Working the Gig Economy: Part 3 – The Best Freelancing Jobs Online

The way that people work is changing.

Exclusive relationships between employee and employer are a thing of the past – it has become the norm for workers to take on side jobs, supplement their income and explore new professional interests. Even working full-time jobs is becoming less common, as those who take on side gigs may find these more fulfilling (and even more profitable) than their salaried positions. Therefore, they may eventually leave their primary employment in favor of taking on more gigs.

This phenomenon has had such an impact on the modern labor landscape, for both workers and employers, that a new term has been coined to describe it: The Gig Economy. Defined by TechTarget as “An environment in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements”, the gig economy signifies that the modern workforce is increasingly made up of self-employed freelancers and that businesses are changing their relationship with human resources to reflect that fact.

So what are you waiting for? If you’re one of the few that hasn’t yet engaged with the gig economy to increase your income, improve your job satisfaction, and raise your quality of life, there is no better time than now.

This is the third and final article of our Gig Economy series, and it gives an overview of the best types of freelancing jobs available. Be sure to check out our other articles in this series as well:

Customer Service

The days of the call centre are coming to an end. In the age of the digital economy, the customer service field has become decentralized. Businesses are saving money on the costs of maintaining a call centre facility and customers are getting better service as round-the-clock live chat and email support becomes the norm. If you enjoy helping others solve their problems, CS may be the route for you.

Find current Customer Service openings at Upwork here: Customer Service Jobs.

Data Entry

There is never any shortage of data entry work – quite the opposite (they don’t call this the age of “Big Data” for nothing). For detail-oriented individuals who are comfortable listening to music or a podcast while performing a repetitive task, data entry is a reliable source of work that can be very profitable for those who work quickly. Also, as an entry level position in the tech industry, there can be real room for growth.

For a primer on Data Entry jobs available to you, click here: Online Data Entry Jobs from Home without Investment.

Language Services and Translation

Another recession-proof avenue open to freelancers is language services. In an English-dominated business world where most people are unilingual, anybody who is bilingual is an extremely valuable investment. This can help you stand out in the customer service world, but also allows you to specialize in the profitable and growing fields of Language Services and Translation.

Check out these links for jobs within the language industry: Indeed for Interpreter jobs and Upwork for Translator jobs.

Copywriting and Transcription

You don’t need to be a professional to get a writing job online. There are plenty of entry-level copywriting and transcription jobs online – they may not pay very well at first but they allow you to develop your writing and marketing skills and build a content portfolio.

Sign up here to start honing your skills: FreelanceWritingGigs.com.

The Sharing Economy

App-based technologies have made the Sharing Economy possible. Many of the biggest success stories of the gig economy fall under this category, such as Uber and AirBnB, two platforms which allow you to provide on-demand service to clients via a mobile app. These services don’t typically require any special skills beyond mobility and the ownership of something “shareable”, and are therefore an excellent way to supplement your income.

For an in-depth look at making a living in the Sharing Economy, visit Monster.com here: Making a Career in the Sharing Economy.

Affiliate Marketing

An industry almost as old as the internet itself, Affiliate Marketing offers the promise of “passive income”. Simply put, the affiliate works with a business to help drive more traffic to their website in order to generate more sales. This can be done by hosting advertisements, publishing links, or creating content which promotes the business’ products. The affiliate is in turn rewarded based on their performance: for every sale facilitated by the affiliate, the business pays them a share of the profit.

Read our short primer on getting started in Affiliate Marketing here: Introduction to Affiliate Marketing.

The gig economy has allowed skilled workers all around the world to do what they love, increase their income, and free themselves from the traditional nine to five jobs. If you’re ready to take on that passion project and make money doing it, now is the time!


Do you know that Payza has its own Referral Program? Get your start in the gig economy by helping people sign up for their free Payza Account. Once they reach a certain amount of transactions, you’ll earn $5 USD for your first 10 referrals and $10 USD for every referral after that! Learn how to get started by reading this handy guide: Learn How to Profit from the Payza Referral Program.

Join the millions of businesses and individuals around the world that use the Payza payment platform to supplement their income and to get paid for their gigs. Do you have experience with the gig economy? Let other readers know by leaving a comment below.

For more information and to stay up to date with the latest Payza news, be sure to subscribe to the Payza Blog and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Learn How to Profit from the Payza Referral Program

In an earlier blog post, we explained what affiliate marketing is and how you can earn extra money from this type of activity. Simply put, there are two parties involved in affiliate marketing: the business and the affiliate. The affiliate’s job is to help the business reach their target audiences and attract customers to the products that the business is offering. The affiliate helps by providing marketing that boosts the sales of the business and is rewarded based on their performance: every time they help to generate a sale, the business pays them a share.

Payza offers our members the Payza Referral Program: our very own affiliate program that lets you make money by helping Payza recruit new members. Refer your friends, family, or people in your network by inviting them to join Payza. Make extra cash and develop your affiliate marketing skills at the same time! You can earn $5.00 USD for the first 10 qualified people you refer and $10.00 USD for each qualified referral after that!

How does it work? It’s easy! Simply use the unique referral code that is generated within your Payza account. Once your referral code has been created, send it to people who would be interested in opening and using a Payza account. You can also place your referral code on your website or blog for greater exposure. Generate the referral code as a link or as a script for a banner.

Follow these steps to find your Payza Referral link code:

  1. In your Payza account, click “Account” in the left-hand column.
  2. Select “Referral Program”.
  3. Your referral code will appear on this page.
  4. To use your referral code as a hyperlink, click “Get Your Link Code Now”.

