Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Millennials as the Key Driver of the Global Startup Wave

After the great fall, there would be a wave of rebuilding. The same thing goes to the entrepreneurial spirit after The Great Recession. During The Great Recession, the U.S. economy has eliminated more than 8 million jobs which is the steepest decline since the end of World War II.  It has caused many businesses to close for good or file for bankruptcy, on the other hand, the emerging number of unemployment triggered a significant increase in entrepreneurship.

The high amount of global unemployment leads more youth to believe that a possible solution to their careers is a startup business. A group of people who are born between the 1980s to the 1990s, which usually labeled as Generation Y or millennials, is suggested as the most entrepreneurial generation compared to the rest. The rough background has made the millennials’ mindset more aware of the global economic risks, therefore, the crisis shock to the workforce fueled a surge in entrepreneurship. As an example, back in 1995 the majority of tech startups are exclusively originated in the startup ecosystems like Silicon Valley and Boston, however, today tech startup ecosystems are emerging all over the world. According to a survey, one in five of the millennials wishes to quit their day job and starts running their own business.

Until today, the millennials are still witnessing the massive impact of The Great Recession such as years of slow economic growth, companies are extra selectively hiring new employees, massive termination of employment, technology replaces several types of employees, and unpaid internships are taking over part of the job market which makes companies need less of any entry level positions. Employment among the millennials has had the hardest hit because of the economic fluctuation. Based on a survey, there had been an increase in the lack of interest of jobs their parents had. There is 32% of the current self-employed millennials who run a startup business with 9% of them failed to continue the startup in the U.S. In Canada, the number of millennial entrepreneurs is outgrowing a number of unsuccessful companies as the result of the global startup wave. 

The millennials’ startups have also a lot of things to offer and benefit developed nations. Along with the massive wave of entrepreneurial spirit, the governments around the world are begun to adjust themselves. The Chinese government is facilitating its people in public innovation encouragement by implementing preferential tax into the economy, which has cut US$46 billion in tax costs, as well as financial and investment policies. The Indian government has also allowed the new startups free from income tax, capital gains tax, and profit tax for the first three years to give them a real chance to grow a business. Both China and India are fully aware of the fact that they cannot employ all of the millennials on their countries due to the demographic factor, as a result, they are encouraging the millennials to seek interests in entrepreneurship.

To conclude, since millennials are dominating the early stage entrepreneurial activity, this might reveal the ambition of young people especially those who have accumulated some experience, networks, and other valuable resources in running a startup. On the other hand, low entrepreneurship rates among younger generation might be caused by high college attendance while the older generation is held back because of household savings, or limited income sources such as pensions. As the founder of Enterprise Nation said, the high participation of millennials in entrepreneurial activity shows that they are no longer relying their dream careers on finding the perfect job, instead they are taking it into their own hands and creating a business around a skill, a passion, or a hobby.


Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2015 Global Report
Rise of the Fearless Millennial Entrepreneurs
Report: U.S. Entrepreneurship Bounces Back From Recession; Youth Entrepreneurship Sizzles
Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking 2015
How the Great Recession Spurred Entrepreneurship
Generation Y am I here? Half of 25-34-year-olds dream of leaving their day job

More young entrepreneurs launch start-ups in wake of recession

Monday, 22 February 2016

Capitalism FTW: It's Just a Matter of Time until Robots Take Over Our Jobs

As human beings, we always strive for improvement in every life aspect. That is why our prehistoric ancestors created their own stone tools, bow and arrows, and other survival tools. The evolution continued until the existence of modern Homo sapiens, which is the modern human nowadays. Modern humans discovered more complex inventions such as wheels, medicines, propellers; basically our surroundings are the latest development of the earlier technologies. Humans are constantly improving new technologies in order to assist our daily activities, to innovate breakthrough technologies; we will not stop inventing because it is our instinct to make daily things done faster and be easier to do; it is our survival mechanism.

However, this whole modernization thing is known to make conflict amongst us. The Industrial Revolution in 18th to 19th centuries was a both historical and controversial transition from labour production methods to powered, special-purpose machinery in many industries such as textile, agriculture, transportations, and many more. Although the Industrial Revolution brought an increased volume and variety of manufactured goods and an improved standard of living for the middle and upper social classes, it was controversial since it gave an adverse social impact which is the reduction of living standards of the poor and working classes because they have been replaced by machines. Matter fact, many workers’ living standards strongly declined under early capitalism.

