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Category: Business Analysis

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.

Fundamental

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.

Cryptocurrency

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.

Development

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.

Sapien

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

STAKING

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

REPUTATION

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.

DEMOCRATIZED AUTONOMOUS PLATFORM (DAP) PROPOSALS

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:

MARKETPLACE

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.

ADVERTISEMENT PLATFORM

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.”

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Advertisement Revenue Sharing Percentages

Threats

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.

Conclusion

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.

Sources

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.

Overview

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.

TOKEN

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.

TEAM

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.

 

Analysis

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).

Sources

MicroMoney (AMM)

100 out of 196 countries in the world serve as home to 2,000,000,000 unbanked people, who use cash only, do not have any credit history, and do not have access to any financial services. It is essential to note that most of these people use their smartphones and social networks on a regular basis. This provides a tremendous amount of a new data and a substantial number of new potential clients. Financial institutions lack information about these clients and their creditworthiness; thus they do not want to take the risk to serve these people. However, these individuals still need funds and surely businesses would enjoy having new customers to survive during competition.

Banking the over 2 billion unbanked worldwide

The solution AMM has implemented is an open source and meta data bureau that can connect these “fiat only” markets to existing financial services. AMM has a platform that utilizes A.I and can help these people apply and receive their very first loans from a smartphone. This platform allows the new user an opportunity to establish credit and a credit history, which will be stored on the blockchain. This will not only improve the lives of the new user but give an opportunity for existing businesses to access a new client base. The way that AMM has done this is by creating a smartphone app. This app, which utilizes the AMM token, uses 10,000 parameters to gather the “creditworthiness” of new users. This is done by using their AI platform to analyze metadata which is collected 24/7. AMM gives the user the ability to apply and receive loans, or setup bank accounts easily and within minutes. The loans that will be made available are backed by smart contracts. These contracts will be transparent in nature. This will allow both user and potential business to see the credit histories and worthiness, and give the user a financial digital identity.

The other side of this App is used by Businesses that will have access to these new people in the marketplace.  The data available to businesses will be collected from the users’ smartphones and smart contracts. As businesses are always looking for customers, they will now have access to an “untapped” market of billions of potential customers. Some of the businesses that will be interested in this data will be:

  • Banks
  • Finance, Micro Finance, and Insurance companies
  • E-commerce and retail businesses

Credit Companies     

The target locations of these unbanked people start in southeast Asia. This area has been statistically shown to be an emerging market with a majority of people being “unbanked.” This market has widely been available to the internet and accounts for over 50% of the social media users worldwide. These folks have been using technology to better themselves. This would lead one to believe that the ability to establish a banking/lending/credit history would bring these people further out of poverty. Also, it would bring a large increase of “users” to the global economic market.

Overall goals for MicroMoney:

  • Solving hunger and poverty by providing the unbanked with access to financial services and the possibility to build their initial credit history on a Blockchain.
  • Helping unbanked small entrepreneurs grow their businesses by offering online loans.
  • Enabling banks, financial companies, institutions ,and retail businesses worldwide to efficiently scale and serve customers who previously had no access to their services.
  • Creating an extensive micro-financing ecosystem by providing a franchise to local partners.
  • Raising financial awareness among clients by offering consulting services and educational materials. Enabling Blockchain companies to efficiently scale their customer base by getting access to our open source Credit Bureau with millions of under-served people.
  • Bringing financially excluded people to the new global crypto economy.

AMM

The native token for this platform is AMM and is profiled as a utility token.  The coin is used as payment for the use of MicroMoney’s platform and services.

Total supply is 17,422,798 ERC20 based coin with a 100% premine. Any tokens unsold at ICO were burned.

Token And Platform Relationship

The AMM token will be use in these ways on the platform

  1. Partnership access – AMM ownership will give access to advanced platform features. For more details, please see the MicroMoney Partnership Program section below.
  2. Encouragement and rewards – First, borrowers in MicroMoney are rewarded with an AMM bonus for paying back their loans on time, while delays cause the AMM bonus to decrease depending on the overdue time. Second, if a borrower has others vouching for him or her and all the payments are made on time, the co-signers will receive AMM tokens as a reward as well.
  3. Data Sales – Every time MicroMoney receives a payment for personal details, credit history or Big Data, the customer will be rewarded with AMM tokens. This is part of the client’s digital reputation. MicroMoney respects personal details of all clients and will never disclose any information with third parties without consent of the client.
  4. A collateral – AMM can be used as collateral to secure a loan application, allowing customers to ​​access the lower rates ​​and other ​​possible ​​privileges ​​and ​​discounts.
  5. Getting payable access to customer big data & credit histories – Banks, financial and insurance companies, e-commerce, retail, and telecom businesses should use tokens to pay for accessing personalized information in the Big Data & Credit Histories Bureau.
  6. Getting payable access to the Decentralized A.I. Neural Network Scoring system – Banks, financial and insurance companies, e-commerce, retail and telecom businesses should use tokens to pay for accessing the Decentralized A.I. ​​Neural ​​Network ​​Scoring ​​system.

