ruletheworld

Aug 312017
 

This is a paid press release.

29 Aug 2017, Singapore and Kyiv, Ukraine – Hacken, the cybersecurity marketplace for bug bounties, announces its token sale, scheduled for 12 October, 2017. The project aims to create a collaborative defense ecosystem for  White Hat Hackers and the Blockchain community.

Cybersecurity and cryptocurrencies are some of the hottest topics right now. According to CyberSeek there are more than 348,000 open cybersecurity positions in 2017, and this number will be up to 1.8M by 2022. However,  there is not enough supply to meet the high demand in the market for penetration testing and bug bounty programs.

HACKEN ECOSYSTEM

HACKEN is building a sound regional cyber defense system custom tailored for the Blockchain. One which will adjust itself to the cyber challenges that will undoubtedly appear within the next decade. The company will use Blockchain technology and smart contracts to store product data, to conduct research audits and to issue HackenProof Vulnerabilities and Countermeasures Certificates.

Hacken aims to bring cybersecurity professionals together by providing incentives for doing business with one another and for investment in cybersecurity startups. These people will need to communicate and interact with each other in order to make use of their Hackens. The more vibrant the community is, the more value it delivers to each member.

The Hacken Accelerator, is an initiative started by Hacken in collaboration with 1991 Incubator. The startups will be mentored by the pros of Ukrainian and global cybersecurity companies.The six-month, mentor-driven accelerator program hopes to address the shortage of practice and piloting, as well as sustainability of cyber startups in Ukraine.

Hacken Proof is a bug bounty marketplace platform created by white hat hackers and the blockchain community based on the principle of fair share.This is a place where the two communities can cooperate and support each other. The purposes of this cooperation are high quality penetration testing and vulnerability reports for a premium fee paid to community members submitting these reports.

HKN Token

The Hacken Token can be used within the Hacken ecosystem  to make new investments via Hacken Accelerator and orders via HackenProof, Unreported Zero-Day Remuneration Platform, Cybersecurity Analytics Center. Community members will also get rewarded in Hackens, which provides positive liquidity and low volatility.

Hacken is the first custom-tailored decentralized token for cybersecurity professionals. The Hacken is a  constellation of businesses providing services which can only be received by using HKN as a payment instrument. 20 Mln HKN tokens will be mined and available for sale at $1.00 per HKN. Purchases options will include BTC, ETH, DASH, LTC, USD and EUR. For more details visit hacken.io.

“The alternative we are promoting is launching a legitimate business and halting being dependant on the Don who pays for petty dirty jobs. Boosting expertise in this area is a matter of survival for European countries. We also want to make sure to give back to the community, by supporting HackIT Competitions and by creating a Cybersecurity Analytics Center” – Dmytro Budorin, CFO

Bright leadership together with strategic partnerships will be supporting the future of the HACKEN. It’s outstanding leadership include Dmytro Budorin (CFO and Lead Manager of Hacken)  one of the top executives within Ukraine’s military defense industry and ACCA for Deloitte for 8 years and Mykyta Knysh (Community Director), who is the cybersecurity advisor to the President of Ukraine and specialized in defense services and training.

Hacken has also teamed up with advisors experts in this field. Ambisafe is the technological advisor in the venture. Oleksii Matiiasevych, EDCC architect at Ambisafe is directly involved with White Hat Hack activities. On July 19, 2017, Oleksii discovered a critical vulnerability during the Parity Ethereum wallet Attack and together with the White Hat Group, he ended up saving $1,4 Mln worth of Ethers from the compromised wallets.

“The ultimate goal of the Hacken ecosystem, is to create a generation of hackers to whom what Oleksii did is entirely normal, the only acceptable life scenario” said Vladimir Taratushka, HackIT conference director and member of HACKEN team.

About Hacken

Hacken Ecosystem is to lay down a framework for creating a stable means of income and financial incentives for its members.

Created to stimulate the emergence of this vibrant cybersecurity industry, our mission is to develop a resourceful and ethical expert community. Our vision is to launch a movement, that in several years will become an important factor in deterring and countering international cybercrime.

Learn more about HACKEN at – https://hacken.io/
Follow on Twitter at –  @hacken_io
Follow on Facebook at – @hacken.io
Join the discussion on Telegram – @hackenio
Media Contact
Contact Name: Dmytro Budorin
Contact Email: dbudorin@gmail.com
Company: HACKEN

Aug 262017
 

This is a paid press release from Worldcore.

