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January 6, 2018

ripple and ethereum adds to the upheaval in the alt coin world

The virtual currency boom has got so heated that it is throwing some of the richest and most powerful people into disarray.At one point last week one of the founders of virtual currency who is also among the largest owners of Ripple tokens was worth more than $59billion.

Ethereum and Ripple two Bitcoin rivals jostled for attention during the  early days of 2018 cryptocurrency war   as it marked two records in the alt coin world: Ethereum's per-coin value broke $US1000 ($1276) and the rising value of Ripple supposedly boosted its co-founder Chris Larsen to an estimated net worth of $US59.9 ($76) billion.Riding in the digital currency's surge in the last few weeks, the co-founder and executive chairman of Ripple is now one of the five richest people in America. 

 Chris Larsen, co-founder and executive chairman of Ripple, has 5.19 billion of the company's digital coin XRP and a 17 percent stake in the company, according to Forbes, citing sources at Ripple. With XRP hitting a high of $3.84 on Thursday, Larsen's holdings are worth about $59.9 billion. That puts the former Ripple CEO just ahead of Larry Ellison, who ranked fifth on Forbes 400 list with a worth of $58.4 billion. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg ranks fourth, with a worth of $74.4 billion. 

Despite a very real speculation bubble around cryptocurrency, these financial gains are mostly on paper and the two coins couldn't be more different.

While Ethereum bills itself as a blockchain app platform where transactions are used to pay for decentralised computing power,Ripple is the world's only enterprise blockchain solution for global payments. Ripple's core proposal is to facilitate fast, cheap transactions, mainly between banks, through a separate but related entity called Ripple Connect. The Ripple coin (XRP) exists independently in the hopes that banks will someday use it via Ripple Connect.

Ripple is a kind of  real-time gross settlement system (RTGS), currency exchange and remittance network by Ripple. Also called the Ripple Transaction Protocol (RTXP) or Ripple protocol it is built upon a distributed open source Internet protocol, consensus ledger and native cryptocurrency called XRP (ripples)

Ripple connects banks, payment providers, digital asset exchanges and corporates via RippleNet to provide one frictionless experience to send money globally.Released in 2012, Ripple purports to enable "secure, instantly and nearly free global financial transactions of any size with no chargebacks." It supports tokens representing fiat currency, cryptocurrency, commodity or any other unit of value such as frequent flier miles or mobile minutes.

Used by companies such as UniCredit, UBS and Santander, Ripple has been increasingly adopted by banks and payment networks as settlement infrastructure technology, with American Banker explaining that "from banks' perspective, distributed ledgers like the Ripple system have a number of advantages over cryptocurrencies like bitcoin," including price and security. 

On 1 Jan 2018, the market capitalisation of XRP was 87 billion USD, making it the second largest cryptocurrency by market cap Thanks to one digital currency's surge in the last few weeks, the co-founder and executive chairman of Ripple is now one of the five richest people in America.

Meanwhile according to CoinMarketCap, Ethereum currently has a market capitalisation of about $96 billion (£70.7bn).Unlike Bitcoin, Ethereum allows developers to build applications on its network. The majority of initial coin offerings and other trading games are based on Ethereum. Ethereum's particular blockchain technology means that the currency is more naturally resilient to cyberattacks.

The explosion in Ripple's valuation over the last few months is the starkest illustration yet of the mania that has spilled over into the broader universe of virtual currencies.These coins with names such  as Cardona, Stellar and Iota are generally new twists on Bitcoin Technology which uses a decentralised network of volunteer computers to keep a record, known as blockchain, of all technologies.

Cryptocurrency founders can often hold large amounts of the digital coins they create.The anonymous bitcoin founder known as "Satoshi Nakamoto" has 980,000 bitcoins, or about 4.7 percent of all bitcoins that will ever exist, based on widely accepted analysis by Sergio Demian Lerner. 

However Mr Chris Larsen's ballooning net worth and the value of Ripple tokens mostly drew comments about the irrationality of the virtual currency markets which appear to be driven largely these days by the feat of missing out (FOMO)

twins who sued zuckerberg becomes 1st bitcoin billionaires

The twin brothers who sued Mark Zuckerberg claiming he stole the idea for Facebook are worth more than $1bn after capitalising on the astonishing rise in Bitcoin. An $11m (£8m) bet on Bitcoin made by Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss over four years ago has multiplied by almost 10,000% after Bitcoin reached a new record breaking high in december 2017.This is believed to be the first billion-dollar return made by a cryptocurrency investor, a landmark moment for the twins who sued Mark Zuckerberg and claimed that Facebook's idea was originally theirs.