On this page, you will see several HTML codes with suggested slogans to use for your hyperlink. Choose the one that you prefer, then copy and paste that code wherever you will be using it. You can also customize the slogan by editing the text portion of the script. Simply replace the text already listed with the slogan you wish to use.

Follow these steps to get your Payza Referral banner code:

  1. In your Payza account, click “Account” in the left-hand column.
  2. Select “Referral Program”.
  3. Click “Get Your Banner Code Now”.
  4. On this page, you will see several scripts with different sized banners. Choose the one you prefer, then copy and paste that code wherever you will be using it.

Now that you know how to generate your Payza Referral link and banner code, here are a few ways to use them:

  • Send your Payza referral code to friends and family by email.
  • Share your Payza referral code on social media.
  • Include your Payza referral code in your message board signatures.
  • Place your Payza referral banner on your blog or website.

When someone clicks on your referral link, they will be directed to sign up for a free Payza account. You will receive your reward if your referrals fulfill the following qualifications:

  • They sign up for a Personal or Business account by using your referral link, website’s link code, or Payza banner. (If they sign up through our website, and not by using your link, they will not be added to your referral list.)
  • They transact, that is send or receive, at least $250.00 USD or the equivalent of another currency.

Start earning money in an easy way today by participating in the Payza Referral Program – encourage people to sign up for their free Payza account and earn $5.00 USD for your first 10 referrals and $10 USD for each one after that! When your referrals meet the qualifying rules, you will receive your bonus directly to your Payza account.

If you have taken part in the Payza Referral Program but have not yet received your referral reward, it may be because your referral does not meet the requirements. Please also note that self-referrals and referrals from the same IP address or device ID will not be paid out, which means that your referrals must use a separate device and internet connection than you use. Furthermore, you are not allowed to use your Payza referral code to post spam comments on message boards or in mass unsolicited emails. Abuse of the Payza Referral Program can result in account penalties or account suspension.

For more information about the Payza Referral Program, check out this article in our Reference Center: Payza Referral Program. To learn more about Payza, make sure you subscribe to our blog and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Working the Gig Economy: Part 2 – The Benefits for Business

The gig economy is often advertised as revolutionary for workers – it’s a major opportunity to supplement their income or even become their own boss. What’s harder to define are the many unexpected benefits of the gig economy for employers.

This article is the second of our 3-part series. If you’re a freelancer who works “gigs”, check out: Working the Gig Economy: Part 1 – Modern Work.

What is the Gig Economy?

Defined by TechTarget as “An environment in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements”, the gig economy turns the traditional employer/employee relationship on its head. In some cases, this replaces a reliable permanent workforce with inconsistent temporary labor, but it also allows businesses to engage with high quality talent from all around the world, employ experienced specialists for specific tasks, and cut down on overheads and wasteful busywork.

The movement toward the modern gig economy has, with some exceptions, been a bottom-up development. After the great recession, the workforce had little faith in traditional job security and less loyalty to their primary employers, instead opting for multiple diverse income streams. For numerous reasons (some of which we will go into below), convincing employers that this is a good idea has been a bigger challenge. In this article, we argue that businesses do stand to benefit a great deal from the gig economy and should be open to engaging with non-traditional workers.

Today, non-traditional workers, including independent contractors, on-demand workers and remote workers, already make up to 30 percent of the workforce. In the UK, more than 74% of independent workers have stated a preference for independent work over traditional job security and according to the Freelancing in America 2016 report, 25% of U.S. workers employed in full-time, permanent positions are also moonlighting as independent contractors. In light of the gig economy’s prevalence in today’s digital marketplace, let’s address (and dispel) some of employers’ biggest concerns:

Keeping Track of Remote Workers

At its most pessimistic interpretation, the modern employee’s desire to work from home is thought of as laziness by some old-fashioned employers. Your staff just wants to sleep in, slack off, and have no oversight. But Dell and IBM, early adopters of remote labor, discovered that when they switched from the office building to a distributed team, productivity actually went up. This was made possible by a number of factors:

  • Remote workers have more workplace satisfaction, because their workplace is whatever they want it to be.
  • They are more willing to work outside of the traditional 9 to 5, Monday to Friday schedule.
  • Office management costs and man-hours go down sharply the more of the workforce is distributed.
  • Modern communication platforms designed specifically for distributed teams (such as Slack) allow for a structured workday with open dialogue and scheduled meetings even when teams are spread around the world.
  • When looking for the best candidate for the job, businesses are no longer limited to a hiring pool within commuting distance of the office.

Don’t Fear the Side Gig

When we talk about the gig economy, we tend to focus on freelancers, distributed teams and self-employed people. In reality, the vast majority of gigs are actually performed by people who have traditional, full-time salaried positions and just want to earn a little extra cash on the side. These kinds of side-jobs have historically had a bad rap; many employers see side-gigs as a sign of employee disengagement or lack of loyalty and are concerned that their staff are at risk of being recruited by a competitor.

Employers typically want to protect and retain top talent and, in their minds, the gig economy threatens to lure good workers away in favor of entrepreneurial aspirations and more autonomous work schedules. The risk of that is actually quite slim: a survey from Career Builder found that 71% of workers with side-gigs had no intentions of leaving their full-time job. Encouraging your employees to take on side-gigs can have a great number of benefits:

  • Workers are creatively engaged by side-gigs, increasing their confidence and career satisfaction.
  • New jobs require workers to hone new skills, which will then increase their value to their primary employer.
  • Supplementary income increases the quality of life of the employee at no cost to their primary employer.

