Dec 152017
 

WePower crypto

WePower is a green energy trading platform built using the power of crypto-tokens and the blockchain. I hope our readers don’t need to be told about the importance of new, green energy sources to the world at large. However, as the crypto folks know, it is all about the economic incentives. So how do you ensure that green energy projects are funded adequately, so that the research and development effort can take us into a new era of energy generation and usage that is clean, green, and can supply humanity with all our energy needs of the future (no, coal/oil/gas don’t count, since they are still finite – over hundreds of years, they are not reliable energy sources for humanity to survive and thrive).

The traditional approach in green energy has been through government subsidies. This top-down approach usually doesn’t work as well, since something so decentralized and research oriented will hardly be able to be understood by the powers that be. Besides, the bureaucrats are likely not the best people to make micro-level decisions about the industry. Instead, what we need is a bottoms-up approach to green energy that comes from the people and marketplace as opposed to top-level governments. Both these approaches can of course join forces and create powerful incentives for the industry as a whole to move towards green energy.

Financing Green Energy Projects Using WePower

WePower is a new platform that leverages the power of crypto-tokens and blockchain to solve the above problems. It is creating a platform where green energy projects can finance renewable energy projects using their token. This is a marketplace based approach, i.e. the incentives are not coming from a high-level government bureaucrat but instead from the grass-roots people. Such financing model is far more sustainable and not susceptible to abrupt policy changes.

The financing comes from every day regular energy consumers and investors. Again – we should emphasize the decentralized nature of this, since anyone can participate in the WePower network. This makes the models more sustainable and subject to market forces instead of political forces.

The trend towards green energy should also be obvious. Here’s its progress so far, and the pace is only accelerating:

As new projects come online, especially in countries where these energy sources are not yet fully developed, there is a huge scope for regular people to invest, contribute, and profit from this trend. The world is going to need more clear energy in the future – that’s undeniable. So how are we going to get there?

Understanding the Energy Tokens in WePower

WePower works by letting projects create their own financing tokens. However, these tokens are not produced and denominated in local currencies like the US Dollar. Instead, these tokens represent energy. More specifically, each token represents a share of the future energy to be produced by a green energy project.

This is a novel way of financing, which lets consumers and investors get what they’re looking for – green energy, while letting the capital intensive green energy projects keep any rewards for producing green energy cheaply and more efficiently, thus giving them an incentive to be as good as possible. Projects can also thus invest accordingly into research and development resources, which can help increase the yield and the project can thus promise a higher amount of energy output.

Blockchain and WPR Token

The WePower network connects directly with the energy grid and the energy wholesale markets. Since the project uses the blockchain, everything is transparently recorded for anyone to audit, and there’s no ‘funny business’ going on behind the scenes. This empowers the power generators and consumers to deal with each other directly instead of going through middle men.

The WPR token will accrue a portion of the energy generated by the network, that can then be either used directly by the WPR token holders, or sold on the WePower energy trading platform. Therefore, by helping fund this network, you can ensure a supply of clean energy for yourself. To be more specific, projects on the WePower network will donate 0.9% of their energy credits to the WPR token holders.

WePower green energy

The WPR token is fairly unique amongst other crypto tokens, in that the unit of value accrual to the WPR token is literally energy – power that is donated by the energy producers on the WePower network, to help maintain, build, sustain, and grow the WePower network. If the token holder resides in an area that already has a WePower power producer, they can just use the energy accumulated to their WPR to power their own homes and businesses. However, if you are a WPR token holder and don’t live in one of these areas, that’s fine too. Since it is just clean energy, you can just use the WePower energy trading platform to sell this energy to someone else that can use this energy instead.

Also, the WPR tokens will use the Bancor Protocol to ensure that WPR tokens are liquid. You don’t need to wait for the WPR tokens to be listed on an exchange to trade them (although for high volume trades, we’ll still recommend buying/selling from exchanges). You get liquidity from the get go.

Interestingly, the WPR token holders don’t even need to wait for too long in order to start seeing some energy accumulate to their WPR tokens, since the WePower team already has partnerships with potential energy producers in the works.┬áThe WePower network is first launching in Estonia and then expanding to Spain, Italy, Germany, and Portugal.

