Answer - As for Kava, Kava was originally founded in January 2018. It was formed by cofounders Scott Stuart, Ruaridh O’Donnell and myself with the mission to tackle the problem of interoperability. We started the company working with larger projects like Ripple, MakerDao, and Cosmos on their layer 2 and interoperability problems and developed a lot of expertise in this area. It wasn’t until 2019 that we eventually decided to put our expertise to public use and create the first interoperable DeFi blockchain, Kava.
Could you please tell me what KAVA cryptocurrency is? What problem does it solve?
Answer - KAVA is the staking, governance, and reserve asset of the Kava DeFi platform. KAVA is required by node operators to secure transactions on the blockchain. Additionally, when lending fees are paid, they are converted to Kava and burned reducing the overall supply of KAVA tokens. As more users use the Kava lending platform, KAVA should become more scarce overtime.
What is the advantage of keeping the KAVA token for a long and short term?
Answer - In the short term, if you stake KAVA you can earn additional block rewards every day, block by block. This provides a nice steady return on the Kava usually in the range of 3-20% depending on the number of people staking.
We will be opening the gates of DeFi to many top tier assets such as BNB, XRP, ATOM, and BTC which have never been able to use lending, stablecoins, or other DeFi Services. If you are a KAVA hodler you can benefit from owning and having a stake in the network as we grow because as the network grows, Kava is burned and it becomes more scarce as a resource.
Chainlink is KAVA’s partner, can you explain more about this partnership?
Answer - Yes, this is not the usual chainlink partnership where a blockchain consumes data from Chainlink’s oracle solution.
No oracle solution adequate for DeFi applications on Cosmos was available. For this reason, Kava has teamed up with Chainlink to bring its data and reliable oracle solution to the Cosmos ecosystem. Chainlink nodes now will be able to securely publish data directly on the Kava blockchain where it can be used or easily transported to other Cosmos-based blockchains and applications. Chainlink oracles on Kava utilize all the industry-leading technologies of Chainlink, while enabling more frequent price updates and improving the reach and distribution of where that data can be used.
Since Kava’s blockchain is built using Tendermint, Tendermint-based blockchains within the Cosmos ecosystem (Binance, Terra, OKChain, Cosmos Hub, Agoric, Aragon, and others) will now be able to retrieve market data such as cryptocurrency, FX, and commodity prices. For DEX’s like Binance this will enable them to create futures, options, and other derivative products they were not able to do so before.
TLDR: Kava + Chainlink Data creates the ideal hub for all blockchains and applications to get their DeFi services and Data, and as result makes Kava a natural hub for the growing Cosmos ecosystem.
What is the KAVA CDP product? Do you have any exciting things down the pipeline that you can share?
Answer - First, let me clarify that CDP simply means “collateralized-debt-position” similar to CDOs that exist in the traditional finance world. What it means is a loan using collateral to back the loan.
Kava’s lending platform offers collateralized loans to users who have crypto. Getting a loan with Kava’s platform is great if you don’t want to sell your crypto position, but need short term cash for payments or if you want to use the loan to get a levered / margin position without going through KYC.
As for news! Kava’s lending platform is scheduled to officially launch on the mainnet June 10th.
At this time, DeFi will be made available to BNB for the first time ever. Also at this time, the Kava DeFi platform will be awarding the first users that have BNB extremely high rewards for being early adopters.
Each week, 74,000 KAVA will be given out to all the users who have taken out loans on Kava. Yes, you get free KAVA, for taking out a loan using BNB!
Why should BNB users use KAVA’s lending platform and take out USDX? And how to mint USDX with BNB on KAVA CDP?
Answer - Free- maybe let's call it rewards for being good users 😉
The rewards are platform growth incentives so that we can grow the platform quickly.
Well at launch, definitely the KAVA rewards are a huge reason for BNB users to use it.
As for the product long-term, the major use case for our lending platform is to get a levered position without needing an exchange or to go through KYC.
How it works is that a BNB holder can deposit their BNB and take out USDX loans - this capital they will take and buy more BNB with it. Most people will use the loan this way to get 2-3x the original BNB amount. If the price goes up on BNB, they win 2-3x the gains!
Of course if the price goes down and they cannot repay their loan, the BNB collateral might get liquidated, so be careful, it works just like a margin trading account.
Brian do you have any more information or links for our community about this?
KAVA was initially planned to launch on Ripple network but later switched to Cosmos Tendermint Core. [email protected] is that something you see in Tendermint Core that is not available anywhere?
Answer - For clarification, Kava was never planned to be on Ripple. However, Ripple is a Kava investor, shareholder, and partner.
We selected the Cosmos-SDK featuring the Tendermint BFT consensus because during our past work with Ripple, MakerDao, ETH, and other layer 2 work we learned the value of “finality” of blockchains. For example, on ETH, the finality of blocks do not happen right away. You need to reach 15+ blocks to be confirmed on Ethereum to really know a transaction has passed. This results in really slow user experiences that aren’t acceptable in finance or any application really.
Tendermint solves this because it makes every transaction final and occur in seconds.
Additionally, we chose the Cosmos-SDK as the framework to build our stand alone blockchain, Kava because it allowed us to create our own security model and design which enables Kava as a DeFi platform responsible for millions of dollars of collateral to be very secure in a way we could net get if we built it on any other network.
KAVA does cross-chain support. Compared to other DeFi platforms, KAVA offer collateralized loans and stable coins to users too. How will volatility be managed there with so many different collateral systems in CDP?
Answer - Volatility is an important consideration and accurate and timely price reference data is needed to make sure the system works.
All the collateral positions rely on price feeds from oracles to determine if they are safe or need to be liquidated. Kava has created a novel partnership with Chainlink, where Chainlink oracles that normally run on Ethereum, operate nodes directly on Kava where they can post prices. This Kava to avoid network congestion, high gas fees, and other less desirable issues found on Ethereum, while enabling the oracles with Kava’s fast blocktimes and finality so they can actually deliver price updates 10-20x more frequently than is possible elsewhere. This makes Kava’s price feed data very reliable.
In times of volatility, if liquidations occur, the Kava platform automatically auctions collateral off for USDX on the market and burns the USDX. This mechanism keeps the system balanced and USDX algorithmically stable and always fully collateralized by real assets.
And it does this transparently, unlike the real world CDOs which caused the world issues in 2008 due to the lack of transparency in their assets and risk.
Recently, Binance has released a white paper on BSC, a Binance smart chain. So, what can I get by staking through Binance Coin BNB?
Answer - Yay for smart contracts!
What can we get by staking bnb?
Staking BNB on Kava, or depositing it in a CDP and creating USDX from it earns users KAVA in rewards everyweek. A lot of rewards. In addition, you get USDX to hold which also pays out a savings rate each block that is much better than say what USD in a checking account could do.
Various platforms are in Ethereum. So why is Kava not at Ethereum?
Answer - I could speak about this for ages, but there is a reason for Ethereum being the home to many hacks and bugs.
Kava is not on ethereum because we couldn’t build our system there. The main reasons. as I have mentioned are:
(1) Ethereum has congestion, oracle issues, high fees, and slow block times.
(2) Ethereum’s open smart contracting system can do anything. This is great for building crypto kitties, but horrible for financial software as it makes all code have infinite attack vectors that hackers can use which are impossible to test for. We built our own chain so we could scope the code and limit what attack vectors are possible.
(3) Building in solidity, the language of Ethereum, is horrible. The development environment is bad, testnets don’t work, and many other things are painful. Kava is primarily built in GO which is far superior for financial applications in most respects.
(4) The future is Cosmos. Binance, Okchain, terra, Cosmos Hub(ATOM), and Kava all are created using the Cosmos-SDK framework. I believe this is the future and the blockchain developers are moving to this in mass. Over 110 projects now are building with the Cosmos-SDK.
What are ways by which Kava project generates profit/revenue to maintain project. What is your revenue model?
Answer - Kava is a for-profit financial DAO with over 80 different businesses staking Kava and voting on its evolution. They want to see Kava succeed so they vote to fund operations and developments that drive user growth in Kava. Due to fees paid in Kava and the burning mechanism, as the system grows in users, the Kava supply decreases making those that hold Kava win due to scarcity.
Lending/Borrowing has been introduced by Binance. How can this affect the Kava since people can directly borrow BUSD from Binance with BNB used as collateral than going to Kava?
Answer - Kava will be featured on Binance as well. The main benefit of Kava is that there is no counterparty. The capital is minted on demand not sourced from somewhere. Binance and other centralized parties on the otherhand need to find capital to provide loans, creating a cost of capital. Kava is much more efficient at providing capital and avoids a lot of regulator issues.
I'll add I think BUSD in the future might be usable for collateral to Kava's loans as well. It would be cool 🙂
What's your opinions on Future of DeFi & DApps? Do you think that DeFi is the future of current Financial world? Also, How do you see the future of KAVA?
Answer - I believe Centralized Finance and the existing infrastructure has a place. It has a lot of issues that cause things like the 2008 crisis and the current insolvency issues that are happening across the world due to trust-based debt with no actual backers other than the people which end up bailing out banks and other financial institutions that have made poor decisions.
DeFi's future is bright because it solves this fundamental issue. It removes trust and adds transparency. Kava is right at the foundation for all of DeFi as things grow and mature.
Recently, we have seen some big hacks in DeFi platforms. How will KAVA deal with these bad actors of crypto and what security measures have been taken by KAVA for the safety of users' funds?"
Answer - Unlike a lot of DeFi startups, we take things seriously. We don't ""move fast and break things"" as Mark Zuckerberg would say.
We do a thorough analysis before suggesting to deploy code. Our internal team works very hard to run tests and simulations, once it passes internally, we give it to 3rd party auditors who try and game it and break the code. If it passes there, we give the code to the community to review and vote into the mainnet. In this way, I’d estimate about 100+ people review our code and test it before it goes live and consumers can touch it. I don't know many other project teams that due things with such diligence.
Binance for KAVA is a very valuable partner in terms of increasing the number of users, but what is KAVA ready to give equivalent to Binance users? What applications will be integrated into Binance to expand the ecosystem?
Answer - Kava gives the BNB users loans. It gives the DEX a stablecoin and the ability to offer margin products. Kava’s connection to binance chain and chainlink data also enables Binance DEX to offer trustless derivatives like options and futures products going forward.
Cosmos has limitations on working with PoW coins. How do you technically solve the problem of implementing DeFi products for bitcoin?
Answer - Cosmos is great for hard-to-work-with blockchains like BTC. It's flexible in how you can construct bridges. For example, the validator set can have a multisig private key split up into pieces in order to create a trustless escrow and control of assets on other blockchains. In this way, we can create peg zones with Cosmos for the best assets in the world. Once a zone is established, it can be used on Kava and other Cosmos chains.
USDX is currently a little-known stable coin. Do you plan to add it to the top exchanges with good liquidity, including Binance?
Answer - USDX will be growing quickly. We have a plan to have it listed and get liquidity across several known exchanges shortly after launch.
There are several options for using USDX on the KAVA platform, one of which is Margin Trading / Leverage. Is this a selection function or a compulsory function? Wondering since there are some investors who don`t like margin. What is the level of leverage and how does a CDP auction work?
Answer - Using Kava for Margin trading is 100% optional. You can choose how you want to use the margin loan. You don’t have to spend the USDX unless you want to. It could be used for everyday payments as well in the case you simply don’t want to sell your underlying collateral. If you don’t want the risk, do small loans with lots of collateral.
Will your team have a plan to implement the DAO module on your platform, as it provides autonomy, decentralization and transparency?
Answer - DAO - Kava is a for-profit DAO and it’s fully functional already. We have on-chain governance and have underwent several votes and evolutions you can look at. You actually can see some current voting processes taking place here: https://kava.mintscan.io/proposals
We recently implemented a cool feature called committees, which enables the DAO to elect a small group of experts to make decisions without needing a vote of the whole user base. This enables the experts to have control over a small portion of the protocol - such as monitoring the debt limit, fees, etc and enables Kava to operate faster and be more adaptable in volatile market conditions.
How can we address the possible overloads and security threats caused by increased users in the DeFi scene?
Answer - Yes, this is a huge issue for Ethereum, MakerDAO and everyone in the space. I don’t see a bright future for DeFi on Etheruem unfortunately. You can’t have a blockchain do everything well. Tether alone congests most of Ethereum and makes oracle price feeds lag the market. This can cause liquidations that should not happen and real people will lose real funds. It’s a huge issue.
The hope is for a dedicated system like Kava to provide a better backbone for DeFi applications going forward.
I should point out that Kava is not just a MakerDao for Cosmos or a CDP for Bitcoin. Kava is designed to be a foundational layer for DeFi services that every new blockchain and application will need.
Every blockchain will need DeFi services like lending, stablecoins, and data and they need it to be very secure. Kava does all this with its cross-chain lending plarform, USDX stablecoin, and Chainlink data in an incredibly secure, but accessible manner.
In this way, Kava aims to connect and serve all the major cryptocurrency communities and build it’s place at the center, where every developer can get what they need to build financial applications of the future."
What distinguishes Kava from your existing competitors like Syntetix?
Answer - Synthetix isn't really a competitor, but it is an interesting project in terms of mechanism design. We share a lot of common investors and have similar token economic ideas with them. The only blockchain project that could be is MakerDAO, but they can only work with ETH assets due to their design. We are focused on the major cap assets - BTC, BNB, XRP, ATOM and others have a much larger market than ETH to address. BTC is 10x the size alone. Currently no one serves them with DeFi. We’re going after this opportunity and believe it to be a huge one.
Why is the KAVA coin not used for Mint, why am I asking that because I see it can also make the value of KAVA coins grow naturally?
Answer - Why is Kava not used as a collateral? Well, it could be I suppose. The community might vote for this in the near future if they want us to be like synthetix. It makes the Kava token more valuable and it will incentivize much more locked-up Kava reducing overall circulating supply which is fairly favorable. The main reason we have not done this yet is that we(Kava and its community) are still weighing the risks of doing this given that Kava also functions as a reserve asset. I think it's likely Kava gets added as collateral at some point, but it will likely have a high debt-collateral ratio to address the issues similar to Synthetix which is 750%.
How do you prevent in a manipulated KAVA Mint just to take advantage of a token prize when minting?
Answer - Minting rewards and manipulation. We’ve thought of this. Each week, the blockchain counts all the blocks, counts how many people had a loan in that period, then takes the average loan amount over time to calculate the rewards. If you open and close a loan - you will get very little rewards. You only get a large reward if you keep the loan open the full period.
Who are your oracle providers? Are you also an oracle provider?
Answer - Kava may run 1 oracle in the future, but we will always have many and be the minority. Most chainlink oracle node operators are large players in the space that run staking infrastructure companies like cosmostation, chainlayer, chorus one, figment networks, etc. Binance will also be one of our oracles.
If we look at all the different types of DeFi products _(decentralized exchanges, stablecoins, atomic swaps, insurance products, loan platforms, trade financing platforms, custody platforms, and crowdfunding platforms) currently covering important areas of traditional finance...where does Kava fit in?
