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Month: October 2020

What is Bitcoin and how to Invest in India

What is Bitcoin and how to Invest in India

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What is Bitcoin and how to Invest in India

What are Bitcoins?

Bitcoin is the world’s first decentralized digital currency invented in 2009. They are a cryptocurrency and a digital payment system. Its much like the normal currency but without any physical form.

How does bitcoin works?

Bitcoin operates on a decentralized public ledger technology called the blockchain. When consumers make purchases and effect the payment through their Bank account or credit card, the vendor companies verify the authenticity of those transactions. Bitcoin performs the same function but at a lower cost without involving these institutions using a system called hashing. When one person pays another using bitcoin computers on the Bitcoin blockchain rush to check that the transaction and if found accurate, it permanently stores the transaction as a block on the blockchain.

Why are Bitcoins scarce?

Let’s us understand this with the example of gold. The reserves of gold are limited on earth.

As it is mined, the reserves keep on depleting and it becomes harder and more expensive to find and mine. The same stands true with Bitcoin.

There are only 21million Bitcoins created out of which 80% is already mined.

What makes Bitcoins a good investment?

The high liquidity associated makes Bitcoin a good investment instrument. Bitcoin is global and therefore it is least affected by any single country’s financial situation or stability. Bitcoins can be traded from anywhere in the world to anywhere else in the world. Bitcoin is censorship resistant money i.e. No bank can block payments or close your account

Bitcoin makes cross border payments possible, and serves as an easy escape to failed government monetary policy.

How to buy bitcoins in India?

 Investing in Bitcoin can seem complicated, but it is much easier when you break it down into steps.

In India, you can buy bitcoins from some trusted Bitcoin apps. There are quite a lot of such apps. Viz. Zebpay, UnoCoin, CoinSecure etc.

The steps involved in purchasing are as under :

Step 1: Get a Bitcoin Wallet

The first thing that you’ll need to get started is a wallet to hold your bitcoin It enables storing and selling bitcoins. These wallets are set up when you sign in and create your account. One of the most trusted bitcoin wallet is Coinbase.

Step 2: Link a Bank Account

In order to purchase bitcoin, you need to link your wallet to your bank account, debit card, or credit card.

Step 3: Join a Bitcoin Exchange

Bitcoin exchanges are online marketplaces where you can trade bitcoin for traditional currencies. The most popular exchanges in India are Coinbase.com and Coindesk.com

Step 4:  Place Your Order

You’re now set to buy bitcoin for the first time. It is crucial to keep in mind that although one bitcoin costs several lakhs, bitcoin can be divided up to eight decimal points. The smallest unit of bitcoin is called as a satoshi. Even if the price of bitcoin is skyhigh, you’ll still be able to buy a satoshi for a fraction of amount. In India, the minimum amount required to begin investing in Bitcoins is Rs.500

Points to remember

  • The value of Bitcoin depends largely on the faith of investors, its financial market integration, its widespread use, and performance in comaprision to other cryptocurrencies.
  • Bitcoin is still subject to some technical and security issues that investors should be aware of before they begin.
  •  Investors can trade traditional currencies to bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies through joining an exchange or online marketplace. 
  • Investments in cryptocurrency should be based on well informed fundamental research.  

This article was first publish on telecom

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The changing landscape of telecom billing & charging

The changing landscape of telecom billing & charging

The changing landscape of telecom billing & charging

For the past decade, telco services were relatively easy to manage and simple to bill. However, the introduction of 5G, coupled with an increase in digital offerings and thirst for service innovation, has resulted in more complex product portfolios and forced a redefinition of telecom billing.

To maintain competitiveness in this new environment, different CSPs (Communication Service Providers) have adopted different strategies and business models. This has led to a diversification of services and overall improved customer experience, including different pricing structures and, crucially, billing.

Whether it is retail billing, enterprise billing, interconnect billing, roaming billing, split billing, MVNO/MVNE billing, carrier billing, convergent billing, e-billing, video billing or any other, it is one of the key factors behind CSPs delivering better customer experiences, whilst also expanding their range of offered services and focusing on core operational excellence.

But what are the actual agents of this change?