Businesses have a great deal to gain from the gig economy. Autonomous, self-driven workers tend to be more creative and take more initiative. Distributed teams empower businesses to engage with the world’s top talent. Temporary labor allows businesses to scale rapidly according to their needs. Remote workers with diversified income save businesses huge amounts in overhead costs, and there are many hidden benefits beyond just these. So if you were concerned about how the gig economy is going to affect your business, we hope we’ve put your worries to rest. Just embrace it!


A Payza Business account makes it easy to complete your payouts with just one click. Send money to employees, freelancers, contractors, affiliates and suppliers, and keep track of your payments with Payza’s detailed Transaction History. Just upload your payroll spreadsheet and send money to anywhere, from a few people to a few hundred, instantly!

Join the millions of businesses and individuals around the world that use the Payza payment platform to supplement their income and to manage their business. Do you have experience with the gig economy? Let other readers know by leaving a comment below.

For more information and to stay up to date with the latest Payza news, be sure to subscribe to the Payza Blog and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Working the Gig Economy: Part 1 – Modern Work

In today’s digital economy, the traditional employer/employee relationship is disappearing. The overwhelming trend is toward a new gig economydefined by TechTarget as “An environment in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements.” For some, the gig economy has replaced reliable permanent employment with inconsistent temporary labor. For others, it poses a major opportunity to supplement your income or even become your own boss.

Some professions have always included “gigs” as part of the economy. Full-time graphic designers, for example, have been taking jobs on the side for as long as the profession has existed and many people in artistic trades, such as carpentry or interior decorating, begin their careers with gigs while maintaining a full-time job elsewhere.

Today, contract labor has pervaded just about every industry there is. There are many causes for this, including:

  • Mobile workforce: Thanks to the internet, a lot more jobs can be performed remotely, which has caused the link between “job” and “location” to diminish. Employers gain the benefit of hiring the best person for a given job out of a potentially global pool of candidates, and employees gain the flexibility to work from home, travel without missing work, and have more control over their own schedules.
  • Automation: As software and roboticization grow more sophisticated, the total labor required to keep a business running decreases. Many businesses have responded by shifting away from salaried employees in favor of part-time workers and contractors hired to complete specific, temporary tasks.
  • Career satisfaction: The gig economy is also driven by choice. Coming out of the great recession, many people no longer believe in the “job security” promise of salaried employment, instead opting to diversify their income streams. Self-driven work also allows people to pursue career paths that align more closely with their interests and values.

Presently, the average worker does not (yet) participate in the gig economy, however LinkedIn predicts that by the year 2020, 40 percent of American workers will be employed as independent contractors. Gig-based work is now more accessible and navigable than ever, so even those comfortable in their day job can take advantage of the gig economy to supplement their income, build new skills, and explore new career directions.

Jobs in the gig economy can take almost any form. As contract work becomes more common, more and more industries will increasingly be hiring freelancers. There are innumerable ways to categorize and subcategorize the gig economy, but here’s a primer to help you figure out which kind of “gig” is right for you:

Sharing Economy

The age of the app has ushered in what is known as the sharing economy: a subset of the gig economy which refers specifically to offering the use of something you own to others. As the most often publicized form of the gig economy, the sharing economy is exemplified by platforms such as Uber, which allows you to share your vehicle by driving customers to their destinations, and AirBnB, which allows you to share your home or apartment with travelers who need a place to sleep. These services don’t typically require any special skills and are therefore a very popular introduction to the gig economy for people who need some extra cash.

Freelancing

For labor that requires more specialized skills, gigs have always been a big part of the job. Artists, designers, editors, and tradespeople are no strangers to the gig economy, but contemporary platforms such as Upwork, Elance, and TaskRabbit have allowed people with specialized skills, and those searching for workers with those skills, to connect more easily than ever.

Content Producers

The digital age has also made it easier than ever for content producers to monetize their creative passions. Musicians, bloggers, podcasters, and YouTubers now have many tools allowing them to get paid for their content. YouTube, for example, pays popular producers per view, and musicians can sell through Bandcamp and earn royalties through Spotify. Podcasters can sell airtime to advertisers, and bloggers can earn money through affiliate marketing. However, the latest boon to content producers is the success of Patreon: a platform which allows producers to connect with “patrons”. This platform allows fans to commit to a long-term payment plan in exchange for exclusive perks, either by paying on a regular schedule or paying a small amount every time the producer releases a new podcast/video/song/etc. So the content producer gets a more predictable stream of income while the fans get access to unique bonus content and other incentives, a win-win!

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a well-established revenue stream in the digital age. This gig involves an affiliate who promotes the products sold by a business, for example by blogging about them, writing product reviews, or releasing a shopping guide for niche interests, and the affiliate also provides a link for readers to purchase that product. The business then pays the affiliate a commission for every sale they helped to generate, in a commission-based system.

The gig economy has allowed skilled workers around the world to do what they love, increase their income, and free themselves from the nine to five job. If you’re ready to take on that passion project and make money doing it, now is the time!

Do you know that Payza has its own Referral Program? Get your start in the gig economy by helping people sign up for their free Payza Account. Once they reach a certain amount of transactions, you’ll earn $5 USD for your first 10 referrals and $10 USD for every referral after that! Learn how to get started by reading this handy guide: Learn How to Profit from the Payza Referral Program.

Join the millions of businesses and individuals around the world that use the Payza payment platform to supplement their income and to get paid for their gigs. Do you have experience with the gig economy? Let other readers know by leaving a comment below.