Worldcore announces an Initial Coin Offering (ICO), as part of their wider expansion plans. The company envisions to become a worldwide reference for the financial tomorrow, by integrating its successful payment solution into the blockchain sector of economy. WRC token will become your pass to the new world.

Worldcore ICO starts on October 14 of 2017. In total, a maximum supply of one billion WRC tokens at $0.10 USD each, will be available for purchase. WRC tokens will be backed by a Smart Contract guaranteeing annual revenue share from a well-established rapidly growing business which already passed break even point.

Since its launch, Worldcore’s notoriety has been recognized across many Fintech events in the European Union as an active participant and sponsor. The company won the “Best Fintech Newcomer” Banking Award by Business News Europe, in 2016. The same year, the company has partnered with BitPay, and is now offering crypto-currency withdrawal solutions to thousands of customers around the world.

Worldcore has also become a National Finalist of Central European Startup Awards 2017.Already a successful company, Worldcore is always on the quest to find new ways to improve.

Driven by its mission to revolutionize the fintech industry, the digital institution will gradually integrate Blockchain products to its established portfolio. Such products will include a regulated blockchain powered P2P lending platform, a Blockchain based cash transfer payment platform for easy and instant conversion of cryptocurrencies into cash and vice-versa,Worldcore TV and transformation into a Swiss bank with further IPO on London Stock Exchange.

Worldcore’s CEO Alexey Nasonov was listed in Europe 100 list of changemakers in Central and Eastern Europe by Financial Times. The founder addressed the upcoming ICO:

We became the №1 company in the Czech Republic and I am sure that in the next 2 years we will enter the top 20 in Europe. Worldcore’s ICO is a history in the making . By buying WRC tokens, you will make history and earn with us as well.

Traditional banking services are still offered today, showing impressive lack of technological innovation. Customers dealing with traditional banks still have to visit the bank to open an account, they face monthly maintenance fees. And even by offering complex banking products, they do not cater to each individual need, nor do they offer solutions for the new digital era, such as cryptocurrency conversion and biometrics authentication.
By opening the international marketplace to consumers and businesses that are not served by legacy banking and seek cost-effective, progressive financial products. Worldcore brings together technology, capital and financing acumen to become the new name of the financial tomorrow.

Worldcore’s established products portfolio for businesses and individuals can be viewed at https://worldcore.com/. Learn all about the venture and our roadmap by accessing our Whitepaper here.

ICO

Worldcore has set a goal of up to $100 million, which it’s planned to raise through the ICO, starting on October 14,2017. Presale phase with minimum purchase of 500,000 tokens starts on October 2, 2017. The funds raised during the ICO will be utilized for the development and promotion of the digital bank’s blockchain project. Users will be able to purchase tokens with Euros, US Dollars and cryptocurrencies.

About Worldcore

Worldcore is an EU-regulated payment institution, founded in 2014. The Company is headquartered in Prague, Czech Republic. The brand is owned and operated by EUPSProvider s.r.o., a company licensed by the National Bank of Czech Republic.

Worldcore an alternative to bank which combines features of modern banking with cutting-edge security and latest technological advances. The Blockchain integration project, will serve our mission of a fully digitalized ecosystem, enabling blockchain asset trading, P2P lending platform and Blockchain-based international cash money transfers.

Contacts

Learn more about Worldcore at – https://worldcore.com/
Follow on Twitter at – @worldcoresocial
Follow on Facebook at – @worldcoresocial
Join the discussion in Telegram – @worldcore
Worldcore on Medium – @worldcore
Media Contact
Contact Name: Sean Patterson
Contact Email:  pr@worldcore.eu
Telegram: @worldcore
Company: Worldcore
Location: Prague, Czech Republic

Jul 272017
 

This is a sponsored post

Normally when you hear about transaction fees, you associate them with a large national bank or banking conglomerate that attaches arbitrary fees to transactions for no real discernable reason. Bitcoin is not centralized to any one government, therefore it skates by without transactions fees being applied by the merchants and business that allow cryptocurrency transactions, such as online retail sites, travel agencies and gambling sites that accept Ethereum and bitcoin. These e-commerce markets trade goods and services for crypto and charge no fees in the transaction. The only fees that are common with Bitcoin and other digital currencies are a result of how the currency is mined and recorded into the blockchain.