WPR tokens will be sold in a token sale/ICO. You can check out their website here to learn more. If you plan to invest, make sure you’ve also read the whitepaper.

Dec 142017
 

CoinMetro

 

CoinMetro is a new crypto project that has a lot of elements of the crypto economy packed into it, so bear with us as we go through its value proposition. Before we proceed into the nitty-gritty details, let’s look at a high level bird’s eye view of the project. What CoinMetro is trying to do is to be a one stop shop for the entire crypto economy. No wonder it’s a complex project – the crypto economy is a fairly complex machine.

CoinMetro isn’t the first project with such an ambitious plan, however. So why do they warrant a serious look? Because of the team’s experience and background in traditional Forex markets. If you’re not aware, Forex is a huge market already, and a lot of cryptocurrency and crypto-asset trading has an overlap with the traditional forex markets. First, just to get an idea of how large the Forex market is, here’s the market compared to more traditional asset classes like stocks. Notice anything?

Specific Offerings

Now let’s dive into some specifics. At its core, the CoinMetro platform is an FX like platform, which Forex traders would be familiar with. However, there are lots of extra features specific to the crypto world. Here are some features that stand out –

  • Low fee, high-availability crypto exchange.
  • Ability to trade with fiat, i.e. buy your favorite crypto-asset with your local government money like USD.
  • Lots of different crypto-assets to choose from, with secure custody of funds (partnered with BitGo).
  • A crypto debit card that lets you withdraw your money for regular, everyday purchases, with a crypto to fiat conversion that happens in the background without you knowing or being involved in.
  • A lending-leverage platform that lets long-term traders lend their crypto to traders looking to leverage their crypto bets. Makes savers earn interest and traders leverage to amplify their profits (and losses too!)
  • Trading tools and analytics platform, similar to what Forex traders are used to, i.e. more sophisticated analysis and charting tools than what crypto traders are used to.
  • Ability to add complex order types instead of just standard types like Limit and Market. Again, something Forex traders may be more familiar with rather than regular crypto traders.
  • High leverage OTC crypto trading, with leverage of up to 1:50, similar to what traditional forex markets offer instead of traditional crypto markets.
  • Easy diversification for long-term investors via an ETF-like crypto investment product that investors can easily buy to diversify their crypto wealth without paying huge fees.
  • A tokenized asset management platform with the help of Ethereum smart contracts, so that a ‘hedge fund like’ model of crypto investments can be implemented by the CoinMetro platform.
  • An ICO platform that lets investors buy new ICO tokens with ease, and benefits the projects in that the tokens can gain instant liquidity and price discovery on the CoinMetro platform.

Whew, that’s a lot of features to list out! The point is not to make a huge list though. It is important to know how all these fit into the platform as a one-stop shop for crypto traders and investors. Today, all these different features are highly segmented in various exchanges. There are custody risks, exchange hack risks, inability to trade during high volumes, and a bunch of other issues with the crypto markets that we are all familiar with. What CoinMetro is trying to do is bring them all under one umbrella. In addition to the single umbrella policy, the team is trying to take cues from the more established Forex markets, and bringing that level of quality and professionalism to the crypto trading world, which has been lacking so far.

The appeal of CoinMetro’s platform is that if the team executes on the vision, then crypto traders don’t need to go anywhere else for their needs. The platform covers everything from ICOs to Bitcoin, from crypto-trades to fiat-trades, from long-term investing to short-term trading, from earning interest to leveraged trades. There’s something for everyone, and if the community adopts the platform, over time, the network effects can be strong and the platform can become the preferred ‘home’ of crypto traders and investors. Obviously, there remains execution risk, but the vision is a product that the community can immediately benefit from.

Check out the CoinMetro website here. If you’re looking to invest in CoinMetro’s token sale, be sure to read the whitepaper.

Nov 302017
 

White Rabbit Crypto Content Distribution
White Rabbit is a new crypto project aimed at making digital content distribution profitable for the artists, by making use of technological advances introduced in crypto-tokens and smart contracts. White Rabbit is building a contend distribution platform that is open, as opposed to the silos today, even as the industry fragments, and new players like Netflix and Amazon enter the content creation and distribution game.

