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Bob The Magic Custodian
Summary: Everyone knows that when you give your assets to someone else, they always keep them safe. If this is true for individuals, it is certainly true for businesses. Custodians always tell the truth and manage funds properly. They won't have any interest in taking the assets as an exchange operator would. Auditors tell the truth and can't be misled. That's because organizations that are regulated are incapable of lying and don't make mistakes. First, some background. Here is a summary of how custodians make us more secure: Previously, we might give Alice our crypto assets to hold. There were risks:
Alice might take the assets and disappear.
Alice might spend the assets and pretend that she still has them (fractional model).
Alice might store the assets insecurely and they'll get stolen.
Alice might give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force.
Alice might lose access to the assets.
But "no worries", Alice has a custodian named Bob. Bob is dressed in a nice suit. He knows some politicians. And he drives a Porsche. "So you have nothing to worry about!". And look at all the benefits we get:
Alice can't take the assets and disappear (unless she asks Bob or never gives them to Bob).
Alice can't spend the assets and pretend that she still has them. (Unless she didn't give them to Bob or asks him for them.)
Alice can't store the assets insecurely so they get stolen. (After all - she doesn't have any control over the withdrawal process from any of Bob's systems, right?)
Alice can't give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force. (Bob will stop her, right Bob?)
Alice can't lose access to the funds. (She'll always be present, sane, and remember all secrets, right?)
See - all problems are solved! All we have to worry about now is:
Bob might take the assets and disappear.
Bob might spend the assets and pretend that he still has them (fractional model).
Bob might store the assets insecurely and they'll get stolen.
Bob might give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force.
Bob might lose access to the assets.
It's pretty simple. Before we had to trust Alice. Now we only have to trust Alice, Bob, and all the ways in which they communicate. Just think of how much more secure we are! "On top of that", Bob assures us, "we're using a special wallet structure". Bob shows Alice a diagram. "We've broken the balance up and store it in lots of smaller wallets. That way", he assures her, "a thief can't take it all at once". And he points to a historic case where a large sum was taken "because it was stored in a single wallet... how stupid". "Very early on, we used to have all the crypto in one wallet", he said, "and then one Christmas a hacker came and took it all. We call him the Grinch. Now we individually wrap each crypto and stick it under a binary search tree. The Grinch has never been back since." "As well", Bob continues, "even if someone were to get in, we've got insurance. It covers all thefts and even coercion, collusion, and misplaced keys - only subject to the policy terms and conditions." And with that, he pulls out a phone-book sized contract and slams it on the desk with a thud. "Yep", he continues, "we're paying top dollar for one of the best policies in the country!" "Can I read it?' Alice asks. "Sure," Bob says, "just as soon as our legal team is done with it. They're almost through the first chapter." He pauses, then continues. "And can you believe that sales guy Mike? He has the same year Porsche as me. I mean, what are the odds?" "Do you use multi-sig?", Alice asks. "Absolutely!" Bob replies. "All our engineers are fully trained in multi-sig. Whenever we want to set up a new wallet, we generate 2 separate keys in an air-gapped process and store them in this proprietary system here. Look, it even requires the biometric signature from one of our team members to initiate any withdrawal." He demonstrates by pressing his thumb into the display. "We use a third-party cloud validation API to match the thumbprint and authorize each withdrawal. The keys are also backed up daily to an off-site third-party." "Wow that's really impressive," Alice says, "but what if we need access for a withdrawal outside of office hours?" "Well that's no issue", Bob says, "just send us an email, call, or text message and we always have someone on staff to help out. Just another part of our strong commitment to all our customers!" "What about Proof of Reserve?", Alice asks. "Of course", Bob replies, "though rather than publish any blockchain addresses or signed transaction, for privacy we just do a SHA256 refactoring of the inverse hash modulus for each UTXO nonce and combine the smart contract coefficient consensus in our hyperledger lightning node. But it's really simple to use." He pushes a button and a large green checkmark appears on a screen. "See - the algorithm ran through and reserves are proven." "Wow", Alice says, "you really know your stuff! And that is easy to use! What about fiat balances?" "Yeah, we have an auditor too", Bob replies, "Been using him for a long time so we have quite a strong relationship going! We have special books we give him every year and he's very efficient! Checks the fiat, crypto, and everything all at once!" "We used to have a nice offline multi-sig setup we've been using without issue for the past 5 years, but I think we'll move all our funds over to your facility," Alice says. "Awesome", Bob replies, "Thanks so much! This is perfect timing too - my Porsche got a dent on it this morning. We have the paperwork right over here." "Great!", Alice replies. And with that, Alice gets out her pen and Bob gets the contract. "Don't worry", he says, "you can take your crypto-assets back anytime you like - just subject to our cancellation policy. Our annual management fees are also super low and we don't adjust them often". How many holes have to exist for your funds to get stolen? Just one. Why are we taking a powerful offline multi-sig setup, widely used globally in hundreds of different/lacking regulatory environments with 0 breaches to date, and circumventing it by a demonstrably weak third party layer? And paying a great expense to do so? If you go through the list of breaches in the past 2 years to highly credible organizations, you go through the list of major corporate frauds (only the ones we know about), you go through the list of all the times platforms have lost funds, you go through the list of times and ways that people have lost their crypto from identity theft, hot wallet exploits, extortion, etc... and then you go through this custodian with a fine-tooth comb and truly believe they have value to add far beyond what you could, sticking your funds in a wallet (or set of wallets) they control exclusively is the absolute worst possible way to take advantage of that security. The best way to add security for crypto-assets is to make a stronger multi-sig. With one custodian, what you are doing is giving them your cryptocurrency and hoping they're honest, competent, and flawlessly secure. It's no different than storing it on a really secure exchange. Maybe the insurance will cover you. Didn't work for Bitpay in 2015. Didn't work for Yapizon in 2017. Insurance has never paid a claim in the entire history of cryptocurrency. But maybe you'll get lucky. Maybe your exact scenario will buck the trend and be what they're willing to cover. After the large deductible and hopefully without a long and expensive court battle. And you want to advertise this increase in risk, the lapse of judgement, an accident waiting to happen, as though it's some kind of benefit to customers ("Free institutional-grade storage for your digital assets.")? And then some people are writing to the OSC that custodians should be mandatory for all funds on every exchange platform? That this somehow will make Canadians as a whole more secure or better protected compared with standard air-gapped multi-sig? On what planet? Most of the problems in Canada stemmed from one thing - a lack of transparency. If Canadians had known what a joke Quadriga was - it wouldn't have grown to lose $400m from hard-working Canadians from coast to coast to coast. And Gerald Cotten would be in jail, not wherever he is now (at best, rotting peacefully). EZ-BTC and mister Dave Smilie would have been a tiny little scam to his friends, not a multi-million dollar fraud. Einstein would have got their act together or been shut down BEFORE losing millions and millions more in people's funds generously donated to criminals. MapleChange wouldn't have even been a thing. And maybe we'd know a little more about CoinTradeNewNote - like how much was lost in there. Almost all of the major losses with cryptocurrency exchanges involve deception with unbacked funds. So it's great to see transparency reports from BitBuy and ShakePay where someone independently verified the backing. The only thing we don't have is:
ANY CERTAINTY BALANCES WEREN'T EXCLUDED. Quadriga's largest account was $70m. 80% of funds are in 20% of accounts (Pareto principle). All it takes is excluding a few really large accounts - and nobody's the wiser. A fractional platform can easily pass any audit this way.
ANY VISIBILITY WHATSOEVER INTO THE CUSTODIANS. BitBuy put out their report before moving all the funds to their custodian and ShakePay apparently can't even tell us who the custodian is. That's pretty important considering that basically all of the funds are now stored there.
ANY IDEA ABOUT THE OTHER EXCHANGES. In order for this to be effective, it has to be the norm. It needs to be "unusual" not to know. If obscurity is the norm, then it's super easy for people like Gerald Cotten and Dave Smilie to blend right in.
It's not complicated to validate cryptocurrency assets. They need to exist, they need to be spendable, and they need to cover the total balances. There are plenty of credible people and firms across the country that have the capacity to reasonably perform this validation. Having more frequent checks by different, independent, parties who publish transparent reports is far more valuable than an annual check by a single "more credible/official" party who does the exact same basic checks and may or may not publish anything. Here's an example set of requirements that could be mandated:
First report within 1 month of launching, another within 3 months, and further reports at minimum every 6 months thereafter.
No auditor can be repeated within a 12 month period.
All reports must be public, identifying the auditor and the full methodology used.
All auditors must be independent of the firm being audited with no conflict of interest.
Reports must include the percentage of each asset backed, and how it's backed.
The auditor publishes a hash list, which lists a hash of each customer's information and balances that were included. Hash is one-way encryption so privacy is fully preserved. Every customer can use this to have 100% confidence they were included.
If we want more extensive requirements on audits, these should scale upward based on the total assets at risk on the platform, and whether the platform has loaned their assets out.
