You Thought Retail Was Dying? Think Again… 304

Over the past decade, e-commerce sales have soared. Many people are claiming that e-commerce will be the end of retail stores.

However, recent figures have shown that the reality is actually very different from what we were expecting.

Will E-commerce Really Replace Retail?

There is no doubt that e-commerce has transformed the way we shop – especially with the recent rise of buy online, pick up in-store trend that was recently introduced by Amazon.

Image Credit: Depositphotos

Of course, everyone has heard of the e-commerce giants like Amazon and eBay. But how many other e-commerce-only stores can you name off the top of your head? The likely answer is: not that many. Actually, all but one of the top 10 US retailers are physical stores.

In fact, despite the many stories of retail stores being forced to shut down and liquidate, there have actually been a number of cases when it’s gone the other way around. This can be seen as recently as this year when Walmart bought up several of its online competitors.

Why is Retail Still So Popular?

But shopping online is so much easier. It’s fast, it’s convenient, and we don’t even have to get off the sofa…right?

 The truth is, despite what we tell ourselves, the world loves to shop. It satisfies some of our most primitive hunter-gatherer instincts and has cemented itself as one of our everyday habits.

Despite the rapid rise in technology over the past decade, there is still something inherently satisfying about walking into a store and picking up a physical product.

Often, we don’t just shop because we want to buy things. For many, it is a fun social experience, a way to relax and unwind, or simply an enjoyable way to pass time.

Combining E-commerce and Retail Shopping

Retail shopping is here to stay for the foreseeable future. However, mobile technology has undoubtedly changed our shopping habits irreversibly.

There has been a recent influx of retail apps over the past few years. The 7-Eleven app, for example, sends coupons to your phone that you can redeem in store.

It also has a member barcode that allows users to earn free drinks, a store locator, a feedback system, and a ‘7Rewards’ feature that gives users points for every dollar they spend in store to encourage users to download it.

Image Credit: Starbucks

 

The Starbucks app has also been a huge success. It allows users to pay and collect loyalty points without the hassle of an additional physical card.

The app was released back in Spring 2009. By October 2013, more than 11% of Starbucks’ sales volume came through its mobile wallet.

But what if there was a way to combine the convenience of e-commerce with the thrill of shopping in a retail store?

Shping is one new blockchain startup working on bringing ecommerce together with retail. It is designed to make retail shopping smarter – and it even directly rewards its users for their engagement in the process.

The way the platform works is simple. Users simply scan any product barcode using the app. From this, they can learn what is in it, where it is from, and whether or not it is certified. They will even have access to reviews from other users, which they can use to make a decision about whether or not to purchase the product.

Essentially, it provides the fun of retail shopping, while still allowing users to make a fully informed decision in the same way as they would when shopping online.

In return for scanning barcodes, uploading product photos, and writing their own reviews for products they have purchased, users can also earn Shping coins.

Large media giants like Facebook are currently making billions every year as a result of advertising to their 2 billion-strong user-base.

However, decentralized blockchain platforms will enable brands to channel their budgets to reward customers for their engagement, instead of funneling billions into faceless, third-party media companies.

Changing Advertising As We Know It

The process of combining e-commerce with retail could completely transform the advertising landscape as we have come to understand it.

Instead of companies having no other option than to shove advertisements in our face while we’re watching cat videos on YouTube or trying to chat to our friends on Facebook, they will be given the unique opportunity to connect to us right at the moment it is most appropriate – when we’re inside the store, ready to buy their product.

These unique features provided to us by the decentralization of advertising will undoubtedly allow brands to connect with their customers like never before.

Rewarding customers for loyalty will only strengthen the connection between brands and users.

Instead of feeling like a commodity being marketed to and spammed with advertisements for products they don’t want, users will become a valuable part of the process.

The whole landscape of shopping and advertising could be about to shift in front of our eyes.

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Prescryptive Health Announces Free COVID-19 Vaccine Scheduling Solution to Support Independent Pharmacies Nationwide 4472

Prescryptive Health, a healthcare technology company, announced a free vaccine scheduling solution for pharmacies across the country. This service builds on their successful COVID-19 testing partnership with the State of New York, and will be available nationwide beginning today. The initiative is part of a larger commitment by Prescryptive Health to empower pharmacists and consumers through its digital platform to improve the way healthcare is delivered, making it more affordable and accessible to all.

“Local pharmacies play a critical role providing vaccines, yet they don’t have a solution that can meet their needs and address their specific challenges with COVID-19 vaccines,” said Chris Blackley, CEO of Prescryptive Health. “Our solution closes that gap, is easy to use and is now available at no cost to pharmacies nationwide.”

Prescryptive’s scheduling solution is designed for pharmacists by pharmacists to provide the security, flexibility, and ease-of-use required to deliver COVID-19 vaccines in today’s fluid environment. Pharmacists can configure when and where they provide vaccines, customize patient screening criteria to comply with state and local guidelines, and manage patient demand with a new “waitlist” function that allows them to invite patients directly for appointments to prevent over-booking. Equally important, Prescryptive’s solution is architected on blockchain, fully encrypted, and HIPAA-compliant.