Policy Management

With the advent of 5G, it soon became clear that billing had to adapt to the policy and QoS-based real-time charging of non/telco events. While some CSPs have acted as disruptors in 5G by charging customers based on QoS (Network slice – embb, uRLLC, mMTC), many others are still charging and billing customers based on traditional product/plan-based charging.  Network slicing comes with the benefit of enabling operators to build private cellular networks for large enterprise or alternatively, utilise it for dedicated applications. As the architecture around 5G supports spending limit control functionality, allowing customers to monitor and consume within their specified limits, charging systems must respond by reacting in real-time more than ever.

IoT & M2M

IoT and M2M is one of the key emerging areas in this space, driven by the specific needs of different industry verticals such as healthcare, smart cities, transportation, hospitality, finance, retail, manufacturing etc.

With millions of new devices getting connected regularly and even more transactions happening every second, one of the challenges faced by CSPs is billing these different verticals. In order to handle the complexity and scale of these functions, a charging system has to be flexible enough to implement the ad hoc changes which can be achieved with configurable business rules. With businesses demanding personalised products, IoT and M2M are increasingly important in powering an industry agnostic charging system that can charge telco/non-telco events, yet be flexible enough to bill all types of customers and generate invoices in whatever format and currency the customer needs.

Diversification & New Business Models

In today’s digital age, where food can be ordered online & delivered within minutes, instant gratification is the expectation, not a surprise. This is reflected in the changing telecom sector, with customers also expecting real-time and instant billing, but the real change has come from the areas driving this expectation.

From online gaming, where the Pay as You Go (PAYG) business model reigns supreme to the growth of different entertainment and mobile payment services, diversification is on rise. In order to support such variety, billing and charging systems must evolve and it will require the tight integration of these platforms with the new systems. Supporting these new “on-the-go” demands will be a real catalyst for change and CSPs have already started to take a leap forward by diversifying payments, content services and more.

Partnerships

Platform-based digital services can extend the benefits and value to end consumers by enriching a CSPs core value chain. This may mean partnering with different industry verticals

The charging and billing of partner services is complex. While retail billing should be upscaled and transformed to bill non-telco and digital events, the direct or cascading of partner settlements is another element of billing that has emerged as part of the partnering model. To minimise disputes between the telco and their partners, the partner settlement solution requires real-time capabilities and automation of core billing processes such as reconciliation on the go.

API monetisation is the key area which will help CSPs drive their revenue with different business models. While doing so, the CSP API ecosystem is exposed and monetised, as per consumption, and it will need to be tracked accurately in billing systems.

Cloud based Convergent Billing & Charging

Digital transformation has changed convergent billing and charging; switching it from a basic calculation to one that is based on real-time data and personalised for the individual customer. This has been achieved by CSPs now having the ability to segment usage data so that they can create targeted offers and products for different groups in their network. In addition, billing as-a-service has and will continue to become more appealing as CSPs seek to retain control of billing and charging, while also reducing both OPEX and CAPEX. Delivery approaches will also evolve, mainly around private cloud and multi-tenancy.

AI/ML Techniques

Like many other industries, the telecom sector has embraced the advantages provided by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). For CSPs, these solutions have become the catalyst in pushing forward with automation, especially around zero touch operations for the bill run process. They can also assist billing systems in understanding the data sets used in bill runs via ML models that not only automate the process but also manage pre and post bill checks. The benefits of this are not only internal increases in operational efficiency, but also an improved external customer experience offering via timely and accurate bills.

Wallet transaction data is another benefit being provided by ML. For customers, it provides them with insights into their spending and savings by category and allows them to buy more intelligently going forward. For CSPs, these insights can be used to upsell or cross sell relevant products and services suiting customer needs. ML models can provide these insights by building their frameworks around key areas such as customer spend, savings, areas of improvements, preferred payment, balance mode and more.

Change is the only constant in the telco industry and there is more to come. With 5G, IoT/M2M, cross-domain offerings and new business models, CSPs have a lot of opportunities to monetise multiple revenue streams for all segments (B2C, B2B, B2B2 etc.), ultimately re-defining and developing their current billing & charging solution.

This article was first publish on telecom

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