There are ways to structure audits such that neither crypto assets nor customer information are ever put at risk, and both can still be properly validated and publicly verifiable. There are also ways to structure audits such that they are completely reasonable for small platforms and don't inhibit innovation in any way. By making the process as reasonable as possible, we can completely eliminate any reason/excuse that an honest platform would have for not being audited. That is arguable far more important than any incremental improvement we might get from mandating "the best of the best" accountants. Right now we have nothing mandated and tons of Canadians using offshore exchanges with no oversight whatsoever. Transparency does not prove crypto assets are safe. CoinTradeNewNote, Flexcoin ($600k), and Canadian Bitcoins ($100k) are examples where crypto-assets were breached from platforms in Canada. All of them were online wallets and used no multi-sig as far as any records show. This is consistent with what we see globally - air-gapped multi-sig wallets have an impeccable record, while other schemes tend to suffer breach after breach. We don't actually know how much CoinTrader lost because there was no visibility. Rather than publishing details of what happened, the co-founder of CoinTrader silently moved on to found another platform - the "most trusted way to buy and sell crypto" - a site that has no information whatsoever (that I could find) on the storage practices and a FAQ advising that “[t]rading cryptocurrency is completely safe” and that having your own wallet is “entirely up to you! You can certainly keep cryptocurrency, or fiat, or both, on the app.” Doesn't sound like much was learned here, which is really sad to see. It's not that complicated or unreasonable to set up a proper hardware wallet. Multi-sig can be learned in a single course. Something the equivalent complexity of a driver's license test could prevent all the cold storage exploits we've seen to date - even globally. Platform operators have a key advantage in detecting and preventing fraud - they know their customers far better than any custodian ever would. The best job that custodians can do is to find high integrity individuals and train them to form even better wallet signatories. Rather than mandating that all platforms expose themselves to arbitrary third party risks, regulations should center around ensuring that all signatories are background-checked, properly trained, and using proper procedures. We also need to make sure that signatories are empowered with rights and responsibilities to reject and report fraud. They need to know that they can safely challenge and delay a transaction - even if it turns out they made a mistake. We need to have an environment where mistakes are brought to the surface and dealt with. Not one where firms and people feel the need to hide what happened. In addition to a knowledge-based test, an auditor can privately interview each signatory to make sure they're not in coercive situations, and we should make sure they can freely and anonymously report any issues without threat of retaliation. A proper multi-sig has each signature held by a separate person and is governed by policies and mutual decisions instead of a hierarchy. It includes at least one redundant signature. For best results, 3of4, 3of5, 3of6, 4of5, 4of6, 4of7, 5of6, or 5of7. History has demonstrated over and over again the risk of hot wallets even to highly credible organizations. Nonetheless, many platforms have hot wallets for convenience. While such losses are generally compensated by platforms without issue (for example Poloniex, Bitstamp, Bitfinex, Gatecoin, Coincheck, Bithumb, Zaif, CoinBene, Binance, Bitrue, Bitpoint, Upbit, VinDAX, and now KuCoin), the public tends to focus more on cases that didn't end well. Regardless of what systems are employed, there is always some level of risk. For that reason, most members of the public would prefer to see third party insurance. Rather than trying to convince third party profit-seekers to provide comprehensive insurance and then relying on an expensive and slow legal system to enforce against whatever legal loopholes they manage to find each and every time something goes wrong, insurance could be run through multiple exchange operators and regulators, with the shared interest of having a reputable industry, keeping costs down, and taking care of Canadians. For example, a 4 of 7 multi-sig insurance fund held between 5 independent exchange operators and 2 regulatory bodies. All Canadian exchanges could pay premiums at a set rate based on their needed coverage, with a higher price paid for hot wallet coverage (anything not an air-gapped multi-sig cold wallet). Such a model would be much cheaper to manage, offer better coverage, and be much more reliable to payout when needed. The kind of coverage you could have under this model is unheard of. You could even create something like the CDIC to protect Canadians who get their trading accounts hacked if they can sufficiently prove the loss is legitimate. In cases of fraud, gross negligence, or insolvency, the fund can be used to pay affected users directly (utilizing the last transparent balance report in the worst case), something which private insurance would never touch. While it's recommended to have official policies for coverage, a model where members vote would fully cover edge cases. (Could be similar to the Supreme Court where justices vote based on case law.) Such a model could fully protect all Canadians across all platforms. You can have a fiat coverage governed by legal agreements, and crypto-asset coverage governed by both multi-sig and legal agreements. It could be practical, affordable, and inclusive. Now, we are at a crossroads. We can happily give up our freedom, our innovation, and our money. We can pay hefty expenses to auditors, lawyers, and regulators year after year (and make no mistake - this cost will grow to many millions or even billions as the industry grows - and it will be borne by all Canadians on every platform because platforms are not going to eat up these costs at a loss). We can make it nearly impossible for any new platform to enter the marketplace, forcing Canadians to use the same stagnant platforms year after year. We can centralize and consolidate the entire industry into 2 or 3 big players and have everyone else fail (possibly to heavy losses of users of those platforms). And when a flawed security model doesn't work and gets breached, we can make it even more complicated with even more people in suits making big money doing the job that blockchain was supposed to do in the first place. We can build a system which is so intertwined and dependent on big government, traditional finance, and central bankers that it's future depends entirely on that of the fiat system, of fractional banking, and of government bail-outs. If we choose this path, as history has shown us over and over again, we can not go back, save for revolution. Our children and grandchildren will still be paying the consequences of what we decided today. Or, we can find solutions that work. We can maintain an open and innovative environment while making the adjustments we need to make to fully protect Canadian investors and cryptocurrency users, giving easy and affordable access to cryptocurrency for all Canadians on the platform of their choice, and creating an environment in which entrepreneurs and problem solvers can bring those solutions forward easily. None of the above precludes innovation in any way, or adds any unreasonable cost - and these three policies would demonstrably eliminate or resolve all 109 historic cases as studied here - that's every single case researched so far going back to 2011. It includes every loss that was studied so far not just in Canada but globally as well. Unfortunately, finding answers is the least challenging part. Far more challenging is to get platform operators and regulators to agree on anything. My last post got no response whatsoever, and while the OSC has told me they're happy for industry feedback, I believe my opinion alone is fairly meaningless. This takes the whole community working together to solve. So please let me know your thoughts. Please take the time to upvote and share this with people. Please - let's get this solved and not leave it up to other people to do. Facts/background/sources (skip if you like):
The inspiration for the paragraph about splitting wallets was an actual quote from a Canadian company providing custodial services in response to the OSC consultation paper: "We believe that it will be in the in best interests of investors to prohibit pooled crypto assets or ‘floats’. Most Platforms pool assets, citing reasons of practicality and expense. The recent hack of the world’s largest Platform – Binance – demonstrates the vulnerability of participants’ assets when such concessions are made. In this instance, the Platform’s entire hot wallet of Bitcoins, worth over $40 million, was stolen, facilitated in part by the pooling of client crypto assets." "the maintenance of participants (and Platform) crypto assets across multiple wallets distributes the related risk and responsibility of security - reducing the amount of insurance coverage required and making insurance coverage more readily obtainable". For the record, their reply also said nothing whatsoever about multi-sig or offline storage.
In addition to the fact that the $40m hack represented only one "hot wallet" of Binance, and they actually had the vast majority of assets in other wallets (including mostly cold wallets), multiple real cases have clearly demonstrated that risk is still present with multiple wallets. Bitfinex, VinDAX, Bithumb, Altsbit, BitPoint, Cryptopia, and just recently KuCoin all had multiple wallets breached all at the same time, and may represent a significantly larger impact on customers than the Binance breach which was fully covered by Binance. To represent that simply having multiple separate wallets under the same security scheme is a comprehensive way to reduce risk is just not true.
Private insurance has historically never covered a single loss in the cryptocurrency space (at least, not one that I was able to find), and there are notable cases where massive losses were not covered by insurance. Bitpay in 2015 and Yapizon in 2017 both had insurance policies that didn't pay out during the breach, even after a lengthly court process. The same insurance that ShakePay is presently using (and announced to much fanfare) was describe by their CEO himself as covering “physical theft of the media where the private keys are held,” which is something that has never historically happened. As was said with regard to the same policy in 2018 - “I don’t find it surprising that Lloyd’s is in this space,” said Johnson, adding that to his mind the challenge for everybody is figuring out how to structure these policies so that they are actually protective. “You can create an insurance policy that protects no one – you know there are so many caveats to the policy that it’s not super protective.”
The most profitable policy for a private insurance company is one with the most expensive premiums that they never have to pay a claim on. They have no inherent incentive to take care of people who lost funds. It's "cheaper" to take the reputational hit and fight the claim in court. The more money at stake, the more the insurance provider is incentivized to avoid payout. They're not going to insure the assets unless they have reasonable certainty to make a profit by doing so, and they're not going to pay out a massive sum unless it's legally forced. Private insurance is always structured to be maximally profitable to the insurance provider.
The circumvention of multi-sig was a key factor in the massive Bitfinex hack of over $60m of bitcoin, which today still sits being slowly used and is worth over $3b. While Bitfinex used a qualified custodian Bitgo, which was and still is active and one of the industry leaders of custodians, and they set up 2 of 3 multi-sig wallets, the entire system was routed through Bitfinex, such that Bitfinex customers could initiate the withdrawals in a "hot" fashion. This feature was also a hit with the hacker. The multi-sig was fully circumvented.
Bitpay in 2015 was another example of a breach that stole 5,000 bitcoins. This happened not through the exploit of any system in Bitpay, but because the CEO of a company they worked with got their computer hacked and the hackers were able to request multiple bitcoin purchases, which Bitpay honoured because they came from the customer's computer legitimately. Impersonation is a very common tactic used by fraudsters, and methods get more extreme all the time.
A notable case in Canada was the Canadian Bitcoins exploit. Funds were stored on a server in a Rogers Data Center, and the attendee was successfully convinced to reboot the server "in safe mode" with a simple phone call, thus bypassing the extensive security and enabling the theft.
The very nature of custodians circumvents multi-sig. This is because custodians are not just having to secure the assets against some sort of physical breach but against any form of social engineering, modification of orders, fraudulent withdrawal attempts, etc... If the security practices of signatories in a multi-sig arrangement are such that the breach risk of one signatory is 1 in 100, the requirement of 3 independent signatures makes the risk of theft 1 in 1,000,000. Since hackers tend to exploit the weakest link, a comparable custodian has to make the entry and exit points of their platform 10,000 times more secure than one of those signatories to provide equivalent protection. And if the signatories beef up their security by only 10x, the risk is now 1 in 1,000,000,000. The custodian has to be 1,000,000 times more secure. The larger and more complex a system is, the more potential vulnerabilities exist in it, and the fewer people can understand how the system works when performing upgrades. Even if a system is completely secure today, one has to also consider how that system might evolve over time or work with different members.
By contrast, offline multi-signature solutions have an extremely solid record, and in the entire history of cryptocurrency exchange incidents which I've studied (listed here), there has only been one incident (796 exchange in 2015) involving an offline multi-signature wallet. It happened because the customer's bitcoin address was modified by hackers, and the amount that was stolen ($230k) was immediately covered by the exchange operators. Basically, the platform operators were tricked into sending a legitimate withdrawal request to the wrong address because hackers exploited their platform to change that address. Such an issue would not be prevented in any way by the use of a custodian, as that custodian has no oversight whatsoever to the exchange platform. It's practical for all exchange operators to test large withdrawal transactions as a general policy, regardless of what model is used, and general best practice is to diagnose and fix such an exploit as soon as it occurs.
False promises on the backing of funds played a huge role in the downfall of Quadriga, and it's been exposed over and over again (MyCoin, PlusToken, Bitsane, Bitmarket, EZBTC, IDAX). Even today, customers have extremely limited certainty on whether their funds in exchanges are actually being backed or how they're being backed. While this issue is not unique to cryptocurrency exchanges, the complexity of the technology and the lack of any regulation or standards makes problems more widespread, and there is no "central bank" to come to the rescue as in the 2008 financial crisis or during the great depression when "9,000 banks failed".
In addition to fraudulent operations, the industry is full of cases where operators have suffered breaches and not reported them. Most recently, Einstein was the largest case in Canada, where ongoing breaches and fraud were perpetrated against the platform for multiple years and nobody found out until the platform collapsed completely. While fraud and breaches suck to deal with, they suck even more when not dealt with. Lack of visibility played a role in the largest downfalls of Mt. Gox, Cryptsy, and Bitgrail. In some cases, platforms are alleged to have suffered a hack and keep operating without admitting it at all, such as CoinBene.
It surprises some to learn that a cryptographic solution has already existed since 2013, and gained widespread support in 2014 after Mt. Gox. Proof of Reserves is a full cryptographic proof that allows any customer using an exchange to have complete certainty that their crypto-assets are fully backed by the platform in real-time. This is accomplished by proving that assets exist on the blockchain, are spendable, and fully cover customer deposits. It does not prove safety of assets or backing of fiat assets.