The goal of White Rabbit is to allow access to any movie or show to the fans. The artists get paid via crypto-tokens, locked in a smart contract. The payment happens behinds the scenes, so it is abstracted away from the user. Fans can now watch content as they like, and artists get their fair share as well.

Underlying the idea of White Rabbit is a philosophical underpinning around content consumption by fans. Let’s explore than next.

Philosophy of White Rabbit

Every company starts with a philosophy about the current state of the world, and what it could be. This thesis could be proven to be true or false. Successful startups have a thesis that not many believe in, but the founders believe strongly in it. Peter Thiel calls it your startups’ secret – something you strongly believe in, but the competition doesn’t. For successful companies, that ‘secret’ will get revealed over time, as they continue building on that vision of the world.

So what is White Rabbit’s philosophy or underlying belief? It is that fans don’t wish to pirate content, and would gladly pay the artists for their content. The reason they pirate content is due to ease of access and convenience, not for a lack of willingness to pay. If the content creators or artists wish to be paid by directly engaging with their fans, the fans would oblige and pay them, as long as access is really convenient, and without limitations imposed on them.

At its core then, White Rabbit aims to separate content distribution from payment. Fans are going to try and watch their favorite content no matter what. Now, with the help of blockchains, the artists can get paid for it.

How it Works

White Rabbit has a browser plugin that recognizes the content that fans already watch. While the fans are watching the movies and shows that they like, in the background, White Rabbit works to deduct a payment from the users, and send it to the artists – more specifically the rights holders. The payments are all made on the blockchain, and are therefore auditable. There is no trickery or middle-men taking their cut here. Also, the rights holders get paid immediately, which is a huge plus from the way things are done traditionally.

Since White Rabbit is building a platform, it needs to overcome the network effects inherent in the platform economy. That is also the way of the token – well designed crypto-tokens can solve the initial network effect problems for such platforms, by providing the right incentives to multiple parties involved in a transaction – in this case, the fans and the rights holders or artists. That would be the primary use case for the token as well, to seed the network and provide the relevant smart contract infrastructure to run the platform.

However, once a platform is established and it attracts artists and fans outside direct incentivization, i.e. only to watch content or promote themselves to their fans, White Rabbit can then expand the scope of what the platform does. This is because all parties are already coming to the platform to interact with each other. Some of the ideas the team has include access to exclusive content, like directors’ cut, and direct interaction between film makers, show makers, artists and their fans.

However, you should not take this as the extent of the ideas. Once a platform is established, it takes on a life of its own, and is hard to predict how it will evolve. This is because people’s desires are unpredictable. However, if White Rabbit succeeds in creating such a platform and is successful in attracting both sides of the equation, sky is the limit in terms of ‘extra’ revenue generation opportunities and providing elements that traditional media experience doesn’t provide, like going to a theater to watch a movie.

If this idea interests you, check out more about the project and the team on their website. There is no whitepaper yet, but there’s a ‘light paper‘ that has more information. There is also a token sale that you can participate in with Ether (if you want to, you can buy Ether for token sales).

Photo Credit: Aimee Ray

Nov 292017
 

FCFL Fan Controlled Football/pro-sports
FCFL is truly an incredible experiment in fan-controlled sports. The premise of fan-controlled sports is that fans have an active role in the game, not just a passive viewing experience. This is of course is a radical departure from the way traditional sports are consumed, which is almost entirely passive. With fan-controlled sports enabled by FCFL, you will make active decisions before and during a game. You’re no longer sitting on your couch watching the game. Instead, you’re part of the decision making process of how your team should play the game! With the current model, the best you can do is don your team’s jersey and cheer for the play at a bar. With FCFL, you get to direct your team’s play, much like a coach would.

This is a great experiment to run, in my book. Best of all, we are happy to see this experiment use a crypto-token for fan engagement. Why? Because we’ve seen many sorts of projects in the crypto-verse that don’t make much sense, or are just a money grab in token sales. However, when there are radical experiments being run, we are all for it. If it succeeds, it could usher in a new way of consuming sports which isn’t purely consumption but participation as well. That’s almost a new genre of entertainment if you think about it. Since new technologies like blockchains enable us to run these experiments, it is a worthy use of a crypto-token to accomplish this.