For more information and to stay up to date with the latest Payza news, be sure to subscribe to the Payza Blog and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Introduction to Affiliate Marketing

Internet marketing is an umbrella term that includes many technologies, tactics, channels, and revenue streams. There is no shortage of ways to utilize internet marketing to your advantage and it would be impossible to cover every effective strategy in the always-evolving online landscape. Today, we’re going to turn our focus to affiliate marketing – one of the most misunderstood forms of internet marketing.

Too much is made of the internet “moving at the speed of light.” Anyone researching internet marketing is bound to find one warning repeated over and over again: the internet moves so quickly that in order to be successful you must be one step ahead of the latest tools and best practices. It’s true that being an early adopter can help you become very successful in the short term, but it’s also highly risky. It’s much more rewarding in the long-term to provide a product that is consistent, stable and practical. In other words: slow and steady wins the race.

This is especially true when it comes to affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is one of the cornerstones of internet marketing and it is largely built on trust. The best affiliate marketers are seen as authorities within their niche.

As a whole, affiliate marketing is an enormous network which helps businesses reach their target audiences and points consumers to the products that best suit their needs. In this regard, affiliate marketing has a lot in common with, and is closely linked to, search engine optimization (SEO).

Simply put, affiliate marketing involves two parties: the business and the affiliate. The business is selling some kind of product and the affiliate is promoting that product. It’s a form of commission-based salesmanship, with the affiliate rewarded based on their performance. Every time the affiliate helps to generate a sale, the business pays them a share of the sale. This graphic explains the relationship between Brands, Affiliates, and Ad Platforms.

Affiliate Marketing - How Does It Work?

While ad platforms used to play a very large role in affiliate marketing, more and more affiliates are finding ways to earn commissions that bypass these platforms altogether.

One way for affiliates to promote products is by creating a customer-facing service, for example a blog that reviews books, a series of videos explaining how to build furniture, or a website documenting the latest fashion trends. In the first example, the affiliate can provide links to buy the books from Amazon, in the second, the affiliate can provide a list of all the tools used in the video and link to buy them from Home Depot, and in the third, the affiliate can direct people to Revolve. Each of these companies has a healthy affiliate program and there are many other programs and networks to choose from.

The key to success in affiliate marketing is to provide an organic and high-value context in which to drive traffic to your partner(s) – consumers aren’t going to follow a link unless you give them a good reason to. First, you need to attract people to your site, which is going to require good SEO in order to rank higher in Google. Then, you need high quality content to keep people reading and keep them coming back. The more value and usefulness your content offers to your readers, the more business you’ll generate.

Affiliate Marketing Facts

  1. Affiliate marketing is one of the cornerstones of digital marketing

Affiliate marketing is a broad network used by every major online retailer. It’s a widely accepted form of digital marketing and a huge part of any retailer’s consumer outreach strategy. Affiliates act as an arms-length sales and marketing force, organically directing consumers to the products they want and need, and helping businesses to grow their customer-base.

  1. Affiliates DO sell a product

Affiliates are more than just a part of a business’ sales funnel – they provide a very valuable product of their own: good content. Affiliates are thought leaders and tastemakers that answer the questions consumers are actually asking. Whether customers want to know more about a specific product, want to keep up with the latest trends, or are getting into a new hobby, affiliate marketers are often the people they turn to for more information. The most successful affiliates are the ones who offer the most valuable (and most well-written) information to consumers in their niche.

  1. You CAN make money

Many people portray affiliate marketing as passive income, but that’s a little misleading. Starting an affiliate marketing site takes a lot of work – don’t expect there to be anything “passive” about it during your first six months. Affiliate marketing, like SEO, is built on trust. It takes time for consumers to trust you as a resource and it takes time for Google to trust you. Generate good content and network with other sites in your niche for at least six months before you expect to see a significant return on investment. Be patient: by your second year you could be making $10,000/month.

  1. You DON’T have to focus on a specific niche

What holds many people back is a desire to do something totally unique, waiting to find that hyper-specific niche that will make them one-of-a-kind. But there are two problems with this: first, for a very specific niche, you have to truly be an expert to regularly produce good content; and second, if nobody’s done it before, there’s a good chance that’s because there’s no money in it. By choosing a broad niche (such as fashion or home renovation), you can target a wider audience and tap into a wealth of existing information and resources.

Anyone can be an affiliate. If you already have a blog or website (and lack the time or the ability to create a whole site dedicated to affiliate marketing) you can still work with businesses in your industry by linking to products that you use yourself or that you think your visitors would enjoy, or just by including a banner ad on your homepage.

Did you know that Payza has its own Referral Program? Test out your affiliate marketing skills by helping people sign up for their free Payza Account. Once they reach a certain amount of transactions, you’ll earn $5 USD for your first 10 referrals, and $10 USD for every referral after that!

Join the millions of businesses and individuals around the world that use affiliate marketing to supplement your income, and if you have any questions about getting started, ask us in the comments below.

Bitcoin Then and Now – Has Bitcoin Lived Up to Its Promise?

The early months of 2017 have been a very interesting time for Bitcoin. On January 2nd, Bitcoin maintained a value of $1,000 USD for the first time and only 5 months later it set its current record value of over $3,000. For a cryptocurrency that was worth only 25 cents per coin in 2010, this radical rate of growth has kept investors on the edge of their seats.

Soaring values can have their downsides though. Bitcoin is embroiled in a civil war caused by its scaling problem. Both sides know that a “fork” (an update to the code which runs the Bitcoin blockchain) is required for the currency to survive in the long-term, but the debate centers on whether a “hard” or “soft” fork is the optimal solution. A hard fork would split the code to effectively create a new blockchain with an increased block size, which would solve the scaling problem but make the “new” Bitcoin incompatible with the old. The alternative, a “soft fork”, known as Segregated Witness or SegWit, has been proposed as a way to increase the block capacity without splitting the code.

