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The History, The Current State And The Future Of NavCoin

The History, The Current State And The Future Of NavCoin

This is it. If you're interested to see what NAV is all about, this is the ultimate guide for you. You will learn about the history of NavCoin and how it evolved. You will learn about the current state and features of NavCoin and you will learn about the exciting new features that are planned and coming up in the (near) future.
So buckle up, this is going to be a long ride!

Table Of Content


Introduction - What is NavCoin?


The History

Introduction
The following chapter will summarize and break down the history of NavCoin in a few sentences. NAV started a long time ago, went through rebrandings and changes of the core team before it became what it is today.

SummerCoin
NavCoin was initially first introduced under the name SummerCoin on April 23 in 2014. SummerCoin was a fork of the Bitcoin blockchain. It used to have a PoW/PoS hybrid algorithm with a block time of 45 seconds.

SummerCoinV2 /NavajoCoin
Soon after the initial launch of SummerCoin, the original developer left and SoopY (soopy452000 on bitcointalk) took over as the main developer and rebranded the project to SummerCoinV2 respectively NavajoCoin and introduced new features.
The name NavajoCoin was chosen in honor of the Navajo Code Talker. The unbreakable Navajo code was used to encrypt highly classified military information and commands and decrypt the same in WW II.
SoopY introduced a technology which allowed sending transactions anonymously and private. This technology was called "Navajo Anonymous Technology". SoopY also released a new wallet and set the Proof of Stake rewards at 10% for the first year, 5% for the second year and 2% for every year after.

NavCoin
On August 12, 2014, Craig (current lead core developer, pakage on bitcointalk) started to get involved with NAV by helping to set up a website [10].
It was officially announced that Craig joined the core team as a "Wallet & Web Developer" on November 06, 2014.
The last tokenswap and restart of the blockchain of NAV happened on May 12, 2016.
Soon later, SoopY stopped showing up and Craig stepped into the role of the lead core developer. Since then, Craig has assembled a strong team with which he built NavCoin into what it is today.
Currently, Craig and the NavCoin Core team is located in New Zealand and they are actively developing many ground-braking features which differentiate NAV from other cryptocurrencies. You will read more about that later in this article.

The Current State

Introduction
The year 2018 has been a thriving year for the NavCoin ecosystem. Despite the USD price of NAV not reflecting it, in 2018 the core team has developed a whole bunch of new features. Also the core content creators published the first official guidelines that function as an orientation guide for community content creators. This chapter will give you an overview of the current team, the features, the prior mentioned guidelines and the community of NavCoin.

Core Team [1]
Last year, the core team has grown alot. It contains of developers, content creators and interns. The core team are employees of Encrypt S, the New Zealand's leading blockchain R&D lab. Encrypt S is developing blockchain solutions since 2014 and values building open-source software highly.

Craig MacGregor - Chief Executive Officer
Craig is the CEO of Encrypt S and the founder of NavCoin. He is one of the world's most experienced blockchain developers. Craig founded NavCoin in 2014 and is developing software for it since then. He has assembled a strong team of like-minded people. Craig also speaks at seminars and conferenced. Some of the companies and conferences he did blockchain education sessions at are Oracle, Xero, Air New Zealand, Blok Tex and trademe. Together with the team, he is also doing a education series on YouTube where he explains upcoming features in-depth for the community.

Alex Vazquez - Chief Technical Officer
Alex is the CTO of Encrypt S and the most active contributor to the NavCoin core Github. He has incredible knowledge of blockchains and proposes and implements solutions for challenges and features. He supports community developers frequently and answers any questions of the community thoroughly. Like Craig, Alex is developing software for the NavCoin ecosystem for a very long time. Alex speaks at universities at times and educates students about the blockchain technology.

Paul Sanderson - Lead Software Engineer
Paul is the Lead Software Engineer at Encrypt S. He has a flair for technology. His technical and management skills are perfectly suited for consultancy and investment advising. He also frequently contributes to the NavCoin core source code.

Rowan Savage - Senior Software Engineer
Rowan is a full stack software engineer with more than a decade experience in developing complex front-end web applications. He joined Encrypt S in February 2018 and has since been involved in the Valence Plattform, the Kauri Wallet and NavCoin Core. You will read more about these feature/projects later.

Carter Xiao - Lead UX/UI Designer
Carter specializes in user-centric design and is also very talented with 3D animation, motion graphics and programming. One of NavCoins core principle is "Simplifying Crypto" and UX/UI is a very important part of that.

Matt Paul - Software Engineer
Like Rowan, Matt is a full stack Software Engineer. He joined the core team in Mai 2017 and has since worked on NavPay, NavPi, the Kauri Wallet and NavCoin Core. Kieren Hyland - Chief Strategy Officer Kieren is one of the employees that are working for Encrypt S for a very long time. He is the CSO and is a digital strategist and growth hacker with a passion for new technology and has a lot of experience in online marketing. Laura Harris - Creative Director Laura has a combination of commercial and creative flair. She manages the social media accounts for NavCoin and ensures, that NavCoins' message is always powerful, relevant and distinctive. John Darby - Content Creator John is an internationally awarded Technology and Financial sector marketing communications specialist. He is one of the Core Content Creators for NavCoin.

Features of NavCoin [2]
The following features are currently available and have been developed in the last months and years. It is sorted from newest to oldest.

Static Block Reward
The soft-fork for the enabling of static block rewards have been accepted and became active recently at 5th January 2019. This means, that the block reward was changed from a percentage based reward to a static reward. This will incentivize the stakers to have their node online 24/7 which increased the security of the network. It also aligns NavCoin with the PoSv3 specification. With this implementation, the yearly inflation will be 3.6% currently and will exponentionally decrease because of the static value of the rewards. Every staked block will now give the staker 2 NAV. Depending on how many people are staking, the yearly percentage varies. With the network weight currently being around 20'000'000 NAV, stakers earn around 10% rewards from staking 24/7.

Cold staking
To provide extra security to participants in the staking process in the NavCoin network, the core team decided to implement cold staking. This allows to store NAV offline and still be able to sign staking inputs. Looking forward, a possible integration into the Ledger Nano S would mean, that one can stake NAV securely from a offline hardware wallet. How cool is that?

OpenAlias
One of the core principle of NAV is to simplify cryptocurrencies. Many non-technical people are deterred from the long, cryptic addresses used in wallets. When sending funds, you have to make sure that every single letter and digit is correct which is nerve-wracking for the average person. NavCoin has implemented OpenAlias, which allows to transform the wallet address into a email-like form. Everyone can register a name like "[[email protected]](mailto:[email protected])". Funds can then be sent to this name, which makes sending crypto much easier and less error-prone.

