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 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.