Bitcoin may be the most popular form of digital currency but it’s far from the only one.
Starting Monday, businesses in Ohio will be able to pay their taxes in bitcoin — making the state that’s high in the middle and round on both ends the first in the nation to accept cryptocurrency officially.
Companies who want to take part in the program simply need to go to OhioCrypto.com and register to pay whatever taxes their corporate hearts desire in crypto. It could be anything from cigarette sales taxes to employee withholding taxes, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal, which first noted the initiative.
The brain child of current Ohio state treasurer, Josh Mandel, the bitcoin program is intended to be a signal of the state’s broader ambitions to remake itself in a more tech-friendly image.
Already, Ohio has something of a technology hub forming in Columbus, Ohio, home to one of the largest venture capital funds in the midwest, Drive Capital . And Cleveland (the city once called “the mistake on the lake”) is trying to remake itself in cryptocurrency’s image with a new drive to rebrand the city as “Blockland”.
Whether anyone will look to take advantage of Ohio’s newfound embrace of digital currencies is debatable.
The cryptocurrency market is currently in the kind of free-fall (or collapse, or implosion, or conflagration, or all-consuming dumpster fire) that’s usually reserved for tulips in Holland in February 1637.
Billionaire Texans will not get a say in editorial decisions, says Meredith, as it hails transformative deal to merge magazine stables
Meredith Corporation has announced that it is buying the Time Inc publishing group in a transformative $1.8bn deal that joins two huge magazine companies.
Meredith, which owns a portfolio including Better Homes & Gardens, Family Circle, allrecipes and Shape, will fund the deal with the help of the rightwing billionaire Koch brothers, who have contributed $650m of preferred equity.
Charles and David Koch head a $115bn energy and industrial group, Koch Industries, and are well-known supporters of libertarian causes.
Their involvement in the deal to buy the publisher of Time, Sports Illustrated, People, Fortune and Entertainment Weekly, has raised questions about whether their interest is political.
But Meredith moved to play down the importance of the funding by saying on Sunday night that Koch Equity Development, the brothers investment vehicle providing the funding, will not have a seat on the board of the newly merged group and will not influence editorial decisions.
[Koch Equity Development] will not have a seat on the Meredith board and will have no influence on Merediths editorial or managerial operations, Meredith said in a statement. KEDs non-controlling, preferred equity investment underscores a strong belief in Merediths strength as a business operator, its strategies, and its ability to unlock significant value from the Time acquisition.
The deal, which was unanimously approved by both boards, is a coup for Meredith, which held unsuccessful talks to buy Time earlier this year and in 2013.
It will give news, business and sports brands to add to the Iowa-based publishers lifestyle titles. Analysts have said that bulking up on publishing assets could give Meredith the scale required to spin off its broadcasting arm into a standalone company.
When combined, the Meredith and Time brands will have a readership of 135 million people and paid circulation of nearly 60m. The deal also will expand Merediths reach with millennials, creating a digital media business with 170 million monthly unique visitors in the United States and more than 10bn annual video views.
Meredith will pay $18.50 per share in cash for Times nearly 100m outstanding shares.
In addition to the Koch investment, Meredith said it was using $3.55bn in financing commitments from a variety of lenders. Prior to the announcement, Meredith had just $28 million in cash on hand, according to its latest quarterly report.
Combined, the companies posted $4.8bn in revenue last year. Meredith expects it will save up to $500m in costs in the first two years of operation and plans to aggressively pay down debt by 2020.
John Fahey, Time chairman, said the sale was in the best interests of the company and its shareholders, noting the price represented a 46% premium to the closing price of shares on 15 November, the day prior to media reports about the deal.
Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.
Facebook may soon be ready to squeeze more money out of its 1.3 billion-user chat app. The company has internally developed “Messenger Broadcast,” a self-serve mass-messaging interface that lets businesses send marketing messages to users. Facebook confirmed to TechCrunch that it’s testing the feature internally, but hadn’t trialed it to the public or with businesses as of late last month.
While the company was cagey about the functionality, it appears that businesses design a welcome message, message title and subtitle, and include a call to action to the user such as visiting the business’ website, prompting a Messenger bot or tapping to send a preset reply written by the business. Companies can preview their message within the Messenger Broadcast interface or on Messenger itself.
As for who the message can reach, the interface outlines that a certain number of users will receive it at no cost to the business. It’s unclear whether businesses will be able to pay for more reach, but that seems like a reasonable direction for the product.
A Facebook spokesperson told me: “We often test products, features and ideas and are always exploring new ways to make it easier for businesses to deliver great experiences to their customers. Once we’ve tested them internally we make a call as to whether or not to ultimately release them. As such we don’t comment on unreleased features.”
Messenger Broadcast was first spotted by tipster phwd, which was reshared by The Next Web’s Matt Navarra.
Facebook has been cautious about monetizing Messenger, lest it hamper its growth. But over the past few years it’s started offering Facebook News Feed “click to message” ads that start conversations with businesses, allowing certain partners to send Sponsored Messages directly to users with the help of Facebook’s ads team, and in July it began globally injecting display ads into the Messenger inbox.