Until today, it is highly possible for a machine to take over our job. As Rhett Allain said in his article in Wired website: “Robot will probably be cheaper and better than many college graduates.” Referring to the future-based science fiction movies and series, of course we have seen how robots integrated with human daily life. We watched how robots can be police, nurse, doctor, virtual personal assistant, and many more. Apparently slowly but sure the technologies in those movies and series already came true. We shouldn't be too surprised since we already familiar with the technology such as smartphone. Smartphone is just like a personal assistant for its owner; it can operate the tasks we command by using our voice, for example, to dial a contact from the phonebook. Another example is McDonalds’s store in Phoenix, Arizona who employed robots in the middle of 2015 to run its daily operations and entire workforce after it had an earnings decline for the first time in nine years along with workers minimum wage demand of US$15/hr. The robots which named as McRobots (of course, what else would you call it?) are reported to have speed 50 times faster than the average human employee with no chance of error and if it goes well, McDonalds will continue to employ McRobots by opening 25,000 robot-run restaurants by 2016 spreading in the US. 

Besides operating simple tasks, software can also perform complex tasks too, depend on the software engineer. Robots nowadays can be taught to read, draw, calculate taxes and payments, create music, conduct a surgery, driving a car, even there is such thing as journalistic algorithms where it can produce articles about certain topics such as sports, weather, even poetry! It is highly possible for companies to create software in automating research or writing by summarizing lengthy texts, rewriting press releases, or sorting through unstructured documents for insights. Last year, the AP announced that it invested in a content generation tool called Wordsmith so it can generate stories on corporate quarterly earnings reports, created by a company called Automated Insights. Other news organizations such as Fortune, Big Ten Network, and Los Angeles Times are also invested in similar custom software to auto-generate a story from a company called Narrative Science. Matter fact, according to Jayson DeMers on his article in Forbes website: "There is a huge chance that you’ve already read at least one article that was written by a machine." Oscar Schwartz, a writer and a poet, through his lecture at TEDx he examined on how artificial intelligence algorithm can make a poet in any language. Apparently, computers can be taught on how to write just like a human being.

TRIVIA QUESTION #1: Can you guess which poem is human-made and which one is written by a computer?

TRIVIA QUESTION #2: Can you guess which poem is human-made and which one is written by a computer?

Just like the Industrial Revolution, the shift to automation will not happen in a short period. However, since computers can be taught both of low skilled jobs and high skilled jobs all we have to do is to embrace it because it surely will happen with or without our agreement because in the end, economics will always win. Unfortunately, due to high demands of profit maximization many human jobs would likely ended up being replaced. Many companies would prefer robots because they will never ask for salary raise, days off, and lunch break meanwhile they are able to do things faster with no such thing as human error. If one day the world will be filled with highly functioned robots we surely need to find a way on how to be more humane therefore our existence can be more valuable. 

Anyway, have you guessed the trivia questions yet?  
Question 1: The first poem is written by a computer, the second one is written by a famous poet, Franco Jara 
Question 2: The first poem is written by a famous poet, William Blake, the second one is written by a computer 
Computers can be programmed on how to write poems just like humans--complicated and such. There are also poets who write poems just like "computers" which is seemed to be simpler. Thus, there is no distinctive writing style between humans and computers. Did you guess it correctly? For more info about poetry algorithm you can click the video link above.

In the Future, Robots Will Write News That’s All About You
New McDonald’s In Phoenix Run Entirely By Robots
McDonald’s To Open 25,000 Robot-Run Restaurants By 2016
The Top 7 Content Marketing Trends That Will Dominate 2016 
Can a Computer Write Poetry? | Oscar Schwartz | TEDxYouth@Sydney

Saturday, 6 February 2016

A Classic Tale of Money and Power in a Modern World: The Extreme Wealth Gap Occurs when 1% Billionaires Rule the World as Global Wealth Holders in 2015

This is a common concept in society: working hard is the solution to fighting poverty. Even ignorant judgment would point people who lived under the poverty line as lazy people. I bet low-paid labours in developing countries wouldn’t agree on that statement. They are working hard but barely can afford to meet the basic needs of themselves and their families. Go ask garment labours in Myanmar or Bangladesh: after their long hours working in the factory, could they afford housing, food, and medicines? Unfortunately, along with their exhausting hard working they are still trapped in poverty. Even in the European Union, there are 9% workers at the risk of poverty.