Answer - To make any interesting financial product work you need capital, a stable store of value, and price data. These are really hard to get on current blockchain environments. Kava provides all of these.
Many people describe Kava as similar to Maker (MKR). How is Kava different? Why do you think Kava has more potential?
Answer - MakerDAO is a smart contract with a singular purpose, to serve ETH. It sadly inherited the problems of ethereum. Kava is designed from the ground up for security and interoperability. We are targeting bigger and better assets and have more capabilities to serve them with what their developers and ecosystem need.
What is the uniqueness of KAVA project that cannot be found in other project that´s been released so far ?
Answer - Well in June 10th, we will be the first ever blockchain project to bring DeFi to another blockchain in a real way. BNB users will have loans, stablecoins, and much more.
The gas fee is an issue for blockchain besides scalability. Does your Kava provide a solution for gas?
Answer - gas fees are very low on Kava, only high enough to prevent spam. We dont need high fees for TX because validators are paid in block rewards. Additionally, we dont have competing transactions from crypto-kitties or other non-financial applications. This leaves all of Kava's throughput 100% dedicated to scaling financial transactions.
Kava project works on DeFi (Decentralized Finance) But what’s the benefits of Decentralized Financial system? What are the possibilities of DeFi over Centralized Finance system?
Answer - Open access, no need for trust, and no censorship by singular governments or parties. Kava is accessible anywhere in the world, by anyone.
Data supplied by oracles are false at times, how do you prevent this? How reliable are data received by KAVA?
Answer - This is why using premium / credentialed APIs is important for oracles. These data sources tend to be more accurate and better managed. Wrong prices can happen - for liquidation systems like Kava, we factor this into our design by using an average of data overtime form all oracles as part of the calculation.
Can anyone become a KAVA validator, or is it just an invitation from the project itself? What are the requirements for becoming a KAVA verifier?
Answer - Anyone can become a validator, but you will need to stake or have enough stake delegated to you from others to be in the top 100 validators to earn block rewards.
DEFI PULSE said that a total of 902M is currently locked. According to you, how will this number change in the next few years, and how will KAVA position itself as the top player in this market segment?
Answer - DeFi will only grow through 2020. And likely grow massively.
All projects on DeFi pulse are ""ethereum"" based. Kava is going to shake the blockchain world in the next few weeks by being the first ""multi-chain"" project on DeFi pulse and by my estimations we should quickly surpass a lot of the projects on that list.
I am an testnet minter and the process seem Simplified, now I want to know if minting of USDX will continue when you launch Mainnet and do you have plans to build your own KAVA WALLET for easy minting on your mainnet
Answer - Simple blockchain experience?! high praise! Yes the process will be the same. Kava will not provide interfaces or wallets. Kava Labs builds software for the blockchain, our community members like Cosmostation, Frontier, Trust Wallet build support for people to interact with it.
What business plans does Kava have with Seoul (South Korea) after partnering with Cosmostation? Do you plan to expand your products beyond Asia? Have you thought about harnessing the potential of South America?
Answer - South Korea is a perfect market for Kava's DeFi. Regulations prohibit fiat-backed stablecoins and margin trading. Kava's platform uses crypto-backed stabvlecoins and can enable users to get loans to margin trade. I am looking forward to further developing the Korean market for Kava, working with close partners like Cosmostation and showing the world real use cases of DeFi.
Thank you for taking the time to conduct this AMA. Do you have any parting words, and where can the people go to keep up with all of the new happenings regarding Kava Labs?
Answer - Thanks for all the awesome questions! Amazingly thoughtful!
I've been promising the world cross-chain DeFi since June of last year. The IEO and mainnet went live Nov 2019. It's been a year of hard work - but an industry first is coming on June 10th. I'm excited. I hope you guys are.
Thanks for having me, I hope you become a USDX minter and get KAVA rewards. And last but not least, I love Binance - it's Kava's first home and I'm really happy to open up DeFi to BNB first.
https://cryptomurmur.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/The-way-money-used-to-be-1.png I wrote this story about the paradigm shift that cryptocurrencies may cause in the future, from the perspective of an old man reflecting on the past. If you enjoy this story, please have a look at other material I have written at https://cryptomurmur.com/ The Way Money Used to Be “I remember it like it was yesterday, James,” the old man wistfully pondered. “Money was so different back then. Everything was different.” “How so, Will?” the younger one asked - not so young as to be a child, but young enough to not remember the way money used to be. “Back then,” Will replied, “money was not something shared and traded freely like it is now… it was mostly owned by a few, and they were the few who controlled it. They issued it, and they manipulated its value to their advantage.” “They could print it, as much as they would convince the people they needed, and over time, the money became worth less and less, but the people would owe more and more.” “But if they mined it and mined it,” James asked, “and mined it all, wouldn’t they run out of money eventually? Then the money would be scarce and become worth more, right?” “No, no, no!” Will was amused at James’ naivete. “They didn’t mine it like we do now. Now, our computers solve mathematical problems to mine a currency, and it becomes more and more scarce, and more and more valuable, but back then, the people in power just printed more and more money as they saw fit, creating more and more debt and less and less value.” “Out of thin air?” James was incredulous. “How could they do that? Didn’t people see how they were taking advantage of them?” “It took time for people to realise. They began to realise when the new money came to be. But it was a slow, gradual change. Cryptocurrency did not have a good reputation, at first.” James was confused. “What do you mean? How can a currency be bad? Can’t it be used for good or bad?” “Of course!” Will replied, “but the few who controlled money wanted to keep things that way, so they created fear and paranoia about the new money. They said cryptocurrency was only used by criminals, paying for committing horrible acts with impunity, behind a shield of anonymity. The old money, on the other hand, was tracked and followed everywhere it went on the Internet, thus creating the illusion of safety. In reality, though, it was controlled and manipulated.” “And people didn’t mind? They just willingly gave up their privacy like that? Bizarre!” James was struggling to relate to such a different way of seeing the world. “They didn’t know there were better alternatives” Will explained. “Money was not only controlled by the few, the powerful, and the elite, but also by tanks, guns and bombs. There wasn’t much the average person could do about it at the time.” “Money was centralised - controlled by a few powerful entities. Not like now. Cryptocurrency as we know it today has no central authority. It can not be attacked and destroyed at any one single point,” Will continued, “It wasn’t secure like it is now, either. Money could be stolen and hidden in vast quantities by those in power who could control what was seen, so nobody could possibly know if a government or other person in power was stealing money from the rest of the people.” James was astonished. “No public ledger? So, you just had to trust the people who controlled the money to be honest about the money, when it was in their best interests to be selfish? That makes no sense!” Will laughed. “I know, it’s funny when you think back how it just seemed perfectly normal and acceptable at the time! Now it seems… ridiculous!” They chuckled as they reminisced. “I remember…” Will continued, “You would have to go to a place called a bank - a place that might give you permission to store your own money there if you had enough money to begin with, and then charged you for storing it, charged you for withdrawing it, charged you for sending it, and profited from gambling it, all while charging you more to borrow it!” “That’s crazy.” James almost sounded disgusted. “You didn’t just store your own money in your own wallet? And just send it to whomever you please?” “Nope!” Will replied. “Instead, you asked the bank to send it for you, for a fee, of course! And if you wanted to send money to family or friends across the world, well…” “Well, what?” James prodded. “Well… it could take days, and it cost a great deal.” James answered, “Well I suppose that’s fair since that was before the internet, right? I mean, it wouldn’t be so easy to move money like that back then, right?” “Oh, no, no.” Will clarified. “The internet had already been around for quite some time, in fact. But because currencies were not cryptocurrencies, because they were centrally controlled with middlemen like banks, there was not much choice but to pay for the banks to move the money as they saw fit. And if they could make more money charging fees to send money around the world, why wouldn’t they?” Will chuckled. “Wow” James found the whole scenario amusing. “It’s funny how when you look back at something in the past, it can seem so ridiculous, but at the time, it seems perfectly reasonable” Will contemplated. “I know I’ll never understand it!” they laughed together, one at memories of the strange ways things were in the past, the other not quite understanding how different things had become. So what exactly is cryptocurrency then? Cryptocurrency attempts to solve many of the problems of the modern money system, called fiat. In the current money system, money is printed or minted by selling debt. The money is then lent out to borrowers and spent around the world. More and more money gets printed and more and more debt gets created. Since the money is created out of debt, it is impossible to ever pay back the debt entirely as more debt is constantly created with the money that is used to continuously pay the debt. Cryptocurrency, on the other hand, is not printed or minted out of debt. It is created, most commonly, through a process that uses computer work, solving math problems that can not be cheated. It is created by anyone who chooses to participate in its creation, called a miner, much like miners of gold and other precious metals. When a miner successfully “mines” a cryptocurrency by solving a math problem with a computer, they are rewarded with a “block”, and can choose to keep the reward or to trade it with others. So, it is not controlled or stored somewhere by any one person or government. This is the greatest unique attribute of cryptocurrency - that it is decentralised - not controlled or stored by any one “central” person or group of people. Cryptocurrencies use computer code that makes it secure and prevents it from being copied, so it can not be created out of debt and can not become so plentiful as to be worthless. Whenever someone trades cryptocurrency with someone else, the transactions also use this computer code, called cryptography, to make sure the transaction is true and that it is secure. Miners are a part of this process, making sure that every transaction is correct and is not a duplicate or an incorrect amount. Most cryptocurrencies record these trades in a chain of blocks, called the blockchain, with each block storing information about the trade. The blocks create a chain of information that is checked by miners to make sure it is true. So cryptocurrency, through the use of cryptography, is far more secure than old fashioned fiat money. Another great advantage of cryptocurrency is that it is much cheaper to send to people anywhere. Since there is no need for any kind of bank or money transfer agent, the fees can be tiny, rewarding miners around the world for checking that each trade is correct on a public ledger; the permanent and unchangeable list of trades seen on the blockchain. The public ledger is like an open account book where everyone can see all of the trades. Anyone who wants can look and see the amounts of currency that have been traded. Cryptocurrencies can use features that makes these transactions anonymous to varying degrees, to protect the privacy of traders. Money can be sent anywhere in the world without any border issues or bank accounts, directly from one person to another using this cryptographic system. The fee to send cryptocurrency to the other side of the world would be the same as it would be to send it to your neighbour because of this system. Often, because of a cryptocurrency’s ability to send money anonymously anywhere in the world, it is portrayed as being used mostly by criminals for various crimes and terrorism. In reality, fiat money is used for almost all criminal activity in the form of cash, mostly USD. Ultimately, any currency can be used for good or evil, but it is in the interests of central fiat powers, who make a great deal of profit from debt, fees, and fiat money fabrication, to maintain a negative image for cryptocurrency. Of all cryptocurrencies, the best known by far is Bitcoin. It is the oldest blockchain with the most miners and is seen as the most trusted and secure for this reason. But there are many other cryptocurrencies with different purposes. Ethereum, for example, is a cryptocurrency that was created with the idea of using the currency itself as a sort of platform for programming. Many cryptocurrencies are traded for goods and services on a constant basis, like Litecoin, Monero, and Ripple. There are literally thousands of cryptocurrencies for different purposes! If you’re interested in cryptocurrencies, you can learn to mine them on your own computer or you can simply buy them from exchanges like Coinbase, Kraken, and Binance. There are new exchanges constantly springing up around the world, so check out exchanges in your region.