Community Fund
This is the one big feature I was most excited about. NavCoin core has implemented the first fully decentralized community fund. Acceptance of proposals and release of funds is all approved by the decentralized network. No central authority has access to the fund. The community fund enables everyone to propose their ideas to the NavCoin community and to get paid to implement these ideas. Everyone can propose whatever they like (of course there is a higher rate of success if the proposal contributes to the NavCoin ecosystem ;-)). In fact, this article was sponsored by the NAV-Community by voting "yes" for my proposal. The fund works like this:
For a fee of 50 NAV, everyone can create and present his idea/proposal to the entire NavCoin network. The fee is here to help prevent spam attacks. Proposals can literally be anything - be it development, marketing or anything else you can some up with.
After creating the proposal, everyone contributing to the NavCoin network can then decide if they like the proposal of not. They vote with "Yes" or "No" for the acceptance of the proposal. Voting happens via staking. Every transaction that gets validated by you gives you one vote. This means that the more NAV you are staking, the higher your voting weight is.
The proposal stays in the state "Pending" until it is accepted or rejected. To be accepted, a proposal has to have a participation of at least 50% of all staked blocks and at least 75% of these votes have to be "Yes"-votes. Like-wise to be rejected a proposal need 50% participation of the network and 75% of these votes have to be "No"-votes. Additionally, if a proposal didn't pass after 6 voting cycles (about 6 weeks) it is also rejected.
After a proposal has been accepted, the creator of the proposal can start his work. When the work is finished, or at in the proposal defined checkpoints, the proposal creator can create a payment request for the full or part of the requested funds.
The NavCoin network can then again decide, if the work is what the creator promised to do and vote for the funds or reject the payment request because it was not what he promised. This mechanism ensures, that the funds are only release if the creator of the proposal did what he promised. The NavCoin network decides everything, there is no central authority which makes the community fund 100% decentralized.
The community fund is quite new but there have already been some proposals that were accepted like paying for the development & hosting of NAV block explorer, the creation and distribution of NAV car stickers to the community for free (or paid by the community fund), the funding of interns for NavCoin Core, translation of the website into other languages and YouTube videos. What ideas could you come up with? By the way: this article was also sponsored by the community fund :-)

Proof of Stake
Like said before, NavCoin uses the Proof of Stake algorithm to create and validate blocks. Participants of the NavCoin network can earn rewards by putting their coins to stake and thus validating blocks and securing the network. The reward used to be 4% fixed but recently changed with the implementation of PoSv3. Currently, rewards for stakers that are staking 24/7 is about 10% but it is dependent on how many people are staking. If more nodes come online, this reward will go down. If 90% of all NAVs would be at stake, stakers would still earn 4%.

Tutorials And Guidelines [3]
The NavCoin Core team pushes the community to contribute to the NavCoin ecosystem constantly. They emphasize that NavCoin is an open source project and everyone can contribute. The team tries to make it as easy as possible for the average person to contribute and thus created different tutorials and guidelines.

Tutorials To Contribute To The Website
The whole website is open source. Everyone can contribute to the website. The team created different guides for people to follow [4].

The NavCoin Developer Manifesto
The content creator core team has build a developer manifesto. It defines the values that should be uphold like for example that they will always operate in the best interest of the network. If defines the principles, purposes, scope of involvement and operational requirements [5].

The NavCoin Content Creation Manifesto
Similar to the developer manifesto, there is also a content creation manifesto. Again it defines the principles for creating content, the purpose, the scope of involvement and the operational requirements [6].

NavCoin Brand Guidelines
In addition to the content creation manifesto, there is also a brand guideline booklet. This should help content creators to create images, videos, articles etc. in the same style as the core team. It defines the NAV brand. The brand guidelines contain definitions, the language to use (words to use, words not to use), the tone of voice, what the community aspires to be and what we discourage to be. It also contains the logo pack which can be used in graphics etc. It describes correct logo spacing, logo placement, the colors of NAV and different web assets. It gives tips about gradients and overlays, the typefaces (with a font pack) and many more. Check it out yourself [7].

NavCoin Educational Series
The core team has decided to actively involve the community in the creation of new features. For this reason and to allow users to ask questions, they created the NavCoin Educational Series. The core team schedules an online live meetup which can be joined by everyone. On YouTube they do live-streams and explain upcoming features. Examples of these series are explanations for cold staking, static rewards (PoSv3) and the community fund. The community can ask questions live and the core team will answer them immediately.

Community
During the last year there have been an influx of software developers from the community starting to create features for NAV.

navexplorer.com
An examples is navexplorer.com which is programmed by community developer prodpeak and is a block explorer for NavCoin. Additionally, it functions as a interface to see what is going on in the community fund. It shows pending proposals and payment requests.

NEXT Wallet
The NEXT Wallet is an alternative wallet for NAV and other cryptocurrencies. It has a beautiful user interface and is additionally the easiest interface to interact with the community fund (create proposals, create payment requests and vote for proposals and payment requests). It is programmed by community developer sakdeniz who put hundreds of hours into it during last year.

There were also some marketing activities starting to emerge with the release of the community fund. Some of these were for example free stickers for everyone in the NAV community to stick to their car / shop / window etc. or YouTube videos of CryptoCandor and Cryptomoonie that explained the details of NAV. I am sure, that with the 500'000 NAV available in the community fund per year there will be an influx of gread ideas - development as well as marketing activities - that will be funded.

The Future

Introduction
These features are planned for the future. Many of the following features are part of the 2019 roadmap. Some will not be described in great detail because not much is known about them yet. I've still listed them as they are part of what is yet to come.

Features
Rimu - Improved Privacy Solution
NavCoin used to be a optional privacy coin. That means, that you could choose to send a transaction in private. NavCoin was criticized for the way it handles private payments because it relied on a few servers which didn't make it that decentralized. The technology was called "NavTech" and was a secondary blockchain that obscured the transaction and the amount that was sent. NavCoin Core is currently developing a new improved privacy solution that will make the private payment system completely trustless and districuted and runs at a protocol level. Alex of the NavCoin Core team has published a paper that describes this new privacy solution. It's called Zero Confidential Transactions and can be found here: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/330366788_ZeroCT_Improving_Zerocoin_with_Confidential_Transactions_and_more. What I want to highlight is the collaboration between Alex as the proposer of the solution and the Veil team, a Bitcoin Core developer and Moneros main cryptographer as reviewers. When the best work together, it will be interesting to see what the outcome is!

Valence Plattform [8]
Valence is an applied Blockchain platform that can help businesses realise the tangible benefits of blockchain. You can think of Valence as a platform with which you can build Anonymous Distributed Applications (aDapps) with. But Valence is a different kind of platform that enables developers to create new types of blockchain applications. The problem with current (turing complete) dApp platforms are their complexity and rigid nature. Security holes in smart contracts and scaling issues happen frequently [9].
Valence provides transitional pathways that let businesses migrate only part of their activities to the blockchain without having to restructure their entire business model [9].
Valence will provide a spectrum of blockchain application solutions which sit along the decentralized spectrum, offering businesses simple ways to dip their toes into the blockchain at minimal risk or complexity [9].
Thanks to the proof of stake nature of the Valence blockchain, more of a node's resources can be used for processing and routing application data which makes the platform faster and scalable.
Valence aims to make building blockchain applications as accessible to the general public as WordPress or Squarespace has made building websites.
The developers NavCoin and Valence aim to make Valence extremely easy to work with:
A Valence application could be an open source mobile or web application that submits unencrypted or encrypted data directly to the blockchain. The only configuration necessary for the app developer would be setting up the data structure. Once they've done that they can start writing to the blockchain immediately.
The Valence blockchain interface is language agnostic, meaning developers are free to build applications in whichever language they're familiar with, which greatly reduces the barrier to entry.
As the platform progresses, Valence will introduce more and more smart contract templates in collaboration with the development community. These will be like plugins that users can simply select and configure for their application, without having to reinvent the wheel and risk contract errors or spend countless hours of research to program them.

NavShopper
The following information is taken from the latest weekly news: NavShopper is a new project which will allow people to spend NavCoin on a growing list of retailers and service providers. NavShopper sits between traditional retailers accepting fiat and NavCoin users and purchases products on behalf of the user by managing the crypt-fiat conversion, payment and shipping. This project will unlock many more ways for people to spend NAV on existing websites/marketplaces without requiring each site to individually accept cryptocurrencies. Some of the prototypes we are working on include crediting your Uber account, buying products on Amazon and donating to charities.

