Aug 062018
 

Mobu is a new crypto project that takes aim squarely on the security token space. This of course means it is different from many other ICOs you might be familiar with. Mobu offers a suite of comprehensive tools and standards for compliant security tokens. These tokens are issued on the blockchain as ERC20 tokens. However, unlike many other tokens that you might be familiar with, the tokens issued on Mobu are security tokens.

So what exactly is a security token? A security token is a token that investors buy for the expectation of profit. Simply put, the SEC could consider a security token, well, a security. Unlike many other ‘utility tokens’, security tokens imply profit from operations. However, like utility tokens, they are created on the blockchain and can therefore be traded in an easier manner than traditional securities. These security tokens also leverage all the infrastructure built on existing blockchain platforms.

Compliant ICOs

There is a lot of ongoing debate about crypto tokens and whether they are securities. As you might expect, different jurisdictions treat this differently. It is very hard for ICOs to successfully raise money and be in compliance with all rules and regulations. This is a huge problem for innovation. Innovators cannot seek to wait for permission from all government bodies before working on a project. That would never get off the ground.

So what should ICO projects do that wait to raise capital by issuing tokens? Go the security token route. This means the tokens follow all appropriate securities laws. Sure, this would limit some of its use for crypto investors, but it also has some benefits.

What MOBU Provides

Now that you want to issue a security token, how do you go about doing it? The compliance is not easy. There are many possibilities for investment structures as well. Someone starting new would find it overwhelming what choices to make. This is where the MOBU platform comes in. It provides a suite of smart contracts to make this an easy job. In addition, to has created certain standards, dubbed the ‘MOB20’ standards. If you believe that the Mobu team has done their research and the standards are solid, then you can simply adopt them. This saves you the headache of doing it all by yourself, after all.

Such industry standards are bound to be the future especially for security tokens. Whether Mobu can take the lead and become that beacon remains to be seen.

To give you an example of the standards, Mobu has an escrow system that is tied to reaching project milestones. This means if the project founders fail to meet their goals, investors can claw some of the ICO money back. This builds investor trust.

Mobu also helps projects and investors with all the logistics of an ICO. This can be anything from banking relationships to regulatory compliance. KYC/AML is also a big part of compliance. If you need help with all these issues, Mobu might make the job easier for you. You can simply fund your project through Mobu. Some examples of projects that might find this interesting are real estate crowdfunding tokens or another asset backed tokenization project.

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: Flickr

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 222018
 

OEL Foundation
The OEL Foundation is an interesting blockchain-related project that is quite different from the other token sales that you may have seen. For one, it is a not-for-profit organization. Its stated goal is to provide “governance and resources for the development of the Open Enterprise Logistics blockchain ecosystem”. If you’ve ever encountered anything related to enterprise logistics, you’ll know that blockchain or not, the industry could do better than paper receipts and really everything paper. The OEL Foundation wants to take that apart and provide the latest and greatest technology to this sector.

Transaction Validation and Transparency

Of course, a natural question to ask is, why does the blockchain fit as a good technology in this case instead of other tech solutions? The enterprise logistics industry and its needs are in fact well suited for a blockchain solution. Why is that? One, the blockchain provides immediate transparency to the whole system. This is not something you usually need day to day but when things go wrong, this is a big boon and can save you man-days worth of work tracking down all the parts of the puzzle.

Then, there is the idea of validation. Once validation is put on the blockchain, you are out of the ‘he-said-she-said’ world and into a world where you can prove your claims. This also opens up huge areas of commerce while in-transit, such as lending against invoices for example. Banks generally are hesitant to do this, because of the perceived risk of fraud. However, with a blockchain solution that includes banks as the participants of the network, their risk is vastly diminished and can open up new areas of commerce altogether.

OEL Foundation and its Goals

The OEL Foundation and its goals are multi-proged. To build such an ambitious system requires many different parties in the enterprise logistics industry to come together and sit down at one table. To this end, the OEL Foundation will need to bring all the supply chain participants to one common standard. Arguably, this is going to be the toughest battle for the foundation, since in many such attempts, building the technology is the easier part and setting standards that everyone adopts is the harder part. Therefore, the foundation will have its work cut out from day one.

Then, there is the problem of actually designing, architecting, and building the technology stack that can be used by the industry participants. This includes the blockchain part of the equation, but should contain other ancillary services as well, such as documents, storing document hashes, etc. As we said before, this is usually the easier part, but still something that needs to be done and the OEL foundation has taken it upon themselves to build it out.

Finally there is the OPN token that is used as the native token that is used to ‘power’ the smart contracts that are run inside the blockchain system.

If you want to learn more, check out the OEL Foundation website and whitepaper. There is a token sale ongoing for the OPN token. Remember that token sales are extremely risky and you can lose all your money. Never invest more than you can afford to lose completely.

Photo Credit: Flickr

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

Jul 062018
 


The MobileBridge platform is bringing the power of blockchain and crypto to the world of marketing automation. Marketing automation here refers to how ordinary businesses retain customers and improve customer loyalty. This is an important use case for crypto in general. There have been many such companies in the past that tried to get customer loyalty points and blockchain together. Would the MobileBridge platform succeed where others have failed?

