Sep 042018
 

We previously wrote about Mobu and how it is working on tokenization. This isn’t any tokenization though. Mobu is working on a framework specifically for security tokens. Security tokens can be huge over the coming years since they derive their value from non-blockchain assets. Therefore, having such a framework helps all the projects in the space.

In this post, we specifically look at real estate tokenization projects in the crypto realm and how Mobu can be helpful.

The Real Estate Tokenization Market

It goes without saying that the real estate market is huge. The size of the global real estate market is hard to pinpoint. However, to get a sense of the proportions, just the US commercial real estate market is around $ 5 trillion. That’s several orders of magnitude larger than the marketcap of the entire crypto asset class!

Given the size of the opportunity, it shouldn’t be surprising that there are dozens of projects that are working on tokenizing real estate on the blockchain. However, all these projects are reinventing the wheel, so to speak. They are creating the full stack in-house, from the blockchain tech stack to the user facing tech stack. This is inefficient.

Mobu already provides the technology for making it easier for these projects to work on their core strengths, which is localized real estate. They don’t need to worry too much about the crypto part, since Mobu has already done the heavy lifting in this area.

Standardization of Tokenization

More importantly however, these projects may be shooting themselves in the foot by working against interoperability. The real estate market is huge, after all. No one single player will capture the entire global real estate tokenization. Therefore, many smaller players are vying for control of their own niche markets. This means there would be one company that tokenizes commercial real estate in Germany and another one that tokenizes farmland in Nigeria.

In such a situation, wouldn’t it be better if all these projects were on a same or similar standard? That way, they can really be interoperable. Interoperability is key in the blockchain world, after all. The person who bought one token may be interested in the other tokens, but only if they adhere to the same standards. This way, the entire pie can grow and the projects, instead of competing against each other, can instead grow the whole pie and benefit from the growing market. This will benefit all the projects.

Out of the Box Regulatory Solutions

Finally, Mobu offers real estate tokens out of the box solutions for regulations. This is really important for new ICOs that may not realize how important this is. However, legal regulations and compliance are a core part of any security token offering. New projects will generally benefit from the experience and expertise of a company like Mobu.

If you want to learn more about the project, check out the website. If you want even more information, here’s the whitepaper. Mobu itself is undergoing an ICO to raise money and distribute its tokens. If you’re interested in participating, remember that token sales and ICOs can be extremely risky and you can lose all your money. Never invest more than you’re willing to lose.

Photo Credit: Daniel Mannerich

Jul 272018
 

Ovrium

Ovrium is a new blockchain project aimed at helping the scientific community better manage the entire process of publishing scientific journals and papers. Although science per se has never been more popular today, the scientific process is constantly under review and scrutiny. The scientific community may be working on breakthrough projects and research, but the process of publishing these and letting the world find your work is anything but revolutionary. Ovrium is geared at the community to better manage that process.

Ovrium Changes the Current Opaque System

If you’re involved in the scientific community, you would likely be aware of the raging debate going on between open access and central closed journals. Unfortunately, as a historic accident, the likes of Elsevier control the entire scientific publishing process. They charge ungodly sums of money for access to this research, which should be open for all of humanity to read but isn’t. Many scientists are pushing back against the entrenched system that harms the entire scientific community by closing off access to knowledge.

Fighting this battle is going to be a very uphill battle for anyone, especially a startup. However, we need better solutions in the arena, which is used to better the lot of the entire human population.

How Ovrium Works

Ovrium is building an open access, decentralized scientific publishing method using the blockchain. Of course, a lot more than blockchain goes on behind the scenes at Ovrium.

Publications on Ovrium are available immediately, i.e. there is no delay between publication and making it public. All the metadata, such as peer review, edits, changes, etc. are tracked on the blockchain to ensure the highest integrity of changes and audit to any published work.

In addition, there is a big change in the process as well. Ovrium has a way for scientists to not just publish the final results in a paper, but also make it easy to share and collaborate on the data behind the results. In an increasingly computerized and data hungry world, this is an essential component. Without the data, there is no real audit of the process and it also makes it harder to replicate. The replication crisis in science is the story of a whole new post.