Kauri Wallet
The Kauri Wallet aims to be an open-source, multi-currency wallet which functions as a foundation for other features.

Kauri Enhanced
Enhancements to the Kauri Wallet will allow multiple accounts, pin numbers, recurring payments and more.

Kauri DAEx
The Kauri DAEx is a Decentralised Atomic Exchange that utilises the features of the Kauri Wallet and enables users to create safe peer to peer atomic exchanges for any currency supported by the Kauri Wallet. NavDelta NavDelta will be a payment gateway that allows users to spend NAV at any business which accepts currencies supported by the Kauri Wallet. NavMorph NavMorph is a fusion of Rimu and Kauri DAEx and will allow to privately send every cryptocurrency supported by the Kauri Wallet.

Outro

If you have made it this far: Congratulations! You have learned about how NAV evolved, what its current state is and what the future will bring. To sum all up: NavCoin has made incredible progress during last year and released many long awaited features despite the bear market. Many more exciting features are yet to come and it's going to be very interesting to see where we will stand on this day next year.

Giveaway

Unfortunately, the giveaway was not possible in the cryptocurrency-subreddit because of their rules, so I'm doing it here :-) As a surprise, in the next 2 hours I am going to send some NAV to everyone who wants to try out the awesome features and NavPay you read about above.
To get your NAVs, all you have to do is the following:
If you liked the experience, I'd be happy to hear back from you :)

References

[1] https://encrypt-s.com/company/
[2] https://navcoin.org/en/roadmap/
[3] https://navhub.org/get-involved/
[4] https://navhub.org/how-to-guide/
[5] https://navhub.org/assets/NavCoinDeveloperManifesto.pdf
[6] https://navhub.org/assets/NavCoinContentManifesto.pdf
[7] https://navhub.org/assets/NavCoinBrandGuidelines.pdf
[8] https://valenceplatform.org/
[9] https://valenceplatform.org/learn/business-on-the-blockchain-made-easy/
[10] https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=679791.msg8320228#msg8320228
submitted by crypto_sIF to NavCoin [link] [comments]

The History, The Current State And The Future Of NavCoin

The History, The Current State And The Future Of NavCoin

This is it. If you're interested to see what NAV is all about, this is the ultimate guide for you. You will learn about the history of NavCoin and how it evolved. You will learn about the current state and features of NavCoin and you will learn about the exciting new features that are planned and coming up in the (near) future.
So buckle up, this is going to be a long ride!

Table Of Content


Introduction - What is NavCoin?


The History

Introduction
The following chapter will summarize and break down the history of NavCoin in a few sentences. NAV started a long time ago, went through rebrandings and changes of the core team before it became what it is today.

SummerCoin
NavCoin was initially first introduced under the name SummerCoin on April 23 in 2014. SummerCoin was a fork of the Bitcoin blockchain. It used to have a PoW/PoS hybrid algorithm with a block time of 45 seconds.

SummerCoinV2 /NavajoCoin
Soon after the initial launch of SummerCoin, the original developer left and SoopY (soopy452000 on bitcointalk) took over as the main developer and rebranded the project to SummerCoinV2 respectively NavajoCoin and introduced new features.
The name NavajoCoin was chosen in honor of the Navajo Code Talker. The unbreakable Navajo code was used to encrypt highly classified military information and commands and decrypt the same in WW II.
SoopY introduced a technology which allowed sending transactions anonymously and private. This technology was called "Navajo Anonymous Technology". SoopY also released a new wallet and set the Proof of Stake rewards at 10% for the first year, 5% for the second year and 2% for every year after.

NavCoin
On August 12, 2014, Craig (current lead core developer, pakage on bitcointalk) started to get involved with NAV by helping to set up a website [10].
It was officially announced that Craig joined the core team as a "Wallet & Web Developer" on November 06, 2014.
The last tokenswap and restart of the blockchain of NAV happened on May 12, 2016.
Soon later, SoopY stopped showing up and Craig stepped into the role of the lead core developer. Since then, Craig has assembled a strong team with which he built NavCoin into what it is today.
Currently, Craig and the NavCoin Core team is located in New Zealand and they are actively developing many ground-braking features which differentiate NAV from other cryptocurrencies. You will read more about that later in this article.

The Current State

Introduction
The year 2018 has been a thriving year for the NavCoin ecosystem. Despite the USD price of NAV not reflecting it, in 2018 the core team has developed a whole bunch of new features. Also the core content creators published the first official guidelines that function as an orientation guide for community content creators. This chapter will give you an overview of the current team, the features, the prior mentioned guidelines and the community of NavCoin.

Core Team [1]
Last year, the core team has grown alot. It contains of developers, content creators and interns. The core team are employees of Encrypt S, the New Zealand's leading blockchain R&D lab. Encrypt S is developing blockchain solutions since 2014 and values building open-source software highly.

Craig MacGregor - Chief Executive Officer
Craig is the CEO of Encrypt S and the founder of NavCoin. He is one of the world's most experienced blockchain developers. Craig founded NavCoin in 2014 and is developing software for it since then. He has assembled a strong team of like-minded people. Craig also speaks at seminars and conferenced. Some of the companies and conferences he did blockchain education sessions at are Oracle, Xero, Air New Zealand, Blok Tex and trademe. Together with the team, he is also doing a education series on YouTube where he explains upcoming features in-depth for the community.

Alex Vazquez - Chief Technical Officer
Alex is the CTO of Encrypt S and the most active contributor to the NavCoin core Github. He has incredible knowledge of blockchains and proposes and implements solutions for challenges and features. He supports community developers frequently and answers any questions of the community thoroughly. Like Craig, Alex is developing software for the NavCoin ecosystem for a very long time. Alex speaks at universities at times and educates students about the blockchain technology.

Paul Sanderson - Lead Software Engineer
Paul is the Lead Software Engineer at Encrypt S. He has a flair for technology. His technical and management skills are perfectly suited for consultancy and investment advising. He also frequently contributes to the NavCoin core source code.

Rowan Savage - Senior Software Engineer
Rowan is a full stack software engineer with more than a decade experience in developing complex front-end web applications. He joined Encrypt S in February 2018 and has since been involved in the Valence Plattform, the Kauri Wallet and NavCoin Core. You will read more about these feature/projects later.

Carter Xiao - Lead UX/UI Designer
Carter specializes in user-centric design and is also very talented with 3D animation, motion graphics and programming. One of NavCoins core principle is "Simplifying Crypto" and UX/UI is a very important part of that.

Matt Paul - Software Engineer
Like Rowan, Matt is a full stack Software Engineer. He joined the core team in Mai 2017 and has since worked on NavPay, NavPi, the Kauri Wallet and NavCoin Core. Kieren Hyland - Chief Strategy Officer Kieren is one of the employees that are working for Encrypt S for a very long time. He is the CSO and is a digital strategist and growth hacker with a passion for new technology and has a lot of experience in online marketing. Laura Harris - Creative Director Laura has a combination of commercial and creative flair. She manages the social media accounts for NavCoin and ensures, that NavCoins' message is always powerful, relevant and distinctive. John Darby - Content Creator John is an internationally awarded Technology and Financial sector marketing communications specialist. He is one of the Core Content Creators for NavCoin.

Features of NavCoin [2]
The following features are currently available and have been developed in the last months and years. It is sorted from newest to oldest.

