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Is Crypto Dead? What to Buy/Mine? FinTechs beyond Blockchain?

Bitcoin crashes to lowest this year, losses top 25% in a week
Bitcoin crashes to lowest this year, losses top 25% in a week | Photo Credit: via Marco Verch

Yesterday, on my way to an AI roundtable, I had an interesting conversation about the future of crypto assets. I met Michael, who works for one of the world’s biggest insurance companies, on the train from Frankfurt to Munich. Of course, our conversation started with a nifty 7-minute Tableau demo – a wonderful ice breaker!

After closing the demo with the Bitcoin Dashboard on Tableau Public, the conversation quickly headed towards crypto assets and (non-)blockchain FinTechs. These are the top 3 of Michael’s questions that I want to share with you – together with my answers:

1. Is the blockchain innovation dead?

Absolutly not! Blockchain is a relatively new technology which has a long way to go before it becomes mainstream. Last year the most successful projects were those that aimed at adapting new technologies for convenient use. Furthermore, crypto assets create a new structure of safe and anonymous storage and managing of information. Projects like Ethereum proved to be extremely useful for building a steady and secure contracts, cloud storage and product quality control.

2. Are there still interesting crypto assets to buy or to mine?

Yes, indeed! In particular I’d suggest crypto assets targeting innovative use cases. If you buy these, you are actually investing in technology projects:

  • Factom (FCT) recently announced a partnership with Equator PRO, and according to the press release that announced the -partnership, Equator PRO is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution that aims to offer efficiency and oversight to help other mortgage servicers.
  • Clams (CLAM) is a crypto asset similar to bitcoin, but is using a ‘proof of stake’ system, which should be more equitable and fairer than bitcoin’s ‘proof of work’ system.
  • Electroneum (ETN) has a heavy emphasis on mobility and micropayments. A huge portion of the world’s population own a mobile phone but have no bank account. Electroneum aims to provide financial services for everybody in the world who has a mobile phone.

If you are into mining, it also makes sense if you are going to mine coins with innovative technology. Currently, I would strongly consider to mine Ravencoin (RVN) and its little sister Pigeoncoin (PGN).

Factom use cases
Factom use cases

3. Which non-blockchain related FinTech might be worth to look at?

Definetly Mintos! Mintos is much more than a regular peer-to-peer lending platform. Mintos is a global online marketplace for loans, which provides retail investors an easy and transparent way to invest in loans originated by a variety of alternative lending companies around the world. Furthermore, Mintos has demonstrated exponential growth and has become the world’s largest marketplace of its kind.

What’s your view on crypto? Let me know in the comments or via Twitter:

#TC18 Sessions: Rock your Social Media Data with Tableau

My TC18 sessions in New Orleans: "Rock your Social Media Data with Tableau"
My TC18 sessions in New Orleans: “Rock your Social Media Data with Tableau”

Anyone can analyze basic social media data in a few steps. But once you’ve started diving into social analytics, how do you bring it to the next level? This session will cover strategies for scaling a social data program. You’ll learn skills such as how to directly connect to your social media data with a Web Data Connector, considerations for building scalable data sources, and tips for using metadata and calculations for more sophisticated analysis.

First session: Tues, 23 Oct,  12:30-1:30 (Location: MCCNO – L3 – 333)

Second session: Wed, 24 Oct, 10:15-11:15 (Location: MCCNO – L3 – 346)

Twitter Analysis #TC18 Dashboard featured as Tableau Public Viz of the Day
Twitter Analysis #TC18 Dashboard featured as Tableau Public Viz of the Day

Here are some key takeaways and links (i.e. additional resources) featured during my TC18 sessions to help you formulate your social media data program in order to build a stronger presence and retrieve powerful insights:

Prolog: Introducing data artist Noah

Step 1: Understand How to Succeed with Social Media

Apple has officially joined Instagram on 7th August 2017. This isn’t your average corporate account as the company doesn’t want to showcase its own products. Instead, Apple is going to share photos shot with an iPhone:

The Customer-Centric Data Strategy

Apple’s Instagram account is more an extension of the “Shot on iPhone” billboard ad campaign.

