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Blockchain Talent Demand Surpasses Supply

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If there’s any group in the global workforce that is sitting pretty it’s blockchain developers. Their success has unparalleled with anything in the stratosphere, yet they’re still receiving offers with compensation packages rivaling that of CEO pay packages. And many of them have already become millionaires from investing in the coins of the market leaders they helped to build, including bitcoin and Ethereum, which means they’re less incentivized to join other projects for the size of the offer alone.

Decentralized World

The thing to remember about blockchain pioneers is that they set out on the mission of a decentralized world not so that they could be subject to the whims of cryptocurrency prices. They are just as focused on the social impact of the blockchain as they are the success of their respective projects. Consider Ethereum’s Vitalik Buterin, who during the peak of the cryptocurrency market rally at year-end 2017 tweeted the following reminder to his followers –

Buterin went on to use Venezuela as an example, whose economy is in tatters. He was dismayed that bitcoin’s price posts were getting more traction than “how Venezuelans were being rescued by crypto.”

If the corporate culture reflected Buterin’s mission rather than dangling a six- or seven-digit compensation package in front of recruits, they might have more success attracting top blockchain talent.

Talent Battle

Meanwhile, blockchain startups are creating roadmaps with product release dates obligating them to have top development talent in-house, all of which is leading to projects getting stuck and helping to fuel the hiring frenzy. It’s not solely blockchain startups, however.

Global corporations including certain FANG stocks are no longer waiting on the sidelines as ICOs raise billions of dollars and the cryptocurrency market cap has balloons to nearly $400 billion, all of which has placed a high bounty on the pool for blockchain talent. If you have any doubts, consider again Ethereum co-founder Buterin. As Hacked.com previously reported, Buterin tweeted about having received a job offer from Google.

David Schwartz, whose Twitter profile describes him as “one of the original architects of the XRP network,” told The Wall Street Journal how both a startup and a big tech play attempted to poach one of his team members, each of them offering the Ripple developer a million dollar signing bonus.

Meanwhile, the blockchain, a public immutable ledger where transactions are recorded and joined together in individual blocks, has become a catchphrase, one that can mean the difference between hits on a LinkedIn profile or not. According to the Journal story, there are thousands of available jobs posted on the social platform hunting blockchain talent through the early part of May, reflecting more than a 150% jump versus all of last year.

But just as regulators have said they don’t want to rush into crafting any policy in response to market performance, employers should similarly take a step back before throwing everything but kitchen sinks out to software developers. Some companies are developing talent in-house, which is another route to consider. But overall, hiring companies could be much more effective at recruiting blockchain talent if they understood the mission behind decentralization.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 70 rated postsGerelyn has been covering ICOs and the cryptocurrency market since mid-2017. She's also reported on fintech more broadly in addition to asset management, having previously specialized in institutional investing. She owns some BTC and ETH.




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Project to Watch: Eximchain

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The Eximchain project is designed to help companies organize supply chains. The solutions that will be implemented on the platform are aimed at ensuring the possibility of establishing effective and reliable business connections, transactions and information exchange.

Team

The American project Eximchain (Export and import on Blockchain) was founded in 2015 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Since then, its authors have created a set of key-based toolkits to transform the global supply chain by integrating it into a platform. The ideas proposed by the project developers are aimed at improving the transparency of the ecosystem.

A group of 20 experts and consultants is working on the creation of the platform, including:

Hope Lew – Co-founder and CEO, received a bachelor’s degree from Peking University and an MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, handled international transactions at the Asian branch of UBS for 6.5 years, is the head of the laboratory of the Association of Office Supplies of North America.

Juan Sebastian Huertas -Co-founder and technical director, received a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, began studying programming at age 13, previously advised many startups on technical aspects.

Jiang Xu – Business architect, previously worked at IBM for 14 years, with previous roles as executive project manager and enterprise software distribution manager.

