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Where in the World to ICO Part 3: Malta

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I don’t know about anyone else, but I scooped up some great deals over the past week. Bitcoin falling back below $7,000 and ETH below $400 was a real shock to me. People are starting to log into their cold storage and dump the coins they own, which is obviously never good news. For people who are actively watching prices, we can’t let some of these go by the wayside. I took a position in ETH at $383 and I am very happy with it.

If you’re like me and have been hoarding your coins in cold storage, times like these are when money is made. When your friends are ragging on you for your investments, when the SEC is banging doors down – now is the time to re-align your cost basis for the next 6-8 months. It is easy to be confident when you’re making money, and that is why there was a mass exodus the moment the market turned.

I didn’t think buying ETH at $500-600 was all that great of a deal, but $383? These are the prices that all of us wish we got in December. Don’t overlook great prices because of irrelevant news. If you’re confident in cryptocurrency, then you’re confident in the building blocks: Ethereum and bitcoin.

Coinbase

Coinbase has recently come out with support for ERC-20 Framework tokens for eventual listing on their site. To be honest, this means nothing to me. By market cap, EOS clearly would be the most likely choice for an ERC-20 that would be listed. However, Dan Larimer (Founder of EOS) has said EOS will be unrelated to Ethereum by the time his main net launches. Tron is second by market cap, and just launched their seemingly unrelated main net as well.

What does this mean? Coinbase is going to have to clarify what they mean by ERC-20 framework. ERC-20 tokens were fundraising chips that were used by many ICOs. However, once the ICO took off, they had money to build out their own blockchains and smart contracts that were not related to Ethereum.

Just like many things that happen in this crazy industry, I have to throw my hands up. The clear choices for listing would be Ripple and Stellar. They are both American companies based in Silicon Valley that have actual customers. The chatter online is that they “don’t fit the framework for listing” that Coinbase put out. This company has pissed me off too many times to count, along many other investors. There will be a time when Robinhood is allowed in all states, and I am hoping that this new entrant sticks to their guns and actually listens to the people who use their network.

ICO Environment

I can’t imagine many ICOs are happy with Ethereum being so low. Most investors don’t want to fork over multiple ETH coins for one single offering, and times like these are when confidence levels in fledgling coins are at all-time lows. However, many companies are using this time to wait and plan. Most of the “Winter ICOs” had little to no code, and the oversight was basically “don’t be a ponzi scheme”. In 2018, it won’t matter where you are launching from, there will be government agencies that will come after you if you don’t have what you say you have.

My research into Singapore and Switzerland was a reminder that things are truly not as bad as they seem. The United States dominates cryptocurrency news with only  8% of their public as investors. There is a whole world out there, and there are plenty of countries who have thriving blockchain commerce that is under the guidance of technology friendly government officials.

Malta

My next stop is the country of Malta. An island in the Mediterranean right in between the southern tip of Italy and the vastness of the North African desert. An oasis I’ve come to find. With a population less than 500,000, there aren’t going to be 15 different regulatory bodies and enforcement agencies trying to get their piece of the bureaucratic pie. The country has a GDP per capita of $36,000, which is not going to be similar to countries that we have already explored.

There is a spectrum to the types of countries that are friendly to ICOs. They are either very rich nations that want more, or poor nations that want to be rich. Each type of country is going to come with pros and cons.

With rich nations, they are usually already beholden to Western powers that can influence their laws and regulations. This results in large institutions being able to help you, but only for $100,000. If you can pay the entry ticket, the SROs and advocacy groups can provide you almost everything you need to be successful in their country.

Poorer nations invested in blockchain have very limited technological infrastructure, which is the double edged sword. They will not be able to offer the incubator that a country like Switzerland will, but very few have tried intervene in a utility token offering. Some of the old Soviet bloc countries are opening the door to mining, ICOs, and other fin-tech start-ups so that they can begin to take advantage of the level playing field that blockchain offers.

Malta is right in between a rich nation and a poor nation when it comes to blockchain. There isn’t going to be the bells and whistles that a Crypto Valley Association could bring, but it isn’t going to be a phone and desk in the middle of nowhere. There are lawyers, accountants, and even other blockchain businesses that are already on the island, and more are coming. The regulatory costs are far lower, and you would not be paying $100,000 in filing for a compliant offering like you have to do in Switzerland. But, is the ease of doing business the only thing that they can offer?

Background

Malta has been an inhabited island since 5200 B.C., and one doesn’t need to think too hard about why. It is an island in the middle of one of the largest commercial areas in the world, and presents many strategic opportunities for the right governments or rulers. I will not going into each conqueror, but over time there have been many rulers who controlled the Mediterranean by their strong hold in Malta.

in 1800, the French were ousted from Malta with the help of the British, whose sovereignty lasted until Maltese independence in 1964. For the first time, this tiny strategically placed island could speak independently and make their own decisions. This could not have come at a better time, as economic relationships between countries in Europe were becoming more and more intertwined. In 1980, Malta adopted a policy of neutrality, and have since maintained that status. In 2004, they joined the European Union, thus beginning to use the Euro instead of the Maltese Lira.

Legal Framework

After their induction into the European Union (EU), Malta adopted banking standards according to Basel Core Principles, which now govern all advanced Western nations. In 2014, the European Central Bank took control over banking oversight in member countries, and that has since put more pressure to homogenize the banking industry across borders. However, Malta has purposely chosen to operate based on principles, rather than strict interpretation of laws. With a population of less than a half million people, the dialogue between businesses and regulators can be very intimate.