Static Block Reward
The soft-fork for the enabling of static block rewards have been accepted and became active recently at 5th January 2019. This means, that the block reward was changed from a percentage based reward to a static reward. This will incentivize the stakers to have their node online 24/7 which increased the security of the network. It also aligns NavCoin with the PoSv3 specification. With this implementation, the yearly inflation will be 3.6% currently and will exponentionally decrease because of the static value of the rewards. Every staked block will now give the staker 2 NAV. Depending on how many people are staking, the yearly percentage varies. With the network weight currently being around 20'000'000 NAV, stakers earn around 10% rewards from staking 24/7.

Cold staking
To provide extra security to participants in the staking process in the NavCoin network, the core team decided to implement cold staking. This allows to store NAV offline and still be able to sign staking inputs. Looking forward, a possible integration into the Ledger Nano S would mean, that one can stake NAV securely from a offline hardware wallet. How cool is that?

OpenAlias
One of the core principle of NAV is to simplify cryptocurrencies. Many non-technical people are deterred from the long, cryptic addresses used in wallets. When sending funds, you have to make sure that every single letter and digit is correct which is nerve-wracking for the average person. NavCoin has implemented OpenAlias, which allows to transform the wallet address into a email-like form. Everyone can register a name like "[[email protected]](mailto:[email protected])". Funds can then be sent to this name, which makes sending crypto much easier and less error-prone.

Community Fund
This is the one big feature I was most excited about. NavCoin core has implemented the first fully decentralized community fund. Acceptance of proposals and release of funds is all approved by the decentralized network. No central authority has access to the fund. The community fund enables everyone to propose their ideas to the NavCoin community and to get paid to implement these ideas. Everyone can propose whatever they like (of course there is a higher rate of success if the proposal contributes to the NavCoin ecosystem ;-)). In fact, this article was sponsored by the NAV-Community by voting "yes" for my proposal. The fund works like this:
For a fee of 50 NAV, everyone can create and present his idea/proposal to the entire NavCoin network. The fee is here to help prevent spam attacks. Proposals can literally be anything - be it development, marketing or anything else you can some up with.
After creating the proposal, everyone contributing to the NavCoin network can then decide if they like the proposal of not. They vote with "Yes" or "No" for the acceptance of the proposal. Voting happens via staking. Every transaction that gets validated by you gives you one vote. This means that the more NAV you are staking, the higher your voting weight is.
The proposal stays in the state "Pending" until it is accepted or rejected. To be accepted, a proposal has to have a participation of at least 50% of all staked blocks and at least 75% of these votes have to be "Yes"-votes. Like-wise to be rejected a proposal need 50% participation of the network and 75% of these votes have to be "No"-votes. Additionally, if a proposal didn't pass after 6 voting cycles (about 6 weeks) it is also rejected.
After a proposal has been accepted, the creator of the proposal can start his work. When the work is finished, or at in the proposal defined checkpoints, the proposal creator can create a payment request for the full or part of the requested funds.
The NavCoin network can then again decide, if the work is what the creator promised to do and vote for the funds or reject the payment request because it was not what he promised. This mechanism ensures, that the funds are only release if the creator of the proposal did what he promised. The NavCoin network decides everything, there is no central authority which makes the community fund 100% decentralized.
The community fund is quite new but there have already been some proposals that were accepted like paying for the development & hosting of NAV block explorer, the creation and distribution of NAV car stickers to the community for free (or paid by the community fund), the funding of interns for NavCoin Core, translation of the website into other languages and YouTube videos. What ideas could you come up with? By the way: this article was also sponsored by the community fund :-)

Proof of Stake
Like said before, NavCoin uses the Proof of Stake algorithm to create and validate blocks. Participants of the NavCoin network can earn rewards by putting their coins to stake and thus validating blocks and securing the network. The reward used to be 4% fixed but recently changed with the implementation of PoSv3. Currently, rewards for stakers that are staking 24/7 is about 10% but it is dependent on how many people are staking. If more nodes come online, this reward will go down. If 90% of all NAVs would be at stake, stakers would still earn 4%.

Tutorials And Guidelines [3]
The NavCoin Core team pushes the community to contribute to the NavCoin ecosystem constantly. They emphasize that NavCoin is an open source project and everyone can contribute. The team tries to make it as easy as possible for the average person to contribute and thus created different tutorials and guidelines.

Tutorials To Contribute To The Website
The whole website is open source. Everyone can contribute to the website. The team created different guides for people to follow [4].

The NavCoin Developer Manifesto
The content creator core team has build a developer manifesto. It defines the values that should be uphold like for example that they will always operate in the best interest of the network. If defines the principles, purposes, scope of involvement and operational requirements [5].

The NavCoin Content Creation Manifesto
Similar to the developer manifesto, there is also a content creation manifesto. Again it defines the principles for creating content, the purpose, the scope of involvement and the operational requirements [6].

NavCoin Brand Guidelines
In addition to the content creation manifesto, there is also a brand guideline booklet. This should help content creators to create images, videos, articles etc. in the same style as the core team. It defines the NAV brand. The brand guidelines contain definitions, the language to use (words to use, words not to use), the tone of voice, what the community aspires to be and what we discourage to be. It also contains the logo pack which can be used in graphics etc. It describes correct logo spacing, logo placement, the colors of NAV and different web assets. It gives tips about gradients and overlays, the typefaces (with a font pack) and many more. Check it out yourself [7].

NavCoin Educational Series
The core team has decided to actively involve the community in the creation of new features. For this reason and to allow users to ask questions, they created the NavCoin Educational Series. The core team schedules an online live meetup which can be joined by everyone. On YouTube they do live-streams and explain upcoming features. Examples of these series are explanations for cold staking, static rewards (PoSv3) and the community fund. The community can ask questions live and the core team will answer them immediately.

Community
During the last year there have been an influx of software developers from the community starting to create features for NAV.

navexplorer.com
An examples is navexplorer.com which is programmed by community developer prodpeak and is a block explorer for NavCoin. Additionally, it functions as a interface to see what is going on in the community fund. It shows pending proposals and payment requests.

NEXT Wallet
The NEXT Wallet is an alternative wallet for NAV and other cryptocurrencies. It has a beautiful user interface and is additionally the easiest interface to interact with the community fund (create proposals, create payment requests and vote for proposals and payment requests). It is programmed by community developer sakdeniz who put hundreds of hours into it during last year.

There were also some marketing activities starting to emerge with the release of the community fund. Some of these were for example free stickers for everyone in the NAV community to stick to their car / shop / window etc. or YouTube videos of CryptoCandor and Cryptomoonie that explained the details of NAV. I am sure, that with the 500'000 NAV available in the community fund per year there will be an influx of gread ideas - development as well as marketing activities - that will be funded.

The Future

Introduction
These features are planned for the future. Many of the following features are part of the 2019 roadmap. Some will not be described in great detail because not much is known about them yet. I've still listed them as they are part of what is yet to come.

Features
Rimu - Improved Privacy Solution
NavCoin used to be a optional privacy coin. That means, that you could choose to send a transaction in private. NavCoin was criticized for the way it handles private payments because it relied on a few servers which didn't make it that decentralized. The technology was called "NavTech" and was a secondary blockchain that obscured the transaction and the amount that was sent. NavCoin Core is currently developing a new improved privacy solution that will make the private payment system completely trustless and districuted and runs at a protocol level. Alex of the NavCoin Core team has published a paper that describes this new privacy solution. It's called Zero Confidential Transactions and can be found here: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/330366788_ZeroCT_Improving_Zerocoin_with_Confidential_Transactions_and_more. What I want to highlight is the collaboration between Alex as the proposer of the solution and the Veil team, a Bitcoin Core developer and Moneros main cryptographer as reviewers. When the best work together, it will be interesting to see what the outcome is!

