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.

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.

Despite Early Surge, Future of Bitcoin Cash Still Uncertain After Fork

Bitcoin Cash Hard Fork

On July 20, the Bitcoin mining community voted in favor of Segregated Witness (or SegWit): a technological solution designed to increase the transaction capacity of the Bitcoin network. The vote was almost unanimous which would have resulted in a single currency emerging from the upgrade, but a vocal minority of the community that opposed SegWit decided to go ahead with a hard fork instead.

This group of miners announced that the implementation of Bitcoin Cash, with a block size of 8MB, would take place via a hard fork on August 1. Now, one month later, Bitcoin Cash is still struggling to catch up to its big brother.

Both SegWit and the hard fork were designed to solve Bitcoin’s scaling problem. The cryptocurrency has become so popular that the original blockchain, with a block size of 1MB, was unable to process the sheer volume of Bitcoin transactions. SegWit solves this problem by recording transaction signatures onto a separate ledger, freeing up more space on the blockchain for the input data. Alternatively, the hard fork would solve the issue by simply increasing the size of the individual blocks in the chain, allowing for more transactions to be confirmed within a single block.

Why opt for a hard fork?

Proponents of the hard fork take issue with SegWit for several reasons: they argue that SegWit does not increase capacity significantly enough to maintain Bitcoin’s cryptocurrency market leadership, that segregating the transaction signatures would effectively “centralize” control of the currency, and that the solution favored people who viewed Bitcoin as a digital investment rather than a transactional currency.

On the other hand, a hard fork would maintain the fundamental design of the Bitcoin blockchain while multiplying the transaction capacity. The downside is that increasing the block size makes the new chain incompatible with the old – it’s called a hard fork because it effectively splits (or forks) Bitcoin into two separate currencies.

A new coin emerges

This is what happened on August 1. Bitcoin as we know it went in one direction while Bitcoin Cash, a new cryptocurrency created by the fork, went off in another. Despite the attention and scrutiny, it was an inauspicious start for Bitcoin Cash, at 8:20 am (EST), miners began working on what would be the network’s first block. Some thought it would happen quickly, others thought it would take several hours, but as the day went on many began to doubt the effort, worrying that miners would give up on Bitcoin Cash and return to Bitcoin even before the first block was mined. But then at 2:14 pm, after nearly 6 hours of mining, the first block was found, officially launching the new blockchain.

The rough first day may have set a bad tone for Bitcoin Cash, or perhaps the fact that Coinbase (one of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges) publicly announced that it would not support the new coin on its platform (at least not initially) had something to do with this negativity. Both of these things cast a shadow on Bitcoin Cash, conveying a lack of trust and implying low acceptance and reliability of the new coin. One week after the hard fork, mining on the original blockchain remained 30% more profitable than the new chain, and despite much larger block capacities, the original chain had grown 920MB more than the new chain.

Bitcoin Cash, one month later

Now, one month after the split, the price of Bitcoin Cash is experiencing a steady decline after an impressive surge. The value had an early peak of $677 USD on August 2nd before dropping down to around $200 soon after, and excitement dropped off as people turned their eyes back onto Bitcoin and the imminent implementation of SegWit. In the days leading up to SegWit’s launch on August 23rd, Bitcoin Cash again climbed sharply from $300 to over $900 per coin in a 72-hour period as investors hedged their bets amidst uncertainty about Bitcoin’s future. However, with SegWit successfully implemented as of last Wednesday, Bitcoin Cash has begun another seemingly steady decline.

While it’s easy to be dismissive of Bitcoin Cash, the arguments put forward by the developers who support the new cryptocurrency remain valid. Going forward, the original coin and the new one will continue to compete and draw comparisons to each other, with the two ideologies being put to the test. In the first week after SegWit, the expected boost in Bitcoin’s capacity has not yet been seen; if SegWit fails to make the hoped-for impact, many may yet turn to Bitcoin Cash after all. Whether one or the other proves to have the superior technology, or whether both can have a valuable role in the crypto economy, is still yet to be determined.