Jia Zhang – Business analyst, has been in the supply business since 1994, has been managing global trade finance and international settlement at ICBC for seven years, then took the position of Chief Representative of MS Textiles in China, where she has been working successfully for about ten years.

Strategic partners of the project include:

  • blockseed.vc
  • alphabit.fund
  • fbg.capital
  • hashed.com
  • inblockchain.co
  • kenetic.capital
  • signum.capital
  • emurgo.io
  • enuma.io
  • gbic.io
  • YOOsourcing

Main Project Goals

Eximchain’s authors intend to innovate and change the current supply chain organization system by overcoming barriers, strengthening coordination and increasing confidence in cross-border operations using blockchain technology.

The Eximchain platform will offer ample opportunities, from networking with suppliers to inventory management. The product will operate from a public blockchain with a high level of confidentiality. It is ideal for corporate use by supply chain organizations and application developers who need blockchain technology.

All stakeholders involved in creating effective supply chains will be able to more effectively and securely cooperate, carry out mutual settlements and exchange information.

Partnership with YOOsourcing

Eximchain developers have developed a partnership with the YOOsourcing platform, which allows users to verify the authenticity and reliability of suppliers.

Thanks to the YOOsourcing partnership, users of mobile applications will be able to fulfill requests from suppliers directly from the supplier’s company profile. The platform has a built-in verification system designed to ensure the accuracy of the displayed information.

This will allow suppliers using the Eximchain platform to track their requests, promote new products and develop tactics to attract future business leaders. Using the blockchain technology in the platform will increase confidence in accountability, data storage and agreements between suppliers and buyers on the YOOSourcing platform.

Token 

Digital coins on the platform will be based on the standard ERC-20 protocol. The purpose of their creation is to act as a valid register for the genesis file of the Eximchain main network. The ERC-20 routers will be distributed across the Ethereum blockchain by the corresponding ERC-20 smart contract. They are repurchased for Eximchain’s internal tokens after the network has been launched.

With the launch of the main network, Eximchain’s internal tokens will be used to pay for network charges, check state changes, and management functions.

They are also designed to access applications built on the Eximchain network, such as smart contracts and products developed using the SDK platform.

Advantages of Smart Contract SDK

The use of smart contracts for developers provides many advantages and opportunities:

Financing. It is carried out through instant and transparent order confirmation and check on the blockchain. Suppliers will be able to receive prepayments, and buyers will be able to use the option of arbitration.

Procure-to-Pay. Users will be able to conduct an audit through a finally agreed contract at each stage of the payment procedure. This process will be carried out in real time via the network without the need for trust and the use of a secure protocol.

Platforms of suppliers or rating agents will be able to use the “Proof of Existence” (PoE) algorithm to control time, check the integrity of documents and other purposes. This will allow independent verification without the need for data disclosure.

Inventory Management. Conducted by sharing real-time demand information to create a supply chain. This will allow participants to improve their inventory plans and automate the alignment process in different registers and systems to save time and reduce costs.

Risk mitigation. Eximchain will allow for real-time dynamic monitoring of processes within the supply chain to ensure the visibility of all operations. Participants will be able to control risks through a single function.

Price and Liquidity

The EXC token price is currently valued at $0.0274281298 (-13.52%), which is equivalent to 0.0002654258 ETH and 0.00000712 BTC. Its 24-hour volume is$18,756 and has an overall market cap of $1,846,090.

Returns since ICO: 0.08x USD, which is equivalent to 0.70x ETH and 0.19x BTC. The token is listed on Bilaxy and Idex.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.9 stars on average, based on 27 rated postsVladislav Semjonov has a legal and financial background. He has been involved in crypto space since early 2017 in both ICO advising positions in several ICO consultancy firms, and as an ICO analyst for VC. He began contributing for Hacked.com in April 2017.