Cryptocurrency: Is It Still Alive or Dying? Part 2
Cryptocurrency: Is It Still Alive or Dying? Part 2. Political and Economic Trends in Favor of the Cryptocurrency Market Development In the first part of the story we showed that the cryptocurrency market crash in 2018 and the beginning of its recovery in 2019 fit well into the general patterns of the financial bubbles’ development, and also repeat pretty well the Bitcoin dynamics of 2014-2016. But besides the analogies with other bubbles, there are a lot of other arguments in favor of the global growth of the market, among which are the political and economic trends of the recent years. Relaxation of the Political Climate around the Cryptoassets The entire year of 2017 has witnessed heated discussions as to the legal status of the digital assets. One of the central events of the year was their legalization in Japan in April. Precisely this legalization, according to many, spurred a dramatic growth of the cryptocurrency market in May (especially, altcoins). But the majority of other countries during this period held more skeptical positions. The U.S. government on several occasions refused to register bitcoin-ETF - exchange-traded funds, the price of shares in which would repeat the price of BTC. The U.S. government also extremely tightened the conditions of the ICO procedure, while some countries, such as China and South Korea - have banned it completely. Certain countries, such as Indonesia and Salvador, have banned cryptocurrencies to the extent of criminal responsibility. A number of countries, including Russia, have adopted a cautious wait-and-see attitude, regularly promising to impose restrictions of varying severity, but not hurrying to sign it into law. A turning point on the way to the global recognition of the cryptocurrency was the beginning of trading the Bitcoin futures at the Chicago exchanges (CME) (the world’s largest stock exchange in terms of turnover) and CBOE in December of 2017. That is when the American government admitted openly that cryptocurrencies are now to be reckoned with. With the beginning of this trade, the powerful financial circles of the USA, whose opinion cannot be ignored by the political leadership, became interested in the development of the cryptocurrency market. Chicago Mercantile Exchange, CME – the world leader in terms of trade volume In 2018, the following paradox became obvious: even if over the longer term cryptocurrencies are dangerous for the modern political system (tied up in the central banks and the currency exchange regulation), the countries that will be the first to prohibit them will be most affected along with those countries that will simply overdo stirring up negative attitude. Those countries that will settle on legalization will benefit. The drain of brains and capitals will be directed to these countries from the more repressive or unpredictable countries. A typical example of that - Crypto Project GRAM of the Russian businessman Pavel Durov, whose ICO in 2018 reached a record amount, but it was carried out in USA, and not in the legislatively uncertain Russian Federation. The experience of the countries that have legalized the cryptocurrencies, proved successful both from the financial standpoint, and from the perspective of the international prestige. They proved themselves to be open to the progress and new freedoms. In addition to Japan, Switzerland is especially noteworthy here, because it legalized cryptocurrencies as early as in 2016, but the most brilliantly announced about itself in 2018, when its banks began to introduce cryptocurrency services one after another. Among the innovator banks there was even a Swiss subsidiary of the Russian Savings Bank (Sberbank). The very expression “Swiss bank” became a synonym of not only high reliability, but also innovation. A milestone event of 2018 was legalization of cryptocurrencies in Germany – the leading economy of the European Union. Rather liberal measures relative to the cryptocurrencies are being applied today in Czechia, Sweden, Canada, Denmark, Australia, Estonia, Norway, Finland, and a number of other countries. “Legalization parade” has shown: the politicians with repressive attitudes cannot count on the global ban of the cryptocurrencies (which seemed theoretically possible in 2016-2017). Economically developed countries made an obvious choice: “if you cannot stop the process – become its leader”. And precisely in these countries the maximum capitals are being circulated, and the market situation depends precisely on their business activity. Explosive Growth of the Retail Use of Cryptocurrencies Despite obvious popularization of cryptocurrencies, there is still a myth that they are purely investment and speculative instrument, which, even if used as a payment method – only in the dark net, and as a means of payment for illegal commodities. But this is not the case today. As far back as 2013-2015, legal services accepting bitcoin emerged, and in 2016-2018 their market has undergone explosive growth. The pioneers of the cryptocurrency market of goods and services in 2013, were, for example, Virgin Galactic – space tourism company, Victoria’s Secret lingerie company, Shopify - a supplier of software for the online stores. In 2014, the cryptocurrency was adopted by the Overstock online store, Expedia tourism service, Zynga – operator of the online games, the software monster Microsoft and many others. Some of these companies considerably went up due to the innovations: for example, the shares of Shopify and Overstock have increased in price several-fold since then. As of today, the cryptocurrency is accepted by hundreds of large companies and thousands of small ones, while the range of their products is approaching the one in a traditional economy. The most popular categories of the goods for the cryptocurrency in the large famous companies are tourism and air tickets (Expedia), software and games (Microsoft, Shopify, Zynga, Steam), clothing and other consumer goods (Victoria’s Secret, Overstock.com, Rakuten), as well as food products (Subway, KFC, Burger King – in Russia). As an example, Playboy erotic products, premium accounts of the 4chan.org and reddit.com forums, Bloomberg.com business news, automobiles in the Czech show room Alza and many other goods can be also purchased for cryptocurrency. A number of well-known companies, although they prefer traditional payments, nevertheless allow crypto payments through the intermediary services, such as gyft.com (trading with the card Gyft for BTC). For example, Ebay online store, Wallmart supermarket chain, Starbucks restaurants, Uber taxi service, etc. The turnover of gyft.com is evaluated in the amount of 25 million dollars with only 38 employees. Small start-up companies often use ready-made multicurrency gateways such as coinpayments.net. It supports dozens of currencies, and hosts about 400 companies. In addition to mainstream, it contains a lot of specialized commodities. For example, crypto-armory.com sells cartridges, francvila.com – Swiss watches, directvoltage.com - 3D-printers, electric motors, CNC machines, etc. Some new stores not only accept cryptocurrencies, but also purposely give up fiat currency. For example, crypto-armory.com, explaining their refusal from fiat currency, state both ideological, and narrow pragmatic reasons. In the opinion of the owners of the store, it is easier to accept cryptocurrency payments both technically and legally. Cartridges from the cryptocurrency store crypto-armory.com An important trend of 2017-2018, in addition to the general growth of the commodity market - re-orientation of the stores to the multi-currency payments. Whereas previously most of them accepted only BTC, now a sign of good manners is to accept also LTC, ETH, XMR and at least several more currencies. Thus, while the politicians were solving the problem in the manner “not possible to allow - disallow”, a vast market of commodities for cryptocurrency spontaneously emerged on the Internet. Some of its participants have multibillion capitalizations. This market is very international. The majority of commodities and services can be bought even from Russia and other countries, where cryptocurrency is not legal as an internal payment instrument, but is not prohibited as such. Today, it is hard to imagine a consumer good, which cannot be bought for cryptocurrency. The Latest Trend – Support of Cryptocurrencies by Smartphones The first smartphone with a cryptocurrency wallet was HYPERLINK "https://bitcryptonews.ru/blogs/sravnenie-blokchejn-smartfonov-exodus-1-i-finney"HTC Exodus 1, released in the autumn of 2018. Then, a crypto smartphone HYPERLINK emerged "https://bitcryptonews.ru/blogs/obzor-kriptosmartfona-finney"Finney. And in March of 2019, the baton was unexpectedly picked up by the smartphone from the major South Korean company, Samsung - Galaxy S10. And although Samsung refrained from the direct embedding of the cryptocurrency wallet into the standard supply set, a brand wallet of Samsung can be installed from the Galaxy Store. https://preview.redd.it/p8zc6dat0ay21.jpg?width=1280&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=d7f173f7470107c2f4cc5868ed882089499b2a09 Galaxy S10 – the first smartphone from Samsung with cryptocurrency support On the part of crypto enthusiasts, there are a number of claims to Samsung initiative, among which – the lack of bitcoin support (BTC). At the moment, Samsung Blockchain Wallet supports only Ethereum (ETH) and ERC-20 standard currencies and tokens created on its basis: Basic Attention Token (BAT), Chainlink (LINK), BinanceCoin (BNB), True USD (TUSD), USD Coin (USDC), Paxos Standard (PAX) and others. Anyway, from a political and PR perspective, the emergence of Galaxy S10 is a great event. First of all, smartphone can attract to the cryptocurrency market new people who have greater confidence in the famous brand, than in the traditional bulky cryptocurrency wallets. Now, many people are frightened away from the cryptocurrencies only by technical difficulties, whereas smartphones on many occasions have proved their ability to promote to the masses those things, which previously seemed to be very complex. Secondly, this step of Samsung is a clear signal both to the domestic and foreign governments: big business is on the side of the new technologies. South Korea has a reputation of a country not very friendly to cryptocurrencies, however, its business giant publicly demonstrated another attitude. Thirdly, the initiative of Samsung with a high degree of probability will be emulated by other leading producers of communication devices. Thus, shortly after the release of Galaxy S10, there appeared a news that a cryptocurrency wallet will soon be available in iOS Opera Touch, which means that cryptocurrencies can be also stored in iPhone of Apple. All this creates excellent prerequisites both for the world legalization of the cryptocurrencies, and for the growth of the market due to the increase of the number of users. Conclusion Thus, despite the “roller coaster” of the cryptocurrency exchange rates, some fundamental processes have developed steadily in the same direction in the recent years: expansion of the commodity market for cryptocurrency, increase in the number of countries with a liberal attitude to cryptocurrencies, adoption of cryptocurrencies as a strategic technology by more and more industrial giants. The total number of individuals who tried to work with the cryptocurrencies grows steadily, while the new technological trends (in particular, crypto smartphones), can additionally accelerate this growth. The only thing that can seriously damage a cryptocurrency market is its global ban, but it seems to be unlikely. Right now there are about 40 million bitcoin wallets on earth. It is believed that on average their number is doubled annually, which means that within 5 years it can reach a billion. And if now a global ban on cryptocurrencies is unrealistic due to their profitability for the developed countries, by that time their prohibition will become impossible almost physically. In the first part of the story we had put forward the arguments as to why the investors need not fear the bubble of 2017-2018: in the end, the bubble showed not so much the riskiness of the crypto investments, but rather their long-term prospects. Today we described political and economic events, which have occurred in parallel “behind the scenes”, and in which there were no “drops” – only progressive development toward the construction of the crypto economy. And in the next, third part, we will try to describe in detail specific financial reasons of the collapse and recovery of the market in 2018-2019. Analytical department, Trident company, Victor Argonov, Candidate of Physical and Mathematical Sciences. Source:http://trident-germes.com/ https://www.facebook.com/Germes.mining.robot/
Cryptocurrency: Is It Still Alive or Dying? Part 2.
Part 2. Political and Economic Trends in Favor of the Cryptocurrency Market Development In the first part of the story we showed that the cryptocurrency market crash in 2018 and the beginning of its recovery in 2019 fit well into the general patterns of the financial bubbles’ development, and also repeat pretty well the Bitcoin dynamics of 2014-2016. But besides the analogies with other bubbles, there are a lot of other arguments in favor of the global growth of the market, among which are the political and economic trends of the recent years. Relaxation of the Political Climate around the Cryptoassets The entire year of 2017 has witnessed heated discussions as to the legal status of the digital assets. One of the central events of the year was their legalization in Japan in April. Precisely this legalization, according to many, spurred a dramatic growth of the cryptocurrency market in May (especially, altcoins). But the majority of other countries during this period held more skeptical positions. The U.S. government on several occasions refused to register bitcoin-ETF - exchange-traded funds, the price of shares in which would repeat the price of BTC. The U.S. government also extremely tightened the conditions of the ICO procedure, while some countries, such as China and South Korea - have banned it completely. Certain countries, such as Indonesia and Salvador, have banned cryptocurrencies to the extent of criminal responsibility. A number of countries, including Russia, have adopted a cautious wait-and-see attitude, regularly promising to impose restrictions of varying severity, but not hurrying to sign it into law. A turning point on the way to the global recognition of the cryptocurrency was the beginning of trading the Bitcoin futures at the Chicago exchanges (CME) (the world’s largest stock exchange in terms of turnover) and CBOE in December of 2017. That is when the American government admitted openly that cryptocurrencies are now to be reckoned with. With the beginning of this trade, the powerful financial circles of the USA, whose opinion cannot be ignored by the political leadership, became interested in the development of the cryptocurrency market. Chicago Mercantile Exchange, CME – the world leader in terms of trade volume In 2018, the following paradox became obvious: even if over the longer term cryptocurrencies are dangerous for the modern political system (tied up in the central banks and the currency exchange regulation), the countries that will be the first to prohibit them will be most affected along with those countries that will simply overdo stirring up negative attitude. Those countries that will settle on legalization will benefit. The drain of brains and capitals will be directed to these countries from the more repressive or unpredictable countries. A typical example of that - Crypto Project GRAM of the Russian businessman Pavel Durov, whose ICO in 2018 reached a record amount, but it was carried out in USA, and not in the legislatively uncertain Russian Federation. The experience of the countries that have legalized the cryptocurrencies, proved successful both from the financial standpoint, and from the perspective of the international prestige. They proved themselves to be open to the progress and new freedoms. In addition to Japan, Switzerland is especially noteworthy here, because it legalized cryptocurrencies as early as in 2016, but the most brilliantly announced about itself in 2018, when its banks began to introduce cryptocurrency services one after another. Among the innovator banks there was even a Swiss subsidiary of the Russian Savings Bank (Sberbank). The very expression “Swiss bank” became a synonym of not only high reliability, but also innovation. A milestone event of 2018 was legalization of cryptocurrencies in Germany – the leading economy of the European Union. Rather liberal measures relative to the cryptocurrencies are being applied today in Czechia, Sweden, Canada, Denmark, Australia, Estonia, Norway, Finland, and a number of other countries. “Legalization parade” has shown: the politicians with repressive attitudes cannot count on the global ban of the cryptocurrencies (which seemed theoretically possible in 2016-2017). Economically developed countries made an obvious choice: “if you cannot stop the process – become its leader”. And precisely in these countries the maximum capitals are being circulated, and the market situation depends precisely on their business activity. Explosive Growth of the Retail Use of Cryptocurrencies Despite obvious popularization of cryptocurrencies, there is still a myth that they are purely investment and speculative instrument, which, even if used as a payment method – only in the dark net, and as a means of payment for illegal commodities. But this is not the case today. As far back as 2013-2015, legal services accepting bitcoin emerged, and in 2016-2018 their market has undergone explosive growth. The pioneers of the cryptocurrency market of goods and services in 2013, were, for example, Virgin Galactic – space tourism company, Victoria’s Secret lingerie company, Shopify - a supplier of software for the online stores. In 2014, the cryptocurrency was adopted by the Overstock online store, Expedia tourism service, Zynga – operator of the online games, the software monster Microsoft and many others. Some of these companies considerably went up due to the innovations: for example, the shares of Shopify and Overstock have increased in price several-fold since then. As of today, the cryptocurrency is accepted by hundreds of large companies and thousands of small ones, while the range of their products is approaching the one in a traditional economy. The most popular categories of the goods for the cryptocurrency in the large famous companies are tourism and air tickets (Expedia), software and games (Microsoft, Shopify, Zynga, Steam), clothing and other consumer goods (Victoria’s Secret, Overstock.com, Rakuten), as well as food products (Subway, KFC, Burger King – in Russia). As an example, Playboy erotic products, premium accounts of the 4chan.org and reddit.com forums, Bloomberg.com business news, automobiles in the Czech show room Alza and many other goods can be also purchased for cryptocurrency. A number of well-known companies, although they prefer traditional payments, nevertheless allow crypto payments through the intermediary services, such as gyft.com (trading with the card Gyft for BTC). For example, Ebay online store, Wallmart supermarket chain, Starbucks restaurants, Uber taxi service, etc. The turnover of gyft.com is evaluated in the amount of 25 million dollars with only 38 employees. Small start-up companies often use ready-made multicurrency gateways such as coinpayments.net. It supports dozens of currencies, and hosts about 400 companies. In addition to mainstream, it contains a lot of specialized commodities. For example, crypto-armory.com sells cartridges, francvila.com – Swiss watches, directvoltage.com - 3D-printers, electric motors, CNC machines, etc. Some new stores not only accept cryptocurrencies, but also purposely give up fiat currency. For example, crypto-armory.com, explaining their refusal from fiat currency, state both ideological, and narrow pragmatic reasons. In the opinion of the owners of the store, it is easier to accept cryptocurrency payments both technically and legally. Cartridges from the cryptocurrency store crypto-armory.com An important trend of 2017-2018, in addition to the general growth of the commodity market - re-orientation of the stores to the multi-currency payments. Whereas previously most of them accepted only BTC, now a sign of good manners is to accept also LTC, ETH, XMR and at least several more currencies. Thus, while the politicians were solving the problem in the manner “not possible to allow - disallow”, a vast market of commodities for cryptocurrency spontaneously emerged on the Internet. Some of its participants have multibillion capitalizations. This market is very international. The majority of commodities and services can be bought even from Russia and other countries, where cryptocurrency is not legal as an internal payment instrument, but is not prohibited as such. Today, it is hard to imagine a consumer good, which cannot be bought for cryptocurrency. The Latest Trend – Support of Cryptocurrencies by Smartphones The first smartphone with a cryptocurrency wallet was HYPERLINK "https://bitcryptonews.ru/blogs/sravnenie-blokchejn-smartfonov-exodus-1-i-finney"HTC Exodus 1, released in the autumn of 2018. Then, a crypto smartphone HYPERLINK emerged "https://bitcryptonews.ru/blogs/obzor-kriptosmartfona-finney"Finney. And in March of 2019, the baton was unexpectedly picked up by the smartphone from the major South Korean company, Samsung - Galaxy S10. And although Samsung refrained from the direct embedding of the cryptocurrency wallet into the standard supply set, a brand wallet of Samsung can be installed from the Galaxy Store. Galaxy S10 – the first smartphone from Samsung with cryptocurrency support On the part of crypto enthusiasts, there are a number of claims to Samsung initiative, among which – the lack of bitcoin support (BTC). At the moment, Samsung Blockchain Wallet supports only Ethereum (ETH) and ERC-20 standard currencies and tokens created on its basis: Basic Attention Token (BAT), Chainlink (LINK), BinanceCoin (BNB), True USD (TUSD), USD Coin (USDC), Paxos Standard (PAX) and others. Anyway, from a political and PR perspective, the emergence of Galaxy S10 is a great event. First of all, smartphone can attract to the cryptocurrency market new people who have greater confidence in the famous brand, than in the traditional bulky cryptocurrency wallets. Now, many people are frightened away from the cryptocurrencies only by technical difficulties, whereas smartphones on many occasions have proved their ability to promote to the masses those things, which previously seemed to be very complex. Secondly, this step of Samsung is a clear signal both to the domestic and foreign governments: big business is on the side of the new technologies. South Korea has a reputation of a country not very friendly to cryptocurrencies, however, its business giant publicly demonstrated another attitude. Thirdly, the initiative of Samsung with a high degree of probability will be emulated by other leading producers of communication devices. Thus, shortly after the release of Galaxy S10, there appeared a news that a cryptocurrency wallet will soon be available in iOS Opera Touch, which means that cryptocurrencies can be also stored in iPhone of Apple. All this creates excellent prerequisites both for the world legalization of the cryptocurrencies, and for the growth of the market due to the increase of the number of users. Conclusion Thus, despite the “roller coaster” of the cryptocurrency exchange rates, some fundamental processes have developed steadily in the same direction in the recent years: expansion of the commodity market for cryptocurrency, increase in the number of countries with a liberal attitude to cryptocurrencies, adoption of cryptocurrencies as a strategic technology by more and more industrial giants. The total number of individuals who tried to work with the cryptocurrencies grows steadily, while the new technological trends (in particular, crypto smartphones), can additionally accelerate this growth. The only thing that can seriously damage a cryptocurrency market is its global ban, but it seems to be unlikely. Right now there are about 40 million bitcoin wallets on earth. It is believed that on average their number is doubled annually, which means that within 5 years it can reach a billion. And if now a global ban on cryptocurrencies is unrealistic due to their profitability for the developed countries, by that time their prohibition will become impossible almost physically. In the first part of the story we had put forward the arguments as to why the investors need not fear the bubble of 2017-2018: in the end, the bubble showed not so much the riskiness of the crypto investments, but rather their long-term prospects. Today we described political and economic events, which have occurred in parallel “behind the scenes”, and in which there were no “drops” – only progressive development toward the construction of the crypto economy. And in the next, third part, we will try to describe in detail specific financial reasons of the collapse and recovery of the market in 2018-2019. Analytical department, Trident company, Victor Argonov, Candidate of Physical and Mathematical Sciences. Source:http://trident-germes.com/ https://www.facebook.com/Germes.mining.robot/
Crypto Rollercoaster: Explaining the Recent Market Performance
https://www.ccn.com/crypto-rollercoaster-explaining-the-recent-market-performance/ Just when it appeared that the cryptocurrency market was about to bottom out just a fortnight ago (with Bitcoin reaching a reported 14-month volatility low), the market subsequently started displaying indicators of a directional shift. Last week however, we saw a short-term appreciation in value. In typical crypto fashion it was just as rapid if not more so than the recent decline and Bitcoin, in particular, was observed to have exceeded “a key resistance level at $7,000 after breaking out of the $6,800 mark… crucial for the short-term recovery of Bitcoin.”. Right now however, we are looking at what some mainstream media organisations have described as an ominous price-crash: if not full-blown ‘meltdown’.