Patient success has also been engineered into Prescryptive’s solution. The mobile-first design allows patients to minimize time spent onsite at the pharmacy and to receive real-time notifications from pharmacists when appointments become available. Patients receive a digital proof of their vaccination with links to additional health and safety information—including the CDC v-safe program. Beginning in April, patients will also have the ability to book appointments directly with a local pharmacy at MyRx.io.

Huobi Tech’s Subsidiary Huobi Asset Management Got the Approval to Launch 100% Virtual Asset Funds and Plans to Launch 3 Virtual Asset Funds 4409

Huobi Technology Holdings Limited (“Huobi Tech” or the “Company”, stock code: 1611), is pleased to announce that Huobi Asset Management (Hong Kong) Limited (the “Huobi Asset Management”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company, has obtained the Securities and Futures Commission’s (the “SFC”) approval to manage and distribute 100% virtual asset funds with effect from 3 March 2021. Huobi Asset is the second licensed virtual asset manager in Hong Kong to fall under the SFC’s “Proforma Terms and Conditions for Licensed Corporations which Manage Portfolios that Invest in Virtual Assets” (“T&C”) since October 2019.

As the first licensed virtual asset fund manager approved by the SFC to issue virtual asset funds with an active investment strategy, it is the first virtual asset fund manager in the Hong Kong market to accept fiat currency or virtual asset subscription channels. Huobi Asset Management plans to launch three virtual asset funds: BTC tracker fund, ETH tracker fund, and multi-strategy virtual asset fund. Besides, Huobi Asset Management is launching its multi-asset fund with 10% allocation to virtual assets whilst 90% into traditional assets such as equities and fixed income.

A senior investment team will manage Huobi Asset Management’s virtual asset funds. The main business partners include Sidley Austin, Mourant, DBS, Fidelity Digital, and other world-renowned institutions. Ms. Gillian Wu, CEO of Huobi Asset Management, said, “We aim to provide various choices to investors with different risk appetites. We have covered comprehensive perspectives through in-depth dialogues with SFC and made full preparations on corresponding solutions. We are confident that our funds could offer one of the most secure and reliable channels for Professional Investors to access this novel asset class conveniently.”

The management of Huobi Tech said, “We are delighted that Huobi Asset Management team has secured such a breakthrough. The approval’s timing is perfect, coinciding with the mainstream institutional adoption of virtual assets starting from this year. We will continue to explore the possibility of diversifying our businesses in relevant areas to enhance our growth prospects and bring long-term sustainable returns to our shareholders.”

Max Dilendorf Serves as a Bitcoin Expert Witness in USCIS EB-5 Green Card Adjudication Proceedings 4838

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has frequently denied EB-5 applications that list Bitcoin exchange-traded-funds as a legitimate “source of funds”. Yet, in an unprecedented approach that included forensic reporting analysis, attorney Max Dilendorf provided an expert legal opinion and due diligence report proving that a green card applicants’ source of funds met the standards to be qualified under this program.

Because USCIS only requires a “preponderance of evidence” showing the legal acquisition of investment funds in EB-5 petitions and offers little guidance for applicants whose funds originated in cryptocurrency, Dilendorf’s confirming evidence was a significant achievement.

The Dilendorf Law Firm, NYC’s top law firm for the digital age, represented several clients in EB-5 matters with the USCIS concerning the clients’ EB-5 investments funded with cryptocurrencies. By submitting blockchain and cryptocurrency expert reports in these cases, the firm has provided evidence to support the legitimate “source of funds”.

The firm’s clients were software engineers and early cryptocurrency adopters who, in the opinion of the crypto compliance law firm, are legally qualified for obtaining EB-5 investor green-cards, as there was little doubt on the legality of the source of the clients’ cryptocurrency funds.

Dilendorf’s legal opinions and blockchain forensic reports, as submitted to the USCIS, included an expert assessment of the following:

  • legality of the specific digital assets and regulatory framework for the involved financial institutions dealing with cryptocurrencies;
  • origin and flow of cryptocurrencies funding the EB-5 investments;
  • mechanism and sufficiency of digital wallets, private cryptographic keys, crypto trading platforms and accounts establishing ownership of the clients’ cryptocurrency funds;
  • KYC/AML compliance measures taken at each point of the funds’ journey by clients and third parties, including crypto exchanges and OTC traders.

Max Dilendorf, Esq. is also a top forensic Bitcoin and crypto expert witness. His expertise has also made him one of the top cryptocurrency consultants for Fortune 500 companies.  Mr. Dilendorf’s recent speaking engagements have included the Thailand SEC, IBM, Berkshire Hathaway, and New York University, to name a few.