The global financial inequality crisis is getting worse than ever. Supported by data from Credit Suisse’s Global Wealth Databook 2015 report, Oxfam revealed that 1% population in the world is wealthier than the rest of the population. Published on January 2016, Oxfam elaborated the economic gap through its policy paper entitled ‘An Economy for the 1%: How privilege and power in the economy drive extreme inequality and how this can be stopped’. In short: there are 62 individuals as global wealth holders in the world who had the same amount of wealth as 3.6 billion people in 2015. As stated before, the financial inequality is worsened since there are individuals as 388 global wealth holders back in 2010. In five years, the wealth of the richest 62 people has risen by 45%, on the contrary, the wealth of the rest of the population fell over 38%. The average annual income of the poorest 10% in the world has risen by less than US$3 annually in almost 25 years, which basically their daily income has risen by less than a single cent annually.

The wealth gap wasn’t just widening by merely the escalating wealth amount of the global wealth holders, the birth of new millionaires became one of the reasons. For instance, between 2014 and 2015 there were 900 new millionaires in the US only. By 2018 it is projected there will be more than 18 million millionaires worldwide with about US$76 trillion personal financial possessions. The expanding amount of the wealth of middle class also took its role in growing inequality which spread in all regions and almost all countries. Even though global wealth is still concentrated in Europe and the US, however, the growth of wealth in emerging markets has been highly impressive. For instance, China holds almost 10% of the global wealth and its middle class is the world’s largest. Chinese millionaires are also being expected to reach 2.3 million by 2020. The other reason behind wealth inequality is the increasing return to capital versus labour; mostly, the share of national income going to workers has been falling. Workers are capturing very less amount of the gains from economic growth while the owners of capital have seen their capital consistently grow faster than the growing economic rate through their interest payments, dividends, or retained profits). Tax avoidance by the owners of capital made it even worse; it can be categorized as a crime since those unpaid taxed tightened the government budgets, therefore, ended up in decreasing vital public services. Inequality is multiplied by the power of companies to use monopoly and intellectual property to skew the market in their favour, for example, pharmaceutical companies. Therefore, the rest competitors and public forced to accept their high prices.

Even though many criticized the statistics such as the Institute of Economic Affairs’ director general and the Adam Smith Institute’s head of research who claimed the data is misleading, however, the most important thing is how we—as the rest of the populations—defend our rights. The exact amount of data is not the case; it is how fair we distribute wealth. How far we concerned about world poverty. The wealthy and powerful have used economic systems and structures merely to their benefit and to the exclusion of others. In order to increase their profits, they actively seek to reduce their tax burden by the use of complex accounting mechanisms and international loopholes. The existence of tax havens made it even worse; it helps the rich individuals to stay rich and prevent the redistribution that would reduce financial inequality. The IMF found that countries with higher income inequality tend to have larger gaps between women and men in terms of health, education, labour market participation, and representation in institutions like parliaments. The increasing financial inequality also puts the social structure on risk and makes the current economic recovery slower.

Oxfam recommends us several points due to minimizing the global inequality crisis:
  • While multinational corporations are gaining record profits worldwide and executive rewards are skyrocketing, there are too many underpaid workers. It would be nice for corporations to make commitments such as increasing minimum wages towards living wages, transparency on pay ratios, and protection of worker’s rights to unionize and strike.
  • The abolishing of economic inequality and gender discrimination.
  • Make sure the policy-making processes become less prone to capture by vested interests and be more people-centered. Basically, governments should be able to distinct between big business and governance, separate business from campaign financing, add transparency within governance for public information, and many more.
  • Especially when it comes to big pharmaceutical companies, there should be a new regulation to avoid monopoly on the making and pricing of medicines, therefore, people can access decent and affordable medicines.
  • It is ironic when most of the wealth is concentrated in few extremely rich individuals while the tax burden is falling on the rest of the people? Governments should get rid the tax burden away from labour, add transparency on tax incentives, and many more.
  • Prioritize policies, practice, and spending that increase financing for free public health and education to fight poverty and inequality at the national level.

