Who will Fund the Upcoming IoT Sensor Revolution?

Databroker DAO

Today, we want to take a look at the possible ways to fund the upcoming internet of things revolution. This is a long-term play. Just like the internet took over 30 years before the world wide web really came along, so will the IoT world. The idea has been with us for decades now. However, for such a broad sweeping technology, everything else needs to be in place before it can truly penetrate our society. This is why our world is not unrecognizable today with the advent of IoT.

However, we know that the IoT revolution is coming. You can be a company in New York and get instantaneous weather data in Sydney. The power of this data can be huge. You can know the local conditions, traffic, preferences, etc. everything in real time around the world. It can potentially transform most aspects of human society.

Why is it not here yet? It is mostly because there are other technologies that need to ‘be there’ first before the IoT revolution can take off. Take internet connectivity for example. For an IoT to work, it needs access to high quality, high availability and high bandwidth internet connection. The whole world is just not there yet. Also, bandwidth and storage can be expensive still in many parts of the world, especially for large data transfers that are needed for the IoT revolution.

Then of course, the big challenge is the creation of the sensor itself. This is very subjective because it depends on the type of sensor. There are supplemental technologies like self-driving cars that are making the cost of manufacturing certain types of sensors go down over an exponential curve.

Still, the actual sensors themselves are no trivial engineering problem. After all, you need to ship millions to billions of such sensors, all collecting data and connected to the internet. That’s an immense amount of data that is being collected.

What’s the incentive for deploying these sensors? Right now, it is direct economic incentive, i.e. if Google’s self driving car needs weather conditions on a road, Google will deploy a sensor at that location. However, at scale, this is not a replicable strategy. There are just too many areas around the world to cover.

That’s where Databroker DAO comes it. It is building a decentralized marketplace for data from these IoT sensors. All kinds of buyers and sellers can get together on this marketplace and transact to get the data. So now, instead of companies deploying one sensor, they can effectively ‘rent’ thousands of sensors and get a better picture of the data on the ground, in real time.

Also, the problem of who will deploy the sensors becomes easier – if you think you can make more money via selling the data that the sensor collects, you may as well! Therefore, you don’t need to depend on large corporations. Instead, buy a sensor, deploy it to the network, and get paid for the data collected.

If this idea seems interesting, check out the databroker DAO website and the whitepaper.

Photo Credit: Nathan Chantrell

Enhance Your Privacy Using IPSX

Just browsing the internet today is fraught with perils of loss of privacy. Giants like Google and Facebook track your every move, on or off your website. If you’re using a mobile device and use Android, forget about any expectations of privacy whatsoever. Yes, there is a lot of convenience. But at what cost? Now some people may not care about their personal privacy too much, but that isn’t a universal given. Some of the best works in the world have been done anonymously.

The crypto community especially should be very cognizant of that. After all, the founder of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, is still a pseudonymous entity, and no one knows who that person in the ‘real world’ is.  Therefore, if you need more privacy when you’re using the internet in general, there are many tools out there from VPNs to the Tor Network.

Today, we want to introduce you to a brand new crypto project called IPSX for IP Exchange. What this platform does is to have a two-sided marketplace for buyers and sellers of IP addresses.

If you’re a regular computer user, then you will have access to a certain number of IP addresses. This is usually determined by your Internet Service Provider (ISP). If you just have a few devices, like a couple of computers, a couple of phones perhaps, then you still have plenty of available IP addresses on your network that are not in use. There is nothing you do with those though – they are just a wasted resource.

But now, thanks to IPSX, you can put these unused resource on their online marketplace. This will then be bought by other people who are looking for enhanced privacy solutions online.

For the people seeking more private solutions, this is a big win because there will be a ready supply of IP addresses to choose from. This product is geared towards a freer internet. There are also many cases where ordinary people want to mask their IP or tell a specific website that they are from a different country. Think of content that is blocked in your jurisdiction, for example. All these problems can be overcome by using a different IP address than the one that has been allocated to you. Tor doesn’t always work, because many of the Tor exit nodes are known and such sites ban those IP addresses already.