The right for any contribution to the system to support Sustainable Development Goals – AMM supports SDG programs of the United Nations, namely: No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Quality Education, Gender Equality, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Reducing Inequalities.

Holding AMM tokens will also give users the ability to:

  1. Franchise partnership – AMM ownership can allow tokenholders to become MicroMoney’s ​​partner in ​​a ​​specific ​​country/region ​​on ​​an ​​exclusive ​​basis.
  2. Access to the Decentralized A.I. Neural Network Scoring System – Banks, financial and insurance companies, e-commerce websites, retail outlets, telecommunication companies, and other corporates can access our Decentralized A.I. Neural Network Scoring ​​system.
  3. Access to customers’ Big Data – Customers of our Big Data Bureau (banks, financial and insurance companies, e-commerce websites, retail outlets, telecommunication companies, and other corporations) can get access to customer data, which can be mined.
  4. Access to customers’ Credit Bureau Histories – Banks, financial and insurance companies, e-commerce websites, retail outlets, telecommunication companies, and other ​​corporations ​​can ​​get ​​access to ​​AMM’s ​​Credit ​​Histories ​​Bureau.

MicroMoney has plans to integrate the following projects down the road:

  • Civic – To improve borrower’s identification & verification
  • Hive – Providing funding for our SME (small-medium enterprise) customers
  • GOLEM – Decentralized supercomputer. Deploying AI for our scoring and risk analytics solutions
  • Tether – Alternative Payment system
  • Uport – Global, unified, sovereign customer’s identity system
  • COSMOS – Network and a framework for interoperability between blockchains
  • Everex – Cross-border payment system. Getting crypto-cash for our borrowers

