All posts in “cryptocurrency”

How to see another company’s growth tactics and try them yourself

Every company’s online acquisition strategy is out in the open. If you know where to look.

This post shows you exactly where to look, and how to reverse engineer their growth tactics.

Why is this important? Competitive analysis de-risks your own growth experiments: You find the best growth ideas to adopt and the worst ones to avoid.

First, a warning: Your goal is not to repurpose another company’s hard work. That makes you a thief. Your goal is to identify other companies who face the same growth challenges as you, then to study their approaches for solutions to draw from.

As I walk through uncovering a competitor’s tactics, keep in mind which competitors are worth looking at: For instance, you should rarely over-analyze early-stage companies. They’re unlikely to be methodical at growth.

Meaning, if you blindly copy their site and their ads, it’s possible you’ll be copying tactics that are not actually responsible for their growth. Their success may instead be from network effects or other hidden factors.

Instead, it’s safest to get inspiration from companies who’ve sustained high growth rates for a long time, and who face the same growth challenges as you. They’re likely to have sophisticated growth operations worth studying deeply. Examples include:

  • Pinterest
  • Airbnb
  • Amazon
  • Facebook
  • Uber

If these aren’t your direct competitors, don’t worry. You don’t need to audit a direct competitor’s tactics to get incredibly valuable insights.

You can look past direct competitors.

You’ll gain useful insights from auditing the user acquisition funnel of any company who has a similar audience and business model.

Examples of audiences:

  • Wealthy consumers
  • Enterprise businesses
  • Middle-class adults who use Chrome
  • Dog owners
  • And so on

Audiences matter because their behaviors and needs differ wildly. Each requires its own growth strategy. You want to audit a company whose audiences is similar to yours.

You also want to ensure the company shares your business model. Examples include:

  • A high-touch sales process with multiple phone calls
  • A consumer ecommerce site with easy checkout
  • A self-serve SaaS signup with a freemium plan
  • A pay-to-play mobile game
  • And so on

Each model may necessitate different ads, landing pages, automated emails, and sales collateral.

Never implement another company’s tactics blindly.

There’s an effective process for growth analysis, and it looks like this:

  1. Source potential growth ideas.
  2. Prioritize them.
  3. A/B test them.
  4. Measure if an A/B variant significantly outperformed its baseline and whether the cost of implementing the winner would be worthwhile.
  5. Only then should you implement it.

Here’s a brief example before we dive into tactics.

Let’s pretend we’re a SaaS company offering consumer banking tools, and that we’re struggling to get users to onboard our app. Our hypothesis is that visitors are bouncing because they don’t trust us with their sensitive information.

Our first step is to define both our audience and our business model:

  • Audience: Tech-savvy, adult consumers.
    Business model: SaaS freemium funnel.

Our next step is to look for companies who share those two aspects. (We can find them on Crunchbase.)

Once we have a few in hand, we look for how they handle customers’ sensitive information throughout their funnel. Specifically, we audit their:

It’s time to learn how we audit all that. I’ll share how our marketer training program teaches marketers to do this on the job.

Facebook’s ‘GlobalCoin’ cryptocurrency is coming in 2020, report claims

Social networking giant Facebook is about to launch a cryptocurrency of its own in the first quarter of 2020, the BBC claims

The cryptocurrency, internally called GlobalCoin, will launch in about a dozen countries, with testing commencing by the end of this year. 

We’ve heard reports that Facebook is working on something crypto-related for about a year, ever since the company assigned its head of Messenger, David Marcus, to a blockchain-focused role in May 2018. But a recent report shed more light on the project (which, according to Facebook, boils down to a “small team” that’s exploring “many different applications” of the blockchain) — apparently, Facebook plans to launch a global, crypto-based payment, and e-commerce system.

The BBC’s report doesn’t reveal many additional details about the project — the most important bit is the timeline. According to the report, Facebook has already spoken to Bank of England governor Mark Carney about the project, as well as the U.S. Treasury. Official news about the project, BBC claims, might come as early as this summer. 

We’ve contacted Facebook regarding the report and will update this article when we hear back. 

The news of Facebook entering the space could be huge for cryptocurrencies in general, given Facebook’s user base of 2.38 billion monthly active users as of April 2019. However, numerous questions about the project remain. Will GlobalCoin be open source? Will it be based on an existing blockchain platform, such as Ethereum, or will it be based on a completely new blockchain? Will it be available for use outside of Facebook? Hopefully, we’ll get answers to at least some of these questions this summer. 