Valence Plattform [8]
Valence is an applied Blockchain platform that can help businesses realise the tangible benefits of blockchain. You can think of Valence as a platform with which you can build Anonymous Distributed Applications (aDapps) with. But Valence is a different kind of platform that enables developers to create new types of blockchain applications. The problem with current (turing complete) dApp platforms are their complexity and rigid nature. Security holes in smart contracts and scaling issues happen frequently [9].
Valence provides transitional pathways that let businesses migrate only part of their activities to the blockchain without having to restructure their entire business model [9].
Valence will provide a spectrum of blockchain application solutions which sit along the decentralized spectrum, offering businesses simple ways to dip their toes into the blockchain at minimal risk or complexity [9].
Thanks to the proof of stake nature of the Valence blockchain, more of a node's resources can be used for processing and routing application data which makes the platform faster and scalable.
Valence aims to make building blockchain applications as accessible to the general public as WordPress or Squarespace has made building websites.
The developers NavCoin and Valence aim to make Valence extremely easy to work with:
A Valence application could be an open source mobile or web application that submits unencrypted or encrypted data directly to the blockchain. The only configuration necessary for the app developer would be setting up the data structure. Once they've done that they can start writing to the blockchain immediately.
The Valence blockchain interface is language agnostic, meaning developers are free to build applications in whichever language they're familiar with, which greatly reduces the barrier to entry.
As the platform progresses, Valence will introduce more and more smart contract templates in collaboration with the development community. These will be like plugins that users can simply select and configure for their application, without having to reinvent the wheel and risk contract errors or spend countless hours of research to program them.

NavShopper
The following information is taken from the latest weekly news: NavShopper is a new project which will allow people to spend NavCoin on a growing list of retailers and service providers. NavShopper sits between traditional retailers accepting fiat and NavCoin users and purchases products on behalf of the user by managing the crypt-fiat conversion, payment and shipping. This project will unlock many more ways for people to spend NAV on existing websites/marketplaces without requiring each site to individually accept cryptocurrencies. Some of the prototypes we are working on include crediting your Uber account, buying products on Amazon and donating to charities.

Kauri Wallet
The Kauri Wallet aims to be an open-source, multi-currency wallet which functions as a foundation for other features.

Kauri Enhanced
Enhancements to the Kauri Wallet will allow multiple accounts, pin numbers, recurring payments and more.

Kauri DAEx
The Kauri DAEx is a Decentralised Atomic Exchange that utilises the features of the Kauri Wallet and enables users to create safe peer to peer atomic exchanges for any currency supported by the Kauri Wallet. NavDelta NavDelta will be a payment gateway that allows users to spend NAV at any business which accepts currencies supported by the Kauri Wallet. NavMorph NavMorph is a fusion of Rimu and Kauri DAEx and will allow to privately send every cryptocurrency supported by the Kauri Wallet.

Outro

If you have made it this far: Congratulations! You have learned about how NAV evolved, what its current state is and what the future will bring. To sum all up: NavCoin has made incredible progress during last year and released many long awaited features despite the bear market. Many more exciting features are yet to come and it's going to be very interesting to see where we will stand on this day next year.

Giveaway

Unfortunately, the giveaway was not possible in the cryptocurrency-subreddit because of their rules, so I'm doing it here :-) As a surprise, in the next few hours I am going to send some NAV to everyone who wants to try out the awesome features you have read about above.
To get your NAVs, all you have to do is the following:
If you liked the experience, I'd be happy to hear back from you :)

References

[1] https://encrypt-s.com/company/
[2] https://navcoin.org/en/roadmap/
[3] https://navhub.org/get-involved/
[4] https://navhub.org/how-to-guide/
[5] https://navhub.org/assets/NavCoinDeveloperManifesto.pdf
[6] https://navhub.org/assets/NavCoinContentManifesto.pdf
[7] https://navhub.org/assets/NavCoinBrandGuidelines.pdf
[8] https://valenceplatform.org/
[9] https://valenceplatform.org/learn/business-on-the-blockchain-made-easy/
[10] https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=679791.msg8320228#msg8320228
submitted by crypto_sIF to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs)

