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Human-readable code: Why branding is the programming language of humans

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For too many Web3 projects, marketing is often an afterthought. The prevailing wisdom is that a visionary founder will generate a killer idea that will get VCs frothing, use their funding to hire a superstar developer (or an entire team of them) and bring the vision to life via the medium of code. 

Once there’s a minimum viable product (MVP) to showcase, the project needs a user base to make this thing into a viable product. At this point, it’s time to fire up the Magical Marketing Machine, which connects to your various channels to create a nonstop value-generating stream of leads and conversions, drawn in by the irresistible lure of the initial killer idea. Once they hear about it. 

This mindset isn’t helped by the stories of often inexplicable viral success that regularly punctuate the crypto headlines. But viral success isn’t the same as success. Just look at Terra’s LUNA collapse, the Squid Game scam or SafeMoon’s pump and dump for several relatively recent examples of viral “success.” 

Of course, a few exceptional viral cases have managed to achieve longevity. For instance, Bored Ape Yacht Club and SushiSwap are two examples of projects that leveraged initial viral success to attain long-term recognition. 

There is no formula or algorithm to guarantee viral success. But marketing, as a value-generating function of a commercial organization, is different. It has a toolkit at its disposal, and the most powerful of those tools is the brand — the programming that conveys the message of an offering to a human audience. 

Effective branding relies on good code

Successful firms know that branding and marketing don’t happen by magic or according to checklist-type formulae. When it’s planned and executed well, a robust branding strategy is analogous to computer code. Blockchain developers use programming languages to translate their applications into a set of instructions that the blockchain can execute consistently. The branding strategy tells everyone in an ecosystem what messages they should be using and how to deliver them in a way that’s comprehensible and engaging.

Programming involves choosing the correct syntax and functions to generate a particular outcome efficiently, while branding involves selecting messaging that resonates and choosing the most effective ways to convey it. Solidity is Turing-complete, in that it can be used to program virtually any task. In this sense, branding as a programming language is also Turing-complete, as it can be used to craft any message you choose.

Beyond text, which already contains all the richness of tone and language, you send a message with every choice in the presentation of your offering, from colors and logos to advertising outlets and collaboration partners. Every nuance conveys the messages of your brand that will be decoded and disseminated by the world. 

This is where you must beware. A Turing-complete language can also easily create unintended consequences. In blockchain terms, a bug in the code, a typo or an unknown eventuality created by an attacker may result in hacks, stolen funds and a loss of good reputation. 

Marketing gaffes — a result of anyone being able to go out there and say whatever they like — can end up as PR disasters. No stolen funds, but irreparable damage to your brand will quickly hit your revenue source with precisely the same net result. 

But more often than not, the worst outcome of bad branding is a massive loss of opportunity. Do you want to maximize the impact of your marketing budget? Start with your brand and its strategy.

A critical success factor or an afterthought?

It’s time for a mindset shift. Your branding is your product. After all, without recognition, the most amazing invention in the world is not a product — it’s just something someone dreamed up. 

Despite the fact that branding is unquestionably a pivotal factor in commercial success, it’s baffling that Web3 founders tend to treat it as an afterthought. I’ve come across projects due to launch next month, where basic marketing planning is only just underway. I’ve also seen projects where the team is operating entirely on junior staffers with little prior experience in Web3 or marketing — let alone developing a brand from scratch. 

It’s hard to imagine any founder leaving their programming to chance. How will the app perform if the only programmer has a high-school knowledge of coding? Or, what kind of quality could a star team of coders produce, given only a month for building and testing? 

The more extensive and sophisticated the underlying code, the more powerful and impactful the technology. The same applies to branding. 

Evaluating your stack

Ultimately, my message to Web3 founders is to examine your current branding approach and consider whether it accurately reflects the image you want your project to convey. 

This may mean reexamining your overall strategy. For instance, is there a clear and consistent set of brand messages that forms the basis of all communications? 

Are you confident that your marketing plans are rooted in the best possible practices for your offering and audience, and not simply a checklist of channels and touchpoints? 

You may also need to evaluate time allocated to marketing and branding activities. Are there sufficiently available person-hours to generate interest and engagement ahead of a launch?

Assessing your approach may also involve evaluating your marketing talent and leveraging expertise as required. Do you have the right skills on board to develop and execute a branding strategy? 

Finally, does your plan allow for activities such as testing campaign materials with target audiences or refining messages on different channels?

It’s true that all of the above activities will take time and effort and may uncover a need to invest further. But once your branding code is as robust and rigorous as your product code, you’ll already be ahead of the competition. 

German is co-founder and chief relevance officer of THE RELEVANCE HOUSE, a branding and marketing agency focused on blockchain and Web3.

This article was published through Cointelegraph Innovation Circle, a vetted organization of senior executives and experts in the blockchain technology industry who are building the future through the power of connections, collaboration and thought leadership. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Cointelegraph.

Cryptocurrency

BTC price holds 6% gains as Bitcoin battles for ‘crucial’ $28K support

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Bitcoin (BTC) passing $28,000 hints at bullish sentiment, but reclaiming it for good is essential, analysis says.

In an X (formerly Twitter) post on Oct. 17, Yann Allemann and Jan Happel, co-founders of on-chain analytics firm Glassnode, described the $28,000 mark as a “critical milestone” for the BTC price.

Glassnode: “Keep an eye out” for $28,000

After snap volatility, which caused Bitcoin to hit $30,000 for the first time since August, the largest cryptocurrency has managed to preserve some of its gains.

