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Category: Business Analysis

March 2020 Weekly Recap #4

March Weekly Recap 4

March 23rd - March 30th, 2020

Welcome to our 4th weekly recap for March.




Crypto News

  • Cardano launched its off-chain scalability protocol, Ouroboros Hydra, on March 25th, after 5 years of development.

    The protocol claims vastly increased scalability and low latency for the Cardano blockchain while using little storage on the network’s nodes. The solution also allows for applications such as micropayments, voting, insurance contracts, and other uses that require low fees or instant transactions.

    According to IOHK, Hydra could theoretically scale to a million transactions per second.

    In Hydra, each user who connects to the network generates 10 heads, which are throughput lanes for data and transactions. Because of that, the system reportedly gets faster and decreases its latency as it scales.

    The global coronavirus lockdown has put a strain on Venezuela’s internet, which could logically make crypto participation difficult.

    Already, within the first seven days of a shelter-in-place movement, Venezuelans have pushed the country’s internet capacities to the limit.

    As the crypto space is largely an internet-based industry, digital asset trading and usage might logically become difficult for Venezuelans.

    Trump’s use of DPA represents the depth of the problems facing the US economy. Additional stresses to the economy will continue to unfold as supply chain concerns and stock sell-offs have continued. As pressures increase, the need for the production of medical supplies has increased as well.



March 2020 Weekly Recap #3

March Weekly Recap 2

March 15th - March 22nd, 2020

Welcome to our 3rd weekly recap for March.




Crypto News

  • Coinbase announced Tuesday that Coinbase Cards can now be added to users’ Google Pay wallets, enabling crypto-backed payments from Google Pay-enabled devices, such as phones or smartwatches.

    Coinbase Cards launched its new Visa debit card for U.K. and European customers in April 2019. Holders can purchase everyday goods and services – up to £10,000 ($12,100) per day – with cryptocurrencies held in their exchange accounts that are instantly exchanged into the relevant fiat currency.

    The cards initially supported payments BTC, ETH, LTC and BCH. On November 2019, XRP, BAT, XLM tokens were also added to the roster.

    Gasnet, a permissioned blockchain platform was launched Wednesday with approval from regulator Enargas. Running on an enterprise version of the RSK Smart Contract Network, Gasnet is designed to secure and speed Argentina’s chronically delayed gas certification processes.

    In the now-operational consortium network, certification documents and transaction details zip between Gasnor and Enargas, each of whom run a network node. That increases visibility and smooths out otherwise crippling delays, allowing technicians to ultimately bring consumer’s gas services online faster.

    US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, a long-time cryptocurrency and Bitcoin skeptic, has named Brian Brooks as one of the country’s top banking regulators. Brooks will serve as the next Chief Operating Officer and First Deputy Comptroller of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) after stepping down from his role as the chief legal officer at Coinbase, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the United States.



March 2020 Weekly Recap #2

March Weekly Recap 2

March 8th - March 14th, 2020

Welcome to our 2nd weekly recap for March.




Crypto News

  • On March 11, the co-founder of decentralized login service provider TorusLabs, Zhen Yu Yong (Zen), tweeted that he had been diagnosed with coronavirus COVID-2019. Zen urged people who may have been in contact with him during the ETHLondon hackathon or the Ethereum Community Conference (ECC) to take “extra precautions and/or get tested.” The coronavirus threat has impacted several major cryptocurrency conferences in recent weeks, leaving many crypto events canceled or postponed until later dates.

    Liquidations set in on the cryptocurrency market the day after the U.S. announced European travel restrictions due to coronavirus fears Wednesday. Bitcoin is down 21 percent and Ethereum is down 27 percent over the past 24 hours. That’s more than the traditional markets, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 down nearly 8 percent. Traders liquidating holdings on crypto’s bellwether derivatives exchange, BitMEX, fueled some of these moves. Gold also got hit as traders sold the precious metal for the safety of much-needed cash as losses in equities increases.

    San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has decided to start grouping multiple bitcoin transactions together, rather than issuing sends one by one.

    The adoption of “batching,” the firm said in a blogpost on Thursday, will mean less strain is put on the Bitcoin blockchain from large numbers of transactions arising from the popular exchange. The move is anticipated to reduce Coinbase’s load on BTC’s network by more than 50%, and so will transaction fees by an equivalent amount for customers, according to the post.

    After the massacre in the broader crypto market on Thursday, major altcoins have already started to recoup some of their losses. Altcoins such as Litecoin (LTC), Tezos (XTZ), and Stellar (XLM), were among the first to return to green after the sell-off, posting 24-hour returns between 3% and 10%. In addition, cautiously optimistic trading also drove Ripple’s XRP higher today, although the recent market bloodbath now means that the popular cryptocurrency has lost about 96% of its value from the all-time high in January 2018.