Sources

Power Ledger: A Distributed Power Platform

The current energy industry is rapidly evolving. Centralized power authorities were responsible for creating the connections to consumers, deciding where and when to build a generating capacity and how to bridge the distance between generators and loads. This gave them major leverage to influence the cost of energy consumption. But as markets around distributed energy resources like solar panels, batteries, microgrids, and embedded networks grow, the adoption of these sustainable, energy-generating technologies will shift the power balance from the central authorities to the consumers. With the introduction of distributed energy resources, or DERs for short, the current energy distribution system is being defined by bi-directional flows of energy by millions of active prosumers. Individuals who utilize DERs are able to generate their own energy, regulate power consumption, even trade, export and provide excess energy. A network of linked prosumers would create a more reliable energy ecosystem than the current traditional network.
Solar panels: A prime example of renewable energy source. In order to fully utilize the available modern technologies and to break away from traditional platforms, consumers need a decentralized energy trading platform for use as the market ecosystem. Power Ledger aims to provide the necessary foundation required. The ecosystem will allow users to monetize their energy production and realize the full value of their investments. It is similar to how Uber and AirBnb have allowed users to monetize their cars and spare rooms — a fact which the Power team point out in the whitepaper. By utilizing blockchain technology, Power Ledger can provide this trading market platform, allowing the prosumers to export energy to their peers in a trustless environment. The decentralized nature of blockchain allows for more efficient reliable network communication processes without a centralized authority with lower costs and fees. The proposed POWR platform is described as a trustless, transparent and interoperable energy trading platform that will support a variety of energy applications. Listed are some of the key classes of Platform Applications, which were developed by Power Ledger for their ecosystem:
  • P2P Trading (Fusebox):
    • Allows consumers/retailers the ability to trade electricity and receive payments in real-time in an automated, trustless reconciliation and settlement system.
    • Other benefits include options to select a clean energy source, trade with neighbors, export excess power, trade transparency, and low settlement costs.
  • Neo-Retailer:
    • Neo-retailers will be provided with smart demand and supply management.
    • Near instant remuneration and payment settlements is also a benefit while managing consumer exposure to the risk of non-supply.
  • Microgrid/ Embedded Network Operator/ Strata:
    • Electricity metering, big data acquisition, rapid micro-transactions and grid management are enabled using this application.
    • Value can be derived from an investment in DERs.
  • Wholesale Market Settlement:
    • Rapid low-cost transparent dispatch optimization and management, data aggregation, reconciliation, and settlement for wholesale energy marketplaces are offered through this application.
  • Autonomous Asset (AA) Management:
    • This application will define shared ownership of renewable energy assets and trading renewable asset ownership. The AA is able to buy and sell its own electricity as well as distribute its income to assigned wallet addresses.
  • Distributed Market Management:
    • Optimized metering data, the collection of big data, right to access and dispatch of assets, rapid transaction settlement and network load balancing, frequency management, demand side response and demand side and load management data are provided through this application.
  • Electric Vehicles:
    • Designed to accommodate electric vehicles, this specific application will facilitate and collect real-time metering data by interfacing with the Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP). Data will be used for user identification and rapid transaction settlement.
  • Power Port:
    • Virtual energy pipelines as well as roadside assistance type assets can be automated using the platform (e.g., EVs) and provide a mobile storage discharge facility to maintain energy supplies.
  • Carbon Trading:
    • The application offers smart contracts for carbon traders to assure transparent and auditable digital transactions across organizations using blockchain ledger technology. Reports and records of carbon credits as well as certificates for regulatory authorities will be supported.
  • Transmission Exchange:
    • Utilizing data collected in the management of transmission networks, the platform can offer real-time metering data, data collection, as well as facilitate rights to access and dispatch assets. The platform also offers rapid transaction settlements and network load balancing in responding to non-stationary energy.
Applications for the platform can also be developed by third parties using the platform’s designs and services. It is suggested in the whitepaper that the POWR to Sparkz ratio for third-party developers may be adjusted depending on customer feedback and reputation in support for consumer innovations. The Power Ledger platform operates upon a dual-token ecosystem:
  • The ERC20 Power Ledger token, called POWR, is used to access the Platform and can be compared to a “limited software licensing permission.” Bespoke private trading applications will create Sparkz in exchange for POWRs. The tokens are also used as incentive towards energy producers. All prosumers generating as well as the consumers purchasing energy are rewarded POWR tokens. This loyalty-rewards program is funded by charging a small fee for all P2P transactions on the platform. Part of the fee is then used to purchase POWR tokens on exchanges and distribute them through the program.
  • Sparkz are specifically limited to representing the tokenized value of a unit of electricity. They are issued against escrowed POWR tokens, via a smart contract, and are used by a host to onboard its customers. The tokens are already being purchased and redeemed using fiat currencies with individual trading platforms hosting closed-loop exchanges for energy.
The two tokens are exchangeable and will cooperate to allow for interoperability among diverse market management, pricing mechanisms, and units of electricity (kWh).

Platform System Process

Using the POWR ecosystem application Fusebox in conjunction with tokens, consumers and prosumers are able to buy and sell energy. They are settled with Sparkz tokens and may redeem the Sparkz for cash via their Application Host. Entities that run an application on the POWR platform are the Application Hosts. They can range from utility companies to EV-charging services or even a decentralized autonomous organization.
Provided is a diagram demonstrating dynamic flow in the POWR platform. To operate, an Application Host is required to possess an adequate amount of POWR to generate the necessary Sparkz for their consumers. Once a POWR token supply is exhausted, platform access is revoked. A smart contract is in place to ensure consumer protection in the event an Application Host fails. P2P consumers will be able to redeem their Sparkz directly against the POWR tokens previously provided and port to another Host. However, in a deregulated P2P market that has no need for Application Hosts, providers as well as consumers are able to convert and trade POWR and Sparkz tokens directly without the need for intermediaries.

Trading

Power Ledger has also developed its own unique trade matching algorithm which will distribute and transact available power equitably without favoring any participants. Consumer orders on both sides of the market are filled in equal increments and cycled continuously to ensure equal allocation of the available energy in the area, while minimizing the distance between each user. Participants are also grouped by either pre-configured network conditions or by proximity-based priority collectives. Users are limited to trades within a specified trading group configured by their host (regulated) or by Power Ledger (unregulated). Individuals with remaining import/export kWh orders to trade move up the priority groups until depleted. To maximize efficiency, Power Ledger’s Trade Engine 2.0 is being designed to geo-locate participants and prioritizes proximity to assist in network load balancing at efficient intervals across the network.
Shown above is a visualization of POWR’s hierarchy, used to determine energy allocation priority.