First, I need to explain a little bit about how bitcoins are mined for us to really understand where these transaction fees come from. Each bitcoin transaction comes with a transaction fee that is both processed and received by the miner. The miners themselves utilize powerful computers built specifically for mining bitcoin. These computers are what makes up the network. They make the decisions on what transactions to add into the blockchain and in what order they will be included. They make those decisions based on several factors and one of the most significant ones is how big the mining fee is.

The miners themselves go through the effort of mining bitcoin because it promises financial reward. Every time a new block of transactions is recorded and included into the blockchain, the miner that was responsible for it collects a bounty in the form of new bitcoins. This is how each bitcoin is created. The miners then keep the fees and are incentivized to comprise their blocks with transactions that have higher fees. You can see the fees that have been paid out by the difference in the inputs and outputs of your transaction details. The larger the transaction, the larger the fee that should be associated with it.

Typically, it’s the sender who pays the fee and they can choose to pay as little or as much as they would like.  The bitcoin miners never have to accept and mine a transaction just because it is out there so the fees turn into a way to incentivize the miners to include these transactions into their block. This then turns into a decision for the miner that’s made based off of the time it would take to mine the block and the amount a miner would receive in fees for doing so. Larger transactions require more time to mine and are sometimes not worth the work if they have less than the recommended fees associated with them. Some people may pay a higher than average transaction fee in order to see their transactions on the block in a shorter amount of time.

Jul 112017
 

This is a guest post by Anupam.

Bitcoin has been on a wild ride since the beginning of 2017. It started the year off trading at around $900 and has since tripled in less than 6 months. With daily volumes at over $2 billion, the currency shows no sign of slowing down.

India has always been an interesting region for bitcoin. Even though people at large are still unaware about the cryptocurrency, the small number of people who do understand and are interested in Bitcoin has been growing rapidly.

According to the Economic Times (a leading Indian newspaper), there are more than 2500 Indians investing in Bitcoin every day, despite the warnings from the central bank. It is important to note that buying bitcoin in India is legal. However, it is not regulated by the central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

On December 24, 2013, the RBI issued a press release on virtual currencies (like Bitcoins, Litecoins, Ethereum, Dogecoins, etc.) stating that creation, trade, and usage of virtual currencies as a medium for payment is not authorized by any central bank or monetary authority.

After the recent wannacry attack, Indian government finally looks serious to tackle bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Last month, they sought public opinion on whether or not to regulate bitcoin. It seems like the government is in the process of drafting regulations around cryptocurrencies.

Regardless of what government comes up with, there is no way they can completely ban bitcoin. People are buying bitcoins in India and will continue to do so.

Up until two years ago it wasn’t very easy for an average Joe to get hold of bitcoins in India. Today, however, there are several exchanges from where Indian citizens can legally buy bitcoins. Few exchanges outside of India also let Indians buy bitcoin.

Bitcoin Exchanges in India

Zebpay

Zebpay is the largest Indian bitcoin exchange with daily volumes hovering around 4000 bitcoins. It has Android and iPhone apps that make it easy to buy bitcoins with a connected Indian bank account. Zebpay charges a minimal amount of INR 10 on every withdrawal.

Coinsecure

Coinsecure provides an interactive trading platform along with the exchange. The transaction fee is 0.3%.

Unocoin

Unocoin is another great exchange but their prices are usually a bit higher compared to other exchanges. They charge 1% fees on every transaction.

Pocketbits

Pocketbits is a new player in the market. Founder of the exchange is very active in buying and selling bitcoins on localbitcoins. They are super quick with verifications and deposits.

Local Bitcoins

LocalBitcoins is an escrow service which helps to match buyers and sellers. In India, the most common method of making the payment is IMPS transfer. It’s easy and quick. With LocalBitcoins you don’t need to go through any KYC process. Just select a reputed seller and buy bitcoins.

You may also find people willing to meet you in person to do the transaction. These meetings are not facilitated by LocalBitcoins in India.

Bitcoin Exchanges Outside India

Coinmama

Coinmama allows customers to buy bitcoins from any country including India via debit or credit card. They charge a ~6% fee on every purchase. You don’t need to verify your identity if you’re buying less than $150 worth of bitcoins.

BTCC

BTCC is based out of Hong Kong and let’s people trade in USD. You will need to wire USD into your BTCC account in order to buy bitcoin from the exchange.