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Investor Watch: Holochain Provides Solid Returns Despite Bear Market

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Holochain is a distributed network project with autonomous capabilities for users embedded directly into its architecture and protocols. The creators of Holochain claim that the distribution of their proposed type of storage and data processing can change the order of coordination and interaction. Thanks to digital integration, under the control of the user, Holo can free users’ online life from corporate control.

Key team members:

  • Eric Harris-Brown: The project’s co-founder is an executive engineer who received a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Yale University. He’s the co-founder of the peer-to-peer network application provider Glass Bead Software and independent software development store Harris-Braun Enterprises. He is also the author of sophisticated health data collection websites, Android-based application for monitoring catches for the fishing industry and other successful projects.
  • Arthur Brock: The other co-founder is the chief architect who has extensive experience in the field of artificial intelligence technology, which initially applied to GM, Chrysler and Hughes. He later turned his attention to creating social architectures and at Holochain is responsible for developing target currencies that form social the dynamics of the emerging post-industrial economy.

Main features

Unlike many crypto projects, platforms such as EoS, BitLattice and Holochain represent the evolution of block technology. They do not even use blocks as such and avoid linear arrangement of transactions (progression of “blocks”). They provide cryptographic control of information, but none of these projects require the same amount of consumed energy and resources, like Bitcoin and Ethereum.

At its core, Holochain is not a chain at all. It is more like “git-archives” that can be distributed, shared, synchronized or combined using BitTorrent-like DHT technology (distributed hash table). Each application has its own Holochain, and each operator has its own chain.

Holochain is a system book and application platform, similar to a blockchain, which, according to developers, is not affected by issues such as scalability and energy efficiency. Each device in the network receives its own register (Holochain) and can function independently, simultaneously interacting with all other devices in the network for decentralized problem-solving.

Another name that is often referred to at the same time as Holochain is Ceptr. This parent project uses Holochain infrastructure. It represents a new paradigm, which in some way resembles the Internet. It uses blockchain-like technology, which is characterized by a lack of consensus dependence.

Currently, the project authors are working on two initiatives: Holochain and Holo (Holo-Host). Holochain itself is a peer-to-peer infrastructure that serves as the necessary foundation for Ceptr.

Token

The community will receive tokens called Holo Fuel. According to the technical documentation, they are intended for the implementation of large volumes of microtransactions. Holo Fuel is not a cryptocurrency or token, but a kind of crypto credit that is created to link transactions between system participants.

Stability Holo Fuel will be provided by the computing power of each device in the network. Nevertheless, the authors of the project claim that the cost of crypto credits will depend on the number of hosts on the network and the computing power used. With each new user, the value of the ecosystem will grow, which will also increase the value of the tokens.

There are several essential characteristics of Holo Fuel, including asset support, non-use of tokens and signature of transactions by both parties to the transaction.

At the moment, the main coin of the Holochain network is the HOT token of the ERC-20 standard, which will be replaced by Holo Fuel after the launch of the final platform version.

TPs

The developers claim that the transaction processing ability of their network is limitless. The thing is, every second transaction is almost meaningless because of the Holochain architecture. Instead of supporting a single consensus, the Holochain distributed hash table contains a report on the main type and legitimacy of the information provided by the individual block chains. This eliminates the need to track every action on the network and the need for global consensus.

In simple terms, Holochain, as a framework for applications and has no limit on the number of transactions per second because the ecosystem where they should be implemented does not initially exist. This parameter is floating and increases as the number of network users increases.

Holochain Target Applications

First of all, the project is suitable for frameworks that require multiple individual inputs with some limited copy available to all. The most straightforward example is online networking platforms. Holochain also additionally offers technologies for administering the manufacturing network, cooperatives, public platforms, reputational platforms or digital forms of money.

Roadmap

The project’s roadmap is provided below. Here, you can see new developments coming through the pipeline in Q1 2019.

Price

We see that Holo receives positive sentiment from investors.

