Category Archives: Entrepreneurship

Continous development on production

Not able to decide on what project to focus on next, I’ve ignored common sense, and jumped in and just start coding. Forget all the smart ideas about finding the best idea, I’m now focused on getting a few plays live.

And to make it even more fun, I’m pushing everything straight to production. Most of the projects below are undesigned, unstructured, vague propositions or completely broken. But while I progress, these should evolve to fully grown products.

I’m working live on:

State.of.dev
Launched earlier this year, with actually pretty decent reactions, the next version involves public input and consensus on the data, and a way to visualize historical context.

State of Coin
With my experience in SEO, I’m working on State of Coin to launch a crypto coin related project. Eventually the product would involve a way for investors to make predictions that lead to buy/sell advice.

Commend.work
A way to capture professional recommendations. Much like LinkedIn recommendations but focused on continuous feedback.

Entrepreneurial.com
A product idea framework. Allows you to manage your ideas, capture them in a smart template, and help you with actionable advice to move them forward.

MAPMESS.COM — TEAM :

Stephen Robinson - Representative of MapMess in Canada

Steve currently is owner and founder of Twenty7 club. One of Canada’s foremost luxury, lifestyle and automotive private member social clubs.

On behalf of myself, and the team who have helped make Twenty7 possible, I would like to warmly welcome you to this one of a kind membership lounge in Canada.

I wanted to create a very special place with an informal atmosphere where friendship, business and fun intertwine. Somewhere I would love to go, bring guests, greet friends, tell stories and most importantly make stories worth the telling. The idea of bringing together fellow enthusiasts for automotive design, engineering, its rich history, exclusive events, and experiences was one that ignited a lot of passion. To some extent, your interest in luxury cars, Motorsports, and its associated activities has likely already led you to others who also share similar interests.

I have been an entrepreneur most of my life. One thing I know, only those that dare succeed. Join the daring - Join the club. Come on the adventure with us.

Twenty7 - Automobile Lounge

Since 2016, Twenty7 has provided discerning members with the perfect GTA location to meet, dine and socialize. The inspiration for our name and core beliefs comes from some of the most passionate, daring, fearless, dedicated and talented race car drivers in the world; such as: James Hunt, Mario Andretti, Alan Jones, Gilles Villeneuve, Patrick Tambay, Michele Alboreto, Nigel Mansell, Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost and, Jean Alesi. Who all at one time or another drove under number, 27.

Twenty7 has evolved into one of Toronto’s premier business and special interest Clubs, proudly occupying its custom built location minutes from the airport.

RadReads 139

Subscribe // Kick-ass side projects w/o coding, social media and blind tribalism

Good Morning, RadReaders!

I’m so excited to share this issue with you. Two 1-minute articles (#1,3) pack so much punch that I promise they’ll shift (or at least, challenge) your thinking.

We’ve got lots 🍳 over at RadJobs. Check out new roles at Adobe, Managed by Q, and Anchor and our customizable filters. We’ll be releasing our first Rad Jobs newsletter next week. Don’t sleep on it, and sign up here.

Our 44-week streak of new Patrons came to an end this week. I’m humbled by the generosity of the community. Thank you to the 138 beautiful souls who financially support us each month. And let’s start a new streak, click the green button below to support the #RadFam.

PS — Follow us over 👻: RadReads, Instagram and Facebook.

10 Startups in 24 Hours by Ben Tossell

1 Minutes | Medium | @arjunblj

This is so dang cool and is the ultimate guide to creating kick-ass side projects. The tools in this article are powerful and free — Airtable (database), Zapier (API across cloud services), Typeform (forms), Carrds (web pages) and Stripe (payments) and none require any coding. In fact, @patricksouth and I are building RadJobs using this exact framework. What is required is technical sensibility, knowing what they do and how they work together. And some good ideas! Follow the full thread on Twitter.

🎧 Bart Lorang: The world’s gonna have its way with you

Rad Awakenings Podcast | Apple Podcasts | Google Play | StitcherRSS

Bart Lorang is the founder and CEO of FullContact. FullContact is a high-growth, venture-backed company (having raised $50 mm) with 250 employees and multiple offices across the world. Bart and I discuss work-life balance and how he balances self-care, spending time with two young kids, while being a devoted father/husband. Bart drops amazing CEO wisdom on how empathy can be learned, thwarting your team’s fight or flight reflex and how culture is meaningless if it doesn’t terrify people. Finally, we talk control — both in business, but how with age we realize that we control much less than we think.

Rad Awakenings is sponsored by Skillshare. Join the online learning community with 17,000+ classes in business, design and more. Get one free month of unlimited access and try out amazing classes taught by experts such as Seth Godin, Simon Sinek, and Mari Andrew.

The deafening cacophony of social media and the spread of blind tribalism by Naval Ravikant

Naval Ravikant Tweetstorm | HT: @joemccann

We all want to belong to a tribe. These tribes are bound by a series of shared myths (the Sapiens argument). Enter social media, which eliminates the barriers for signaling goods, whether it’s conspicuous consumption, editorial outrage and campus social action. Naval then asks: “How does the move from real goods to signaling goods impact truth?”

13 ways to turn your career into an f-ing rocket ship

11 Minutes | Hackernoon | @miamabanta

I try to avoid listicles, but this is really good. There were lessons that really worked well for me when I was earlier in my career (no task is too small, take great notes); some I’m learning now (importance of design, good writing/speaking, everything is a sale); and new ones (the 5/25/150 for cultivating a network; Bart and I discuss my approach here @ 9:11). I do agree, if you follow these approaches there’s a good chance you’ll create your own luck.

Red Yellow Green: Bringing Personal Check-Ins to the Office by Bart Lorang

5 Minutes | Bart Lorang

This is a great example of “applied mindfulness.” Not the sitting under a tree kind, but the kind you can use in a business setting to excel. It starts by checking in with yourself, are you red (lizard brain), yellow (anxious) , or green (calm) — a simple practice, yet one that requires intention. Imagine creating the space with your executive team to put those feelings into the open. Presumably, if you keep it inside, they will bleed out into the discussion, through passive-aggression, conflict, or close-mindedness.

Below the Fold

FOUR PODCASTS
💰 Invest Like the Best: Understanding Blockchains (60 mins): A 💯 documentary on all things crypto, by the one and only Patrick_oshag featuring all the key players in this new ecosystem.

🔮 Rad Awakenings: Fred Ehrsam (60 mins): The backstory from a Crypto OG (Coinbase co-founder) on why he left Goldman and how newbies should consider the space.

😳 Rationally Speaking: Tim Urban on “Trying to live well as semi-rational animals” (50 mins): Incredible and hilarious conversation on the limits of human rationality.

🃏 Masters in Business: Ed Thorp the Man Who Beat the Dealer and the Market(1hr 40 mins): One of the godfathers of quant investing, agrees with Urban that humans as “locally rational.”

FROM THE COMMUNITY
🗣 Life@Work Conference (Oct 17–18 in Brooklyn): I’ll be speaking at this conference discussing fostering culture and innovation at Airbnb, Etsy, Uber, and WeWork. Use RADREADS for 30% off tickets.

💼 RadJobs: Dope new roles at Village (Ben Casnocha and Erik Torenberg’s new Venture firm) and Inspiring Capital. Sign-up for updates.

LAST WEEK’S MOST READ
🎯 What are cryptocurrencies? (50 mins, Ellington Management Group): Jargon-free, yet so well explained.

EDITOR’S NOTE
🙀 Are Anxiety and Performance Inversely Related (2 mins, RadReads): I appended this piece on the Sharpe ratio to clarify that it didn’t mean avoiding risk; on the contrary, regulating emotional volatility is the 🔑 to taking risk.

Postscript

I woke up this morning unsure about what I’d write in this section. At about 7:45 am the Internet Gods quickly took care of that situation.

Last week I got the iPhone 8 (it rocks). And all year, I’ve been very proud digital security. Pretty much all of my accounts have 2-Factor Authorization and I disabled SMS recovery (for this reason). But here’s the catch, I hadn’t saved all my back-up codes. And I awoke to find myself locked out of my Mailchimp account.

“Oh the places you’ll go” when something like this happens. Here’s a list of the feelings it triggered: sunk cost fallacy (“There goes 10 hours of work this week”), blame (“Man, I’m really going to let people down), poverty mindset (“This is my ‘job,’ and I can’t do it”), self-doubt (“You idiot, why didn’t you write the codes down”).

Not having your back-up codes is a pretty big deal, to the point that it’s still unclear how I’m going to get back into all my accounts. Thankfully, I wrote a blog post about this last week. 🙄

I was in a deep, dark valley, with no way out. At this point, there’s a decision to be made. Double down on your anxiety, lash out, or pause, regroup, and put things into perspective.

I started with my “go to” question: “What’s the worst thing that could happen to you?” Yes, there was the real possibility of losing 16k email accounts and the 2.5 year history of RadReads. (But I’m sure someone at customer support could eventually help.) I then did a quick Shirzad-inspired meditation, (rubbing your thumbs and forefinger) to settle my lizard brain. And then poof, a longshot solution emerged. I might have been logged in to Mailchimp on another computer at home, from which I could temporarily disable 2-FA. BOOM — problem solved.

These situations will inevitably happen in both life and as an entrepreneur. Knowing that a few quick tools (a question and a finger-rub) can help, gives me the confidence to plow forward. And the ability to get you guys today’s newsletter 😊.


RadReads 139 was originally published in RadReads on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Regal Coin already up to $20 and Crashing Coinexchange Servers!

43 BTC of volume came into coinexchange in 10 minutes during the opening of trading for $REC this morning. The extreme influx of traffic has been causing coinexchange server issues for the past several hours. Now that I have gotten back in it looks like they have disabled trading temporarily.

Start lending with Regal Coin!
http://bit.ly/2fBx0AE

Start trading on Coinexchange.io
http://bit.ly/2x5BRBK

Regal Coin already up to $20 and Crashing Coinexchange Servers!

43 BTC of volume came into coinexchange in 10 minutes during the opening of trading for $REC this morning. The extreme influx of traffic has been causing coinexchange server issues for the past several hours. Now that I have gotten back in it looks like they have disabled trading temporarily.

Start lending with Regal Coin!
http://bit.ly/2fBx0AE

Start trading on Coinexchange.io
http://bit.ly/2x5BRBK

Coinpressions Features and Benefits Sept. 2017

Features and Benefits of Coinpressions…

JOIN HERE: http://Downline4Life.com/coinpressions

Three and You Are Free — Three Sales (Direct or Spillover) and You Cover Your Monthly Subscription

25% Matching Matrix Bonus — Provides MASSIVE Opportunity for Experienced Marketers

3x10 Personally Forced Matrix — Can Generate Tens of Thousands of Dollars of Monthly Residual Income

Break Even Pool — Every Active Member Earns! (Wait, What?)

JOIN HERE: http://Downline4Life.com/coinpressions

Break Even Pool

A Game Changing Benefit for Coinpressions Active Members

Yes, every single active member of Coinpressions earns in our system. How cool is THAT?

We know that for some people the idea of residual income is VERY appealing but the prospect of having a monthly payment is very scary.

So, we are here to help!

JOIN HERE: http://Downline4Life.com/coinpressions

Here’s the scoop:

We allocate a small portion of every monthly subscription payment to the ground breaking Break Even Pool (“BEP”).

Then every month that our active members have made a renewal subscription purchase they qualify to get help from the BEP.

Those members who have not yet reached the Break Even Point to cover their subscription will receive a distribution from the BEP to help reduce the net cost of their next month subscription. There is no limit to the number of months that an Active member can benefit from the BEP.

Why is “Breakeven” So Important?

It’s very simple — as soon as you hit the Breakeven point two wonderful things happen:

(1) You now have, in essence, “Free” advertising to use to gain exposure for your main business, and;

(2) You AND the Coinpressions Community can begin to help YOUR referrals hit the Breakeven Point which will then begin to generate POSITIVE income to you

And that simple, Logical System is the duplicated to infinity depth of which TEN LEVELS of the matrix benefit you directly and as many as TWENTY Levels of matrix can benefit you through the 25% matching bonus!

Like we said, “How Cool is That?”

Want more details? Make sure you contact the person that sent you to this page!

Thanks!

Coinpressions team

Experienced Network Marketer with a Team of Program Administrators and Marketing Reach -

Residual Income Programs are Lucrative and Powerful for Leaders and Builders but Frustrating and Costly for New Marketers

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7 Reasons to Think Twice About Running an ICO

It’s difficult to understand the challenges a blockchain startup faces when you’re looking at it from the outside. Sure, the headlines sound great. A handful of well marketed companies are raising tens of millions of dollars, a lucky few are raising hundreds of millions.

It can be tempting to want to get in on the craze when other people are making it look so easy.

I’ve had a lot of people approach me about advising their crowdfund in the crypto space after I fundraised over $1 million for my entertainment company. I turn almost all of these people down.

My issue is that I don’t believe they understand blockchain well enough. I’ve noticed that they want to run an ICO for all the wrong reasons. Whether it is greed, a lack of understanding about the developing government regulations, or an ignorance about the economic and social properties of a token with built-in scarcity, many new companies getting into the blockchain industry have no idea what they’re getting into.

Take my experience: I was a member of the crypto community for years before I started my own company, and nothing could have prepared me for it. Before my startup, I remember wondering why so many blockchain startups would do or say things that seemed to directly contradict what the community wanted and believed. I couldn’t understand it until I stepped into their shoes and started my own company, and damn, things are so much different on the other side.

Below, find 7 reasons why you should think twice before running your ICO.

1. You become a public company still in the startup phase

Most companies go public after they already have a large audience and have done significant research and testing on their product/market fit. They also already have a product.

These companies didn’t start out this way. First, the founders of these companies had to work for years in establishing an attractive product/service, and then courting angel investors and an audience. A lot of this work was done “in the dark”, where they were able to test things and make mistakes without anybody watching.