ShapeShift

Shapeshift lets you buy bitcoins with altcoins like Ethereum, Litecoin, Dogecoin etc. You never need to create an account on Shapeshift. Exchanges happen almost instantly because ShapeShift never actually controls your tokens but simply exchanges them.

Conclusion

After the demonetization scheme, there is a sudden push by the government to move towards a cashless society. The move has made people in India to look at bitcoin as an investment opportunity.

India also has one of the largest remittance markets with a total value of more than $70 billion. A user generally ends up paying up to 15% in bank charges and conversion fees. This is where bitcoin’s true potential lies – quick transfers with negligible fees.

Clearly, the adoption of bitcoin is at a steady pace in the country. Only the time will tell if it can go mainstream.

Jun 042017
 

Bancor Token Exchange

This is part-2 of our series exploring the new Bancor protocol. You can find part-1 here, where we discussed how the Bancor protocol allows for the proliferation of user-generated tokens while providing the tokens liquidity at the same time through a decentralized exchange on Ethereum via the use of smart contracts (so no counterparty risk like in an exchange).

Here, we discuss how the Bancor protocol can be used for the decentralized token exchange economy not just for newer community-type tokens, but for well-established crypto-tokens on Ethereum as well. We’ll also talk about how this ties into the token asset management space that other projects like Melon and working on.

First, let’s talk about creating a decentralized exchange via the Bancor Protocol.

Decentralized Exchange via Profit Arbitrage

There have been several attempts at creating decentralized exchanges. Many of them rely on external gateways that transfer the assets on the blockchain into ‘real world’ currencies. However, these still have a counterparty risk involved. These include examples like Waves or Bitshares that have a “DEX” (Decentralized Exchange) built into their products, but with the use of external gateways.

However, what Bancor is building is something different. It has the elements of price discovery outside of the decentralized exchange, which then drive the price discovery on the blockchain. The actual exchange mechanism itself is completely decentralized, and doesn’t rely on any external third-party ‘guaranteeing’ assets on the blockchain to be a certain value.

The way this works is through simple price arbitrage. There’s a smart contract that triggers the exchange of one crypto-asset into another. If the relative prices go out of whack by a lot, then arbitrageurs enter the market, and buy the relatively undervalued asset while selling the relatively overvalued asset, while offsetting their positions with the external exchange. This is the key to how the Bancor protocol enables decentralized asset exchange. The smart contract itself has no concept of a price. Instead, the assumption is that the price is determined not by price feeds but by arbitrageurs who have an economic incentive to get the prices in balance, otherwise they can make a riskless profit.

In terms of the actual implementation, like with Token Issuance, there is a certain amount of crypto-assets in reserve. However, these are full reserve as opposed to fractional reserve, and there are two crypto-assets instead of one. Now you’ve created a trading pair. No need of any external exchange.

I believe another important characteristic of the Bancor Protocol is that it enables the creation of new asset pairs that is market determined as opposed to exchange determined. Today, say if you want to use Augur as your base trading pair, you’ll be hard pressed to find an exchange offering you Augur trading pairs. However, with Bancor, you can easily create one by keeping Augur and another crypto-asset fully backed in the smart contract. This way you’ve created an Augur trading pair.

Asset Management and Crypto-ETFs

Another less appreciated aspect of the Bancor protocol is that it enables the creation of crypto-ETF like assets, without any centralized trust component, i.e. only via smart contracts. This will become increasingly important as crypto-assets become a genuine asset class on to themselves. The way Bancor envisions ETFs is the creation of multiple reserve assets in the smart contract, with a 100% backing instead of fractional reserve.

These smart tokens will become an essential part of the portfolio from an investment point of view. Already, companies like Iconomi are working on creating crypto-index funds. However, the ICNX that is created by Iconomi is completely centralized. With the Bancor protocol you can do the same (although for now only with Ethereum-based tokens) in a decentralized manner and just hold units of account in the smart contract that contains the tokens in reserve.

I predict that ‘theme-based’ investing in crypto will become common too. For example, think prediction markets will be the next big thing? There will be a crypto-ETF with Augur’s REP and Gnosis’ GNO tokens. As the scope of projects keeps expanding, this will become more important for investors that don’t want to take chances on individual companies but instead on the market potential.