And there are plenty takeaways for every business:

  • Wrap your data around your customers, in order to create business value
  • Interact with your customer in a natural way
  • Understand your customer and customer behaviour better by analyzing social media data

Step 2: Define Your Social Objectives and KPIs

A previous record-holding tweet: In 2014, actor and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres took a selfie with a gaggle of celebrities while hosting the Oscars. That photo has 3.44 million retweets at the time of writing:

Social Objectives:

  • Define specific KPIs for social media platforms
  • KPI objectives need to be measurable
  • Metrics should be in line with the business goals

Step 3: Assemble Your KPIs

Brand Awareness and Reputation

Step 4: Connect Your Social Media with Tableau

Option 1 – Directly from the platform: Get data directly from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and more

Option 2 – Via web automation: Use a service like IFTTT to store data on Google Sheets

Option 3 – Via web data connector: Use Tableau’s web data connector, e.g. the Twitter Web Data Connector by Alex Ross (a.k.a. Tableau Junkie) -> http://bit.ly/tc18_twitter

Option 4 – Code your own solution: Use an API provided by the platform -> http://bit.ly/tc17_r_fetch

Option 5 – Via a third party platform: Get data from an integrated social media platform, such as Talkwalker -> http://bit.ly/tc17_talkwalker

Talkwalker - Via a Third Party Platform

Step 5: Apply some Tips to Level Up

Gather Historic Data

Step 6: Explore Social Media Listening

Social listening means that you look beyond your own content. E.g. Talkwalker offers AI for image recognition and ggregation for online/offline media: http://bit.ly/tc17_talkwalker

Step 7: Leverage Your Analytics Tool Chain

Use Your R and Python Skills

Demo/Tutorial: Let’s See this in Tableau!

How to analyse Social Media traffic with Google Analytics in Tableau (YouTube):

How to analyse Social Media data from Twitter in Tableau (YouTube):

Slide Set

The slides presented at Tableau Conference are also available on SlideShare.

Are you on Social Media?

Feel free to retweet/share:

[Update 25 Oct 2018]: Missed the sessions? Watch the recording online!

Join my Social Media Analytics sessions at Tableau Conference #TC18

Are you ready for Tableau Conference 2018? Don’t miss my Social Media Analytics sessions!

Why do we need Social Media Analytics?

Social Media Analytics transforms raw data from social media platforms into insight, which in turn leads to new business value.

What will your learn in this sessions?

Once you dive into Social Media Analytics, how do you bring it to the next level? Social data can offer powerful insights right away. In this session, you will learn how to build a mature social data program from that foundation and strategies for scaling a social data programme, as well as how to connect directly to your social media data with a web data connector; considerations for building scalable data sources; and tips for using metadata and calculations for more sophisticated analysis.

Where and when are the sessions?

Do you want to learn more about Social Media Analytics with Tableau? Meet me at the 2018 Tableau Conferences in London or New Orleans and join my sessions:

Anything to prepare?

Yes, I’m glad that you ask:

[Update 5 Jul 2018]:

[Update 6 Jul 2018]:

Digitale Banken: Welche Digitalisierungstrends bewegen die Finanzbranche 2018?

Immersive und interaktive Analyse von Finanzdaten mit Argumented Reality
Immersive und interaktive Analyse von Finanzdaten mit Argumented Reality (Blockchain-Dashboard)

Jedes Jahr (2015, 2016, 2017 und 2018) stelle ich Digitalisierungstrends vor, die der Finanzbranche ein großes Potenzial bieten. Dabei geht es vor allem um einen Überblick darüber, welche Trends und Technologien zukünftig eine größere Rolle spielen werden oder könnten.

Im Folgenden habe ich die fünf Digitalisierungstrends identifiziert, die für Banken und Versicherungen in Zukunft besonders spannend sein dürften:

1. Maschine Learning

Maschine Learning und Deep Learning werden im Investment Banking angewandt, um Unternehmensbewertungen schneller und zuverlässiger durchzuführen. Mehr Daten denn je können hinzugezogen werden. Eine Gewichtung der Daten erfolgt komplett autonom. Da manuelle Analyse weitgehend entfällt, werden Entscheidungsprozesse drastisch beschleunigt. Investoren, die mit konventionellen Werkzeugen arbeiten, haben das Nachsehen.