Facebook tells me that regardless of what happens with Messenger Broadcast, it has no plans to change the policy of requiring people to have initiated message threads with businesses before they can message the users with ads or otherwise. That means businesses may need to coax users into pinging them first before they can reach them through Messenger Broadcast. Though again, it’s possible this never rolls out.
Facebook will need to be careful here if it does launch the product. If Messenger feels spammy, users might not open chats from friends because they’re lost amongst the ads, or flee back to the status quo of SMS.
But with Messenger and Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp now the dominant cross-platform messaging apps around the world beyond China, Facebook may finally feel that Messenger is big and dominant enough to start earning its keep.
I’ve been thinking about token sale marketing lately mostly because it’s been so bad. I’ve gotten hundreds of emails asking me to be an ICO advisor or evangelist or influencer primarily because the ICO marketing techniques come to us straight out of the spammiest corners of affiliate marketing. I’ve gotten emails from founders who have been promised “posts on TechCrunch” by content marketers with no relationship with the site and I’ve seen founders bribe writers on Forbes and Medium and other user-generated sites to simply add a link. The bottom line?
You’re doing it wrong.
Why will your token sale fail? It’s not because you didn’t get Posh Spice or Richard Branson to tweet about you. It’s not because you didn’t pay Floyd Mayweather to stand in front of a pile of cash and suggest, in the most winking way, that you, too, can be as rich as him. It’s because you did do these things but forgot the core of startup growth: you need fans. And those fans have to be so dedicated, so in love with your idea, that they stay up all night clicking away, chatting, and talking about you product.
You need red-eye fans, fans so dedicated to your crazy cause that they become crazy themselves.
The tech hype cycle is quite simple. For a tool to get mass adoption you first need a core group of users who can’t live without your product. Foursquare created this group a SXSW in Austin and Uber created it in San Francisco. These users fit those products into their daily lives and those companies grew and grew. Word spread when those core users opened their phones and checked in or called a car or made a reservation in a few seconds. People around them were fascinated.
“What is that?” they’d ask.
“Let me show you,” said the early-adopter. And thus a behemoth is born.
What happens if you don’t have a product? Then you have to build the hype based on other things. You have to talk about your development experience, how hard you’re working, and how cool you and your team are. Think about the best Kickstarter campaigns you’ve seen. They’re run by personable, excited people, they are staffed with not only programmers but social media managers who get the word out about every wrinkle, and the feedback boards are pep rallies rather than information booths. This works – check out Kickstarter and Indiegogo for confirmation – but it’s very hard.
Now we’re entering a weird world of token sales, a world in which the story is quite confusing. How does it work? A company aims to “raise” $40 million on a team and a dream? That sounds amazing and impossible! It’s actually far less interesting than it sounds and no one will admit that token sales are essentially currency-generating events with little bearing on reality.
A company creates millions of smart contracts for a few pennies each. The company keeps a few million contract tokens for itself and its founders, sells millions of tokens to initial “investors” (really crypto whales with lots of cash), and then, if all goes according to plan, releases tokens to the general public. The company actually “raises” a few million at best and then has to spend the rest of its life propping up that token to keep investors and purchasers happy. It’s a juggling act that most founders don’t expect.
So how do you market this effort? This process and the fact that you are doing it is not news. No one cares except, of course, your red-eyed fans. In short, then you run an ICO you walk a tightrope in a storm with only a few people to at your disposal for help. Once you get to the other side you find only more tightropes.
Your job, then, is simple. You make a good product and tell the world. You spend on product market, show your product to people and hope they become fans, and do regular old outreach via blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and everything else. A token sale isn’t a shortcut. You grow the old-fashioned way: you earn every percentage.
Your users, users who have tried a version of your product and found it amazing, are key here. You need red-eyed users, users who refuse to stop talking about what your product will do not how much money they will “make” in your ICO. You need users who are in love with your team and who are excited about what you will produce.
Making a product is hard. Making a great product is nearly impossible. But if you drop everything to run an ICO you will not make a great product. And it’s great products that get all the attention, all the press, and all the support.
So don’t waste your time or money on influencers, advisors, scammy book makers, and rich people who are getting high on the fumes of a new financial scam. When you pay someone to spread the news about your potential scam sale you’ve lost. When you hire influencers you’ve lost. When you create a list of advisors who may or may not be aware they are on your deck then you’ve lost. The only time you win is when you lead with product.
Token sales have added a massive distraction to the startup founder’s life. A founder’s goal, at the end of the day, is to produce. If they fail, then all the tokens in the world won’t save them. The game hasn’t changed from the old VC days. It’s just gotten far more important to produce a scaffold – financial, personal, and future-forward – to support your dreams. And those red-eyed fans, the fans that will stay up all night to get your next release, are the only relationships you need to cultivate.
New York (CNN Business)Turbulence in the stock market can get old fast. But investors may need to get used to the bumpy ride.