Photo Credit: normanack

Jun 012017
 

Bancor Protocol

Bancor is building a really interesting economic framework that would make it easier to obtain price discovery for thinly-traded tokens. The goal of the Bancor Protocol is to allow for the creation of whole new types of token economies that may never otherwise have a price, because exchanges aren’t interested in adding thinly traded tokens. With the implementation of the Bancor Protocol, tokens can already have a source of price discovery and liquidity without there being any need to add them on external exchanges.

Economics of Token Issuance

At the heart of the Bancor Protocol lies a smart contract that is able to exchange specific crypto-tokens (called ‘Smart Tokens’ in the whitepaper) for an underlying asset. An important point to remember is that the underlying isn’t tied one-to-one to the Smart Token. Instead, only a certain reserve ratio is in place.

If there is a token issuance that uses the Bancor protocol, the following are the key parameters –

  • Money in Reserve – this is ETH or an ERC20 token in reserve with the smart contract. It can also be a combination of one, two, or many of these tokens.
  • Reserve Ratio – this is the ratio of reserves (in the form above) held in the smart contract. For example, if a Smart Token has a supply of 100, with a total of 100 ETH priced in, and an ETH reserve ratio of 25%, it means 25 ETH will initially sit in the smart contract.
  • Smart Token Supply – this is the total supply of the smart tokens being issued. In the example above, since we issued 100 Smart Tokens, that’s the total token supply.
  • Theoretical Total Reserve – this is the theoretical limit of ETH or another ERC20 token backing the Smart Token Supply. Note that this is simply given as the actual Money in Reserve divided by the Reserve Ratio. In our example, 25 ETH is the money in reserve, and the Reserve Ratio is 25%, so the Theoretical Total Reserve is 25/0.25 = 100 ETH.

It is important to note that the Theoretical Total Reserve described above is not the amount sitting in the smart contract. The smart contract only has this amount multiplied by the Reserve Ratio. The idea is that of a fractional reserve – in efficient markets, the reserve would never go dry because the price adjusts depending on the interaction with the smart contract (we’ll discuss price discovery and price movement mechanisms below).

If the Reserve Ratio is 100%, then the token and underlying would move together, i.e. if you issue 100 tokens backed by 100 ETH in the smart contract that can be withdrawn at any point of time, then the downside is limited to 1 token per ETH. However, things start to get interesting when the Reserve Ratio is less than 1.

Pricing and Economics Between Reserve Tokens and Smart Tokens

Before we discuss pricing-specific details, let’s outline why you would like to have a Reserve Ratio of less than one in the first place. Say there’s a token sale that raised 1000 ETH. The team can announce that 25% of this will be held in reserve, and the rest 75% will be used for their operating and capital expenses. This causes the price of the Smart Token to instantly float against ETH. Say 10,000 Smart Tokens were issued, which would mean a price of 0.1 ETH. Now due to there being a reserve, although the initial price is 10 Smart Tokens per Ether, the actual price can float even without it being added to external exchanges like Poloniex or Bittrex or even decentralized exchanges like EthDelta or Waves/Bitshares DEX.

So how does it work? Simply put, each time you buy the Smart Token by paying ETH into the smart contract, the price increases. Each time you sell the Smart Token and take ETH out of the smart contract, the price decreases. The magnitude of the increase or decrease is independent of whether you do one transaction or break it up into multiple transactions. This way, if there’s demand for the Smart Token, you can simply get it by exchange ETH from the smart contract. The price the smart contract quotes you is a cumulative value calculated based on all the previous buys and sells in the past.

Things get more interesting when external exchanges also list the Smart Token. Now there is a clear arbitrage opportunity between the floating exchange rate quoted by the smart contract and the exchange rate on exchanges. People can buy the Smart Tokens from two sources, and in efficient markets, the prices would come to parity. If not, someone can exploit the arbitrage opportunity and make a profit.

Bancor has some really interesting economics and game theory behind it. We look forward to the product being released and see how it affects the token issuance market.

Photo Credit: Flickr

Apr 272017
 

Blockchain is here to stay. And that means that people in the financial sector are starting to worry about their job security. But do they have good reason to worry? And wouldn’t a technological breakthrough like this create jobs rather than start a wave of redundancies?

We’re well aware that no matter what industry you’re in, automation is a genuine concern in terms of job security, but of course, some jobs are far more likely to be taken over by machines than others. Blockchain, however, which certainly does remove the need for a number of human processes, is not a wholly automated technology…yet.