Its current market cap is around $75 million with an average turnover of $2 million over 24 hours. It still holds a good standing in the bear market, with returns of around 3.5x in U.S. dollar terms, 20.68x in ETH, and 7.8x in BTC. At the time of writing, it is currently traded at $0.0005 USD.

One could expect a conservative x2 in USD if the crypto market cap would remain the same and x4 if the market cap increases twice.

I usually invest with a stop loss to ensure a risk reward of at least 1:4 and buy assets weekly.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.9 stars on average, based on 27 rated postsVladislav Semjonov has a legal and financial background. He has been involved in crypto space since early 2017 in both ICO advising positions in several ICO consultancy firms, and as an ICO analyst for VC. He began contributing for Hacked.com in April 2017.




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Security Tokens and STOs: A New Financial Frontier

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Security Tokens & STOs

There were a lot of promises during the 2017 ICO boom. Brand new start-ups offering utility tokens that had no utility, on a blockchain that was not needed.

2018 was a wake-up call for the cryptocurrency community. An indication that the ICO status quo was not written in stone and that valid alternatives needed to be explored.

One of the most promising alternatives to the ICO and Utility token is that of a tokenized security or more commonly known as a “Security Token”. Could Security Token Offerings (STOs) and these assets eventually become the new norm in a more reputable ecosystem?

In this post I will attempt to answer that question and give you a general overview of the security token industry.

What is a Security Token?

A security token is a token that derives its value from the value of some underlying asset. This can be anything really from a share certificate, a bond, commodities, property etc.

Due to the fact that these are tied to some underlying asset, they are subject to regulations that govern securities. In the US these are the strict issuance rules that are outlined by the SEC.

So, when you buy a security token you are buying a share in an asset of some type. You are buying the rights to the future performance and cash flows from that asset.

Security Token vs. Utility Token
Security Token vs. Utility Token. Image Source

These are in contrast to utility tokens which were not developed for investment purposes (despite them being marketed as such). Utility tokens give the holders the ability to access and purchase future services on some decentralised blockchain.

ICOs to STOs

While utility tokens are issued in the unregulated and often wild west ICO markets, Security tokens will be issued in much more controlled and reputable Security Token Offerings (STOs).

While ICOs often feared falling fowl of SEC rules on securities, the STO will issue completely within the regulatory framework. They will go through all the applicable licensing and legal frameworks such as Regulation D, Regulation S, Regulation A+, and Regulation Crowdfunding.

Why do this?

While ICOs were a revolutionary way for blockchain start-ups to raise financing, they also attracted some bad actors and general opportunists. If we couple this with the relative inexperience of most of the investors, it created a number of negative externalities.

Pulling off a dubious ICO or developing a shoddy product is much less likely when the founders went through the regulatory rungs required to conduct an STO. It creates a safer environment for participants to invest in start-up companies.

Security Token projections
Potential for Security Tokens. Image Source

Moreover, it can be seen as a stamp of approval for the project.

It will be easier for a start-up to make a case to investors about their project, roadmap and most importantly, team members. One would feel more comfortable investing in a team that has completed the required compliance procedures than in one that has made some promises in a white paper.

So, in essence, the STO will have the best of both worlds. They will be reputable and have certain protections that regulated securities have all while still being inclusive enough to average retail investors.

Improving Traditional Finance

Apart from being more reputable than a standard ICO, security tokens also have benefits over more traditional means of raising financing.