Payza is closely following the development of Bitcoin and altcoins, and is committed to supporting all of the currencies and cryptocurrencies you are using. By using the Payza platform, you can buy, store, and sell Bitcoin and over 50 different altcoins right inside your Payza 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.

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.

SegWit and the Future of Bitcoin

Bitcoin SegWit

Bitcoin has a scaling problem.

When the cryptocurrency software launched in 2009, the nature of the blockchain technology on which it was built meant that there was a hard cap on the total amount of transactions that could be processed in a given amount of time. In the past eight years, the basic technology hasn’t really changed, but the user base has grown so large that the Bitcoin network is struggling to handle the transaction volume, and unless something changes, this issue will only get worse over time.

Blockchain technology was designed by the anonymous developer(s) of Bitcoin and has come to be a core technology in almost all cryptocurrencies today. The Blockchain is a public ledger where all Bitcoin transactions are recorded and bundled into 10-minute blocks which are limited to a maximum size of 1MB. The scaling problem is the result of this size limit; Bitcoin has become so popular that it can no longer process all the transactions made within any given 10-minute period.

The Solution

To address this problem, developer Pieter Wuille has introduced to concept of SegWit, short for Segregated Witness. SegWit addresses Bitcoin’s scaling problem by “segregating” the transaction signature (the “witness”) from the input data. In short, signatures, which validate transactions, would be stored separately from the blockchain. This will free up more space within each block to store more transaction data and help streamline transaction processing.

Since signatures make up about 65% of the size of the input data, removing them can increase the effective block capacity by more than double. On top of that, SegWit also solves the problem of transaction malleability, a minor security flaw which makes it possible for hackers to change the signature of a transaction before the block is confirmed, which invalidates any later transactions in the chain.

SegWit2x

The trouble with SegWit is that this still may not be enough to completely fix the problem. Bitcoin is growing so rapidly – now with over 10 million users making hundreds of thousands of transactions per day – that even doubling the capacity of a block is only a temporary solution. This was pointed out by the Bitcoin mining community, who took a stance against the developers, favoring a hard fork over the latter group’s proposed solution.

A hard fork is what happens to a blockchain when a new rule chain is introduced to the software that makes it incompatible with the previous version. For example, to upgrade the Bitcoin network in order to allow block sizes to increase from 1MB to 2MB would create a hard fork.

After some debate, the two parties have agreed to a compromise called SegWit2x, with the mining community agreeing to Segregated Witness in return for the execution of a 2MB hard fork within 6 months of SegWit implementation.

Litecoin

However, SegWit2x may be too little too late. Ironically, the sheer popularity of Bitcoin, which led to the scaling problem in the first place, meant that there were too many interested parties that needed to agree to the upgrade, causing the execution of SegWit to be delayed (it was originally suggested in 2015). Bitcoin competitor Litecoin recently executed the SegWit upgrade to their blockchain.

Litecoin, even though it is the 5th largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, is smaller than Bitcoin and therefore in a better position to adapt to the latest technologies available. Franklyn Richards, Litecoin Foundation director, initially admitted that the implementation of SegWit could serve as a test for Bitcoin, but the announcement in late March caused such a renewed interest in the Bitcoin competitor that Litecoin’s value tripled during the month of April and has doubled again since then, growing from roughly $5 USD to around $30.

This success has led many to speculate that Bitcoin missed their opportunity to capitalize on SegWit, leading segments of the cryptocurrency community to abandon the most popular coin in favor of newer, more innovative options.

The Future of Bitcoin

Bitcoin was originally developed with the goal of creating a decentralized currency, free of influence from political forces and the banking industry, and grew popular because of those ideologies. While it’s necessary for the developers of Bitcoin to make changes in order for the currency to survive, many Bitcoin enthusiasts believe that the proposed changes give too much power to the Bitcoin Foundation, thus making the currency no longer decentralized. If Litecoin or another altcoin develops a better way to solve the scalability problem while maintaining decentralization, it may spell the end of Bitcoin as we know it.