The world needs a strategy to rebalance economic power both globally and nationally, empower people who are currently excluded, and keeping the influence of the global wealth holders in check. Governments have a vital role in order to keep the global economic stability; ideally, they have to represent the will of the people instead of the interests of big business. In a perfect world, the public interest should be the guiding principle of all global agreements and national policies and strategies. As we know it very well that life is unfair indeed, perhaps we can reduce the wealth gap one step at a time.


An Economy For the 1%: How privilege and power in the economy drive extreme inequality and how this can be stopped Wealth in 2015: Underlying Trends Remain Positive
Oxfam says wealth of richest 1% equal to other 99%

How 62 People Are Wealthier Than 3.6 Billion People

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Masih Layakkah Go-Jek Menggadang-gadang Ekonomi Kerakyatan ketika Investasi Asing ada dibalik Startup Mereka?

First of all, I want to stress to the fact that this isn't a hate speech at all. Saya merupakan salah satu pengguna jasa Go-Jek walaupun termasuk konsumen baru; hanya untuk 1-2 bulan terakhir ini. Menurut saya kemunculan Go-Jek amatlah membantu baik itu dari kacamata customers maupun drivers nya, terlepas dari kontroversi antara Go-Jek dan ojek konvensional, berbagai keluhan aplikasi Go-Jek terutama di awal-awal peluncuran aplikasi Go-Jek, dan masih banyak kasus lagi. Jadi, dari segi pemanfaatan jasa, saya sepenuhnya mendukung ojek dan moda sarana transportasi berbasis online.

Pada tanggal 18 Desember 2015 Kemenhub melarang Go-Jek dan startup ojek online lainnya untuk beroperasi karena alasan keselamatan penumpang, namun tak lama kemudian Presiden Jokowi sendiri lah yang turun tangan meminta Kemenhub mencabut larangan dikarenakan moda transportasi ojek telah diterima dan telah menjadi bagian dari opsi transportasi yang dibutuhkan oleh rakyat Indonesia. Permintaan Presiden Jokowi tentunya disertai dengan berbagai ketentuan yaitu poin-poin tertentu untuk meregulasi operasi ojek online supaya teratur. 

Yang membuat saya "gatal" ingin membuat postingan ini hanya karena statement dari CEO dan Co-Founder Go-Jek, Nadiem Makarim via jejaring sosial facebook tak lama setelah pencabutan larangan operasi Go-Jek dan ojek online lainnya, dimana ia berterima kasih atas kebijakan Presiden Jokowi sembari menyatakan bahwasanya startup Go-Jek merupakan startup berbasis ekonomi kerakyatan yang patut dibela. Hal itu terdengar janggal bagi segelintir orang yang mengetahui fakta dimana Go-Jek menerima dana investasi asing (bukan berarti menerima modal asing itu hal yang buruk, lho). Go-Jek memang dinilai kurang transparan mengenai siapa saja investornya entah apa itu motifnya. FYI, di dalam bisnis startup merupakan hal yang amat sangat lazim untuk menerima dan/atau mengirim proposal kepada perusahaan investor karena bagaimanapun bagi startup company proses R&D, marketing, dan lain sebagainya pastilah membutuhkan dana yang tidak sedikit. Jika ingin berbaik sangka, mungkin yang dimaksud Go-Jek berbasis ekonomi kerakyatan oleh Nadiem adalah Go-Jek sebagai startup hasil karya anak bangsa Indonesia, yang mengkaryakan sumber daya manusia Indonesia, yang digunakan dan dimanfaatkan oleh konsumen yakni rakyat Indonesia itu sendiri. 

CMIIW--tak perlu bertameng pada label atau atribut yang berbau kerakyatan hanya untuk meraup dukungan mayoritas. Selama karya anak bangsa Indonesia bermanfaat dan tidak merugikan pihak manapun termasuk Indonesia, tidak ada salahnya untuk didukung. 

P.S. sorry for the indecent picture design, I have to make it on my phone since I dont have photo editor software

Friday, 24 July 2015

Will Sharing Economy Ended Up Like Another Capitalism?