At the time of writing, BTC/USD is circling $28,500, per data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView — still up around 6% since the weekly open.

For Allemann and Happel, the pair is now at a defining crossroads.

“The crypto market is hinged on BTC’s ability to breach and consistently maintain a value north of $28k,” part of their commentary stated.

$28,000 has formed a battleground ever since Bitcoin first crossed it in early 2021, and liquidity has traditionally surrounded it as bulls and bears fight to secure control over long-term trajectory.

Data from the trading suite DecenTrader, among others, confirms that the status quo remains despite recent BTC price moves, with $28,000 lying in a zone between major longs and shorts of varying leverage.

Bitcoin liquidity data. Source: DecenTrader

“While this pivotal milestone was momentarily attained on futures, the spot market price peaked at $27.98k earlier today. It’s evident just how crucial this price point is in the larger scheme,” Allemann and Happel added.

“The rapid movements and these price thresholds aren’t just numbers. They signify investor sentiment, market dynamics. Keep an eye out for the 28k level.”

BTC/USD 1-day chart. Source: TradingView

Road to Bitcoin halving contested

As Cointelegraph reported, predictions over what the future will bring for Bitcoin both before and after its next block subsidy halving in April 2024 differ considerably.

Related: Mining BTC is harder than ever — 5 things to know in Bitcoin this week

In an interview last month, DecenTrader co-founder Filbfilb eyed BTC price galvanizing itself for upside during Q4, possibly reaching $46,000 by the halving.

Some well-known market participants, however, remain risk-averse. Among them, popular trader Crypto Tony and others are betting on a pre-halving return to $20,000 for a final local bottom.

“Many can scream they are long right now and caught that move, but if your not taking profit here at resistance your doing something wrong,” he told X subscribers about the recent surge.

“I personally will not be long unless we flip that $28,500 level into support.”

BTC/USD annotated chart. Source: Crypto Tony/X

This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trading move involves risk, and readers should conduct their own research when making a decision.

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Cryptocurrency

Ripple job posting hints at possible IPO, XRP community says

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Fintech payments company Ripple released a new job posting on Oct. 16 for a shareholder communications senior manager across multiple locations in and outside the United States. The job posting prompted many crypto enthusiasts to label it as an official hint about the company’s plans to go public.

The job posting outlines that the role will require direct communication with shareholders — a concept generally associated with publicly traded companies. The chosen candidate would be responsible for developing and implementing communication and relationship management strategies for “existing and prospective investors, current shareholders, and financial analysts.”

The job description emphasizes the candidate’s need to create strategic plans specifically suited for situations like “M&A [mergers and acquisitions], investments, liquidity events, and other high-impact moments.“

The role includes creating investor-focused materials like “presentations, fact sheets, case studies, and analyses“ to inform and educate potential investors about the company’s prospects and performance — a necessary component of the initial public offering (IPO) preparation process. The responsibilities of the post also include maintaining a shareholder database and managing routine communications like quarterly updates.

Related: How are crypto firms responding to US regulators’ enforcement actions?

Many XRP (XRP) proponents and the pro-Ripple community on X (formerly Twitter) are referring to the job posting as a hint that there may be an IPO. Some key executives from the company have also alluded to the possibility that Ripple might go public but haven’t given any indication of timing.

The crypto-focused payments company has recently been in the limelight due to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) lawsuit alleging XRP is a security. Ripple scored a major win in the lawsuit in July when a judge ruled that XRP is not a security in terms of sale on digital asset exchanges.

Key Ripple executives have claimed that even though the SEC lawsuit has cost them many business opportunities in the U.S., most of its remittance business lies outside America.

Magazine: US enforcement agencies are turning up the heat on crypto-related crime

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Cryptocurrency

Banks’ crypto exposure must be disclosed — BIS’ Basel Committee

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The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) released a consultation paper on Oct. 17, proposing to make it compulsory for banks to disclose their crypto exposure.

The Basel Committee comprises central banks and financial authorities from 28 jurisdictions and is a forum for regulatory cooperation on banking supervisory matters. The latest consultation paper is based on the disclosure guidelines in the final prudential standard on how banks should handle their exposure to crypto assets released in December 2022.

The consultation paper aims to set a standardized “disclosure table and set of templates for banks’ crypto-asset exposures,” with a proposed implementation date of Jan. 1, 2025. The Basel Committee has opened the proposal for public comment until Jan. 31, 2024, after which the results will be published on its website.

Under the new proposed regulations, banks would be required to provide quantitative data on exposures to crypto assets and the corresponding capital and liquidity requirements. Banks would also be required to offer qualitative data on their activities linked to cryptocurrencies.

Additionally, banks would be required to offer information on the accounting classifications of their exposure to crypto assets and liabilities. In its proposal, the committee claimed that using a uniform disclosure format will encourage the application of market discipline and lessen information asymmetry between banks and market participants.

Related: Ripple joins BIS cross-border payments task force

The committee also reviewed crypto assets and bank exposure in June. At the time, the committee didn’t delve deeply into the topic, mentioning only that it was focusing on permissionless blockchains and the eligibility criteria for “Group 1” stablecoins.

The BIS has been actively involved in crypto consultations and examining the regulatory aspect of decentralized technology. Recently, the BIS and a handful of European central banks published details of a concept to develop a system to track international flows of cryptocurrencies.

Magazine: Blockchain detectives: Mt. Gox collapse saw birth of Chainalysis

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