Causation Between News and Value?
The reasons for the crash – like many before – are likely plenty, such as the theory of market manipulation by wealthy crypto-barons, amongst other interested parties. Just looking at the news recently, we can identify a handful of reported events and moments which might have contributed, coincided with or preceded this rapid deppreciation in value. They include:
Goldman Sachs’ decision to shelf previously announced plans for opening a Bitcoin trading desk.
Speculative doubt stemming from recent pump-and-dumps which utilize the ‘Bitcoin’ moniker.
Prophetic warnings from pundits and other luminaries.
Looking at the Market
The large fall in value could be considered either a correction or a short relief. Either way, it is fair to say that if the market were to return to a more positive trajectory: we could expect the collective growth to be reflective year-over-year, exponentially. Coinschedule (an “ICO listing and cryptocurrency portal”) recorded $3.695 billion total funds raised in 217 from 209 ICOs. By compairson, the same site records 500% times more investment this year (up until August 2nd, 2018) – with $17.489 billion gathered from 686 ICOs so far. It is still important to bear in mind the sobering fact that a great number of ICOs and cryptocurrencies fail.
Additional Studies and Observations
Cezary Graf (AKA Crypto Poland) is a Polish blockchain enthusiast who recently shared a tweet which featured an image which depicted where ‘Bitcoin & The Crypto’ as a collective industry would place in Statista’s list of ‘The 100 largest companies in the world by market value in 2018 (in billions of U.S. dollars)‘. Graf’s post only provided information from the first page and 10 entries of Statista’s list. This suggests that the total industry value is comparable with the likes of Apple, Alphabet, and Amazon (The Big A’s) – whose combined value is over $2471.1 billion. Veering beyond these pages however and considering cryptocurrency’s overall market value has surpassed $262,5 billion. Comparatively it would fit it closer to 17th place – best resembling the following trio of financial industry giants.
Some of the great issues, conversely, plaguing the crypto market include fraudulent and scam ICOs: as well as honest projects which simply offer little to no value to justify their price or existence. This is in addition to (and arguably supported by) an almost universal lack of effective regulations or standards to prevent such tokens, and has led to some going as far as to call ICOs an ‘investment bubble’. If true, the space will prove unsustainable if it continues on its current trajectory: a claim which has been thrown around by those in the industry since at least the end of 2017. If, however, things continue as they are right now then we are likely to enjoy a profitable end of 2018.
Court of the Crypto Kings
No matter the market status: the value of many a cryptocurrency lies in their viability and practical effectiveness of their end-goals, and means of achieving them. Bitcoin of course is the original cryptocurrency and has established its value through its integrity (public whitepaper and open-source nature), as well as it’s practical effectiveness and the rate of adoption it has enjoyed upon implementation. Ethereum is arguably one of the most successful challengers to the BTC throne so far. The project helped to instigate the now-prevalent ‘Blockchain As A Service’ (BaaS) sector, and offers a platform upon which new utility tokens can be constructed – powered by ‘Ether’. Lightning Bitcoin is an example of the new market contenders. One of many which offer a direct and highly competitive alternative to many of the key features associated with Bitcoin. According to their website: ‘LBTC’s utilitarian value as a tradeable currency is boosted by its speed and low-cost transaction fees.
Looking at New Securities
Security Tokens’ comprise a much newer field, which has been quoted to have contributed to the major crypto-crash back in January 2018. The first of these digital securities contracts were sold in December of the previous year and expired the following month – and thus, correlated with the market drop. There has been a lot of news regarding security tokens over the past year, including attempts to either regulate or otherwise ensure a level of safety with regards to risk and fraud prevention, as well as protection of funds. These efforts come from a combination of governments and independent projects and organizations. MOBU is one of these projects and seeks to utilize a proprietary utility token (the eponymous ERC20 ‘MOBU’) to power its “end-to-end solution for ICOs to launch compliant security tokens on the blockchain.”. Features of MOBU cited include KYC / AML compliance integration, enforced and maintained through Ethereum based smart-contracts. This is in addition to what they call the “MOB20 protocol will define a set of commands that a compliant security token should implement.”
Top 50 Cryptocurrencies I thought this might be of real help for the ones that are just joining crypto and still want to read. Let’s face it: there are a lot of cryptocurrencies out there, with new ones coming out almost daily and old ones disappearing seemingly just as fast as they appeared. It’s easy to get overwhelmed. If you are new to cryptocurrencies, this is an excellent starting point to learn about each of the top 50 cryptocurrencies (by market cap). Even if you’re a crypto veteran, this is a great resource to reference if you ever get any of the top 50 confused, or if you want to read more about a new coin which has joined the ranks. Our hope is to point you in the right direction, spur your interest to do more research, and steer you away from the potential scams out there (And yes, there are potential scam coins in the top 50!) Here at Invest In Blockchain, we are obsessed with researching the internet for all things crypto. The information found in this post is the result of hundreds of hours of painstaking research by me and other writers on our team. Note that this list is constantly changing and I will do my best to keep it up-to-date, but the top 50 moves almost daily! Please refer to coinmarketcap.com for the latest information on the top 50 cryptocurrencies and their prices. Let’s get started! (Information accurate as of May 23, 2018)
#1 – Bitcoin (BTC)
📷 The king of the crypto world, Bitcoin is now a household name; to many, it is synonymous with “cryptocurrency”. Its purpose is to provide a peer-to-peer electronic version of cash to allow payments to be sent online without the need for a third party (such as Mastercard). The rapid rise in Bitcoin’s price has brought about an explosion of new Bitcoin investors. With the huge increase in interest has come a rise in merchants accepting Bitcoin as a legitimate form of payment. Bitcoin is fast moving towards its goal of becoming a currency accepted worldwide. Bitcoin’s development is led by Bitcoin Core developer Wladimir J. van der Laan, who took over the role on April 8, 2014. Bitcoin’s changes are decided democratically by the community. For an in-depth look at Bitcoin, including an explanation of Bitcoin mining, Bitcoin’s history, an analysis of Bitcoins’ value and a description on how bitcoin actually works, see our comprehensive guide “What is Bitcoin? Everything You Need to Know About Bitcoin, Explained“. For a more detailed description of Bitcoin’s economics, what makes money and how Bitcoin works in the economy as a whole see: “Bitcoin Explained” and “Bitcoin is a Deflationary Currency”.
#2 – Ethereum (ETH)
📷 Ethereum is the revolutionary platform which brought the concept of “smart contracts” to the blockchain. First released to the world in July 2015 by then 21-year-old Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum has quickly risen from obscurity to cryptocurrency celebrity status. Buterin has a full team of developers working behind him to further develop the Ethereum platform. For more background information on Buterin, read our article, “Vitalik Buterin: The Face of Blockchain”. Ethereum has the ability to process transactions quickly and cheaply over the blockchain similar to Bitcoin, but also has the ability to run smart contracts. For future reading on smart contracts, see “What’s the Difference Between Bitcoin and Ethereum”; but for now, think automated processes which can do just about anything. For further reading on Ethereum, including an analysis of the platform’s strengths and future prospects, read “What is Ethereum, Everything You Need to Know Explained“.
#3 – Ripple (XRP)
📷 Ripple aims to improve the speed of financial transactions, specifically international banking transactions. Anyone who has ever sent money internationally knows that today it currently takes anywhere from 3-5 business days for a transaction to clear. It is faster to withdraw money, get on a plane, and fly it to your destination than it is to send it electronically! Not to mention you will be paying exorbitant transaction fees — usually somewhere around 6% but it can vary depending on the financial institution. Ripple’s goal is to make these transactions fast (it only takes around 4 seconds for a transaction to clear) and cheap. The Ripple team currently comprises over 150 people, making it one of the biggest in the cryptocurrency world. They are led by CEO Brad Garlinghouse, who has an impressive resume which includes high positions in other organizations such as Yahoo and Hightail. Check out “What is Ripple” for more information, including a closer look at what they do, controversies and future prospects.
#4 – Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
📷 Bitcoin Cash was created on August 1, 2017 after a “hard fork” of the Bitcoin blockchain. For years, a debate has been raging in the Bitcoin community on whether to increase the block size in the hope of alleviating some of the network bottleneck which has plagued Bitcoin due to its increased popularity. Because no agreement could be reached, the original Bitcoin blockchain was forked, leaving the Bitcoin chain untouched and in effect creating a new blockchain which would allow developers to modify some of Bitcoin’s original programmed features. Generally speaking, the argument for Bitcoin Cash is that by allowing the block size to increase, more transactions can be processed in the same amount of time. Those opposed to Bitcoin Cash argue that increasing the block size will increase the storage and bandwidth requirement, and in effect will price out normal users. This could lead to increased centralization, the exact thing Bitcoin set out to avoid. Bitcoin Cash does not have one single development team like Bitcoin. There are now multiple independent teams of developers. Read “What is Bitcoin Cash” for more information. You can also check out their reddit and official webpage.
#5 – EOS (EOS)
📷 Billed as a potential “Ethereum Killer”, EOS proposes improvements that can challenge Ethereum as the dominant smart contract platform. One main issue EOS looks to improve is the scalability problems which has plagued the Ethereum network during times of high transaction volume, specifically during popular ICOs. A perhaps more profound difference EOS has, compared to Ethereum, is the way in which you use the EOS network. With Ethereum, every time you make modifications or interact with the network, you need to pay a fee. With EOS, the creator of the DAPP (decentralized app) can foot the bill, while the user pays nothing. And if you think about it, this makes sense. Would you want to have to pay every time you post something on social media? No, of course not! In addition to this, EOS has a few other technical advantages over Ethereum such as delegated proof of stake and other protocol changes. Just know that EOS has some serious power under the hood to back up the claim of “Ethereum Killer”. EOS was created by Dan Larrimer who is no stranger to blockchain or start ups. He has been the driving force behind multiple successful projects in the past such as BitShares, Graphene and Steem. For more information on EOS such as how and where to buy EOS tokens, EOS’s vision and potential challenges, see “What is EOS”.
#6 – Litecoin (LTC)
📷 Similar to Bitcoin, Litecoin is a peer-to-peer transaction platform designed to be used as a digital currency. Due to some notable technical improvements, Litecoin is able to handle more transactions at lower costs. Litecoin has been designed to process the small transactions we make daily. Litecoin is sometimes referred to “digital silver” while Bitcoin is known as “digital gold”. This is because traditionally silver was used for small daily transactions while gold was used as a store of wealth and was not used in everyday life. The Litecoin blockchain is a fork from the Bitcoin chain. It was initially launched in 2011 when its founder, Charlie Lee, was still working for Google. Well-known as a cryptocurrency expert, Charlie Lee is backed by a strong development team who appear to be achieving what they set out to do. They have recently achieved a very notable accomplishment with the first successful atomic swap. For an in-depth discussion on what Litecoin does, how it is different than Bitcoin and the team backing up the development, see “What is Litecoin”.
#7 – Cardano (ADA)
📷 Cardano is a smart contract-focused blockchain. It was originally released under the name Input Output Hong Kong by Charles Hoskinson and Jeremy Wood, a few of the early team members of Ethereum, and later rebranded into Cardano. Cardano is trying to fix some of the largest problems the cryptocurrency world which have been causing ongoing issues for years such as scalability issues and democratized voting. They have the potential to challenge Ethereum’s dominance in the smart contract world. Cardano is developing their own programing language similar to Ethereum; however, they are focusing more heavily on being interoperable between other cryptocurrencies. While some cryptocurrencies are all bite but no bark, Cardano is quite the opposite. They are quietly focusing on a strong software which will be completely open-source. Cardano’s team comprises some of the best minds in the industry, and they seek to create a strong foundation which others can build upon for years to come. For up-to-date information on Cardano’s status see their Reddit page or official website. You can also read our article “What is Cardano” to learn more about them.
#8 – Stellar Lumens (XLM)
📷 In a nutshell, Stellar Lumens seeks to use blockchain to make very fast international payments with small fees. The network can handle thousands of transactions a second with only a 3-5 second confirmation time. As you may know, Bitcoin can sometimes take 10-15 minutes for a transaction to confirm, can only handle a few transactions a second and, in turn, has very high transaction fees. If this sounds a lot like Ripple, you’re right! Stellar Lumens was based off of the Ripple protocol) and is attempting to do similar things. Some of Stellar Lumens’ main uses will be for making small daily payments (micropayments), sending money internationally, and mobile payments. Stellar Lumens is focusing on the developing world and, more specifically, the multi-billion dollar industry of migrant workers who send money back to their family in impoverished countries. The Stellar Lumens team is led by Jed McCaleb, who has worked in numerous successful startups in the past such as eDonkey, Overnet, Ripple, and the infamous Mt. Gox. For more information on Stellar Lumens, including the history and what sets Stellar Lumens apart, see “What are Stellar Lumens”. You can also learn about the differences between Stellar Lumens and Ripple.
