NetworkNewsWire Editorial Coverage: Until recently, cryptocurrencies were relatively mysterious to the general public of consumers, merchants and retailers who were unaware of the advantages that blockchain technologies could have in easing and securing private transactions. But free markets abhor vacuums, and several public companies are advancing programs to educate and bring the broader public into cryptocurrency transactions. SinglePoint, Inc. (SING) (SING Profile) is aggressively making strategic acquisitions in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space, while an increasing number of recognizable industry behemoths like Overstock.com, Inc. (OSTK), Microsoft, Inc. (MSFT) and Tesla, Inc. (TSLA) are delving into cryptocurrencies and blockchain. Others like Starbucks Corp. (SBUX) have expressed optimism in its potential for consumer transactions, though stopping short of accepting bitcoin as payment.
Like any new technology, acceptance of cryptocurrencies will continue to rise as more companies offer it as a form of payment, and as consumers become more comfortable and knowledgeable using it. To this accord, companies in a wide reach of industries are staking a claim in blockchain.
TV Ads to Educate the Public
In mid-January SinglePoint Inc. (SING) announced a collaboration with successful serial entrepreneur Kevin Harrington, who is not only known as the father of the informercial, but as the founder-creator of the As Seen On TV retail industry and an original panel member on the television series SharkTank.
The fact that SinglePoint garnered the attention of Harrington is testament to the company’s increasing brand visibility; its ability to secure a partnership with him is just one example of management’s firm grasp on business development.
“Kevin’s [Harrington’s] legendary work producing the launch of more than 500 products is just one of the many reasons we are thrilled about this partnership,” said Ralston (http://nnw.fm/6Phkt). “Impressively, 20 of Kevin’s companies have each topped $100 million in revenue. We look forward to partnering with such a visionary individual and discovering what this means for the future of SinglePoint.”
SinglePoint has already filmed a television commercial slated for a first-quarter national launch, which showcases Harrington as spokesman for SinglePoint’s crypto-currency division. The SinglePoint campaign plans to air the Harrington spot on major financial news networks, such as CNN, Fox News and others, as well as key web outlets, where Harrington will inform viewers of the advantages of SinglePoint’s payment app mobile wallet.
In the pending TV ad, Harrington will show people how to acquire tokens to their wallets, SinglePoint founder and CEO Greg Lambrecht explained in an interview (http://nnw.fm/JnN3e) with Don Baillargeon, founder and host of the Money TV investment show.
The SinglePoint television ads will not only show consumers and others how to use cryptocurrencies, but also why and where to best advantage.
SinglePoint is one of the few pioneering companies looking to establish a “single place where you can come and have a wallet for any cryptocurrency, whether it be bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, or Ripple, whatever it is, and have it all in one place,” Harrington told Baillargeon.
As he further explains, the business environment and prospects for SinglePoint’s mobile payment app is analogous to the same kind of “explosive” promise that GoDaddy.com enjoyed in the early 1990s as a single place to register various domains.
GoDaddy found success in its user-friendly, simplified business model, the idea of which SinglePoint aims to replicate for cryptocurrencies.
GoDaddy.com Deja Vu
SinglePoint is a variation on the GoDaddy business-model – that of bringing together into one place all that a consumer or business needs to operate confidently and easily with cryptocurrencies.
The cryptocurrency trend is gathering steam, which is another reason Harrington has joined SinglePoint in its endeavors.
“As bitcoin becomes more applicable, and used in more establishments—just recently the [Dallas] Mavericks, Mark Cuban’s company, started taking bitcoins for tickets, and Overstock.com, has been doing an amazing job for years taking bitcoins—I feel that generally the market will follow,” said Harrington.
“SinglePoint’s game-changing approach to serving high-risk markets is the reason that after 30 years of empowering entrepreneurs I am still excited to get to work every day. Working closely with SinglePoint’s executive team I am confident 2018 will be a phenomenal year for the company.”
SinglePoint’s consistent track record of acquisition-based growth was bolstered earlier this week when the company uplisted to the OTCQB Venture Market. The achievement will enable the company to increase acquisition deal flow and gain access to institutional investors, adding fuel to its growth strategy.
“We are extremely pleased to be approved for OTCQB. It is a great step for SinglePoint as we continue to grow and build our footprint. Increased transparency and credibility will help broaden our shareholder base and provide additional exposure to the institutional investor community, ultimately contributing to increasing shareholder value,” SinglePoint CEO Greg Lambrecht stated in the press release (http://nnw.fm/7zv3Q).
Among other recent endeavors, SinglePoint in January 2018 reported its plan to buy 100% of the privately held Bitcoin Beyond, a platform that enables retail merchants to accept bitcoin payments using existing web-enabled point-of-sale devices. With the acquisition, SinglePoint offers a full end-to-end purchasing experience that provides merchants and bitcoin users unprecedented capabilities.