But before we go any further let’s first explain what blockchain is for those who are unfamiliar with the technology.

In simple terms, blockchain is like a digital ledger that is hosted from every user’s computer. There is complete transparency for all users with all transactions viewable and verifiable at all times. This makes it incredibly difficult to make fraudulent transactions and is a boon to those dealing with large sums of money particularly with overseas clients.

What blockchain is doing to the financial sector is opening it up and doing away with many of the mysterious procedures that those outside the industry had no understanding of. In effect, it is rendering many of these processes redundant.

And of course, fewer processes means less demand for employees to carry out such tasks. But just like many industries adapted to automation so too will the financial industry readjust itself.

In fact, several major banks have joined Swift’s blockchain project proving that they are indeed embracing this new technology. And with financial institutions taking such steps, they are creating new positions within their workforce.

Many have likened the rise of blockchain as something of a ‘dawn of the internet’ moment in financial history. Just like the internet, as blockchain evolves, and more institutions not only make use of it but embrace it, a new wave of job titles and positions will appear.

As the technology develops, there will be a need for security experts and those with encryption skills as companies seek to protect their records and ensure that this seemingly fraud-proof technology is as bulletproof as it claims to be.

There will also be endless applications of the technology that will require specific software, and so you can expect a wave of blockchain startups to crop up over the next few months and years. So as you can see the potential for job creation is quite encouraging.

Perhaps even the jobs currently under threat in the financial sector won’t just disappear but will actually evolve to incorporate blockchain-related tasks and responsibilities. Just like the print editor of bygone days is the online content editor of today so too could the international banking specialist of today become the blockchain expert of the future.

While financial professionals are right to expect change, it might just be that they too are part of that change and that all their fears of unemployment are unfounded.

 

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

Apr 192017
 

TaaS Crypto Research

TaaS (Token-as-a-Service)is a new crypto-asset (crypto-token on Ethereum), which is a closed-end fund for the cryptocurrency industry broadly. This means there is a fund management team that invests in promising new crypto-assets, crypto-tokens, meta-tokens, app-coins, or protocol tokens (whatever you want to call them), and shares the profits with its token-holders. TaaS will invest in existing crypto-assets and also in new ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings). In fact, TaaS itself is currently undergoing its ICO to fund the initial capital.

TaaS of course is not the first project looking to invest into the emerging market of ICOs and crypto-assets. Many different projects are trying to do the same, from ICONOMI (which was an ICO like TaaS and raised over $10 million) to Blockchain Capital.

However, they all differ in their approach – either the fund structure, or the types of investments. For instance, ICONOMI does a buy-back to return money to shareholders and there is no fee structure disclosed, which means investors don’t know how much they’ll lose out on operating expenses of the fund. Blockchain Capital is a tradeable and investable token, but its investments are more venture capital based rather than crypto-asset based.

With these in mind, let’s look at where TaaS fits into the picture.

Existing Financial Industry Structure

If you look at the largest investment banks in the world today, like say Goldman Sachs, you’ll see they have a very active research division. If you look at the largest hedge-funds today, they have their internal research division that forms buy-side research at these firms. These sell-side and buy-side research is an integral and important part of the financial industry.

The ICO and crypto-asset industry is very nascent indeed. Bitcoin, the grandfather of all cryptos, isn’t even a decade old. However, the market is adding billions of dollars worth of capitalization in months. Today, the market stands at around $25 billion, with the dominance of Bitcoin on the wane (relative to the total market size). Research in this area is just getting started.

The problem with many of the funds in the industry is that they are flying blind. They do not have a solid analytical and data foundation on which to build the investment thesis. Without this foundation, unfortunately, investments look like speculation. Instead of targeted investing, funds are involved in spray-and-pray strategies that doesn’t help the ecosystem grow.

The Investment Decision Making Process

It goes without saying that crypto is a fairly recent and unique asset class, which means the strategies that work for equity investors will not work carbon-copy with crypto-assets. However, we can take lessons from the existing financial industry.

The minimum level of due-diligence that any fund manager in the crypto space needs to take is to read the whitepaper, understand the product, understand the team behind the project, and look at the token structure, i.e. what is the use of this token. This first step itself is a big deal of research for most investors.

However, one cannot stop there. There are many other research questions to answer. What’s the potential market size? What are the valuation assumptions? What are some past deals with similar ideas? What kinds of ratios are existing tokens in this industry selling for? What’s the crypto-market capitalization for this and related ideas? What are the risks being faced by the industry?