If we didn't care about privacy at all, a platform could publish their wallet addresses, sign a partial transaction, and put the full list of customer information and balances out publicly. Customers can each check that they are on the list, that the balances are accurate, that the total adds up, and that it's backed and spendable on the blockchain. Platforms who exclude any customer take a risk because that customer can easily check and see they were excluded. So together with all customers checking, this forms a full proof of backing of all crypto assets.
However, obviously customers care about their private information being published. Therefore, a hash of the information can be provided instead. Hash is one-way encryption. The hash allows the customer to validate inclusion (by hashing their own known information), while anyone looking at the list of hashes cannot determine the private information of any other user. All other parts of the scheme remain fully intact. A model like this is in use on the exchange CoinFloor in the UK.
A Merkle tree can provide even greater privacy. Instead of a list of balances, the balances are arranged into a binary tree. A customer starts from their node, and works their way to the top of the tree. For example, they know they have 5 BTC, they plus 1 other customer hold 7 BTC, they plus 2-3 other customers hold 17 BTC, etc... until they reach the root where all the BTC are represented. Thus, there is no way to find the balances of other individual customers aside from one unidentified customer in this case.
Proposals such as this had the backing of leaders in the community including Nic Carter, Greg Maxwell, and Zak Wilcox. Substantial and significant effort started back in 2013, with massive popularity in 2014. But what became of that effort? Very little. Exchange operators continue to refuse to give visibility. Despite the fact this information can often be obtained through trivial blockchain analysis, no Canadian platform has ever provided any wallet addresses publicly. As described by the CEO of Newton "For us to implement some kind of realtime Proof of Reserves solution, which I'm not opposed to, it would have to ... Preserve our users' privacy, as well as our own. Some kind of zero-knowledge proof". Kraken describes here in more detail why they haven't implemented such a scheme. According to professor Eli Ben-Sasson, when he spoke with exchanges, none were interested in implementing Proof of Reserves.
And yet, Kraken's places their reasoning on a page called "Proof of Reserves". More recently, both BitBuy and ShakePay have released reports titled "Proof of Reserves and Security Audit". Both reports contain disclaimers against being audits. Both reports trust the customer list provided by the platform, leaving the open possibility that multiple large accounts could have been excluded from the process. Proof of Reserves is a blockchain validation where customers see the wallets on the blockchain. The report from Kraken is 5 years old, but they leave it described as though it was just done a few weeks ago. And look at what they expect customers to do for validation. When firms represent something being "Proof of Reserve" when it's not, this is like a farmer growing fruit with pesticides and selling it in a farmers market as organic produce - except that these are people's hard-earned life savings at risk here. Platforms are misrepresenting the level of visibility in place and deceiving the public by their misuse of this term. They haven't proven anything.
Fraud isn't a problem that is unique to cryptocurrency. Fraud happens all the time. Enron, WorldCom, Nortel, Bear Stearns, Wells Fargo, Moser Baer, Wirecard, Bre-X, and Nicola are just some of the cases where frauds became large enough to become a big deal (and there are so many countless others). These all happened on 100% reversible assets despite regulations being in place. In many of these cases, the problems happened due to the over-complexity of the financial instruments. For example, Enron had "complex financial statements [which] were confusing to shareholders and analysts", creating "off-balance-sheet vehicles, complex financing structures, and deals so bewildering that few people could understand them". In cryptocurrency, we are often combining complex financial products with complex technologies and verification processes. We are naïve if we think problems like this won't happen. It is awkward and uncomfortable for many people to admit that they don't know how something works. If we want "money of the people" to work, the solutions have to be simple enough that "the people" can understand them, not so confusing that financial professionals and technology experts struggle to use or understand them.
For those who question the extent to which an organization can fool their way into a security consultancy role, HB Gary should be a great example to look at. Prior to trying to out anonymous, HB Gary was being actively hired by multiple US government agencies and others in the private sector (with glowing testimonials). The published articles and hosted professional security conferences. One should also look at this list of data breaches from the past 2 years. Many of them are large corporations, government entities, and technology companies. These are the ones we know about. Undoubtedly, there are many more that we do not know about. If HB Gary hadn't been "outted" by anonymous, would we have known they were insecure? If the same breach had happened outside of the public spotlight, would it even have been reported? Or would HB Gary have just deleted the Twitter posts, brought their site back up, done a couple patches, and kept on operating as though nothing had happened?
In the case of Quadriga, the facts are clear. Despite past experience with platforms such as MapleChange in Canada and others around the world, no guidance or even the most basic of a framework was put in place by regulators. By not clarifying any sort of legal framework, regulators enabled a situation where a platform could be run by former criminal Mike Dhanini/Omar Patryn, and where funds could be held fully unchecked by one person. At the same time, the lack of regulation deterred legitimate entities from running competing platforms and Quadriga was granted a money services business license for multiple years of operation, which gave the firm the appearance of legitimacy. Regulators did little to protect Canadians despite Quadriga failing to file taxes from 2016 onward. The entire administrative team had resigned and this was public knowledge. Many people had suspicions of what was going on, including Ryan Mueller, who forwarded complaints to the authorities. These were ignored, giving Gerald Cotten the opportunity to escape without justice.
There are multiple issues with the SOC II model including the prohibitive cost (you have to find a third party accounting firm and the prices are not even listed publicly on any sites), the requirement of operating for a year (impossible for new platforms), and lack of any public visibility (SOC II are private reports that aren't shared outside the people in suits).
Securities frameworks are expensive. Sarbanes-Oxley is estimated to cost $5.1 million USD/yr for the average Fortune 500 company in the United States. Since "Fortune 500" represents the top 500 companies, that means well over $2.55 billion USD (~$3.4 billion CAD) is going to people in suits. Isn't the problem of trust and verification the exact problem that the blockchain is supposed to solve?
To use Quadriga as justification for why custodians or SOC II or other advanced schemes are needed for platforms is rather silly, when any framework or visibility at all, or even the most basic of storage policies, would have prevented the whole thing. It's just an embarrassment.
We are now seeing regulators take strong action. CoinSquare in Canada with multi-million dollar fines. BitMex from the US, criminal charges and arrests. OkEx, with full disregard of withdrawals and no communication. Who's next?
We have a unique window today where we can solve these problems, and not permanently destroy innovation with unreasonable expectations, but we need to act quickly. This is a unique historic time that will never come again.
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It positions 82th greatest exchange on earth as showed by 24-hour volume on Coinmarketcap. While Gemini Bitcoin and Gemini Ethereum trading volumes are high, the exchange is endeavoring with all undertakings to fight with those stages offering a predominant piece of the cryptographic types of cash, for instance, Binance. Reinforced Currencies Gemini offers crypto to fiat portions and a BTC/ETH grandstand, which makes it a quick contender to any similarity to Coinbase, Bitstamp, and Kraken. At present, it is one of the most respected and ensure about exchanges open. This is in light of the fact that it has more features to help secure customers against developers. Also, it is one exchange for the CBOE Bitcoin future settlement. Gemini Mobile application is directly available, which is amazingly basic and versatile to use. How to use Gemini? https://preview.redd.it/qnowl19fwaj41.jpg?width=720&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=1819eeac9d4c44681c0afe616d387b60a78f7c8e 1) Go to the official site and snap the "Register" tab on the upper right corner. Enter your name, email address, and mystery word for your own record. While affirming your email address, it is critical to : Affirm your email address and enter both your region and phone number, by then you can set up 2-Factor Authentication (2FA) which will be an additional layer of security to your record. Incorporate your monetary equalization. Starting at now, Gemini recognizes simply bank moves and wires, as a methodology for putting away holds. To check your record, move your organization ID proof. This will help you with executing and trade US Dollars. Moreover, it will help Gemini with as per the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and Anti Money Laundering (AML) rules. The affirmation time may run from a couple to a couple of days. Subsequent to completing of all the above strategies, you can use your record for financing. gemini crypto exchange 2) Deposit Currency In the Menu, click Transfer Funds, by then find a good pace Bank Transfer and Exchange. Enter the whole you have to store here. Moreover, note $500 consistently is the most extraordinary most extreme for Bank moves. 3) Trading Bitcoin and Ethereum As you store by methods for bank move, they are quickly available for trading. you can purchase by encountering the menu and picking your supported trading pair. For example, for Bitcoin BTC/USD similarly as Ethereum ETH/USD. In the wake of embeddings the expense and sum it will process your buy demand. There is another choice to trade by methods for the business community which has exhibit orders gave by various customers. After the fulfillment of your purchase, your record will be acknowledged with your Ethereum just as Bitcoin purchases. You can sell your computerized cash on the Gemini crypto exchange. Regardless of the way that you can't make a withdrawal until your bank move has been completely arranged. gemini sponsor organization 4)Trading Limits By and by, For most trade strategies, there are no limitations on trades. In any case, Automated Clearing House (ACH) moves have the greatest store most remote purpose of $500 day and $15,000 consistently for singular record holders. Associations have a state of restriction for making ACH stores of $10,000 consistently or $300,000 consistently. Gemini Marketplace There is a Gemini business focus that runs 24*7. Here, you can have indistinguishable number of solicitations from you wish to have, with a variety of trading choices. These include: Market Orders – With the present best open worth, the solicitations here starting dealing with quickly against resting orders. Purpose of repression Orders – The sum is filled at or better than a given expense. The sum which isn't dispatched lays on the solicitation book diligently until it is filled or dropped. Brief or Cancel (IOC) Limit Orders – The sum is filled at or better than a given expense. The sum which isn't filled rapidly is dropped and doesn't lay on the perpetual solicitation book. Maker or Cancel (MOC) Limit Orders – The sum lays on the solicitation book continually at a foreordained expense. Furthermore, the entire solicitation is dropped if there is any sum that can be filled immediately. All solicitations made on this stage are totally sponsored and fill in as a full hold exchange. In any case, there is no edge trading Gemini. Despite that, reliably the customer's record equality should have more balance than the exceptional excitement on demand books. Also, all open solicitations decline your available leveling until they are fulfilled or dropped Gemini Fees In the event that there ought to be an event of moves, Gemini crypto exchange has a low cost technique and stage customers can store Bitcoin, Ether, at freed from charges for both bank and wire moves. In any case, banks will charge a cost for the customers to wire money to their Gemini account. Withdrawals on the stage are free and all customers will have 30 free withdrawals for each calendar month. Any withdrawals more than this total will pull in costs comparable to the mining charges payable on either sort out. The costs are around 0.001 BTC or 100,000 Satoshi per trade on the Bitcoin Network and 0 GWei or 0 ETH per trade on the Ethereum Network. MakeTaker charges 0.25% is the trading costs for both sellers(makers) and buyers(takers). If it shows up at certain trade volumes, charges will be reduced. The maker charge is 0% for 30-day trading volumes that outperform 5,000 Bitcoin or 100,000 Ether. For a comparable trading entirety, the taker run after will bubble to 0.10%. Gemini uses dynamic maker and taker charge or reimbursement timetable, and sellers can get reimbursement on liquidity-creation trades. The particular entireties depend upon net trading volumes and the buy and sell extent over a multi day time allotment. The data are adjusted as expected