, the venture model requires a high exit premium.

A startup invents a new glue. 3M, BASF, Henkel, and others may buy them. Adding more adhesive to their catalogs won't boost commerce. They won't compete to buy the business. They'll only buy a startup at a profitable price. The acquisition price represents a moderate EBITDA multiple.

The company's $100M revenue presumably yields $10m in profits (assuming they’ve reached profitability at all). A $30M-$50M transaction is likely. Not terrible, but not what venture investors want after investing $25M to create a plant and develop the business.

Private equity buys profitable companies for a moderate profit multiple. It's a good exit for entrepreneurs, but not for investors seeking 10x or more what PE firms pay. If a startup offers private equity as an exit, the conversation is over.

Constructed for purchase

The startup wants a high-multiple exit. Unless the company targets $1B in revenue and does an IPO, exit means acquisition.

If they're constructing the business for acquisition or themselves, founders must decide.

If you want an indefinitely-running business, I applaud you. We need more long-term founders. Most successful organizations are founded around consumer demands, not venture capital's urge to grow fast and exit. Not venture funding.

if you don't match the venture model, what to do

VC funds moonshots. The 10% that succeed are extraordinary. Not every firm is a rocketship, and launching the wrong startup into space, even with money, will explode.

But just because your startup won't make $100M in 5 years doesn't mean it's a bad business. Most successful companies don't follow this model. It's not venture capital-friendly.

Although venture capital gets the most attention due to a few spectacular triumphs (and disasters), it's not the only or even most typical option to fund a firm.

Other ways to support your startup:

  • Personal and family resources, such as credit cards, second mortgages, and lines of credit

  • bootstrapping off of sales

  • government funding and honors

  • Private equity & project financing

  • collaborating with a big business

  • Including a business partner

Before pitching angels and VCs, be sure your startup qualifies. If so, include them in your pitch.

Jared A. Brock

Jared A. Brock

11 months ago

Here is the actual reason why Russia invaded Ukraine

Democracy's demise

Our Ukrainian brothers and sisters are being attacked by a far superior force.
It's the biggest invasion since WWII.

43.3 million peaceful Ukrainians awoke this morning to tanks, mortars, and missiles. Russia is already 15 miles away.

America and the West will not deploy troops.
They're sanctioning. Except railways. And luxuries. And energy. Diamonds. Their dependence on Russian energy exports means they won't even cut Russia off from SWIFT.

Ukraine is desperate enough to hand out guns on the street.

France, Austria, Turkey, and the EU are considering military aid, but Ukraine will fall without America or NATO.

The Russian goal is likely to encircle Kyiv and topple Zelenskyy's government. A proxy power will be reinstated once Russia has total control.

“Western security services believe Putin intends to overthrow the government and install a puppet regime,” says Financial Times foreign affairs commentator Gideon Rachman. This “decapitation” strategy includes municipalities. Ukrainian officials are being targeted for arrest or death.”

Also, Putin has never lost a war.

Why is Russia attacking Ukraine?

Putin, like a snowflake college student, “feels unsafe.”
Why?

Because Ukraine is full of “Nazi ideas.”

Putin claims he has felt threatened by Ukraine since the country's pro-Putin leader was ousted and replaced by a popular Jewish comedian.

Hee hee

He fears a full-scale enemy on his doorstep if Ukraine joins NATO. But he refuses to see it both ways. NATO has never invaded Russia, but Russia has always stolen land from its neighbors. Can you blame them for joining a mutual defense alliance when a real threat exists?
Nations that feel threatened can join NATO. That doesn't justify an attack by Russia. It allows them to defend themselves. But NATO isn't attacking Moscow. They aren't.
Russian President Putin's "special operation" aims to de-Nazify the Jewish-led nation.
To keep Crimea and the other two regions he has already stolen, he wants Ukraine undefended by NATO.

(Warlords have fought for control of the strategically important Crimea for over 2,000 years.)
Putin wants to own all of Ukraine.

Why?

The Black Sea is his goal.

Ports bring money and power, and Ukraine pipelines transport Russian energy products.
Putin wants their wheat, too — with 70% crop coverage, Ukraine would be their southern breadbasket, and Russia has no qualms about starving millions of Ukrainians to death to feed its people.

In the end, it's all about greed and power.
Putin wants to own everything Russia has ever owned. This year he turns 70, and he wants to be remembered like his hero Peter the Great.
In order to get it, he's willing to kill thousands of Ukrainians

Art imitates life

This story began when a Jewish TV comedian portrayed a teacher elected President after ranting about corruption.
Servant of the People, the hit sitcom, is now the leading centrist political party.
Right, President Zelenskyy won the hearts and minds of Ukrainians by imagining a fairer world.
A fair fight is something dictators, corporatists, monopolists, and warlords despise.
Now Zelenskyy and his people will die, allowing one of history's most corrupt leaders to amass even more power.

The poor always lose

Meanwhile, the West will impose economic sanctions on Russia.

China is likely to step in to help Russia — or at least the wealthy.

The poor and working class in Russia will suffer greatly if there is a hard crash or long-term depression.
Putin's friends will continue to drink champagne and eat caviar.

Russia cutting off oil, gas, and fertilizer could cause more inflation and possibly a recession if it cuts off supplies to the West. This causes more suffering and hardship for the Western poor and working class.

Why? a billionaire sociopath gets his dirt.

Yes, Russia is simply copying America. Some of us think all war is morally wrong, regardless of who does it.

But let's not kid ourselves right now.

The markets rallied after the biggest invasion in Europe since WWII.
Investors hope Ukraine collapses and Russian oil flows.
Unbridled capitalists value lifeless.

What we can do about Ukraine

When the Russian army invaded eastern Finland, my wife's grandmother fled as a child. 80 years later, Russia still has Karelia.
Russia invaded Ukraine today to retake two eastern provinces.
History has taught us nothing.
Past mistakes won't fix the future.

Instead, we should try:

  • Pray and/or meditate on our actions with our families.
  • Stop buying Russian products (vodka, obviously, but also pay more for hydro/solar/geothermal/etc.)
  • Stop wasting money on frivolous items and donate it to Ukrainian charities.

Here are 35+ places to donate.

  • To protest, gather a few friends, contact the media, and shake signs in front of the Russian embassy.
  • Prepare to welcome refugees.

More war won't save the planet or change hearts.

Only love can work.