If you run an ICO you immediately create a community around your project — for better or worse. And this community will hold you accountable for every move you make. Meaning that any of your mistakes can suddenly become amplified into PR nightmares that destroy you or your company’s reputation.

Every startup makes mistakes, and almost every startup needs to pivot from their initial idea. These commonalities can be a lot harder to deal with when you have a community with set expectations… and investments.

2. People will tie your success to the value of your token — no matter how successful/unsuccessful you are

An ICO is a customer’s first experience with your company, and the first “product” they receive is your token. Since blockchain is still very much in its early days, you most likely won’t have a full service/product ready for your customers by tomorrow.

So for many months (or even years), the only product that your customers can hold onto is your token. In a sense, your token becomes your company. If its price rises, people will suddenly perceive you as providing lots and lots of value to your project — even if you aren’t. If the token’s price falls, people will blame your company for not doing enough to keep the price up — even if you are working as hard as you can.

This can create a strange disconnect between you and the community. On any given day, you’re either the second coming of Christ, or you’re public enemy number one.

3. Things might be fine in bull markets, but bear markets hurt everyone

A lot of crypto markets are built on speculation. Meaning that a group of people believe that a token or project will have a certain value in the future, and so they don’t mind participating in that market.

This is all fine and dandy in a bull market, where the entire market is going up and prices don’t stop making new highs. But bear markets can be dangerous. Since the crypto markets deal with people’s money, there are many people who lose more than they can afford when the markets take a turn for the worst.

When the markets dried up in 2014–2015, so did the communities. As a startup it can be very hard to plan ahead for something like this. As the space matures, this will not be as much of a problem, but that time is still a long way off.

4. The community will have unrealistic expectations about what you can accomplish in a short amount of time.

Like I said earlier, most people are used to interacting with established businesses who have lots of resources for handling new acquisitions, customer outreach, product development, blunders, etc.

Because you’re not an established business, you probably won’t.

You are moving into an industry that is still finding its feet. There is no trail to follow. You are an innovator who must trail blaze and think outside the box. But this trailblazing comes at a cost: time. Whatever you are building is going to take time. More time than even you can predict.

The community wants to see your token’s value increase, it’s why they bought it in the first place. And the quickest way for that to happen is for you to release a steady stream of developments. Which isn’t always possible — or smart.

A community that is bored can very quickly turn into a community that is angry. And let me tell you — that anger is very contagious.

5. Lack of consumer-end applications for the blockchain makes interacting with cryptocurrencies awkward for both consumers and developers

Blockchain is still very much an experiment. No one knows where it will be in five years, let alone ten. Since the industry is so young, building even simple blockchain applications can cost a lot of money and take a lot of time.

From a consumer perspective, using those applications can then be very confusing and frustrating. This increases your chance of failure — if the market isn’t ready for blockchain innovation, it may be very difficult for you to expand outside of the crypto community.

Not to mention, if your startup doesn’t succeed (and quite a few don’t), your community might just villainize you forever.

6. It could harm your established brand image

If you’re already an established brand with a large community, you need to be careful about how you introduce your audience to a cryptocurrency. Remember that these tokens have a monetary value — and that some of your customers/devoted fans will be buying these tokens from third party sites and exchanges. Many of them won’t be investors, and may not understand the risk involved with your token’s volatility.

When you run an ICO the people buying your token are the ones who are taking the most risk. If things go wrong, they’re going to be upset. Upset enough to harm your brand image in a way that may take a very, very long time to repair.

7. Legality

Most newcomers to the space don’t understand the legal issues behind running an ICO. The first rule is to never call your ICO an ICO (I’m using it here because, unfortunately, it is still the industry standard and it gets the best SEO).

But things go much deeper than that. Most people who pitch me tokens are pitching me securities, and if your token is a security you are endangering yourself, your company, and everyone who purchases your token.

Get a lawyer who understands cryptocurrency law. It may be expensive, but it will be well worth it.

And there you have it, 7 reasons why you should think twice before running your ICO. If that didn’t scare you off, and you still intend to run an ICO, I wish you the best of luck. If you think you have a project that can prove me wrong, feel free to email me about it at clay@backo.earth.

MICROSOFT TRADE WITH IC3 AS FINANCIAL SYSTEM THROUGH BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY

Microsoft reported it has joined the Initiative for Cryptocurrencies and Contracts (IC3), involved employees at Cornell University, Cornell Tech, UC Berkeley, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Techno.

IC3 and Microsoft will cooperate to make the money related framework more adaptable, straightforward, and secure by examining blockchain applications for big business reception. Other industry accomplices incorporate IBM, Intel, Fidelity Labs, and Digital Asset. IC3 keeps on accepting subsidizing from a three-year $3 million National Science Foundation give issued in 2015.

Yorke E. Rhodes III, Global Blockchain Business Strategist at Microsoft, explained on the organization.

As we proceed with our adventure in blockchain, we have watched and perused crafted by the IC3 group and are inspired with their reasoning and the viewpoint they convey to the group. We are extremely lined up with the methodologies IC3 blockchain specialists are taking to address scale, disentanglement, and different subjects of enthusiasm for big business reception. The cooperative energies in their examination fit well with our dreams for big business scale blockchain arrangements.

Ari Juels, Co-Director of IC3 and educator at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech in New York City, communicated a mutual vision amongst Microsoft and the activity. “IC3 was established to progress blockchain science, innovation and applications and said as To work all the more intimately with Microsoft’s blockchain specialists, who share vision of blockchain-based answers for cutting edge money related administrations.”

MICROSOFT TRADE WITH IC3 AS FINANCIAL SYSTEM THROUGH BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY

Microsoft reported it has joined the Initiative for Cryptocurrencies and Contracts (IC3), involved employees at Cornell University, Cornell Tech, UC Berkeley, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Techno.

IC3 and Microsoft will cooperate to make the money related framework more adaptable, straightforward, and secure by examining blockchain applications for big business reception. Other industry accomplices incorporate IBM, Intel, Fidelity Labs, and Digital Asset. IC3 keeps on accepting subsidizing from a three-year $3 million National Science Foundation give issued in 2015.

Yorke E. Rhodes III, Global Blockchain Business Strategist at Microsoft, explained on the organization.

As we proceed with our adventure in blockchain, we have watched and perused crafted by the IC3 group and are inspired with their reasoning and the viewpoint they convey to the group. We are extremely lined up with the methodologies IC3 blockchain specialists are taking to address scale, disentanglement, and different subjects of enthusiasm for big business reception. The cooperative energies in their examination fit well with our dreams for big business scale blockchain arrangements.

Ari Juels, Co-Director of IC3 and educator at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech in New York City, communicated a mutual vision amongst Microsoft and the activity. “IC3 was established to progress blockchain science, innovation and applications and said as To work all the more intimately with Microsoft’s blockchain specialists, who share vision of blockchain-based answers for cutting edge money related administrations.”

Thank you for the addition!

Thank you for the addition! It’s very interesting…while corporations have (few of them) gotten better at marketing tactics, it seems their large monopoly on marketshare tends to get them beat. Also, vigilant individuals are looking out for the majority of us in some cases — people like you and I willing do deeper research to bring it out. In some cases, innovate different technologies as startups to get ahead of these large corporations as they lose more and more marketshare.

I’m really hoping Monaco is not trying to pull something over our eyes as supporters of their vision. I like what they’re vision is and I believe in it, but their tactics have me turned off. Very unprofessional and seemingly deliberate. Following much closer the next few weeks. Feel free to respond with anything you might find!

How to ICO — A List to Consider

By: Beryl Li, Founder at CapchainX

Many ICOs have failed (raised much less than intended) and will fail (will most likely disappear in the secondary market due to lack of fundamentals) but if done well, its not impossible to end up with the same fate as FileCoin and Tezos raising up to 200m USD in its token sale (primary offering).

You should allocate time for:

a.) time it takes to market your plans about your product and token sale to token buyers effectively (ex. Reddit, LinkedIn, Crypto community, conferences, Medium blogs, potential customers, Token funds).

b.) time it needs to prepare your white paper, updated website, product demos, videos, blogs and other materials to communicate the potential of your product.

c.) time you think your token buyers will need (ability) to pledge during the token sale throughout the auction period.

This can take from a month to a year depending how many followers you have, how active they are in the community, your existing customer base, your reputation as an entrepreneur and access to cryptocurrency investors.

You do not need to force yourself to have blockchain features if this is not your competitive advantage just for the sake of doing a token sale.

ICO fundraising have originated from decentralised organisations — blockchain related (early adopters). Today, non-blockchain companies are mirroring this fundraising strategy. Tokens are becoming more mainstream that even non-blockchain and crypto participants are starting to consider this method so do not force yourself to be in the blockchain space just to feel “legit”. Otherwise, its baffling.

Include:

a.) Problem youre solving

b.) Competitive Advantage (whats so special about your token sale and product?)

c.) Product roadmap

d.) Team (Can this team make it happen? token-vesting plans?)

e.) Token details (ex. mechanics, distribution, demand and supply economics, fundamentals)

If tokens in general get regulated, how do you protect yourself ?

I would highly recommend adopting strict compliance and forget the mindset of doing it now while its not “yet” regulated. Why? Because if it gets regulated you can experience fines, imprisonment, or worse, adopt compliance policies later on when you’re busier with your already growing business. I would take care of it now by looking for that optimal point of complying and getting things done.

Requirements include:

a.) Worse case scenario modelling depending on jursidiction

b.) Perhaps set up another entity in a less stringent jurisdiction?

c.) Going through the process with lawyers to note necessary KYC or exemptions to adpot (based on jurisdiction. UK/EU is actually not bad after putting together an exemption list with lawyers in the field)

d.) Term sheet for your auction token sale

e.) Any revised BOD or memorandum agreements

Just how fiat currency was once backed by gold or a basket of more stable currencies. The appropriate fundamental for tokens is company equity. Token buyers are buying the potential of the team and the idea behind product, and the probability of success.

The prices of your token should not only factor in your Demand and Supply economics, but also the factors that affect the valuations of your startup (team, market, economy, product). Also whats the probability of someone to redeem something illiquid from something already liquid in the form of tokens? In short, enoy the benefits of tokens while backing it with real fundamentals. This is why my startup, CapchainX, is backing the concept of Crypto Equity (tokens that can redeem emitted shares). Exciting huh? :D

How to fail immediately:

a.) Attaching your tokens with voting rights and claim to asset/revenue can cause you unecessary regulatory constraints for failing the Howey and Reves tests.

b.) Representing credits for product usage is hard to measure causing unreasonable valuations. This is a complex way of valuing your tokens (why make it so difficult?!) Moreover, buyers may not even use product making it even more complex to measure the real potential of your product. But if your numbers make sense without having to use spreadsheets to see patterns in your numbers, why not? I would still prefer taking out the complexities of the valuation if possible!

Please do not create artificial supply, scarcity to revamp demand, print tokens whenever you want, and solely rely on demand and supply for the price of your token.

What to think about:

a.) Decreasing discount rates during token sale

b.) Valuation Floor and Cap for token prices given authorised supply

c.) Auction mechanism

d.) Incorporating factors influencing your token prices on the secondary market (unique per company)

Your success highly depends on how successful your marketing campaign is. Really.

How companies in the past did it:

a.) Some of these successful ICOs don’t even have product. Team members don’t even have a track record. So how did they lure investors? Style and strategy of their marketing campaign.

b.) Reach out to every single angel investor whether in crypto or in VC to let them know your token sale exists. Visibility.

c.) Sprinkling complex terms on the white paper (Not recommended. Communicating simply is key.)

a.) Creation of tokens. Are you using Ethereum smart contracts?

b.) Escrow set up for auction (how is this embedded on your website? Is it prone to hacks — can easily change the wallet address?)

c.) Database of the distribution

d.) Transfer of fiat/crypto for tokens at a determined price after auction

Questions and comments — i’d love to build this list over time. Send me an email beryl.li@capchainX.com!

Originally published at medium.com on August 31, 2017.

Very interesting thoughts.

Very interesting thoughts. “The true power of cryptocurrencies is the power to print and distribute money without a central power.” What if everyone starts mining or printing money as suggested? What would happen to the value of said money? Theoretically speaking it’s a lovely thought, but there is a balance in the economy that would be disrupted, people have to work for a living, otherwise you won’t be able to buy bread from your local baker, or get a cab anywhere, or buy flowers from a florist! In most cases it’s not kings and governments who limit people, its mostly their mentalities and thinking, nothing would stop a great creator from creating his big invention, or a writer from writing his best seller novel, or Christopher Columbus from finding America! That’s the true measure of greatness and success, that’s what sets the ‘few’ apart from the masses. For example look at Steve jobs, Richard Branson, Allen Sugar, they started from ground up, no limits would’ve stopped them, infact in most cases their hunger for success and money was their main drive, so what if everyone was comfortable financially? Would their be a ‘drive’ to create and progress? As much as I hate to admit it, ‘sometimes’ a centralised authoritative power keeps stability, otherwise their would be chaos?! Maybe the real missed opportunity here is finding out how to make ‘decentralised’ work for the people, economy, everyone! Anyway, cryptocurrency is decentralised, but not yet so, miners and whales are controlling the markets, still got some way to go!

Very interesting thoughts.

Very interesting thoughts. “The true power of cryptocurrencies is the power to print and distribute money without a central power.” What if everyone starts mining or printing money as suggested? What would happen to the value of said money? Theoretically speaking it’s a lovely thought, but there is a balance in the economy that would be disrupted, people have to work for a living, otherwise you won’t be able to buy bread from your local baker, or get a cab anywhere, or buy flowers from a florist! In most cases it’s not kings and governments who limit people, its mostly their mentalities and thinking, nothing would stop a great creator from creating his big invention, or a writer from writing his best seller novel, or Christopher Columbus from finding America! That’s the true measure of greatness and success, that’s what sets the ‘few’ apart from the masses. For example look at Steve jobs, Richard Branson, Allen Sugar, they started from ground up, no limits would’ve stopped them, infact in most cases their hunger for success and money was their main drive, so what if everyone was comfortable financially? Would their be a ‘drive’ to create and progress? As much as I hate to admit it, ‘sometimes’ a centralised authoritative power keeps stability, otherwise their would be chaos?! Maybe the real missed opportunity here is finding out how to make ‘decentralised’ work for the people, economy, everyone! Anyway, cryptocurrency is decentralised, but not yet so, miners and whales are controlling the markets, still got some way to go!