The licensing terms of Ovrium are also flexible and something that the scientists and researchers can set themselves. This gives them much more freedom over their work than other methods.

Third-parties can still build journals on top of the Ovirum ecosystem, but it would be decentralized and much more cost-competitive than existing journal systems. This will encourage more people to contribute to science in general. This is an important point because as much as people seem to hate the business models of publishers, journal publishers do need to make money and exist in the system. Building a journal from open access and on top of such an open system is much better and easier to last, while providing the most benefits to everyone.

Ovrium has its task cut out, but is working on an important industry that needs attention.

If you want to learn more, check out the Ovrium site and whitepaper. Ovrium is undergoing a token sale. Token sales are extremely risky. Make sure to do your research and never invest more than you’re willing to lose.

Photo Credit: Flickr

Jul 242018
 

SpringRole
SpringRole is a new blockchain-based project that takes aim at the professional verification category. Think of it as an employee verification system on the blockchain, powered by its native token, the Spring token. The Spring token is used for various purposes inside the project, such as referring an employee or company to use this project, or endorsing or verifying one of the many profiles.

The big picture idea with SpringRole is to build a reputation network on the blockchain where your skills, education, degrees, certificates, etc. are all endorsed on the blockchain. The idea is that employers will then use the network for their due-diligence and even hiring in the future.

The Business Case for SpringRole

We all know how successful LinkedIn is as a company. It has built strong network effects in the professional networking space, but soon after launch, expanded into ‘endorsing skills’ and other features that let employers vet potential employees, and make sure their skills are what they say they are. This is a big part towards the recruitment push of LinkedIn.

A blockchain solution is appealing because it can form a base layer standard for use across multiple competing projects. Whether SpringRole can fit such an ambitious role is yet to be determined, but it won’t be surprising if such a solution were to exist in the future where the standards are set on an open protocol.

Services Provided

There are multiple services that are being provided by SpringRole. First, there an entire reputation system that is core to any real world utility. This is a hugely challenging problem, and we don’t think any one company will emerge the winner. Blockchain based reputation systems on a decentralized network are notoriously hard as well.

SpringRole plans to implement a reputation system whereby the reputation scores of the giver is also taken into consideration in the final weight. This means people with more of a reputation score to begin with will be counted to matter more than the people with a lower reputation score. This is intuitively sensible. However, the issues arise with on-ground implementation and the ability to game the system if the design isn’t carefully done. For example, a few people with a high reputation can be bribed for favorable ratings.

There is an entire attestation system, which is the core of what SpringRole provides. This has three major components to it – educational experience, work experience, and skillsets. These have different challenges of verification in today’s world, and SpringRole is building solutions for them all.

It should be noted that the attestators in this case, i.e. entities that attest to the above, don’t necessarily need to be human. They can easily be organizations as well, i.e. entities like universities, or even online course providers. At times, for the skills part especially, there can be a third-party test provider as well, which will need to provide attestations depending on the results of the test.

If you’re interested in learning more about the SpringRole project and its goals, read their website. If you want a more in-depth view into the project, make sure to read the whitepaper. SpringRole has an ongoing token sale. Remember that token sales are extremely risky and you can lose all your money. If you plan to invest, make sure you’ve thoroughly researched the company, and that you’re willing to lose everything you put in.

Photo Credit: Neil Moralee

Jul 212018
 


Codex is a blockchain-based registry that is used to track and trade unique assets. The unique assets category is general – it can be anything from vintage cars to art to wine. The Codex protocol stores all the important information about these items in a secure manner, and helps track it over time.

Once such a registry is in place and people trust its authenticity, all sorts of ‘layer-2’ applications can be built on top of the Codex Protocol, such as lending against assets as a collateral. The bank, in this case, won’t need to spend a lot of time trying to authenticate it, since its history is already visible on the blockchain, along with all the information they will need to make such a loan in the first place.

Standards are the Key

Of course, in building such a registry, the key is to create a universal standard that everyone will adopt. Here’s where decentralization and the blockchain are really useful. No respectable business will hand over its data to a competitor or be bullied into following a standard that it doesn’t approve. However, by creating a completely open and decentralized standard, it can help facilitate all these parties to come together at one table and hash out the details of the standard. That’s the approach taken by Codex and its team.