March 2020 Weekly Recap

March Weekly Recap 1

March 1st - March 7th, 2020

Just like the January and February Report, our goal is to visually summarize the cryptocurrency market into an easy to understand and informative way. However, instead of the monthly duration, we will attempt to be more interactive with the market in a weekly format.




Crypto News

  • In a press release issued on Monday, March 2nd, 2020, the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) clarified cryptocurrency as: “a digital representation of a value that has not been issued or guaranteed by any central bank or public body and is not necessarily linked to a currency specified by law and that does not have the legal status of a currency or money, but is accepted as a medium of exchange by natural or legal persons and can be transmitted, stored and traded electronically.” According to BaFin, the new classification echoes the guidelines of intergovernmental agencies like the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). BaFin’s new crypto classification announcement is also part of the move by the country to adopt the fifth EU Money Laundering Directive (AMLD5) which began on January 1, 2020. As part of the new BaFin crypto guidelines, cryptocurrency custodians will need to obtain a license for the regulator to offer their services in the country.

    The Supreme Court of India has struck down the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) controversial ban on banks’ dealings with crypto-related firms. The  court justices ruled that the RBI’s action was “disproportionate.” Key arguments in the case included the central bank’s contention that cryptocurrency is a digital means of payment and that the institution was “empowered by law” in its intervention.

    Samsung’s enterprise is working on building a blockchain-based settlement solution for merchants and banks. The Korea Herald reported that Samsung SDS had signed a memorandum of understanding with Israeli fintech solutions provider Credorax to develop the technology, aimed to automatically logging payments data on bank records and ledgers. The product, yet to be named, will operate on Samsung SDS’ Nexledger Universal platform, a Samsung proprietary blockchain. Work processes will be automated using AI technology from Brity Works, another of Samsung SDS company.

    HTC announced a new privacy-focused, portable, 5G blockchain router that is capable of running a full Bitcoin node. The Exodus 5G Hub follows on from the success of the Tawainese manufacturer’s Exodus 1 phones, which also have the ability to run cryptocurrency nodes. The Hub provides 5G connectivity to all internet-enabled devices and uses Zion Vault software to enable Bitcoin, Ethereum (including ERC-20 and ERC-721 tokens), Binance Coin, Litecoin and Stellar storage for users. The software offers additional security features including social recovery for private keys, allowing users to break up, encrypt and share recovery phrases among trusted parties.

    The South Korean National Assembly amended the Act on Reporting and Use of Specific Financial Information and has allowed the use of cryptocurrencies within the country under regulations. After President Jae-in Moon signs the amendment passed in the country’s parliament, the enactment process will begin. It will take one year from the date of the signing, followed by a 6-month grace period. Once the required time passes, cryptocurrency-related businesses, such as exchanges, trusts, wallet companies, and token-sales, will need to comply with new rules. Requirements include having a real-name verification partnership with an approved local bank. The goal is to prevent money-laundering between fiat deposits or withdrawals.

    The Commercial Court of Nanterre of France made a historic decision recognizing bitcoin as legal tender in the country. The ruling relates to a case between French cryptocurrency exchange Paymium and UK-based alternative investments firm BitSpread. Paymium had loaned 1,000 BTC to BitSpread before the Bitcoin Cash hard fork in 2017. After the bitcoin cash hard fork in 2017, Paymium and BitSpread both claimed that the bitcoin cash created belonged to them. The court ruled in favor of the borrower after recognizing bitcoin as a legitimate form of money.


February 2020 Recap

February Recap



The new coronavirus strain continues to spread across the globe, and infection rates are only increasing exponentially. The World Health Organization has re-affirmed that there are no current effective treatment, and the viral mutation is still being researched.

By March 1st, the coronavirus, now named COVID-19, has infected more than 90K people across 90 countries around the world. Outbreaks in South Korea, Italy and Iran have been especially infectious.

City quarantines and factory closures are still in effect, and economic relations are still being affected. Mining difficulty and hash-rate for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin has also been drastically influenced by the lack of production.

Provided below is a visual representation of the comparison and differences between traditional markets and cryptocurrencies, and the continued effects of this virus outbreak has affected global economics for February.


Stock Indexes

Traditional Stocks


Crypto News



January 2020 Recap

January Recap

January 2020 has proven to be an interesting start to the new decade. Within a short period of a few weeks, the world experienced multiple crises in quick succession.


On January 3rd, 2020, the Trump administration authorized an airstrike which took the life of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani. The strike was justified by the administration as an act of self-defense, citing “imminent” threats to U.S personnel and assets. This event was the catalyst for widespread concern.

But regardless of the reason, rising tensions between the two nations has understandably caused worldwide civil unrest, as further conflicts will deescalate into further violence in the Middle East. If war is declared, forces of both countries and their allies will undoubtedly also be involved.

Q: Global relations aren’t the greatest right now, but what do you do when life gives you lemons that taste like imminent war?

A: You invest in the military complex and commodities such as precious metals, oil and in recent times – cryptocurrency.