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We are more than proud that we not only promote but also share our knowledge with the students of the UBAI. Here you can learn how to do security token offering and initial coin offering!
Now I want to share some cool info on the purpose and role of tokens within the Blockchain ecosystem at the ICO stage.
Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) History
Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) are a means of fundraising for the initial capital needed to get new projects off the ground within the cryptocurrency ecosystem. More often than not, Bitcoin and Ethereum, are used to buy a quantity of project tokens. However, new projects are also being launched on alternative Blockchain platforms such as NEO or WANchain, wherein the “parent” chain’s tokens will be used to fund these ICOs. Pre-launch, ICO tokens are endorsed as functional currency in the project ecosystem. After a project’s ICO, it is available on exchanges, and then the market determines the value of those tokens. The main benefit of using the ICO funding system is that it avoids the prohibitive amount of time and expense incurred by launching a startup in the conventional method, by way of Initial Public Offering (IPO). The lengthy and costly process of ensuring regulatory compliance in different jurisdictions often makes the IPO format unfeasible for small companies. Thus, the ICO method of fundraising is far more attractive as a means of crowd funding for the project. But at the same time, an ICO is certainly riskier for the investor.
It is important to note the different stages of the token sale. Token prices generally escalate the closer the token gets to its listing date. Projects often seek funding from angel investors even before the date of the private pre-sale is set, though some ICOs do go straight to pre-sale. After potential initial investment has been sought from angel investors, pre-sale begins. Usually there will be a 15–30% discount from the public sale price. The main-sale begins after the pre-sale has concluded. At that time, normal everyday crypto enthusiasts, with no connections to the team, may buy into the project at pretty close to the ground floor price. Angel investors and pre-sale investors sometimes receive quite large discounts from main sale prices, but their tokens are locked up for varying amounts of time, to prevent dumping, or selling all their tokens for a quick profit at the time of listing. Today the vast majority of ICOs make use of the Ethereum blockchain and the ERC-20 token. The very first token sale was arranged by Mastercoin, a Bitcoin fork, in July 2013. Ethereum soon followed in early 2014, raising 3700 BTC in only 12 hours (equivalent to $2.3 million at that time, and just under $35 million today). Before late 2015 there were sporadic ICOs, with Augur, NXT and Factom all successfully raising funds. 2016 was the year that the ICO format grew to truly disrupt the Venture Capital industry. There were 64 ICOs in 2016 which cumulatively raised $103 million USD.
Tremendous Success & Why Real World Case Study
The ICON (ICX) Initial coin offering is an example of a project that reaped the rewards of a token sale done with precision of execution and clarity of vision. The project promised to build a world-wide decentralized network that would allow Blockchains of different governances to transact with one another without a centralized authority, and with as few barriers as possible. ICX offered fair and clear tokenomics, with 1 Ether buying 2500 ICX, and with 1 ETH costing approximately 250 dollars when the ICO began on September 18th. 50% of the total amount of tokens were put up for public sale, 400,230,000 out of a total of 800,460,000, equating to a fundraising goal of 150,000 Ether. One of the core reasons for the project’s spectacular success was the incredibly distinguished background of those involved, and the foundation the project had in many years of stellar achievement. ICON was originally a project developed by “The Loop”, a joint venture between DAYLI financial group and three Korean Universities. They lead the Korea Financial Investment Blockchain Consortium, one of the largest organizations of its kind in the world, boasting members including Samsung Securities. The Loop had already implemented Blockchain solutions for high profile clients well before ICX was born, including completing a KYC/AML authentication smart contract platform for Korea Financial Investment Consortium.
Real World Example of Failure & Why Case Study
The risk involved in starting your own company is huge. Over 75% of startups eventually fail, according to the Harvard Business School study by Shikhar Ghosh. The study’s findings show the rate of failure for new companies is roughly 50% after 5 years, and over 75% after 10. Shikhar Ghosh identifies the following issues as the most common factors in start-up failure: -Insufficient Market Demand -Insolvency -Wrong Team -Got beat by competition -Pricing/Cost issues -Poor Product -Need for or Lack of business model -Ineffective Marketing -Disregarding Customer desires The statistics concerning rate of failure for conventional business startups pale in comparison to the number of crypto startups that fail according to Tokendata. They are one of the most rigorous ICO trackers, recording 46% of the 902 ICO crowdsale projects initiated in 2017 as failing by the time of writing. Of these 46%, 142 collapsed before the end of the funding stage, and a further 276 had either “exit scammed” (took the money and ran) or slowly faded into eventual obscurity. With no shortage of failed and abortive projects to look into, we thought it would be more helpful to look into an ICO that was mismanaged and unsuccessful in terms of its execution, rather than being fraudulent, or terminally mismanaged.
Real World Example of Failure & Why §3
Tezos was designed as a “new decentralized Blockchain that governs itself by establishing a true digital commonwealth”. The project was a partnership between the husband and wife team of Kathleen and Arthur Breitman, and a Swiss foundation run by Johann Gevers. They had a novel idea of “formal verification”, a technique that mathematically proves the veracity of code governing transactions and heightens security of smart contracts. That idea was wholeheartedly endorsed by investors, resulting in $232 million USD raised in the 2017 crowdsale. Trouble arose after the Breitmans asked the head of the Swiss foundation they were in partnership with to step down. In Gever’s words, the Breitman’s were attempting “to bypass Swiss legal structure and take over control of the foundation”. The resulting 6 class action lawsuits that were spawned from the wreckage of one of the most successful ICOs of all time have yet to be fully resolved at the time of writing, though Gevers has stepped down and a new leadership team is in place. The Tezos Network has a prospective launch date of somewhere around Q3 2018. The debacle, though not terminal to the prospects of the Tezos network, provides a cautionary tale about the need for a clearly defined leadership structure and plan for the allocation of funds after an ICO. It is entirely possible that the Tezos project could have ridden the late 2017 market euphoria to sit near the top of the cryptocurrency hierarchy if boardroom strife could have been avoided.
Real World Example of Failure & Why §4
Projects often also “pivot” from one focus or project to another. More often than not, teams change the project name entirely, even while retaining the same core team, to try for a successful venture one more time. One such project is Chain Trade Token (CTT) which, while technically speaking, not yet a “deadcoin”, shows all the signs of shutting down operations within a few months, and “pivoting” into a new project. The CTT project aimed to be the “first blockchain-based platform for the trading of futures and options on food and raw materials (aka commodity derivatives)”. But through a combination of a non-existent social media presence, and a distinct lack of urgency in securing listings beyond decentralized exchanges, the lofty ambitions of the top-level team were left unrealized. The team has supposedly split their operations from solely Chain Trade, to a former business endeavors, and the Nebula Decentralized Exchange. The project leaders then offered a 1-for-1 token swap which has been accepted by the vast majority of CTT holders.
The ICO Process
Before even researching the particular strengths and weaknesses of any specific project in which you may want to invest, it is important to know the overall processes of the ICO crowdfunding method. This will allow you to avoid any potential pitfalls if you do decide to move forward and invest money into a particular idea or project. How does an ICO happen? Stage One: Token sale details are set: This takes place usually after release of the whitepaper, and the presentation of a project to prospective investors in forums and on social media. Stage Two: Whitelisting for private sale begins: The vast majority of all ICOs have instituted KYC checks for investors which usually involve uploading a photograph of your passport or driving license along with a selfie holding the ID. Did you know? Participation in ICOs has proven to be a regulatory nightmare in some localities. Most token sales restrict contributions from investors in China and the USA entirely, though accredited investors may participate in the USA in some cases.
Stage Three: Private/Pre-sale states: Typically, 10% of tokens will be offered to early investors at a 10–30% discount. These select few investors will likely have a close association with the team. But not all projects have a pre-sale round, some go straight to public sale. Stage Four: Whitelisting for Public/Main sale starts: The same format used for pre-sale investors is used for public sale investors, though it is a regular occurrence to see main sale KYC checks closed early due to overwhelming demand. An investor must then register a contribution wallet address. That is the address used to send cryptocurrency from, to buy the ICO tokens, and then also into which you will receive your purchased tokens. This wallet address must be a non-exchange wallet, like Blockchain.info bitcoin wallet, or MyEtherWallet for ERC-20. You already understand from the prior lesson that making a mistake with your wallet address may mean you lose the tokens forever as well as the BTC or ETH you used to purchase them. Copying and pasting your cryptocurrency public key into the whitelist wallet form is the next task to complete. And then, as the investor, you wait for confirmation of successful ICO registration from the team.
Stage Five: Public sale starts: Commonly on a specific date, though sometimes for a specific period of time. If you are interested in participating in an ICO, it is important to make your contribution as quickly as possible, or you risk sending your ETH or BTC after the hard cap has been reached, resulting in your funds being sent back. This refund can sometimes take many days, or even weeks in times of high market activity. Did you know? In 2017 it was not unheard of to find ICOs that had originally scheduled their ICO period for many weeks, but then they met with such high demand that they could close their crowdsale in a matter of hours or even in just a few minutes!
