Orvium: Fighting Elsevier with Blockchain

Elsevier, the publishing giant, embodies everything wrong with the scientific publishing industry today. Its practices actively harm science and scientific progress, harming human progress as collateral. It has staggeringly high margins – more than Apple and Google! That’s not entirely surprising. After all, it is in the business of taking content from scientists for free, making them review for free, and then charging for that content. These journals have simply become walled gardens for science and progress that rightly belongs to us all.

Of course, there is a lot wrong with the way science is done from the choice of statistics to replication issues. However, journal publication for the sciences ranks up top as one of the most important issues facing the industry today.

Blockchain to the Rescue?

To be sure, we don’t believe there is an easy solution to these problems. Scientists still publish in these journals, even if they don’t want to, because everyone else judges them by the ‘prestige’ of these journals. It is a huge issue in general, one that rivals Moloch. There won’t be easy solutions.

However, a blockchain based solution can offer a way, and lessons to learn on the way for even better systems for the future.

So what is Orvium’s idea? To make all the scientific papers open access, and use the blockchain to track all the ‘metadata’ such as peer review and any changes done to the articles. In addition, the articles themselves, and the corresponding data for the research, are published on decentralized storage systems, so no one party is in control of the world’s information.

Also, Orvium gives the scientists a choice of licensing, so things don’t necessarily need to be free for all uses. It is, after all, up to the scientists and government (that usually funds a lot of work) to determine how to disseminate the information from these projects. Transparency is the blockchain hallmark, and so is science’s.

In fact, the Orvium system is so designed that you can make your own journal. That’s right – scientists can get together and create their own journals. This is because Orvium offers low-cost alternatives to existing systems. This is important for competition. Then, you as a journal creator, don’t need to charge a lot of money for access. We can live in a world of more decentralized journals. That world will contain better systems for everyone since there is no monopoly on new knowledge. The papers and research will still be accessible to everyone. If you want to run a journal, you can provide curation services, peer-review, etc. You can even make a profit, but not form a monopoly. That’s indeed the best of capitalism as well.

If you want to learn more about Orvium, check out their website and whitepaper.

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Shipping Logistics on the Blockchain?

Blockshipping has an interesting idea for a blockchain project in the supply chain vertical – a very specific part of the supply chain, in fact. The company is aiming at the freight container industry in the high seas. Now, don’t let the boring industry get in the way of a promising idea. Remember, you’re on crypto sailor and we assume you love the high seas!

So what does blockchain have to do with the freight container industry? As it turns out, a lot actually. Containers are big business. They literally move stuff around the world. All your cheap stuff from China that you buy off of Walmart and Amazon was probably shipped, at multiple times in its lifecycle in fact, via a shipping container across the oceans.

As big as the freight container industry may be, it is still one of those old, stodgy industries. Don’t let the reams of paper involved in this process surprise you. The standard excuse “that’s how things are always done” couldn’t be more appropriate to another industry. Shipping, after all, is thousands of years old and has a rich history that weaves through the history of our civilization itself.

But blockchain, the very 21st century technology, may provide real, tangible benefits to this industry that started before the birth of Christ.

Shipping, in general is known to be opaque. The first thing that a blockchain solution can do is help all the players get on the same page. No need to keep sending each other documents and emails with status. Everyone now can get one view of reality, and that is recorded on the blockchain. There is no ‘data privilege’ anymore and anyone can compete on fair, open grounds.

BlockShipping is creating a worldwide registry for the container industry. This is a huge benefit from the current system where you are in the dark on the status. Once on the blockchain, you cannot change or tamper with your entries. It provides a tracking and record and registry for all the shipping containers.

If companies opt in, then they can leverage the technology being built by BlockShipping to achieve these goals. It can, in fact, act as an open standard and protocol for the entire industry to adopt, rather than some nice centralized solution being sold by a startup that may not last the winter. This is a big advantage, although it also means the buy-in may be more difficult since ‘no one is in charge’.

If you want to learn more about this project, and its ongoing ICO, see their website. Make sure to read the whitepaper if you’re investing in the ICO. Remember token sales are extremely risky and you can lose all your money. Never put more than you’re willing to lose.

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SpringRole: The Blockchain is Trying to Eat LinkedIn’s Lunch

The blockchain promises to revolutionize a lot of industries from finance to supply-chain. However, we haven’t heard a lot of talk about professional services or the way people find work and that relationship. That might change with a new blockchain project called SpringRole.

