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Crypto can’t break trust barrier

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A new Kaspersky survey has discovered that a lack of understanding and trust is holding consumers back from using cryptocurrencies. Kaspersky’s report, ‘Uncharted territory: why consumers are still wary about adopting cryptocurrency’, reveals that whilst 34% of South Africans have some knowledge of cryptocurrencies and there is a demand among many to use the technology, just 19% fully comprehend how they work.

The rate in which cryptocurrencies are being adopted by global consumers is slowing down, despite celebrities like Johnny Depp and YouTube influencers such PewDiePie embracing the technology. Many consumers still lack a proper understanding of how cryptocurrencies work and this is continuing to halt mainstream adoption. To date, 70% of South Africans have never purchased cryptocurrency, highlighting just how far away we are from it being accepted as a common form of payment or investment.

Kaspersky’s survey found that there is a desire amongst many consumers to use cryptocurrency, but a knowledge gap is getting in the way of taking the plunge. In addition, many people who thought they knew what they are dealing with, later decided against using cryptocurrency. Nearly a fifth (14%) stopped because it became too technically complicated.

This lack of understanding could be leading to mistrust in cryptocurrencies’ ability to keep consumers’ money safe. For instance, 35% of South African respondents stated that they believe cryptocurrencies are quite volatile and they need to be stabile before they are prepared to use them. There is also a common perception amongst consumers thatcryptocurrency will not be around forever. 17% locally believe cryptocurrencies are a fad that is not worth bothering about.

While widespread interest in cryptocurrencies may have already peaked, there is still a demand to use the technology. 22% of those surveyed in South Africa said that while they are not using cryptocurrency at the moment, they would like to in the future. Yet there is still doubt amongst consumers – often led by a fear that there is a real risk to their finances. Fraudsters can use cryptocurrencies to their advantage, with around 5% of those surveyed locally saying they have experienced hacking attacks on exchanges. Criminals also create fake e-wallets to attract people to unwisely invest their money, and 16% of local consumers have been victims of cryptocurrency fraud.

Following several years of cybersecurity research into crypto start-ups, Kaspersky recommends crypto businesses adopt best security practices for smart contract developers, use proven frameworks for smart contracts (such as https://openzeppelin.org/) and conduct a third-party assessment of the smart contract to ensure any potential vulnerabilities are not missed.

It is clear that mainstream adoption and growth of cryptocurrency is being held back due to the vulnerable nature of the technology. While there is a high appetite to use it, giving your hard-earned cash to something you don’t fully understand, or trust, is a hurdle. With the safety of investments being of paramount importance to consumers, it is vital that they take their own steps to safeguard it. Like with any cyberthreat, there is no substitute for vigilance – if something looks too good to be true, then it probably is. If you want to tradecrypto-assets on any exchange, pay attention to the safety of your account’s credentials. If your goal is long-term investment or use cryptocurrencies for payments, then store it in safe environments and use multiple wallets or distribute between both software and hardware. We also encourage crypto businesses to organise themselves effectively to show they are able to protect their customers’ investments,”Vitaly Mzokov, Head of Commercialisation at Kaspersky comments.

To help improve stability and foster trust in cryptocurrencies, Kaspersky partners such as Merkeleon have developed legitimate marketplace platforms, online auction platforms,cryptocurrency exchanges and crypto payment systems.

“Cryptocurrency certainly has its benefits but, as we can see, many consumers are still unaware of what they are due to concerns over security and how the technology works. It is an exciting industry to be involved in, but it is one that is built upon trust. It is, therefore, imperative that cryptocurrency businesses do all they can to protect their networks and ensure their customers’ finances are safe and secure,” explains Alexey Sidorowich, Head of Sales and Business Development at Merkeleon.

For further information on how we provide transparent and powerful protection for crypto-trading platforms and token offering projects, please click here. To learn more about protection for consumers, please visit our website.

To find out more about how consumers feel towards cryptocurrencies, visit https://www.kaspersky.com/blog/cryptocurrency-report-2019/

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Millennials turning 40: NOW will you stop targeting them?