History of the FCFL Idea

One remarkable aspect of the FCFL project is that it isn’t a pie-in-the-sky idea someone dreamed of sitting on their couch. It has a real world proof of concept in a real football (American) game. This is a welcome relief, since in this space, very few ideas have a proof of concept. Let’s explore the history and PoC of this idea a little bit.

In February 2017, the team unveiled a platform that allowed pro-sports, specifically football in this case, to be controlled by fans. The fans decided the team’s name and even the team’s uniform. But most surprisingly, the fans also decided the team’s plays during the game. This, usually reserved for the coach, was outsourced to fans. And it was a rousing success. Thus was born the eFL – Electronic Football League, where fans are in control. They even decide who gets to be in the team and who doesn’t. If it isn’t obvious, the idea opens up a whole new category of sports entertainment.

Impressively, the first proof of concept of this idea was extensively covered in media heavyweights like NYTimes, GQ, and even the Wall Street Journal.

You can imagine this being quite a social experiment more than a technology one. This is why the proof of concept was very important. It showed there’s appetite for this kind of play. We already know fans like immersive plays, whether via Twitch or eSports. If pro-sports has to compete with these, it needs to deliver a better experience. Sports is huge business – billions of dollars a year. Experiments of this scale have a potential for high impact.

FCFL’s Fan Token

This is where it gets interesting for the crypto crowd. FCFL has a native crypto-token called the FAN token. This stands for Fan Access Network Token. The decisions that fans make is dependent on the number of FAN tokens that they hold. This gives these FAN tokens immediate value to the fans of the games. The fans are rewarded when they make good plays, which means the utility is a combination of number of FAN tokens and skill.

In addition, the FAN token will include many other functions, such as voting rights, access to exclusive content, access to exclusive experiences, merchandise, etc. Since sports combine so many experiences in one, the role of the token is likely to grow in the future, as the team adds new experiences and experiments into the game. The whitepaper, linked below, discusses more details on its use. However, we anticipate the future roles of the token to constantly evolve, as this is all a pretty neat experiment, which could grow much larger with time.

The token is built on Ethereum as an ERC20 token. If you want to participate in the token sale, you can buy Ether and send it to the crowdfunding contract to get your FAN tokens.

To learn more, check out their website. If you’re interested in the token in the token sale, make sure you also read the whitepaper.

Photo Credit: Flickr

Nov 262017
 

FortKnoxster
FortKnoxster is a platform for private communications. The platform ensures all communication is private by using end-to-end encryption on the data that is transmitted. The FortKnoxster platform supports a huge variety of communication methods, from plain old email and attachments inbox to private chat functionality. In addition, it also supports voice communications, which is becoming a must-have feature for many chat applications. FortKnoxster provides support for regular calling, voice messages, and conference calling. All of these features are present within its end-to-end encrypted service, so everything remains private.

Let’s Talk Privacy

Let’s discuss privacy for a minute. Bitcoin and crypto users should inherently understand the need for privacy in communications. After all, Bitcoin is created as uncensorable money, which requires some level of privacy. As the web has evolved, some of its original design flaws are becoming apparent. One of the prime flaws is around not making things private by default. Don’t take my word for it – that’s what the founder of the world wide web, Tim Berners Lee, believes.

Some of the newer advances in peer to peer communications technology and cryptography are allowing a smooth experience over a completely encrypted channel, so there’s no massive data leaks like what happens today in ‘walled-gardens’ of the world, most notably Google and Facebook.

As more internet and web users throughout the world understand the scope of data collection by corporations and governments, they are looking to more to alternatives that respect their privacy. These products can sometimes be hard to find because there’s not much money in advertising with this model. They need to find alternate business models and revenue models.

That’s a big advantage of using a crypto-asset on the blockchain – the users are able to pay with their wallet for the services they want to consume, instead of being a product being sold to advertisers. The project is in line with other projects emerging in the space where users are in control of their data rather than third parties.

The FortKnoxster Product

The FortKnoxster team describes their product as ‘Telegram on Steroids’, perhaps to give you a sense of what they do via existing products users may be familiar with. The team has already built out a demo that’s live on their website today to play around with.