LinkedIn Style Professional Verification

So what does SpringRole do? It provides professional verification, and an attestation framework built on the blockchain. Let’s discuss the professional verification part first.

Employers need to be able to verify the claims made by potential employees. Today, there are solutions, but they are a bungled up set of systems that are neither very accurate not easy to perform. Moreover, they are more expensive to carry out than it needs to be. A better solution is naturally desirable by both the parties.

Then, there is the question of attestation. This is a really tricky problem, but SpringRole has a plan to solve this. Why is this hard? Because you need to get a lot of stakeholders on a single platform and agree to do something in a new way. Now let’s be honest here – doing that is really really hard, especially when you’re talking about very technologically conservative organizations.

For example, the entire education sector, including the universities, are not known to be at the forefront of technology when it comes to things like attestations. Therefore, getting them to change their behavior is going to be a very difficult process. However, if they all agree to use SpringRole, it is a huge market to address.

Endorsements and Attestations

As we discussed above, attestations need a buy-in that is large and hard to bring everyone on a network. Luckily, there are several types of endorsements and attestations that SpringRole is building. Educational accomplishments is only one of them, and will likely be hard to get universities from all over the world on board a completely new platform.

Then there is employment attestation, which should be easier as there are many nimble firms especially in the blockchain space, that may do so. Providing an endorsement or attestation can be a simple factual check, such as did the employee work at the firm. This should be easy to do bringing startups on board.

Then, there is the skills attestation which is also quite difficult to pull off. Skills, after all, are hard to evaluate objectively and there is no simple yes/no for competency. LinkedIn solves this problem by ‘endorsement’ but it gets abused too much. SpringRole wants to bring in third-party testing platforms to the platform, which can provide a more objective measure of skill. In the meanwhile, endorsements from people with an already high reputation on the platform would count for more.

Yes, the industry is going to be challenging to break into, but if the company can bring the various stakeholders on the table, the market is big enough to try.

If you want to learn more, check out the website and whitepaper.

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When Enterprise Logistics Meets Blockchain

No really. Just because enterprise logistics seems like a stodgy industry of the old guard, doesn’t mean new and emerging technology won’t affect it. Blockchain is all the hype in many circles, especially in the supply chain and logistics markets. However, remove the hype and you’ll begin to see real-world use-cases of blockchain being used in the industry.

What are those cases? Well, to begin with, reduction of paper. Lots of paper! The logistics industry is fond of its paper, but really there is no need to. When your transactions are on the blockchain, it is not just for you, but for all authorized parties. This means from the originator to the shipping to the end customer to the endless middlemen in the industry.

This is generally important because a lot of time, effort, and money is spent in making sure all these intermediaries are on the same page with respect to status, and general state of things. Most of that overhead can simply be reduced or eliminated completely with the help of the right technology – blockchain in this case.

The industry is ripe for this already – there’s an increasing recognition that things cannot go on forever the way they exist today. The industry, though stodgy, has become more open to new technologies that let it achieve efficiencies not previously possible.

OEL Foundation and Use of Standards

Here’s where OEL Foundation’s playbook seems smart. The OEL foundation is really going after an infrastructure layer for this. This means they will define and set standards for the entire industry to follow. Ambitious – yes. It’s definitely one of high risk and high reward. High risk because other players may not adopt these standards. High reward because if they do, then it becomes the de-facto standard for a trillion dollar industry.

The OEL foundation is doing this through a non-profit structure. They will design the low-level infrastructure ‘stuff’. This is important because you don’t want to bog down the industry with these details from an early stage. That would hurt adoption. Instead, the company wants to be able to go to the industry participants and tell them about the process and the effort put into it. Once it gets buy-in from these players, it has its foot in the door.

That’s a clever strategy because of the nature of the industry – very global and fragmented. As we already said, it won’t be easy getting everyone in one room and figuring this out, but if they succeed, the rewards are as big.

In fact, one could argue that building the technology itself is easy – after all, the likes of Ethereum have shown that it is relatively easy to design even complex programs. The biggest challenges for OEL are going to be human, not programs.

Intrigued? Check out the OEL foundation website, and for more details, make sure to read the whitepaper. There’s an ongoing token sale too. Remember that token sales can be extremely risky and you should never invest more than you’re willing to lose entirely.

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How the Codex Protocol can Bring Liquidity to Art and Other Unique Assets

Codex protocol is a new blockchain project that can have repercussions far beyond the crypto industry, by making an entire asset class ripe for massive liquidity. How is this possible you may ask? Well, the codex protocol is working towards an asset registry on the blockchain that can truly track the origin and provenance thereafter. This is a big step towards authenticating art and other unique assets as it changes ownership over the course of time.