The tension between Iran and the United States show clear correlations with global economics. The value of the traditional market and commodities reacted timely with the events as they happened, and in expectations of financial traders. 

Military Contractors

The military-industrial complex stocks had a field day, unsurprisingly.


It can be seen across multiple commodity markets that during times of global economic uncertainty, these markets react quickly as a “safe haven” from traditional stocks. This has been seen multiple times with precious metals and oil but now seems to be a common theme with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. An impending war triggered these markets once the news of the US airstrike began to spread as it seemed as if the US was on the brink of “boots on the ground” in Iran. Though the current situation has de-escalated for now, we can assume that as soon as tensions rise. Embassies are under attack and missiles are being launched, we can expect to see the same type of trends to play out again.   


Precious Metals


For now, military tensions between both parties have eased, and they have chosen to remain amicable with each other. The Trump administration has chosen to refrain from military retaliation and has opted to enforce additional sanctions on the country of Iran.



Just as festivities begin to ramp up on the Eastern side of the globe in anticipation of Lunar New Years, Mother Nature has one last surprise for humanity. On December 31st, 2019, the World Health Organization was alerted to several cases of mysterious infectious pneumonia in Wuhan, China.


Thought to have originated from the city’s Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, the establishment was quickly shut down on January 1st, 2020. However, it had proved to be too late and the number of infected individuals quickly exceeded 40.


It took a week, but officials were able to identify the new virus as belonging to the coronavirus family, which includes SARS, MERS, and the common cold. In fact, it is ~79.5% genetically identical to SARS.  Designated as nCoV-2019, the virus will be temporarily named Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia, or NCP. 


The fatality rates are yet to be determined. It is currently estimated to range from 1.4 –  2.1%, based on official figures. One recent research published in The Lancet suggests it could potentially even be as high as 11%. One month into the SARS outbreak, there were 5 victims. The new coronavirus claimed at least 213 in the same amount of time. The death toll from 2019-nCoV has already surpassed that of SARS on February 8, 2020.

The quickly rising numbers of infected patients could be due to the extremely contagious nature of 2019-nCoV. The virus has a symptom-free incubation period of up to 21 days, and can survive in the atmosphere outside a host body for more than two days. Chinese researchers in Hong Kong estimated that one infected individual can pass the contagion along to 3 – 5 others, using a factor called the virus’ R0 value. The World Health Organization believes that the coronavirus’s R0 value is lower at 1.4 – 2.5 people.


Even as nations are desperately contributing to the efforts of disease prevention, the numbers of victims continue to quickly rise. There are currently 43,101 confirmed cases in 28 countries, with 1,018 deaths so far as of February 11, 2020.


The potential for a global crisis has not been overlooked and taken lightly, as national officials around the world quickly started to enforce travel restrictions and quarantines. China, especially, has been busy. So far, 16 cities in China have been placed under restrictions, which affects about 46 million people, and is the largest quarantine in human history. 


Multiple major corporations such as Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, Tesla and Google with operating offices, retail stores, and manufacturing factories have temporarily shut down all facilities across China. The nation extended the Lunar New Year holidays and was expected to reopen their factories on February 3rd. That date was eventually extended until February 10th due to the circumstances of the viral outbreak. Even after, manufacturers will remain closed pending approval from the central and provincial governments.


A poll by the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai found that 87% of participants believe that the coronavirus will directly impact 2020 revenues, with 24% expecting revenues to decrease by >16%. China’s 2020 projected GDP growth has also been readjusted to be 1% lower than expected in Q4 2019. According to the Federal Reserve, the disruptions this virus is causing in China will be felt throughout global economies. Understandably so, when China is the manufacturing center of the world.


So let’s do a quick comparison of the differences between traditional markets and cryptocurrencies, and how this virus outbreak has affected both.

Stock Indexes

There’s no real time GDP tracker so the next best thing are stock indexes.

Traditional Stocks

Companies with facilities affected by China’s quarantine

[BONUS] Apple iPhones

Three companies that together make Apple iPhones


However, the current pandemic of surrounding the novel coronavirus is an ongoing event. The full effect of the virus is likely yet to be felt. More as the situation develops in February.



Global Crypto Adoption

Cryptocurrencies have grown from a niche underground market to become a diverse financial industry with many applications in daily life and in economics.

The cryptocurrencies in circulation are versatile, and can be utilized as a store-of-value, investment, and /or as a currency to facilitate the exchange of goods and services.

Growth has been a steady progression on multiple fronts for the market. Adoption has been growing at a faster rate than before since 2017, due to an increase in mainstream awareness. 

As of now, Bitcoin alone has completed and recorded more than 400 million transactions. The daily transactions of BTC is currently an average of 350k transactions per day or 15k/hr. That’s about 4 transactions per second for Bitcoin.