In terms of features, it combines the usual communication app features – instant messages and voice calls, with an inbox for email, and a place to share files aka Dropbox style. All these features – a combination of Telegram, Skype, and Dropbox type functionalities are built on top of the fully end-to-end encrypted platform. This means once you’re inside the FortKnoxster ecosystem, you know your data is secure irrespective of the type of data, be it files or voice or text.

The team uses the blockchain for digital identity and encryption based on public key cryptography, with the identity registered with a public/private keypair on the blockchain.

The FKX Token

FortKnoxster has its own native token, FKX. The main purpose of the token is to provide storage and bandwidth to the network. As you can imagine, such a messaging platform will need a lot of storage to store an encrypted copy of all the files and communications. In order to incentivize people to store this data for the network, the FKX token is used.

Thus, the data in the ecosystem is stored in a peer to peer fashion, and the FKX token is ‘mined’ using a proof of storage algorithm as opposed to proof of work that’s common for many other crypto-assets. The token ensures that peers in the distributed network retain copies of data as needed, and provides them with payment in the form of native currency to do the same.

The same token is also used to pay for services, such as an upgraded storage plan. This is needed because otherwise it would be trivial to overwhelm the network with huge amounts of data.

The team is doing a token sale for the FKX tokens. Check out the website for more details. If you want to participate in the token sale, you should also read the whitepaper.

Nov 242017
 

Sharpe Capital Sentiment Crowdfunding
Sharpe Capital is an interesting crypto project aimed at the capital markets. The project’s goal is to bring together various technologies from blockchains to neural networks in one platform. The team hopes to achieve success in the market by way of superior data in the short-term, especially around sentiment surrounding the assets.

They have designed the Sharpe Capital protocol in such a way that it rewards the token holders who are right. The users of the system can therefore earn ETH if they are right. The users provide their sentiment towards a number of assets, specifically global stocks and crypto-assets.

Sentiment is an important intangible in the world of investing. After all, traditional game theory predicts that it isn’t what your view of the market is that determines what you buy, but your view about the view of every other participant. This can branch out over multiple depths. The idea is that traders can gain a lot of advantage if they’re able to correctly predict the prevailing market sentiment, which indicates what other traders are thinking.

Sharpe Capital Token and Value

Unlike many other projects, Sharpe Capital’s token, the SHP, is valuable due to many reasons. From a purely financial perspective though, it requires work from the holders, and rewards them accordingly. This means the protocol is able to transfer ‘real life work’ on to the blockchain. The rewards from the token are obtained from being right in the real world. SHP will become one of the dividend paying cryptocurrencies which isn’t proof of stake. This means the ‘dividends’ that the token provides comes not from inflation but from usage.

The sentiment data the the users and SHP token holders provide is coupled with other well known technologies from Natural Language Processing (NLP) to Artificial Neural Networks (ANN). Presumably, the team hopes, that a combination of all these technologies would help them beat the market and generate some alpha for investors. In return, when the users who provide sentiment as one of the inputs are right, they get rewarded with ETH. To participate in the network, however, you require SHP tokens.

Sources of Return

Unlike proof of stake gains, the value that accrues to Sharpe Capital token holders comes from the external economy. The dividends are then distributed to the SHP token holders. The team will operate a proprietary fund, which will utilize the intelligence provided by the SHP token holders. In addition, the team plans to sell the sentiment data generated by the holders to third parties. The team also mentions fees from consultancy and other analysis. However, this may be separate from the token holders profits, and is not auditable on the blockchain.

The main source of return would come from profits generated by a proprietary fund. In that aspect, it is similar to some of the crypto asset management tokens like TaaS and ICONOMI. However, the Sharpe Capital token holders are not passive investors. They actively provide sentiment data, which is used to generate returns. They provide the data both for traditional assets as well as crypto-assets. The team plans to invest in both sorts of markets, and share the profits with the token holders.

Also note that the sentiment analysis is just one part of the trading algorithms that the team would use to make investment decisions. However, it lets the team reward stakeholders appropriately. Also, it is possible that because the token holders need to do some work to get their rewards, it is not going to be seen as a security investment by regulatory agencies like the SEC.

If you’re interested to learn more, check out their site here. If you’re interested in the token sale, don’t invest without reading the whitepaper.