The power of digital currencies in today’s economy cannot be understated, as more people and companies invest in cryptocurrencies and retailers large and small begin accepting them as forms of payment both online and in-store. To learn about some of the leading Bitcoin competitors, check out our Beyond Bitcoin series:

Visit the Payza Blog regularly as we will be following cryptocurrencies closely in 2017 and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for e-commerce news from around the web.

Payza’s Complete Payment Solution for Businesses Using Bitcoin and Fiat Currencies

Payza Bitcoin API

In Payza’s latest Bitcoin update, the company announced that members can now hold Bitcoin right in their Payza e-wallets. This has a big impact on merchants who want to be able to accept payments in Bitcoin and traditional fiat currencies. It’s also exciting news for businesses who need to make Bitcoin payouts to their affiliates.

As a merchant, there are several ways to take advantage of Payza’s new Bitcoin features. You can now accept payment in Bitcoin, you can even set prices for your items directly in Bitcoin instead of having to peg that amount to a fiat currency. Bitcoin you receive can now be held right within your Payza e-wallet. You can instantly convert those Bitcoin to fiat currency whenever you like.

Bitcoin services for merchants

Payza is proud to offer new Bitcoin services for our merchants.

To complete our new range of Bitcoin services, we’re also updating our APIs to help merchants who make regular Mass Payments.

Automate your Bitcoin payouts

Payza’s MassPay API and Payza’s SendMoney API already make it possible for merchants to send multiple payments in a single click to other Payza members. These payments can be made in any currency Payza supports, which now includes Bitcoin.

But what if you need to make Bitcoin payouts to affiliates who don’t have a Payza account? That will soon be possible too. Payza’s team of developers is updating our APIs to let you send Bitcoin to other Bitcoin wallets with just one action. This will help you automate your payouts, regardless of where and how your recipients want to receive their payments.

If you make regular payouts in both Bitcoin and fiat currency, chances are right now you are using multiple solutions to facilitate your payments. With Payza, you can soon make all of your payouts using just one system, saving you time and trouble. Your affiliates will love it too, thanks to Payza’s low fees for Bitcoin transactions.

When using Payza’s APIs to automate your Bitcoin payouts, you’ll soon have two options on where to send those bitcoins. You can either use your recipient’s Payza email address to send bitcoins right to their Payza e-wallet, or you can enter their Bitcoin wallet address to send Bitcoin to an external wallet.

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.

Country Spotlight: Understanding Consumers and Cross-Border E-Commerce in Brazil

Despite Brazil’s recent economic downturn, the country’s e-commerce market continues to grow. Though not immune to the effects of the economy, Brazil’s 2016 e-commerce market was still the largest in Latin America and since 2014 has been one of the top-10 e-commerce markets in the world.

After hosting the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016, the country has invested heavily in their local infrastructure. Today, Brazilians are reaping the benefits of that development in the form of skyrocketing internet and mobile penetration rates. Even with less disposable income to go around, the online retail sector continues to grow 5%+ YoY and remains one of the best opportunities for cross-border e-commerce investment.

Unless otherwise noted, statistics in this article are sourced from:

Brazilian Consumers

Brazil is a country of 210 million residents, with 85% of the population living in urban areas. Nearly half of all Brazilians are between the ages of 25 and 54.

Brazil is a prime market to consider for cross-border e-commerce sellers; 38% of Brazilians purchase goods online from foreign retailers! But to take full advantage of this market, it’s important to tailor your strategy to suit local consumer habits.

Brazilians, as a group, outrank the rest of the world in total time spent on social media at 60% higher than the global average. Brazilian smartphone penetration has doubled since 2014 so this trend is likely to continue as mobile internet usage climbs. The most popular social media platform is Facebook, meaning retailers selling in Brazil should consider investing in Facebook ads as a marketing channel with high ROI potential.

Online consumers in Brazil are slightly older on average than consumers in most e-commerce markets, with more than a third of them over the age of 35. The rise of smart phones and mobile devices in Brazil may help to reverse this trend. When entering the Brazilian e-commerce market, a mobile-friendly website will be critical to reach younger customers, so consider your demographics when updating your website’s design.