Bitcoin dominance is currently 66.6% in a market of 2957 cryptocurrencies. Due to sheer influence, it is no surprise that BTC’s metrics are often used to gauge the momentum and overall health of the industry.

For BTC, and cryptocurrencies in general, one of the largest issues holding back user adoption interests early on was the lack of convenient access. That has changed since the installation of the first Bitcoin ATM (BTM) in 2013. Six years since that number has grown to be close to 6k BTMs worldwide. 

Whilst the market of cryptocurrencies remains unpredictable, BTM growth remains steady. In fact, the number of BTMs have been doubling per annum in recent years.

Not only do these BTM serves as points of access and exchange for BTC, but support for other alternative cryptocurrencies as well; benefiting the entire crypto sphere and easing user adoption.


Approximately 70.6% of BTMs support alternate cryptocurrencies. 68.5% support Litecoin, 59.7% supports Ether, and 40.2% supports BCH. Each averaging +10% growth compared to last month.

Despite progress, in contrast to mainstream and traditional financial platforms, the volume of cryptocurrencies is still very insignificant.

According to the Global Findex database, 69% of adults in the world currently have access to and are using financial institutions or mobile money services.

In comparison, only about ~1% of the global population is using cryptocurrencies.

In America alone, traditional financial institutions still reign supreme. The same rate of adoption among U.S consumers can be assumed of countries with similar economies.

From 2017 – 2018, there was a noticeable decline in consumers’ use of cash and check. Meanwhile, although the shares of digital and mobile payments both increased after 2015, the minimal growth of these transactions from 2017 to 2018, reflects that consumer behavior is generally slow to change. 

Since 2008, use of paper payment methods such as cash and checks has been on a decline. By mode, card payments are the preferred payment method. In a typical month, 60% of an average consumer’s transactions are done using a credit, debit, or pre-paid card.

According to the Census Bureau, there were 189 million adults with credit card accounts in the United States, compared to a University of Cambridge estimates of 2.9 to 5.8 million cryptocurrency users in 2017. In the same year, The Boston Federal Reserve determined that 75.7% of consumers have at least one credit card. 

Out of four major card networks, VISA is the most widely used with a 53.1% dominance in terms of Network Purchase Volume. 49.7% of cards in circulation is a VISA card, and 48.4% of credit cards’ Outstanding Balance belongs to the company as well.

Currently, VISA claims to handle an average of 150 million transactions-per-day (tps). That is roughly 1,700 tps, in comparison to Bitcoin’s 3.8 tps, and Ethereum’s 8.1 tps. The total Purchase Volume of credit cards amounted to $3684 billion, in contrast to the $250 billion market cap of crypto in 2018.

However, even though the majority of market shares is dominated by traditional institutions, there is room for the user base of cryptocurrencies to grow. According to the Global Index database, about 1.7 billion adults remains unbanked in 2017.

With 225 million people, China claims the world’s largest unbanked population, followed by India with 190 million, Pakistan at 100 million, and Indonesia with 95 million. These four economies, together with Nigeria, Mexico and Bangladesh, make up nearly half the world’s unbanked population.


Generally, account ownership is nearly universal (94%) in high-income economies, compared to (63%) in developing economies classified as low or middle income. There is a wide variation in account ownership across multiple economies, which can vary from about 20% in Cambodia, Mauritania, and Pakistan to as high as 93% in Mongolia.

Whilst they are not the majority, the unbanked still represents a large number of the global population. And it is within these communities that interest in cryptocurrencies is being fostered.

Countries with less privileged economies may not be able to afford to drive adoption progress on a global scale, but the individuals of such economies are ones the cryptocurrency industry can benefit.

For example, access to electricity and hardware is still a luxury in many places in Africa, making it infeasible to run BTC nodes on the continent. Yet, 3 of the top 5 countries on Google Trends for Bitcoin interests are from Africa, including Nigeria – which has a <0.01% BTC adoption rate.

In countries where their economies’ fiat has failed, the populace has also turned to cryptocurrencies. After the Venezuelan Bolivar’s hyperinflation, cryptocurrencies’ volume in the countries soared. Interestingly, countries that have restricted the use of cryptocurrencies, such as China and Iceland, are usually the leaders in mining. 

Whereas, most of SE Asia are more engaged in remittance. Japan and the Netherlands are taking the initiative in accepting crypto for goods and services, whilst the BTM focus in the U.S and Switzerland places more emphasis on building crypto-based businesses.

Crypto adoption can be measured with more than nodes distributions, BTMs placements, market shares dominance. It also involves aspects such as infrastructure support, mining, remittance and acceptance as payments. Compared to just over 8,000 venues accepting cryptocurrencies in 2017, there are now currently about 15,541 venues taking cryptocurrencies worldwide.

According to a Marketing Manager at CoinGate and Coinmap’s database, the numbers of new vendors are growing at an average of 20-30 per day. Within the past six years, the number of crypto-accepting merchants has exploded by more than 700%. A significant surge has also been noted in the growing variety of business from new regions and unexpected industries.