Photo Credit: Rafael Matsunaga

Nov 242017
 

Datawallet DXT
Datawallet is a new project that leverages blockchains and crypto tokens to help individuals control their data. By control, we mean complete ownership in the traditional sense, i.e. owning their data with the ability to share with third-parties. Unlike data brokers of the internet or giant mega corporations like Facebook/Google, Datawallet lets the individuals share data with these parties and get paid for it. That’s ownership in the true sense – just as you can sell your computer if you wish, you can now sell your data if you wish to do so.

Datawallet is one of a series of various projects being built by the crypto community towards decentralization more broadly than just money (which is what Bitcoin is, and which started off the movement in the first place). Projects like Datawallet are required to help balance the power back, at least to some extent, towards the individual from the large corporations/conglomerates/monopolies. This effort to “re-decentralize the internet” is part of a broader movement, and crypto-tokens are well suited to help the movement given their ability to shape economic incentive behavior.

The whole product of Datawallet is the creation of data markets, where individuals, not data brokers, are in control of what gets exchanged. Individuals also get paid to share their data with these third-parties. This is not just good for the individual, but also for the more innovative startups, which can now compete with behemoths that have collected billions of megabytes of data already and are effective monopolies in their data access. It also allows companies to build data APIs, thus helping build the ecosystem around Datawallet.

Datawallet Applications

We briefly talked about leveling the playing field for innovative startups in the space in the previous section. This is especially true for certain types of industries that are emerging in the technology world.

The most prominent of these is AI/Machine Learning. Startups in this space that are able to innovate on top of existing solutions can see incredible gains in a short period of time. Making an AI algorithm better can provide huge benefits to users and mankind in general.

However, the starting point for creating any AI/ML algorithm is the presence of reliable data. This is a huge problem for startups already. A solution like Datawallet would help them a lot, since they have a direct line to the users, who choose to provide their data out of their free will (not sneakily via data brokers). This provides a higher value data set for these startups, which can now use the data to build their algorithms and products.

Blockchain and the Path Ahead

Remember that Datawallet’s product revolves around ownership of data and profiting from it. This is not going to be overnight. Rather, this is a multi-year and likely multi-decade trend. The amounts of data collected on individuals is staggering, and the individuals don’t see any of that sweet dough the companies like data brokers make. Therefore, it is important to view Datawallet in light of the recent trends.

If you want an accelerating trendline into the future where more and more people become cognizant of this massive data ‘leak’ without seeing a penny from it, this is that trend. Today, not many outside of niche technical circles really care about how their data is being used and abused. However, we already see awareness increasing on a global scale, especially in many of the European countries that have stronger privacy protection rules and laws than the United States.

Over time, more people will see the problem with third-party data ownership and move towards self-ownership of said data. This is the longer trend that will prove to be a tailwind for projects like Datawallet that encourage and enable individuals to be in control of the data they generate.

To learn more about Datawallet, check out their site. The project has a token sale as well. If you plan to invest, make sure you’ve also read the whitepaper.

Nov 232017
 

Loomia IoT Blockchain
We at BTC Geek aim to bring you the latest trends in the world of crypto before they become apparent to the general public. This is how we went early on concepts like Autonomous Corporations on Blockchain that have become a cornerstone today in the Ethereum community. Another trend we’ve been discussing of late is the combination of IoT with blockchain and crypto. This is going to be more of a longer term play and potentially trillions of dollars worth of economies created.

There are several blockchains working towards concepts of IoT payments on the blockchain. This is an interesting approach, to be sure, but is higher risk because of the network effects and winner-take-all effects this may have. The other side of the equation is building application layers that are functional today in the real world, and use the power of crypto and blockchain to improve the value of the IoT product and application.

The Loomia Product

This latter approach is what Loomia is taking. The team is building an embedded layer that can be used in everyday clothing. The product is technology that can be used by clothing manufacturers without restricting the ability of the fabrics to bend and fold. In a nutshell, the Loomia product makes any fabric into a ‘smart fabric’. This is useful because it can turn the smart fabric layer into a clothing layer that you wear everyday.

So what does this electronic layer in your clothing do? It is a data collector that is very intimately tied to your biology and physiology. You can collect all sorts of useful data. If you thought your Apple Watch was a must have to track your activity, wait till you start using something so intimate, which should also be much more accurate. This is data about you throughout the day. You can use it to better your lifestyle, make yourself more productive, or simply use it as a repository of your life.