The most popular online payment method is credit card, accounting for 57% of e-commerce transactions. Uniquely, paying by instalments is very popular in Brazil – only 4 out of 10 credit card purchases are paid for in a single transaction. The local payment option of Boleto Bancário is also popular, accounting for 23% of all payments.

In the last few years, 59% of Brazilians have experienced a loss in purchasing power. While this hasn’t discouraged them from shopping online, it has made them more cautious. International sellers can take advantage of this because of a component cost known as the “custo Brazil” – a combination of high taxes and duties coupled with a strict labor law – drives up the prices of domestic products. This “Brazil cost” makes it relatively easy for foreign merchants to undercut local competition.

Drivers and Barriers

Driver: Mobile Commerce

For the most part, domestic retailers in Brazil have not yet adapted to the rapid growth of mobile commerce among local consumers. Cellular network coverage in Brazil is at 100%, mobile traffic to e-commerce sites is 32%, and 7% of all online sales are made via mobile devices.

Providing a user-friendly m-commerce experience will give your online business a serious competitive advantage in Brazil.

Barrier: Economic Downturn

Brazilian consumers have less disposable income than they used to and the e-commerce growth rate has contracted significantly as a result. With average family income down, the nation’s retail market decreased by 2.1% in 2016. Though it is likely to remain the largest e-commerce market in Latin America, neighboring markets such as Argentina have experienced much higher growth in recent years.

Driver: New Infrastructure

With high-profile international events, such as the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016, Brazil invested heavily in local infrastructure. From new roads and airways to improved internet and cellular networks, Brazilian consumers are more connected than ever, and fulfilment is less of a worry.

Barrier: Regulatory Hurdles

Brazil is a highly regulated market. As a foreign-based retailer, you will be required to pay customs duties, which average almost 11%, and import duties, which can range from 10% to 35%.

While most of these duties will be borne by the customer, you should take care to be highly transparent about any additional costs that may be incurred.

Brazilian E-Commerce Facts

  • The largest e-commerce market in Latin America.
  • 19% of e-commerce sales in 2015 were mobile purchases.
  • Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the largest digital shopping days of the year.
  • 38% of digital buyers in Brazil make cross-border purchases.
  • Credit and debit cards account for 57% of e-commerce payments.
  • The US is the top destination for cross-border e-commerce, but its market share in Brazil is decreasing (71.5%), followed by China (55.1%), Hong Kong (18%), Japan (15%) and Canada (9.5%).
  • The top-5 product categories by order volume are Books (14%), Appliances (13%), Fashion and Accessories (12%), Cosmetics and Personal (12%), and Telephone and Mobile (9%).

When considering any new territory, it is crucial to take the time to understand the local market and consumer habits. Due to the economic downturn, Brazilians continue to shop online but now hold preference for price over speed. Brazilian consumers issue returns much less often than counterparts in other countries, at a rate of 15.6% compared to the global average of 27.5%, so the competitive advantages held by domestic retailers hold less sway.

38% of local consumers already purchase goods online from international merchants and it’s easy to compete on pricing, which should make Brazil a strong contender for your next new market.

Expanding into a new international market is a risky venture, but a very rewarding one if done right. For the latest information about how you can build and maintain a strong e-commerce enterprise and keep it compatible with legislation and buying habits at home and abroad, subscribe to the Payza Blog and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest industry news.

Country Spotlight: Understanding Consumers and Cross-Border E-Commerce in Bangladesh

After the five *BRICS countries, economist Jim O’Neill identified a second group of eleven countries with a high potential of becoming among the world’s largest economies in the 21st century. One of these “Next Eleven” is Bangladesh, a South Asian country of 161 million people.

As the first and largest e-wallet provider to operate in the country, Payza has a close relationship with Bangladesh. We’ve invested heavily in the local e-commerce market and we are proud to say our investment has paid off for Payza and Bangladeshis alike. Today, the online retail market is growing more rapidly than ever and there couldn’t be a better time for international sellers to expand their business into this exciting country.