#9 – TRON (TRX)
📷 As stated in TRON’s whitepaper, “TRON is an attempt to heal the internet”. The TRON founders believe that the internet has deviated from its original intention of allowing people to freely create content and post as they please; instead, the internet has been taken over by huge corporations like Amazon, Google, Alibaba and others. TRON is attempting to take the internet back from these companies by constructing a free content entertainment system. This will enable users to freely store, publish and own data, giving them the power to decide where and how to share. The project is led by founder Justin Sun, who has been listed on the Forbes 30 under 30 list twice (in 2015 and 2017). In addition, Sun is a protégé of Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba Group, China’s former Ripple representative and the founder of Peiwo APP. Sun has assembled a strong team with heavy hitters including Binshen Tang (founder of Clash of King), Wei Dai (founder of ofo, the biggest shared bicycles provider in China), and Chaoyong Wang (founder of ChinaEquity Group). Sun has also secured the support of a few notable angel investors such as Xue Manzi. For up-to-date information on Tron and further discussion of the technology and team, see “What is Tron” and their website.
#10 – IOTA (MIOTA)
📷 IOTA has seen many of the issues Bitcoin and Ethereum have with the POW (proof-of-work) and POI (proof-of-importance) models and looks to improve them with their revolutionary transaction validation network simply called “tangle”. When issuing a transaction in IOTA, you validate 2 previous transactions. This means you no longer outsource validation to miners which requires wasteful amounts of computing power and usually a large stake of coins. These required resources are, in effect, centralizing the currencies which many believe were created to be decentralized in the first place. With IOTA, the more active a ledger is, the more validation there is. In other words, the more people who use it, the faster it gets. You don’t have to subsidize miners, so there are no fees on transactions. That’s right: zero. The IOTA team has been actively developing blockchain technology since 2011, and created the IOTA foundation and company in 2016. Since its emergence, the team has been continuously growing, attracting exceptional talent from around the world. For more information on IOTA’s team and their revolutionary“tangle” technology, check out “What is IOTA”.
#11 – NEO (NEO)
📷 A leading platform for smart contracts and sometimes referred to as “China’s Ethereum”. NEO (formally Antshares) hopes to digitize many types of assets which were formerly kept in more traditional means, and therefore make it possible to use them in smart contracts. To imagine a potential use case of NEO, think digitizing the title to a house into a smart asset, and then setting up that asset to automatically transfer to another person after payment for the house has been received. This would be, in effect, a simple smart contract. NEO founder Da Hongfei is a leading figure in the cryptocurrency world and has worked on numerous blockchain projects in the past. The development team consists of 6 in-house investors and a large community of third-party developers. For a complete overview of NEO, including the team, history and competitive analysis, check out “What is NEO”.
#12 – Dash (DASH)
📷 Dash (which comes from ‘digital cash’) aims to be the most user-friendly and scalable cryptocurrency in the world. It has the ability to send funds instantly confirmed by “double-send-proof” security with the added functionality of erasable transaction history and the ability to send transactions anonymously. Like Bitcoin, Dash is meant to be used as a digital currency but has some added values such as much faster transaction times and lower fees. For a slightly higher fee, Dash has the added function of “instant send” which allows transactions to be confirmed almost instantly. This is one of the main selling points of Dash because many believe that this feature would allow it to be used in brick and mortar establishments. The Dash development team consists of over 50 members and is led by former financial services professional Evan Duffield. For the latest on Dash, see their official website and reddit page. You can also read “What is Dash” to learn more about the project.
#13 – Monero (XMR)
📷 Monero is a digital currency designed to be used as a completely anonymous payment system. A common misconception with Bitcoin is that it is completely anonymous. In reality, all payments processed on the Bitcoin network are recorded on a public ledger (blockchain), so Bitcoin is actually only partially anonymous or “pseudonymous”. This means that you can, in theory, trace back every transaction a coin has been involved with from its creation. Though users aren’t able to inherently link the public key on the blockchain with the private keys used to store the coins themselves, there will always exist a correlation between the two. Monero has solved this problem by implementing cryptonic hashing of receiving addresses, therefore separating the coin from the address it is going to. This can be hugely valuable for anyone wishing to conceal their purchases. The Monero development team consists of 7 core developers, only two of which are publicly known. There have been over 200 additional contributors to the project and software updates are implemented every six months or so. To learn more about Monero including its competitors and challenges, read “What is Monero”. If you’re thinking about investing in Monero, check out our opinion piece “Should You Invest In Monero?“.
#14 – Tether (UDST)
📷 Tether is a cryptocurrency token issued on the Bitcoin blockchain. Each Tether coin is allegedly backed by one US Dollar. The goal is to facilitate transactions with a rate fixed to the USD. Amongst other things, Tether looks to fix some of the legal issues which can arise when trading cryptocurrencies and it aims to protect people from market volatility. Tether has faced controversy regarding their business model, and some consider it a scam. More info can be seen on reddit posts such as this.
#15 – NEM (XEM)
📷 NEM (New Economy Movement) is the world’s first proof-of-importance (POI) enterprise based on blockchain technology. With a focus on business use cases, the software was built from the ground up with adaptability in mind. NEM’s goal is for companies to use their “smart asset system” to implement customizable blockchains. A smart asset can be almost anything: a cryptocurrency token, a business’s stock or a company’s invoicing and records. Some potential use cases for NEM’s technology include: voting, crowdfunding, stock ownership, keeping secure records, loyalty rewards point programs, mobile payments and escrow services. A list of NEM’s use cases can be found here. The development of NEM is monitored by the Singapore-based NEM Foundation. For more information on what NEM does and what sets NEM apart from its competitors, see “What is NEM”.
#16 – VeChain (VEN)
📷 As described in VeChain’s development plan, the organization’s purpose is to build “a trustfree and distributed business ecosystem based on the Blockchain technology self-circulated and expanding”. They plan to do this by creating an efficient trustless business ecosystem to significantly reduce the wasteful information transfer systems of today. Some of the areas and industries the VeChain platform is focusing on include eliminating counterfeiting in the fashion and luxury industry, food safety tracking systems, digitizing maintenance in the car industry and many other global supply chain processes. For more information on VeChain, see their reddit and website. Read “What is Vechain” to learn about the project, and our investment opinion piece “5 Reasons to Invest in Vechain“.
#17 – Ethereum Classic (ETC)
📷 Ethereum Classic came about after a hard fork of Ethereum in 2016. The fork was a result of the infamous DOA hack where around 50 million dollars worth of Ethereum was stolen due to what was considered an oversight in the code. The blockchain was forked in order to recoup the losses from this attack, but a small portion of the community did not wish to go back and change the original blockchain. Vitalik Buterin, founder of Ethereum, and subsequently the development team chose to go with the hard fork and work on what is now “Ethereum” today. There is a lot of ongoing controversy with Ethereum Classic which can be better described on this reddit thread. For an in-depth discussion of Ethereum Classic, see”What is Ethereum Classic“.
#18 – Binance Coin (BNB)
📷 Binance Coin is the coin used to facilitate operations on the Binance platform, a cryptocurrency exchange that is capable of processing 1.4 million orders per second. The name “Binance” is derived from the combination of the terms “binary” and “finance”, referring to the integration of digital technology and finance. The BNB coin is used to pay exchange fees, withdrawal fees, listing fees, and all other possible transaction expenses on the Binance platform. In order to incentivize new users to do their cryptocurrency trading on Binance, the team is offering discounts when BNB is used to pay fees. The discount will be 50% in the first year, 25% in the second, 12.5% in the third, and 6.25% in the fourth year before the discount ends. Binance was primarily marketed to Chinese cryptocurrency investors at first, but they also have English, Korean, Japanese, French, Spanish, and Russian versions of the platform. For a deeper look into Binance, you can read the whitepaper or check out the trading platform here.
#19 – Bytecoin (BCN)
📷 Bytecoindescribes itself as “a private, decentralized cryptocurrency with with open source code that allows everyone to take part in the Bytecoin network development”. It is the first coin to offer untraceable payments, unlinkable transactions and resistance to blockchain analysis. With Bytecoin, it is possible to send instant transactions anywhere around the world, which are totally untraceable and don’t require additional fees. Bytecoin’s development is community-driven and a list of all of the different community websites can be found here. For more information on Bytecoin, see: “What is Bytecoin“.
#20 – QTUM (QTUM)
📷 QTUM (pronounced Quantum) is an open-source value transfer platform which focuses on mobile decentralized apps or Dapps. QTUM is the world’s first proof-of-stake smart contracts platform. QTUM is meant to be used as both a value transfer protocol, like Bitcoin, and a smart contract platform, like Ethereum. They have a number of technical innovations which some consider to make it superior to Ethereum, and they are focusing on mobile applications. The platform itself is very new. It came about in March 2017, after a highly successful crowdfunding campaign raised them nearly 16 million dollars in only 5 days. QTUM has a small but strong development team and an impressive list of investors backing their ideas. QTUM’s development is lead by the Singapore based QTUM Foundation. For further reading on the background of QTUM and what sets them apart, see “What is QTUM”.
#21 – Zcash (ZEC)
📷 ZCash is a value transfer protocol forked off of the Bitcoin blockchain. ZCash can be used like Bitcoin, with a few added improvements. With “zero cash technology”, ZCash shields both the amount transferred and the senders, making transactions truly anonymous. ZCash is one of the new kids on the block in the world of “private transactions”. An interesting note is that Ethereum is in the process of implementing some of ZCash’s technologies to enable transactions on the Ethereum network to be anonymous as well. ZCash is being developed by the Zerocoin Electric Coin Company. They’ve had some great successes, most notably JP Morgan’s announcement that they would implement Zcash’s privacy technology to Quarum, a technology JP built on Ethereum. Interested in investing in ZCash? Here’s the opinion of one of our writers: Should You Invest In ZCash? ZCash was recently featured on the Radiolab episode The Ceremony.
#22 – OmiseGO (OMG)
📷 “Unbank the Banked” is the slogan of Omise’s online platform OmiseGo and that’s exactly what Omise has set out to do. Founded in 2013 off of the Ethereum blockchain, Omise aims to revolutionize the financial dynamics in Southeast Asia. Omise is targeting individuals and businesses of all sizes by improving the current financial system which is slow, outdated, and inaccessible to most “everyday” people in these countries. With their planned online exchange OmiseGO, Omise seeks to speed up the way money is spent and sent, both domestically and internationally in Southeast Asia and beyond. They have a lot to celebrate too. OmiseGo has been building partnerships in the region and recently partnered with McDonald’s and Credit Saison. Omise has established a strong team of over 130 staff members located in different countries. CEO and founder of Omise, Jun Hasegawa, has been involved in multiple startups and worked for Google for over 16 years. The OmiseGO platform has been endorsed by some of the heavy hitters in the cryptocurrency world such as Vitalik Buterin and Gavin Wood, the co-founders of Ethereum. For more information on what OmiseGO aims to do, see “What is OmiseGo”.
#23 – ICON (ICX)
📷 Fresh off a successful ICO, the Korea-based startup ICON is looking to provide a medium to connect all the different blockchains together. This puts ICON in the same field as Ark, which is attempting to accomplish similar goals. The main concept of ICON is their idea of a “loopchain”. As stated in their whitepaper, a loopchain can be described as a “high-performance blockchain that can provide real-time transaction, which is based on enhanced Smart Contract.” Through ICON, participants will be able to connect to any blockchain without relying on the current centralized exchanges. ICON has a relatively large team from various backgrounds. They have also secured the help of a few notable advisors such as Jason Best and Don Tapscott. For more information on ICON and the work they’re doing, see “What is ICON“.
#24 – Lisk (LSK)
📷 Lisk is a decentralized network, like Bitcoin and Litecoin, which enables developers to deploy their own side chains off the main Lisk blockchain. These side chains are fully customizable blockchains which enable you to change the parameters you want to fit your own blockchain application. This is similar to Ethereum and QTUM in some ways. With Lisk, the main difference is that the customizable blockchains split into their own separate side chains. This saves developers the grueling legwork of designing something from scratch. At the end of the day, side chains are only decentralized databases of blockchain applications. Lisk is being developed by a small but quickly growing Berlin-based team. They are led by co-founders Max Kordek and Olivier Beddows who are veterans in the cryptocurrency and development world. For a thorough look into Lisk including more on what Lisk does, its competitors, challenges and teams, see “What is Lisk”. You can also check out our case study of an accountant who invested all his life savings in Lisk: “Accountant Invests All in Lisk”.
#25 – Zilliqa – (ZIL)
📷 Zilliqa is a blockchain platform which focuses on solving the problem of scaling on public blockchains. With Zilliqa’s network, the number of transactions increases at a linear rate to the number of nodes. This means that as nodes increase, so will its ability to handle high transaction volume. Zilliqa has already run a successfultest on their network, where they were able to achieve 1,200 transactions per second with only 2,400 nodes. Zilliqa also is the first blockchain to successfully integrate “sharding” into a public blockchain. This concept is extremely useful in improving the rate of scalability, bandwidth and performance in blockchains. Sharding, in effect, splits nodes into “shards” which can then conduct micro-transactions in each blockchain block. In addition to this, Zilliqa claims to be more energy-efficient to mine. They also plan to implement dapps into their platform in the future. For more information on Zilliqa, see their website and reddit. Our article “What is Zilliqa” can provide you with an overview of the project.