Opponents of SegWit have two concerns. The practical opposition is that the soft fork would not increase transaction speeds significantly enough to maintain Bitcoin’s lead in the cryptocurrency landscape. The philosophical opposition is that SegWit would undermine Bitcoin’s purpose: to be a decentralized alternative to fiat currencies, immune to political influence.

SegWit developer Peter Wuille addressed Bitcoin’s scaling problem by devising a method to “segregate” the transaction signature from the input data: the signatures used to validate transactions can be stored separately from the blockchain, increasing the chain’s capacity to store more data and process transactions more rapidly. The trouble is that this requires the signatures to be overseen by the Bitcoin Foundation, which some see as effectively “centralizing” control of the currency. To many, this stands in diametric opposition to the ideals Bitcoin was founded on – but is that really true?

The Whitepaper

In 2008, a mysterious figure known as Satoshi Nakamoto released a paper titled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System”. In the 9-page whitepaper, the pseudonymous author (or authors) defines the technologies which make the blockchain possible, using an innovative proof-of-work scheme which solved the double spending problem by timestamping transactions into a public ledger on a peer-to-peer network. This allowed, for the first time, a fully automated and decentralized currency and laid the technological foundation for all cryptocurrencies today.

In the introduction to the whitepaper, Nakamoto writes:

“Commerce on the Internet has come to rely almost exclusively on financial institutions serving as trusted third parties to process electronic payments. While the system works well enough for most transactions, it still suffers from the inherent weaknesses of the trust based model. (…) What is needed is an electronic payment system based on cryptographic proof instead of trust, allowing any two willing parties to transact directly with each other without the need for a trusted third party. Transactions that are computationally impractical to reverse would protect sellers from fraud, and routine escrow mechanisms could easily be implemented to protect buyers.”

That is about as political as the paper gets. Nakamoto describes Bitcoin as a technological innovation which simplifies e-commerce transactions and security, without contextualizing it within an anarchic political frame. While in 2008 a lack of faith in fiat currencies was definitely part of the conversation among the early adopters of Bitcoin, the developer(s) of the blockchain chose not to define it in those terms.

If Bitcoin was not intended to stand in explicit opposite to fiat currencies, but was simply envisioned as a more modern and robust payment technology, is SegWit incompatible with its original intention? Technically, SegWit would change the fundamental design of the blockchain by separating the transaction data from the proof-of-work, which means the possessors of the proof-of-work would take on the role of a “trusted third party” – which is exactly what Nakamoto set out to eliminate in the development of Bitcoin.

On the other hand, if SegWit could be implemented in such a way that the proof-of-work is also a fully automated chain, operating in parallel to the blockchain and communicating with it, this would theoretically achieve the same results as the whitepaper envision, but with an updated design.

A Hard Fork

The alternative, the “hard fork”, would retain the fundamental design as laid out in the 2008 paper, with the only difference being to increase the capacity of the individual blocks in the chain. Currently, these 10-minute blocks are limited to a maximum size of 1MB, but Bitcoin has become so popular that it can no longer process all the transactions made within any given 10-minute period, creating a backlog.

The existence of this problem suggests that Nakamoto never dreamed Bitcoin would become so popular, but many investors believe this is still only the beginning. So far this year, the price of 1 BTC has already tripled and some analysts have gone so far as to make value estimates as high as $55,000 USD per coin by 2022. On paper, Bitcoin’s technology is ingenious, but can a truly decentralized currency really handle this level of popularity?

The debate over the hard or soft fork has made Bitcoin highly volatile in recent months, with optimistic investors doubling down on their stock and the more wary exchanging their Bitcoin for other altcoins such as Ether. And it’s no secret that when the inevitable fork happens the coin’s value will drop significantly in the short term as the new chain is tested and the old is abandoned, which raises a different perspective on whether Bitcoin has lived up to its promise. Bitcoin’s popularity is often credited to its position as an alternative to fiat currencies, which have lost trust due to the high level of geopolitical turmoil during the last decade. But if Bitcoin after almost 10 years still shows no sign of stability comparable to fiat currencies, can it really be considered more secure?

 

Payza is closely following the development of Bitcoin and altcoins and is committed to providing practical and innovative cryptocurrency services. Using our platform, you can buy, store, and sell Bitcoin and sell over 50 different altcoins right inside your account. For the latest updates and industry insights about Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, be sure to subscribe to our blog and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Payza Summer Reading Guide for 2017

Payza Summer Read

The summer is officially here (in the northern hemisphere) and we’re all looking forward to taking some time off in the hot sun and reading a few good books. To prepare, we asked our staff to share some recommendations for summer reading. It was originally meant to be shared just around the office, but we received so many good suggestions that we decided to share some of the most interesting ones with you, our members! So if you’re looking for something good to read this summer, here are 6 of our favorite book recommendations from the Payza staff:

Nikita P, Banking Reconciliation Team – The Immortals of Meluha by Amish Tripathi

Nikita is fascinated by Indian mythology and religion, and has introduced many of us at Payza to Amish Tripathi’s Shiva Trilogy of novels, which begins with The Immortals of Meluha. A deeply-researched fantasy novel heavily based on Hindu history and mythological stories, the first novel by this Mumbai born and based author was a huge success when first published in India in 2010.