Equity and Debt Markets for Art?

The protocol itself is a way to record and track changes of ownership. The larger picture is the applications built on top of such a protocol can really open up these markets for lending, collateralization and other financial innovations. Imagine owning an ETF of art from the 18th century and you’ll begin to get an idea of how this is a powerful idea.

More than equity though, it is the debt markets that would really open up using the codex protocol. How? Simply because banks and financial institutions can lend against your asset but there is reduced danger of fakes and other such issues. This is because each piece is authenticated when it is entered into the system, and thereafter all the changes of ownership are recorded on the blockchain for anyone to verify. The scope of cheating is much reduced.

The debt markets can become much more matured as well. Crypto owners can borrow or lend to others against their collateral and never even have met the person! This is because the codex protocol itself is run on the Ethereum blockchain, so you can buy, sell, trade, lend, etc. using ETH or other ERC20 tokens native to the Ethereum blockchain. As the crypto owners’ wealth grows over the coming years, this will become a distinct possibility.

Digital Art

The process is even smoother with digital art, which is ushering in a new era of gaming and art on the blockchain, starting with CryptoKitties. These already exist on the Ethereum blockchain, and can therefore easily become a part of codex protocol. If the financial markets are on codex, then it would be easy to bring your CryptoKitty into this ecosystem, and borrow money against your digital asset. Your imagination is the limit on how far this can be pushed – for example, you can borrow against your CryptoKitty and use it to breed other CryptoKitties and hopefully pay off your lenders and regain control of your digital art.

The Codex protocol is really building a standard and protocol for art and real-world collectibles to help provide liquidity to this asset class. Given the size of this market – trillions of dollars worldwide, the goal is ambitious but the rewards are high too.

Interested in learning more? Check out the website and whitepaper. Codex protocol is undergoing a token sale. Make sure to do your thorough research before putting money into any token sale. Token sales are extremely risky and you can lose all your money. Don’t invest more than you’re comfortable losing.

Media Protocol: Crypto Rewards for Sharing Content

Media Protocol is a new crypto system that is based on creating rewards for sharing content. How does it achieve such a thing? Mostly through its native ‘Smart URLs’ built by the Media Protocol that track the sharing of content. This creates a more direct economy for content creators, affiliates, and content sharers.

Through the Media Protocol, publishers can promote their content and reach a much wider audience. At the same time, the people who share the content can reap in some of its success. This creates an economic incentive to share good pieces of content that are subsequently more widely shared.

Protocol Value

The protocol value itself comes from different sources. For example, media creators can directly incentivize consumers to consume and interact with their content. How? With the help of the native token of the Media Protocol. And what do content producers get out of this? Simply put – data, and lots of it.

The end consumers who are savvy can benefit from using the Media Protocol, since they are usually ahead of the curve when it comes to trends, and publishers want to hear their opinions. The publishers record their data and preferences, and can now reward them for this participation.

Application and Protocol

The Media Protocol team is building their first application on the Media Protocol called CryptoCatnip. As the name might suggest, this is an app created specifically for the crypto community to learn more about specific cryptocurrencies and crypto-assets. This app is going to be like any other end-consumer app. The team hopes that the crypto community would visit the app as their first stop into the world of crypto news and media content.

This is a smart move by the team because the app provides a proof of concept for other third-party app developers to build other applications for other niches. Many of these protocols rely on the success of third-party developers using their protocols anyway.

Secondly, by focusing on the crypto community specifically, the team has lowered the barrier of entry, since they are preaching to the choir about the benefits of a crypto-token and blockchain. The sale to the consumers becomes much easier.

The CryptoCatnip app therefore serves as a proof of concept of the underlying Media Protocol itself. It is safe to say that very likely the protocol’s success will depend on the success of this proof of concept app, since if it fails, any other community will be harder pressed to use such a system.

If you’re interested to learn more about Media Protocol and the CryptoCatnip app, check out their website and whitepaper. Remember that token sales carry a considerable amount of risk and you can lose all your money. Never invest more than you’re willing to lose and always do your own research before putting any money into ICOs.

MobileBridge Momentum Token – Loyalty Points on Blockchain

Loyalty points is something a lot of businesses use. However, getting loyalty points right is harder than it appears. Got a punch card for getting your eight coffee free? Well, how many millennials do you think are going to carry your card in their wallet? There are apps today for loyalty points, but they come with their own set of challenges of trying to fit a round peg in a square hole. Why? Because you need to abide by the limitations set by the app developers.