  • Decreased Issuance Cost:
    For one thing, because security tokens are issued through the use of blockchain technology and smart contracts, the need for numerous transactional middlemen decreases. These numerous layers of participants who all feed at the trough increase the cost of the issue dramatically. So, if issuing tokens cuts out the middlemen then you can decrease costs
  • Faster Execution:
    Following on from the above example, these middlemen also tend to slow things down. They will have to inevitably sign documents, refer to council, seek authorisations etc. All of this will have to be done manually which will also increase the time that it takes before these can eventually hit the market. Automated issuance will drastically reduce this.
  • Large Market Opportunities:
    Generally, when it comes to early stage investment, it is usually reserved for a limited subset of investors in a particular region. With security tokens, you open the investment to anybody from any geographic region. A small retail investor in Africa can just as easily buy into a US STO than the Silicon Valley based VC firm can
  • 24/7/365 Trading:
    The cryptocurrency markets are continuous. Unlike with traditional financial markets that have to close for the day (equity and Bond markets) or those that have to close on the weekend (forex & commodities), crypto assets can be traded every hour of every day.
  • Easier Storage
    Security tokens possess all of the same benefits of cryptocurrencies. For one, they are very easy to store. All you merely need in order to prove ownership of the token in question is access to the private keys.
  • More Liquidity
    Just like cryptocurrenices, Security tokens are also easy to trade and transfer. A mere transaction on the blockchain is what is needed to hand over the token to another party. They could also be traded on exchanges thereby further increasing their liquidity. This is particularly relevant for those examples where the underlying asset is physical in its nature (think property, commodities, artwork etc).

So, security tokens are not only well positioned to pick up the baton ICOs left off, but they could also be a serious disruptor in traditional financial circles.

The Security Token Ecosystem

While security tokens are still a relatively new phenomenon, there are quite a few companies and projects that are building interesting solutions and ecosystems.

One of them is Polymath which is a project that is developing a platform for companies to issue their very own STOs. This platform will provide for a framework whereby issuers can use standardised templates to issue the tokens.

Strangely enough though, they have their own utility token called the “POLY”. This is an ERC20 standard token that was issued through an airdrop. The POLY token will be used on the platform as “fuel” to pay for services that are attached to the issue (compliance, legal etc). I have previously covered Polymath (POLY) if you wanted more information.

Polymath Overview
Overview of Polymath Network and Templates for Issue. Image Source

Another interesting securities token project is that of tZero. tZero is a blockchain subsidiary of Overstock Inc. and they will be issuing the tZero token. They completed a massive ICO private sale that began last December and ended in August.

tZero was able to raise a total of $134m with the majority of the funding coming from GSR Capital, a Chinese private equity firm. This ICO was designed so that it could comply with SEC regulations and is one of the reasons that they were allowed to continue the raise.

With a similar model to Polymath, tZero is developing a platform whereby companies can raise funding. However, they are also building out an exchange on top of this where people can trade security tokens in a decentralised fashion on top of the blockchain.

tZero Roadmap
tZero Roadmap as Presented in Earnings Reports. Image Source

There is also the prospect that large cryptocurrency exchanges such as Coinbase could eventually offer SEC regulated securities. This was on the back of their purchase of a range of broker dealer firms. It would give Coinbase the required broker dealer licences which would allow them to manage the trade in these assets. According to Asiff Hirji, Coinbase COO:

Ultimately, we can envision a world where we may even work with regulators to tokenize existing types of securities, bringing to this space the benefits of cryptocurrency-based markets — like 24/7 trading, real-time settlement, and chain-of-title

Given the size and influence of Coinbase in the cryptocurrency world, this is could supercharge the adoption of Security Tokens.

Tokenizing the Future

There is no doubt that cryptocurrencies and ICOs have paved the way forward for a more decentralised and inclusive financial ecosystem.

However, as with any nascent technology, there have been some challenges. The unregulated and unrestrained growth of the ICO and the subsequent fall have exposed some of these challenges.

Through the use of security tokens and STOs, numerous projects are trying to shape a new financial paradigm. Investing in new and exciting technology does not have to come with the risks that are often associated with an ICO.

There are already a number of STOs that are going through the regulatory steps required for potential listings in 2019.

While 2017 was the year the ICO, could 2019 be the year of the STO?

Featured Image via Fotolia

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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5 stars on average, based on 8 rated postsNic is an ex Investment Banker and current crypto enthusiast. When he is not sitting behind six screens trading Bitcoin, he is maintaining his numerous mining rigs.




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