“Beautifully narrated by Amish, which makes us flow with its story, The Immortals of Meluha is a completely mythological story written in a modern style. The novel creates anticipation in the reader’s mind and compels one to read with great curiosity till the end. I love reading this book and would especially suggest it to anybody interested in the ancient history of India.” – Nikita P.

Buy it here: The Immortals of Meluha

Rob E, Marketing Team – Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson

Originally published in 2013, Zero Waste Home is an instructional book on cutting garbage (waste) out of our lives. In it, author Bea Johnson explains how she, her husband Scott, and their two sons have managed to limit their garbage to just one quart per year and this has resulted in healthier lives, more time spent together, and an annual household spending cut by a remarkable 40%.

“This book teaches you how to organize your life by cutting out the waste. Not only will it help you learn to appreciate what is really important in life, it will also teach you how to do your part to help the environment by throwing out less garbage. Zero Waste Home is full of tips for all situations, it has something for everyone.” – Rob E.

Buy it here: Zero Waste Home

Derek H, Marketing Team – The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Now a major television series from the American streaming service Hulu, this 1985 novel from prolific Canadian author Margaret Atwood, already her most popular work, is newly relevant again. A dystopian novel set in the near future in New England, it paints a picture of an America now controlled by a totalitarian regime and tells the story of one woman’s struggle against oppression and subjugation.

“Margaret Atwood is one Canada’s most popular and celebrated authors, and as a Canadian it gives me great pride to see a whole new audience introduced to her work because of the new TV series based on The Handmaid’s Tale. I hope the people who like the show don’t limit themselves to just this one book, because she has dozens of brilliant novels that everyone should read.” – Derek H.

Buy it here: The Handmaid’s Tale

Ruchita M, Account Verification (Trainer) – Mrityunjay by Shivaji Sawant

Mrityunjay, one of the most famous Marathi novels, was the first novel by author Shivaji Sawant. Mrityunjay, which translates into “Triumph Over Death”, is based on the Indian mythological Karna, one of the leading characters of the epic Mahabharat. Written in Marathi, it was later published in Hindi in 1974 and English in 1989.

“The novel comprises auspicious Marathi writing skills, simple artistic language dealing with the beauties of nature, as well as figures of speech natural to Marathi speakers. This novel is a milestone in the history of Marathi literature yet remains popular in this century and has been awarded many of the prizes and awards given by the Jnanpith (Murti Devi Award). I am looking forward to read more from the same author.” – Ruchita M.

Buy it here: Mrituyunjay

Emelie S, Marketing Team – Option B by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant

Released just a couple of months ago, this non-fiction book from the COO of Facebook was named the Amazon Best Book of April 2017. Part memoir, part self-help book (the full title is Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy), Sheryl set out to write this book after her husband and the father or her children passed away, and recruited friend and psychologist Adam Grant is co-author.

“It’s not fair to call Option B a self-help book; it doesn’t just give superficial advice about how to self-actualize, it actually tells the true story of Sheryl’s experience overcoming the loss of her husband and the trauma that has inflicted on her family. Sometimes uncomfortable but always rewarding, this book will be relatable to, and helpful for, anyone who has experienced any significant loss or adversity in their lives, which I think is all of us.” – Emelie S.

Buy it here: Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy

Karleen J, Quality Assurance Team – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Originally published on June 26th 1997, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J.K. Rowling’s first novel and the first installment in the Harry Potter series, just turned 20 years old. If you still haven’t read the Harry Potter books, now is the time to find out why it is the best-selling book series in history and has been translated into 73 languages and counting.

“It’s hard to believe that the first Harry Potter book came out 20 years ago. Me and so many others grew up on those books (and later, those movies) and I go back to them every few years. They never get old. Anybody who hasn’t read Harry Potter yet should start right away and see why The Philosopher’s Stone turned J.K. Rowling into a household name and spawned six more books in the main series.” – Karleen J.

Buy it here: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

There you have it! We hope you enjoy some of these books this summer, but we know that many of you probably already have your summer reading list lined up. What are you planning to read during your time off this year? Tell us about your favorite books in the comments below!

A Challenger Appears: Ethereum Approaches Bitcoin Market Capitalization

Ether Challenging Bitcoin

At the start of 2017, the global cryptocurrency market cap, that is, the total value of all cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Litecoin, was just under $18 billion USD. This was already a very promising increase from just $7.1 billion the year before. Compared to what was about to come however, even that increase seems minuscule. As of mid-June 2017, cryptocurrencies have reached a global market cap of just over $115 billion. That’s a 533% increase in less than half a year!

Payza has been keeping a close eye on the exciting new cryptocurrency trends, and in 2014, became one of the first e-wallets to allow its members to load and withdraw from their accounts using Bitcoin.

Until a few months ago, Bitcoin’s dominance, or the percentage of Bitcoin’s total value compared to the total combined cryptocurrency value, held steadily between 80% and 90%. Since March, however, there has been a tremendous rise in both awareness and value of Bitcoin alternatives, dubbed Altcoins. As a result, Bitcoin’s dominance has dropped significantly, making up just under 40% of total cryptocurrency value as of mid-June.

Trailing closely at 31% of the total cryptocurrency market cap, a challenger seems eager to take Bitcoin’s throne: Ether.

Ether

Built on the Ethereum computing platform, Ether (ETH) was released in May 2015 and has since gathered strong support from developers and investors alike, despite a hard fork in 2016 that prompted the creation of the Ethereum Classic (ETC). Following the success of the network and a growing market capitalization, multiple ventures are aiming to use Ethereum for projects related to finance, energy sourcing and pricing, sports betting, the internet-of-things, etc.