Blockchain Layers

Similar to other blockchain projects, the Power Ledger platform consists of different layers. It is planned for POWR tokens to be on the public Ethereum blockchain and a fee-less consortium blockchain will handle the high transaction volume of p2p energy trading. The public blockchain layer will interface the ecosystem with token exchanges. This layer also provides the most advanced security and decentralization available to the token and is a mechanism for interacting with the Consortium and Application layers of the platform through the POWR token. Next is the core POWR layer, providing the public smart contracts which provide the conversion of POWR/Sparkz tokens. It also facilitates the exchange of POWR/Sparkz and smart bond contracts for Application Hosts. Oracles are also utilized to gather information external to the blockchain protocol required for internal operations and communicating with the consortium chain. For the consortium layer, Power Ledger is currently using the EcoChain blockchain, a private PoS blockchain. EcoChain has been stress-tested in high-load environments and is now being transitioned to a modified fee-less Consortium Ethereum network for POWR while retaining the benefits of the existing EcoChain system for specific platform application services such as Sparkz creation and management, fiat payment processing, and storage and verification of data. Both the Ethereum Consortium and original EcoChain blockchain are currently running in the Consortium layer to provide these benefits.
A representation of POWR’s blockchain layers. Blockchain transactions will also be executed in an off-chain process by the use of state channels. The blockchain state will be locked using multi-signatures or smart contracts. In order to update the state, a specific set of participants must agree with the decision. Eventually, the state is closed and sent to the blockchain record. Lastly, the ecosystem’s Application Layer is called the Fusebox. As briefly mentioned before, Fusebox is an advanced application developed by Power Ledger to facilitate P2P trading. Designed not only for direct peer-to-peer trading, it can also be configured to adapt to market structures and regulations and is able to reconfigure seamlessly as market changes are applied. By utilizing the benefits of blockchain, the ecosystem also gains the adaptability to conform to any existing, or future, regulatory environment. The scalability provides stability for users positioned in the ecosystem and preserves market power in transactive arrangements.

Investments

Aside from being able to monetize DER investments, Power Ledger platform offers users the opportunities to finance for shared ownership and trading of renewable assets. The Autonomous Asset management module provided by the platform will be able to buy and sell its own electricity then distribute its income to assigned wallet addresses. Communities will be able to collectively invest in an energy infrastructure and become co-owners and beneficiaries of the asset’s POWR generation and production.
An example is shown describing possible investments and returns.

Review

Power Ledger has recently emerged as one of the most promising blockchain projects of 2017. Not only are the fundamentals very applicable, but there is also a quickly growing demand for sustainable energy worldwide. No doubt the market will receive the POWR platform positively. It is also encouraging that the development have been in the process of working on POWR for a while, with notable achievements so far. Fundamentally, I personally have high expectations for this project.

Sources

The Real “NEXT NEO” is Here – Meet Cardano ($ADA)

PROJECT OVERVIEW

Cardano (The blockchain powered by the ADA token) is a next-generation cryptocurrency developed by Charles Hoskinson, one of the co-founders of the Ethereum project.  Originally sold as an ICO in 2016, the project has quietly been in development for well over a year, and is now the first new coin to be added to Bittrex in months.  Cardano is a fully featured, smart-contract capable platform (Equivalent to NEO, QTUM, ETH, etc.) designed by teams of PhDs across three continents, offering far faster transaction speeds, rock-solid reliability, quantum computing resistance, and other bleeding-edge features. According to the ICO documentation, initial smart-applications for Cardano will be a casino and an integration with the mobile gaming market, with many more exciting applications to come. There are also plans underway to establish a Cardano Debit card that users can use to spend their ADA anywhere in the world. Cardano is quite possibly the most technologically advanced and future-proof blockchain available to date, and is sure to become one of the most talked-about coins in the days to come!

ICO ANALYSIS

The Cardano ICO took place in 4 stages between September 2015 – January2017 with heavy Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements. It was marketed as an “investment to retire on” to primarily Japanese investors; in fact, 95% of the buyers were of Japanese origin[1], primarily in the 35-55 age bracket. 2.56% of buyers were Korean[1], and 2.39% were Chinese[1]. The ICO oversaw a total sale of approximately 26,000,000,000 of the 45,000,000,000 total supply of ADA tokens. At the conclusion of the ICO a total of approximately $63 million USD was raised; this puts the price at an average of $0.00242 per ADA, and the market capitalization immediately after the ICO at approximately $109 million USD. But if you’re looking to buy this token (which we recommend you do at some point, even if it is just a little), consider this: Bittrex is an exchange where approximately 5% of traffic is Japanese, and on top of this, it will take over a week for customers to be approved to withdraw significant amounts of BTC. Given that there are basically no Japanese traders on Bittrex, and the less than 1 week notice that ADA holders had to create a Bittrex account if they didn’t already have one, the supply shortage of ADA alone should cause some drastic price fluctuations in the short term while it is the only major exchange to list the project.