2. Künstliche Intelligenz

Durch Künstliche Intelligenz gesteuerte Chatbots vermitteln den Kunden eine menschlichen-ähnliche Betreuung. Chatbots werden darüber hinaus in existierende Cloud-basierende Assistenten, wie Alexa oder Siri, eingebunden und sind in der Lage mittels Natural Language Processing, auch komplexere Anfragen zu verstehen. Recommender-Systeme liefern maßgeschneiderte Lösungen, die speziell auf die Bedürfnisse der Kunden abgestimmt sind.

3. Internet of Things

Wearables und in Kleidung eingearbeitete Sensoren (Internet of Things, IoT) liefern ausreichend Daten, um den Lebensstil der Kunden vollständig zu vermessen. Dadurch können individuelle Raten für Versicherungen und Finanzprodukte berechnet werden. Außerdem bieten die IoT-Daten eine weitere Datenquelle für die Recommender-Systeme.

4. Blockchain

Verträge werden kostengünstig, fälschungssicher und irreversibel in der Blockchain gespeichert. Die Blockchain dienst sogenannten Smart Contracts als dezentrale Datenbank. Darüber hinaus liefern Blockchain-Implementierungen, wie Ethereum, das Ausführen von Logik, die beispielsweise monatliche Zahlungen prüfen und ggf. auch die Erfüllung von Vertragsbestandteilen (z.B. im Schadenfall) steuern.

5. Argumented Reality

Arbeitsplätze werden mit Technik ausgestattet, die Argumented Reality ermöglicht. Lösungen wie Microsoft’s Hololense ermöglichen Analysten und Händlern eine immersive und interaktive Analyse von Finanzdaten in Echtzeit. Insbesondere fällt dadurch auch die Zusammenarbeit mit Kollegen leichter, da Plattformen zur visuellen Kollaboration traditionelle Meetings weitgehend ablösen.

Welcher ist der 6. Trend?

Helfen Sie den 6. Digitalisierungstrend zu benennen? Nehmen Sie hierzu an der Twitter-Umfrage teil. Selbstverständlich freue ich mich auch über Kommentare und eine spannende Diskussion.

Data Science Toolbox: How to use Julia with Tableau

R allows Tableau to execute Julia code on the fly
R allows Tableau to execute Julia code on the fly

Michael, a data scientist, who is working for a German railway and logistics company, recently told me during an FATUG Meetup that he loves Tableau’s R and Pyhton integration. As he continued, he raised the raised the question for using functions they have written in Julia. Julia, a high-level dynamic programming language for high-performance numerical analysis, is an integral part of newly developed data strategy in the Michael’s organization.

Tableau, however, does not come with native support for Julia. I didn’t want to keep Michael’s team down and was looking for an alternative way to integrate Julia with Tableau.

This solution is working flawless in a production environment since several months. In this tutorial I’m going to walk you through the installation and connecting Tableau with R and Julia. I will also give you an example of calling a Julia statement from Tableau to calculate the sphere volume.

1. Install Julia and add PATH variable

You can download Julia from julialang.org. Add Julia’s installation path to the PATH environment variable.

2. Install R, XRJulia and RServe

You can download base R from r-project.org. Next, invoke R from the terminal to install the XRJulia and the RServe packages:

> install.packages("XRJulia")
> install.packages("Rserve")

XRJulia provides an interface from R to Julia. RServe is a TCP/IP server which allows Tableau to use facilities of R.

3. Load libraries and start RServe

After packages are successfully installed, we load them and run RServe:

> library(XRJulia)
> library(Rserve)
> Rserve()

Make sure to repeat this step everytime you restart your R session.

4. Connecting Tableau to RServe

Now let’s open the Help menu in Tableau Desktop and choose Settings and Performance >Manage External Service connection to open the External Service Connection dialog box:

TC17 External Service Connection

Enter a server name using a domain or an IP address and specify a port. Port 6311 is the default port used by Rserve. Take a look on my R tutorial to learn more about Tableau’s R integration.

5. Adding Julia code to a Calculated Field

You can invoke Calculated Field functions called SCRIPT_STR, SCRIPT_REAL, SCRIPT_BOOL, and SCRIPT_INT to embed your Julia code in Tableau, such as this simple snippet that calculates sphere volume:

6. Use Calculated Field in Tableau

You can now use your Julia calculation as an alternate Calculated Field in your Tableau worksheet:

Using Julia within calculations in Tableau (click to enlarge)
Using Julia calculations within Tableau (click to enlarge)

Feel free to download the Tableau Packaged Workbook (twbx) here.

Further reading: Mastering Julia