Industry Case Studies: Blockchain & Cryptocurrency
In 2014 I was fresh out of graduate school and transitioning from sales to content marketing in the sphere of enterprise software-as-a-service.
I got in touch with a company called BitPesa that facilitated cross-border business transactions in Africa. I helped write one of their use case white papers, and got comped in about half a Bitcoin -- worth around $250 at the time.
A few months later, I sold all of it to help pay the bills. A decision that I somewhat regret today, to say the least.
Investment decisions none withstanding, my work with BitPesa was a great eye-opener in terms of the potential of Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, and the blockchain. Not just as a store of value or hedge against inflation, but as a technology ecosystem that could create business value and solve a variety of problems.
Since then, I've continued to work with blockchain and cryptocurrency companies refine their brand voice and improve their standing through thought leadership and content marketing. I've also written crypto-related content for non-blockchain companies to help position their brands as forward-thinking and help "connect the dots" between the blockchain in whatever industry they're working in.
In this post, my goal is to share a few interesting case studies of my work over the past few years in terms of Bitcoin, cryptocurrency, blockchain, distributed apps (DApps) and even non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
BitPesa: Explaining Blockchain to Businesses
My first ever cryptocurrency project. I helped the BitPesa team -- based out of Nairobi -- distill and present the use case for their platform to small-to-medium sized businesses in Africa. At the time, BitPesa was just beginning to get traction as a blockchain-based cross-border payment rail. If a company in Kenya wanted to pay a supplier for goods or services in Ghana, for instance, using BitPesa and the blockchain was substantially cheaper than traditional banking or wire services.
It took about two months of working with the executive and business development team to extract the vital parts of their value proposition that were critical to be highlighted in the Whitepaper. Explaining concepts like the blockchain, as well as financial principles like settlement times, was the gist of my work with BitPesa. It showed me that cryptocurrency could actually help "the little guy," whether it be in New York or Nairobi. The result was a core thought leadership asset that BitPesa could showcase to its community well into the future.
Connecting Blockchain in the Airline Industry
One of the most fun brands that I've worked with over the past several years is a large aviation electronics manufacturer and supplier. More specifically, this company is responsible for those cool in-flight entertainment (IFE) systems that you'll find on most flights. IFE systems are evolving to encompasses much more than entertainment, as airlines now seek to integrate functionality like hotel bookings and meal ordering into the user experience.
The question I asked the client was: what are airlines going to be doing in terms of the blockchain? Next year, five, ten years from now? We conducted some research and interviewed blockchain experts along with airline executives, and came up with an engaging piece of brand journalism that painted a bright picture of how the blockchain is going to positively impact the sector over the next few years, from in-flight payments with Bitcoin to back-end logistics using smart contracts and the blockchain.
Cryptocurrency in the Cybersecurity Sphere
One of my most long-standing clients is a growing cybersecurity and compliance company. We've worked together to build them up from a fledgling brand to a well-known player in the space with a strong point-of-view and media reach. And as cryptocurrency began growing, so did the market's need for strong cybersecurity frameworks and partners to help secure things like wallets and exchanges. I discussed these topics -- among others -- regularly with the managing director to extract insights for thought leadership articles.
The result was a two-pronged approach. First, we would conduct a series of SEO-focused articles to be published on the company blog. These pieces educated the target audience on the CryptoCurrency Security Standards (CCSS) as well as general security issues within the crypto space. We were then able to begin publishing thought leadership pieces in more widely-known third party sites, such as Forbes. It's a great example of how you can build thought leadership in a new space fairly quickly with the right approach.
Blockchain Agency: Demystifying Early NFTs
Over the course of 2017 and 2018, I was working on my Masters of Science in Marketing degree in Dublin, Ireland. During that time, I got in touch with a blockchain-specific marketing agency that had a need for writers who were proficient and knowledgable not only in the crypto space, but with decentralized apps on the Ethereum network. At the time, creators were beginning to place unique pieces of artwork and collectibles on the blockchain, what we now know as non-fungible tokens or NFTs.
This experience was an eye-openers, as it was the first time I'd ever heard of Crypto Kitties and other gaming-related collectibles on the blockchain. My work with this agency focused on helping them write content for though leaders in the NFT space and building up general acceptability for DApp and ERC20 projects. Gaining traction through channels like Medium and Hackernoon was critical in producing a network effect for these projects and companies.
Conference Connections with Crypto Founders
One of my first in-person experiences within the cryptocurrency sphere was the Rise Hong Kong technology conference in 2015. As a member of the media, I was able to browse the floor and chat with startup founders at various stages of their development. By chance I connected with founders of then startup BitSpark, as well as others working on wallets, DApps and other crypto-related projects in countries throughout Asia.
In fact, you can read an article that I wrote about the experience at the time. Not only did it open my eyes to the fascinating direction that cryptocurrency was taking, but from a content standpoint it showed me how third-party, community generated content sites like Tech in Asia could be leveraged to build my own personal brand -- and the brands of then and future clients. It's an approach I still use to this day, whether it's Medium or any other site where brands have full editorial control over their content.
The cryptocurrency and blockchain space has come a long was since 2014. And while I will always regret selling that Bitcoin, I just chalk it up to part of my ongoing education with the crypto space. Working with blockchain and crypto founders and brands is some of the most enjoyable and engaging work I do.
But the next time I get paid in Bitcoin, I'll be sure it goes right into my HODL bag for good.
Are your a crypto founder or blockchain startup that's looking to build your brand and grow your network effect?
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a call where we can chat about how a thought leadership and brand journalism strategy can help.