 

BLOCKCHAIN ANALYSIS

Cardano is aiming to be the next-level competitor for BTC and ETH. Striving for a middle-ground between regulation and anonymity, Cardano is built with 2 layers:

CSL

CSL, is a blockchain token with a unique “provably secure” POS protocol (Ouroboros) that claims to be “the first of kind with a rigorous security analysis”. The second, CLL, is a computation layer upon which code may be run.

“Sophisticated decentralized applications (DApps) and smart contracts will be able to run independently of the CSL. Cardano applications can be customized to meet the regulatory requirements of a particular use-case. This means where regulatory oversight is required it can be given, on an application-by-application basis.”

ADA

The token that will be used in this ecosystem will be called ADA. Though the concept sounds very similar to ETH and BTC, ADA differs on numerous key details.

 

Improving on the past, Cardano wants to be an adaptive system. “Token holders can vote on how to change the protocol, capturing stakeholder intent and reducing the potential for fragmentation. Updates to the software will need to be made through soft forks. Governance has been carefully designed, and every ADA holder can take part.” ADA holders are also able to influence how ADA is funded. “Cardano uses a treasury system, which allocates a percentage of the block reward into a pool of capital for costs deemed necessary for the network, and a voting system for stakeholders to decide what to fund. This could include competing development teams; marketing efforts; hackathons; venture capital.”

TEAM ANALYSIS

Cardano is a collective of 3 entities:

The Cardano Foundation is the promotor, educator, and standard body for the blockchain and its apps. “The Foundation will provide a formal specification and standardization process — critical for enterprise adoption and government engagement.”

IOHK is the engineering company that’s building the platform. IOHK has a very strong team (https://iohk.io/team/) and they are the ones behind the POS protocol (https://iohk.io/research/papers/#9BKRHCSI). Charles Hoskinson, one of the founders, was formerly the CEO of the Ethereum project (Dec, 2013 – May, 2014). “All research is peer-reviewed and published in accordance with the project’s transparent aims.” Their security is also verified by 3rd-party audits. ” IOHK has retained leading firms to perform these functions. With leading academics and engineers, peer-reviewed proofs of security, and independent auditing, IOHK’s work gives Cardano the guarantees of formal security that nurture confidence in the platform for scalable high-value applications.”

Emurgo, a business partner that will incentivize growth on the Cardano blockchain – by funding start-ups building dApps on the Cardano blockchain, as well as providing the tools, teams, and expertise for companies to build upon.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Although Bittrex is the first confirmed exchange, multiple exchanges have agreed to list the Cardano project. (Figure 2)

The Project had been stress tested close to the launch date to ensure a smooth rollout of the chain. The engineer behind the tests described the results as “boring”. When you’re looking for bad news, such a result is most certainly good news! (Refer to “images” for the source).

IOHK is described as a “world-class blockchain engineering company” which is contract to be responsible for building the Cardano blockchain through 2020. Some of their other projects include Ethereum Classic and Scorex, the latter aims to act as a bridge for not only competing protocols, but also for traditional networking infrastructure.

RESOURCES

SOURCES

  1. https://www.cardanohub.org/en/audit-report-summary/
  2. https://cardanofoundation.org/foundation/
  3. https://www.cardanohub.org/en/genesis-block-distribution/
  4. https://iohk.io/projects/cardano/#team
  5. https://iohk.io/team/
  6. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdDK-n3FoWI
  7. https://www.cardanohub.org/en/genesis-block-distribution/
  8. https://medium.com/@classicether/stage-is-set-for-initial-coin-offerings-on-ethereum-classic-blockchain-a364a849681f
  9. http://kasoutsuuka.net/index.php?%E8%A9%90%E6%AC%BA%E3%82%B3%E3%82%A4%E3%83%B3%E3%81%AE%E8%A6%8B%E5%88%86%E3%81%91%E6%96%B9
  10. https://medium.com/@classicether/out-of-the-ether-a-crisis-of-irresponsible-governance-facing-ethereum-classic-a77abdd7a9fa

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