Bitcoin Beyond was originally created to address growing demand for fast and reliable electronic-payment processing for the expanding and legal cannabis industry. Most public commercial banks, as they accept federal deposit insurance, must comply with certain federal laws and regulations that prevent serving even the legal cannabis industry. As a result, many cannabis merchants and suppliers face physical cash-management issues that require expensive and risky on-site safes, armed guards, armored cars, and physical cash transfers.
Bitcoin Beyond offers the cannabis industry a pathway to overcome the commercial banking challenges, functioning as a general-purpose point-of-sale system that processes dollar-denominated payments using bitcoin.
Building the SinglePoint Portfolio
Bitcoin Beyond is the latest addition to SinglePoint’s growing portfolio, which also includes the company’s proprietary bitcoin exchange (app.SingleSeed.com) and numerous key industry collaborations and investments.
In December SinglePoint reported it had formalized a joint-venture agreement and made the first payment to AppSwarm (OTC: SWRM) to start development on a delivery application that will enable licensed delivery services and licensed dispensaries to safely make in home deliveries. This agreement strengthens SinglePoint’s position in the cannabis and cryptocurrency markets, where the company continues to deepen its roots.
The company’s partnership with fintech solutions provider Global Payout (GOHE) is focused on advancing and streamlining the process involved in delivering payment applications, while its collaboration with SMART Cannabis Corp. (SCNA) provides an entry into the commercial marijuana cultivation market. The joint venture with SCNA will allow the two companies to incorporate blockchain currency into Smart Cannabis’ SMARTAPP, and sell it to growers, integrating seed-to-sale and payment mechanisms (http://nnw.fm/t2SAz).
SinglePoint plans to acquire additional companies and technologies to broaden its footprint in the emerging blockchain space and deploy its products and services to major established markets.
The Public Bets on Cryptocurrencies
If 2017 was the year cryptocurrencies entered the public consciousness, then 2018 is the year punters—that is, bettors—expect much wider adoption of cryptocurrencies to begin, reports the Betway Group, a British online betting platform that offers options to bet on sports, casinos, and various public events, such as political elections and future consumer preferences.
To date, the general financial and consumer markets—with some prominent exceptions—have not yet embraced cryptocurrencies, but certainly retailers have every incentive to accommodate consumers, including those with bitcoins to spend.
Interestingly, the recent adoption of bitcoin futures markets by the Cboe Global (CBOE) and CME Group (CME) allows large retailers and others to hedge their bitcoin positions, reducing exposure to a sudden decrease in bitcoin value. So the risks of holding a large number of bitcoins can now be mitigated for large retailers and other institutions as well.
New data from Betway Group show bettors expect even the largest of retailers, such as Walmart (WMT) to start accepting bitcoin or crypto-currencies in 2018.
About 83.3% of bettors expect Walmart to start accepting cryptocurrencies in 2018, and 75.0% for British Airways and 66.7% for McDonalds.
Retailers and Cryptocurrencies
Overstock.com (NASDAQ: OSTK) was one of the first retailers to accept bitcoin, but the online discount-house’s CEO recently told CNNMoney he may consider selling off retail operations to focus on the 10 blockchain companies it owns. In mid-January, Polymath, a security token launch pad, reported a partnership with Overstock’s blockchain subsidiary, t0.com, Inc. (tZERO) in which Polymath is acting in an advisory role in connection with tZERO’s $250 million ICO.
Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) the battery and electric-car manufacturer, and potential tunnel-borer, has also launched its own blockchain currency, the Teslacoin, worth about $0.10 in late January trading. The tech-outfit said there is a permanent maximum limit of 75 million Teslacoins will ever be minted (www.Tesla-Coin.com).
Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) The software giant has blown hot and cold on bitcoin, but presently is accepting the digital currency at its Windows and Xbox online stores. Buyers can add bitcoin to their Microsoft-sanctioned digital wallets that they can then redeem as dollars. Microsoft first started accepting bitcoins for some products in 2014.
Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX) Executive Chairman Howard Schultz has advised that the ubiquitous coffee-shop chain does not plan to accept bitcoins. However, he expressed confidence in the potential of blockchain technology to serve as a catalyst for a “legitimate” digital currency. “I personally believe that there is going to be a one or a few legitimate trusted digital currencies off of the blockchain technology. And that legitimacy and trust in terms of its consumer application will have to be legitimatized by a brand and a brick and mortar environment, where the consumer has trust and confidence in the company that is providing the transaction,” he stated in a recent post-earnings call.
Some have argued that the “wisdom of crowds” is a superior mechanism for divining future commercial trends than the sole reliance on expert opinion, and further that betting markets are excellent devices for predicting outcomes of elections or the introduction of new technologies.
For now, it appears the crowds expect major retailers to begin embracing cryptocurrencies, and in the not-too-distant future.
What is clear is that retailers are not in habit of putting up moats between themselves and customer money. If consumers have bitcoins or other cryptocurrencies, then retailers will follow—and the smart outfits may lead.
For more information on SinglePoint, visit SinglePoint Inc. (SING)
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