These days, the sharing economy phenomenon is escalating across the globe. Feel unfamiliar with the term? What about Uber, Airbnb, Etsy, or perhaps the infamous Indonesia based startup GO-JEK? Those are the well-known examples of sharing economy practice. This article will not be able to accommodate a comprehensive explanation about sharing economy; however, I hope readers will be able to conclude the essential points from my page. Benita Matofska, a worldwide expert on the sharing economy, defined the sharing economy as a socio-economic ecosystem built around the sharing of human and physical resources which includes the shared creation, production, distribution, trade and consumption of goods and services by different people and organizations. Sharing economy is also known as collaborative consumption which can be categorized into three types of systems as stated by Rachel Bostman, a collaborative economy expert. First, Product Service Systems. Share or rent goods which are privately owned via peer-to-peer marketplaces. Consumers are paying for the benefit, instead of the product. For example: Zipcar, a car sharing service. Second, Redistribution Markets. A collaborative consumption system which is based on the recycle method. The used goods are being passed on to the new owner, in the same time; redistribution markets help the environment to reduce waste goods and also stretch the product life cycles. For example:, an online consignment service. Third, Collaborative Lifestyles. People who share similar needs or interests band together to share and exchange less-tangible assets such as time, space, skills, and money. For example: Airbnb, provider of unique accommodations around the world.

The concept of sharing (barter) itself had existed perhaps since our ancestors started to live in a community. Human exchanged goods and services long before we acknowledge the concept of money. However, the sharing economy has grown from a community practice into a profitable business model in these past years. Social technologies and people needs are triggering startups which enable the peer-to-peer exchanges through technology. eBay was the one who initiated online peer-to-peer model back in 1995, it has influenced many other peer-to-peer models that existed until now. Following eBay’s pathway, there are Craiglist in the late 1990s, Zipcar in 2000, Airbnb in 2007, and many more.

There are three main forces behind the rise of sharing economy businesses. First, Information Technology and social media; people and organizations are able to conduct a direct transaction without the friction of share based business and organizational models via smart phones, social media, and open data. Second, market instability; there are pressure for traditional manufacturers to operate without harming their production costs and projected expenditures. Sharing economy helps them to spread the best practices and increase beneficial collaborations. Third, sharing economy is highly profitable; the revenue flowing through the sharing economy is significantly growing. In 2013, the revenue growth exceeded 25%.

Another encouraging factor behind the sharing economy is because of economic dissatisfaction among the society. According to the American Psychological Association, in 2013, 73% of Americans claimed that they are financially insecure; 85% are concerning about their bills; and 25% claimed that they didn’t trust the companies they work for. The rise of peer-to-peer economy is useful for the part-time workers, the unemployed, stay-at-home parents, people within the job transitions, and other people who are not being able to take a full time job anymore.

Sharing economy allows people to take idle capital and turn them into revenue sources, as stated by Christopher Koopman, economist from George Mason University. Since people who owned excess goods can instantly become entrepreneurs, therefore, the increase of productivity, individual innovation, and entrepreneurship will stimulate the economic growth.  However, behind these positive impacts, there are some protests toward the peer-to-peer startups in several countries. These hype businesses have been debated whether it will destabilize the conventional jobs.

In the US, the Uber app has proven to provide the customers many advantages and lower prices compared with the conventional taxi cab dispatch system, resulting in high demand for ride services and drivers with certain skill set. However, there is an assumption that the jobs that offered flexibility to the independent workers provide no benefits and might lead to the exploitation of workers linked to the “zero hour contracts”. Make sense, since Uber, Lyft, and other ride sharing services startups didn’t have the same taxes and employee protection laws as the conventional taxi companies. In 2014, the New York State Attorney General stated that 72% of the Airbnb rentals are violating state zoning regulations or other laws. Even Berlin has banned regular short term rentals who didn’t own prior permission from the authorities. Paris has also passed a law for city inspectors to check rental homes who renting their houses illegally. Uber and Airbnb cases are just a glimpse of examples of the tension between the rising economy, the government, and the conventional businesses.

Since the friction is inevitable and it affects the economic activities in several countries, there should be a legally binding law that able to regulate these escalating businesses to minimize the friction all around the globe. Especially for the reason that some of the collaborative economy companies are reluctant to be regulated like other conventional corporations which caused the confusion in terms of types of taxes and other legal regulations they need to obey. There is also another concern about these sharing economy businesses which are suspected to drift away from its initial mission of this movement into the monopoly practice in a sharing economy industry, indicated with a billion US dollar Silicon Valley investments that boosted companies to scale at highly fast rates. The sharing economy industry is somehow potentially able to be the next traditional capitalism.