Crypto friendly businesses typically provide digital services and products, and/or are related to the digital field in various aspects.

As of 2019, over 13 mainstream companies have started to accept cryptocurrencies in exchange for their services. Microsoft has been accepting BTC in it’s Xbox Store since 2014. Newegg, a company well known for computer hardware, also views Bitcoin as a valid payment method. Overstock accepts multiple cryptocurrencies as well.


Pirate Chain (ARRR)

Komodo was undoubtedly one of the most underrated cryptocurrencies of 2018, even though fundamentally it was one of the soundest projects. The security, privacy advantages and impressive 10k tx/s offered by the KMD platform went largely unnoticed by the market. However, Komodo wasn’t entirely ignored. Within the community and discussions present on the KMD platform were a handful of capable individuals that eventually conceptualized a new and better cryptocurrency, ARRR.


ARRR, or also known as Pirate, is an independent blockchain built as an asset chain to the KMD platform. Designed as a combination of ZEC and XMR, Pirate looks to improve the privacy and security features of XMR whilst fixing the fungibility problem of ZEC through the enforcement of forced shield-transactions.

The issue is that transactions from shielded balances to transparent balances are often the cause of decreased fungibility, as it is possible to identify coin mixing patterns. Concerns are also had about coins being “tainted” by affiliations to past transactions. The solution is to completely prevent this from happening.

This means that Pirate is a forced shield-transactions (z-transactions) only blockchain, making transparent transactions impossible on the Pirate blockchain. The ultimate objective of the project is to be the next-gen privacy cryptocurrency with completely anonymous transactions, except for mining rewards and notary node logs.

As an asset chain of the KMD ecosystem, Pirate also inherits much of Komodo’s features such as Zero Knowledge Privacy and delayed Proof-of-Work (dPoW). Also included, is the ability to backup asset chain records into the Komodo main chain and record them on as a hash on Bitcoin. This effectively enables the asset chain’s records to be then included in the backup that is pushed into the protective hash rate of the main Proof-of-Work (PoW) blockchain, Bitcoin.

This is made possible due to KMD being a fork of ZEC, which was a fork of BTC. In this way, the asset chain records can be protected by the largest hash-rate available on one blockchain. To compromise an asset chain that is employing Komodo’s dPoW protocol, the attacker would have to destroy all existing copies of the asset chain, all copies of the KMD main chain, and the accompanying PoW network (Bitcoin) into which the dPoW backups are inserted.

A visualized schematic of dPoW protocol.

Komodo’s security service is performed by notary nodes, chosen through a stake-weighted vote. These notary nodes have the option to switch notarization to another PoW network besides BTC if needed. For an example, in the event where worldwide miners’ hashing power changes to that of another PoW network, or the cost of notarization becomes unsustainable.
In addition, since KMD derive from ZEC and BTC, all features included in the Bitcoin protocol and Zcash parameters are also available on ARRR. This includes Zk-SNARKS, the top-tier standard for blockchain privacy at this time.

Even for individuals with the utmost priority for privacy will require the need for receipts to verify transactions, therefore Pirate will utilize view keys for this purpose. With view keys, one can prove they paid a certain amount of coins to a certain address. A node processing an incoming viewing key for a z-address can view all past transactions received by that address, as well as all future transactions sent to it. The viewing party cannot spend any funds from the address.


According to information included in the Pirate whitepaper, current block-time is 60 seconds, using the Equihash Proof-of-Work mining algorithm. The maximum supply is approximately 200 million ARRR, with a speed of 6-26 TPS and a transaction fee of 0.0001 ARRR. 

The emission schedule for ARRR coin.

Included is also an emission schedule of the Pirate cryptocurrency, halving in block rewards every 388885 blocks, equating to an estimated 270 days per reward period.


Though early in its infancy, the Pirate team has been able to facilitate the use of z-address deposits and withdrawals with the exchange DigitalPrice and successfully launched coin trading at the end of October 2018. And because it is an KMD integration, Sapling is planned for mid-December 2018, enabling future development of Point-of-Sale (PoS) integration, hardware wallet, Web Shop Plugins, and mobile wallets through Simple Payment Verification (zSPV). The development of a Pirate Foundation is also planned for Q1 2019, with hardware wallet integrations being estimated for Q3 2019.

The Pirate team has already set themselves apart from the existing competitors due to it’s open-sourced, community approach and the progress they’ve achieved thus far. For a market with a waning trust in the current cryptocurrency teams, Pirate may be the fresh breath of air private-centric consumers are looking for. The pioneers of ARRR are enthusiastic and looking to continue to contribute and/or improve the project at a pace not seen by very many other altcoin projects.