Privacy for Data

The big question that should occur to you immediately reading the last section is who owns the data. In an increasingly complex world where increasing amounts of data is being collected about us and our behavior, who is in-charge here? Is this one of the cases of ‘you are the product’? The answer thankfully is NO! With Loomia, you are in fact in complete control over your data, i.e. you own the data and no one else. Not even Loomia will have unfettered access to your data.

The way the company accomplishes that is with the help of a physical device that stores the data, called the Loomia Tile. This device stores all the data that is gathered by the electronic layer throughout the day.

Loomia and Data Markets

The device doesn’t just store data, but also lets you sell it to researchers on your own terms. This is where the power of blockchain and crypto becomes apparent. First, you are in full control of your data. Second, your data is private. Third, you can actually monetize that data, but again, on your own terms.

The best thing is, the data is very valuable to researchers because Loomia is able to tie your real identity to your digital identity. The ‘real identity’ comes from usage and behavior that the device already tracks.

Loomia therefore is more than just an IoT meets blockchain company. In fact, it is a way to create one of the first personal data markets on the blockchain. This is quite a powerful tool, which can be useful for many different brands. Especially the ones that want to stay ahead of the curve. The users are in complete control over how they want to sell the generated data. This makes the data valuable. It is also forward thinking as newer generations are more cognizant of data collection and related privacy issues.

We think Loomia is a longer term project that has a lot of right elements for success if the team can execute on their vision.

To learn more, check out their main site. Also, if you plan to invest in the token sale, read the whitepaper.

Photo Credit: wintersoul1

Nov 212017
 

CyberTrust Crypto Trading Banks
CyberTrust is creating new financial products for existing banks and financial institutions, which would allow them to easily buy crypto-assets. The team is starting off with the most common of these – BTC, ETH, and BCH. This is helpful because many institutions are looking to add crypto to their investment portfolios.

The most interesting element of this project is that it plays well within the existing financial system. When financial institutions look at crypto, it seems like a totally new asset class that doesn’t follow any established rules. While that may be alright for individuals, institutions are risk averse. They operate in a regulated environment. CyberTrust bridges that gap between the wild west of crypto and the trillions of dollars sitting on the balance sheets of financial institutions. These bridges are only going to get more important as crypto increases in size as an asset class.

The way CyberTrust solves this problem is it ‘wraps’ the existing crypto assets into a financial instrument that is familiar for the banks and financial institutions. This is important because all such institutions trade assets like equities or ETFs. If the mechanics of trading are the same, i.e. if someone can make the crypto functionally behave as an equity, then for all purposes, from a bank’s point of view, it is just another stock, albeit with slightly different characteristics like higher volatility. This lets the existing financial industry put their money into crypto without having to go through the unfamiliar waters.

What CyberTrust is doing to solve this problem is interesting. To understand the workflow, look at the image below:

CyberTrust Process

  • The first step is to create an SPV – a Special Purpose Vehicle, whose sole purpose is to hold a given crypto. There will be a separate SPV for each crypto – BTC, ETH, and BCH.
  • The second step is to create a Note against this SPV. The CyberTrust team calls it a Global Crypto Note or GCN in short. You can issue a fixed number of GCNs against each SPV. Each GCN is fully backed by the assets of the SPV, which would be just the corresponding crypto holdings.
  • In the third step, the GCN created above gets an ISIN. Once you have an ISIN you’ve basically gotten a foothold into the existing financial industry. Anything with an ISIN is just a familiar package – like a stock. Trading it is trading in just another name for the traders and portfolio managers.
  • In the fourth step, you need a way to house these GCNs and a place to clear and settle them. This is where the existing infrastructure comes into play – clearing houses like Clearstream provide this service on thousands of ISINs already – add in a new one and it’s no big deal for them.
  • Finally, everything is audited by an auditing firm, which makes sure that all the assets are in place and there’s no accounting issues going on with the SPVs and GCN issuance.

And viola! All of a sudden, you’ve created an ISIN for an underlying crypto. That’s it really – anyone can trade an ISIN, and therefore anyone can trade the underlying crypto.