The9 Appointed Cai ZhiFang as the CEO of NBTC Limited to Lead the Development of Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Business 4758

The9 Limited (Nasdaq: NCTY) (“The9”), an established Internet company, today announced the appointment of Cai Zhifang as the Chief Executive Officer of NBTC Limited (hereinafter referred to as “NBTC”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of The9, to lead the development of blockchain and cryptocurrency business in NBTC. Mr. Cai has been on board.

Mr. Cai is an early pioneer in the blockchain industry. In 2013, Mr. Cai co-founded YiBit Digital Technology Company Limited, one of the earliest integrated platforms in blockchain industry in China. In 2015, Mr. Cai served as the general manager of WeiTui Technology Limited Company, which self-operated Bitcoin mining by the purchase of AvalonMiners from Canaan. The peak hash rate managed by Mr. Cai at that time accounted for nearly 4% of the global hash rate of Bitcoin. Afterwards Mr. Cai established a strategic partnership with Canaan, responsible for assisting its customers in establishing, operating and maintaining AvalonMiners. At that time Mr. Cai managed and operated more than 300,000 AvalonMiners, with an accumulative hash rate exceeding 5,000 PH/S, accounted for nearly 5% of the global hash rate of Bitcoin at that time.

After joining the NBTC team, Mr. Cai will be responsible for leading the expansion of NBTC blockchain and cryptocurrency business, making full use of his industry experience and resources to formulate and execute NBTC’s business strategy, and to implement the cooperation between NBTC and worldwide cryptocurrency ecosystem partners with the goal to accelerate the establishment of The9’s global leadership in the cryptocurrency industry.

In January this year, The9 announced the establishment of the wholly-owned subsidiary NBTC to engage in blockchain and cryptocurrency related businesses. Immediately within two months, Bitcoin and Filecoin mining machines had been acquired as the first step to build The9’s cryptocurrencies mining business.

About The9 Limited

The9 Limited (The9) is an Internet company based in China listed on Nasdaq in 2004. The9 aims to become a diversified high-tech Internet company.

Online Blockchain plc: Umbria DeFi Platform Announces First Airdrop of its UMBR Token 5130

Decentralised Finance (DeFi) protocol Umbria is airdropping 100,000 of its governance utility tokens to its users. Umbria, an opensource project on a mission to demystify and simplify DeFi and get people earning income on their crypto, will be rewarding eligible crypto enthusiasts with its tokens. Holders of UMBR tokens – available on Uniswap – or UMBR-ETH Liquidity Pool tokens (tokens issued for adding liquidity to the UMBR-ETH pool on decentralized cryptocurrency exchange Uniswap) on March 1st, 2021 will be able to participate in the airdrop. They will need to have a Metamask wallet.

UMBR and UMBR-ETH LP holders (minimum 100 UMBR or 2 UMBR-ETH LP) simply have to visit airdrop.umbria.network and press the “Claim Airdrop” button to get their share of the airdrop. The tokens will then be distributed directly into their Metamask wallets on April 2nd, 2021. The airdrop will be on chain facilitated by Ethereum Smart Contracts.

Users of the Umbria platform will soon be able to swap tokens and earn interest on their cryptocurrency positions on the Umbria website with other facilities coming online which will utilise the Umbria protocol and its utility token. UMBR tokens will give holders the ability to shape the future of the Umbria ecosystem itself.

“The Umbria project is a collective effort, which is already gaining good traction and seeing a lot of interest,” said Oscar Chambers, Co-Lead Developer at Umbria. “This first airdrop is a great way to reward existing participants and encourage more early adoption of Umbria, which will hopefully be a steppingstone to unlocking the mass adoption of DeFi.”

Margex Launches Globally and Announces $1,000,000 Bonus Giveaway Campaign Making Cryptocurrency Derivatives Trading More Accessible 6431

Margex announces its global launch. Along with the launch, every new client will be able to try Margex for free, with an included $100 bonus to settle trading commissions and funding fees on the platform. During the promotional campaign, Margex plans to distribute up to $1,000,000 in bonuses for a total of 10,000 users.

  • 100X scalable leverage for all of its trading pairs such as BTC, ETH, XRP, EOS, LTC, and YFI;
  • Combined liquidity of multiple liquidity aggregators, allowing for the best possible entry and exit prices;
  • AI-based Price Manipulation Protection systems, monitoring for irregularities across all trading pairs and mitigating the risk of accidental liquidations and short-squeezes;
  • Bank-grade security;
  • Scale-on-demand infrastructure, capable of handling up to 100,000 transactions per second;
  • High-Class User Interface.

Margex’s goal is to provide traders with a world-class user experience, a fair, secure, and easy-to-use trading platform with the highest class of financial technologies in the world. The platform has received a lot of positive feedback from various trading communities for the deep liquidity achieved through the combination of multiple liquidity providers, extremely fast order execution speeds, and an MP-Shield system that uses artificial intelligence to automatically detect irregularities in the trade feed submitted by liquidity pools, eliminating the risk of accidental liquidations.