To answer the above questions, one needs data and human judgement. However, getting the data is the first step. Today, there are very few avenues for investors to get this data about the market they are investing in.

How TaaS is Different

Enter TaaS. Instead of being just another fund management platform, TaaS is building the ecosystem from ground up. Instead of first doing the picking of ICOs/crypto-assets, TaaS is asking the meta question – what kinds of questions do I need to answer to make a good investment decision? To this end, TaaS is building a crypto data and research platform, aka the Bloomberg of crypto, in the form of Kepler. I predict this will usher in an era of new products in the crypto-research space, which is at a cross-roads now and very much needs these products.

Kepler can be subscribed to by outside fund managers as well. In the absence of such a product in the marketplace, the TaaS team is building one for the industry – an ambitious step but a step in the right direction nonetheless. After all, investments and research should always go hand in hand.

The TaaS ICO is ongoing now. Check out the site and other details at http://taas.fund/

Bitcointalk forum profile.

Photo Credit: Leo Hidalgo

Apr 012017
 

Lunyr Decentralized Knowledgebase

Lunyr is a new crypto-economic asset built on Ethereum, aimed to get the economic incentives right for distributed online knowledge sharing. Lunyr has built a clever set of incentive schemes that could potentially help it provide much higher quality information than other similar sites, including the likes of Wikipedia.

Today, Wikipedia represents one of the best known successes of large-scale knowledge sharing collaborative networks. In fact, it has been such a massive success that it killed the 244 year old Britannica Encyclopedia because the traditional model just couldn’t keep up with the frequency of updates and the addition of new information by Wikipedia. Run in a completely voluntary fashion, Wikipedia highlights that it is possible to create collaborative knowledge networks in today’s interconnected worlds.

Scratch a bit deeper though, and you’ll see a host of problems with the Wikipedia model, from errors to outright hoaxes. A large part of the reason for this is that neither the contributors nor the editors who later check the articles have any financial incentive. Economics, after all, trumps many other human systems of collaboration. As Adam Smith said,

It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. ~ Adam Smith

Lunyr aims to create a better knowledgebase using people’s regard to their own interest.

Beyond Wikipedia

Lunyr aims to create a new kind of collaborative knowledge system, but this time around, they want to do it based on providing economic incentives that may remove the issues plaguing the Wikipedia model. Another benefit of the Lunyr system is that it is not limited to just the creation of written content.

The vision is to be able to expand the system to much beyond that. With the advent of technologies from Artificial Intelligence (AI) to Virtual Reality (VR), Lunyr aims to create powerful APIs that plug into all these systems that require information and knowledge.

This is a powerful feature, since it is likely that in the future, machines (machine learning/artificial intelligence) will be the primary customers of information and knowledge, rather than humans. Data, after all, is overtaking the written word already. It is only a matter of time before machine intelligence consumes more content than us sapiens. How then will they consume this information? They will also need to ensure the information is accurate, and that not anyone can change the ‘facts’ via which the algorithms operate. Lunyr provides a possible solution to that problem because there is economic incentive system built into the system to prevent such abuses.

Lunyr works by creating a completely decentralized knowledge sharing database. Contributors can create new articles, and get paid for their efforts. Editors can edit, make changes, and accept/reject articles and get paid for their efforts. There is also a dispute-resolution system, which is needed in decentralized networks because not everyone may agree with a certain point. The monetary value of the network is through advertising. There are less chances of corruption in a decentralized decision-making process like Lunyr than with a centralized model like Wikipedia through advertising.

The below is the timeline for the launch of Lunyr. Note that the Lunyr ICO is currently ongoing, and you can get 44 LUN per ETH right now. The project has already raised over $300,000 in the ICO. Note that since there is no bonus for early participation, it is expected that the Lunyr ICO will continue to see traction until its end, and likely attract a large portion of the funds towards the end of the ICO rather than the beginning.

Lunyr Timeline

Check out the project here.

ETH Address: 0xC059456BB0E2e9A2ACD5a4c8384b29a89E1a3642

Mar 112017
 

TaaS Fund Management
TaaS (Token As A Service) is a new crypto project that is filling the increasing demand for crypto fund management. There is a lot of investor appetite for easy access to crypto as an asset class. We are seeing this niche get crowded of late – ICONOMI, Melonport, etc. are all involved, in some way, to help investors gain exposure to the new crypto asset class, and satisfy their demand. TaaS is a promising new project that is aimed to allow investors to reap the gains from good cryptocurrency investments. TaaS is separating itself from the rest of the crowd in many different ways that we’ll discuss below. Also, the TaaS ICO will start soon, so keep an eye out.