IPSX gives you a quick way to rent an IP address, do whatever it is that you were trying to do, and just pay for it conveniently. VPNs can in fact integrate into the IPSX service, and provide their customers with a huge range of IP addresses now to choose from. The reason there are likely going to be a huge number of IP addresses to choose from is because most people don’t actually use anywhere close to the number if IP addresses that they have been allocated, and therefore putting it up on the IPSX marketplace makes sense because you can send up making some money that way.  All payments are made in the native IPSX token for the platform.

Check out more about IPSX and their token sale on their official website.

Equi Lets the Crypto Community Play Venture Capitalists

The crypto market has seen some stupendous results in 2017. Although 2018 isn’t turning out to be the best year for returns, it is still too early. The crypto community has invested a lot of money into new projects and experimentation. Sometimes this results in overheated markets. Other times, it results in great innovations. After all, the most widely used crypto platform today, Ethereum, was itself created out of an ICO with mostly Bitcoin investors putting their money into an unknown idea.

So what does the future hold? While we don’t have a crystal ball to answer that question, we can take a guess. The community likes to invest in early stage projects. That’s why even a project like Tezos got fully funded. However, as the space matures, there will only be so many new foundational projects. After all, you don’t need 20 Ethereum clones to get the job done.

So what should the community do? How can they continue making those early investments into foundational projects? Well, today we’ll discuss a project called Equi that provides one such out for crypto investors and the broader community.

How Equi Helps you Diversify

Equi can help you diversify from crypto into more long-term investments, very similar to venture capital. It is a clever mix of crypto and venture industries. The project uses its native token called the EQUI token, which is used to make investments and also get returns from successful projects.

The process itself looks very much like a venture capital investment. There will be projects listed on the platform, and if you like the opportunity, then you would invest. The one drawback though is that the money isn’t liquid unlike tokens, i.e. you will only get your money back when there is an ‘exit’ event for the company (e.g. it goes IPO or gets bought out). We still don’t know what kinds of projects will get listed though. It may very well be projects with tokens, so you can get more immediate liquidity.

The model allows for investors to get 70% of the profits generated by an exit event. 5% is given to holders of the EQUI token who may not have invested in the platform, and the remaining 25% is taken by the company as fees. Although this seems like a very high fees to charge, these opportunities may not be available elsewhere and may therefore be worth it if the returns are adequate for investors.

The clever thing about the EQUI token is that even if a smaller subset of investors make some really good investments, the whole community will benefit. Why? Because even if you don’t make an investment, you are still eligible to get that 5% return. That’s not too shabby in our view.

The crypto community is already used to investing in very early stage companies. Maybe they can reach beyond tokens and into more traditional venture.

If you want to learn more, make sure to read the Equi website and whitepaper.

Photo Credit: wuestenigel

A Consumer Layer on the Streaming Economy with Current

Current Media

Do you listen to Spotify? Soundcloud? Do you watch YouTube? How about listening to Podcasts? Audiobooks? Go old school with the Radio perhaps? Or just regular TV? There are so many ways in which you can access media today. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a single consumer application that connects to all these services, and lets you watch whatever you want, anything you want, on a single platform that is created for your benefit? No more issues with logging into a dozen websites to search for what you want. Just everything delivered to you in one convenient place.

Yes, we hear you, what’s the catch? Well, the catch is, you get paid to do this! That’s the promise of Current Media, a crypto project building a layer on top of regular media channels. In fact, the regular media channels can be replaced by blockchain-based productions too – say SingularDTV for instance. It all comes combined into one neat package that you can access – think of it as a single app that you need to access all your media.

The Current platform hosts all the features that you would normally need for your media needs – searching, for instance. It then directs you to the place where you can access that media content. No need to log into twenty different sites to find what you’re looking for.

The natural expansion of this idea of course is the creation of content exclusively for the Current network. That’s the original content strategy that Current is aiming for. Why might it work better than other efforts? Simple – the people using Current are already used to earning and paying for media, very unlike the traditional, e.g. YouTube viewers.