Cryptocurrency Driving Change: Corporate Social Responsibility, Impact Investing, & Now — The DAO

Link

CSR, Impact Investing, & Now The DAO

Smog was first heavily noticed by workers in Los Angeles during the 1950’s. In the 1980’s and 1990’s, businesses truly started implementing a phrase known as “corporate social responsibility” or CSR. To my knowledge, this is the time when society really started focusing on the negative affects of business — negative externalities — due to the Los Angeles Smog Crisis.

I believe corporate social responsibility was used as a psychological tactic by businesses to spin what they were doing, making it more acceptable to society. Entrepreneurship has always been about creating solutions and earning profits — supply and demand. Well, simply doing business stopped benefiting society more than the negative externalities created by the act.

Los Angeles pollution started around the 1950’s, but did not start really hurting residents until the 1990’s. Pollution became a dinner table conversation — families and children were really beginning to get damaged by the polluted environment. This became a reality when

Lung autopsies on more than 1,100 young people who died in accidents or were victims of homicide find that 27 percent had severely damaged lungs.”

Businesses were killing us! So the government stepped in, created some laws to restrict pollution, and businesses realized the psychological effect of CSR.

Next comes Impact Investing — this term has been used since the 1990’s, but has been really picking up since 2015. The term can be found all over the largest investment media outlet articles. Why? Because impact investing is not just about earning a profit — it’s about earning a financial AND social return. Meaning, if I invest in a company that makes it a point to and creates positive societal impacts, I made an impact investment. The ability to fix the negative societal problems with entrepreneurship and investing. Fixing the world AND earning a return on investment! Pretty powerful, right?

Corporate Social Responsibility and Impact Investments go together like peanut butter and jelly, but Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) are the bread. THIS is what District0x is working to facilitate the creation of. With DAOs, nobody has to worry about a greedy CEO or CFO trying to pull the wool over our eyes. Instead, trustless contracts known as smart contracts are used to dictate DAOs. They are programmed a certain way and do what they are programmed to do within the set parameters.

So instead of a Walmart corporation TELLING US they are using CSR and impact investing — investors can take their money, invest in a DAO-focused company like District0x, and then use those tokens received from the investment to operate within the DAO environment.

District0x Aims to Facilitate The Creation of Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs)

District0x ICO Page

District0x project is working to facilitate the creation and operating of decentralized autonomous organizations. Many entrepreneurs believe this is truly a leap in the right direction to correcting the many flaws businesses in 2017 have. The DAO is sometimes referred to as the “true corporation” because the system is designed in a symbiotic way that works more efficiently and fairly than the shareholder-corporation model widely used today.

Hope this bit was insightful to you and maybe stimulated you to think about some other aspect of investing and technology! Feel free to share this with your network to help grow our decentralized, cryptocurrency community!

Until next time fellow cryptocurrency enthusiasts! d[^_^]b

Follow CrowdConscious on Medium
Follow CrowdedMind on Steemit

Below are some resources for beginning cryptocurrency enthusiasts:


Cryptocurrency Driving Change: Corporate Social Responsibility, Impact Investing, & Now — The DAO was originally published in Keeping Stock on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

ICO Update: District0x at 29,000/58,550 ETH Soft Cap

District0x ICO Page
DistrictOx White Paper

“A collective of decentralized marketplaces and communities” — this already has my system-centric brain enticed as blockchain and cryptocurrencies essentially re-create the world we know today, but in a more decentralized manner.

DistrictOx White Paper

Above is the District0x White Paper abstract — I’m not a super-techie, but does it not seem like District0x is working to create a virtual, friction-free economy?

Voting rights are utilized to come to a consensus on everything ranging from a district’s branding and design decisions, to what functionality is added to the district via auxiliary modules, to the appropriate settings for any adjustable parameters of these modules, to the means in which any revenue collected by a district is to be distributed, and beyond.

You might already be catching onto what District0x is truly doing here — creating an environment where the creation and operation of Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAO) is better facilitated. What is a DAO? The Wikipedia Gods:

A decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), sometimes labeled a decentralized autonomous corporation (DAC), is an organization that is run through rules encoded as computer programs called smart contracts.[1] A DAO’s financial transaction record and program rules are maintained on a blockchain.[1][2][3] There are several examples of this business model. The precise legal status of this type of business organization is unclear.[4]
Source

Wow. Revolutionary really, isn’t it? There may be evidence that this is the ultimate direction in which entrepreneurs and business shift. More below.

Link

CSR, Impact Investing, & Now The DAO

Smog was first heavily noticed by workers in Los Angeles during the 1950’s. In the 1980’s and 1990's, businesses truly started implementing a phrase known as “corporate social responsibility” or CSR. To my knowledge, this is the time when society really started focusing on the negative affects of business — negative externalities — due to the Los Angeles Smog Crisis.

I believe corporate social responsibility was used as a psychological tactic by businesses to spin what they were doing, making it more acceptable to society. Entrepreneurship has always been about creating solutions and earning profits — supply and demand. Well, simply doing business stopped benefiting society more than the negative externalities created by the act.

Los Angeles pollution started around the 1950’s, but did not start really hurting residents until the 1990’s. Pollution became a dinner table conversation — families and children were really beginning to get damaged by the polluted environment. This became a reality when

Lung autopsies on more than 1,100 young people who died in accidents or were victims of homicide find that 27 percent had severely damaged lungs.”

Businesses were killing us! So the government stepped in, created some laws to restrict pollution, and businesses realized the psychological effect of CSR.

Next comes Impact Investing — this term has been used since the 1990’s, but has been really picking up since 2015. The term can be found all over the largest investment media outlet articles. Why? Because impact investing is not just about earning a profit — it’s about earning a financial AND social return. Meaning, if I invest in a company that makes it a point to and creates positive societal impacts, I made an impact investment. The ability to fix the negative societal problems with entrepreneurship and investing. Fixing the world AND earning a return on investment! Pretty powerful, right?

Corporate Social Responsibility and Impact Investments go together like peanut butter and jelly, but Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) are the bread. THIS is what District0x is working to facilitate the creation of. With DAOs, nobody has to worry about a greedy CEO or CFO trying to pull the wool over our eyes. Instead, trustless contracts known as smart contracts are used to dictate DAOs. They are programmed a certain way and do what they are programmed to do within the set parameters.

So instead of a Walmart corporation TELLING US they are using CSR and impact investing — investors can take their money, invest in a DAO-focused company like District0x, and then use those tokens received from the investment to operate within the DAO environment.

Hope this bit was insightful to you and maybe stimulated you to think about some other aspect of investing and technology! Feel free to share this with your network to help grow our decentralized, cryptocurrency community!

Until next time fellow cryptocurrency enthusiasts! d[^_^]b

Follow CrowdConscious on Medium
Follow CrowdedMind on Steemit

Below are some resources for beginning cryptocurrency enthusiasts:


ICO Update: District0x at 29,000/58,550 ETH Soft Cap was originally published in Keeping Stock on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

WTF is The Blockchain?

The ultimate 3500-word guide in plain English to understand Blockchain.


http://www.forexnewsnow.com/top-stories/bitcoin-2016-summary-2017-forecasts/

Unless you’re hiding under the rock, I am sure you’d have heard of Bitcoins and Blockchain. After all, they are the trending and media’s favorite topics these days — the buzzwords of the year. Even the people who’ve never mined a cryptocurrency or understand how it works, are talking about it. I have more non-technical friends than technical ones. They have been bugging me for weeks to explain this new buzzword to them. I guess there are thousands out there who feel the same. And when that happens, there comes a time to write something to which everyone can point the other lost souls too — that’s the purpose of this post — written in plain english that any regular internet user understands.

Blockchain: why do we even need something this complex?

“For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.” — H. L. Mencken

Unlike every other post on the internet, instead of first defining the Blockchain, we’ll understand the problem it solves.

Imagine, Joe is your best friend. He is traveling overseas, and on the fifth day of his vacation, he calls you and says, “Dude, I need some money. I have run out of it.”

You reply, “Sending some right away,” and hung up.

You then call your account manager at your bank and tell him, “Please transfer $1000 from my account to Joe’s account.”

Your account manager replies, “Yes, sir.”

He opens up the register, checks your account balance to see if you have enough balance to transfer $1000 to Joe. Because you’re a rich man, you have plenty; thus, he makes an entry in the register like the following:


The Transaction Register

Note: We’re not talking about computers only to keep things simple.

You call Joe and tell him, “I’ve transferred the money. Next time, you’d go to your bank, you can withdraw the $1000 that I have just transferred.”

What just happened? You and Joe both trusted the bank to manage your money. There was no real movement of physical bills to transfer the money. All that was needed was an entry in the register. Or more precisely, an entry in the register that neither you nor Joe controls or owns.

And that is the problem of the current systems.

To establish trust between ourselves, we depend on individual third-parties.

For years, we’ve depended on these middlemen to trust each other. You might ask, “what is the problem depending on them?”

The problem is that they are singular in number. If a chaos has to be injected in the society, all it requires is one person/organization to go corrupt, intentionally on unintentionally.

  • What if that register in which the transaction was logged gets burnt in a fire?
  • What if, by mistake, your account manager had written $1500 instead of $1000?
  • What if he did that on purpose?

For years, we have been putting all our eggs in one basket and that too in someone else’s.

Could there be a system where we can still transfer money without needing the bank?

To answer this question, we’ll need to drill down further and ask ourselves a better question (after all, only better questions lead to better answers).

Think about it for a second, what does transferring money means? Just an entry in the register. The better question would then be —

Is there a way to maintain the register among ourselves instead of someone else doing it for us?

Now, that is a question worth exploring. And the answer is what you might have already guessed. The blockchain is the answer to the profound question.

It is a method to maintain that register among ourselves instead of depending on someone else to do it for us.

Are you still with me? Good. Because now, when several questions have started popping in your mind, we will learn how this distributed register works.

Yes, but tell me, how does it work?

The requirement of this method is that there must be enough people who would like not to depend on a third-party. Only then this group can maintain the register on their own.

“It might make sense just to get some Bitcoin in case it catches on. If enough people think the same way, that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.” — Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009

How many are enough? At least three. For our example, we will assume ten individuals want to give up on banks or any third-party. Upon mutual agreement, they have details of each other’s accounts all the time — without knowing the other’s identity.

1. An Empty Folder

Everyone contains an empty folder with themselves to start with. As we’ll progress, all these ten individuals will keep adding pages to their currently empty folders. And this collection of pages will form the register that tracks the transactions.

2. When A Transaction Happens

Next, everyone in the network sits with a blank page and a pen in their hands. Everyone is ready to write any transaction that occurs within the system.

Now, if #2 wants to send $10 to #9.

To make the transaction, #2 shouts and tells everyone, “I want to transfer $10 to #9. So, everyone, please make a note of it on your pages.”

Everyone checks whether #2 has enough balance to transfer $10 to #9. If she has enough balance, everyone then makes a note of the transaction on their blank pages.


First transaction on the page

The transaction is then considered to be complete.

3. Transactions Continue Happening

As the time passes, more people in the network feel the need to transfer money to others. Whenever they want to make a transaction, they announce it to everyone else. As soon as a person listens to the announcement, (s)he writes it on his/her page.

This exercise continues until everyone runs out of space on the current page. Assuming a page has space to record ten transactions, as soon as the tenth transaction is made, everybody runs out of the space.


When page gets filled

It’s time to put the page away in the folder and bring out a new page and repeat the process from the step 2 above.

4. Putting Away The Page

Before we put away the page in our folders, we need to seal it with a unique key that everyone in the network agrees upon. By sealing it, we will make sure that no one can make any changes to it once its copies have been put away in everyone’s folder — not today, not tomorrow and not even after a year. Once in the folder, it will always stay in the folder — sealed. Moreover, if everyone trusts the seal, everyone trusts the contents of the page. And this sealing of the page is the crux of this method.

[Jargon Box] It is called ‘mining’ on the page to secure it, but for the simplicity of it, we’ll keep calling it ‘sealing.’

Earlier the third-party/middleman gave us the trust that whatever they have written in the register will never be altered. In a distributed and decentralized system like ours, this seal will provide the trust instead.

Interesting! How do we seal the page then?

Before we learn how we can seal the page, we’ll know how the seal works, in general. And as a pre-requisite to it is learning about something that I like to call…

The Magic Machine

Imagine a machine surrounded by thick walls. If you send a box with something inside it from the left, it will spit out a box containing something else.

[Jargon Box] This machine is called ‘Hash Function,’ but we aren’t in a mood to be too technical. So, for today, these are ‘The Magic Machines.’


The Magic Machine (aka Hashing Function)

Suppose, you send the number 4 inside it from the left, we’d find that it spat out the following word on its right: ‘dcbea.’

How did it convert the number 4 to this word? No one knows. Moreover, it is an irreversible process. Given the word, ‘dcbea,’ it is impossible to tell what the machine was fed on the left. But every time you’d feed the number 4 to the machine, it will always spit out the same word, ‘dcbea.’


hash(4) == dcbea

Given the word, ‘dcbea,’ it is impossible to tell what the machine was fed on the left. But every time you’d feed the number 4 to the machine, it will always spit out the same word, ‘dcbea.’

Let’s try sending in a different number. How about 26?


hash(26) == 94c8e

We got ‘94c8e’ this time. Interesting! So, the words can contain the numbers too.

What if I ask you the following question now:

“Can you tell me what should I send from the left side of the machine such that I get a word that starts with three leading zeroes from the right side of it? For example, 000ab or 00098 or 000fa or anything among the others.”


Predicting the input

Think about the question for a moment.

I’ve told you the machine has a property that we cannot calculate what we must send from the left after we’re given the expected output on the right. With such a machine given to us, how can we answer the question I asked?

I can think of one method. Why not try every number in the universe one by one until we get a word that starts with three leading zeroes?


Try everything to calculate the input

Being optimistic, after several thousand attempts, we’ll end up with a number that will yield the required output on the right.

It was extremely difficult to calculate the input given the output. But at the same time, it will always be incredibly easy to verify if the predicted input yields the required output. Remember that the machine spits out the same word for a number every time.

How difficult do you think the answer is if I give you a number, say 72533, and ask you the question, “Does this number, when fed into the machine, yields a word that starts with three leading zeroes?”

All you need to do is, throw the number in the machine and see what did you get on the right side of it. That’s it.

The most important property of such machines is that — “Given an output, it is extremely difficult to calculate the input, but given the input and the output, it is pretty easy to verify if the input leads to the output.”

We’ll remember this one property of the Magic Machines (or Hash Functions) through the rest of the post:

Given an output, it is extremely difficult to calculate the input, but given an input and output, it is pretty easy to verify if the input leads to the output.

How to use these machines to seal a page?

We’ll use this magic machine to generate a seal for our page. Like always, we’ll start with an imaginary situation.

Imagine I give you two boxes. The first box contains the number 20893. I, then, ask you, “Can you figure out a number that when added to the number in the first box and fed to the machine will give us a word that starts with three leading zeroes?”

This is a similar situation as we saw previously and we have learned that the only way to calculate such a number is by trying every number available in the entire universe.

After several thousand attempts, we’ll stumble upon a number, say 21191, which when added to 20893 (i.e. 21191 + 20893 = 42084) and fed to the machine, will yield a word that satisfies our requirements.

In such a case, this number, 21191 becomes the seal for the number 20893. Assume there is a page that bears the number 20893 written on it. To seal that page (i.e. no one can change the contents of it), we will put a badge labeled ‘21191’ on top of it. As soon as the sealing number (i.e. 21191) is stuck on the page, the page is sealed.


The sealed number

[Jargon Box] The sealing number is called ‘Proof Of Work,’ meaning that this number is the proof that efforts had been made to calculate it. We are good with calling it ‘sealing number’ for our purposes.

If anyone wants to verify whether the page was altered, all he would have to do is — add the contents of the page with the sealing number and feed to the magic machine. If the machine gives out a word with three leading zeroes, the contents were untouched. If the word that comes out doesn’t meet our requirements, we can throw away the page because its contents were compromised, and are of no use.

We’ll use a similar sealing mechanism to seal all our pages and eventually arrange them in our respective folders.

Finally, sealing our page…

To seal our page that contains the transactions of the network, we’ll need to figure out a number that when appended to the list of transactions and fed to the machine, we get a word that starts with three leading zeroes on the right.

Note: I have been using the phrase ‘word starting with three leading zeroes’ only as an example. It illustrates how Hashing Functions work. The real challenges are much more complicated than this.

Once that number is calculated after spending time and electricity on the machine, the page is sealed with that number. If ever, someone tries to change the contents of the page, the sealing number will allow anyone to verify the integrity of the page.

Now that we know about sealing the page, we will go back to the time when we had finished writing the tenth transaction on the page, and we ran out of space to write more.

As soon as everyone runs out of the page to write further transactions, they indulge in calculating the sealing number for the page so that it can be tucked away in the folder. Everyone in the network does the calculation. The first one in the network to figure out the sealing number announces it to everyone else.

Immediately on hearing the sealing number, everyone verifies if it yields the required output or not. If it does, everyone labels their pages with this number and put it away in their folders.

But what if for someone, say #7, the sealing number that was announced doesn’t yield the required output? Such cases are not unusual. The possible reasons for this could be:

  • He might have misheard the transactions that were announced in the network
  • He might have miswritten the transactions that were announced in the network
  • He might have tried to cheat or be dishonest when writing transactions, either to favor himself or someone else in the network

No matter what the reason is, #7 has only one choice — to discard his page and copy it from someone else so that he too can put it in the folder. Unless he doesn’t put his page in the folder, he cannot continue writing further transactions, thus, forbidding him to be part of the network.

Whatever sealing number the majority agrees upon, becomes the honest sealing number.

Then why does everyone spend resources doing the calculation when they know that someone else will calculate and announce it to them? Why not sit idle and wait for the announcement?

Great question. This is where the incentives come in the picture. Everyone who is the part of the Blockchain is eligible for rewards. The first one to calculate the sealing number gets rewarded with free money for his efforts (i.e. expended CPU power and electricity).

Simply imagine, if #5 calculates the sealing number of a page, he gets rewarded with some free money, say $1, that gets minted out of thin air. In other words, the account balance of #5 gets incremented with $1 without decreasing anyone else’s account balance.

That’s how Bitcoin got into existence. It was the first currency to be transacted on a Blockchain (i.e. distributed registers). And in return, to keep the efforts going on in the network, people were awarded Bitcoins.

When enough people possess Bitcoins, they grow in value, making other people wanting Bitcoins; making Bitcoins grow in value even further; making even more people wanting Bitcoins; making them grow in value even further; and so on.

The rewards make everyone keep working in the network.

And once everyone tucks away the page in their folders, they bring out a new blank page and repeat the whole process all over again — doing it forever.

[Jargon Box] Think of a single page as a Block of transactions and the folder as the Chain of pages (Blocks), therefore, turning it into a Blockchain.

And that, my friends, is how Blockchain works.

Except that there’s one tiny thing I didn’t tell you. Yet.

Imagine there are five pages in the folder already — all sealed with a sealing number. What if I go back to the second page and modify a transaction to favor myself? The sealing number will let anyone detect the inconsistency in the transactions, right? What if I go ahead and calculate a new sealing number too for the modified transactions and label the page with that instead?

To prevent this problem of someone going back and modifying a page (Block) as well as the sealing number, there’s a little twist to how a sealing number is calculated.

Protecting modifications to the sealing numbers

Remember how I told you that I had given you two boxes — one containing the number 20893 and another empty for you to calculate? In reality, to calculate the sealing number in a Blockchain, instead of two boxes, there are three — two pre-filled and one to be calculated.

And when the contents of all those three boxes are added and fed to the machine, the answer that comes out from the right side must satisfy the required conditions.

We already know that one box contains the list of transactions and one box will contain the sealing number. The third box contains the output of the magic machine for the previous page.

With this neat little trick, we have made sure that every page depends on its previous page. Therefore, if someone has to modify a historical page, he would also have to change the contents and the sealing number of all the pages after that, to keep the chain consistent.

If one individual, out of the ten we imagined in the beginning, tries to cheat and modify the contents of the Blockchain (the folder containing the pages with the list of transactions), he would have to adjust several pages and also calculate the new sealing numbers for all those pages. We know how difficult it is to calculate the sealing numbers. Therefore, one dishonest guy in the network cannot beat the nine honest guys.

What will happen is, from the page the dishonest guy tries to cheat, he would be creating another chain in the network, but that chain would never be able to catch up with the honest chain — simply because one guy’s efforts and speed cannot beat cumulative efforts and speed of nine. Hence, guaranteeing that the longest chain in a network is the honest chain.

Longest chain is the honest chain.


Longest chain is the honest chain.

When I told you that one dishonest guy cannot beat nine honest guys, did it ring any bell in your head?

What if, instead of one, six guys turn dishonest?

In that case, the protocol will fall flat on its face. And it is known as “51% Attack”. If the majority of the individuals in the network decides to turn dishonest and cheat the rest of the network, the protocol will fail its purpose.

And that’s the only vulnerable reason why Blockchains might collapse if they ever will. Know that, it is unlikely to happen but we must all know the vulnerable points of the system. It is built on the assumption that the majority of a crowd is always honest.

And that, my friends, is all there is about Blockchains. If you ever find someone feeling left behind and wondering, “WTF is the Blockchain?” you know where you can point them to. Bookmark the link.

Can think of someone right now who should read this? The ‘Share’ button is all yours.

About the author

Mohit Mamoria is the curator of a weekly newsletter, Unmade, which delivers one idea from the future to your inboxes.

Thanks for reading! :) If you liked it, please support by hitting that heart button below. 💚



WTF is The Blockchain? was originally published in Hacker Noon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

WTF is The Blockchain?

The ultimate 3500-word guide in plain English to understand Blockchain.


http://www.forexnewsnow.com/top-stories/bitcoin-2016-summary-2017-forecasts/

Unless you’re hiding under the rock, I am sure you’d have heard of Bitcoins and Blockchain. After all, they are the trending and media’s favorite topics these days — the buzzwords of the year. Even the people who’ve never mined a cryptocurrency or understand how it works, are talking about it. I have more non-technical friends than technical ones. They have been bugging me for weeks to explain this new buzzword to them. I guess there are thousands out there who feel the same. And when that happens, there comes a time to write something to which everyone can point the other lost souls too — that’s the purpose of this post — written in plain english that any regular internet user understands.

Blockchain: why do we even need something this complex?

“For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.” — H. L. Mencken

Unlike every other post on the internet, instead of first defining the Blockchain, we’ll understand the problem it solves.

Imagine, Joe is your best friend. He is traveling overseas, and on the fifth day of his vacation, he calls you and says, “Dude, I need some money. I have run out of it.”

You reply, “Sending some right away,” and hung up.

You then call your account manager at your bank and tell him, “Please transfer $1000 from my account to Joe’s account.”

Your account manager replies, “Yes, sir.”

He opens up the register, checks your account balance to see if you have enough balance to transfer $1000 to Joe. Because you’re a rich man, you have plenty; thus, he makes an entry in the register like the following:


The Transaction Register

Note: We’re not talking about computers only to keep things simple.

You call Joe and tell him, “I’ve transferred the money. Next time, you’d go to your bank, you can withdraw the $1000 that I have just transferred.”

What just happened? You and Joe both trusted the bank to manage your money. There was no real movement of physical bills to transfer the money. All that was needed was an entry in the register. Or more precisely, an entry in the register that neither you nor Joe controls or owns.

And that is the problem of the current systems.

To establish trust between ourselves, we depend on individual third-parties.

For years, we’ve depended on these middlemen to trust each other. You might ask, “what is the problem depending on them?”

The problem is that they are singular in number. If a chaos has to be injected in the society, all it requires is one person/organization to go corrupt, intentionally on unintentionally.

  • What if that register in which the transaction was logged gets burnt in a fire?
  • What if, by mistake, your account manager had written $1500 instead of $1000?
  • What if he did that on purpose?

For years, we have been putting all our eggs in one basket and that too in someone else’s.

Could there be a system where we can still transfer money without needing the bank?

To answer this question, we’ll need to drill down further and ask ourselves a better question (after all, only better questions lead to better answers).

Think about it for a second, what does transferring money means? Just an entry in the register. The better question would then be —

Is there a way to maintain the register among ourselves instead of someone else doing it for us?

Now, that is a question worth exploring. And the answer is what you might have already guessed. The blockchain is the answer to the profound question.

It is a method to maintain that register among ourselves instead of depending on someone else to do it for us.

Are you still with me? Good. Because now, when several questions have started popping in your mind, we will learn how this distributed register works.

Yes, but tell me, how does it work?

The requirement of this method is that there must be enough people who would like not to depend on a third-party. Only then this group can maintain the register on their own.

“It might make sense just to get some Bitcoin in case it catches on. If enough people think the same way, that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.” — Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009

How many are enough? At least three. For our example, we will assume ten individuals want to give up on banks or any third-party. Upon mutual agreement, they have details of each other’s accounts all the time — without knowing the other’s identity.

1. An Empty Folder

Everyone contains an empty folder with themselves to start with. As we’ll progress, all these ten individuals will keep adding pages to their currently empty folders. And this collection of pages will form the register that tracks the transactions.

2. When A Transaction Happens

Next, everyone in the network sits with a blank page and a pen in their hands. Everyone is ready to write any transaction that occurs within the system.

Now, if #2 wants to send $10 to #9.

To make the transaction, #2 shouts and tells everyone, “I want to transfer $10 to #9. So, everyone, please make a note of it on your pages.”

Everyone checks whether #2 has enough balance to transfer $10 to #9. If she has enough balance, everyone then makes a note of the transaction on their blank pages.


First transaction on the page

The transaction is then considered to be complete.

3. Transactions Continue Happening

As the time passes, more people in the network feel the need to transfer money to others. Whenever they want to make a transaction, they announce it to everyone else. As soon as a person listens to the announcement, (s)he writes it on his/her page.

This exercise continues until everyone runs out of space on the current page. Assuming a page has space to record ten transactions, as soon as the tenth transaction is made, everybody runs out of the space.


When page gets filled

It’s time to put the page away in the folder and bring out a new page and repeat the process from the step 2 above.

4. Putting Away The Page

Before we put away the page in our folders, we need to seal it with a unique key that everyone in the network agrees upon. By sealing it, we will make sure that no one can make any changes to it once its copies have been put away in everyone’s folder — not today, not tomorrow and not even after a year. Once in the folder, it will always stay in the folder — sealed. Moreover, if everyone trusts the seal, everyone trusts the contents of the page. And this sealing of the page is the crux of this method.

[Jargon Box] It is called ‘mining’ on the page to secure it, but for the simplicity of it, we’ll keep calling it ‘sealing.’

Earlier the third-party/middleman gave us the trust that whatever they have written in the register will never be altered. In a distributed and decentralized system like ours, this seal will provide the trust instead.

Interesting! How do we seal the page then?

Before we learn how we can seal the page, we’ll know how the seal works, in general. And as a pre-requisite to it is learning about something that I like to call…

The Magic Machine

Imagine a machine surrounded by thick walls. If you send a box with something inside it from the left, it will spit out a box containing something else.

[Jargon Box] This machine is called ‘Hash Function,’ but we aren’t in a mood to be too technical. So, for today, these are ‘The Magic Machines.’


The Magic Machine (aka Hashing Function)

Suppose, you send the number 4 inside it from the left, we’d find that it spat out the following word on its right: ‘dcbea.’

How did it convert the number 4 to this word? No one knows. Moreover, it is an irreversible process. Given the word, ‘dcbea,’ it is impossible to tell what the machine was fed on the left. But every time you’d feed the number 4 to the machine, it will always spit out the same word, ‘dcbea.’


hash(4) == dcbea

Given the word, ‘dcbea,’ it is impossible to tell what the machine was fed on the left. But every time you’d feed the number 4 to the machine, it will always spit out the same word, ‘dcbea.’

Let’s try sending in a different number. How about 26?


hash(26) == 94c8e

We got ‘94c8e’ this time. Interesting! So, the words can contain the numbers too.

What if I ask you the following question now:

“Can you tell me what should I send from the left side of the machine such that I get a word that starts with three leading zeroes from the right side of it? For example, 000ab or 00098 or 000fa or anything among the others.”


Predicting the input

Think about the question for a moment.

I’ve told you the machine has a property that we cannot calculate what we must send from the left after we’re given the expected output on the right. With such a machine given to us, how can we answer the question I asked?

I can think of one method. Why not try every number in the universe one by one until we get a word that starts with three leading zeroes?


Try everything to calculate the input

Being optimistic, after several thousand attempts, we’ll end up with a number that will yield the required output on the right.

It was extremely difficult to calculate the input given the output. But at the same time, it will always be incredibly easy to verify if the predicted input yields the required output. Remember that the machine spits out the same word for a number every time.

How difficult do you think the answer is if I give you a number, say 72533, and ask you the question, “Does this number, when fed into the machine, yields a word that starts with three leading zeroes?”

All you need to do is, throw the number in the machine and see what did you get on the right side of it. That’s it.

The most important property of such machines is that — “Given an output, it is extremely difficult to calculate the input, but given the input and the output, it is pretty easy to verify if the input leads to the output.”

We’ll remember this one property of the Magic Machines (or Hash Functions) through the rest of the post:

Given an output, it is extremely difficult to calculate the input, but given an input and output, it is pretty easy to verify if the input leads to the output.

How to use these machines to seal a page?

We’ll use this magic machine to generate a seal for our page. Like always, we’ll start with an imaginary situation.

Imagine I give you two boxes. The first box contains the number 20893. I, then, ask you, “Can you figure out a number that when added to the number in the first box and fed to the machine will give us a word that starts with three leading zeroes?”

This is a similar situation as we saw previously and we have learned that the only way to calculate such a number is by trying every number available in the entire universe.

After several thousand attempts, we’ll stumble upon a number, say 21191, which when added to 20893 (i.e. 21191 + 20893 = 42084) and fed to the machine, will yield a word that satisfies our requirements.

In such a case, this number, 21191 becomes the seal for the number 20893. Assume there is a page that bears the number 20893 written on it. To seal that page (i.e. no one can change the contents of it), we will put a badge labeled ‘21191’ on top of it. As soon as the sealing number (i.e. 21191) is stuck on the page, the page is sealed.


The sealed number

[Jargon Box] The sealing number is called ‘Proof Of Work,’ meaning that this number is the proof that efforts had been made to calculate it. We are good with calling it ‘sealing number’ for our purposes.

If anyone wants to verify whether the page was altered, all he would have to do is — add the contents of the page with the sealing number and feed to the magic machine. If the machine gives out a word with three leading zeroes, the contents were untouched. If the word that comes out doesn’t meet our requirements, we can throw away the page because its contents were compromised, and are of no use.

We’ll use a similar sealing mechanism to seal all our pages and eventually arrange them in our respective folders.

Finally, sealing our page…

To seal our page that contains the transactions of the network, we’ll need to figure out a number that when appended to the list of transactions and fed to the machine, we get a word that starts with three leading zeroes on the right.

Note: I have been using the phrase ‘word starting with three leading zeroes’ only as an example. It illustrates how Hashing Functions work. The real challenges are much more complicated than this.

Once that number is calculated after spending time and electricity on the machine, the page is sealed with that number. If ever, someone tries to change the contents of the page, the sealing number will allow anyone to verify the integrity of the page.

Now that we know about sealing the page, we will go back to the time when we had finished writing the tenth transaction on the page, and we ran out of space to write more.

As soon as everyone runs out of the page to write further transactions, they indulge in calculating the sealing number for the page so that it can be tucked away in the folder. Everyone in the network does the calculation. The first one in the network to figure out the sealing number announces it to everyone else.

Immediately on hearing the sealing number, everyone verifies if it yields the required output or not. If it does, everyone labels their pages with this number and put it away in their folders.

But what if for someone, say #7, the sealing number that was announced doesn’t yield the required output? Such cases are not unusual. The possible reasons for this could be:

  • He might have misheard the transactions that were announced in the network
  • He might have miswritten the transactions that were announced in the network
  • He might have tried to cheat or be dishonest when writing transactions, either to favor himself or someone else in the network

No matter what the reason is, #7 has only one choice — to discard his page and copy it from someone else so that he too can put it in the folder. Unless he doesn’t put his page in the folder, he cannot continue writing further transactions, thus, forbidding him to be part of the network.

Whatever sealing number the majority agrees upon, becomes the honest sealing number.

Then why does everyone spend resources doing the calculation when they know that someone else will calculate and announce it to them? Why not sit idle and wait for the announcement?

Great question. This is where the incentives come in the picture. Everyone who is the part of the Blockchain is eligible for rewards. The first one to calculate the sealing number gets rewarded with free money for his efforts (i.e. expended CPU power and electricity).

Simply imagine, if #5 calculates the sealing number of a page, he gets rewarded with some free money, say $1, that gets minted out of thin air. In other words, the account balance of #5 gets incremented with $1 without decreasing anyone else’s account balance.

That’s how Bitcoin got into existence. It was the first currency to be transacted on a Blockchain (i.e. distributed registers). And in return, to keep the efforts going on in the network, people were awarded Bitcoins.

When enough people possess Bitcoins, they grow in value, making other people wanting Bitcoins; making Bitcoins grow in value even further; making even more people wanting Bitcoins; making them grow in value even further; and so on.

The rewards make everyone keep working in the network.

And once everyone tucks away the page in their folders, they bring out a new blank page and repeat the whole process all over again — doing it forever.

[Jargon Box] Think of a single page as a Block of transactions and the folder as the Chain of pages (Blocks), therefore, turning it into a Blockchain.

And that, my friends, is how Blockchain works.

Except that there’s one tiny thing I didn’t tell you. Yet.

Imagine there are five pages in the folder already — all sealed with a sealing number. What if I go back to the second page and modify a transaction to favor myself? The sealing number will let anyone detect the inconsistency in the transactions, right? What if I go ahead and calculate a new sealing number too for the modified transactions and label the page with that instead?

To prevent this problem of someone going back and modifying a page (Block) as well as the sealing number, there’s a little twist to how a sealing number is calculated.

Protecting modifications to the sealing numbers

Remember how I told you that I had given you two boxes — one containing the number 20893 and another empty for you to calculate? In reality, to calculate the sealing number in a Blockchain, instead of two boxes, there are three — two pre-filled and one to be calculated.

And when the contents of all those three boxes are added and fed to the machine, the answer that comes out from the right side must satisfy the required conditions.

We already know that one box contains the list of transactions and one box will contain the sealing number. The third box contains the output of the magic machine for the previous page.

With this neat little trick, we have made sure that every page depends on its previous page. Therefore, if someone has to modify a historical page, he would also have to change the contents and the sealing number of all the pages after that, to keep the chain consistent.

If one individual, out of the ten we imagined in the beginning, tries to cheat and modify the contents of the Blockchain (the folder containing the pages with the list of transactions), he would have to adjust several pages and also calculate the new sealing numbers for all those pages. We know how difficult it is to calculate the sealing numbers. Therefore, one dishonest guy in the network cannot beat the nine honest guys.

What will happen is, from the page the dishonest guy tries to cheat, he would be creating another chain in the network, but that chain would never be able to catch up with the honest chain — simply because one guy’s efforts and speed cannot beat cumulative efforts and speed of nine. Hence, guaranteeing that the longest chain in a network is the honest chain.

Longest chain is the honest chain.


Longest chain is the honest chain.

When I told you that one dishonest guy cannot beat nine honest guys, did it ring any bell in your head?

What if, instead of one, six guys turn dishonest?

In that case, the protocol will fall flat on its face. And it is known as “51% Attack”. If the majority of the individuals in the network decides to turn dishonest and cheat the rest of the network, the protocol will fail its purpose.

And that’s the only vulnerable reason why Blockchains might collapse if they ever will. Know that, it is unlikely to happen but we must all know the vulnerable points of the system. It is built on the assumption that the majority of a crowd is always honest.

And that, my friends, is all there is about Blockchains. If you ever find someone feeling left behind and wondering, “WTF is the Blockchain?” you know where you can point them to. Bookmark the link.

Can think of someone right now who should read this? The ‘Share’ button is all yours.

About the author

Mohit Mamoria is the curator of a weekly newsletter, Unmade, which delivers one idea from the future to your inboxes.

Thanks for reading! :) If you liked it, please support by hitting that heart button below. 💚



WTF is The Blockchain? was originally published in Hacker Noon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

How to raise startup money through a blockchain ICO white paper

There’s a new kid on the block of startup fundraising: the ICO.

ICOs, or Initial Coin Offerings, are a way of selling shares of a company to a crowd of investors through the blockchain, a digital ledger. Rather than approaching family members or institutions for money, entrepreneurs are now selling “tokens” by creating their own currencies with no clearing house, centralized arbitrators, or third-party interference.

This fundraising is no joke. On June 12, 2017, a project called Bancor raised more than $150m in Ether, a currency on the Ethereum blockchain. Even billionaire investor Tim Draper jumped in on the action. The number of ICOs per month has risen dramatically in 2017.

Here’s how it works in five steps:

  1. A startup creates an ICO white paper, detailing their technical plan to change the world and increase the value of their tokens.
  2. Ideally, the team has a working prototype, marketing materials, and legal backing to increase investor confidence.
  3. The startup selects a method and terms for selling their tokens, with a goal of reaching crowdfunding targets by a specific deadline.
  4. Investors hear about the sale through the startup’s PR efforts, and often on ICO exchanges where tokens are bought and sold.
  5. When the startup’s goal is reached, the project is funded and the tokens are distributed to the investors. The startup receives cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum, fiat money such as USD, or a mixture of currencies.

The white paper is a critical component of the ICO. A successful white paper: 1) outlines the project, 2) describes the token distribution method, 3) lists the team members and their backgrounds, and 4) provides insight to the mechanism for creating value.

An entrepreneur or team looking to cash in on the ICO craze would be well-served to study some successful white papers from companies that met their fundraising goals. Notable white papers include:

An underlying theme of these successful ICOs is that they extended core technologies, creating new use cases for the blockchain itself. That said, a close look at an ICO calendar published by TokenMarket reveals that there are startups innovating new technologies in sectors such as data storage, gambling, and energy.

After reviewing a number of ICO white papers, here is a 10-section format I developed:

  1. Intro / Overview
  2. Token Description
  3. Sale Methodology
  4. Redemption Process
  5. Security Guarantees
  6. Economic Considerations
  7. Potential Risks
  8. Team
  9. Future Work
  10. Conclusion

Note that white papers are an open, unregulated format and as such, it is advisable to seek legal counsel when writing these documents.

That said, with a smart white paper, marketing, and well-executed strategy, startups might find that the tradeoffs of an ICO are favorable to their longterm business goals.

On Identity, Blockchain, and Token Offerings

With Civic’s recent sale of 33 million worth of tokens, I thought it important to share my thoughts about identity, blockchain, and token offerings (I’ll share my thoughts about blockchain and identity in a second post).

The Civic token sale is an interesting point to start given the amount of money raised for the company and the recent, spectacular rise of ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings). To contribute value, an identity platform needs to have scale in three key areas to establish network effects: organizations that issue identity, organizations that need to consume identity, and related attribute providers that add enhanced value to the network. For example, Visa’s platform needs scale on the bank side of the platform to turn bank customers into cardholders, the merchant side of the platform so their will accept their cards are accepted everywhere, and partnerships like Southwest Airlines and Chase add enhanced value to the network by tailoring value to market segments.

According to Alexa.com, Civic, which was founded in January 2016, had virtually no user traffic prior to the traffic driven by the token sale.

Civic.com traffic graph

This isn’t to say that the Civic team isn’t talented — they are very talented — or that they won’t be successful with the 33M in sold tokens they just generated, it just means that they are starting with no visible network effects or sustained growth. Given the eye popping amount of money raised, it’s hard to call that anything other than speculation. And the speculation problem appears linked to ICOs in general rather than Civic specifically: Status.im just raised over 270 million in three hours through an ICO while Status.im’s more established competitor, Coinbase, targeted a 100 million raise on the back of sustained, excellent performance.

If you think of tokens like bitcoins, then Civic is essentially issuing their own “identity currency” and buyers are buying at the value Civic set in the hopes that demand for the tokens go up faster than supply of the tokens increases thereby appreciating the value of the token so they can sell it later. The problem of course is that 27,000+ buyers, while impressive for a pseudo-investment/revenue event, is not nearly enough to make the network credible to a government agency or a bank in terms of credentialed users. If the hype fades and there is an absence of significant adoption of organizations that wish to use the service and no substantial growth in the user base, then Civic will be back right where they were before the ICO albeit with a lot more runway.

The main takeaway for me is that Civic would have been an extreme to impossible long-shot to raise 33 million from sophisticated institutional investors and that the speculation in the ICO space is out of control.

HelloSugoi Sells their First Event Ticket on the Ethereum Blockchain

HelloWorld

On Thursday, June 23 at 4:45pm in Santa Monica California, HelloSugoi sold the first of what we hope will be many millions of event tickets.

It’s official: The revolution in event ticketing has begun.

Although our blockchain-based “competition” may have fancier websites and white papers selling promises, HelloSugoi has delivered an actual product.

“Real artists ship.” — Steve Jobs

It ain’t pretty, but it works.

“If you’re not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.” — Reid Hoffman

In addition to shipping our product, we’re excited to announce that we’re selling tickets to the State of Digital Money, where influential thought leaders, stakeholders, and innovators will discuss cryptocurrency market trends and opportunities for the future. The event will take place at Cross Campus in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday, July 22nd.

Some of the biggest names in the cryptocurrency space will be in attendance: Brock Pierce, Managing Director of Blockchain Capital, Alyse Killeen, Managing Partner at StillMark, and Jesse Grushack, Co-Founder of Ujo Music and Product Strategist at ConsenSys — a literal who’s who of the digital currency movement.

We couldn’t have asked for a more relevant first use case.

How We Do

We’re well aware of the seemingly insurmountable challenges we face in attempting to fix a very broken industry. We openly accept these challenges and are not deterred by the obstacles we face.

Bring it on, baby.

We’re in the business of selling event tickets, not blockchain. We use blockchain because it enables us to provide the best value for our customers, not because it’s the sexiest new technology on the block, ahem.

We understand that the success of a ticketing platform has everything to do with access to event ticket inventory. We understand that rethinking how value is captured and distributed in the secondary market is a far better solution than trying to eliminate it all together. And we understand that, above all else, great businesses serve the needs of their customer.

Thought Leadership

Angello and I host the most popular blockchain Meetup in Los Angeles, called “Real World Blockchain.” We use this forum to discuss various use cases for blockchain technology (music industry, sharing economy, IoT, etc). We’re driven by a passion to engage and educate the community at large, in an attempt to introduce blockchain to as many people we possibly can.

Since embarking on this mission, we’ve facilitated talks at Pivotal Labs, Product School, Techtinx, the Herb Albert School of Music, the Anderson School of Management, the University of California Riverside, the Southern California Music Industry Professionals Meetup, the San Francisco Ethereum Developers Meetup, and the Society of Women Engineers.

Our location in the “Entertainment Capital of the World” give us access to influential musicians, promoters, and artists, who regularly seek our advice when looking to learn more about blockchain technology.

Watch our Meetups here.

Read our articles here.

Who We Is

Jason Robert — Before co-founding HelloSugoi, I was a professional musician. My first paying gig was as a drummer was at age 14. I’ve since toured with and opened for The Roots, Slick Rick, George Clinton, Robert Randolph, the Gaslamp Killer, and Boys II Men. I’ve played major festivals like Bonnaroo and the Newport Folk Festival.

In 2011, I began songwriting and producing. Within a year of living on Los Angeles, I got signed to the UK based Tru Thoughts label. I’ve since released 2 EPs and 2 full-length albums with enthusiastic support from tastemakers at NPR and the BBC, toured North America and the UK, and accumulated millions of plays across popular streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music.

In 2015, I signed a songwriting deal with BMG Production Music, the 5th largest publishing company in the world. I’ve since placed songs in in high-profile TV shows like “This is Us” on NBC, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” on CBS, and “The Mindy Project” on FOX.

I’m also scoring an Original Netflix Series called “We Speak Dance,” which is currently in production.

Angello Pozo —The Peruvian born, Los Angeles raised software engineer is the brilliant mastermind behind HelloSugoi’s innovative technology.

Ever since he was young, he’s wanted to be an inventor. I recall an evening at a Meetup hosted by Opodz in Little Tokyo. I began attending the Learn Teach Code meetup to accelerate my coding skills. It was that there I met Angello, who was helping to facilitate the meetup.

I sought his expertise in implementing a React component I was having trouble rendering. After he quickly solved the problem, I asked him how he got in to software engineering. His answer was perfect. He said, “Ever since I was a kid, I’ve wanted to be an inventor. I love building things. I also happen to really love computers,” at which point he lifted his Macbook close to his chest in a warm embrace.

Angello began learning Linux in 1999. Soon thereafter, he was playing around with websites and tinkering with circuits. In 2004, he moved to Riverside CA to attend the University of California. He earned a degree in Electrical Engineering, and later a Masters in Intelligent Systems.

While at UCR, he built an image processing grading application and implemented an intelligent systems algorithm based on auction theory with a set of Aria Robots. He was an active member of IEEE, where he conducted workshops with industry leaders. After UCR, he founded and worked on various startups in the Los Angeles area.

These days, Angello is a smart contract ninja. He’s written the logic to manage events, tickets, and user accounts with the Solidity programming language. In addition to building the platform, he’s currently authoring a book on programming in Solidity.

He’s alos an instructor at the newly launched DApperNetwork Blockchain Developer Bootcamp, which is the very first blockchain developer bootcamp in Los Angeles.

Why We Is

HelloSugoi is a revolutionary event ticketing platform.
Life is about experiences. Experiences can inspire, change lives, and bring people together.
Whether a concert, sporting event, conference, or gallery opening, we strive to facilitate amazing experiences.
Our innovative platform is built on the Ethereum blockchain. This remarkable technology enables us to do what no other event ticketing platform can.
We promise affordable ticket prices, safe and secure ticket resale or transfer, and 100% guaranteed ticket verification.
Goodbye fees, fraud, and frustration.
HelloSugoi.

HelloSugoi Sells their First Event Ticket on the Ethereum Blockchain was originally published in HelloSugoi on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Sustainability in the Crypto token market

By: Beryl Li (CEO|CapchainX)

Crypt0 Equity

The Crypto Asset market is valuable because it accelerates liquidity in private markets. However, I believe the current way ICOs and tokens are issued today is unsustainable. The gaps of understanding between buyers and sellers is causing a bubble formation. There are no fundamentals, no underlying equity but artificial demand to access product. There are improvements that can be made. The solution for a responsible liquid secondary market is providing tokens that are backed by real shares — Crypto Equity.

Point 1: Token issuance is a solution to an illiquid secondary market

To summarise the findings from a thesis I’ve written, there is demand for a secondary market for private markets — a huge untapped opportunity. There is (1) exponential growth in transactions in alternative financing to fund primary markets. (2) There are more entrepreneurs venturing out with increasing members in the unicorn club in the last years. (3) There is a longer trend staying private (11 years to IPO, 7 years for M&A). (4) Illiquidity is caused by asymmetric information in non transparent nature of private markets. Hence, price determination is usually done by brokers or private placement companies charging an average of 7%. (5) It also takes an average of 90 days to conduct due diligence, get board permission, and settle transactions. (6) Despite all these, there is still exponential revenues reflecting the interest for vested founders, early employees and primary market investors to cash out early and buyers to diversify portfolio of investments ($900m in the first half of 2014 for one of the US based private placement companies- SecondMarket now Nasdaq Private Market).

I believe having a market is important as it serves as checks and balances among players.The market is sensitive to new information. When the startup is hot, limited supply drives prices up until no one is willing to buy the offering. The same happens with lemons in the market where market corrects prices. Bubbles corrects prices by weeding out unsustainable players but when it implodes it results to consequences such as a loss of jobs, default on debt, etc. (ex. 2007 Financial crisis/ Internet bubble).

With social media, globalisation, and identifiable groups in the community, the market is quick at adjusting to new information and punishing players that have a linear alignment in compensation. When mispricing happens, the market seeks for more information to arbitrage, moving prices closer to fundamentals (in theory).

The issue here is, the market corrects at the expense of investors that failed to identify a lemon. This can be driven by irrational sentiment as Maynard Keynes called it animal spirits or as Robert Shiller expounded on herding behaviour. There is also Moral Hazard waiting for regulators to ensure order, transparency and efficiency. Unfortunately, technology evolves so quickly that it makes it difficult to find the right policy that provides balance between promoting innovation and protecting the market against risks.

Point 2: The current ICO token market is Unsustainable

Theres a huge potential for tokens because it makes a secondary market possible. However, the first wave of tokens today are not sustainable. There is liquidity but there is no transparency- an information gap in the token’s fundamentals, which means buyers don’t know what they are getting into.

1. Misalignment of incentives for team to deliver

The moment founders or early employees get to cash out their Ethers from their token sale they no longer have an incentive to deliver. Their tokens get recycled back in the secondary market but they already have cash upfront. The average 4 year Vesting and 1 year cliff periods of their tokens need to be in place. This can be done through a token plan with a token cap table.

2. Mismatch on what the value of these tokens truly represent (credits vs equity)

Tokens are equivalent to credits to use product just how tickets are priced for a concert or Top-up to make a phone call. There are no fundamentals in these tokens but its price is determined by the scarcity to access product when released. Buyers are buying access to the product.

In addition to this point, the scarcity of supply of tokens to use product is artificial to drive prices higher. Why not accept Fiat currency, BTC or ETH to access product? That’s the creation of “artificial demand” for tokens.

Here is the gap, buyers don’t know what they are buying. Token buyers are not buying tokens (credits, loyalty points, ticket) to use product. In fact, they might not even use the product. They are attaching the value to the potential of the product to create future revenue streams and the potential of the team to deliver. The current behaviour of tokens reflects the valuation of the startup building product and not credits to access product. Buyers want to be “invested” in the startup. Therefore, equity should be attached to the value of these tokens.

Token buyers are not buying the real fundamentals they think they are getting — a sign of a bubble formation.

3. Misunderstood gap between ETH, BTC and Other tokens

ETH and BTC are in a different tier. Lets apply the analogy of gold and silver. These commodities could have easily been emerald, sand or bronze but gold is perceived and accepted valuable by the market. If I got my gold from Japan with yen, India will accept gold for rupees. The same is happening in the digital age with cryptocurrency.

BTC presented the use case for a decentralised “commodity” proving blockchain’s use case while ETH does the job of BTC while representing credits used to self enforce smart contracts widely used today and tomorrow because of its enterprise alliances with credible institutions using smart contracts. The market perceives ETH and BTC as the new gold and silver of the digital age. While other tokens are not yet proven valuable.

Point 3: Crypto Equity is the solution

To issue more sustainable tokens, it should be backed with the company’s equity if buyers want to be invested in the startup. This is similar to fiat currency that is backed by commodities and baskets of other stable currencies. Equity is more applicable in the case of companies because shares represent the valuation, voting rights, and a claim to its earnings such as dividends and claim to its assets. There should be correct alignment- skin in the game for market players, protection for supporters, fundamentals reflected in its prices.

Next: Crypto Equity and the regulatory landscape

[CapchainX is the next generation crypto equity platform to create, manage and trade equity on the Ethereum blockchain. Tokens can be exchanged for share certificates. Sign up on CapchainX and help the team improve Alpha!]

3 Technologies, Darwin Labs believes will play a vital role in the next tech revolution

In 1831, during a series of experiments, a scientist, Michael passed current through one coil and found current induced in another coil. At that moment little did anyone know, Michael Faraday had changed the world forever

We have often been questioned,

’Why are most of our products at Darwin Labs centered around new technologies like Virtual Reality, Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence?’

Here’s a short version of the answer-

At Darwin Labs, we believe self-expression evolves us individually, and technology evolves us collectively.

Here’s the longer one-

Through the last 200 years, we have advanced more than what we did in the last 2000 years. It is technology that ushered us to this age of immense growth and development. And undoubtedly, it is the next technology revolution that will shape our road ahead.

Talking about the future, if there are three technologies that we can absolutely vouch for. They are Blockchain, Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence.

Why?

1) Blockchain

At the dawn of human civilization, one of our ancestors made a great discovery, if he could exchange the meat of a mammoth for a giant tiger skin, he would be able to hunt in harsh cold conditions a well.

What this led to, was the dawn of the first trade system- the barter system. But, there were problems- Carrying utilities around for exchange was difficult and calculating the value of utilities was complicated. (Was exchanging a bag of salt for a dozen of apples a good deal or a costly one?)

As time passed, a Lydian King resolved this by inventing a gold-silver coin system. Now, utilities could be measured in a common currency. A bag of grain could be worth two coins and a full day service of a man was worth three. Lydia flourished making it one of the richest ancient empires. Soon, other empires started minting their own coins. Eventually, coins evolved into paper currencies, empires into countries and kings into governments.

Today, governments centrally regulate trade and finances of the country. But, there is a problem- it’s centralized, closed and corruptible. The government can change its value and cause hyperinflation like it did in Germany or Zimbabwe (where the worth of 100 trillion Zimbabwean dollars became 40 US cents).

The evolution of finance & trade exchange into a decentralized, open & secure system is the need of the hour. This brings us to Blockchain technology.

Blockchain is a type of decentralized and encrypted database that keeps records of digital transactions. It’s an open ledger where a single addition is updated across all the people who have the access to it. Plus, It’s cryptographic nature allows people to trust each other and transact peer to peer. Hacking or corrupting it is virtually impossible!

In short, it has the potential of building a trust-free incorruptible society.

Blockchain has applications that go way beyond obvious things like digital currencies and money transfers from electronic voting to property & asset records. It will disrupt hundreds of industries that rely on intermediaries, including banking, finance, academia, real estate, insurance, legal, health care and the public sector — amongst many others.

Eventually, we can evolve into a future without governments or regulatory bodies where the people can transact without having to worry about ingenuity or information corruption.

How Blockchain can help us build a better future?
Two friends, Jack and John get a car insurance from two companies. Jack has a car accident. He goes to his traditional insurance company and shows them the car. The approval is sent. And the compensation is transferred to his account after a few weeks. A few days later, John too has a car accident. His Blockchain+IoT company detects the damage within seconds with the help of sensors technology fitted in the car. Based on the damage, the company transfers the compensation a few minutes later.

Undoubtedly, Blockchain is evolving the future as we know it every day. We at Darwin Labs are using Blockchain technology among multiple brands to contribute to this evolution.

At BlockSmiths, we are leveraging this technology to build a portfolio of products. With Satoshi Studios, we are incubating other Blockchain startups in Asia who want to build a better and trust-free society together.

