Category Archives: Introducing Altcoins

Cardstack: Using Crypto to Pay Open Source Developers


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 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.


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

Helbiz: A Marketplace for Renting Vehicles

Helbiz Vehicle Rental

Helbiz is a new cryptocurrency project that is squarely aimed at the peer to peer rental market for vehicles. Why so specific? Well, mostly because the industry has some very specific needs and requirements, which the team believes they can solve with the help of smart contracts and their own native crypto-token.

There are many specific needs for this industry. Take the regular car rental market, for example. In the developed world, one of the big issues with making this market peer to peer is the issue of insurance. In short, who’s responsible for the insurance and how do you ensure adequate support? What kinds of insurance policies should the buyer have and what kind of insurance policies should the renter have? If the car is wrecked, whose insurance policy should cover that event?

Then there is the issue of registration itself. How do you ensure the proper registration, and how do you ensure that the owner is able to list their vehicle? How do the renters find potential cars to rent that also fall within their parameters?

Then there’s the issue of reputation. How do you kick bad actors off your network? How do you ensure a fair and transparent system in place that everyone can see an audit?

All these and more can be solved with the help of Helbiz’s project. It is built on Ethereum and utilizes the underlying technology for smart contracts. It also uses its own HBZ token, an ERC20 token built on top of Ethereum.

The HBZ token is used to solve for any economic incentivization problems in a decentralized network, to ensure good behavior from the participants. This is crucial since this is a peer to peer marketplace which means there is no central hotline number to call when things may go wrong, so you want to make sure your network is robust enough to sustain against any potential attack vectors. And as Bitcoin has shown us, economic incentives work wonders when you’re trying to secure a network from bad actors.

Beyond cars, however, the Helbiz network has its fingers in a whole swathe of vehicles, from bicycles to boats, from bikes to airplanes! That’s a huge variety already, which will help the project grow and attract new customers in the ongoing months. Once there is enough variety, it can become the go-to place for rentals for many people in different geographies. It is all about the network effects, after all.

Helbiz itself is creating a completely open and decentralized network. It will use Ethereum’s smart contracts to create listing contracts that can then be ‘bought’ by renters. You don’t even need to be present to rent your car – the keys, ignition, etc. are all automated through their technology platform that verifies a transaction on the Ethereum network first before giving the renters access to the vehicle. All this presents some interesting use cases for both renters and owners who want to rent their vehicle out.

There is also the optional data play with Helbiz – if the renter wants to share data as they use the vehicle, they can get paid in HBZ tokens. This data can then be sold to third-parties like insurance companies that value this type of data. Therefore the network already has more than one way to monetize their system, and hopefully even more new and novel ways in the future.

If you’re interested to learn more, check out the Helbiz website and the Helbiz whitepaper.

Photo Credit: junaidrao

RED Token: An Existing Energy Company Goes Blockchain

We previously wrote about the idea of using an energy backed crypto token.  It is one of those ideas that take the idea of crypto beyond just the ‘virtual’ world and into the ‘real’ world. In addition, the idea of an energy backed crypto is appealing. It provides the advantages of a blockchain – an open, incorruptible ledger, combined with a token that’s backed by something that is useful in the real world – and what’s more useful to our civilization than energy?

Today, we discuss another such project – RED (Restart Energy Democracy).  The RED team is also putting out an energy backed token, called the MWAT token. The company is more interesting though – they have an existing client base of over 3,000 businesses and 25,000 residences, and has an existing business in the EU. This greatly helps when it comes to trying to get others to adopt your ideas and product, since there’s a ready customer base already.

Also, the team is knowledgeable about the industry and therefore presumably have a higher probability of success.

We’ve heard some people trying to compare WePower and RED. We don’t take sides on projects we discuss. However, there’s this misconception that if there is one project in the space, then there’s no need for another one. This is completely false. The energy industry is a multi-trillion dollar industry. Innovation in this industry will drive the next trillions of dollars of value created. There is space for multiple projects.

In fact, the more projects in a niche, the better, since they are bound to take different approaches and methodologies, and after the dust settles, the market determines which approaches worked and which didn’t. We like to see such real world experiments run, especially in the crypto world. This reduces the learning curve for the next projects.

We are, of course, seeing an increasing trend towards crypto projects that combine multiple technology trends. In a similar vein, the RED project combines green energy with crypto.

So about the RED Platform itself, it can be used for a number of purposes. Firstly, the simple buying and selling of electricity in a peer to peer marketplace is enabled. This means if you have solar panels installed on your roof, you can sell this energy to your neighbor – no need to go the grid at all. A small community-driven power project can become feasible all of a sudden.

Also, energy-backed tokens are interesting in that they help finance a green energy project better than regular money. How? By promising to pay back not in USD or EUR but in KWh instead. This is more predictable and isn’t dependent on the market vagaries. This provides a higher incentive for entrepreneurs to start new projects and get them funded.

RED has the MWAT token backed by energy, with a maximum of up to 1 MWh, although it starts at 0.1 KWh.

Interested in participating in their token sale? Make sure you read the whitepaper.