Unless otherwise noted, figures in this article are sourced from:

Bangladeshi Consumers

  • Internet penetration:5% penetration
  • Mobile penetration: 23%
  • Online shoppers: 5 million
  • E-commerce sales: USD 38.1 million
  • E-commerce annual growth rate: 200%+ (2013-2016)

Despite its relatively small size, Bangladesh is the eighth most populous country in the world, fifth in Asia, and third most populous Muslim-majority country. It’s also one of the world’s most densely populated countries with triple the density of neighboring India. The country’s primary language, Bengali, is the seventh most spoken language in the world.

If you visit Bangladesh today, you will not find the impoverished country it once was. Instead, you will step out of the airport to find a vibrant consumer culture, fresh from celebrating the 45th anniversary of Bangladeshi independence. Between 1990 and 2014, the country’s poverty rate went down by more than half, with the rate of extreme poverty dropping to 12.9% in 2016, a remarkable achievement in poverty reduction.

The new emergence of a consumer class in Bangladesh has led to a 72% growth in e-commerce transactions over the course of 2016, with business-to-consumer (B2C) accounting for 90% of all transactions. With over 60% of online shoppers between the ages of 25 and 34, the market is young and tech-savvy, though cash-on-delivery still remains the most common payment method.

Besides the usual success of online hotel and travel bookings, the most popular e-commerce categories for Bangladeshi consumers are electronics, books, clothing and, uniquely, food. Online food delivery platforms such as Foodpanda and HungryNaki have gained an impressive following in the last few years, while online grocery shopping platforms Chaldal and Direct Fresh are also experiencing strong growth.

Drivers and Barriers

Driver: Emerging Consumer Class

Today, only 7% of the country’s population is classified as middle or affluent class (MAC), but that number is rapidly rising. More importantly, consumer wealth is being dispersed regionally, with projections indicating that the number of cities with MAC populations over 100,000 will double within the next ten years.

Barrier: Debt Concerns

When markets shift out of poverty, there is always an increased level of consumer wariness. The new influx of disposable income in Bangladesh has made consumers optimistic – 60% expect their incomes to rise this year – but also wary of going into debt for fear of not being able to repay it.

Driver: Mobile

While most transactions are still in cash, two-thirds of MAC consumers in Bangladesh own Internet-enabled smartphones, allowing them to make the leap to mobile payments. Mobile banking is already quite popular, as is researching products prior to purchase, allowing the opportunity for retailers to reach Bangladeshi consumers via m-commerce.

Barrier: Loyalty

While brand loyalty is good for e-commerce as a whole because it brings in repeat customers and builds trust, it does make it more challenging for new market entrants. However, while Bangladeshi consumers cite brands as a top motivating factor for their purchases, they are also budget and quality conscious. Retailers new to Bangladesh can attract customers by undercutting the established competition or offering a better-made product.

Bangladeshi E-Commerce Facts

  • One of the fastest-growing markets worldwide.
  • Rapid upward mobility: over 30 million more Bangladeshis are expected to make the leap out of poverty by 2025.
  • Total e-commerce transactions grew by 72% in 2016.
  • Total m-commerce market value doubled in 2016.
  • Two-thirds of all e-commerce traffic comes from the two largest cities, Dhaka and Chittagong.
  • 49% of online shopping traffic comes from new customers.

What we are witnessing in Bangladesh is an example of the leapfrog effect. A young and newly affluent population is rapidly adopting e-commerce, primarily by leaping straight from cash payment to online shopping via their mobile devices. While internet and mobile penetration are still relatively low and poverty relatively high, both of those facts are changing rapidly and experts agree that the market potential of Bangladesh is one of the highest in the world. By investing in this growing market, retailers can get a leg up on the competition and start building brand loyalty.

Expanding into a new international market is a risky venture but a very rewarding one if done right. For the latest information about how you can build and maintain a strong e-commerce enterprise and keep it compatible with legislation and buying habits at home and abroad, subscribe to the Payza Blog and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest industry news.

*BRICS countries: Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa.