You need to know five interesting things happening right now in the world. Do you know the world’s biggest bank, with no actual currencies? Have you ever noticed the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content? Have you ever heard of the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles? Did you ever see the world’s most valuable retailer, has no inventory? And do you believe the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate?
Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency and worldwide payment system. It is the first decentralized digital currency, as the system works without a central bank or single administrator. The network is peer-to-peer and transactions take place between users directly, without an intermediary. These transactions are verified by network nodes through the use of cryptography and recorded in a public distributed ledger called a blockchain. Bitcoin was invented by an unknown person or group of people under the name Satoshi Nakamoto and released as open-source software in 2009.
Bitcoins are created as a reward for a process known as mining. They can be exchanged for other currencies, products, and services. As of February 2015, over 100,000 merchants and vendors accepted bitcoin as payment. Research produced by the University of Cambridge estimates that in 2017, there are 2.9 to 5.8 million unique users using a cryptocurrency wallet, most of them using bitcoin.
Because of bitcoin’s decentralized nature, nation-states cannot shut down the network or alter its technical rules. However, the use of bitcoin can be criminalized and be shutting down exchanges and the peer-to-peer economy in a given country would constitute a “de facto ban”. The legal status of bitcoin varies substantially from country to country and is still undefined or changing in many of them. While some countries have explicitly allowed its use and trade, others have banned or restricted it. Regulations and bans that apply to bitcoin probably extend to similar cryptocurrency systems.
The word bitcoin first occurred and was defined in the white paper that was published on 31 October 2008. It is a compound of the words bit and coin. The white paper frequently uses the shorter coin. There is no uniform convention for bitcoin capitalization. Some sources use Bitcoin, capitalized, to refer to the technology and network and bitcoin, lowercase, to refer to the unit of account. The Wall Street Journal, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and the Oxford English Dictionary advocate use of lowercase bitcoin in all cases, a convention followed throughout this article.
The use of bitcoin by criminals has attracted the attention of financial regulators, legislative bodies, law enforcement, and the media. The FBI prepared an intelligence assessment, the SEC has issued a pointed warning about investment schemes using virtual currencies, and the US Senate held a hearing on virtual currencies in November 2013.
Several news outlets have asserted that the popularity of bitcoins hinges on the ability to use them to purchase illegal goods. In 2014, researchers at the University of Kentucky found “robust evidence that computer programming enthusiasts and illegal activity drive interest in bitcoin, and find limited or no support for political and investment motives.
The world’s most popular media company, Facebook, creates no content. So Facebook goes into news, Twitter into television and so on. And because they can be so profitable we will see more and more challenger interfaces, each trying to find some way to get their icon on to your mobile phone or iPad.
Facebook has more than 2 billion monthly active users as of June 2017. Its popularity has led to prominent media coverage for the company, including significant scrutiny over privacy and the psychological effects it has on users. In recent years, the company has faced intense pressure over the amount of fake news, hate speech and violence prevalent on its services, all of which it is attempting to counteract.
In February 2015, Facebook announced that it had reached two million active advertisers with most of the gain coming from small businesses. An active advertiser is an advertiser that has advertised on the Facebook platform in the last 28 days. In March 2016, Facebook announced that it reached three million active advertisers with more than 70% from outside the US.
The world’s largest taxi firm, Uber, owns no cars. It is a global taxi technology company headquartered in San Francisco, California, United States, operating in 633 cities worldwide. It develops, markets and operates the Uber car transportation and food delivery mobile apps. Uber drivers use their own cars although drivers can rent a car to drive with Uber.
Uber offers various service levels. Not all service levels are available in every city. UberPOOL is the least expensive level of service, in which the customer may share the ride with another passenger going in the same general direction. UberX (marketed as UberPOP in some European cities) is a level of service in which the rider will get a private ride. Other levels of service provide for a black luxury car, larger car, car with a car seat, SUV, wheelchair accessible transport, and pet transport.
The world’s most valuable retailer, Alibaba, carries no stock. Alibaba is a Chinese multinational e-commerce, retail, Internet, AI and technology conglomerate founded in 1999 that provides consumer-to-consumer, business-to-consumer and business-to-business sales services via web portals, as well as electronic payment services, shopping search engines and data-centric cloud computing services. It owns and operates a diverse array of businesses around the world in numerous sectors, and is named as one of the world’s most admired companies by Fortune.
In December 1999, Jack Ma and 17 other founders released their first online marketplace, named “Alibaba Online”. From 1999 to 2000, Alibaba Group raised a total of US$25 Million from SoftBank, Goldman Sachs, Fidelity and some other institutions. In December 2001, Alibaba.com achieved profitability. In May 2003, Taobao was founded as a consumer e-commerce platform. In December 2004, Alipay, which started as a service on the Taobao platform, became a separate business. In October 2005, Alibaba Group took over the operation of China Yahoo! as part of its strategic partnership with Yahoo! Inc.
Finally, the world’s largest accommodation provider, Airbnb, owns no property. Something big is going on. Airbnb is an American company which hosts an online marketplace and hospitality service, for people to lease or rent short-term lodging including vacation rentals, apartment rentals, homestays, hostel beds, or hotel rooms. The company does not own any lodging; it is a broker which receives percentage service fees from both guests and hosts in conjunction with every booking. In January 2018 the company had over 3,000,000 lodging listings in 65,000 cities and 191 countries.
There’s more. Airbnb's community is built on trust and trust serves as the infrastructure in a 21st-century company. So on behalf of our community, I am proud to welcome the leader of one of the world’s most trusted companies, American Express CEO Ken Chenault, to Airbnb’s Board. pic.twitter.com/G4rcplsbFU
— Brian Chesky (@bchesky) January 25, 2018
Shortly after moving to San Francisco in October 2007, roommates and former schoolmates Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia could not afford the rent for their loft apartment. Chesky and Gebbia came up with the idea of putting an air mattress in their living room and turning it into a bed and breakfast. The goal at first was just “to make a few bucks”. In February 2008, Nathan Blecharczyk, Chesky’s former roommate, joined as the Chief Technology Officer and the third co-founder of the new venture, called AirBed & Breakfast. This is also where the name “Airbnb” originates from. They put together a website which offered short-term living quarters, breakfast, and a unique business networking opportunity for those who were unable to book a hotel in the saturated market. The site Airbedandbreakfast.com officially launched on August 11, 2008. The founders had their first customers in town in the summer of 2008, during the Industrial Design Conference held by Industrial Designers Society of America, where travelers had a hard time finding lodging in the city.
To help fund the site, the founders created special edition breakfast cereals, with presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain as the inspiration for “Obama O’s” and “Cap’n McCains”. In two months, 800 boxes of cereal were sold at $40 each, which generated more than $30,000 for the company’s incubation. It also got the company noticed by computer programmer Paul Graham, who invited the founders to the January 2009 winter training session of his startup incubator, Y Combinator, which provided them with training and $20,000 in funding in exchange for a small interest in the company. With the website already built, they used the $20,000 Y-Combinator investment to fly to New York City to meet users and promote the site. They returned to San Francisco with a profitable business model to present to West Coast investors. By March 2009, the site had 10,000 users and 2,500 listings.
In March 2017, Airbnb raised US$1 billion in additional funding, bringing their total funding raised to date to more than US$3 billion and valuing the company at US$31 billion.
The World economy are within the reach of a global mind, that understand strategic virtual operations. Mastering the revolution can only be built by innovative digital operators.