Hydro AMA Q&A Roundup with BitcoinMarkets (Slack), 15 June 2018
I've taken the liberty of rounding up all the questions and answers provided from Hydro's most recent AMA hosted with BitcoinMarkets incase you missed it. Enjoy! Hydro Q&A’s Q (knonsu): How does Snowflake relate to other identity protocols out there like Civic and uPort ? A.1 (Anurag): We see snowflake as existing a layer below these types of projects. Even without blockchain, identity is a broad term. Different people around the world have different forms of identity (state ID, country ID, social media IDs, etc). Civic, uPort, and other blockchain projects help to build specific types of an on-chain identity for a user; however those IDs are meaningful in different ways to different observers. For instance, imagine that a government or business builds a system that accepts Civic as a form of identity while another government/business only recognizes uPort identities. On top of this, certain systems only care about information tied to a user’s social media profile. A user can maintain one standard Snowflake as a base layer and set each of these different forms of identity as a resolver. Snowflake eliminates the need for global unanimous adoption of a singular identity standard and rather allows systems to build business logic off of identity standards they themselves recognize. Follow up Q (knonsu): thats cool. so its totally depends on the person/ institute utilizing it . One problem I found is how easy its to create fake identities (in their basic system). A.2 (Anurag): Yup! So people can conduct off-chain verifications to prove that you own a snowflake, and then tie an on-chain verification to your Snowflake. This links real-world KYC to your on-chain ID, so sure you could mint another snowflake, but that same party won't validate it again for you. Anyone who trusts that party would be able to accept their validations, and people who don't trust that party can rely on a different validator they do trust. — Q (kat): How big is the team working specifically on Hydro products? Can we get a numbers breakdown of engineers, biz dev, etc? Do you have plans to scale this team as the Hydro project develops? A.1 (Andy): Our Hydro team is 8 people. Devlopers (Myself and Noah) Product (Anurag and Shane) Community (Nahom) Founders (Mike and Matt) Partnerships/BizDev (Gunjan) The nice thing about Hydrogen though is we have a team of 30 people who we can leverage for different things. For example, Noah and I do not build mobile apps, but we have a front end team that is well versed in mobile app development. So while they are not directly on the Hydro team they do have a direct impact on Hydro. Hydrogen as a company is working to grow pretty rapidly. As we grow we will be filling out more positions in both blockchain and non-blockchain rolls. A.2 (Anurag): To add to Andy's answer - pretty much everyone working for Hydrogen helps out with Hydro in some way, whether via design, front-end development, API support, business discussion, etc. Here's our full team: https://www.hydrogenplatform.com/about — Q (rocket man): So in the age of ICOs, what motivated your team to not pursue that funding model and instead have a token distribution for developers? A (Andy): This was something that we spent a very long time considering and discussing. We spent a lot of resources (time, money & energy) trying to find the best solution for us going forward. When it was all said and done, we decided on an airdrop because of two main things, getting the token into the hands of people who will actually use it and regulatory concerns. We feel as though our distribution was the fairest approach that allowed for people with actual interest in the Hydro community to get involved. Overall, we have been very pleased with the level of community engagement from people who are interested in the utility of the Hydro token and we feel that a lot of this can be credited to our distribution strategy. — Q (matheussiq8): How hydro tokens will be used is still vague in the Snowflake whitepaper draft. Would the amount required to hold depend on the volume of API calls or some other parameter? For example, if I decide to implement raindrop and later snowflake in my small webshop would I need to hold the same amount of tokens as Binance (if they ever implement it of course…)? A (Noah): as always, the permissionlessness of public blockchains is a double-edged sword. smart contracts partially solve the problem by letting us enforce certain things on-chain (minimum token balances, signature validity, etc.), but there are limits. so, re. your specific question: in raindrop we do not vary the staking requirement across users, because that would necessarily involve value judgements we are not comfortable making as a centralized entity. however, there are two types of staking required for raindrop:
“institutional staking” requires entities who wish to sign up raindrop users *on their behalf* (i.e. passing new users’ addresses to the smart contract as parameters rather than new users transacting directly from their accounts) to stake a significant amount of hydro. these are the players we want to ensure are acting in the best interests of the community. in this model, hydro is simply one of many institutional stakers (where we sign up users on our kickass mobile app, which will be out soon).
“user staking” requires individuals who wish to sign up for raindrop on their own, i.e. transact directly with the smart contract, are able to do so by staking a much smaller amount of hydro.
What this all means for you, as a potential customer of our API, is that you don’t actually have to worry about the staking requirement or signing up users at all, and can simply use our API in conjunction with the Hydro app. Looking ahead to Snowflake, we have big plans to integrate increasing sophisticated uses of the token into the product. to some extent these are still up in the air, but rest assured that we are very focused on building a strong tokenomics structure. At a high level, the core token mechanism for snowflake will involve depositing tokens into the snowflake smart contract. These deposits will allow native staking/payment/incentive functionality denominated in hydro, without the hassle and worry of using ether with every call. — Q (Hodlall): When is raindrop Android app is releasing A (Andy): It is currently under development. We have a bunch of android phones with different OS on the way. It is hard to give a set date as we don't know what unforeseen issues could come up during the process though. All I can say is it is literally all that our mobile development team is working on — Q (Jeff_We_Cannafi): To piggyback on matheussiq8’s question, how do these identity tokens compare to existing forms of identity authentication, and do you anticipate the tokens themselves will be traded on exchanges? A (Andy): In my opinion, the main difference between what we are working towards and others like civic and uport is the scope of what we are aiming to do. We understand the value of having KYC on the blockchain and "One click signup", but really I think blockchain identity can be so much more than that. We are aiming to create a completely extendable and modular protocol which will allow for people to link anything they desire to their blockchain identity. Other protocols can tend to lean towards centralization (more a fault of current KYC procedures than the projects themselves) and we feel like this doesn't have to be the case. At least for now, something like KYC needs to have central authorities to verify user information, but why can't I also link my crypto kitties to my blockchain id or my linkedin profile to my blockchain id? Overall, what we are trying to build will easily allow for other blockchain developers to create robust identity solutions for whatever application they feel fit with Snowflake being at the core of that. We feel that this is crucial to eventually creating a completely open and decentralized identity system. Anyone can join and anyone can add what THEY consider to be an identity, but I only have to accept what I consider to be an identity. As far as trading, Snowflake Identity tokens will never be tradable. We feel that you identity should always be linked to you. This would be a dangerous road to a very easy black market for people's identities — Q (Jrock): What do you find the hardest part of pitching icos to regular companies? Also what do you think needs to happen for widespread crypto adoption? A (Shane): If you mean pitching Hydro to regular companies (we're not an ICO :stuck_out_tongue:), I would say the hardest part is getting the larger companies to move faster than a snail's pace. There are too many chefs in the kitchen and sometimes there is a lack of top-down strategy on blockchain, and it leaves large enterprises paralyzed sometimes. We try to resolve this by pitching how easy Hydro is to use, and how it connects to our broader Hydrogen ecosystem which can add value in a lot of places. In my opinion, widespread crypto adoption is going to be dependent on how parallelization plays out. If crypto's only option is to create a new parallel economy, widespread adoption is going to be slow and arduous and will take decades. However, if blockchain is able to be infused or layered on some of the current systems we have in place, the adoption will be much faster and broader. Ultimately this comes down to the usage of private vs public chains - the more private and centralized chains that get implemented, the farther the mainstream adoption will get pushed out. — Q (Luke): One aspect of Hydro that is beginning to really intrigue me are the potential use cases and dapps that can be built by external developers ontop of the Hydro protocol layers for each phase.
Having held various dev meetups and networking at various conferences, how are you finding the process of attracting developers to start building dapps and products in your ecosystem?
I understand the HCDP is getting updated with various new rules and bounties for dapps to be built, have you approached any developers yet with this new offer, and if so, how has the reception been?
How else do you intend to attract developers towards building on the Hydro protocols?
Through our events, we're mainly focused on helping expand the blockchain-focused developer community. We help give exposure to projects we find to be doing neat, innovative work in the space and keep ongoing dialogue with these communities.
In particular, to provide impetus to developers in the Hydro ecosystem, we've established the HCDP. The new process will involve putting out specific task requests. In the next week or so we'll have published specifications for dApps that can be built on top of Snowflake. We ourselves will not be building these dApps (they have nothing to do with Hydrogen's space as a company). This helps the ecosystem expand outside of Hydrogen-specific use-cases.
^^Through the above process to get them started. Eventually, we want the Hydro development process to be community-driven, so people are building on Hydro because it benefits their own programs and applications.
— Q (elmer_FUD): Hey Hydro Team! Here's a few question I've got for you after checking out the Raindrop and Snowflake whitepapers: How has your experience working in the Ethereum ecosystem been so far? While you are currently focused on the financial sector, would you consider actively marketing to other sectors such as healthcare and education in the future? It seems like both Raindrop and Snowflake would be useful in any environment that processes or stores sensitive data. Do you have plans to release official Raindrop SDK packages in other languages in the future? A bit more of a specific question: Raindrop is looks like a great product to use in a PCI-DSS environment - do you have thoughts on whether or not it the product is ready for primetime and do you think the industry standards and government regulation is prepared to handle these kinds of systems? A (Andy): Thanks for the questions! I'm gonna answer each in a separate response in this thread Overall it has been pretty solid. There is still a ton of room for growth in terms of documentation and stuff like that, but it is miles ahead of basically every other blockchain platform I have worked with. By far the biggest pain has been handling gas costs when considering the user experience. When trying to build actual products that people will want to use we feel that making it user friendly is something that many blockchain projects have not focused on nearly enough. Yeah certainly. We focus on fintech as that is where the rest of our companies APIs focus and that is where we have the most connections, but much of what we are building is much further reaching than that. Just as far as authentication goes, it really can apply to any major field and we intend to market it as such. We currently have Python and JS SDKs and have had a few java ones submitted through our community dev program. We have been revamping that program, but I anticipate we will be putting up more bounties for most major languages. I have considered making a few more myself, but we feel that they could be better suited as community projects. I completely agree. Raindrop and blockchain authentication when handling anything around payments is a great application. I think the biggest thing is actually convincing regulatory bodies that the protocols we have build are secure (since many can still be scared of blockchain). I definitely see this as a direct use case though — Q.1 (khonsu): What kind of banking relations do you have as a company, do they (banks) understand what you are trying to do ? Any VCs approached you for funding ? explain your business model. A.1 (Shane): Hydrogen has existed since 2009 in the form of Hedgeable. Hedgeable is a consumer-facing online investing app, and the tech behind it eventually spawned the Hydrogen tech platform. The story of how the transition happened goes essentially like this: (1) Hedgeable was disrupting banks & investing firms, (2) banks & investing firms started contacting us and seeing if we would help them digitize & automate their own businesses, (3) we started packaging up our tech and selling it to the banks. There was so much demand for this from financial institutions that we spun out a new company (Hydrogen). So to get back to your original question: we have some long-standing relationships in the banking & finance world, and to this day we have inbound leads from that space coming in every week. The key thing to keep in mind is that these institutions move extremely slowly, but they do understand the core value prop of our platform. Many of these firms are still in the midst of basic digitization efforts (i.e. moving from really slow offline processes to simple digital infrastructure), and that is the primary thing we are helping them with in early stages. But they are also keen on blockchain tech and they will naturally turn to us for that once they reach that point. We do have a few relationships with big financial companies in which Hydro/blockchain are already part of the discussion. We have revenue and don't need to rely on VCs. It is our general philosophy that building a business sustainably with actual clients and revenue is a good approach, but we would consider working with the right VC if that came to be and we wanted to scale more quickly. Right now, that is not an immediate concern for us. Our business model is in charging developers and enterprises to access the Hydrogen technology platform, which currently consists of products like Atom, Ion, and Hydro. Developers pay a per-user fee to hit our core APIs, while large enterprises negotiate custom (usually multi-year) contracts with us that typically include recurring revenue. Hydro, specifically, is being offered for free right now, as we attempt to gain adoption. But it is important to note that Hydro is just one piece of our ecosystem. Q.2 (Joleen): When you say fee - is this fee HYDRO? And when do you envisage HYDRO to no longer be offered FOC? A**.2 (Shane):** Sorry if it wasn't clear, I meant free to use our Hydro tech/APIs. The usage of HYDRO tokens within that is a separate issue - they still need to have HYDRO and we do not give it away for free to clients — Q (guacam0le): Adoption of an identity management solution (etc) would potentially involve a lot of identities. Further, scalability is a hot topic w/ blockchain. Is this a potential bottleneck? What is or might be done to address such? Tackling a competitor like Google or Authy's 2FA is no small feat. Also, not everyone is yet to embrace blockchain-based solutions. Have you found it difficult to interface with enterprises & get them excited about the idea of an overhaul? A (Anurag): nowflake is designed to be relatively low-load on the blockchain. A user needs to conduct a single transaction to “mint” their Snowflake. Once this is complete, they would need to complete one-time transactions to set each of their different forms of identities as resolvers as needed. A Snowflake is designed to be built out via resolvers over the duration of a user’s lifetime, so there’s never a need for heavy, frequent transactional capability. Similarly, smart contracts simply need to be set as resolvers by users; they do not themselves transact. Network scalability improvements will increase the range of use-cases for smart contracts that can be tied to Snowflake, but they aren’t a necessary prerequisite to some important early use-cases such as KYC platforms, and a few basic user-interaction platforms. As far as competition, we feel that current adoption of 2FA is, in general far short of where it should be, and any 2FA is generally better than none. Many businesses use text-message based 2FA, etc. In the short-run we are aiming toward pilot implementations with small businesses. To further this, we have put out many integration resources, guides, and documentation and accordingly believe implementation of Raindrop is a more straightforward workflow. As far as large enterprises go, Hydrogen has clients, so it is helpful for our project to have those connections. Large institutions are generally relatively slow-moving, but have expressed interest in using Raindrop, in particular for securing employee accounts. As the product grows, we may eventually move in this direction with Client Raindrop, but resources will always be available for any site that wants to adopt it. Additionally, we are looking into making a wordpress plug-in to make implementation much more accessible for many developers. -- Q (Smithymethods): I know Hydro is a fintech company, hydro plan to curb phishing and hacking to the bearest minimum we know that hacking is very rampant these days on MEW and with other wallet. Is Hydro planning to create a wallet that support hydro and other tokens using their raindrop Technology? As this will put an end to the problem of phishing and also promote hydro A (Noah): like everyone in the crypto space, we’re very worried about phishing, both personally and on behalf of all hydro token holders. we first want to reemphasize that preventing scams and fraud has to be a community-driven effort: teams and users need to be vigilant and promote best practices (never trusting links in public chats, shunning fake accounts, etc.). we are excited about raindrop’s potential to help combat phishing, though. we actually talked with someone about mycrypto about integrating raindrop into their desktop app. we’ve forked their code and are researching how feasible an implementation would be, stay tuned for updates! — Q (Hodlall): What security measures in place for hydro , I see lot of tokens being hacked nowadays , and money is stolen.. how does hydro make sure their team tokens are completely secured or as much as possible A (Andy): We all have been in crypto for a while and are pretty well versed in securing our stuff. Our tokens that are currently locked are in cold storage. Others are held in hardware wallets — Q (Joleen): We know that the Hydrogen platform is going to be used by CI Investments, a large insurance firm and a world top 20 bank, have these companies already begun purchasing Hydro OTC? A (Andy): This is something that we feel is best to be hands off with. It is really up to the discretion of our partners — Q (khonsu’s mumaffi): Ill be honest i have not yet fully read the whitepaper but id like to know other than investor growth do you truly believe there is interest in a model where