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A cryptocurrency stealing app found on Google Play was downloaded over a thousand times

Researchers have found two apps masquerading as cryptocurrency apps on Android’s app store, Google Play.

One of them was largely a dud. The second was designed to steal cryptocurrency, the researchers said.

Security firm ESET said one of the two fake Android apps impersonated Trezor, a hardware cryptocurrency wallet. The good news is that app couldn’t be used to steal cryptocurrency stored by Trezor. But the researchers found the app was connected to a second Android app which could have been used to scam funds out of unsuspecting victims.

Lukas Stefanko, a security researcher at ESET — who has a long history of finding dodgy Android apps — said the fake Trezor app “appeared trustworthy at first glance” but was using a fake developer name to impersonate the company.

The fake app was designed to trick users into turning over a victim’s login credentials. Uploaded to Google Play on May 1, the app quickly ranked as the second-most popular search result when searching for “Trezor” behind the legitimate app, said Stefanko. Users on Reddit also found the fake app and reported it as recently as two weeks ago.

According to Stefanko, the server where user credentials were sent was linked to a website linked to another fake wallet, purportedly to store cryptocurrency, and also listed on Google Play since February 25.

“The app claims it lets its users create wallets for various cryptocurrencies,” said Stefanko. “However, its actual purpose is to trick users into transferring cryptocurrency into the attackers’ wallets – a classic case of what we’ve named wallet address scams in our previous research into cryptocurrency-targeting malware.”

Both apps were collectively downloaded more than a thousand times. After ESET contacted Google, the apps were pulled offline the next day.

Read more:

These startups are locating in SF and Africa to win in global fintech

To become a global fintech player, locate your company in San Francisco and Africa.

That’s the approach of payments company Flutterwave, digital lending startup Mines, and mobile-money venture Chipper Cash—Africa-founded ventures that maintain headquarters in San Francisco and operations in Africa to tap the best of both worlds in VC, developers, clients, and the frontier of digital finance.

This arrangement wasn’t exactly coordinated across the ventures, but TechCrunch coverage picked up the trend and some common motives among these rising fintech firms.

Founded in 2016 by Nigerians Iyinoluwa Aboyeji and Olugbenga Agboola, Flutterwave has positioned itself as a global B2B payments solutions platform for companies in Africa to pay other companies on the continent and abroad.

Clients can tap its APIs and work with Flutterwave developers to customize payments applications. Existing customers include Uber,  Facebook,  Booking.com and African e-commerce unicorn Jumia.com.

The Y-Combinator backed company is headquartered in San Francisco, runs its operations center in Nigeria, and plans to add offices in South Africa and Cameroon.

Flutterwave opened an office in Uganda in June and raised a $10 million Series A round in October. The company also plugged into ledger activity in 2018, becoming a payment processing partner to the Ripple and Stellar blockchain networks.

Coinbase adds USDC stablecoin support in 50 countries

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase is ramping up stablecoin support around the world. Customers can now trade USD Coin (or USDC for short) in 50 new countries — USDC support was already available in 35 countries. You can trade USDC on both Coinbase and Coinbase Pro.

The company has been aggressive when it comes to international expansion. Coinbase is currently available in over 100 countries. But there’s a trick. Many countries can only exchange crypto assets for other assets — there’s no crypto-to-fiat conversions.

As the name suggests, a USDC is a token that is worth exactly 1 USD. Its value is stable against USD. That’s why people call this type of assets stablecoins. Coinbase and other USDC partners store USD in a bank account every time they issue a token.

And it’s clear that many customers living in countries suffering from inflation are going to love USDC. For instance, Argentina had a 47 inflation rate in 2018 alone. Rents, mortgages and basic goods end up costing a lot more than before. Your savings also represent a smaller sum of money if you convert it to USD.

Many people have already been using cryptocurrencies to avoid inflation. But it also creates tremendous risks as most cryptocurrencies still suffer from price fluctuation.

USDC could be part of the solution. You could use an exchange to convert some bitcoins into USDC and then store them on a secure wallet.

Here’s the full list of countries that are getting USDC support on Coinbase: Angola, Armenia, Aruba, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Benin, Botswana, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Brunei, Cameroon, Cayman Islands, Costa Rica, Curaçao, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyrsztan, Macau, Maldives, Mauritius, Mauritius, Mongolia, Montenegro, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Oman, Panama, Paraguay, Rwanda, Serbia, South Africa, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Zambia.

Disclosure: I own small amounts of various cryptocurrencies.