Photo Credit: marian rodriguez

DAV: A Crypto Token for the Autonomous Vehicle Industry

DAV Autonomous Vehicles Crypto

We’ve often said in the past that to understand the true power of crypto, you need to look not just at ‘blockchain technology’ in isolation, but combine it with all the other technology trends that are going on in the world today. In effect, the power of crypto will not be unleashed in isolation, but in a combination of different technologies that will shape the next 100 years of humanity. In that regard, projects working to combine blockchains with other technologies – AI, AR/VR, IoT, autonomous mobility, etc. excite us, since what we need is a lot of experiments run in these areas, so we know which ones work in the real world, which ones fail, and the lessons learned from those failures to build a better system tomorrow.

To that end, we want to introduce our readers to a new crypto project that is aimed at combining two of these powerful future trends – crypto and autonomous vehicles. The project is called DAV – Decentralized Autonomous Vehicles. It is a crypto token for the economy that will be enabled by the future technological progress of the autonomous vehicles. What the DAV Token itself does is to provide access to the DAV Platform. What the DAV Platform does is to allow access to a range of services in the autonomous vehicles space.

The DAV Platform is a platform that lets various autonomous vehicles transact with one another. This will be a crucial feature of the autonomous cars revolution, because it can help automate a lot of the features of decision making traditionally reserved for humans instead of machines, especially when it involves payment.

Using the DAV Platform, for example, you can access a peer to peer market of mobility. The way this works is like any other peer to peer marketplace – one party rents out the resource, an autonomous car in this case, and the other party borrows the same resource. The platform brings both the parties together on one platform to enable the transaction. The payment for this service all happens in the DAV Token.

The DAV Platform is a multi-sided marketplace, however, since there are also service providers in the equation. The service providers help keep the autonomous cars in working condition and good shape, and are paid for their service by the owners.

One nice feature of the whole platform is that it is an open marketplace and not limited to large corporations that are active in the autonomous vehicle space. From the very beginning, the company is building out the platform keeping the person to person market in mind, not just a person borrowing something from a large corporation. This therefore eliminates the need for a middle man during the transaction, which can become a rent-seeking entity with hideous profits at the expense of the people/users/community. Here, the value created by the network is shared within the network, not with the shareholders of a large corporation.

The DAV Platform also solves other issues that the autonomous vehicle industry will need to solve, such as identity and discoverability. These are crucial, since the ‘objects’ are in the real world and not in the virtual world. Identity is a crucial element when fungibility isn’t desirable or required, which is unlike many other digital goods.

Remember that the platform is decentralized, so everything from discovering resources to communication amongst the parties is facilitated in a decentralized manner.

If you like such long term bets, check out DAV’s whitepaper for more information on the project.

Photo Credit: Photo Steel

CoinMetro: A Crypto Project for the Crypto Investors

CoinMetro is a native crypto project, born out of the space, taking cues from the much larger forex market while still retaining its crypto roots. What’s the demand for such a product? Simple – crypto investors deserve better than what the current infrastructure provides, and a comprehensive platform that provides all the needs of crypto investors and traders can see a fast and accelerating update in the community.

How CoinMetro Stands Out

CoinMetro is trying to do a lot of things – sometimes, it feels as if they are trying to do too many things at the same time. However, unless it is able to provide the most comprehensive set of features to the existing crypto community, they are unlikely to see uptake rapidly. This is because competition is stiff, even if the competition may have a lot of issues.

So how does CoinMetro aim to compete? Well, essentially by doing everything that a crypto trader and investor could hope for, and much more.

For example, CoinMetro has an exchange, but there are many other crypto exchanges out there as well. However, it allows for fiat currency trading from the get go. Then, it allows margin trading for the crypto traders. This is a big feature that not many other crypto exchanges provide, that professional traders require to come on to the platform. Even better though – the margin is extended by long-term holders of crypto, not the platform itself.

What this does is to create a marketplace for traders and long-term holders where the long-term holders get to earn ‘interest’ on their crypto savings, while the short-term traders get to leverage their positions and amplify their P&L potential from crypto trading. It’s a win-win really for both these communities.

For regular users, CoinMetro also has a debit card that can be used for everyday goods and services – just like you’d use a regular debit card. Behind the scenes, the crypto assets are sold off and converted to local currencies when you make a purchase. A handy tool built into the platform.

For more advanced crypto traders, CoinMetro has several features unique to the platform. This is because the team understands that if it can get the heavy professional traders onto the platform, it helps with liquidity and forms a positive feedback look attracting many more traders and investors.

So what does CoinMetro provide these pro-traders? Well, for starters, the platform provides superior analytics inspired from the Forex markets that has seen a steady professionalization over the years.

Then, on the functionality side, it offers fairly complex order types. This is useful for the pro-traders – while regular traders and small-time investors likely just use market and limit orders, there are many professional trading strategies that cannot be supported without the use of fairly complex order types that need to be executed reliably.

Finally, for investors and asset managers, the CoinMetro platform allows for the creation and trading of groups of crypto – similar to an ETF style crypto. What this means is, if an investor new to crypto wants exposure to crypto as an asset class, all they need to do is buy one of these ETF-like funds on the platform and they can automatically get exposure to many underlying crypto-assets as opposed to just Bitcoin or other more popular ones.

The crypto market is huge, and there is enough room for a serious competitor that provides a one-stop shop for all of investors’ needs. Can this be CoinMetro?

Check out CoinMetro’s website for more information.

Photo Credit: Asian Development Bank