Stage Six: Tokens are allocated to successful participant investor wallets, and trading can begin on some decentralized exchanges like IDEX, or EtherDelta in the case of Ethereum based tokens. Tokens will be sent to and received by the wallet addresses from which the investor contributions were made. Stage Seven: Tokens are listed on mainstream exchanges: The tokens will then be listed on the exchanges with which the teams have negotiated listing, prior to or during the sale. It can cost huge amounts of money to list on large exchanges like Bitfinex Bittrex, Huobi or Binance, so usually smaller projects will not be listed on top 10 exchanges so quickly. As tokens are listed on more and more exchanges, their price usually rises because more and more investors are exposed to opportunities to buy that particular token.
Evaluating a Blockchain Use Case
Evaluating a particular use case for Blockchain technology, and thus how successful an ICO project’s ambitions might be in a particular market, is not a simple endeavor. As demonstrated in the graphic below, Blockchain technology has nearly limitless potential to be applied to a great variety of business areas, but as an ICO investor, you are looking for projects that have the potential to deliver significant long-term success. In the currently saturated ICO environment, some use cases have more potential than others. Ascertaining which use case is likely to have long term success is a key distinction. Also, we must recognize that businesses and corporate entities may be overeager to experiment with this new Blockchain technology, whether or not usage of the technology is actually advisable or profitable for their particular purpose. The main questions to ask when analyzing specific solutions proposed by the project are: What are the problems posed and the solutions offered? Does this particular area of business need a Blockchain solution? That is, is a Blockchain solution in fact superior to the current way this particular business operates? Is the use of Blockchain in this specific instance feasible and applicable? What are competitors doing about Blockchain projects in this same area?
A Blockchain network provides a shared, replicated, secured, immutable and verifiable data ledger. The implication for use case analysis: Shared and replicated: participants have a copy of the ledger and many people can view it or work on it Secured: Secured through cryptography Verifiable: Business rules are associated with all interactions that occur on the network Immutable: Transactions (records) cannot be modified or deleted, therefore a verifiable audit trail is maintained by the network So, with all this considered, what should we look for with regard to a possible business use case that would be best solved using Blockchain technology? 1. Data exchange that has trust issues i.e. businesses transacting with one another. Trust must be established through a multitude of verification processes with regards to employees and products. These processes increase operational cost. Example: Digital voting. 2. Any potential business process involving data storage, or compliance and risk data that get audited. Blockchain solutions would provide the regulators a real-time view of information. Example: Supply chain solutions like VeChain or WaltonChain. The possibility of close to zero operational loss would of course be attractive to any business. 3. All kinds of asset transactions. A Blockchain network, with its tamper-proof ledger, validating traceable and trackable transactions, could save many different industries untold amounts of money. Example: Tokenization of assets e.g. Jibrel Network or Polymath
Purpose of Tokens
Within the cryptocurrency ecosystem, the definition and role of a token iswidely understood. They represent programmable units of currency that sit atop a particular Blockchain, and they are part of a smart contract “logic” specific to a certain application. In the business sphere, a token can be defined as a unit of value that a project or business venture creates to enable it to self-govern. And the business venture also allows token users to connect and collaborate with its business products, while facilitating the sharing of rewards to all of its stakeholders. A token can also be described in a more general sense as a type of privately issued currency. In the past it was solely within the purview of governments to issue currency and set the terms of its governance. With the advent of Blockchain technology we now have businesses and organizations offering forms of digital money over which they, not the government or central bank, have control of the terms of operations and issuance. Wide scale adoption of these mechanisms could fundamentally alter the global economy. This is like the creation of self-sustaining, mini-economies in any sector of business or life, via a specific token or currency.
Fun Fact: Tokens of the particular Blockchain upon which the project is launched will usually have to be bought in order to be exchanged for ICO tokens, hence it is important for traders and investors to be aware of the schedule for upcoming ICOs. ETH is usually the token used for exchange because the majority of ICOs launch on the Ethereum Blockchain. But this is not always the case. During January 2018, two NEO token ICOs, both the Key TKY and Ontology ICOs, were being carried out, and this caused the NEO cryptocurrency to spike to its all-time high in excess of $160 USD. Since the product or project is more often than not in its embryonic stage at the time of the ICO crowdfunding process, the ICO token’s true function and purpose is in most cases yet to be realized. At the ICO stage the tokens can usually be grouped together into one of three categories. Knowing how to distinguish these categories involves determining the specific nature and function of the token around which the project is centered. The main and crucial distinction, is whether or not a token is a security, and therefore subject to securities registration requirements.
ICO Stage Token Categories
Howey Test: This is the test created by the US Supreme Court to ascertain whether certain transactions qualify as “investment contracts”. If they are found to fall within this classification, then under the Securities Act of 1933 and the Exchange Act of 1934, those transactions are considered “securities” and participants must adhere to registration and disclosure requirements. One of the most important and amazing considerations of the effect of Blockchain technology is that normal people with a computer science background are now empowered to make decisions and offer products and services that previously only licensed financial institutions were able to do. This is a very complex and complicated situation with serious ramifications for anyone involved. One thing to note well is that ordinary participants and actors in this arena can easily commit white-collar crime, violating serious securities laws, without even realizing it. If a token falls within the US legal definition of “Investment Contract” then you must adhere to US regulations. For that reason, many ICOs simply do not want to sell to US based investors, perhaps until all the rules and regulations are clarified.
Security Tokens
The broad and varying definition of the term “security” is a regulatory minefield. This has always been true for traditional financial products, and now it is especially true for the as yet unregulated cryptocurrency market. In the case of SEC V. Howey, parameters were established to determine whether or not a particular financial arrangement could be classified as a security and thus be subject to securities regulations. Cooley LLP Fintech Team Leader Marco Santori has said, an arrangement is a security if it involves “an investment of money, and a common enterprise, with the expectation of profit, primarily from the efforts of others.” Investors have the option of accessing a huge range of security tokens through ICOs. Prime examples are the gold backed DigixDao (DGD) and CProp (still in crowd funding stage). A security token is fundamentally different from the currently available ICO project tokens in that it provides a legal and enforceable ownership of a company’s profits and voice in its governance much like common stock traded on any exchange. If security tokens are the next step in the evolution of crypto-finance, real estate, stocks, venture capital, and commodities can all be tokenized. The traditional markets could be fully connected to the Blockchain. Financial assets would available to anyone in the world, not just licensed or accredited investors. That is one aspect of Fintech, the financial revolution taking place today, as Blockchain technology clashes with traditional finance.
Equity Tokens
One exciting application of smart contracts on the Ethereum Network is the potential for startups to distribute equity tokens through initial coin offerings. That would reduce the hurdles that an average person has to face in order to take part in the early stages of a company’s development. And, democratic governance of a project could be conducted in a transparent manner through voting on the Blockchain. As of yet, few startups have attempted to conduct equity token sales for fear of falling afoul of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the US. But many Venture Capital insiders are bullish on the prospect of equity tokens taking a central role in the crypto finance industry, when and as the legal issues are resolved. For example, the Delaware State legislature recently passed a bill enabling companies to maintain shareholder lists on the Blockchain. That is one major step to enable Blockchain based stock trading. Lawyers also generally believe it is only a matter of time before the regulations are clarified. Did you know? Important consideration: The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 made it unfeasibly expensive for smaller companies to be listed on exchanges, causing a halving in the number of IPOs between 1996 and 2016 (7322 to 3671). In 2017 there was an almost 5-fold increase in the number of ICOs, from 43 to 210, with the 2017 volume already being eclipsed in the first 5 months of 2018.
Utility Tokens
However, given that this area is still a regulatory nightmare for people planning to issue security and equity tokens, many projects attempt to ensure that the tokens within their specific model fall under the definition of Utility Tokens rather than securities, so as to avoid the SEC regulations altogether. If a token is imbued with a certain functionality and use within the Blockchain infrastructure of that particular project, the token can avoid being labelled as a security, and thus render SEC regulations inapplicable. Just this week in fact, the SEC made the long-awaited and momentous decision that Ether was not a security. In the words of William Hinman, director of the Securities and Exchange Commission division of corporate finance, “Putting aside the fundraising that accompanied the creation of Ether, based on my understanding of the present state of Ether, the Ethereum network and its decentralized structure, current offers and sales of Ether are not securities transactions.” This means that Ethereum, in fact, fails the Howey test, which is exactly the decision the crypto world wanted. Hinman said, “When the efforts of the third party are no longer a key factor for determining the enterprise’s success, material information asymmetries recede,” Hinman said. “The ability to identify an issuer or promoter to make the requisite disclosures becomes difficult, and less meaningful.” We will now cover various use cases that projects have been adopting up to now in order to get their tokens classified as utility tokens rather than securities.