In A Nutshell

Amid the controversy surrounding the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election emerged a new phenomena propagated by social media and its reach: fake news. Prior to this, it was referred to as ‘click bait,’ used to draw in mindless content consumers in exchange for a small PPC (pay-per-click) charge. Through clever deception by centralized authorities, social media channels were used to inject bias via false reporting. By targeting small groups of supporters, “fake news” was organically spread – “shared,” in social media parlance – hiding its dark origins and demonstrating the power of information, be it valid or invalid.

Enter Sapien: “A highly customizable, democratized social news platform capable of rewarding millions of content creators and curators without any centralized intermediaries.” From the average user’s perspective, Sapien aims to reward content creators and gives them the decision to filter advertisements or remove them entirely. At the same time, Sapien will also use machine learning to identify potential fake news. In addition to this, Sapien will not be collecting any personal information, and any that is given is done so voluntarily. This is in direct contradiction to the current method employed by companies like Facebook and Google: to sell personal data to advertisers without compensating content creators (Facebook’s revenue model).

Sapien will also serve as a decentralized ecosystem/marketplace where content creators can exchange SPN tokens for not only physical goods and services but also virtual content, including but not limited to premium content, online tasks, and community specific items. This will allow users to set up and accept the native token, SPN, without having to worry about the “how.” With a community focus, Sapien is built to facilitate encrypted communications and other services. Traditionally, this has required an intermediary to handle sensitive information without exposing the uses clearly to the owner thereof. Another notable point about Sapien is that SPN will be usable on their platform immediately after the sale concludes. Though this is becoming more commonplace, at time of writing less than 5% of projects can truthfully make this claim!

Token Utility


SPN tokens may be staked to access the social features on the platform. According to the whitepaper, staked tokens are “locked up” as a static period of 1 year. Similar to STEEM Power, staked tokens can be used to upvote content, but what makes SPN unique is that they can be used to submit new proposals, tip users, access premium content, and more. What is important to note however is how staked SPN tokens can be “frozen” if a user posts illegal content or violates the guidelines set by a specific community. What is not so clear however is if the user can have their tokens unfrozen in the event that they make an apology post or something along those lines. If this is an option, we could see a “true democracy” in play, because unlike with STEEM where the more Steem Power you have, the higher your influence on an upvote, one user receives one vote on the Sapien Network.

Rewards System


Similar to an eBay trust score, actions by users on the platform such as publishing a post or making a trade can be voted on for having a positive or negative impact on the user’s reputation. All users will begin with one reputation point once their account is created; where it goes from there is entirely up to them. Users that have built more reputation over time will have a greater influence when they upvote or downvote another user. It appears that this reputation is unique to the community (think sub-reddit) in which the user is interacting. The reputation system being used by the Sapien network is arguably much more fair than the one STEEM uses. STEEM gives more voting power to the users that hold a greater amount of funds, creating an imbalanced system as more than 50% of STEEM currently being staked is in the hands of less than 20 individuals. One user equals one vote.


Due to the powerfully democratic way that the Sapien Network is designed, users are able to use SPN tokens to vote on proposed improvements to the platform. This will in theory enable users to self-organize and self-moderate the numerous communities on the platform. In the event that a user is repeatedly flagged for inappropriate behavior within a branch (community), a tribunal will be held where the members of said branch will collaborate and decide on whether the user should face disciplinary action and if so, to what extent. If Star Trek is anything to go by, this system is effective, yet very harsh on the individual being “tried.” But given the way that the Sapien Network is designed, it is truly a democratic way of handling the problem. Users can likely apologize and if accepted by the community, will possibly receive a minimal penalty, if any. And I’m sure nobody will be electrocuted here like Captain Kirk’s crew members, so relatively speaking, it can’t be all that bad!

Business Model

The whitepaper states that the primary goal of Sapien is to securely implement the proposed applications of the SPN token. They plan on bringing in revenue through multiple avenues:


Users will have the ability to purchase both virtual and physical goods and services using SPN tokens. The aforementioned reputation model will enable either party in the trade to determine the reliability of the other. As these trades happen, Sapien will charge users a 1% transaction fee for both buyers and sellers separately unless they have staked at least $20 of SPN tokens. This staking requirement is adjustable by the team and will likely be adjusted to facilitate the growth of the platform as Sapien deems necessary.


By default, no advertisements will be shown on the Sapien Network, but users can choose to have advertisements displayed to them using their personal data. The users will be able to earn SPN tokens for “selling” their personal data this way. Community/branch owners are also able to decide if their community can view advertisements and if so, which type of advertisements. For example, a religious community would likely not want to see advertisements that go against their values, and they can opt-out of these specific advertisements if they wish to do so.

Interesting to note however is that the more SPN tokens a user has, the higher their payout for enabling advertisements. Although some may argue that this is a “whale-friendly” feature, in reality it is paying the user relative to how much they are invested in the platform and themselves. One dollar is not valued the same to two people coming from two different financial backgrounds, and this system will incentivize all types of wallets to share their data to earn a number of tokens that they would be satisfied with.