Loyalty Tokens

At the core of the MobileBridge platform is the ability for businesses to easily launch their own branded tokens on the blockchain. These tokens become the loyalty points for the business, which can be used to reward customer activity. This means everything from making regular purchases to providing data about themselves to the business to helping the business (e.g. writing reviews on Yelp).

The tokens are used at the discretion of each business, on the completion of a purchase. The customers get their loyalty rewards. The cost of creating a loyalty program goes down significantly, since it is really easy to create your own tokens with the desired economic characteristics on the blockchain. ERC20 tokens on Ethereum have really standardized this for most uses.

The usual worry is about on-chain transaction fees, which can get really high during peak usage, and isn’t convenient for micro-transactions. As blockchains like Ethereum implement better scaling solutions, we should expect these types of small transaction use-cases becoming more popular over time.

MobileBridge Platform and Data

The marketing automation platform can then be used by these businesses to learn more about their customers and reach them via marketing and advertising. The platform itself can be used for brand loyalty and building up a transparent data profile of the business’ customers.

The MobileBridge platform itself already exists today and is used by businesses for their marketing needs. It can track many data sources such as in-app purchases and opens all the way to buying in stores. Because the platform has such a treasure trove of customer data on its hands, it can provide benefits to the businesses and customers alike. One of the ways to collect this data is through the rewards via these crypto tokens in the first place.

The value of the whole chain is in the lifetime value that is captured by the MobileBridge platform – the full cycle from the time someone hears about a business to when they complete a purchase and beyond. It also leverages social features, so customers can tell their friends about their shopping experiences, and let their friends earn these reward tokens as well.

The MobileBridge token itself is used to pay for the use of the platform. It is also used to convert between the specific crypto tokens used by individual businesses and the MobileBridge Token. This helps with converting those tokens into dollars – you can convert your loyalty points first to MobileBridge Tokens, which can likely be traded on exchanges, at least the decentralized ones. From there, you can convert into Ethereum and finally into local fiat (or into Bitcoin and then into local fiat). This provides more liquidity to the loyalty points generated by the platform.

Businesses can access all the tools provided by the MobileBridge platform, not just the token. The tokens are created on Ethereum.

If you want to learn more, check out the MobileBridge platform website and whitepaper. Remember that investing in token sales can be extremely risky and you can lose all your money. Never invest more than you’re willing to lose and do your own research and due-diligence.

Photo Credit: Wrote

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

May 152018
 


Blockshipping is a new project out of the Nordics that aims at creating a tokenization model for the global container shipping industry. We’re seeing increased use of crypto towards the more traditional industries, especially when it comes at the cost of saving money, improving efficiencies, and making the system cleaner and greener. We’ve seen projects like Smart Containers in a similar niche, while projects like Zero Carbon aim to help reduce carbon emissions. Blockshipping comes at the problem in a slightly different direction – it is creating a platform that allows for the standardization of transactions by the global shipping industry.

The pitch of Blockshipping lies in the efficiency gains via standardization. The shipping industry is huge, but is also highly fragmented. There is no neutral party that can create standards that are recognized by the industry. In that step, GSCP is a Global Shared Container Platform that lays out the standards that the entire industry can adopt, thus helping provide efficiencies and the use of blockchain within this industry. The blockchain based registry keeps track of all the containers, which is in excess of 8 figures. The platform itself would enable standardization of transactions within the industry.

The company will also create a tracking solution for containers, and use the blockchain to make the data available to everyone in the industry.

Token and Its Types

Blockshipping is having an ICO at the moment, with a framework that is completely compliant with the Danish law. The project itself has two types of tokens:

  • CPT or Container Platform Token, which is a utility token inside the platform. This is a token on a private blockchain.
  • CCC or Container Crypto Coin, which is a revenue share token. This is an ERC20 token on the public Ethereum blockchain.

The CPT token, as a utility token, is used for the clearing and settlement of transactions on the GSCP. Part of the revenue generated via this process is set aside for revenue sharing with the CCC token holders.

45% of the funds raised are allocated to a market maker fund, which runs a reverse Dutch auction to offer to buy up CCCs on the market. This way, holders can sell into the market maker for an exit.

The CPT token is used by the industry players, not everyday crypto users. The CCC token is open to everyone to use. Also, the CPT token pegs to 1 USD in value, without a cap on its quantity. The CCC token is freely floating in the market. There are only 50 million CCC tokens created during the ICO. You cannot really convert between the CPT and CCC in general.

The CCC token is a revenue backed token. However, it also has the potential to be used as a currency for building new containers. The revenue is shared with the help of CCC tokens, which themselves are bought from existing holders via a reverse Dutch auction.

If you want to learn more, check out the website and the whitepaper for Blockshipping. Remember that token sales are extremely risky and you can lose all your money. Never invest more than you can afford to lose.

Photo Credit: whitecast sg