But what makes collaborative economy is so special for their customers? People, especially millennial are so into these whole collaborative economy things. It is because of the sense of belonging; they like being connected with another people who share similar interests. It is more than just sharing goods or services, they shared moments. Customers are also sensing a strong aspect of trust; without hesitation they are willing to share their rides, goods, rooms, and other services with total strangers. Some customers are even expecting to build a new connection with their new acquaintances. Collaborative economy is fast, easy, even cheaper, and anyone can participate in offering services or goods. Everything you need, you can reach them all via your smart phone and other social technologies. Thus, sharing economy is all good as long as the companies are running the sharing economy fairly, in line with prior policies, treating their employees and customers right, and helping the economic growth. 

Uber, Airbnb and consequences of the sharing economy: Research roundup
What is the Sharing Economy?
What Collaborative Consumption Means for Marketers
We-Commerce: The sharing economy's uncertain path to changing the world

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Detox Programs: Get Rid of Your Toxins or Your Money?

You know that feeling when you found out an eye opening fact about commonly accepted thing for a very long time such as ‘right-brained and left-brained individual is just a myth’? Crazy, huh? I used to struggle over the fact that I cannot categorize myself as a right or left brained individual. Part of me wants to be an artsy musical person meanwhile I also fancy languages but I hate math etc etc.  For those people who in disbelief about that brain myth perhaps I will catch up writing a post about that. However, this current post will elaborate about detox life. Yes, it’s a myth, too.

To avoid any vague argument I will stressed to the point that by detox, what I mean is the cleansing juice diet program that only limiting food consumption only into raw fruits and veggies, or fancy supplements, or certain treatments, and so on. You know, the diet that has been promoted by many celebrities, lifestyle advertising, commercial diet products and programs, and so on.

To make it clear, detoxification on medical term means the process to eliminate the accumulation of toxic substances inside the human body. The objective is to help fastening the recovery process of certain illnesses. According to Edzard Ernst, the emeritus professor of complementary medicine at Exeter University, there are two kinds of detox: the respectable detox for medical purpose and the one that has been used for marketing purpose. The real detoxification has a purpose to treat people with serious drug addiction problem since their body need to be highly intervened from substances. The other type of detox apparently has been used by entrepreneurs to sell you things for the sake of being healthy. They put the idea that our body has been intoxicated by many kinds of toxins from pollutants around us, and the way to get rid of them is by purifying your system by treatments and products they offered.

Sorry to tell you the fact, but mostly they are just being exploitative over the detox term. The detox idea that they are selling is just a pseudo-medical concept that being used for their profit. Human body is great, amazing, already perfect; healthy human body has a perfect excretory system: the liver, kidneys, skin, large intestines, lungs, etc. Naturally we need no help to get rid toxins out of our systems.

However, healthy people can still help their systems and boost its performance to its finest by fasting in an intermittent period. By fasting, your organs will be more focus to their job since there is no interruption from the foods you digested. This might bores you to death, but the only correct way to achieve your detox lifestyle is merely by exercising, eating a balance diet, not smoking and drinking, oh you know well what’s the rest.

Please note that I am not saying that your cleanse program will not help you to lose weight; I am not saying that green juices is not healthy. What I am trying to highlight is the commercial diet programs, books and products; whatever to make you ridiculously want a super clean body system (which is impossible), whatever that makes you spend extra money for fancy supplements, whatever that makes you being fooled by the irresponsible industries.

You can’t detox your body. It’s a myth. So how do you get healthy?
Can A Diet Clean Out Toxins In The Body?

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

The New Era of Cryptocurrency

Needless to say, in this cyber-culture era there are massive wave of virtual transactions. Borders are slightly vague, but the foreign-exchange rate difference still can be a barrier, not forget to mention the financial crisis possibility that would affect the exchange rate. What if we have our own universal currency for solely digital transactions? No dollar, no euro, etc-- just one kind of virtual cash.

Digital currency is similar with conventional currency yet it is involving electronic or virtual money that endorsed by non-government central banks as alternative currency. The concept is simple, virtual economies supported by virtual money however the transactions are all real.

Cryptocurrency will be down as our main focus. Cryptocurrency is one of digital currency types that using cryptographic algorithms in order to avoid counterfeiting, to keep it as secure and reliable as possible. Cryptocurrency has the same function as fiat money; it can be used as a medium of exchange for goods and services.