users have to pay each time for access? How big do u expect this fee to be...for large companies dont you believe this is an unscalable practice? This may be a question more about most technologies built on token based economics too. A (Andy): So we have 2 different authentication protocols. One happens less often and is in the same vein as OAuth. This is called Server-Side Raindrop. This requires tokens to be sent. This protocol would only happen once per day for a business when accessing something like an API. I don't feel that these values are extremely high for increased security. Our second protocol, Client-Side Raindrop, functions much more like google auth. This logic actually does not require any tokens or even a transaction by the end user. It is 100% free for them to use and they will never have to pay for a transaction. Here the responsibility is on the implementing party to stake tokens. This allows them to onboard users and authenticate them. We felt it was crucial to have an authentication that did not have a cost per user login as it is not scalable — Q (khonsu’s mumaffi): Also do u plan to tokenise atom and ion too and if not covered earlier how big of an impact do the market conditions have on your business A (Anurag): Tough to say we're going to "tokenize" them since that word can carry a lot of different meanings in different contexts, but we do plan on integrating the entire Hydrogen platform with Hydro. This will most likely take the form of enhancements to systems leveraging Hydro. You can find a more detailed breakdown on our Hydro roadmap: https://medium.com/hydrogen-api/project-hydro-features-in-depth-look-39faa29f0d61 Market conditions don't really have an impact - we're still building the same tech on a day-to-day basis — Q (ghost): As a company in the space, do you see the fact that tokens have to be acquired on exchanges as an issue? How would a company that wants to develop with you acquire tokens? A (Anurag): Depends on what they're developing. dApps developing using Hydro smart contracts to create native functionality to their applications would need to acquire those tokens on their own; however, companies using the Hydrogen API will not. Here's a detailed article outlining when a developer would need the token for the Client Raindrop smart contract: https://medium.com/hydrogen-api/how-to-use-client-raindrop-without-using-the-hydrogen-api-bb04934ae293 — Q (jarederaj): Can you describe your stakeholders and give me a better sense of the exigency of your products? Who are you focused on serving with your platform and why are they motivated to use your platform? A (Shane): The Hydrogen platform serves developers and enterprises who want to build applications. We are specifically targeting the financial services sector, including banks, investing firms, insurance providers, and financial advisors. This includes large enterprises, individual developers, and startups. Our products are Atom (core digital infrastructure & engine for finserv), Ion (AutoML & business intelligence capabilities), and Hydro (blockchain & decentralization layer). Each has a different use case but these products combine to form an ecosystem of tools for developers to build sophisticated applications with. The main pain point we are addressing is the resources required to build, launch, and run a digital financial application. These resources include both time and money. Large enterprises have resources, but they waste years and millions of dollars trying to launch digital platforms (we've seen this first-hand), often unsuccessfully. The motivation here is obvious. Startups and smaller developers, on the other hand, do not have access to huge resource pools, so they are forced to look for solutions that make the process more efficient. In the same way that Wordpress makes launching a blog easy and also allows for extended functionality, Hydrogen makes launching fintech application easy. — Q (shujjishah): When the app will be released??? A (Anurag): We're going through our mobile development very iteratively. Since we work very closely with the product, there are things we can't recognize until we've got people beta testing the app. As we started Beta testing and conducting user-research, we realized that one aspect of the UI for the app was not intuitive to about half of our testers. We decided to make a few API changes to enable the mobile app to display a "linked" vs "unlinked" status in order to improve the user experience. Our front-end team is finalizing these changes, so our Beta testers will receive a new build in their testflight apps within the next few days. This new build will require another round of Beta testing to ensure that none of the code changes causes any problems on devices; if this change goes smoothly, and our mainnet testing goes smoothly, we will be able to release the app this month. Since there isn't much precedent on releasing a product into the app store that connects users with the ethereum mainnet, our primary concern is making sure the product works fully as intended and provides an intuitive user experience. Misc Q&A’s Q (elmer_FUD): What's your favorite thing to drink? A.1 (Andy): Overall, I really love Baja Blast Mountain Dew. If I am drinking, I'm a big fan of fruity beers like Blue Moon and Shocktop. Also had a really good raspberry sour recently A.2 (Nahom): Primary=water but i do enjoy Jamaican ginger ale/beer. We keep honest tea in the office too, i love it because it brings me back from the dead:skull_and_crossbones:, @Hydro Andy drinks most of it behind my back though :triumph: A.3 (Noah): hard: tequila or picklebacks soft: any sour beer other: mango juice i also crush like 2 nalgene’s worth of water every day at work A.4 (Shane): For hard alcohol: whiskey/bourbon A.5 (Anurag): ooh, went to the finback brewery last weekend; was wonderful — Q (Joleen): Do you HODL any other tokens personally? A.1 (Andy): I do. I think it is probably best to not say which, but if you follow me enough in #altcoins I am sure you will see me talk about a few A.2 (Noah): im a bit of an eth maximalist actually :grimacing: i do dabble though — Q (Joleen): Who got who in the World Cup sweepstakes? A.1 (Andy): I'm going for Germany, but I know next to nothing about soccer A.2 (Shane): I'm rooting for Portugal, but I don't think they're going to win the cup — Q (Joleen): Who's got the best banter in the office? And who has the worst? A.1 (Andy): One of our backend devs, Paavan, typically has some great banter and even better hot takes A.2 (Noah): dont @ me for worst banter A.3 (Shane): Sabih (BA @ Hydrogen) banter is by far the best
Hello! My name is Vladimir Hovanskiy. I am a Google Adwords manager at Platinum, a business facilitator of new generation, providing STO and ICO marketing services. We already created best STO blockchain platform on the market and consulted more than 700 projects. Here’s the proof 😎 Platinum.fund We are more than proud that we not only promote but also share our knowledge with the students of the UBAI. Here you can learn how to do security token offering and initial coin offering! Now I want to share some cool info on the purpose and role of tokens within the Blockchain ecosystem at the ICO stage. Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) History Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) are a means of fundraising for the initial capital needed to get new projects off the ground within the cryptocurrency ecosystem. More often than not, Bitcoin and Ethereum, are used to buy a quantity of project tokens. However, new projects are also being launched on alternative Blockchain platforms such as NEO or WANchain, wherein the “parent” chain’s tokens will be used to fund these ICOs. Pre-launch, ICO tokens are endorsed as functional currency in the project ecosystem. After a project’s ICO, it is available on exchanges, and then the market determines the value of those tokens. The main benefit of using the ICO funding system is that it avoids the prohibitive amount of time and expense incurred by launching a startup in the conventional method, by way of Initial Public Offering (IPO). The lengthy and costly process of ensuring regulatory compliance in different jurisdictions often makes the IPO format unfeasible for small companies. Thus, the ICO method of fundraising is far more attractive as a means of crowd funding for the project. But at the same time, an ICO is certainly riskier for the investor. It is important to note the different stages of the token sale. Token prices generally escalate the closer the token gets to its listing date. Projects often seek funding from angel investors even before the date of the private pre-sale is set, though some ICOs do go straight to pre-sale. After potential initial investment has been sought from angel investors, pre-sale begins. Usually there will be a 15–30% discount from the public sale price. The main-sale begins after the pre-sale has concluded. At that time, normal everyday crypto enthusiasts, with no connections to the team, may buy into the project at pretty close to the ground floor price. Angel investors and pre-sale investors sometimes receive quite large discounts from main sale prices, but their tokens are locked up for varying amounts of time, to prevent dumping, or selling all their tokens for a quick profit at the time of listing. Today the vast majority of ICOs make use of the Ethereum blockchain and the ERC-20 token. The very first token sale was arranged by Mastercoin, a Bitcoin fork, in July 2013. Ethereum soon followed in early 2014, raising 3700 BTC in only 12 hours (equivalent to $2.3 million at that time, and just under $35 million today). Before late 2015 there were sporadic ICOs, with Augur, NXT and Factom all successfully raising funds. 2016 was the year that the ICO format grew to truly disrupt the Venture Capital industry. There were 64 ICOs in 2016 which cumulatively raised $103 million USD. Tremendous Success & Why Real World Case Study The ICON (ICX) Initial coin offering is an example of a project that reaped the rewards of a token sale done with precision of execution and clarity of vision. The project promised to build a world-wide decentralized network that would allow Blockchains of different governances to transact with one another without a centralized authority, and with as few barriers as possible. ICX offered fair and clear tokenomics, with 1 Ether buying 2500 ICX, and with 1 ETH costing approximately 250 dollars when the ICO began on September 18th. 50% of the total amount of tokens were put up for public sale, 400,230,000 out of a total of 800,460,000, equating to a fundraising goal of 150,000 Ether. One of the core reasons for the project’s spectacular success was the incredibly distinguished background of those involved, and the foundation the project had in many years of stellar achievement. ICON was originally a project developed by “The Loop”, a joint venture between DAYLI financial group and three Korean Universities. They lead the Korea Financial Investment Blockchain Consortium, one of the largest organizations of its kind in the world, boasting members including Samsung Securities. The Loop had already implemented Blockchain solutions for high profile clients well before ICX was born, including completing a KYC/AML authentication smart contract platform for Korea Financial Investment Consortium. Real World Example of Failure & Why Case Study The risk involved in starting your own company is huge. Over 75% of startups eventually fail, according to the Harvard Business School study by Shikhar Ghosh. The study’s findings show the rate of failure for new companies is roughly 50% after 5 years, and over 75% after 10. Shikhar Ghosh identifies the following issues as the most common factors in start-up failure: -Insufficient Market Demand -Insolvency -Wrong Team -Got beat by competition -Pricing/Cost issues -Poor Product -Need for or Lack of business model -Ineffective Marketing -Disregarding Customer desires The statistics concerning rate of failure for conventional business startups pale in comparison to the number of crypto startups that fail according to Tokendata. They are one of the most rigorous ICO trackers, recording 46% of the 902 ICO crowdsale projects initiated in 2017 as failing by the time of writing. Of these 46%, 142 collapsed before the end of the funding stage, and a further 276 had either “exit scammed” (took the money and ran) or slowly faded into eventual obscurity. With no shortage of failed and abortive projects to look into, we thought it would be more helpful to look into an ICO that was mismanaged and unsuccessful in terms of its execution, rather than being fraudulent, or terminally mismanaged. Real World Example of Failure & Why §3 Tezos was designed as a “new decentralized Blockchain that governs itself by establishing a true digital commonwealth”. The project was a partnership between the husband and wife team of Kathleen and Arthur Breitman, and a Swiss foundation run by Johann Gevers. They had a novel idea of “formal verification”, a technique that mathematically proves the veracity of code governing transactions and heightens security of smart contracts. That idea was wholeheartedly endorsed by investors, resulting in $232 million USD raised in the 2017 crowdsale. Trouble arose after the Breitmans asked the head of the Swiss foundation they were in partnership with to step down. In Gever’s words, the Breitman’s were attempting “to bypass Swiss legal structure and take over control of the foundation”. The resulting 6 class action lawsuits that were spawned from the wreckage of one of the most successful ICOs of all time have yet to be fully resolved at the time of writing, though Gevers has stepped down and a new leadership team is in place. The Tezos Network has a prospective launch date of somewhere around Q3 2018. The debacle, though not terminal to the prospects of the Tezos network, provides a cautionary tale about the need for a clearly defined leadership structure and plan for the allocation of funds after an ICO. It is entirely possible that the Tezos project could have ridden the late 2017 market euphoria to sit near the top of the cryptocurrency hierarchy if boardroom strife could have been avoided. Real World Example of Failure & Why §4 Projects often also “pivot” from one focus or project to another. More often than not, teams change the project name entirely, even while retaining the same core team, to try for a successful venture one more time. One such project is Chain Trade Token (CTT) which, while technically speaking, not yet a “deadcoin”, shows all the signs of shutting down operations within a few months, and “pivoting” into a new project. The CTT project aimed to be the “first blockchain-based platform for the trading of futures and options on food and raw materials (aka commodity derivatives)”. But through a combination of a non-existent social media presence, and a distinct lack of urgency in securing listings beyond decentralized exchanges, the lofty ambitions of the top-level team were left unrealized. The team has supposedly split their operations from solely Chain Trade, to a former business endeavors, and the Nebula Decentralized Exchange. The project leaders then offered a 1-for-1 token swap which has been accepted by the vast majority of CTT holders. The ICO Process Before even researching the particular strengths and weaknesses of any specific project in which you may want to invest, it is important to know the overall processes of the ICO crowdfunding method. This will allow you to avoid any potential pitfalls if you do decide to move forward and invest money into a particular idea or project. How does an ICO happen? Stage One: Token sale details are set: This takes place usually after release of the whitepaper, and the presentation of a project to prospective investors in forums and on social media. Stage Two: Whitelisting for private sale begins: The vast majority of all ICOs have instituted KYC checks for investors which usually involve uploading a photograph of your passport or driving license along with a selfie holding the ID. Did you know? Participation in ICOs has proven to be a regulatory nightmare in some localities. Most token sales restrict contributions from investors in China and the USA entirely, though accredited investors may participate in the USA in some cases. Stage Three: Private/Pre-sale states: Typically, 10% of tokens will be offered to early investors at a 10–30% discount. These select few investors will likely have a close association with the team. But not all projects have a pre-sale round, some go straight to public sale. Stage Four: Whitelisting for Public/Main sale starts: The same format used for pre-sale investors is used for public sale investors, though it is a regular occurrence to see main sale KYC checks closed early due to overwhelming demand. An investor must then register a contribution wallet address. That is the address used to send cryptocurrency from, to buy the ICO tokens, and then also into which you will receive your purchased tokens. This wallet address must be a non-exchange wallet, like Blockchain.info bitcoin wallet, or MyEtherWallet for ERC-20. You already understand from the prior lesson that making a mistake with your wallet address may mean you lose the tokens forever as well as the BTC or ETH you used to purchase them. Copying and pasting your cryptocurrency public key into the whitelist wallet form is the next task to complete. And then, as the investor, you wait for confirmation of successful ICO registration from the team. Stage Five: Public sale starts: Commonly on a specific date, though sometimes for a specific period of time. If you are interested in participating in an ICO, it is important to make your contribution as quickly as possible, or you risk sending your ETH or BTC after the hard cap has been reached, resulting in your funds being sent back. This refund can sometimes take many days, or even weeks in times of high market activity. Did you know? In 2017 it was not unheard of to find ICOs that had originally scheduled their ICO period for many weeks, but then they met with such high demand that they could close their crowdsale in a matter of hours or even in just a few minutes! Stage Six: Tokens are allocated to successful participant investor wallets, and trading can begin on some decentralized exchanges like IDEX, or EtherDelta in the case of Ethereum based tokens. Tokens will be sent to and received by the wallet addresses from which the investor contributions were made. Stage Seven: Tokens are listed on mainstream exchanges: The tokens will then be listed on the exchanges with which the teams have negotiated listing, prior to or during the sale. It can cost huge amounts of money to list on large exchanges like Bitfinex Bittrex, Huobi or Binance, so usually smaller projects will not be listed on top 10 exchanges so quickly. As tokens are listed on more and more exchanges, their price usually rises because more and more investors are exposed to opportunities to buy that particular token. Evaluating a Blockchain Use Case Evaluating a particular use case for Blockchain technology, and thus how successful an ICO project’s ambitions might be in a particular market, is not a simple endeavor. As demonstrated in the graphic below, Blockchain technology has nearly limitless potential to be applied to a great variety of business areas, but as an ICO investor, you are looking for projects that have the potential to deliver significant long-term success. In the currently saturated ICO environment, some use cases have more potential than others. Ascertaining which use case is likely to have long term success is a key distinction. Also, we must recognize that businesses and corporate entities may be overeager to experiment with this new Blockchain technology, whether or not usage of the technology is actually advisable or profitable for their particular purpose. The main questions to ask when analyzing specific solutions proposed by the project are: What are the problems posed and the solutions offered? Does this particular area of business need a Blockchain solution? That is, is a Blockchain solution in fact superior to the current way this particular business operates? Is the use of Blockchain in this specific instance feasible and applicable? What are competitors doing about Blockchain projects in this same area? A Blockchain network provides a shared, replicated, secured, immutable and verifiable data ledger. The implication for use case analysis: Shared and replicated: participants have a copy of the ledger and many people can view it or work on it Secured: Secured through cryptography Verifiable: Business rules are associated with all interactions that occur on the network Immutable: Transactions (records) cannot be modified or deleted, therefore a verifiable audit trail is maintained by the network So, with all this considered, what should we look for with regard to a possible business use case that would be best solved using Blockchain technology? 