Voting Rights
Some coins portray themselves as a company with tokens being held in a way that is analogous to voting shares of a stock. One coin held is equal to one vote. This form of token utility has a major flaw in that so-called whales (people with huge amounts of a particular cryptocurrency) can manipulate any poll conducted. The cryptocurrencies Aragon and Lykke are examples of projects that have written voting rights into the structure of their code. In-App Reward: Another common tactic to evade the security label has been the addition of in-app rewards to the functionality of a particular token. The Basic Attention Token (BAT) is the unit of currency for use with the project browser named “Brave”. The BAT is a unit of account for the advertisers, publishers and users of the platform. Filecoin, the cloud storage project that raised a record $257 million through their ICO, pays other people or companies for use of their spare storage space. Some of the many rights afforded to token holders in various Blockchain projects are described by the graphic below.
Token Roles Function
The token can be used as a mechanism through which user experience is enhanced, enabling such actions as connection with users, or joining a broader network. It may also be used as an incentive for beginning usage or for on-boarding. Examples include Dfinity and Steemit. Value Exchange: In its most basic usage, a token is a unit of value exchange within a specific app or market. This usually is made up of features that allow users to earn tokens through real work or passive work (sharing data, allowing use of storage space) and to spend them on services or internal functions within the specific market ecosystem created by that organization. Augur and KIK, amongst countless others, are projects that have implemented this functionality into their tokenomics. Toll: The token can also be used for getting onto the Blockchain infrastructure, or for powering decentralized applications run on that particular Blockchain. This ensures that users have “skin in the game”. Tolls can be derived from running smart contracts, paying a security deposit, or just usage fees. Examples include Bitcoin and Ethereum. Currency: Seeing as the particular platform or app is designed with a view towards functioning in synergy with a particular token, the token is an extremely efficient means of payment and transaction engine, resulting in frictionless transactions. This means that companies can become their own payment processors and no longer have to rely on the often unwieldy stages of conventional financial settlement involving trusted third parties in the form of banks and credit card companies.
Rights: Owning a token bequests certain rights upon the holder, such as product usage, voting, access to restricted markets, and dividends (e.g.: GAS for holding NEO). Though most businesses are trying to avoid fitting the definition of a security laid out in the Howey Test, the right to real ownership of a particular asset is sometimes granted as a result of holding a token, for example DigixDAO or Tezos.
Comparison to Traditional IPO and Equity Capital Raisings
Despite the similarity of the acronyms and the derivation of one from the other, Initial Coin Offerings and Initial Public Offerings are very different methods of fundraising. The distinction is not limited simply to the fact that IPOs are used in conventional business, and ICOs are associated with cryptocurrency. Through ICO’s, companies in their early stages issue digital tokens on a Blockchain and those tokens act as units of value for use within the ecosystem created by the project. They have many other uses, but it is also fair to say they are analogous to shares offered in an Initial Public offering.
In an IPO, shareholdings are distributed to investors through underwriters, usually investment banks. But in the case of ICO token sales, companies often do not even have an actual product to show. Often, all that there is a whitepaper, evidence of the partnerships involved and the particular social-media infrastructure they have established. IPO’s take place when a more well-established company floats shares on a stock exchange. The company would have a well-established history of success and significant reasons to expect a bright future. In the vast majority of cases, an ICO is used for a new company with no such history, just trying to get off the ground.
Another important difference is the expected return in exchange for the investment. Companies engaging in IPOs may offer participants dividend paying stocks which result in various levels of return depending on the success of the company after the shares are issued. An ICO however can offer no such guaranteed return. When buying tokens in an ICO, you do so with no promise of return. An investor who holds the tokens of a particular project does so with the promise, rather than an assurance, of future success. The main benefit to investors taking part in Initial Coin Offerings, compared to Initial Public Offerings, is the need for only basic Know Your Customer checks in the case of the ICO, compared to the costly, complex and time-consuming regulatory obstacles that must be traversed in an IPO. In the case of Initial Public Offerings, a business must obtain authorization from a number of entities before the act of “going public”. Prior to an IPO, companies are not obliged to disclose so much of their internal records or accounting. It is not so complicated to make a private company in the United States. But in the run up to going public, the company must form a board of directors, make their records auditable to the relevant authorities in one or more jurisdictions, and prepare to make quarterly reports to the SEC (or equivalent).
Relevant Factors to Consider in ICO process
When analyzing the chances of success for a specific project, and the likelihood of a favorable return on investment in the long term, it is essential to break down the project into its constituent parts, and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each part individually. An effective investigation and analysis would start with the team and white paper. Consider the stage the project is at,and VC investments in the project. That would lead to a good initial idea of the actual progress thus far. Next, evaluate the social media presence and the credentials of the community that has formed around the core team. If a compelling case is made by the team, (e.g.: via an in-depth dive into the use case), and the tokenomics, distribution schedule, potential competitors, as well as the team’s awareness of any future business or regulatory concerns all check out; then the ICO might present a good opportunity for investment. In the following slides we tackle each of these considerations in order so you will be able to evaluate an ICO’s worth and assign a grade for the success of each project.
Relevant Factors to Consider in ICO process
The Team First and most important, we need evaluate the background and experience of the team, the people involved in the project. Well-established developers, for example, will likely have LinkedIn profiles demonstrating their previous endeavors and occupations, from which we can judge their suitability to the project and the likelihood of the team’s success. The LinkedIn profile is a point of reference for professional accomplishments and official positions. But we can also learn more about a person from their personal accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and Medium etc. That is also a good way to follow along with the progress of the project. By investigating team members through as many means as possible, you will know how long they have been involved in cryptocurrency. If they have been around and active for a long time, they are that much more likely to be knowledgeable and capable of making better quality decisions in this business. It goes without saying that it is a huge red flag if it is too difficult to find information about the team members online, and worse still if the team members are anonymous.
Relevant Factors to Consider in ICO process
A good Whitepaper gives a detailed description of the project, the problems the team is going to solve, the timeframe projected, and methods to be used in the implementation of their ideas. If, in answering the question about what the project actually does, it seems the team is presenting ideas that are too complicated or advanced to understand, then you simply should not invest until you are satisfied you have been given the requisite level of insight to understand the concepts described. It is always possible that the whitepaper is nothing more than a salad of buzzwords and technical language intended to give the impression of competence while really doing nothing but obfuscate the truth. The whitepaper should clearly and concisely present the problems and the solutions needed. The whitepaper must give a solid and coherent answer as to who needs this project and why. Also, if the team have put no effort into explaining why a Blockchain solution is needed for this particular problem, or why such a solution is superior to its “real-world” equivalent, it is likely they are only in it for the money. We have more to say about red-flags later.
While 2016 raised a comparatively small amount in comparison to the proceeding years, there were a few specific projects that raised significant amounts of capital. These are respectable amounts of money, even by today’s standards, and especially impressive when contrasted with the immaturity of the ICO market at the time, and relative to amounts raised in traditional IPOs. Waves ($16.4mill), Iconomi ($10.6mill) and Golem ($8.6mill) were the three largest fundraisings of the year. 2017 was the year of the ICO whales. Hdac ($258mill), Filecoin ($257mill), EOS Stage 1 ($185mill) and Paragon ($183.16mill) were the largest that year. To be able to raise so much money, so quickly, in such a new market, using such a new mechanism is truly incredible. 2017 was the year that proved ICOs are for serious individuals and institutional investors as well. We have also had some phenomenal amounts raised so far in 2018. Telegram ($1.7bill), Dragon ($320mill), Huobi ($300mill) and Bankera ($150mill). Telegram might be the first mainstream example of an ICO, not only by raising close to $2billion, which would be beyond incredible and impressive even by traditional IPO standards; but also, because it is one of the first ICO companies to tangibly put a product in the hands of hundreds of millions of users, and successfully compete against traditional companies such as Facebook (MessengeWhatsApp), Microsoft (Skype) and Tencent (WeChat).
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