In 2009, the Winklevoss twins received a settlement from Facebook valued at more than $65 million.According to the Telegraph, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss bought 1 percent of all currently mined bitcoin for a price of $11 million in 2013 with the lawsuit money received from Facebook. Since then, the $11 million crypto-bet has multiplied by almost 10,000 percent, making the twins the first bitcoin billionaires.

Seven years ago, the value of a single bitcoin was worth a quarter-of-a-cent. Today, that single bitcoin is worth upwards of $2,200.The twins used part of their settlement money to invest heavily in bitcoin.Bitcoin has grown exponentially since then: According to Fortune when the Winklevosses first invested, the cryptocurrency was trading at $120 per coin, a far jump from the more than $11,000 it has reached today. That's an increase of over 9,000 percent. 

In October 2015, the brothers launched Gemini, a bitcoin exchange described by the Financial Times as “one of the first regulated and licensed digital currency exchanges in the developed world. 

Interestingly the first bitcoin transaction was made by a software programmer on “Bitcoin Talk” known as Lazlo Hanyecz who offered to 10,000 bitcoins for a couple of pizzas. For the first three days, no one took him on his offer with Hanyecz writing: “So nobody wants to buy me pizza? Is the bitcoin amount I’m offering too low?” A user eventually paid about $25 for two pizzas. In today’s bitcoins, those pizzas would have cost cost Hanyecz $22 million.

January 5, 2018

travis kalanick to sell 29% of his uber stake, worth $1.4billion

Former Uber cofounder Travis Kalanick  is all set to sell around 29% of his Uber stake to Softbank in the process making him richer $1.4billion according to Bloomberg post today. The former Uber Cofounder remains one of the wealthiest people in the world on paper.However  post his stake sale, Travis Kalanick would become an actual billionaire for the first time.

Interestingly during a Vanity Fair’s 2016 New Establishment Summit he boasted and touted the fact that he had “never sold a single Uber share which was an expression, of his own faith in the company’s future.

Reports indicate that the former Poster boy  and cofounder of Uber Travis Kalanick had reportedly offered to offload even more of his share which was as much as 50 percent, the most a board member was allowed to sell in the transaction with SoftBank and its consortium of investors, who have agreed to buy equity in the company at a lower $48 billion valuation. But that figure was reportedly scaled back due to the large volume of investors attempting to sell

The SoftBank deal, which is expected to close later in January, will limit Kalanick’s remaining influence at Uber via a number of corporate governance reforms, though he’ll remain an Uber board member.

Kalanick was pressured to resign last year after the company became mired in legal woes and government investigations into the way it conducts how it does business.

Uber has come under increasing criticism in the last 2 years and has been rocked by a steady stream of  workplace and sexual harassment including gender discrimination scandals and negative publicity in recent years, including revelations of questionable spy programs, a high-stakes technology lawsuit, and embarrassing leaks about executive conduct including digging up dirt on journalists and spreading personal information of a female reporter who was critical of the company.Uber was forced to pay $20m to settle allegations that the company duped people into driving with false promises about earnings.

The Federal Trade Commission claimed that most Uber drivers earned far less than the rates Uber published online in 18 major cities in the US. 

More PR disasters followed led by a A #DeleteUber campaign which went viral after the company lifted surge pricing during a taxi protest at a New York airport against Donald Trump’s travel ban. A total of roughly 500,000 users reportedly deleted accounts after the scandal erupted.

Uber also faced lawsuits from Waymo, the self-driving car company owned by Google’s parent Alphabet which accused Uber of “calculated theft” of its technology. The suit, was a fatal setback for Uber’s autonomous vehicle ambitions, alleged that a former Waymo employee, Anthony Levandowski, stole trade secrets for Uber which later fired the engineer.