Advertisers can purchase advertisements on the Sapien Network with SPN tokens, and these tokens will be paid out to the users that have chosen to enable advertisements. Similar to Facebook or Youtube, the advertisements will be strategically placed where they would be most effective on the audience. The difference with Sapien, however, is that the users themselves will receive the majority of the Advertisement revenue. At the very least, users will receive 50% of the advertisement revenue, but if they are staking many more tokens, they will receive a higher percentage of this revenue. The system is (according to the whitepaper) “dynamically adjusted to keep the platform afloat.”


Advertisement Revenue Sharing Percentages


Though Sapien has a self-regulating community focus in mind, they are essentially granting moderator privileges to the most respected members of each community. From a North American looking-glass, proof of value seems logical. In other areas of the world where freedom of choice / speech / religion are already completely or currently under siege (parts of Middle East, Mexico, Asia), having an entire community of people contribute on a regular basis is not beyond reach.

Remember that part of the reason fake news gained traction to begin with was the seemingly organic nature behind the original post/share. It seems the same tactic could thwart Sapien with advance notice.

Another consideration is that just because somebody has prominence or reputation in a group, it doesn’t necessarily mean that their intentions are good. As we often see today, it is the people in positions of power who oft take advantage of that power, after it has been attained.

Another issue that is growing at rapid pace are bots. In combination with technologies like Natural Language Processing and A.I. (especially as they develop), bots may be capable of building their own communities and upvoting themselves. Just because a community is self-governing, it doesn’t mean their intentions are good – racist groups, terrorist organizations, drug cartels. What makes this all possible is not requiring any personal data and therefore being unable to verify community members or their contributions (prior to their registration on the platform).

Note: The Sapien team has stated that Sapien will make use of captchas to reduce the presence of bots on the platform. But there are many services that pay real humans for solving captchas, so there are still workarounds if an individual or group is keen enough. However, it is important to note that this is a problem that all social media and news platforms have to deal with.

Adaptations will be made. They may require more expertise than is currently available, but as the bot and AI infrastructure develop, it will complicate the situation in the future without a mechanism for prevention.


Answer me this: Would you have joined Facebook if you had to spend over an hour learning how TCP/IP and IPFS function? The answer for most of you is probably no. Meanwhile, Steemit’s white-paper for example may as well be in Latin because truth is that we live in an era of instant gratification, and any platform that forces users to actually read a lengthy and complex tutorial will have trouble being adopted by the average consumer (who happens to be the same person that presses “skip tutorial” and then spends the next few hours trying to figure out what the hell they are doing). Sapien makes their platform experience dead-easy so even my technology illiterate grandmother could probably understand through intuition alone. Putting the problems pertaining to the pure democracy approach aside, Sapien could also be a platform that tackles the Net Neutrality issue head-on, allowing users to control their own data and to enable seamless peer-to-peer (P2P) transactions.

As per their roadmap, the application is scheduled to be decentralized in Q2 of 2018, but based on the same document, the “real magic” (as my colleague Steve puts it) doesn’t start happening until Q1 2019. Although that may be a decade away crypto-wise, we will have plenty of room for speculation. After all, tackling Reddit, a site commonly referred to as the front page of the Internet, is a big undertaking, even with a team of over 20 individuals who display pure dedication to the project and have a tenacious mentality. This will be an interesting David Vs. Goliath story to watch, and we at CryptoSyndicate are eagerly awaiting to see how this story unfolds.

Disclaimer: The Authors of this article are currently holders of SPN tokens.


R-Chain – Multi-Threading Blockchain

As cryptographic technology advances, it’s natural for generational gaps to exist. Bitcoin is considered a 1st-gen cryptocurrency, Ethereum a 2nd-gen crypto. There will exist a group of modern cryptocurrencies that will be considered the 3rd generation – Cardano, Komodo, and EOS are three we covered in our Premium Syndicate Report for January. To show you the type of fundamentals break down these reports carry, we’ve extracted RChain from the Premium Report to release to our blog for free. We’re giving you insight into how we process the Fundamental and Market analysis in our Premium Reports and open the doors on the exciting RChain project to all.

RChain will undoubtedly be a very solid competitor in the league of 3rd-generation tokens. With the addition of all these powerhouses, projects such as Ethereum will have to work hard to maintain market relevance long-term.


RChain is an open-sourced project with the goal of building a decentralized and censorship-resistant economic blockchain platform to be used as a public computing infrastructure.

Powered by smart contracts, similar to EOS, ADA, and ETH, the platform aims to be trustworthy and scalable with a PoS consensus. Smart contracts enable dApps to provide features to the blockchain such as identity, tokens, timestamp, reputation, financial services, and monetized content delivery to form exchanges, private social networks, marketplaces, etc.