1. Data exchange that has trust issues i.e. businesses transacting with one another. Trust must be established through a multitude of verification processes with regards to employees and products. These processes increase operational cost. Example: Digital voting. 2. Any potential business process involving data storage, or compliance and risk data that get audited. Blockchain solutions would provide the regulators a real-time view of information. Example: Supply chain solutions like VeChain or WaltonChain. The possibility of close to zero operational loss would of course be attractive to any business. 3. All kinds of asset transactions. A Blockchain network, with its tamper-proof ledger, validating traceable and trackable transactions, could save many different industries untold amounts of money. Example: Tokenization of assets e.g. Jibrel Network or Polymath Purpose of Tokens Within the cryptocurrency ecosystem, the definition and role of a token iswidely understood. They represent programmable units of currency that sit atop a particular Blockchain, and they are part of a smart contract “logic” specific to a certain application. In the business sphere, a token can be defined as a unit of value that a project or business venture creates to enable it to self-govern. And the business venture also allows token users to connect and collaborate with its business products, while facilitating the sharing of rewards to all of its stakeholders. A token can also be described in a more general sense as a type of privately issued currency. In the past it was solely within the purview of governments to issue currency and set the terms of its governance. With the advent of Blockchain technology we now have businesses and organizations offering forms of digital money over which they, not the government or central bank, have control of the terms of operations and issuance. Wide scale adoption of these mechanisms could fundamentally alter the global economy. This is like the creation of self-sustaining, mini-economies in any sector of business or life, via a specific token or currency. Fun Fact: Tokens of the particular Blockchain upon which the project is launched will usually have to be bought in order to be exchanged for ICO tokens, hence it is important for traders and investors to be aware of the schedule for upcoming ICOs. ETH is usually the token used for exchange because the majority of ICOs launch on the Ethereum Blockchain. But this is not always the case. During January 2018, two NEO token ICOs, both the Key TKY and Ontology ICOs, were being carried out, and this caused the NEO cryptocurrency to spike to its all-time high in excess of $160 USD. Since the product or project is more often than not in its embryonic stage at the time of the ICO crowdfunding process, the ICO token’s true function and purpose is in most cases yet to be realized. At the ICO stage the tokens can usually be grouped together into one of three categories. Knowing how to distinguish these categories involves determining the specific nature and function of the token around which the project is centered. The main and crucial distinction, is whether or not a token is a security, and therefore subject to securities registration requirements. ICO Stage Token Categories Howey Test: This is the test created by the US Supreme Court to ascertain whether certain transactions qualify as “investment contracts”. If they are found to fall within this classification, then under the Securities Act of 1933 and the Exchange Act of 1934, those transactions are considered “securities” and participants must adhere to registration and disclosure requirements. One of the most important and amazing considerations of the effect of Blockchain technology is that normal people with a computer science background are now empowered to make decisions and offer products and services that previously only licensed financial institutions were able to do. This is a very complex and complicated situation with serious ramifications for anyone involved. One thing to note well is that ordinary participants and actors in this arena can easily commit white-collar crime, violating serious securities laws, without even realizing it. If a token falls within the US legal definition of “Investment Contract” then you must adhere to US regulations. For that reason, many ICOs simply do not want to sell to US based investors, perhaps until all the rules and regulations are clarified. Security Tokens The broad and varying definition of the term “security” is a regulatory minefield. This has always been true for traditional financial products, and now it is especially true for the as yet unregulated cryptocurrency market. In the case of SEC V. Howey, parameters were established to determine whether or not a particular financial arrangement could be classified as a security and thus be subject to securities regulations. Cooley LLP Fintech Team Leader Marco Santori has said, an arrangement is a security if it involves “an investment of money, and a common enterprise, with the expectation of profit, primarily from the efforts of others.” Investors have the option of accessing a huge range of security tokens through ICOs. Prime examples are the gold backed DigixDao (DGD) and CProp (still in crowd funding stage). A security token is fundamentally different from the currently available ICO project tokens in that it provides a legal and enforceable ownership of a company’s profits and voice in its governance much like common stock traded on any exchange. If security tokens are the next step in the evolution of crypto-finance, real estate, stocks, venture capital, and commodities can all be tokenized. The traditional markets could be fully connected to the Blockchain. Financial assets would available to anyone in the world, not just licensed or accredited investors. That is one aspect of Fintech, the financial revolution taking place today, as Blockchain technology clashes with traditional finance. Equity Tokens One exciting application of smart contracts on the Ethereum Network is the potential for startups to distribute equity tokens through initial coin offerings. That would reduce the hurdles that an average person has to face in order to take part in the early stages of a company’s development. And, democratic governance of a project could be conducted in a transparent manner through voting on the Blockchain. As of yet, few startups have attempted to conduct equity token sales for fear of falling afoul of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the US. But many Venture Capital insiders are bullish on the prospect of equity tokens taking a central role in the crypto finance industry, when and as the legal issues are resolved. For example, the Delaware State legislature recently passed a bill enabling companies to maintain shareholder lists on the Blockchain. That is one major step to enable Blockchain based stock trading. Lawyers also generally believe it is only a matter of time before the regulations are clarified. Did you know? Important consideration: The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 made it unfeasibly expensive for smaller companies to be listed on exchanges, causing a halving in the number of IPOs between 1996 and 2016 (7322 to 3671). In 2017 there was an almost 5-fold increase in the number of ICOs, from 43 to 210, with the 2017 volume already being eclipsed in the first 5 months of 2018. Utility Tokens However, given that this area is still a regulatory nightmare for people planning to issue security and equity tokens, many projects attempt to ensure that the tokens within their specific model fall under the definition of Utility Tokens rather than securities, so as to avoid the SEC regulations altogether. If a token is imbued with a certain functionality and use within the Blockchain infrastructure of that particular project, the token can avoid being labelled as a security, and thus render SEC regulations inapplicable. Just this week in fact, the SEC made the long-awaited and momentous decision that Ether was not a security. In the words of William Hinman, director of the Securities and Exchange Commission division of corporate finance, “Putting aside the fundraising that accompanied the creation of Ether, based on my understanding of the present state of Ether, the Ethereum network and its decentralized structure, current offers and sales of Ether are not securities transactions.” This means that Ethereum, in fact, fails the Howey test, which is exactly the decision the crypto world wanted. Hinman said, “When the efforts of the third party are no longer a key factor for determining the enterprise’s success, material information asymmetries recede,” Hinman said. “The ability to identify an issuer or promoter to make the requisite disclosures becomes difficult, and less meaningful.” We will now cover various use cases that projects have been adopting up to now in order to get their tokens classified as utility tokens rather than securities. Voting Rights Some coins portray themselves as a company with tokens being held in a way that is analogous to voting shares of a stock. One coin held is equal to one vote. This form of token utility has a major flaw in that so-called whales (people with huge amounts of a particular cryptocurrency) can manipulate any poll conducted. The cryptocurrencies Aragon and Lykke are examples of projects that have written voting rights into the structure of their code. In-App Reward: Another common tactic to evade the security label has been the addition of in-app rewards to the functionality of a particular token. The Basic Attention Token (BAT) is the unit of currency for use with the project browser named “Brave”. The BAT is a unit of account for the advertisers, publishers and users of the platform. Filecoin, the cloud storage project that raised a record $257 million through their ICO, pays other people or companies for use of their spare storage space. Some of the many rights afforded to token holders in various Blockchain projects are described by the graphic below. Token Roles Function The token can be used as a mechanism through which user experience is enhanced, enabling such actions as connection with users, or joining a broader network. It may also be used as an incentive for beginning usage or for on-boarding. Examples include Dfinity and Steemit. Value Exchange: In its most basic usage, a token is a unit of value exchange within a specific app or market. This usually is made up of features that allow users to earn tokens through real work or passive work (sharing data, allowing use of storage space) and to spend them on services or internal functions within the specific market ecosystem created by that organization. Augur and KIK, amongst countless others, are projects that have implemented this functionality into their tokenomics. Toll: The token can also be used for getting onto the Blockchain infrastructure, or for powering decentralized applications run on that particular Blockchain. This ensures that users have “skin in the game”. Tolls can be derived from running smart contracts, paying a security deposit, or just usage fees. Examples include Bitcoin and Ethereum. Currency: Seeing as the particular platform or app is designed with a view towards functioning in synergy with a particular token, the token is an extremely efficient means of payment and transaction engine, resulting in frictionless transactions. This means that companies can become their own payment processors and no longer have to rely on the often unwieldy stages of conventional financial settlement involving trusted third parties in the form of banks and credit card companies. Rights: Owning a token bequests certain rights upon the holder, such as product usage, voting, access to restricted markets, and dividends (e.g.: GAS for holding NEO). Though most businesses are trying to avoid fitting the definition of a security laid out in the Howey Test, the right to real ownership of a particular asset is sometimes granted as a result of holding a token, for example DigixDAO or Tezos. Comparison to Traditional IPO and Equity Capital Raisings Despite the similarity of the acronyms and the derivation of one from the other, Initial Coin Offerings and Initial Public Offerings are very different methods of fundraising. The distinction is not limited simply to the fact that IPOs are used in conventional business, and ICOs are associated with cryptocurrency. Through ICO’s, companies in their early stages issue digital tokens on a Blockchain and those tokens act as units of value for use within the ecosystem created by the project. They have many other uses, but it is also fair to say they are analogous to shares offered in an Initial Public offering. In an IPO, shareholdings are distributed to investors through underwriters, usually investment banks. But in the case of ICO token sales, companies often do not even have an actual product to show. Often, all that there is a whitepaper, evidence of the partnerships involved and the particular social-media infrastructure they have established. IPO’s take place when a more well-established company floats shares on a stock exchange. The company would have a well-established history of success and significant reasons to expect a bright future. In the vast majority of cases, an ICO is used for a new company with no such history, just trying to get off the ground. Another important difference is the expected return in exchange for the investment. Companies engaging in IPOs may offer participants dividend paying stocks which result in various levels of return depending on the success of the company after the shares are issued. An ICO however can offer no such guaranteed return. When buying tokens in an ICO, you do so with no promise of return. An investor who holds the tokens of a particular project does so with the promise, rather than an assurance, of future success. The main benefit to investors taking part in Initial Coin Offerings, compared to Initial Public Offerings, is the need for only basic Know Your Customer checks in the case of the ICO, compared to the costly, complex and time-consuming regulatory obstacles that must be traversed in an IPO. In the case of Initial Public Offerings, a business must obtain authorization from a number of entities before the act of “going public”. Prior to an IPO, companies are not obliged to disclose so much of their internal records or accounting. It is not so complicated to make a private company in the United States. But in the run up to going public, the company must form a board of directors, make their records auditable to the relevant authorities in one or more jurisdictions, and prepare to make quarterly reports to the SEC (or equivalent). Relevant Factors to Consider in ICO process When analyzing the chances of success for a specific project, and the likelihood of a favorable return on investment in the long term, it is essential to break down the project into its constituent parts, and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each part individually. An effective investigation and analysis would start with the team and white paper. Consider the stage the project is at,and VC investments in the project. That would lead to a good initial idea of the actual progress thus far. Next, evaluate the social media presence and the credentials of the community that has formed around the core team. If a compelling case is made by the team, (e.g.: via an in-depth dive into the use case), and the tokenomics, distribution schedule, potential competitors, as well as the team’s awareness of any future business or regulatory concerns all check out; then the ICO might present a good opportunity for investment. In the following slides we tackle each of these considerations in order so you will be able to evaluate an ICO’s worth and assign a grade for the success of each project. Relevant Factors to Consider in ICO process The Team First and most important, we need evaluate the background and experience of the team, the people involved in the project. Well-established developers, for example, will likely have LinkedIn profiles demonstrating their previous endeavors and occupations, from which we can judge their suitability to the project and the likelihood of the team’s success. The LinkedIn profile is a point of reference for professional accomplishments and official positions. But we can also learn more about a person from their personal accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and Medium etc. That is also a good way to follow along with the progress of the project. By investigating team members through as many means as possible, you will know how long they have been involved in cryptocurrency. If they have been around and active for a long time, they are that much more likely to be knowledgeable and capable of making better quality decisions in this business. It goes without saying that it is a huge red flag if it is too difficult to find information about the team members online, and worse still if the team members are anonymous. Relevant Factors to Consider in ICO process A good Whitepaper gives a detailed description of the project, the problems the team is going to solve, the timeframe projected, and methods to be used in the implementation of their ideas. If, in answering the question about what the project actually does, it seems the team is presenting ideas that are too complicated or advanced to understand, then you simply should not invest until you are satisfied you have been given the requisite level of insight to understand the concepts described. It is always possible that the whitepaper is nothing more than a salad of buzzwords and technical language intended to give the impression of competence while really doing nothing but obfuscate the truth. The whitepaper should clearly and concisely present the problems and the solutions needed. The whitepaper must give a solid and coherent answer as to who needs this project and why. Also, if the team have put no effort into explaining why a Blockchain solution is needed for this particular problem, or why such a solution is superior to its “real-world” equivalent, it is likely they are only in it for the money. We have more to say about red-flags later. While 2016 raised a comparatively small amount in comparison to the proceeding years, there were a few specific projects that raised significant amounts of capital. These are respectable amounts of money, even by today’s standards, and especially impressive when contrasted with the immaturity of the ICO market at the time, and relative to amounts raised in traditional IPOs. Waves ($16.4mill), Iconomi ($10.6mill) and Golem ($8.6mill) were the three largest fundraisings of the year. 2017 was the year of the ICO whales. Hdac ($258mill), Filecoin ($257mill), EOS Stage 1 ($185mill) and Paragon ($183.16mill) were the largest that year. To be able to raise so much money, so quickly, in such a new market, using such a new mechanism is truly incredible. 2017 was the year that proved ICOs are for serious individuals and institutional investors as well. We have also had some phenomenal amounts raised so far in 2018. Telegram ($1.7bill), Dragon ($320mill), Huobi ($300mill) and Bankera ($150mill). Telegram might be the first mainstream example of an ICO, not only by raising close to $2billion, which would be beyond incredible and impressive even by traditional IPO standards; but also, because it is one of the first ICO companies to tangibly put a product in the hands of hundreds of millions of users, and successfully compete against traditional companies such as Facebook (MessengeWhatsApp), Microsoft (Skype) and Tencent (WeChat). What is ICO main mechanisms and processes.? How to market STO? What are the best security tokens 2019? Follow the link to learn more: UBAI.co We can teach you how to do ICO and STO in 2019. Contact me via Facebook to learn more: Facebook
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