TaaS ICO and Structure

TaaS will sell a maximum of 101 million TaaS tokens in its ICO (Initial Coin Offering) that will go on for a month. No additional TaaS tokens will ever be created in the future. Also, the token sale structure is set up in a way that the tokens have a fixed price (of $1) and any tokens not sold in the ICO will be burned. The ICO will start on March 27th 2017.

Interestingly, the team has refused to hold on to any TaaS tokens in the future, i.e. all the TaaS tokens that will ever be created will be sold to the general public. This is different from many other projects that usually hold on to a certain percentage of tokens sold in the ICO, so they can ride the price up if it pops after the ICO.

There are bonuses for the ICO, but the bonuses are not based on duration as many other ICOs do. Instead, the bonuses are based on how much has been raised already till that point. The following is the bonus structure.

TaaS ICO Bonus

How Does TaaS Work?

The details of how TaaS works is outlined in its official whitepaper. TaaS is an Ethereum-based token which is structured as a closed-end fund. A closed-end fund pools investments from investors, invests the funds in the market, and distributes the returns back to the original investors. In the case of TaaS, 50% of all the returns earned on the invested money is sent back to the original investors. 25% is invested back into the fund, thus raising its AUM (assets under management) and thus the NAV (net asset value) of the closed-end fund. The remaining 25% is distributed between operational expenses (15%) and a reserve fund (10%). The reserve fund is used to handle investor fund outflows during the life-cycle of the fund (remember it’s a closed-end fund).

Therefore investors in TaaS have two distinct sources of return –

  • Earnings distributed via earnings, to the tune of 50%.
  • Increase in NAV of the fund, which means each TaaS token represents a higher amount of money in the ‘pot’.

Of course, there are the usual elements of earnings growth and speculation that will also drive the market price of the TaaS token.

Fund Transparency

TaaS is handling the problem of transparency in two distinct ways –

  • For the payouts themselves, the team is building a smart-contract platform that will ensure fair payments to all investors, with a minimum of 50% of profits sent to the investors.
  • For the transparency of the fund and its holdings, the team is building a Cryptographic Audit (CA) technology. This technology will allow the investors in the fund to monitor and track the history of the closed-end fund and what types of cryptocurrencies (blockchain assets) the fund bought and sold over a period of time.

The transparency at the fund level is unprecedented in the world of closed-end funds, whether they invest in regular markets or blockchain assets/cryptocurrencies. The team wants to make this one of the distinguishing features from some of the other projects involved in crypto fund management.

How TaaS is Different

In addition to building a closed-end fund, the TaaS team is building a complete portfolio management tool that also combines an analytics platform. This is called Kepler. This is already in private beta and the current timeline for Kepler’s launch is end of 2017.

TaaS has some similarities to the ICONOMI.PERFORMANCE fund, in that it is run at management’s discretion (the management team makes the decision on what crypto-assets and ICOs to invest in). However, in the ICONOMI.PERFORMANCE fund, different investors buy ICP tokens (i.e. investors that want hedge-fund like exposure to crypto) and different investors get the fees from that fund, i.e. ICN investors. However, in the case of TaaS, the fund is owned by the token holders, and 50% of the total profits are sent to these token holders. Management uses a part of the funds to manage operating expenses. The structure of a closed-end fund is therefore simpler. This is more appealing to ICO investors. Finally, ICONOMI doesn’t have any tools for transparency. The team announces new investments on a blog post. However, neither the ICN investors nor the ICP investors know the timing of trades, or can audit the trades. This is in contrast to TaaS which wants to make transparency a cornerstone of its fund offering.

Melonport is also in the same asset-management niche, which aims to build a fully decentralized fund management platform with the help of Polkadot. However, the focus of Melonport is more towards providing the tools of fund management to any crypto hedge fund manager. Melonport doesn’t itself do any crypto investing on behalf of investors. On the other hand, TaaS has an actual management team in place that will do the research and analysis necessary to make intelligent investments.

The ICO starts soon. Check out the site and other details at http://taas.fund/

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