So why cryptocurrency is so tempting? Initially because of its independence, any government cannot intervene or manipulate. Second, the direct party-to-party fund transfer without processing fees from banks or for-profit company payment systems such as PayPal and Visa makes it cheaper and simpler. Third, the peer-to-peer network ensures all of the users’ anonymity.

So how many exactly cryptocurrency types are? Until now, January 2014, there are 70 types on the cryptocurrency market capitalization. The “gold” in this market is Bitcoin, the first emerging virtual money that firstly came out in 2009 created by Satoshi Nakamoto. Wait, but why there are so many networks? So many “coins”? Personally I can ensure you that the current amount of the network types is temporary, it will keep on growing. The explanation of the numerous imitators is because Bitcoin is an open-source project, it can be easily modified by literally anyone, in short, Bitcoin is some kind of “template” for the other imitator currencies. All you have to do to make your own network like Bitcoin is just modify the software by take and recreate the source code, give your own network a new brand, and voila!

While the fiat money is issued by the government, Bitcoin comes from a process called mining. It is not involving real mining process of course, Bitcoin mining is again, can be done by anyone who purchases the mining contract but it is not easy, it is a super competitive business. The mining process is using particular mining software and even a Bitcoin mining hardware where you have to solve the Bitcoin algorithm in order to issue the Bitcoin by the miners. The miners who can solve the code are being given certain amount of Bitcoin as incentive; it also motivates other miners to solve the code. If you think that these whole mining processes can lead into Bitcoin inflation, the chance is low since the more miners creating the harder algorithm especially for individual miner. The trend is the miners join together and work as a team therefore they can solve the code. The miners also helped to approve all the transactions, so once again, the more miners involved, the safer it would be.

Another reason why there are a lot of different virtual currencies, because it is easier to start a new one instead of modifies Bitcoin’s imperfection. The other virtual currencies claimed to have an improved mining process compared to Bitcoin. Litecoin claimed that it has harder acceleration with dedicated hardware for its mining process so it makes Litecoin mining to be more democratic compared to Bitcoin.

In the Bitcoin principle when miners with more computing power can earn more Bitcoins is known as “proof of work”, other currencies such as Nextcoin and Peercoin are adapting “proof of stake” alternative principle which is where miners with the most virtual cash earn the most due to eliminate the excessive incentive leading to virtual inflation.

Despite of the large number of virtual currencies, they are all ranked by the amount of its circulation on the market. By January 8th 2014, Bitcoin took the first place by its circulation that worth around for almost $10.5 billion with $ 848 per coin, on second place there is Ripples with $ 2.4 billion with $0.024 per coin, third place is Litecoin with $ 613 million with $ 24.87 per coin, and the rest of the list can be seen in here.

This cryptocurrency thing is so hype but what the governments think? Did they love it or hate it?  Apparently the answers are various. Singapore has decided not to intervene Bitcoin and other virtual currencies, their circulations are allowed, the same as Germany. You can also buy sandwiches using Bitcoin in Netherlands. The United Kingdom has decided not to regulate virtual money yet the tax rules are applied, and so did Japan and Norway. The United States has issued exchange and tax guidance while Canada has maintained a low regulatory environment and open posture, and apparently the first Bitcoin ATM is located in Canada. China, India, and Indonesia did not inhibit their people to participate at their own risks however virtual currencies are not considered as a legitimate currency. Even though the amount of Bitcoin investments and transactions are so high in Beijing, China’s government constantly warn and try to ban the virtual currencies. China’s ban in December 2013 has led Bitcoin exchange rate to a fall for more than 60% even though the rate is able to rise again now.

Surely there are some weaknesses from virtual currencies. The governments don’t recommend its using because there is no specific law to protect all of the participants just in case their virtual wallets are being hacked. The exchange rate of virtual currencies is extremely fluctuant. The government also concerning about virtual money misuse for money laundering and illegal transactions such as pornography, prostitution, fire arms, drugs, body parts, and so on since virtual money using is untraceable and anonymous.

What we can conclude is from now on, we have to be proactive in order to adapt to this cryptocurrency trend. Nowadays, if you make transactions on the internet, don’t be surprised if your payment method will be offered in two ways, by Bitcoin and (or) other coin or by the conventional method via PayPal or Visa. Bitcoin, Dodgecoin, and other coins may be come and go, but the cryptocurrency breakthrough will be standing still whether you like it or not.