With an adoption rate that rivals that of Bitcoin, both experts and enthusiasts are becoming reluctant to use the term ‘altcoin’ when referring to Ether. There’s even speculation within the community that Ether will soon overtake the current leader, an event humorously named “The Flippening.”

The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance

With partners from multiple Fortune 500 companies (Microsoft, J.P. Morgan, Intel, etc.), research groups and blockchain startups, the nonprofit organization Enterprise Ethereum Alliance was established in March 2017 with a vision: to augment the Ethereum blockchain by creating a private version (currently known as EnEth 1.0), based on a reference architecture focusing on confidentiality, privacy, scalability and security. It will facilitate collaboration, as everything created will be open-source, making the EEA evolve alongside the public Ethereum community in harmony.

A Surge of ICOs

Part of the extraordinary increase in cryptocurrency value during the second quarter of 2017 is attributed to growing cryptocurrency awareness, the creation of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, but also to a multiplication of successful Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), crowdfunding campaigns dedicated to projects that build upon the Blockchain to provide solutions to existing problems or to future-proof the technology. Among the top ten crowdfunding projects, six are cryptocurrency-related, all based on the Ethereum blockchain: Bancor, the DAO, AEternity, MobileGo, Basic Attention Token and Aragon.

These projects, which have raised just over $477m, show tremendous support for the Ethereum blockchain, which was itself crowdfunded in September 2014 for $18m, a figure that pales in comparison of recent investments.

Altcoins and Payza

Payza has kept a watchful eye over all cryptocurrency developments, not just developments related to Bitcoin. As such, we’ve already started exploring and developing new ways to incorporate Ether and other Altcoins into our global online payment platform.

As cryptocurrency and blockchain technology advances, it is becoming increasingly clear that these currencies will make up a meaningful part of the global e-commerce ecosystem. The only questions that remain are which coins will emerge as the market leaders, and how much of global e-commerce volume will cryptocurrency payments make up?

Distributed Teams: Payouts for International Workers

In today’s digital economy, distributed teams are common. Many organizations, including the majority of companies doing business online, have anywhere from a few to a few hundred employees who rarely, if ever, come into the office. This brings countless advantages for the employer as well as the employee, but one of the new challenges it introduces to businesses is how to manage payroll. We have some experience in this area, and we’d like to pass on our expertise!

Working remotely is not a new concept, but the idea of working remotely was often thought of as a carrot to be dangled in front of workers – a “perk” that few could hope to gain and that, frankly, didn’t make much sense for the employer. Or so it was believed until remote labor pioneers such as Dell and IBM experimented with distributed workforces and discovered that not only did expenses go down, but productively actually went up! Organizations saved the overhead costs of office space, computers, building maintenance, phone and travel allowances, while employees became happier, more flexible, and, surprisingly, more productive.

Naturally, as remote labor became more common, businesses realized that they no longer had to hire the most qualified person within commuting distance of their office, they could now hire the most qualified person, period. Today, some companies don’t have an office at all, operating instead as a fully distributed team. These companies use a slew of specialized apps and cloud technologies to collaborate from all corners of the world.

How do you manage payroll for a distributed team?

Though managing remote employees in other countries is entirely doable, it does require a different set of tools and practices. Communication and access to the cloud is not limited by location, but the ability to pay employees, contractors and affiliates may be.

Businesses now need to consider several new issues including:

  • International legal and compliance issues
  • Security and reliability of regular payouts
  • Risk of currency fluctuation (and whether the company or the employee absorbs that risk)
  • Payroll account management and reporting

For startups and small organizations, these concerns can add a great deal of expense and man hours to a business that already operates on small margins and with small teams.

Because of these factors, most companies with a distributed workforce opt to outsource their international payroll. There are two main ways to do this: using payroll cards, or consolidating payouts using a global payouts platform.

Payroll Cards

An alternative to direct deposit or paper checks, a payroll card is a reloadable prepaid card onto which an employer loads a worker’s earnings at the end of each pay cycle. Typically issued by major credit card providers or payment processors, workers can use them anywhere credit cards are accepted, including ATMs and cash-back transactions.

The advantage of payroll cards is that employers can deposit money directly onto the card without having to pay the high bank fees for international money transfers, and workers aren’t required to have a bank account. The downside is that payroll cards do still come with fees, similar to those charged on traditional debit cards, which vary depending on the issuer. It’s import to inform workers of these fees before they agree to this payroll method.

Global Platforms

The most convenient option for businesses with distributed workforces is to consolidate all of their payroll needs into one place. This is made possible using a global payment platform. International payroll services allow businesses to eliminate the labor required to execute and manage multi-currency payouts. These platforms also remove the need for businesses to have full banking services in every country where they are employing workers.

Payment platforms consolidate payroll into one place. This allows a business to keep their total salary expenses organized and ensures secure and reliable delivery of payments to employees, contactors, and affiliates, regardless of location. Payroll specialists utilizing cutting-edge payment technologies can provide these services more efficiently and affordably than traditional banks and can reduce or eliminate the costs of accounting, legal, HR, and compliance associated with international payouts.

Consolidating payments with a global platform also benefits workers. International payroll providers can deliver payments in a more timely manner and can pay workers in local currencies, saving them the currency conversion fees. This also allows the company to pay a fixed salary in the local currency, which safeguards workers against currency fluctuations.

By using Payza’s global payment platform to consolidate payouts to your employees, contractors, and affiliates around the world, you can rest easy knowing you’re in the hands of the most secure, reliable and affordable payout provider you can find. Payza’s highly secure payment processor is easy to integrate into your website and supports a wide range of payment options, such as credit card, Bitcoin, and e-money transfers. Payza’s Mass Pay feature lets you easily send payouts to all your recipients in one action, saving you time and trouble.