It’s one of the most overused terms in youth marketing, and probably the most inaccurate, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

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One of the most irritating buzzwords embraced by marketers in recent years is the term “millennial”. Most are clueless about its true meaning, and use it as a supposedly cool synonym for “young adults”. The flaw in this targeting – and the word “flaw” here is like calling the Grand Canyon a trench – is that it utterly ignores the meaning of the term. “Millennials” are formally defined as anyone born from 1980 to 2000, meaning they have typically come of age after the dawn of the millennium, or during the 21st century.

Think about that for a moment. Next year, the millennial will be formally defined as anyone aged from 20 to 40. So here you have an entire advertising, marketing and public relations industry hanging onto a cool definition, while in effect arguing that 40-year-olds are youths who want the same thing as newly-minted university graduates or job entrants.

When the communications industry discovers just how embarrassing its glib use of the term really is, it will no doubt pivot – millennial-speak for “changing your business model when it proves to be a disaster, but you still appear to be cool” – to the next big thing in generational theory.

That next big thing is currently Generation Z, or people born after the turn of the century. It’s very convenient to lump them all together and claim they have a different set of values and expectations to those who went before. Allegedly, they are engaged in a quest for experience, compared to millennials – the 19-year-olds and 39-olds alike – supposedly all on a quest for relevance.

In reality, all are part of Generation #, latching onto the latest hashtag trend that sweeps social media, desperate to go viral if they are producers of social content, desperate to have caught onto the trend before their peers.

The irony is that marketers’ quest for cutting edge target markets is, in reality, a hangover from the days when there was no such thing as generational theory, and marketing was all about clearly defined target markets. In the era of big data and mass personalization, that idea seems rather quaint.

Indeed, according to Grant Lapping, managing director of DataCore Media, it no longer matters who brands think their target market is.

“The reason for this is simple: with the technology and data digital marketers have access to today, we no longer need to limit our potential target audience to a set of personas or segments derived through customer research. While this type of customer segmentation was – and remains – important for engagements across traditional above-the-line engagements in mass media, digital marketing gives us the tools we need to target customers on a far more granular and personalised level.

“Where customer research gives us an indication of who the audience is, data can tell us exactly what they want and how they may behave.”

Netflix, he points out, is an example of a company that is changing its industry by avoiding audience segmentation, once the holy grail of entertainment.

In other words, it understands that 20-year-olds and 40-year-olds are very different – but so is everyone in between.

* Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram on @art2gee

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Robots coming to IFA

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Robotics is no longer about mechanical humanoids, but rather becoming an interface between man and machine. That is a key message being delivered at next month’s IFA consumer electronics expo in Berlin. An entire hall will be devoted to IFA Next, which will not only offer a look into the future, but also show what form it will take.

The concepts are as varied as the exhibitors themselves. However, there are similarities in the various products, some more human than others, in the fascinating ways in which they establish a link between fun, learning and programming. In many cases, they are aimed at children and young people.

The following will be among the exhibitors making Hall 26 a must-visit:

Leju Robotics (Stand 115) from China is featuring what we all imagine a robot to be. The bipedal Aelos 1s can walk, dance and play football. And in carrying out all these actions it responds to spoken commands. But it also challenges young researchers to apply their creativity in programming it and teaching it new actions. And conversely, it also imparts scholastic knowledge.

Cubroid (Stand 231, KIRIA) from Korea starts off by promoting an independent approach to the way it deals with tasks. Multi-functional cubes, glowing as they play music, or equipped with a tiny rotating motor, join together like Lego pieces. Configuration and programming are thus combined, providing a basic idea of what constitutes artificial intelligence.

Spain is represented by Ebotics (Stand 218). This company is presenting an entire portfolio of building components, including the “Mint” educational program. The modular system explains about modern construction, programming and the entire field of robotics.

Elematec Corporation (Stand 208) from Japan is presenting the two-armed SCARA, which is not intended to deal with any tasks, but in particular to assist people with their work.

Everybot (Stand 231, KIRIA) from Japan approaches the concept of robotics by introducing an autonomous floor-cleaning machine, similar to a robot vacuum cleaner.

And Segway (Stand 222) is using a number of products to explain the modern approach to battery-powered locomotion.

IFA will take place at the Berlin Exhibition Grounds (ExpoCenter City) from 6 to 11 September 2019. For more information, visit www.ifa-berlin.com

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