Current has its own native crypto-token, called the CRNC. This is the main currency used in the Current ecosystem. When you stream media through Current instead of direct websites, you actually earn some CRNC. How? Simple – through advertising and data.

Advertising and data collection is something that happens on platforms like YouTube anyway. The difference is, with YouTube you will never see a dime of that money whereas with Current, you get paid in CRNC.

CRNC gets its value through the whole ecosystem. For example, if advertisers want to pay Current Media for ads, they need to pay it in CRNC. Listeners get paid in CRNC as well. In the future, content creators will get paid in CRNC too. This creates a thriving economy around content, rarely found in the more traditional media consumption.

If you’re intrigued by this idea of Current and CRNC, check out the website for more details.  Also check out the whitepaper with even more details.

Cardstack: Using Crypto to Pay Open Source Developers

Cardstack

Cardstack is an interesting new crypto project that, among other things, has a plan to let open source developers get paid for their work based on the popularity and usage of their applications. If you’re not in the development community, you may not realize how big and important this is if it takes off. Some of the largest and most widely used software is created by open source developers (such as Linux, which has a virtual monopoly on the server market, for example). You may find it strange that the systems that underpin a huge swathe of the internet are created and maintained by unpaid developers.

The open source movement (similar to Wikipedia) was never supposed to work, but it does. And it works great for the most part. Developers can work on things that they like to work on and solve challenging problems. They create out of passion, like art. However, like art, just creating something doesn’t pay the bills or put food on the table.

Open source projects are notoriously hard to monetize, because you are putting the entire code in public domain for everyone to see. If you charge for the code, then the people using it will just copy the code that you have in the public domain and run their own instance. This is a problem because the most talented developers of our time are working on problems without getting paid.

The Cardstack Solution

Cardstack itself is an open source platform. It connects the end user with underlying infrastructure in a seamless manner. What this means is that the user can pick and choose the services on a whim, and use the best one suited for a task. All this is without requiring any programming skills.

As a simple example, think of all the lockups in services that you have, such as email. Wouldn’t it be nice if you can just change providers? Keep all your data, but wake up tomorrow and choose another provider, while you can still do everything like search through emails, contacts, etc. That’s the power that Cardstack wants to give to the end user.

The idea itself is powerful for the blockchain space, because the underlying infrastructure can be abstracted away behind ‘cards’. Need a storage solution? Use Dropbox today, but over time, simply replace it with Filecoin. That’s how blockchain is going to get adopted anyway – one single replacement at a time until it is ready for prime time.

So if you’re developing these open source apps that other users are using through the Cardstack platform, you can get paid in the CARD token, which is the native token of the Cardstack ecosystem. Cardstack also has a unique ‘metering’ system which ensures that the proceeds are fairly distributed among the various applications that are being used. This is a boon to open source developers, because they can still continue working on these projects and solving challenging problems, but now they can get paid in CARD for their efforts.

The Cardstack platform itself has strong network effects if it takes off, so all these open source developers can benefit from each other’s work.

Check out the cardstack website here for more information.

Photo Credit: NCinDC

PumaPay Aims to Invert Crypto Payment Method with Pull Mechanisms

PumaPay

PumaPay aims to change the paradigm of crypto payments. The way crypto in general works, and that is by design, is described as a ‘push payment’. What does this mean? It means if I want to send you Bitcoin, I will send Bitcoin from my wallet to your wallet. I need to ‘push’ the payment. There is no way for you to ‘pull’ the payment from my wallet.

This works well for small one-time purchases, but businesses in general want to have pull capability. For example, Netflix ‘pulls’ payment via the credit card on file each month, without any interference from you at all. Imagine if you had to log in every month and click on ‘Send’ to send money to Netflix if there was no way for the company to take money directly.

The push vs. pull paradigms have undergone lots of debate in the crypto community. However, from a merchant point of view, it is clear – they would rather have pull payments than push payments.