A Payza Business account makes it easy to complete your payouts with just one click. Send money to employees, freelancers, contractors, affiliates and suppliers and keep track of your payments with Payza’s detailed Transaction History. Just upload your payroll spreadsheet and send money to anywhere from a few people to a few hundred, instantly!

5 Dropshipping Tips to Help You Outsource Your Warehouse

Dropshipping

Shipping and fulfillment are arguably the most labor-intensive parts of running an e-commerce business. The man-hours required to pack boxes, buy insurance, contact couriers, and track shipments are incredibly time consuming, even for a small business. And as time goes on, the challenge of scaling your logistics can become a critical barrier to growth. This is where dropshipping comes in.

Although dropshipping has been around for years, it’s only now beginning to break into the mainstream. Large retailers like Home Depot and Macy’s are starting to integrate with dropshipping to expand their online offering. Shoe Carnival and Pier 1 Imports have announced plans to start doing the same. E-commerce giants are taking note of this new strategy because it has now been refined and proven effective by countless online start-ups.

Dropshipping works by partnering with your manufacturer or supplier. Instead of buying your merchandise in bulk and warehousing it, once an order has been placed you instruct the wholesaler to ship the goods directly from their warehouse to your customer. In addition to outsourcing all your shipping and fulfillment needs in one fell swoop, dropshipping can benefit your business and your customers.

Advantages of dropshipping

Here are just a few of the benefits that dropshipping has to offer:

  • Less labor, lower overhead costs: With dropshipping there’s no need to keep a stock of inventory, process shipping information, or pack boxes. That saves significant man-hours and overhead costs.
  • Mitigated risk: Because you don’t need to maintain an inventory, you don’t face the risk of buying in bulk and getting stuck with products that don’t sell or are replaced by newer models.
  • Wide selection: Now that you’re no longer limited to the amount of stock you can fit in your warehouse, you can offer an infinite shelf of products for your customers.

On top of these advantages, you also enjoy flexible product testing, fewer shipping challenges, greater scalability, lower initial investment, and more.

Dropshipping drawbacks

Even with all these advantages, there are still some downsides to dropshipping. The cost of the service itself is typically expensive, especially for small businesses with slim margins to begin with. As your sales grow and profit margins increase, this becomes less of an issue, but the expense can be a barrier to new businesses.

There are also risks and challenges associated with outsourcing your shipping and fulfillment, since you have no direct control over shipping and handling, and have no opportunity for face-to-face customer service.

5 dropshipping tips to help you succeed

To ensure a successful dropshipping strategy in today’s market, here are five tips you need to consider:

Find your niche

Because Dropshipping allows you to offer something for everyone, the temptation of an infinite shelf is hard to resist, but be careful about falling into this trap. While this may seem like a good idea, it’s not necessarily what customers want. One-stop-shops, while convenient, are also impersonal. Offer your customers what they’re really looking for: something custom tailored for them.

Don’t just sell headphones and stereos, sell headphones and stereos for young professionals who habitate post-industrial urban neighborhoods and consume vegan straight edge punk rock, for example.

The bottom line is: Specialize!

Have multiple fulfillment options

When you’re first building your business, it might seem easiest to just partner with one wholesaler, but that opens you up to exactly the type of risk you’re trying to avoid. It should be part of your plan to store at least some stock in-house (such as your best-selling items) and consider working with multiple suppliers. This way you can still offer an inventory that is unique to your store while avoiding potential troubles associated with relying on a single supplier. You can also save some of the dropshipping costs by fulfilling a portion of your orders in-house.

Be transparent

Myth-busting time: Most people will tell you to hide the fact that you’re outsourcing your warehouse and delivery. Don’t.

You should be upfront with your customers about your fulfillment partner. Today’s consumers have become so comfortable with major marketplaces that dropshipping is not seen as a negative; the most important thing for most online shoppers is that their retailers are open and honest.

Use low-cost marketing and be easy to reach

Profit margins are slim enough for new retailers and dropshipping can make them even slimmer. Dropshipping can also limit your visibility and direct interaction with customers post-sale since you don’t have as much room for packaging customization.

Focus your marketing efforts on effective, low-cost strategies such as SEO and social media engagement.

Make customer service a top priority, as well as having open channels of communication. Often in e-commerce, the merchant who responds the quickest to customer inquiries is the one who makes the sale.

Have a complete e-commerce plan

Dropshipping is effective but it’s not a magic solution to every e-commerce need. Too many failed dropshippers have taken an “if you build it, they will come” approach to this business model, assuming that they can passively earn a living income by simply building an online store and waiting for sales to roll in.

Dropshipping can help you launch or expand your business, but it’s just one tool among many, and the most important tool is your own hard work and commitment. Don’t expect a living wage in your first year of business and don’t expect dropshipping to fix all your problems. But if you work hard, curate your inventory well and diversify your revenue streams, it can be one of the cornerstones of a profitable and sustainable enterprise.

Bonus tip: Offer your customers multiple payment options

Once you have set up your online store, you’ll need to provide simple and secure payment options. You’ll want a highly secure payment processor that is easy to integrate onto your website and supports a wide range of payment options, such as credit card, Bitcoin, and e-money transfers.

A Payza account makes it easy to accept online payments and there are lots of added bonuses, like free recurring billing, built-in fraud protection, and no hidden fees. With Payza’s Guest Checkout options, such as credit card and Bitcoin payments, you’ll make it easy for your customers to pay you instantly.