RChain contracts are written in Rholang, the platform’s programming language. Designed to support internal programmatic concurrency, it can formally express the communication and coordination of processes running in parallel. This is key to the internal mechanisms of the platform.

Due to the inherent internal concurrency of RChain nodes, each node is not required to run the namespaces of all blockchains, only those they want enabled. This feature improves the scalability of Rchain, and because the Rholang language was built from provable mathematics, it can also be considered trustworthy.

The structure of the platform is complex:

A visualization of Rchain’s architecture.

RChain is designed with JVM as the basic foundation. The Rho Virtual Machine Execution Environment (EE) will operate on the Trusted Java Libraries (JVM) to power the RhoVM instances. The RhoVM EE can support multiple individual RhoVM(s), with each running a smart contract concurrently and in a multi-threaded fashion. A multiplex of independently operating RhoVM instances will operate on nodes across the network at any given time, with each executing and validating transactions for their associated blockchains or namespaces.

RhoVM process structure as shown above.

The concurrent structure allows for independent processes to compose into complex processes without competing for resources. Along with the compositional namespaces, this architecture will enable a multi-chain (multiple blockchains per node) effect where transactions are performed on independently executing VM instances.

A system of these interconnected nodes form the RChain Network with nodes directly communicating P2P. Each node operates with a set of dApps on top and the included essential System Contracts, written in Rholang. These contracts facilitate system processes, including running RhoVM instances, load balancing, managing dApp contracts, tokens, node trust, etc.

The Data Abstraction Layer will provide monadic (functional programming) access to data and other nodes in the network. As an advancement of Synereo’s SpecialK infrastructure, the layer will provide decentralized content delivery, key-value database, inter-node messaging, and data access patterns to the platform.

RChain’s structural design.

A PoS protocol called Casper will be responsible for the chain’s replication and consensus. Comparable to Ethereum smart contracts, RChain nodes will receive signed transactions and the VM instances are to execute them to progress a contract’s state. Node operators, or bonded validators, will apply the consensus algorithm to verify that the log of state configurations and transitions of the VM instances are accurately recorded.

However, unlike Ethereum, the proof-of-stake protocol of RChain is unique in that it bets on logical propositions. A proposition is defined as a set of statements about the blockchain, determining which transaction should occur first. Validator nodes will compute a maximally consistent subset of propositions. Once consensus is reached, the next block can be generated by finding a minimal model under which the propositions are valid. Thanks to the transactional isolation per namespaces and instances, most blocks can be created in parallel.


The Rchain token system contracts include two types of protocol access tokens:

  • Staking tokens – These are the required tokens to run consensus. Phlogiston is RChain’s measure of the cost of resources and is comparable to gas in Ethereum. The Phlogiston token is multi-dimensional and is dependent on usage of computing, storage, and bandwidth resources. Additional staking tokens may be introduced through official releases.
  • Application tokens – On par with ERC20 tokens, application tokens are optional and could be required to access certain dApps. New application tokens are introduced by dApp developers of the platform.


GREG MEREDITH President of The RChain Cooperative. Previously worked as Principal Architect of Microsoft’s BizTalk Process Orchestration, Principal Architect of Microsoft’s Highwire, Principal Architect of ATM Network management solution for ATT/NCR and Co-designer and developer of MCC’s Rosette/ESS technology.  

EVAN JENSEN Secretary of The RChain Cooperative. Evan is an attorney with special interests in progressing crypto-related law. Evan is also legal counsel for The RChain Cooperative.  

IAN BLOOM Worked as a Microsoft Software Engineer for AEGON, Computer Security Specialist for Fortress Technologies & Kroll.    

VLAD ZAMFIR Vlad is known for his R&D work on Casper, the PoS consensus protocol for the Ethereum project.



RChain is an incredible project by design, and the team and support behind the platform are quite impressive. The Board of Directors is large (only a few members are shown above). However, each member is very well-educated with substantial credentials. By design, RChain is structurally and fundamentally unique, bringing innovation to an otherwise repetitive market.

  • Ticker: $RHOC
  • Total Supply: 870,663,574 RHOC
  • Circulating Supply: 344,086,289 RHOC
  • Current Market Cap: $654,465,885 USD
  • Available on Kucoin, EtherDelta

Flags on potential Binance listing of RHOC in the coming weeks may see positive price action on the asset in short to mid-term (2-7 weeks). Project progress, overall roadmap direction, and positive consumer sentiment – including the enthusiast demographic, puts RHOC at a 2018 prospect for a large upside once the project becomes less synthetic (currently an 87ss on the Synthetic Valuation Scale due to age of the project and progress against the roadmap).

Entries under 20,000 per RHOC at the supply levels are sound, if RHOC can get a stable valuation in the markets above a $1.0 Billion USD market cap in the coming months. Trend analysis against RHOC and its buying patterns shows a 0.895 Pr on a $1.25 – $1.54 Billion USD market cap in the foreseeable future (Q2 – Q3 2018).