2) Virtual Reality

Mario, Mermaids or Matrix, we humans have always been dreamy by the thought of living in a fantasy world. In the real tech world, if you dream long enough, you might make it come true.

Our fondness with visuals representation dates back to the prehistoric times when cavemen expressed their sentiments through stone carvings on the walls of caves. Centuries later, we discovered paper and drawing became more accurate and simpler than ever. We became artists. We would tell stories through drawing & paintings, taking viewers into a different dimension.

But, it still wasn’t real or even close to real.

The discovery of graphics in 1950’s changed everything. Then, we weren’t trying to just replicate objects and scenery, we started trying to replicate reality. This race led to the birth of virtual reality.

Virtual reality is a technology that generates realistic images, sounds and other sensations that simulate a user’s physical presence in a virtual or imaginary environment.

Virtual Reality has been one of the biggest game-changer in the visual space. Virtual Games mirroring our lives are just the beginning of what it can achieve. With time, it also has extended into mixed reality and augmented reality.

It allows us to deliver immersive experiences where users cannot possibly differentiate between the real world and the virtual world. It’s applications can disrupt multiple industries ranging from marketing to businesses and from manufacturing to shopping. Furthermore, It could revolutionize the entire entertainment & communication industry:

Recent developments in virtual reality have made it possible for people at different ends of the world to experience conversations as if they are present at the room through life-like avatars. You could physically experience every meeting or every event held in the world! You could even watch a live concert or the FIFA final from the stadium while you are actually sitting at your home.

Virtual Reality will change the way we experience reality. It could also be a better version of reality.

At Darwin Labs, we are trying to bridge the gap between reality and virtual reality every day. Our team at Virtualists has teamed up with India’s leading Jewellery Brand, PC Jeweller to build the world’s first complete virtual jewellery store.

3) Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence has been the buzzword for decades now. Now, It’s learning more about us than we can have learned about it in the last 50 years.

Technology was born for out of a reason- To make things simpler, affordable and more efficient. Over the millennia, counting stones evolved into Abacus and the Abacus into a computer. But, what if we could remove human interference completely? What if we could make machines intelligent enough to do our work for us? Or completely automate it?

This was resolved when scientists realized that complete Automation can be attained when you train a machine with hundreds of use cases. It’s only then that it knows how to make the right decisions. It becomes intelligent, artificially intelligent.

But now machines are getting smarter than us. As much as it can be a bane, it’s also a boon. It can single-handedly be responsible for driving the next tech revolution. If AI continues to serve the purpose of assisting humans to advance better, human intelligence & artificial intelligence could do wonders together.

Science, Robotics, Manufacturing, Computing… the list still goes on about the industries that Artificial intelligence has already evolved. But it has not yet reached it’s complete capability. What we can achieve with AI is mesmerizing.

Through years of digital networking and usability, we have created a digital footprint of ourselves. This digital footprint is helping us build a digital intelligent version of ourselves which could assist us in making better decisions or even handle mundane tasks itself. It could pay your bills automatically, drive you home and light your home automatically when you enter.

As Artificial intelligence paves the way for a better future ahead, we at Darwin Labs are fusing Artificial Intelligence with human intelligence to build products at Virtualists, Algorithm-trading and many other products.

At Darwin Labs, we understand that these potential and impact that these technologies will hold for the future.

A few years down the line, when the world will be a witness to the next tech revolution, we Darwinians can look back and be proud of our contribution to it.


3 Technologies, Darwin Labs believes will play a vital role in the next tech revolution was originally published in Darwin Labs on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Embracing Blockchain — Tracking Trends

As humans, we are wired to find ways to lower uncertainty and increase trust with one another prior to exchanging value. Historically, we have relied on political and economic institutions such as banks, corporations, media and governments to reduce the trust deficit. Interestingly, this year at the World Economic Forum in Davos, David Edelman cited his annual trust barometer report (an online survey composed of 33,000+ respondents in 28 countries), titled an “Implosion of trust” indicating that trust in institutions has declined with the survey results indicating 85% aren’t working towards their best interests, and governments are distrusted in 75% of these countries.

If there is any technology that has the potential to solve the problem of distrust and uncertainty in exchanging value it is the blockchain. Endorsed as the second coming of the internet, blockchain, if widely adopted has the ability to transform and fundamentally change how we exchange value disrupting the notion of an institution.

Blockchain was first introduced in the original source code of bitcoin in 2008. Over the years it has radically evolved and is gaining recognition with Google searches for “blockchain” growing 1900% since 2013 being a key indicator of its immense popularity. The heart of blockchain’s potential lies in its distinctive properties of a distributed database and ability to improve transparency, security and efficiency across sectors.

What is “Blockchain”?

Blockchain is a decentralized database that records a registry of assets and transactions across a peer-to-peer network. Every transaction is secured through cryptography, and over time, the blocks of data are linked together to create an immutable and highly integral record of all transactions across this network. This record is duplicated across every computer that uses the network.

A close comparison to blockchain would be Wikipedia, an open platform that stores words, images and changes it to visible data over the internet. Today, we can create, access, constantly change and time track any information on Wikipedia, because the core technology is its data infrastructure. Likewise, you can think of blockchain as an open and secure infrastructure to store assets. The technology can create and store information from a simple contract to documents pertaining to ownership of real estate or Intellectual Property across a network that is secure. A difference between the two is that data on blockchain is immutable and hard to tamper with.

How does it Work?


Source — Financial Times

Key Features:

  • Blockchain is a peer-to-peer public ledger perpetuated by a distributed network of computers. The distributed messaging protocol creates a shared ledger between the two parties involved, removing the necessity for any central authority to validate transactions.
  • Every transaction with valid funds and recipients goes into a new block which is time stamped. To ensure security, parties (miners) have to solve a puzzle (similar to a password) before they can access data in the record. The concerned parties enter transactions in a chronological order.
  • Each block includes the hash of the prior block in the chain, linking the two. At the time of an asset transfer between two parties, a new block with a timestamp is created and linked to the previous block, hence the name blockchain.
  • A complete chain contains records of every transaction executed concerning the underlying asset. The information can be used to track all transactions at any point in history.

“One can think of blockchain as the layers in a geological formation. The surface layers may change with seasons, or even be blown away before settling down. As you go a few inches deep, the layers become more stable. When you look a few feet down, you are looking at a snapshot of the past that has remained undisturbed for millions of years” — Mastering Bitcon: Unlocking Crypto Currencies, Andreas Antonopoulous

How is it beneficial?

  1. Cost Effectiveness and Ecosystem Simplification: Blockchain lowers transaction costs by eliminating the need to have a third-party intermediary to validate exchange of assets for a transaction fee. All transactions are added in a single public ledger, thereby reducing the impediment and clutter involved with multiple ledgers.
  2. Disintermediation: Blockchain’s distributed ledger architecture makes the process democratic and eliminates the necessity to have an enforcer of trust in the ecosystem. Two parties can make an exchange without a third party intermediary like governments, administrative bodies or legal systems. This not only empowers users to control all of their information, but also brings in integrity since transactions will be executed as the protocol (logic) commands.
  3. Transparency and Immutability: Blockchain maintains an unchangeable record of transactions implying the history of asset ownership can easily be tracked from the time it first appears as a block. Additionally, changes to public blockchains are publicly viewable and can never be altered or deleted. This makes the process more transparent, less risky and reduces the occurrences of fraudulent activities like mis-selling of assets and intellectual property.

Where are we with Blockchain today?

Blockchain is at a very nascent stage. Multiple financial institutions have been exploring opportunities and partnerships with respect to blockchain. Most notably, Santander Bank identified 20–25 use cases for technology to reduce infrastructure costs up to USD 20 Billion every year and UBS has set up a blockchain research lab in London. It is forecasted that 80% of banks will have initiated Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) projects by 2017 with the intention of saving market infrastructure costs including messaging, matching, payments, remittances, trade reporting, contracts, reconciliation and middle-office processes.

Some of the use-cases for financial institutions in the order of priority (scale of 1 (low) — 5 (high)) for testing and application are given below:


Source — Infosys & Let’s Talk Payments

In the recent past, the non-financial services applications of blockchain have emerged with 100+ start-ups being founded globally. Some of the sectors investors and founders are most optimistic on include healthcare, real estate, and retail, amongst others, for various use cases ranging from smart contracts, health records, cross border transactions to music distribution. Given below is an infographic of potential blockchain use cases:


Source — QInsights

Global Funding:

According to The Wall Street Journal, about 2–3% of the total VC funding of about USD 20 Billion in financial services has gone into blockchain. The year-on-year dollars invested in early stage blockchain companies at the end of 2016 stands at USD 422 Million compared to USD 292 Million at the end of 2015 (45.7% growth), indicating a bullish investor take on the technology. At the end of 2016, there were a total of 730 blockchain companies founded across financial services, technology, consumer and enterprise out of which 225 (30.8%) of them are currently funded.


Source — Tracxn

Blockchain In India:

Until the end of 2016, the blockchain buzz in India has been restricted mostly to bitcoin and cryptocurrency with minimal seed stage and series A funding. Late last year, ICICI bank settled its first blockchain based export transaction with its middle eastern counterpart Emirates NBD with Infosys’ EdgeVerve systems serving as technology partner. With efforts being made by the regulators to push for a cashless economy and a research wing dedicated to look into blockchain and the issuance of digital currency, the industry looks promising. 2017 kicked off with leading Indian banks and financial services companies announcing their pilots on non-crypto currency based blockchain applications.

  • RBI’s research arm, the Institute for Development in Research and Banking Technology (IDRBT), concluded a proof-of-concept with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) using blockchain technology (BCT) for trade finance applications. A white-paper published by the IDRBT indicates RBI’s ambitions of embracing BCT in the Banking Financial Services and Insurance sectors
  • State Bank of India recently launched Bank-chain, India’s first blockchain exploration consortium partnering with technology services firms and other domestic commercial banks to collaborate and develop blockchain solutions for the advancement of the financial sector.
  • Mahindra Group and IBM announced a joint collaboration on developing a blockchain solution to re-invent supply chain financing
  • Yes Bank leveraged IBM’s hybrid cloud technology to implement a multi-nodal blockchain solution to digitise vendor financing for Bajaj Electricals
  • Axis Bank tied up with Ripple, a fin-tech company to offer cross border payment solutions with blockchain as the underlying technology

Additionally, Gates Foundation is exploring blockchain as a potential solution to solve for financial inclusion and reach the 200 million unbanked Indians. Looking forward to a less-cash India, I see all the right building blocks in place — UPI, the India Stack launch in 2016 and the Digital India initiative by our Prime Minister. I hope to see innovative ideas and startups in blockchain adopting BCT and leveraging resources of the ecosystem to build companies with decentralised solutions. The main use cases that are ripe for disruption in India specifically are micro-finance, cooperative loans, peer-to-peer insurance, education, healthcare and governance (decentralised e-office, e-cabinet & e-procurement portals). As for talent, governing bodies are attempting partnerships with well-established institutions to train, nurture and enable education in the sector.

With its potential to revolutionize the global economy, I expect blockchain to be an emerging investment theme, not only for venture capitalists, but also banks, information technology companies and global organizations in the coming years. Currently, although the industry is nascent in India with very few leading authorities and influencers on the topic, we are well positioned to steer its commercialisation.

Acknowledging, Siddhanth Jayaram a contributor to this article. Siddhanth
is a Kstart Fellow

#TrackingTrends is a series of articles on topics, technologies and trends that are likely to have an impact on us in the years to come.

Note — Kalaari or Kstart is not an investor in the above mentioned start-ups.

Disclaimer: It is strictly an independent opinion of the writer, not representative of Kstart or Kalaari

Draper University Hero Training Alumni Q&A: JC Xu

JC Xu and team at Hero City.

Draper University: How did you find out about Draper University?

JC: I met Zhen Li from the Spring 2014 class from Draper University. She was teaching Psychology at one of the top Chinese colleges in Beijing. After attending Draper University, she decided to create Jiandanxinli to help patients to connect with professional psychiatrists in China. I observed the huge transformation in her career after attending Draper University and how the experience impacted her and decided to apply for Draper University myself. I was a sophomore at the time doing an undergraduate business degree.

Draper U: What do you think was the most valuable lesson you learned at Draper University?

JC: I think the most valuable lesson I learned at Draper University is to keep a supportive network around you so that you can stay relevant and involved long-term in the tech industry. For example, for my previous startup, I met my co-founder at Draper University. He wasn’t in my class, but we were hanging out and started working on a project together which evolved into a company. I met a ton of talented and smart people during my time at Draper University, and in the past three years, I’ve still kept in touch with many of my classmates, even though they’re still in the states and I’m in China. We regularly bounce ideas off each other and talk about tech trends, which is very helpful and helps clarify my understanding of various concepts and industries. Draper University is a perfect place to build this long-lasting network because you are surrounded by like-minded people.

Draper U: What is your advice for the incoming Summer 2017 class in terms of getting the most out of their experience at Draper University?

JC: Have a clear specific goal in mind before you set foot on campus. The program is very intense and goes by really fast. There is obviously lots of valuable information and valuable contacts you can make. However, if you don’t have a clear goal in mind, the experience will pass you by before you can proactively seize opportunities. For example, if you’re a student entrepreneur and you’re fundraising, make sure that you’re practicing your pitch and meeting investors. If you’re a designer or developer, make sure you’re meeting the other designers or developers in your class. Make sure you have goals around who you want to meet also in terms of mentors- Tim Draper or Andy Tang for example.

Draper U: How do you think students can stand out or distinguish themselves during their time at Draper University?

JC: There are always smart and passionate people that attend Draper University. However, if you are able to convince people that the problem you’re solving is actually a pain point and your product is valuable, as well as make a case around how you’re PERSONALLY passionate about the problem (but also focus on the problem’s impact on greater society), you’ll be able to grab people’s attention immediately.

Draper U: Do you have any advice on best practices in terms of networking for the incoming Summer 2017 class when they attend HustleCon or have the opportunity to meet celebrity speakers?