and more information on charges can be found here. https://preview.redd.it/exgucn9gwaj41.png?width=225&format=png&auto=webp&s=34fc66d46df40444abcc9ac61308106b2e3f57c0 charges Concerning purchases, the base purchase whole for Bitcoin is 0.00001 BTC, or 1000 satoshis, for Ether, the base sum is 0 .001 ETH Security-at-Gemini Bitcoin Gemini Reviews, is a strong exchange that has a better than average reputation in everyone. The exchange goes about as a way into the universe of cryptographic cash trading. This may be in light of the fact that various customers first quit concerning purchasing Bitcoin and Ethereum. In comprehension to Coinbase, Gemini has a near space. Wherein it allows its customers to make trade clearly to and from their records. Gemini is a not too bad choice, for people looking to securely trade either Bitcoin or Ethereum. The exchange is a potential decision for new competitors to the market similarly as logically settled sellers who like to make trades by methods for their monetary adjusts. Latest News Dec 17, 2019: Well realized cash related pro association State Street picked Gemini exchange for the new propelled asset pilot adventure. Nov 19, 2019: Gemini exchange wanders into NFT's and acquired Nifty Gateway Solution, a phase to buy Non-Fungible Tokens. Nov 14, 2019: The exchange added Stop-Limit to the solicitations being executed on the stage. Sep 11, 2019: Gemini dispatches Gemini Custody with 18 cryptographic types of cash Sep 5, 2019: Gemini Clearing™, a totally electronic clearing and settlement answer for off-exchange exhibited by the stage Aud 27, 2019: Gemini Joins the Silvergate Exchange Network Aug 22, 2019: Gemini loosens up and reaches to Australia April 15, 2019: Gemini wallet support Segwit Gemini Bitcoin Exchange Review Rundown: How to Buy Bitcoins by means of Gemini Register a record at Gemini and check email code sent to you. Set up two-factor validation (2FA). Give checked ID as a major aspect of the confirmation procedure. Include ledger. Store cash by clicking "Move Funds", "Store into Exchange" and afterward picking the sort of bank move. Snap "Purchase" catch and round out the buy structure to get BTC. Is Gemini Safe? Gemini is extremely worried about its clients' wellbeing, in this manner it utilize three arrangements of security... MORE Gemini Comparison with Other Exchanget To exchange bitcoins you have to initially peruse and think about various BTC trades... MORE In Which Countries Is Gemini Available? You can arrange bitcoins through Gemini nearly in any nation, yet discover where you can't... MORE Guide: Buying BTCs at Gemini It is anything but difficult to purchase bitcoins on Gemini trade, knowing the essential standards and prerequisites... MORE FAQ Discover to what extent the exchange takes, how to pull back BTCs and what strategies for... MORE Practically equivalent to Bitcoin Exchanges We have arranged a rundown of trades, notwithstanding Gemini, that can assist you with requesting bitcoins... MORE With developing worth and system, bitcoin is ready to turn into the main online resource in the realm of ventures. Gemini bitcoin trade survey This article is worried about one of the most well known trades with regards to BTC exchange, Gemini. What Is Gemini? Gemini is one of the realized digital money trades that offer an assortment of exchange apparatuses for speculators that have some involvement with the business. The organization that claims the stage is enrolled as LLC in New York State, USA, offering USD to BTC and USD to ETH exchange trade. Purchase BTC at Gemini Propelled in 2015, Gemini offers two unmistakable commercial centers, them being: customary trade administrations; bitcoin barters. Upon its appearance, the stage offered its administrations in the US just, bit by bit including different nations all the while. The organization is possessed by the Winklevoss twins, who guarantee that they are have about 1% of the complete BTC volume. Winklevoss siblings are Gemini's proprietors Gemini Security With regards to the wellbeing of your assets, Gemini applies three arrangements of safety efforts that should be referenced. To start with, the stage applies advanced money safety efforts by offering hot and cold stockpiling wallets, where cold wallets have multisig capacities to forestall hacking endeavors at your equalizations. Gemini security The subsequent measure is identified with the exchange where the entirety of the exchanges at Gemini are led through pre-financed accounts, implying that merchants and purchasers can't post orders on the off chance that they don't have adequate BTC or fiat monetary forms in their parities. Finally, the site security comprises of two-factor verification (2FA) and HTTP encryption of all data in regards to merchants and stage's exchanges from outsiders. Accessible Payment Methods As of now, Gemini acknowledges stores communicated distinctly in ACH (for US dealers) and wire moves (for every other person) communicated in USD. Credit or check cards, money stores, PayPal and numerous different alternatives are wanted to be remembered for the future however are not accessible at the present time. Buy bitcoin by means of wire move You ought to buy in to the Gemini news source since the organization will promote the new store strategy through that channel of correspondence. Shouldn't something be said about Fees? While saving or pulling back your assets communicated in fiat or computerized monetary forms, dealers would find that the administrations are done totally free. Then again, Gemini charges exchange expenses are charged dependent on a month to month net exchange volume. Taker charges can extend from 0.15% to 0.25% while creator expenses from 0% to 0.25%. Expenses at the trade Does Gemini Have Limits? Cryptographic money and wire stores and withdrawals don't have any constraints forced on dealers, implying that in the event that you utilize the said administrations, you can buy, sell and pull back bitcoins with no deterrents. Singular American financial specialists utilizing ACH move, then again, have $500 every day and $15.000 month to month while institutional individuals have $10.000 day by day and $300.000 month to month store limits. No restrictions for purchasing bitcoin Gemini Comparison When thinking about exchanging at any trade, you should hope to analyze the administrations, expenses and impediments with other comparative stages. In this manner, we have assembled an examination investigation where we benchmarked Gemini against two other well known decisions with regards to BTC buy: Kraken and Coinbase. Gemini versus Kraken Kraken, much the same as Gemini, acknowledges bank moves just, with the significant contrast being that Kraken permits 5 fiat cash stores. Notwithstanding bitcoin, there are 14 more altcoins that you can exchange with at Kraken while the two trades force check on their customers as they are both controlled organizations. Gemini versus Kraken Kraken is fundamentally the same as Gemini as far as expenses, as creatotaker charges go somewhere in the range of 0% and 0.26%. Bank moves do accompany little expenses at Kraken while Gemini acknowledges stores for nothing. In conclusion, while Gemini exchanges two or three nations in particular, Kraken is all around accessible. Coinbase versus Gemini Coinbase is viewed as one of the biggest bitcoin suppliers on the planet, offering its administrations in 32 nations, USA notwithstanding. The installment strategies at Coinbase are PayPal, bank moves and credit/check cards, two more than Gemini. Request bitcoins by means of Coinbase trade Confirmation is an absolute necessity have at Coinbase, much like in Gemini while expenses are a ton lower at Gemini, as you pay between 1.49% to 3.49% from exchange's an incentive at Coinbase. The two trades offer BTC vaults and wallet administrations while Coinbase additionally exchanges with Litecoin which are inaccessible at Gemini. Gemini BTC Exchange in Different Countries Gemini's administrations are accessible in a bunch of nations around the globe, them being the US (5 states not upheld), Canada, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore and the United Kingdom. The five US expresses that are not bolstered are Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Oregon and Wisconsin. Gemini trade in various nations Is It Legal? Gemini is an American LLC that adheres to New York Banking Law guidelines, actualizing BSA (Bank Secrecy Act) and AML (Anti-Money Laundry Compliance Program) arrangements, implying that customary reviews of the BSA/AML programs are being executed. Moreover, the firm requires all merchants to have reserves pre-saved before the exchange. Bitcoin Gemini Price, is legitimate Another significant factor of the stage's lawfulness is the way that since its beginning, Gemini has promptly accessible money related report dating 7 years back. Does Gemini Support Its Customers? Concerning the client service, Gemini has a thorough FAQ page where a large portion of the exchanging questions have been replied. Notwithstanding the FAQ, you can likewise top off a shape and present a solicitation to the Gemini group with respect to any issue that you may look on the stage. Gemini client service Because of the regular upkeep of the site's administrations, Gemini has a "Status" page where financial specialists can see which administrations and API instruments are working right now and which are definitely not. Manual for Buy Bitcoins from Gemini When you have gotten the cash at your Gemini account, click "Purchase" button on the dashboard page. Buy page for bitcoins at Gemini Presently, round out the structure on the right, giving request type, volume or estimation of BTC you wish to get and click "Purchase" to get bitcoins in your record immediately. Try to check the BTC cost at the upper left piece of the "Purchase" page to ensure it has not changed at the time you have begun the buy procedure. Enrollment It is totally allowed to enroll a record at Gemini bitcoin trade and the procedure begins once you click "Register" button at the upper right corner of the site. Give your complete name, email address and secret key in subsequent stage and snap "Make My Account". Make account at Gemini You will get an email code which you should duplicate glue into the Gemini's check page. Contribution of enactment code on Bitcoin Gemini Registration The accompanying advances will open up for you to finish, in this way you have to arrangement your 2FA security apparatus, include a financial balance and give checked ID to finish the enrollment methodology. To what extent Should I Wait for Verification? Check stage can take between an hour and a day, contingent upon various enlistment applications Gemini has right now you have begun the procedure. You ought to set up every single essential report before you start and arm yourself with persistence as a stage would set aside effort to process your data. Confirmation process at Gemini Would you be able to Get Bitcoins Without Verification? At the enlistment page, you are required to check your personality and frog your financial balance. When you have presented the records, you can't enter the stage's exchange page until the help affirms your subtleties. In this way, it is unimaginable to expect to buy supply of bitcoins without confirmation. Obligatory confirmation before purchasing BTCs at Gemini How to Add Money to Account? When you have finished the enrollment and confirmation of your record, click button "Move Funds", situated in the top segment of your dashboard page. In following stage, click "Store Into Exchange" and pick either USD or Wire alternative, contingent upon what financial balance you have included at enrollment stage. Add assets to Gemini account You can likewise store bitcoins in your Gemini wallet too. Store BTCs in the Gemini wallet At the last phase of wire move subsidizing process, you have to give bank's wiring data, for example, your record number and other significant data that can be found by clicking "Bank Settings". Give bank's wiring data When data has been given, basically click "Store" button which will show up at the base of the page. Secure Your Account Keep the entirety of your record and wallet passwords out of the programmer's compass by continually evolving them. Monitor the new secret key by keeping in touch with them down on a bit of paper as to not overlook them meanwhile. Record with 2FA on trade You as of now have 2FA from the enlistment stage and don't give your private data to some other dealer on the stage. FAQ To what extent Does It Take to Make Transaction? It takes 4 to 5 days to store assets in your Gemini account while exchanges themselves are done following you the exchange started. Diverse request types have distinctive length, contingent upon what dealer wishes to accomplish. Sitting tight for exchanges on the trade Would i be able to Buy Bitcoin with PayPal at Gemini? Now, brokers can't utilize PayPal as store technique at Gemini. You ought to buy in to the trade's news channel as to get warnings if the strategy opens up to store alternative later on. Does Gemini Have a BTC Wallet? The stage offers two kinds of wallet administrations, one being "hot" wallet and another being vault stockpiling. Both are based just, with the principle contrast being that vault stockpiling gives extra security keys that are utilized while moving bitcoins all through the wallet. Along these lines, vault administrations are esteemed as more secure than the standard BTC wallet. Gemini wallet Pulling back Your Bitcoins from Gemini At the dashboard page, click "Move Funds" and afterward "Pull back From Exchange" to begin the procedure. Pick bitcoins to continue towards the withdrawal structure. Determine the measure of BTC you with to escape the trade and give your wallet address. Snap "Survey Withdrawal" and check the data. When you are fulfilled, click "Affirm" to end the procedure. Your coins will show up inside 24 hours to your ideal area. Pull back BTC from Gemini Instructions to Order BTC with Credit/Debit Card at Gemini As with PayPal, it is preposterous to expect to buy bitcoins with the assistance of credit or charge cards at Gemini, since the choice isn't accessible right now. Stay aware of trade's news and declarations as the CC/DC choice may open up later on. Gemini Mobile App Portable stages are yet to be created by Gemini, implying that exchange is accessible on perusing stage as it were. Watch out for the declaration, as the organization may make the push towards telephone exchange not so distant future. Purchase BTC just on Gemini perusing stage Gemini Analogs Aside from Gemini, we at BitcoinBestBuy have checked on numerous different stages that can assist you with getting bitcoins effectively and securely. They all change regarding local accessibility, expenses, buy strategies and confirmation necessities, so make a point to check different articles also. Get BTC at digital money stages Coinbase Exchange Review Being one of the biggest BTC exchanging stages the world, we made a survey of their charges, store choices and other important data with respect to the trade. We have likewise given bit by bit controls on the best way to buy and pull back assets and coins from Coinbase. Coinbase survey Full Review Coinbase Bitcoin Gemini Exchange Find out About Kraken Kraken is another trade that offers bitcoins through bank moves and its administrations are all inclusive accessible. We made a survey of Kraken's advantages and disadvantages, giving our customers a diagram of the trade as far as expenses the organization charges, check prerequisites and buy procedures of the stage. https://www.cryptoerapro.com/bitcoin-gemini/ http://www.cryptoerapro.com/ https://twitter.com/cryptoerapro https://www.instagram.com/cryptoerapro/ https://www.pinterest.co.uk/cryptoerapro/ https://www.facebook.com/cryptoerapro https://www.facebook.com/pg/bitcoingeminibot https://www.facebook.com/events/282310836080639/
An in-depth interview with Coss founder, Rune Evensen:
Hey guys! About two weeks ago I decided to book tickets to Singapore to pay a visit to the COSS team. I was and still am heavily invested in COSS and I thought it was my duty to push the do your own research idea to the maximum and actually go there and meet them! So, today was my first day in Singapore and it's been very busy! I spent the morning preparing my first official meeting with Rune and I headed to their offices around 2pm. They are a little bit outside of the city center, about 10 minutes drive. They look quite nice and leave a lot of room for growth, which is good cause a lot of people are coming in house in the next few weeks. The meeting went for about 2 hours and we talked about almost everything regarding COSS. Rune has been incredibly welcoming so far, I landed yesterday night and as soon as he knew I was in town he invited me to have dinner with him, so today was our second meeting, first official one. After the meeting, I headed back to my hotel caught a bit of sleep and started redacting the interview. Tomorrow I have a meeting with their head of compliance and will do the same thing, only much shorter. I'll also start vloging my adventures in Singapore :) Here is the 1st part of the interview: *Hi Rune, thanks for having me, how did you come up with the COSS idea? * Rune Evensen: Originally, back in 2013, I to develop a one stop solution for social media. I was looking at the current platforms and realized twitter is undersharing, facebook is oversharing and LinkedIn is for professionals. You needed a different account for everything so I started building a solution. Unfortunately it was all 3d rendered and way too heavy. It was designed like a house with different rooms. I spent two years on that project and we were supposed to build-in something like facebook credits as an internal currency, but not a cryptocurrency because at that time I did not know about them. But when I showed my idea to people, especially here in Singapore, more and more of them asked me why don’t you make it as a cryptocurrency instead of credits? Then I started to look into it, that was in 2015 but I found it quite complicated with a lot of hurdles especially for a beginner. So instead of working on a one-stop solution for social medias I figured I should build one for cryptos, because everybody talks about mass-adoption, but it is mostly IT guys, nerds and traders who are into cryptos. It is still way too complicated for people to get into it. So I started to plan my one stop solutions, many long nights of work. To get a better understanding I signed up for a FinTech course at MIT. During one of the weekly sessions there, we were supposed to submit a business idea that we had and could implement into blockchain. That was the first time I publicly presented my idea. We 1200 people in this course, and the average score for the assignment was 25, my project got the best rating, 100. They described it as a great business idea with real potential to take COSS to the masses. That was quite an endorsement! I needed this endorsement to actually build this idea. I had a consultancy company in Singapore with some staff. First I brought some of them in the project, then I met Dan from Romania and some months later we had the first drafts of the white paper. In November 2016 we moved to our offices in Singapore, in April 2017 we went live with the beta. Until then we were 100% self-funded, and that was the time all the ICOs were popping up. At first we started looking at institutional investors, but they wanted too many shares of the company for money that would last us a year at best. I did not want sell a majority stake of my company in which I already put so much time, efforts and money. The next natural step was to do an ICO and this is why we created our COSS token and came-up with the idea of the fee split allocation. We had to come-up with a clear use case. We then built our advisory board, we picked our advisory board according to our road map and not specifically for the ICO. For example Anson Zeall who is the president of ACCESS, Singapore’s Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Industry Association. So we chose them so that they could help us to complete our roadmap. We did every possible mistake during the ICO because we had no experience in it, none of us had done it before. We did not realize the power of community at the time, we did not even have Telegram at the time! You need to start building a community months before the ICO, you need thousands of people on Telegram and people being active in the community. This is the key to a successful ICO. Nowadays we are actually asked for advices by companies doing their own ICOs because we did everything ourselves during ours. We did not do proper marketing too, we thought we could push it through social medias, that was a big mistake. Nowadays, you need at least half a million to start your ICO for marketing budgets etc… Some companies even offer funding to ICOs! I remember we were approached at the time by TokenMarket and they offered us to take care of everything in our ICO. For 4 months of their work we were asked between 30 and 40k USD. Nowadays they do not work for less than a million. It’s been a bumpy road, that’s why we call it the RollerCOSSter! We raised 3.2M during our ICO. How much did you estimate you needed? Rune Evensen: We were very ambitious because we made an audit through ICO ranker and at that time they scored us the highest they had ever done. So we thought we would reach our 50M hardcap really easily. We were asked by the community what we were going to do with the unsold tokens, we did a community vote and the result was that everybody that joined the token sale would get 10x more token than expected. We decided to stay on Ether with the ICO money as opposed to go to FIAT. We only convert as we go and we still have two third of ETH we raised, which at today’s market price are worth 6M USD. For those who believe we have not hired more staff yet because of financial reasons, that is absolutely not true. We are very careful with the way we use our money, yes we have a big office but we decided to rent it a little bit outside of Singapore’s center cause it is a lot cheaper. We got a big office because we know we want to hire a lot. We are 7 persons working at the office at the moment and 4 more will arrive in February. Three persons for compliance and one developer, Jay. That was actually my follow-up question, how many people are on the current staff? Rune Evensen: We have a very decentralized team. We currently have 7 people in house, then we have the core dev team in Romania, which is Dan’s (one of COSS shareholders) team. It’s a 20 people team but only two of them are working a 100% on COSS. Then we have the UI team in Amsterdam, with 5 people working on COSS. We have our content manager also in Europe, we have our graphic designer in Indonesia, we have our internal security expert and our lawyer (also a shareholder) here in Singapore. So we have a big team, but people need to understand the difference between team and staff. For instance we have Gary here in house for support but he’s managing a four people team that we outsource. They all came here for training but do not work here. We are also planning to add 6 or 7 more in house developers. Mong (COSS’s 1st in house dev) has determined what kind of team she needs and she has free hands to hire and build the team. Just to clarify, if she finds someone that would fit the team, she is allowed to hire him/her immediately? Rune Evensen: Of course, we still need to discuss it together. She cannot sign the contract all alone. But yes, she is free to hire! We want it to be as quick as possible. The very good ones often have a job, then we need to make good offers to convince them and once they accept they need to give notice to their former employers so that takes a bit more time. If there are some devs out there that can start immediately and fit our needs, then we will bring them in immediately. Is it fair to say that Mong is COSS’ CTO? Rune Evensen: Yes, her contract does not say CTO but she is definitely acting CTO. It’s the same for me, I am leading the company but I do not have the CEO title. What does your typical day look like? Rune Evensen: I’m normally at the office between 8 and 9, sometimes I try to hit the gym before coming there, not too much lately. At the office I spend a lot of my time acting as support role on Slack and Telegram, I help everybody that DMs me with issues. Maybe I made myself too available because now I am getting a lot of them everyday. Of course we have meetups with compliance team and the devs. Mong has taken over a lot of communications with the dev teams oversea. She is coordinating and leading the Amsterdam and Romania team. Before she came on board that was also part of my job. I also took part on the KYC process, which is now the compliance team’s responsibility. I’m also the one negotiating when a coin wants to be listed. The priority is to get off your support role? Rune Evensen: Yes, as soon as support is up to speed, and can handle all the issues as fast I as I want to I will get off this role and go back to only leading the company. You announced FIAT will be introduced by the end of Q1 can you give us more details? Rune Evensen: We will introduce FIAT through credit card for Bitcoin and ETH. We will add more FIAT pairs as soon as the engine is up and running. I do not have an exact date for the engine. We are in the process of designing the architecture we need and want to use. Once that is done I will be able to give a more precise timeline. This should happen by the end of the week or next week. One question that comes up a lot, why don’t you buy the same engine as Binance? Rune Evensen: We want to build something from scratch for a few reasons. One reason is security, we want to have full control of the code. But mostly we want the engine to fit our business model, that requires different solutions than a standard exchange. So even if we bought Binance’s engine we would need to build a lot on top. We will speed up as much as possible the release of the engine, as long as that does not jeopardize security or quality. There are now over 80 devs on the Trello board, what is their role? Rune Evensen: They are giving us feedbacks and come up with solutions. For instance what can be done to increase the speed of the site. Some of them are working for Microsoft, Facebook and other Fortune 500 companies. Of course they are already very busy with their job and they are only helping us because they have an interest in COSS. Some of them reached out and sent their CVs to us. That’s something I always rejected before because we did not have in house devs. I did not want to get more outsourced devs and put them under an already outsourced dev team. Now that we have a leading team in Singapore, I’m passing those CVs, of highly qualified people looking to contribute more, to Mong. Some of them will become COSS team members. That’s really the true power of community that I talked about in my Medium update. Yes we have the FUD, from time to time, but to see the activity we have on Telegram and Slack, I really believe we have an amazing community. I know you guys also have a huge french community. France is actually our second biggest market behind USA. Let’s talk about security, it’s always an important concern from users. How do you improve and assess the exchange’s security? Rune Evensen: We are doing regular penetration testing, you can never say that something is 100% hack proof. My personal recommendation is to leave on exchanges only what you intend to trade and send the rest to your hardware wallet. You can get your fee split allocation on Ledger very easily. We do our due diligence and have never been breached, but some users have through their emails. I’m also amazed by how many people have not yet set-up 2FA. We might make it mandatory. You mentioned earlier that you still have 6M worth of ETH from your ICO. How much volume does the exchange need to cover your costs? Rune Evensen: Right now, when we have 2 to 3M daily volume, we are paying weekly to COSS holders between 70 and 100k. That means we get the same amount for ourselves and that’s almost enough to cover our expenses. If we reach 10M daily volume we should be very healthy financially.