PumaPay and Merchant Flexibility

If Crypto is to truly become a global payment means, it will need to adopt to certain existing payment paradigms. PumaPay offers that bridge. PumaPay is a set of smart contracts that let merchants pull payments from your wallet, instead of you pushing payment from your wallet. Obviously, the first transaction is subject to your approval.

For example, say you have a Netflix or Netflix like subscription that you want to pay with crypto. You don’t want to have to remember to make a transaction each month to pay the service or face disruption. Instead, you decide to use PumaPay with the explicit understanding that you want to continue paying for this service. You are still in control – if the payment fails, the service ends. However, you’ve now removed the friction from this process.

This mechanism makes it easy for merchants to go all in on crypto adoption.

Even more interestingly, PumaPay and its payment protocols are not limited by current transaction modes. Remember, we are dealing with smart contract here, which means you can encode fairly complex logic in your payment process. This flexibility is what may ultimately attract larger merchants towards crypto payments. It is because you can do things with smart contracts that you cannot do otherwise in normal debit-card like transactions.

PumaPay Platform and Token

Along with the set of smart contract suite discussed above, PumaPay comes with its own Software Development Kit (SDK) and API for merchants to integrate PumaPay into their existing payment and billing solutions. On the consumer side, there is a PumaPay wallet application.

The payments and the economy created here run on the PumaPay native token, called the PMA token. This is the token used for conducting commerce between the end user and the merchant. If you’re a merchant, you can convert the PMA tokens into local fiat or BTC or ETH through regular channels, or just hold on to the PMA tokens.

If you’re interested to learn more about PumaPay, check out their website and read the whitepaper. It is undergoing its token sale at the moment as well.

OnLive and the Expertise Marketplace

On the surface, OnLive is a decentralized video broadcasting marketplace. However, in reality, it is an expertise marketplace, which has a high potential addressable market. It also comes at an opportune time right when people in general become comfortable with video broadcasting, especially the newer generations of millennials and Gen-Zs.

Expertise Marketplace

So what is expertise marketplace? Simply put, everyone is an expert in something. Now some might think they are not really experts, but you need to take the definition of an ‘expert’ more broadly. This is because people learn well from others. This means if you know something – anything – better than someone else, then from that person’s point of view, you’re an expert.

Think about everything you do in your daily world. Good with cars? Lawyer? Understand financial information well? Like to play the guitar? Good in social situations? Good with video games? Hell, know how to trade crypto well? Then you’re an expert!

If someone is new to crypto trading, for example, than for him, you’re an expert. You don’t need to be pulling in millions of dollars with that trading, but you can help with the basic stuff at least – which tools to use? Which sites to use for research? Where to find the charts? etc.

People are willing to pay for this information. Why? Well, think about it. If someone were new, they could go and research all of this themselves. It will take them weeks of research. That’s a lot of time, and time has value to most people. So if they need to spend 40 hours researching this versus paying you say $50 for an hour to answer all specific questions they have, then which one do you think they will prefer?

Today’s Market Difficulties

Expertise has a market value. Unfortunately, the costs are very high. For example, how do you find the people who will pay you for your expertise? There isn’t a good way today. However, with a decentralized system, like OnLive, you can potentially find all the people in one single place that isn’t controlled by one startup that will close shop as soon as their venture capital funding runs dry.

That’s why something like OnLive has a lot of potential. It addresses a market that matters, and people can start using it immediately because there is a need from both sides. Best of all, you don’t need to rely on a single company for all this infrastructure – the entire broadcasting industry being built by OnLive is decentralized. You will pay for the broadcast (to the nodes that provide the infrastructure) but that’s minimal compared to the value that you will generate. Truly, a win-win for all sides.

The ONL Token

This is the native token for the OnLive network. You will get paid for your expertise in ONL token, which you can use to pay someone else in the future, or just convert back to ETH.

In fact, the system allows both private and public broadcasts. The case study we described above is for a private broadcast, but it might as well be public. Say you’re going to cover a hot topic today that lots of people are interested in. Well, charge them a small amount to see you broadcast! You can make money that way, and the people can get value out of the material that you provide.