JC: You need to understand who you really want to meet. The two biggest problems for entrepreneurs are really fundraising and hiring. You need to understand what kinds of investors and potential employees/partners you want to meet at all these events. For example, at HustleCon, have a goal in mind- set some sort of personal KPI. Tell yourself: “I want to meet at least 5 new investors and 5 new developers and keep in contact with them.” Then, make sure you track your KPI’s to keep yourself accountable.

Draper U: How do you think you stay relevant to these investors or potential employees/partners once you meet them at a conference? How do you recommend students keep in contact and build a longer term relationship with these people?

JC: This is a great question. Most of the time, people meet investors and 2–3 weeks out, the investors forget that they’ve met you. There are many ways to keep the investor in your circle of contacts. First, add them on Twitter and follow all of their social accounts and comment on what they’re posting about. Quarterly, tell these investors about your progress through an email. This works. Be persistent. When you part ways after meeting them, ask them: “Can I update you on my business/progress periodically and possibly ask you for advice?” so that you can get them to opt-in for your quarterly email updates. When you meet with investors, it’s a numbers game. You have to meet a lot of investors. Some will respond to you and care about you, even if it’s a small percentage. Others will not. Just remember, it’s always a numbers game.

Draper University: We know that you recently founded Fintech Blockchain Group, an investment vehicle that invests in blockchain protocols. Previously, you were an investor at Draper Dragon, Draper University’s CEO Andy Tang’s fund. Tell us more about FBG.

JC: With FBG(Fintech Blockchain Group), We started investing in the blockchain space in the latter part of 2016. Most of the companies that we’ve invested in are from Israel, Europe, the States, and a few are from China. Most of these companies are protocols empowered by blockchain technologies. This means that they are the back-end around many of the blockchain applications- either digital currencies or smart contracts. It’s kind of like how HTTP is a protocol but Chrome is an application built on top of that. Some of the projects we’ve backed: 0x, Decent, Wings, Dfinity, and Gnosis.

Draper University: If an entrepreneur wants to get in touch with you regarding fundraising, what is the best way to contact you?

JC: The best way to reach out to me is through Wechat: jc_madtolive or Email: jc@fbg.capital

Draper U: What do you think is the most outstanding blockchain project so far to date?

JC: I think it’s Ethereum. Ethereum allows people to operate with smart contracts. The killer application for Ethereum is ICOs- Initial Coin Offerings. This model is disrupting the traditional equity fundraising models. Tim Draper is one of the early investors in ICO projects. Right now, the entire digital asset class, bitcoin, repo, dashcoin, ethereum, zcash, etcetera is exploding. The total market capital of all digital assets is $80B USD. Compared to gold and the stock market combined, this is actually a relatively small asset class, but this number was under $30B USD three months ago. In the past 12 months, the entire market has grown by 1000%. This is abnormal growth. My point is, even though the entire cryptocurrency industry is small, it’s going to be a trillion dollar market one day. I predict, it’s going to be $100B USD by the end of this year. More and more institutional investors are going to jump in. One of the reasons for this increase in interest, is that blockchain is the backend technology around bitcoin.

Draper University: Why hasn’t blockchain been adopted by the mainstream?

JC: The reason why blockchain hasn’t been adopted by the mainstream is because for the past 9 years, bitcoin has been one of the only applications of blockchain. In the past two years, more and more blockchain projects such as Ethereum have been appearing. These emerging protocols are creating Blockchain 2.0. There are now more and more use cases around using blockchain, so that’s why there is more demand for cryptocurrencies, and therefore more capital inflows, creating higher prices. The downside risk is that there can be failures among various protocols and projects built on blockchain. If projects fail, it will hurt the market sentiment and potentially the market price could have some sort of correlation with any failures of these projects.

Draper U: For someone who knows nothing about blockchain what reading material or resources should people begin with to learn more?

JC: Read the white papers on bitcoin, ethereum. Do more research on bitcoin exchange (Coinbase), bitcoin wallet, and bitcoin payment companies. Medium is a great content platform. A lot of investors and developers in blockchain are posting on Medium. There are also communities on Reddit and Twitter as well. Follow the key entrepreneurs in blockchain on Twitter. Here is one good list of interesting readings: https://thecontrol.co/some-blockchain-reading-1d98ec6b2f39

Draper U: Why should people who do not work in financial services or fintech care about blockchain?

JC: Blockchain is solving trust issues. Blockchain is unhackable and undeletable (immutable). You are able to eliminate middlemen (thereby cutting costs and increasing efficiency) and this type of cost savings is applicable to any business and industry. The tokens that are based on blockchain such as bitcoin and ethereum are going to be an actual asset class in the future and a valid form of payment, so no matter which industry you are in, it would behoove you to pay attention to the various use cases of bitcoin and tokens.

__

Draper University is still accepting applications for its 7-week Hero Training program this Fall. In order to get more information, please email info@draperuniversity.com to schedule a 10-minute initial call.

VCs will Become Startup ETF Managers

Why startups go through phases of angel/seed, institutional A, B, etc financing rounds? A company’s valuation is set by supply and demand or some arbitrary estimation ? Why LP interests are not liquid?

In the near future, the lines between various startup financing rounds, including IPO will blur or even disappear. Private company shares will be virtualized and tradable just like public companies, VC asset class will be liquidable also. In essence, VC fund partners will become private company ‘ETF’ managers with underline asset valuation reflected in real time.

How to get there? All the technology pieces are in front of us, the regulation has to catch up. Some thoughts will be in my next brief blog.

A global, decentralized Taste network

The Idea

“Netflix’s 98% Match is far better than IMDB’s 8.5.”

The universal rating — rating which is applied to an entity and which is independent of its consumer — doesn’t make sense anymore. What matters is — given an entity, would a particular consumer like it?

Looks like it is working for Netflix.

But, can we apply the same logic to other platforms having universal ratings? For example, would it make sense for a product on Amazon, a book on Goodreads, a product on Product Hunt, or even for a post on Facebook?

I think we can.

In addition, I also think there should be an independent entity which stores all my tastes at one place so that Amazon’s product recommendations would further improve by also considering my movie tastes on Netflix, and so on.

So what the blockchain startup Sovrin (Hyperledger Indy) did for Identity, a startup could similarly do something similar for tastes. Hyperledger Tasty anyone? :)

Anyway, here goes one more of dozens.


A global, decentralized Taste network was originally published in Dime-a-Dozen on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Reasons to Consider Investing in Cryptocurrency

Coinjoker — Cryptocurrency Exchange Script

Every investors strongly believe that owning cryptocurrency exchange platform is not a easy thing. The foundation of trading success is your cryptocurrency software selection, advanced features are really important for cryptocurrency business success!

Coinjoker unique & advanced trading features like margin & advanced trading with escrow application. Using this software you can set up your own cryptocurrency exchange platform within a weeks and required customization.

It’s Right Time To Consider About Cryptocurrency Trading Business !

London Brief Interviews #1 — Julien Bouteloup

Julien Bouteloup — Founder and CEO at IDbox; Entrepreneur, Startups Founder, Blockchain and AI developer; Interested in Science, Math, Physics, DIY.

Twitter: @bneiluj

What do you do at the moment?

I am involved full-time in decentralised applications, Blockchain, Ethereum, Game and Computability theory, AI, cryptographic and Machine learning algorithms. I am currently working on IDbox — A cost efficient device that enables people to create a unique identity in developing countries. I am also working on an decentralised autonomous transportation using drones and an off-grid energy system for developing countries using blockchain and AI where people can be their own resellers and buyers.

What/Whom inspires you?

When I was young I wanted to be an inventor and change the world or at least make a positive impact in our society. I get inspired by books and science fiction in general. I also write books and articles about AI, Cryptographic, Maths, Physics and decentralised ideas.

Could you share your inspirational quote or motto?

Imagination is more important than knowledge.
— Albert Einstein

What would you suggest to those who just started or are dreaming about being an entrepreneur?

Persistence is very important. You should not give up unless you are forced to give up. — Elon Musk

Idea

London Brief Interviews is a weekly series of success snapshots of entrepreneurs, founders, managers, experts and influencers from the London tech scene. Curated by London Brief. Who should we interview? Let us know at londonbrief@netguru.co.

Piotr Wrzosiński

On behalf of the London Brief Team


London Brief Interviews #1 — Julien Bouteloup was originally published in London Brief on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

[Unmade #1] Ad Network built on Blockchain

Originally published in the Unmade newsletter.

This is the first edition of Unmade, and what better idea to talk about than Blockchain.

In the first edition of Unmade, I want to speak of the shift that is happening right now. Look out the window, and you’ll see a new promising trend changing the landscape of the technology. It is called Blockchain. And lately, several interesting use cases have come out on top of it. Today, we discuss one of those.

What is Blockchain?

If you don’t know how Blockchain works, here’s a plain English version of it.

Blockchain is the new AI. Blockchain provides a mechanism that can convert a centralized process into a decentralized one. Benefits of decentralized over centralized? No single organization possesses the control.

Unmade Idea

There’s one industry that was always susceptible to the doubts on the supply side, and that is, AdTech.

Digital ad networks are opaque on the supply side, and every ad network has its framework, guidelines, and rules. What if there could be a decentralized ad network that runs on Blockchain. Publishers would prefer such ad network over the opaque ones.

Relevancy of ads will not be limited by the one company’s collected data. The decentralized nexus of the ad networks might provide better ad relevancy too.

AdTech industry seems to be mature already with the big players dominating the market. The industries that are perceived settled are the ones most vulnerable to disruption. An ad network built on the Blockchain protocol looks inevitable on the time horizon of a decade. Start making this unmade idea into a real thing.

What do you think? Would like to know your thoughts in the comments below.

If you liked this idea, you might like getting one such idea every week in your inbox. Subscribe to the Unmade newsletter here.

Thanks for reading! :) If you liked it, please support by hitting that heart button below. 💚

How Evolving Peer-to-Peer Exchange Technology Can Change the Lives of 4,863,694 People

Last year I attended an event focused on examining the Syrian refugee crisis. The speakers for this event were stellar, and I must have taken an entire book of notes throughout the evening.

This event took place during the peak of not only the US election, but a time where tempers were flaring in Europe over the crisis. The global media were flooding our devices with soundbytes and statements from a number of leaders in the world, and their people, making statements about refugees posing “grave concerns” to national security and that the health and welfare of a nation’s people comes first over the basic health and safety of others.

Now, intellectually I understand that these statements were being made purely to generate political capital. As we are all aware, a number leading western nations have gone through elections over the past 24 months, and others to come. This was a catalst to the messaging.

So back to the event… despite the incredible lessons I was taught that evening, a statement was made by a lovely Syrian woman who had spent a significant amount of time in a camp in Jordan, and was sharing her experiences. She shared something with us that evening that struck me to my core.

She reminded us all that the majority of the people displaced from their home and living in neighbouring countries and in camps have devices and are regularly connected to the internet. This is 4,863,694 people.

Can you imagine waking up one day in Damascus, preparing yourself to go to school or work, eating breakfast with your family and starting your day, not realizing that by the time the day comes to an end you will be displaced from your home, likely seperated from your family, taken to a camp, and placed with strangers you have never met before, not knowing what is going to happen next?

And can you imagine, after being uprooted, scared for your life and worried about your family, turning on your device to read that you and all of the people around you are being labelled “security concerns” and that the world is not reaching out a hand to help?

Of course, this is not the sentiment of the world. Most of us are deeply compassionate and care for each other and our communities as best we can. But those stories don’t make front-page headlines. Those stories don’t reach the devices of those people braving such unimaginable conditions in the camps of Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and elsewhere.

Can you imagine how alone each of those 4,863,694 people felt when reading and receiving these messages?

Evolving Peer-to-Peer Exchange

So what does peer-to-peer exchange have to do with the above?

First let me define what I mean by “Evolving Peer-to-Peer Exchange”.

Traditionally, peer-to-peer exchange (P2Pex) has meant a technology that allows users or a group of users to exchange information directly, more swiftly or efficiently.

Available technology examples that were created in this space traditionally have included file-sharing, information and communications, and payments, to name a few.

Today, along with the traditional technologies, advancements in decentralized computing such as Blockchain, and cloud computing enable us to greatly evolve peer-to-peer exchange of products and services. But taking it further, these advancements also enable us to do so much more. Below are but a few examples of what current P2Pex can do:

Microtransactions – Financial transactions can now be processed to the eighth of a decimal point. Numerically, $.00000001.

Automated Escrow – Users can exchange directly between each other without a third-party intermediary, like a bank or a lawyer. More than $200,000,000,000 is currently spent annually on fees to these third parties handling escrow duties on behalf of users. Imagine what the world could do with $200b in the pockets of users?

Smart Contracts – Fully compliant, executable contracts can now be completed between users. The system is no longer trust-based, it is proof-based, using emerging technology. This means that people can trade together, work together, partner on businesses together. This means that people can invest in one another, all in an environment where technology handles the compliance to contracts, and ensures equal fairness and transparency for all parties.

There are others….

Internet of Things

Decentralized Companies and Organizations

Sustainability and Fair Trade

Learning and Education

Charity and Fundraising

Etc.

In each case, advancements in P2Pex technology put the power back to the user, not the intermediary. This greatly reduces the cost of transactions, which will drive more volume and exchange.

Can P2Pex Help?

In the case of the 4,863,694 people displaced from Syria, residing in camps and homes in neighbouring countries, they were receiving the messages they were from THIRD PARTIES, where messaging was bent to resonate with people having nothing to do with their situation. Imagine an ecosystem of P2Pex where communities develop organically in a digital world but also cover the world? Where instead of living in terror a person under duress can reach out to their digital community and hear love, compassion and support? Where they can learn new skills, and focus on finding better opportunities for themselves and their families?

SkyHive’s Vision is COLLECTIVE PROSPERITY. Prosperity isn’t just about money, it is also about dignity, compassion and safety. It is about someone in need reaching out for help and finding that hand, wherever in the world that may be. It is stories like these that inspire that Vision.

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