Howdy, folks! ♫Welcome back to the show that never ends!♫ I've decided it's high time I did a Coin-a-Year on Raiblocks. This is a special feature I do to recycle old material revisit past coins I've covered of special note a year or more later. I originally posted my Coin-a-Day feature about Raiblocks on this subreddit March 7th, 2016; it didn't get much attention then, but I have a strange feeling people might be slightly interested to see the difference now. Below is the original report. I'll strike out what is wrong now, and add [bracketed notes] for updated commentary. I'm no expert on the current state of Rai by any means. I'd honestly thought the coin was dead later in 2016; just didn't check back into it. And now here we are. Bias note: I got a significant bit of Rai from the original faucet. I have sold a fraction of that this year but still have a lot of it. I'm biased both by holding it and from selling it. Hello, y'all! I saw a comment pointing to this coin as being designed for free transactions, which is a core interest to me, so I decided to look into it a little bit and do a write-up. Enjoy! Summary Today's coin is Raiblocks (RAIXRB), which are designed to support free transactions and no block rewards. The coins will be initially distributed by a CAPTCHA controlled faucet with an annual halving rate. [Faucet now closed.] • Initial creation: October 15th, 2015  • Coin supply:4.8 x 1012 rai current supply in circulation; 3.4 x 1014 rai maximum supply  [XRB is the new standard base unit which was Mrai before (and still I suppose). Also, supply is distributed. So we now have about 133 million XRB as the outstanding and max supply.] • All-time high:Not yet traded as far as I know.  [About $37.5 or 0.0028 per CMC max so far, about two days ago] • Current price:Not yet traded as far as I know.  [Depending on the exchange and moment, somewhere around $30-35 currently or about 0.002-0.0022 BTC] • Current market cap:Not yet traded as far as I know.  [Somewhere around $4 billion] • Block rate (average): Unlimited  • Transaction rate: ?  [I'm too lazy to find this right now. Maybe someone will chime in with it in the comments.] • Transaction limit (currently): None  • Transaction cost: Free  • Rich list:?  [https://raiblocks.net/page/frontiers.php - Top 100 own ~63%] • Exchanges:None yet.  [Bitgrail and Mercatox have been the two main. Kucoin just added it and Binance has it in its voting which is ending shortly.] • Processing method: Proof-of-stake  [Above refers I believe to dispute resolution (double spend). There's also a minor PoW for send/receive.] • Distribution method: Faucet  • Community:New-born  [Fairly strong and growing. Good memes. Slightly drunk on euphoria currently.] • Code/development: Active development at https://github.com/clemahieu/raiblocks • Leadership: Colin LeMahieu • Innovation or special feature: Protocol designed without a limited throughput or block rate, as well as not supporting block rewards nor transaction fees. Description Raiblocks is, as far as I know, the first cryptocurrency designed from its start to not support any block reward or transaction fee. In addition, it has no block size or rate limit. Further, all coins will be initially distributed through a captcha-controlled faucet on the main site. It's a bold attempt, going against the conventional wisdom of what is possible. Edit: I should mention a couple things. First, there is a PoW attached to transactions as an anti-spam defense. This PoW can be attached by the recipient rather than the sender as well, which means that large automated sends could be done without the PoW if needed and the recipient could attach that. Also, the natural question coming from how all the rest of the cryptocurrencies work is "how does it work without an incentive to run a node?" The idea presented in the whitepaper is basically that operating a cryptocurrency has a lot of expenses, and most of them are paid "out-of-band", so why not have funding nodes be that way too? It leaves it open to whatever other incentives there may be, of which the most obvious are first: that there are only full nodes so far, so if one wants to use the coin, then one is going to run a node. More long-term, even after SPV, presumably large holders might choose to operate one regardless. Someday, if merchants accept it, they would presumably run one. And enthusiasts. It sounds very tenuous, and this is why this is such an audacious attempt in my opinion. After six months running, the number I heard for the blockchain size was about 20 MB, which is insanely small, but the coin has gotten so little attention that I suspect there hasn't been significant load yet. I'm very curious to see how it will perform under load. I think its design actually makes it more efficient when there aren't transactions, because nothing is added to the blockchain (actually termed block lattice here, but using blockchain generically to refer to any cryptocurrency's core data), unlike in the conventional / Bitcoin model where blocks are being generated whether or not there are transactions in them. Of course that doesn't matter much when there are tons of transactions, as on Bitcoin currently, but, for instance, in Nyancoin, we accumulate tons of empty blocks all the time, where Raiblocks would just wait for more transactions. However, again, under load perhaps it could start growing "too quickly" by some metric, or eventually reach the point where it starts losing users because of the requirements of running a full node. I think it will be very interesting to see how this turns out in practice. [And it's certainly going to be interesting to see how it goes. So far, it's still working. Which is better than I'd hoped or expected.] Community The coin is relatively young but even for a young coin it's not a huge community. But there is clear discussion and interest both on BCT and on their Google Group. It looks like a healthy start to me. [As per my comment above: Fairly strong and growing. Good memes. Slightly drunk on euphoria currently. Seems well-intentioned generally: looking to try to have some caution mixed in and putting up a bug bounty and that sort of thing. Still has a little bit of some of the common negative characteristics in crypto communities but this may be due to growth from outside communities overwhelming the local culture temporarily more than anything.] Footnotes  https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=1208830.0 - Initial announcement, didn't get much attention apparently. Also, this thread mentions a built-in block-explorer with a rich list. I don't have a working client to access this at the moment but that's pretty cool.  There are 2128 total units, and a rai is 1024 total units, so total supply should be about 3.4 x 1014.https://github.com/clemahieu/raiblocks/wiki/Distribution-and-Mining Distribution has been going since about November 2015, so I would expect about one-third of the initial 50% to be distributed. The block explorer seems pretty primitive; it just takes a hash. No overall stats. So I'll use that one-third of the initial 50% estimate. So about 5.7 x 1013. Note by comparison that the faucet gives 108 coins at a time currently. Actually, this comment puts the amount of rai in circulation as 4,763,023...that can't be right, that many Mrai I think? Yeah, 1030 stated as divider there. So 4.8 x 1012 rai in current circulation.  https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/raiblocks/PSbX_onjLfU - This topic discusses it a bit. Also comments from meor in this thread However, I have also paid 100 NYAN for 100 Mrai. This is basically a test transaction, but 1 NYAN for 1 Mrai (106 rai) would imply a marketcap of 4.8 million NYAN, or about 0.34 BTC in current circulation. I had initially thought this was higher before recalculating with the actual amount circulating as per ; may also have screwed up the math initially or here.  https://docs.google.com/document/d/13s6BKzRq9oD5Me55JBRzR7BdvjJ44QKqPu2lf-JsAlU/edit - whitepaper ; each transaction could be thought of as its own block if I am grokking this right. It goes through as fast as the network can handle it. There is no fixed interval or period.  I believe https://raiblocks.net/#/block-explorer is the only block explorer so far and it only supports entering a hash, so I don't have a way to determine the transactions in the last 24 hours.  https://docs.google.com/document/d/13s6BKzRq9oD5Me55JBRzR7BdvjJ44QKqPu2lf-JsAlU/edit - The protocol is designed without a limit if I understand correctly.  https://docs.google.com/document/d/13s6BKzRq9oD5Me55JBRzR7BdvjJ44QKqPu2lf-JsAlU/edit - The protocol is designed without transaction fees or block rewards.  As per , the block explorer does not support this. There area couple addresses known to be the initial generation which will go into the faucet, but beyond that I don't know the distribution. There's supposed to be a rich list available in the built-in explorer, but I was unable to get a client running on my out-of-date systems (32-bit Windows (64-bit Windows client only), and CentOS 6 (glibc too old)).  In general all full nodes are maintaining their own copies of all the information, but as I understand it the dispute resolution is based on voting by ownership of rai.  All rai will be distributed through https://raiblocks.net/#/start as per https://github.com/clemahieu/raiblocks/wiki/Distribution-and-Mining  There's been some discussion on BCT as well as on the google group: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/raiblocks ; there's a new subreddit /raiblocks, but it's still set on private for some reason at the time of writing this footnote (just wrote a comment to meor noting this). Further reading • https://raiblocks.net - Main site • https://github.com/clemahieu/raiblocks - Repo with documentation on the github wiki. • https://docs.google.com/document/d/13s6BKzRq9oD5Me55JBRzR7BdvjJ44QKqPu2lf-JsAlU/edit - whitepaper • https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/raiblocks - Google group • https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=1219264.0 - Block lattice discussion Disclosure, disclaimer Disclosure: I have made an agreement to purchase 100 Mrai and have paid 100 NYAN for this. I have no other financial interest in Raiblocks currently, but I do intend to get a client ultimately (my current OSes are incompatible from being too old (one is 32-bit Windows; other CentOS 6 with too old glibc)) and get free coins from the faucet and play with this more. Disclaimer: This writing is intended for edutainmental purposes only. Any accurate information conveyed is purely incidental. No warranty of fitness for any fit purposes is implied. This column known to the State of California to cause cancer. Cave canum. Carpe carp. Caveat lector. Up next: Tell me what coin to write about next by sponsoring an article! A sponsored article would likely have more discussion than I did here, and less than my Coin-a-Year report on Nyancoin. Edit: /RaiBlocks is now public! New subreddit, but hopefully it'll build up a bit over time. :-) Edit 2: Added more than the stub discussion discussion section I'd initially done. Okay, so those last links are generally outdated and old information and I stopped commenting through all that. Go to https://raiblocks.net/ and/or /raiblocks if you want to learn more. :-) Again, I'm heavily biased from having gotten incredibly fortunate from this price rise and having been fortunate enough to have been introduced to the coin early on. I'm not giving trading advice. The market is crazy but I have no idea if it'll go up, down, sideways, or loop-de-loop. Have fun and stay safe!