Blockchain Solution

However, it does’t have to be like this. We have better technological tools today to do loyalty points right. That’s the aim of MobileBridge Momentum – taking a stab at the loyalty points industry with the help of blockchain.

One immediate drawback of using these points on the blockchain is going to be the transfer fees – it would take a lot of money just to send a couple of points for a small purchase, and may not be economical. However, in the future, as blockchains scale, this fees may very well come down and make this a usable application for small transfers.

For example, the MobileBridge Momentum team can hire some additional developers with the money raised in the token sale to build out a Plasma chain for all of the users of their platform. This will mean real fast confirmation times with little to no fees for these transfers, making it easy to issue these tokens for small purchases.

Loyalty Points Combined with Data

The MobileBridge Momentum pitch goes beyond just loyalty points and into the data plays as well. Customer data is valuable to businesses, or at least the businesses that understand marketing. It all comes down to knowing and understanding your customers, and targeting them appropriately. That’s why Facebook and Google combined are worth a staggering $1 Trillion today.

Of course, if you’re a small business, then you cannot really compete with the biggest advertising companies of our lifetime. Instead, you would want to get your customers to first reveal more data about themselves, and then be able to track them through the sales lifecycle.

The MobileBridge platform that exists today is already geared towards marketing automation for advertisers and marketers. This, integrated with loyalty points on the blockchain, can help small businesses learn more about their customers and in the process capture more value.

Interested to learn more? Check out the MobileBridge website. If you’re interested in the token sale, make sure you read the whitepaper as well. Remember token sale investing is extremely risky and you can lose all your money. Never invest more than you’re willing to lose.

Photo Credit: Jeepers media

Quadrant: Decentralized Data Mapping on the Blockchain

Data is the lifeline of the modern economy. This will only continue to get more important in the future as more firms depend on data. Even more, whole economies are built on data, and these economies are bound to drastically increase their presence in the world. Whole new industries like AI and Machine Learning depend on vast troves of data.

As data becomes more important to the modern economy, the gap between the firms that have their own data and those that don’t is widening. Giants like Google and Facebook with vast data collection prowess are getting ahead of the smaller players. How do you make the playing field even?

Enter Quadrant

Quadrant Making Data More Open

The quadrant protocol is attempting to make data more open, which has many advantages for the smaller players. They can rely on other people’s data sets, other people’s expertise in evaluating the data, and build¬† their products. This is especially useful for smaller businesses that don’t have the capabilities of Google and Facebook in data collection.

In addition to making data more accessible to smaller players, the Quadrant Protocol is designed to keep data accuracy in mind. This is generally a big issue facing AI and machine learning models, since they are trained on data. If this is training data is inaccurate, the model will produce garbage or incorrect data in its prediction and ultimately prove useless for the real world. Quadrant makes the data vendors in the ecosystem accountable and more honest.

Finally, quadrant is designed to reward the data providers themselves. This is only fair considering they are the ones that have made all these algorithms possible in the first place.

How Quadrant Works

At its core, the Quadrant Protocol is a way to bring the owners of data and the consumers of data into a single platform for interaction.

There are of course many elements that need to come together before this happens. Take trust, for instance. Quadrant is perfectly suited to solve this problem, considering the use of blockchain as a public ledger of trust and provenance. In fact, that’s one of the core uses of a blockchain, as The Economist explained in their Blockchain – the Trust Machine feature.

Quadrant makes it such that any stakeholder in the whole chain can find the provenance of the data that they use. They can vet the sources first-hand instead of relying on third-party unscrupulous data vendors.

With the help of Constellations, the Quadrant Protocol makes it easy to bring disparate data sources into one place, while still maintaining trust as envisioned above. Among the many advantages of this, Constellations are intended to level the playing field so that everyone has access to the data that they need when they need it with the end goal to inspire a new generation of data scientists to discover revolutionary insights and form new businesses. Let the smart people building by themselves have a chance to get paid for their data products.

And that brings us to the final part of this protocol – remuneration. Using their own token, the protocol lets the stakeholders get paid for their efforts at each stage, thus incentivizing parties to be honest and also build useful products for the entire ecosystem, right from data collection to end products.

To learn more, check out the Quadrant website and Quadrant Whitepaper. There is also an ongoing token sale for QUAD tokens that you can check out. Remember that all ICOs are risky and you must do your due-diligence before investing any money. Remember you can lose everything and never invest more than you’re able and willing to lose.

Photo Credit: Eric Fisher