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 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 152017
 

BABB

BABB is one of the more interesting blockchain projects coming out of the “fintech” (financial technology) space. The project is located in the famous Level39 space in Canary Wharf in London, which is the hub of Europe’s fintech innovation.

So what is BABB? BABB stands for Bank Account Based Blockchain. The project aims to create a banking platform for the peer to peer economy. However, it is more than just another blockchain project. It allows users access to a UK bank account, based on biometrics and AI technologies in addition to blockchain.

Banking Services

Once you have your bank account, BABB has a special product called the “Black Card”. This is linked directly to your BABB bank account. The Black Card lets you spend any cryptocurrency or fiat in any country. All this is done in a peer to peer fashion via blockchain. This isn’t another one of those “crypto debit cards” that have become popular of late. The Black Card works independent of the legacy payment systems, so it isn’t a visa or mastercard. Instead,┬áRetailers can accept payment using the BABB card by simply downloading the BABB app and scanning the QR code or via NFC. Payment is made instantly into the retailer’s bank account.

So why does all this matter? It matters because there are billions of unbanked people today in the world that can only dream of being able to have access to the financial services provided by the banks, especially ones in ‘desirable’ locations like the UK. The project is built for those people who rely on micro-payments for small tasks. These small payments from the first world mean much more to a person living in the third world scraping a living. The goal is to bring those billions into our economy.

Peer-to-Peer

Another aspect of BABB is its peer-to-peer nature. Now if you think every blockchain is essentially peer-to-peer, you’re right. However, BABB goes beyond just that. It has an element of ‘Social KYC’ built into the platform, which allows for faster on-boarding and adoption of the technology. This means no more cumbersome paperwork and proofs for everyone. Instead, you can rely on vouches by your friends that have undergone the process.

This may seem small from a first world point of view where identity is easy to prove. However, it is a boon for the developing world where identity information isn’t as easy to obtain. Someone else vouching on your behalf makes the process much smoother for you.

An added element to this is the creation of network effects in the process. When you have a social vouching system, you create the right network effects and incentives for others to onboard their friends. This building of network effects is crucial when a project aims to start from the ground up and build a network.

End of the day, BABB is one of the more interesting projects coming out in the space. You should check out their website for more information.