ONL token provides ways for both pay per view and pay per minute type systems. For example, in the above case, say you don’t like the public broadcast, then you can just end it anytime and you will only be charged for the time that you were watching live, not the whole show.

If you’re intrigued by the idea of expertise marketplaces, visit the ONL website and read the whitepaper.

Photo Credit: Flickr

Crypto Enters the World of Charity with Giftcoin

Giftcoin Charity

Marc Andreessen famously quoted ‘software is eating the world’. Now, it is time for blockchain to eat the world! From high-tech to low-tech industry, there are blockchain startups working in many different niches. One industry that we’ve not seen a lot of projects in though, is charity.

Charitable giving is a $400 billion industry just in the United States. That should tell you something about the scale and potential for growth, and capturing even a small percentage of this huge market. People are generous in donating money to causes they care about. However, the industry is still very stodgy and old, and not close to how efficient it can be.

This is why, we would like to see even more startups come up in the charitable giving industry. Today, we discuss one such project, called Giftcoin.

Transparency with Blockchain

The main premise of Giftcoin is that you can bring a lot of transparency to the charitable giving industry with the help of blockchain. This helps donors know their money is being put to good use, and also prevents unscrupulous charities from siphoning off that money for their own uses. It helps the industry as a whole, since people would be more willing to donate if they know their dollars are actually hard at work helping those it is supposed to help, not just going into ‘operating expenses’ for the charity, which can unfortunately be really high.

In addition, charities receive money via expensive payment methods that charge a high fee for their services. This isn’t good, because the people most in need are the ones that lose out on this fees, helping the large payment processors instead.

With the help of crypto, transfers are pretty much free, which is what Giftcoin is working to create.

The funds that get sent to charities are sent in Giftcoin. However, this isn’t an unconditional ‘gift’ yet. Instead, Giftcoin wants to create a transparent but also accountable system. Therefore charities need to show progress and milestones. The charities get the money when they submit a record of purchase to the blockchain, showing how the money is spent. This way, it is clear for everyone how the organization is using donor money.

Again, this is a huge improvement over the current system where you have no idea how the money is being used. Instead, with a blockchain based charity, it is very clear how the funds are being used, and you cannot go back and change any records. If you say you spent money on X, then it’s recorded on the blockchain for everyone to see. The records are publicly auditable. If there are any shenanigans going on, the public will know. It is a powerful system to increase donor trust in charities.

Intrigued? Read the whitepaper. Also check out the website for more information.

Photo Credit: Chris Yarzab

GBX and ICO Standards for Projects and Investors

Gibraltar Exchange Token

GBX is an exciting new project that we want to talk about. It is exciting because it is a subsidiary of the Gibraltar Stock Exchange. Gibraltar law has been very crypto friendly for a while, and there is even a ‘Safe Harbour’ for blockchain companies instituted in Gibraltar to help promote the industry.

So that’s already speaking to the legitimacy of the project and its backers. However, what excites us more about the project is that it aims to bring in some much needed transparency into the ICO market and help both investors and ICOs. This is needed to weed out the scams that cost investors a lot of money and help promote a more healthy ecosystem for all.

The ICO Platform from GBX

GBX is building a new ICO platform for listing new ICOs. This isn’t just any platform like a marketing platform that we see often times in the industry. This is a proper due-diligence platform that already does research into the projects. There will be strict guidelines for listing, just like how stock markets have strict guidelines for listing. Companies will need to qualify with many requirements, which will all be taken based on industry best practices.

Everything from the use of funds to the team to the jurisdictions will be looked into by GBX. It will help investors because it drastically reduces the chances of outright scams and other nasty behavior that has unfortunately become common in our space.

Also, industry self-regulation is the best defense against draconian regulation from the governments. If the industry can help weed out the bad actors and protect the rights of investors, then the investors are already protected and there is less need for external regulation.