Travis  also clashed with Benchmark, one of the company’s earliest and biggest investors, which is also selling part of its stake

apple developers combined earned more than starbucks,dupont, mcdonald's

2017 was  indeed one of the best years  to be an Apple developer.Apple announced on Jan 4th that developers who make apps and games for its iOS mobile operating system earned $26.5 billion in revenue in 2017. That’s an increase of 30% over what developers generated from sales in 2016, and more than the annual revenues of Starbucks, Qualcomm, DuPont, Kraft Heinz, or McDonald’s, according to Fortune.

Apple said iOS customers made $890 million in purchases alone during the seven-day period between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.Apple also set a new record for App Store sales on New Year's Day, which was a 25% increase from the same day a year earlier with consumers reportedly spending around $300 million on apps on 1st Jan, the most for a single day since the App Store launched in 2008. 

According to TheVergePokemon Go nabbed the top app spot once again, re-launching the app late in the year with new AR features – which were built on top of iOS ARKit.

Apple's numbers reveal that purchases in December 2017 exceeded more than  a billion dollars  in App Store purchases during the holidays, which is interesting, especially given the fact that most data and research reports claim that the majority of smartphone users in the United States download zero new apps per month.

One of the reasons for Apple's spectacular success was the redesigned the App Store.Over the past year Apple has made several changes in its apps store, including adding search advertising, improving developer tools and introducing new ways for third-party apps to make money.

For smaller developers, these efforts provides more incentives to build products, especially on emerging platforms like ARKit and the Apple Watch.The AR kit allows iPhones and iPads  to run augmented reality with ease.

Furthermore, with the release of iOS 11 in September 2017, App Store received a complete design overhaul, bringing a greater focus on editorial content and daily highlights, as well as a design similar in style to several of Apple's built-in iOS apps.Since its 2008 release, App Store has generated over $70 billion in revenue for developers.

Apple generally takes a 15% commission of app store sales.

Interestingly while originally developing iPhone prior to its unveiling in 2007, Apple's then-CEO Steve Jobs did not mean to let third-party developers build native apps for iOS, instead directing them to make web applications for the Safari web browser.However, backlash from developers prompted the company to reconsider, with Jobs announcing in October 2007 that Apple would have a software development kit available for developers by February 2008.The SDK was released on March 6, 2008;

In October 2016, in an effort to improve app discoverability, Apple rolled out the ability for developers to purchase advertising spots in App Store to users in the United States. The ads, shown at the top of the search results,are based strictly on relevant keywords.Apple expanded search ads to the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand in April 2017, along with more configurable advertising settings for developers.

In December 2017, Apple revamped its search ads program to offer two distinctive versions; "Search Ads Basic" is a pay-per-install program aimed at smaller developers, in which they only pay when users actually install their app.

January 4, 2018

top 5 indian cities for online food ordering

The Top 5 cities in India contribute to over 85% of the online food ordering market in India. In terms of order  volume  Bangalore is leading the way with 32%,with NCR a close second with 20%. Mumbai and Hyderabad follows with 14% and 12%.Pune takes the 5th spot with 10%.

The Restaurant industry is estimated to be USD 56 Billion and the delivery industry is pegged at USD 15 Billion Casual Dining (44%) dominates the organised segment while QSR(quick service restaurants) is one of the fastest growing segment.

According to the latest data from Redseer consulting provides some interesting insights on the  indian online food delivery market  Online food delivery grew at a staggering pace of 150% to reach USD 300 Million in Gross Merchandising Volumes. 

On an average Online food delivery players handled 1,60,000 orders in a day with and average order value of $5.Online Food Delivery Aggregators dominate the market with 70% market share, and have a reach in 20+ cities while internet kitchens with their niche offerings are limited to 4-5 major cities.

In terms of revenue models,among the major source of revenue for aggregators is the commission that they charge their partner restaurant (13%-23% of average order value) while Internet Kitchens have taken a full stack approach and 100% of the bill value goes to them.

Bangalore, Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Pune contribute 40% to the GMV(gross merchandising volumes) of Indian e-tailing industry and these cities are the top contributors for other verticals too. 

Among the largest factors  that has enabled the online food ordering has been the large share of young working population with high disposable income and easy access to internet through web/mobile  which has accelerated the growth of online medium in these cities.

Among the top 3 biggest challenges facing the online food ordering start ups in India are

1)High delivery cost coupled with low average order value
2)Low stickiness of the customers to platform and high preference for offers and discounts
3) A diverse population with non-homogenous food preferences.