The CABS Token for CyberTrust

The native token, CABS, allows investors to bet on the spread between spot prices and price of the GCN, so they act as arbitrageurs in a way and make money from that arbitrage. The token is used for the securitization process as well. Therefore, if you want to securitize 1 BTC, it will need 1 CABS token. This is what gives value to the token as well.

Note that once the above platform is ready, there is no need to restrict it to certain crypto-assets. There are no such limitations really – as long it is profitable to create a new SPV with its own crypto, it can be done right away. This provides growth and expansion opportunities, as the crypto market itself expands over time.

Another interesting aspect of the token sale for CABS is that there is a reserve which acts as a price support for if the token price falls drastically. We know crypto can be turbulent, and this is just opportunistic buyback by the company. This is value accretive to the token-holders if they don’t sell during the price turmoil.

The team has the buyback price at 0.2 ETH or $50, whichever is lower. This means if the price of the token falls below this value, the team will use the reserve to buyback and burn the tokens. There is a reserve for this purpose. If you’re a long-term token holder, this is a great thing because when the price eventually rallies, you’ll retain a higher share of the network than before.

Check out the website here. If you want to invest in the ICO, don’t forget to read the whitepaper first.

Photo Credit: David Ohmer

Nov 202017
 

Arcona

Before we discuss Arcona, let’s take a look at the Tweet below:

Sure, there are a lot of assumptions underneath that, but it’s a fair possibility. Augmented Reality (AR) opens up worlds that never existed in the “real world”. That makes it infinitely more scalable than the ‘real world’. That doesn’t mean the AR worlds aren’t real – they are just different, and unlike anything we’ve seen in the past. The technology isn’t there yet, but it isn’t more than 3-5 years away from a significant portion of the population using AR in everyday life. The types of applications that can be built using AR is unfathomable today.

It is a fools errand to predict the direction of technology, especially something so nascent and potentially revolutionary as AR. However, we know there is a fair chance it will be game changing. As AR becomes ubiquitous, companies will compete to built products and ensure property rights in the AR world. Unlike Virtual Reality (VR), AR is still tied to the real, physical world. There’s scope of creating AR layers on top of popular destinations to attract customers, giving a ready availability of users.

This is great for AR property rights. And what better way to record property rights than on the blockchain, given its ability to trivially store the provenance history of the digital item. And that’s the market Arcona is launching – property markets, not in the ‘real world’ but the Augmented Reality World. It is a powerful pitch, and one that has the ability to redefine what ownership and property rights mean in the emerging Brave New World of AR-enabled Technopia.

The Arcon Token

Arcona Ecosystem

Arcona is using a blockchain-based token, called the Arcon Token built as an ERC20 token on Ethereum. The Arcon Token is the currency of this Digital World, i.e. the marketplace built on the Arcona Platform functions with the Arcon Token as the currency.

What can you do with the Arcon Token? Well, anything you can do with real property in the real world, you can do with virtual property in the AR world by Arcona, with the difference that paying for these services happens in the Arcon Token instead of local currencies like USD or GBP or CNY.

The marketplace allows you to create virtual property and sell it to people. You can rent your creations out. The value comes from people wanting to buy or rent your creations, which is all too common for anyone who’s made an in-app purchase for a digital good in a game today.

This allows you to create whole new virtual cities, with their own virtual economies. But don’t be fooled – these virtual economies are as real as the ‘real world’ economy that you live in right now. Virtual goods purchases are already several billion dollars of market, and with the advent of game-changing technologies like AR, this is only expected to increase exponentially.

If nothing, these sorts of ideas are a fascinating experiment to run, to see how economic activity can evolve in ‘new’ cities from scratch, knowing what we know today about the history of the world and the evolution of economics and business. Hopefully, readers will take away some crypto lessons to create this new economy.

Token Sale

The team is pretty solid as well, as an established Russian Startup already, working in the AR field for over 4 years. The technology roadmap calls for the creation of up to 1500 square kilometers of the largest cities in the world converted into the digital realm on the Arcona platform, which would already attract a lot of interest and attention from people around the world, and presumably a rush to buy this scarce digital land in the process.

The team plans to launch a token sale very soon. The launch is on 27th of November, 2017 with the pre-sale. Check out their whitepaper first before making any investments into the project.