ICO KYC and AML

Another big factor behind GBX is that many projects now require AML and KYC for their investors. This is required by law based on the jurisdiction of the project. However, many lawyers, especially in the United States, are suggesting their clients perform KYC on their investors before accepting money from them and releasing tokens to the people.

This has, as expected, become a huge problem for smaller companies because doing this level of KYC takes a lot of time and resources. They need to keep the data secure. Also, investors are rightly hesitant to give their sensitive information to all these websites. After all, anyone can lose them or get hacked and investors have no insight into data protection followed by these companies.

Therefore, having a single place of KYC helps both investors and projects. For investors, they don’t need to give their private and sensitive data to every project that may not follow good security practices. For projects, they don’t need additional costs of handling this data, which is not central to their core project or mission.

Building a Community

These are still early days, but given the friendliness of Gibraltar so far to blockchain startups, it is possible that GBX becomes a central hub for a lot of ICO activity. After all, investors want easy access to high quality projects, which GBX provides, and projects want access to capital, which GBX provides again.

We will closely watch how well this project does. If it succeeds, Gibraltar may even dethrone Switzerland as the preferred jurisdiction for token sales.

Learn more about GBX here and read the whitepaper here.

Photo Credit: Flickr

Crypto Meets Manufacturing Supply Chains with SyncFab

There is a lot of talk about blockchain and supply chains. Even the likes of tech behemoths (dinosaurs?) such as IBM see a lot of potential for blockchain in the supply chain niche.  After all, blockchains are perfect for tracking something through multiple hops, where the parties don’t necessary interact strongly with each other – exactly how most complex supply chains work today.

You can also see the entire history and provenance of an item – another really helpful thing for consumers and all supply chain participants really. I believe we’ll see a lot of important roles being played by blockchain technology in the supply chain industry.

Crypto Token and Marketplaces

But today, we want to talk about a tangential benefit of blockchains, i.e. using a crypto-token for supply chains. Why use a token? Mostly to create a marketplace that can facilitate the exchange of goods between various parties while bypassing some of the middlemen that don’t provide a lot of value. This is usually valuable to the producers or entities that are close to the production side of the supply chain. This way, they can demand a higher price for their product.

It is also good for the consumer of course, since they are procuring their goods closer to the source, and can get better terms and deals for this. It’s a win-win really, except of course for the middlemen not providing value, who will need to look for alternatives to what they’ve always been doing.

These can be general marketplaces, but it is hard to create something for everyone, which usually ends up as being created for no one. There are thousands of niches and domains inside the supply chain industry. Today, we discuss a project that is utilizing a crypto token for a very specific need in the supply chain domain – manufacturing.

The MFG Token and SyncFab

SyncFab is a new project that aims to build its product for the manufacturing supply chain – thus the MFG token for its crypto token. We explained the utility of the token in the previous section, and that’s really the value proposition for the MFG token.

The idea is to create more efficient manufacturing supply chains that connect hardware manufacturers with end consumers, without the brokers and middlemen taking a cut while providing little to no real benefit to either parties. In a way, trade becomes more direct-to-consumer right from the manufacturers.

There are two main advantages for the hardware manufacturers in utilizing SyncFab. One that we outlined in the previous section is they can generally get more money for their product and expertise, because they are directly connected to the end consumer. If the economics of the industry allow it, the manufacturers can enjoy a sustained increase in profits this way.

The other benefit is that of discovery. Like any marketplace, SyncFab aims to bring a large swathe of players from both sides on to their marketplace – i.e. both hardware manufacturers and hardware consumers. This means from the manufacturer’s point of view, they can also find new consumers for their product, again without the help of intermediaries like brokers. This can help them increase revenue.

The SyncFab ecosystem also utilizes smart contracts, so the hardware manufacturers know that they are going to get paid and not scammed, for instance. This increases overall trust in the system even with parties that you’ve never done business with. The company already has some partnerships with Silicon Valley based hardware startups.

If you’re interested to learn more about the project, see their website, and read the whitepaper to understand the token side of things better.

Photo Credit: TheLeadSA