Providing Liquidity to Unique Assets

A big part of where the Codex protocol is taking the world towards is the idea of unlocking value of unique assets. We all own unique items, and would rather not get rid of them. This can be anything from purely digital CryptoKitties to real-world items like pieces of art. The problem though is that it is very hard to gain liquidity around these. This is of course in sharp contrast to other asset classes. For example, most brokerages let you borrow up to 50% of your stock assets in the United States. However, no such equivalence exists for art, say.

The Codex Protocol is a step towards a world where unique assets can also be used to borrow against and as such be used for collateral. These can then be packaged up into financial products, so that small-time investors can also make a bet on say Picasso values going up in the future. Again, no such products are available to the common investors today, so it’s a big step in the financial industry although it might take a while to catch on.

The Codex Protocol

The Codex Protocol tracks all the elements of unique assets on a blockchain that would be required to build a future as envisioned above. There are many things to get right, such as identity and provenance, which are a cornerstone to battling fakes in these markets. Provenance especially can really help weed out the fakes, since the buyer now has access to an entire history of ownership of an item, which is really desirable. The blockchain itself can serve as the central ‘title’ company in this case.

The Codex protocol also stores a hash of the metadata associated with each individual item. This can be everything from photographs to receipts. These are stored in a way that cannot be altered, by storing the hash on the blockchain. The validators are incentivized through a native CodexCoin on the system.

The registry itself is an ERC721 registry, and the CodexCoin is built on the ERC20 protocol on Ethereum.

If you want to learn more, check out the Codex protocol website and read the whitepaper. Remember that token sales are extremely risky and you can lose all your money. Only invest what you’re willing to lose.

Photo Credit: Lori Ho

Jun 102018
 

Quadrant Protocol
The Quadrant Protocol is a new blockchain-based project for the data economy. The data economy is huge and growing at a rapid rate. The Economist called data the new oil. Given the scenario, it will likely lead to immense amounts of value being created over the coming decades. There are, however, many challenges that the data economy faces. Quadrant Protocol aims to solve some of these, using the blockchain at its core.

Challenges of the Data Economy

To understand what Quadrant Protocol is building, you must first understand the challenges that the data economy faces.

The main issue is that the creators of these data sets – us, ordinary people, are usually left out of the economic loop completely. The large companies – think Facebook and Google – reap all the rewards. Many companies are trying to make it fair to the users of the data, but it is a tough problem.

Then, there are transparency issues in the industry. If you buy a data set, how do you know it is authentic? How do you trust it is verified and generated with integrity? This too is a hard problem in general to solve. The data vendors can generally cheat on their obligations. This makes the companies buying from them vulnerable.

The Quadrant Protocol Solution

With these problems inherent to the data economy, how can you make the system better? The Quadrant Protocol has a proposed solution. The project creates many stakeholders, and maintains a provenance of all the data sets. There is a role for everyone inside the ecosystem. You can be an individual data provider, or a type of aggregator.

The Quadrant Protocol is best geared towards projects that want to use data directly on the blockchain. However, this isn’t necessary by itself. In fact, the protocol allows for the trading of full data products between the participants. All of this happens without a third party middleman.

The network verifies usage of data, along with its authenticity and provenance. This is a big step towards data legitimacy. This helps the end users and the providers of applications that utilize this data. The data is ‘stamped’ and the ‘fingerprint’ is recorded on a public blockchain. This provides all the required details to the parties in a transparent manner. Think of the Quadrant Protocol as an enriched data services platform, with new projects possible on its data sets. The application builders no longer need to worry about issues like data legitimacy and can instead focus on what they are best at, which is building useful products.

The company will issue its tokens via a token sale. You can check out the details on their website. If you plan to participate in any token sale, make sure to read the whitepaper. Remember that all token sales are extremely risky, there is no guarantee of profit, and you may lose all your money. If you invest, do so after doing extreme due-diligence and be prepared to lose all your money.

Photo Credit: MapScience