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
InvestInBlockchain - Cryptocurrencies in the Top 100 With Working Products
📷 Bitcoin is the cryptocurrency that started it all back in 2009, after the global financial crisis and subsequent bailouts of banks left many people disenfranchised with fiat currency and outdated, insecure financial infrastructure. Today, Bitcoin is being used for peer-to-peer payments across the globe. More than that, though, it is leading the way towards a future in which financial technology is trustless, secure, resilient, and censorship resistant. Without Bitcoin, this list would not exist.
📷 The platform that brought smart contracts to the blockchain, spurring a minor revolution in the cryptocurrency ecosystem. Before Ethereum, Bitcoin and its transaction-oriented design was the central focus of most blockchain projects. After Ethereum, teams saw the value of decentralized apps (dapps) and smart contracts, and shifted their focus to compensate. Vitalik Buterin’s Ethereum whitepaper was released in late 2013. The project itself was announced January 2014, with a crowdsale the following July. The system officially went live in July 2015. Since then, hundreds of businesses, individuals, and blockchain projects have adopted Ethereum as their main smart contracts platform.
📷 Ripple is focused primarily on one thing: fast and cheap international transactions. Current banking infrastructure has failed to evolve in the 21st century, such that it still takes 3-5 business days on average for an international transfer to be processed. With just 4 second transaction times and at a fraction of the cost of a wire transfer, Ripple’s working product is already impacting the banking sector. The big knock against Ripple is that its native token, XRP, is completely unnecessary. Indeed, driving adoption of Ripple’s banking solutions is far easier than getting real-world adoption for XRP. If you’re interested in seeing a discussion about how XRP adoption will occur, you might find this reddit thread worth a read. Meanwhile, all of us will just have to wait and see whether XRP adoption strategies ultimately come to fruition.
Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
📷 Bitcoin Cash was created in 2017 when the first ever hard fork of the Bitcoin blockchain took place. The split was the result of Bitcoin’s 1MB blocks filling up. Transaction speeds were declining, fees were increasing, and it became clear to the community that the current model wasn’t sustainable for scaling. In a move that still causes cryptocurrency fights to this day, Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash soon emerged as separate but similar projects. BCH has 8x the block size of BTC, giving it roughly 8x the transaction throughput. Its fees and transaction times are much faster, as predicted. Learn more about Bitcoin vs Bitcoin Cash.
📷 The Stellar project and its associated Lumens (XLM) token was forked from the Ripple protocol in 2014. Stellar has come into its own since then, providing a blockchain connection service for fiat transactions between banks, payment systems, and people. Stellar is fast and reliable, and it works with practically no fees for the end-user. Stellar is a payments system, meaning its job is to move money as efficiently as possible. Partnerships with banks and financial institutions were key in evaluating its status, as was the ability to actually send money using the network. Several non-profits and commercial entities have agreed to use Stellar as part of their financial infrastructure. Recently, the team partnered with IBM and KlickEx to facilitate cross-border transactions in the South Pacific and announced an affiliate with Keybase to streamline international transactions. Stellar also has projects being builton its network by major established entities. IBM’s blockchain division is using XLM for their payments infrastructure, for example, and the Veridium startup is working with both organizations to tokenize its carbon credits market.
📷 Litecoin is a Bitcoin fork that was created in 2011 by Charlie Lee as a cheaper and faster (2.5 minute block time instead of 10) alternative to Bitcoin. This is accomplished predominantly because Litecoin uses a Scrypt hashing algorithm instead of the SHA-256 algorithm used by Bitcoin. It’s common to hear Litecoin called “digital silver” to Bitcoin’s “digital gold,” and in reality Litecoin does not really expand upon the functionality of Bitcoin in a significant way so much as it makes different tradeoffs. That being said, it does succeed in being cheaper and faster to use than BTC, which has led to it being accepted by hundreds of merchants and thus making Litecoin one of the most widely used cryptocurrencies for digital payments.
📷 Tether is an unusual project. Whereas most cryptocurrencies rise and fall in value, Tether was designed to stay the same, fixed at a 1:1 ratio with the U.S. dollar. This allows users to store, send, and receive digital currencies across platforms without incurring significant losses due to value fluctuations. The Tether stable coin sounds straightforward, but the project isn’t without controversy. USDT is supposedly backed by real USD sitting in a bank account. But in which account? Who controls it? And is Tether being used to manipulate the value of Bitcoin? It’s all part of the Tether controversy.
📷 Released in 2014 as a fork of Bytecoin, Monero has since made a name for itself as the most popular privacy coin on the market. Most cryptocurrencies offer little in the form of anonymity. Monero was built for privacy from the ground-up, featuring stealth addresses, ring signatures, and complete coin fungibility. All of this adds up to a near-perfect cloak of anonymity, allowing Monero users to conduct transactions without exposing their identity. Monero has had steady growth over the years thanks to a dedicated team of developers and an active community. The project continues to evolve with new privacy features and improved transaction security.
📷 NEO was founded in 2014 as one of the earliest smart contract platforms, giving it a wide breadth of possible functionality. The platform’s strongest use case is digitizing traditional assets so that they can be easily tracked and exchanged on the blockchain. NEO is also well-known as the “Chinese Ethereum,” and the fact that it is a Chinese-based project does seem to make Chinese dapp developers somewhat more likely to build on top of it than other platforms. In fact, NEO has already supported dozens of ICOs and remains one of the predominant platforms for supporting smart contracts and dapps.
Binance Coin (BNB)
📷 Binance Coin is an exchange token used to reduce trading fees on the Binance platform. Users can opt to pay exchange, listing, and withdrawal fees using BNB and enjoy as much as a 50% discount on all charges. This turns out to be a powerful incentive for purchasing and holding BNB, as what trader doesn’t enjoy saving money on transactions? Binance Coin is an ERC-20 token that runs on the Ethereum blockchain. Its purpose is extremely limited, but because such a vast number of Binance users transact with it every day, it qualifies as a working and active product.
📷 Zcash is another immensely popular privacy coin that often cracks the top 20 cryptocurrencies. It uses the tagline “internet money” and promises to fully protect the privacy of transactions with zero-knowledge cryptography. Zcash provides anonymity by shielding transactions on the blockchain, preventing anyone from seeing the sender, recipient, or value of each transaction. The technology is so effective the Ethereum team is investigating it to enable anonymous transactions on their network. Zcash has grown in leaps and bounds in 2018. The dev team published a roadmap through the year 2020, which includes a major features upgrade in the October 2018 Sapling release. Coinbase is also considering listing Zcash, which is a huge boost for any cryptocurrency.
📷 Qtum is a smart contracts platform similar to Ethereum, only with a stronger focus on value transfers and decentralized apps. It’s meant to be something of a hybrid between Bitcoin and Ethereum, allowing businesses to build smart contracts on the platform or just focus on cryptocurrency transactions. Qtum launched in March 2017, and dashed straight to the top. The initial offering sold over $10 million in tokens after just 90 minutes. The project differentiated itself by providing a rare Proof-of-Stake smart contracts platform designed to compensate for some of Ethereum’s shortcomings, including lack of compatibility for mobile devices. Qtum released its mainnet in September 2017, opening the doors to a fully functional smart contract and dapps platform. Several projects already have an established presenceon the network. One of the more exciting ones is Space Chain, which aims to create an open-source satellite network anyone can use for data transmission, storage, and development.
0x Protocol (ZRX)
📷 0x Protocol has one of the most important working products in the entire Ethereum ecosystem. It is a permissionless, open-source protocol that facilitates trustless exchanges of Ethereum tokens through relayers and dapps that build on top of the protocol. Not only has 0x been providing this functionality for over a year now, but they’ve been working to expand the protocol functionality significantly since that initial launch. In 0x protocol 2.0 and beyond, it will be possible to trade tokens built on standards besides ERC-20, including non-fungible ERC-721 tokens. In a market full of scams and vaporware, 0x’s valuable contributions to the Ethereum ecosystem have made it one of the best performing cryptocurrencies of 2018.
📷 Bytecoin is another popular privacy-focused cryptocurrency with a strong community and user base. Transactions on the Bytecoin blockchain are instantaneous, untraceable, unlinkabe, and resistant to blockchain analysis. Bytecoin has been around for a long time now, with contributions to the project beginning in 2012. However, that hasn’t stopped the project’s developers from continuously improving the product. The recently updated Bytecoin roadmap has a hard fork for a consensus update scheduled for August 31, as well as numerous initiatives for community growth constantly in the works.
📷 Founded in 2015 by former Bitcoin developers, Decred’s most important working product is its solution to Bitcoin’s biggest problem. No, not scalability… blockchain governance. You see, early Bitcoiners have been debating block size limitations and the efficacy of other scalability solutions like the Lightning Network for years, even though the problem of scalability really only became discussed in the mainstream in 2017. With its community-based governance model and strong adherence to the core ethos of decentralization, Decred is built to evolve and improve rapidly. That means that it’s equipped to handle not only the scalability problem today, but other big problems that might arise down the line. When you have poor governance, it is an arduous process making any upgrades to a project, no matter how necessary they may seem to the majority of coin holders. Decred’s best-in-class and still improving governance model give it an intriguing case to be a leader in digital payments for a long time to come.
📷 BitShares aims to improve worldwide access to financial services via blockchain. The tagline “assist the unbanked” summarizes the project nicely. In practice, this translates to BitShares operating as a decentralized exchange, one that was built from the ground-up to avoid scalability issues and keep transaction fees low. BitShares was launched in 2014 by Dan Larimer, who would then go on to take a lead development role in both EOS and Steem. The current state of the project offers decentralized asset exchange, price-stable cryptocurrencies, recurring and scheduled payments, user-issued assets, and more, all available through a decentralized system powered by delegated PoS consensus.
📷 Steem is the cryptocurrency that powers Steemit, a decentralized social media platform that incentivizes user participation through micropayments. Think of it like Reddit, only instead of just upvoting or downvoting posts, users can actually reward creators for their effort. Steem is a functional cryptocurrency used exclusively on the Steemit platform. That gives it something of a limited use, but seeing as how Steemit is live and boasts a few hundred thousand users, it’s hard to argue it isn’t a working product. Some people may even beearning money using Steemit.
📷 Siacoin is one of the leaders in decentralized cloud storage, a more secure and affordable alternative to centralized cloud storage solutions like Amazon S3, Google Drive, iCloud, Dropbox, and others. Sia 1.0 was launched in June 2016, and has achieved considerable adoption since then. With the $200 billion cloud storage market widely seen as one of the spaces most ripe for blockchain disruption, Sia has gotten off to a nice start by offering a functional decentralized cloud storage platform for over 2 years.
📷 Augur is one of the most recently launched products on this list. The platform mainnet went live in early July 2018, bringing to fruition almost 4 years of post-ICO work. Augur is a decentralized prediction market that uses game theory to generate crowd-sourced insights. Essentially, thousands of people working together have shown the remarkable ability to forecast outcomes. With Augur, users can put REP tokens as bets on these predictions, essentially creating a form of “useful social gambling.” Augur’s release was a long time coming. The project started as far back as 2014, nearly a year before the ICO. The creators cite the complexity of Augur’s smart contracts as the chief cause of the lengthy development time. Regardless of its past, Augur is now a live product with a bright future. Over 300 predictions have already been made, with the largest winning payout hitting $20,000. Betting volume even exceeded $1 million within the first weeks of launch.
Basic Attention Token (BAT)
📷 Basic Attention Token was one of the easiest projects to include on this list. That’s because its working product, Brave Browser, has more than 3 million active usersbetween its mobile and desktop platforms, making it one of the most widely-used working products in the blockchain space. Not only is Brave Browser functional, it’s the only browser on the market that has built-in ad-blocking and tracker blocking, making the browsing experience both cleaner and faster than what you get with other popular browsers like Chrome and Firefox. The future remains uncertain for the BAT token itself, as its adoption depends heavily on whether or not advertisers buy-in to the Brave model, as well as how willing Brave users are to be shown relevant ads and to pass along the BAT they earn to content publishers. Given Brave’s success in just a short time since being launched, though, the future does appear promising for BAT.
📷 Nano (formerly RaiBlocks) is all about scalability. The coin has nearly instant transactions with a completely fee-less structure. The platform accomplishes this by creating a unique blockchain for every account, preventing bloat and allowing for practically infinite scalability. Nano’s motto of “do one thing and do it well” has gotten them a long way. The team doesn’t have to deal with scaling or slowdown issues thanks to the underlying structure of the project, allowing its roadmap to focus on wallet updates and outreach. This is one cryptocurrency that’s essentially feature complete, and it has been for some time.
📷 Golem has set out to be the Airbnb of computing resources. Have you ever needed extra GPU power to finish up a render? How about processing scientific data similar to the [email protected] project? Even if you don’t have those needs, a lot of groups do. Golem aims to provide easy access to those resources, all of which are rentable for a small cryptocurrency fee. Golem hit the mainnet launch button in April 2018, and was met with a fair amount of fanfare. One of the main goals for the feature-incomplete launch was to push the product out so real users could put it to work. The team was interested in strengthening their interactions with end users to help guide the future of the platform. The team has several major milestones planned for the coming months, so the mainnet release is only just the beginning.
Pundi X (NPXS)
📷 Pundi X has been shooting up the market cap rankings so far in Q3 2018, and they also happen to have a working product that just recently became available to retailers. The primary Pundi X product is a point-of-sale (POS) device that enables quick and easy mobile transactions for both fiat and cryptocurrencies. 500 POS devices are already being used by retailers in Asia, and there are thousands more scheduled to be distributed in the coming months. In addition, Pundi X also offers XPASS cards, cryptocurrency credit cards that can work in place of mobile apps for making digital payments. What makes the Pundi X project noteworthy is that it enables consumers to pay retailers in cryptocurrencies like BTC and ETH, and it immediately converts the payments into local fiat currencies so that retailers don’t need to worry about price volatility of the cryptocurrencies. This makes it significantly easier for people to use cryptocurrencies in their daily lives, making Pundi X an exciting project for blockchain enthusiasts who are looking for signs of future mass adoption.
📷 Waves was the first ever blockchain platform that made it possible for anybody — regardless of their programming experience — to create blockchain tokens. Additionally, Waves has a decentralized exchange where tokens can be traded and exchanged with fiat currencies. Since the project’s first releases in 2016, Waves has gone on to make their DEX accessible from mobile phones and expanded its functionality significantly, while also building several strategic partnerships to help grow the Waves community and user base. Ultimately, though, the Waves Client is the project’s most important working product, as it is what allows tokens to be issued, stored, sent, and exchanged among users.
KuCoin Shares (KCS)
📷 Similar to Binance Coin, KuCoin Shares is an exchange token that can be used to pay reduced fees on cryptocurrency trades. KCS has the added bonus of paying dividends to long-term hodlers, as well, paying out a 5% ROI for most users. The nature of KuCoin Shares is one of the reasons the KuCoin exchange has gotten so much attention since it appeared on the scene. The tokens themselves are limited in scope, of course, but the sheer number of people using them for trades and buying them for passive income is enormous.
📷 Wanchain aims to build new and improved financial infrastructure to seamlessly connect the digital economy through blockchain interoperability. The use cases for Wanchain’s network are vast, and they include decentralized financial services, supply chain logistics, medical data sharing and security, digital ID management, and more. With the recently released Wanchain 2.0, it is now possible to transfer Ether cross-chain using Wanchain’s Ethereum Mapping Token, WETH. Ethereum interoperability is just the start, though, and it’s expected that cross-chain support for Bitcoin and a couple of ERC-20 tokens will follow before the end of 2018.
📷 Komodo is a fork of Zcash that uses the same zk-snark cryptography to hide information about transaction participants and amounts being sent. Functional privacy coins aren’t unique (there are a handful on this list) but Komodo does have some unique features. For one, Komodo was the first ever decentralized initial coin offering. Moreover, Komodo helps other developers to build their own customizable blockchain solutions, from building and securing independent blockchains and launching decentralized ICOs, to integrating projects into the cryptocurrency ecosystem. KMD would already qualify as a working product for its anonymity features on digital payments, but add the end-to-end blockchain building solution and it’s clear that Komodo is making meaningful contributions to the cryptocurrency ecosystem.
📷 Ardor is a scalable blockchain platform that allows businesses to create their own child chains and tokens with relative ease. This helps keep blockchain bloat to a minimum and provides multiple transactional tokens without sacrificing core chain transactions. It’s also a remarkably energy efficient platform that uses Proof-of-Stake to power consensus. Ardor launched its mainnet on January 1, 2018 after a full year in testnet status. Its core features are largely in place, with the roadmap set to improve things like scalability and snapshotting. The Blockchain-as-a-Service-platform hosts a few projects of its own, including the Ignis ICO, which was the first child chain on the mainnet.
Huobi Token (HT)
📷 Huobi is a digital asset exchange platform founded back in 2013, now offering well over 250 different trading pairs. The Huobi Token, meanwhile, is an ERC-20 token that is used on the exchange for discounts on trading fees of up to 50%. In addition, 20% of the income generated on the Huboi Pro trading platform is used to buy back HT on the open market. Unlike most buyback programs, the main purpose of Huobi’s program isn’t to reduce the circulating supply of HT. Rather, the HT that is bought back goes into a Huobi Investor Protection Fund, which is used to compensate Huobi users if they lose coins or tokens on the platform, as well as to ensure market stability and protect investor interests.
📷 ZenCash is yet another privacy coin with a working product in the Top 100, originally launched in the first half of 2017. What makes ZenCash unique is that it’s the first blockchain with Transport Layer Security (TLS) integration for node encryption, making communication on the ZenCash network both private and highly secure. Some other interesting parts of the ZenCash product include Tor nodes and built-in chat messaging services. In the future, the ZenCash team will deliver a DAO Treasury Protocol-level Voting System as well as a scalability solution to handle greater transaction volume.
📷 PIVX is another privacy coin that focuses on keeping users and their associated transactions hidden under a cloak of secrecy. The project also tries to keep transactions as fast and fee-less as possible, something not all privacy platforms can boast about. PIVX launched in January 2016. The coin is currently spendable and delivers the privacy features it promises, though it’s not yet a widely accepted currency by merchants. Future plans for PIVX include governance functions to engage the community, wallet voting, and its own zPIV decentralized exchange.
Kyber Network (KNC)
📷 Kyber Network launched their mainnet in Q1 2018, enabling instantaneous and secure inter-token settlements through a Decentralized Liquidity Network. It’s currently possible to swap ERC-20 tokens on the network with just a few mouse clicks, giving it some basic functionality that is already being used to improve liquidity for Ethereum tokens. In the future, however, Kyber Network will expand its functionality significantly in an effort to seamlessly connect dapps, DEXes, protocols, payment systems, token teams, investors, fund managers, and digital wallets.
📷 Bancor is a liquidity provider that enables users to exchange tokens without the need for a third-party to be involved in financing the transaction. Gaining liquidity is incredibly important for young cryptocurrency projects, as a lack of liquidity makes it risky for investors to buy a considerable amount of a given coin or token, knowing that it might be exceedingly difficult to sell should they wish to. Bancor’s technology makes it possible to convert one token to another, so that investors can be confident that they won’t be stuck involuntarily holding a cryptocurrency that they want to sell. This functionality makes the Bancor Liquidity Network one of the most promising working products on this list, and one that has already achieved a good deal of adoption.
Loom Network (LOOM)
📷 Loom Network is still less than a year old, having been founded in October 2017. However, they have accomplished a lot in that short time span, including having launched numerous tools to help software developers learn how to build blockchain solutions. The most important of these tools — and Loom’s biggest working product — is the Loom software development kit (SDK). However, Loom Network is far more than just a simple blockchain coding academy. It is also a production-ready scalability solution for Ethereum, as the Loom developer toolkit helps programmers to build highly scalable dapps which connect to the Ethereum blockchain through special side chains called DappChains. The project may still be in its infancy, but Loom Network is already contributing more utility to the cryptocurrency ecosystem than the vast majority of other cryptocurrency projects.
📷 Polymath wants to be the world’s go-to resource for security tokens on the blockchain. What Ethereum did for tokens, Polymath will do for securities. The advantages of this are enormous, but the Polymath team likes to point to 24/7 market access, the elimination of middlemen, and trading access for 2 billion unbanked people around the world as the chief benefits of their efforts. The Polymath platform launched in October 2017, and has since released a new security token every week, attracting investors and traders alike. It’s not as exciting of a project as some other blockchain tech, but it’s delivering on its promises with a working product.
Bibox Token (BIX)
📷 Bibox is a encrypted digital asset exchange whose primary differentiator from other crypto exchanges is that it integrates AI technology. The purpose of the AI is to help Bibox’s traders, which it does by providing quantitative computation and analysis of trading activity, personalized risk allocation strategy, speech recognition, and objective analysis of the various coins and tokens listed on the exchange. The Bibox exchange first launched back in November 2017. It has operation centers in the US, Canada, mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, and Estonia. BIX token holders receive 20% of the exchange profits, and also get discounts on trading fees, similar to Binance. https://www.investinblockchain.com/top-cryptocurrencies-working-products/
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