MFSA

This is the MAS/FINMA of Malta. It is the single regulatory body that was established in 2002 as the rule maker to take over a growing list of responsibilities from the Malta Central Bank. The MFSA was created partly due to the pending induction into the European Union, where regulations and standards were far more robust.

Unlike some the other countries I have explored, MFSA’s priority is making sure that European banking standards are implemented without mistake. This partnership between nations seems to come with a long rule book, and MFSA has 312 full time employees to make sure that everything falls in line. Financial and credit companies in Malta must apply for a license, and MFSA encourages them to have a conversation prior to an application. The application process is a dialogue, not a one-sided affair. It is explained briefly by MFSA officials here:

“Credit and financial institutions in Malta require a licence from the MFSA. Before any formal application for a licence is made, the MFSA urges the promoters to meet with the regulator to discuss set-up and regulatory requirements to ensure a smooth licensing process. The final application must be accompanied by required supporting documentation such as a business plan, the type and volume of business to be undertaken and the structure, organisation and management system of the institution.” 

With such a tiny country to operate, MFSA has the infrastructure and power to allow a wide array of businesses that may be on the cutting edge. When a regulatory body asks for a business plan along with an application, there is a group that is using an open mind when assessing whether someone can do business in their country. I looked on the MFSA website, and there are about 400 ways to get in contact with them. They want to hear from businesspeople and create solutions for them. That is simply not the case in 99% of other countries.

Government Timeline

2013

Y2013 was a very early year for blockchain and cryptocurrency, with many people truly not knowing even the basic concept of bitcoin. Even in a time where information was drastically limited, the MFSA approved the first ever bitcoin hedge fund to operate out of their country. The company, Exante, began offering a fund that gave normal investors (non-U.S. of course!) the opportunity to invest in a vehicle that could give them access to a coin that did not have very many easily accessible marketplaces. For a 0.5% management fee, bitcoin became accessible to Europe through Malta.

2016

Malta Stock Exchange officials created a Blockchain Committee in 2016 to address the growing prospect of enhancing their countries banking processes. The officials found that the growing interest in cryptocurrency and blockchain technology could save the country millions in cross-currency bank settlements that are conducted on the island. They made the intention to start a consortium to find new ways to implement the technology within their banking structures.

2017

May

Joseph Muscat, the Prime Minister of Malta, drafted a strategy document to entice bitcoin and blockchain commerce into the country. This framework could not have come at a better time, as Malta was beginning to entice U.K. start-ups to begin migrating over to a country with more favorable EU relationships. He stated to a group of government officials in May,

“I understand that regulators are wary of this technology but the fact is that it’s coming. We must be on the frontline in embracing this crucial innovation, and we cannot just wait for others to take action and copy them. We must be the ones the others copy.”

Mr. Muscat is going to be on the right side of history here. Exante, their first bitcoin based project, has ballooned to the eight figures from the appreciation of bitcoin, and are paying their 35% corporate taxes. This type tax revenue for such a small country can really mean something for the services they offer their citizens. I think many world leaders (Singapore for one) are beginning to realize they will have to take on a sales role for the country when it comes to who moves where.

November

The MFSA came out with a report on ICOs and how they will begin regulating primary offerings of digital currencies. This report was not like any other report I have ever seen from a government agency. It simply proposed the regulations they were exploring and had a blank sheet of paper following each section with survey questions about what the reader or stakeholder thought about their ideas. That’s what I call humility! The illustration below highlights how they view the landscape of cryptocurrencies, and how they will interact with it:

Securitized tokens would be regulated under a new law, and utility tokens were to be given more autonomy to conduct business without having to get a financial services license from the FMSA. Their definition of both is as follows,

“‘Securitised tokens’ are defined as those embedding either underlying assets (akin to commodities) or rights (e.g. quasi-equity rights) and effectively refer to those tokens that qualify as financial instruments (for further details please see Section 4 of this Discussion Paper). ‘Utility tokens’ are further defined as those providing either platform/application utility rights or protocol access rights, without any underlying.”

There is no mention of whether the product must be working before the ICO, rather focusing on just the intention of the product itself. This is incredibly important, as many ICOs would struggle to build out a working prototype without funding. There is also not a mention of a token losing its utility status if the company received funding prior to the ICO, which is also a major benefit for VC backed tokens. The next portion of the report was their proposal to draft a “Virtual Currencies Act”, which would be as follows:

“MFSA is proposing that, in order to achieve the objectives of financial regulation, certain VCs and activities pertaining to them would be licenced and regulated under a new legislative framework to be drafted by the MFSA and adopted by the Maltese Parliament, the Malta ‘Virtual Currencies Act’.”

Not as quick to the trigger as Switzerland, but formal definitions of ICOs and cryptocurrencies through legislation would be leaps and bounds ahead of many governments today. The Prime Minister seems to be all hands on deck with this initiative, and wants to make sure that the sales pitch to businesses is clear and thorough.

2018

January

The MFSA came back after releasing their dialogue-seeking report, and said that feedback had been very positive for the regulation of cryptocurrencies. MFSA has even taken a more liberal approach than the banks they supervise. They addressed concerns brought up by banks, such as Maltese Bank of Valetta blocking cryptocurrency transactions from their accounts since late 2017. The MFSA regarded this type of move as “Short-term”, and was the reason why they began to enact definitive regulations so that business could go back to normal.

One of the most frequently brought up topics in their follow-up was “Collective-Investor Schemes”. This would be the European equivalent of trying to set up ETFs/mutual funds/hedge funds that would charge fees in exchange for management of digital assets. While all of us are simply worried about if our coins will exist in a years time, Malta is already trying to focus on what types of fund structures they will allow. Clearly, this is a very forward thinking country that is eagerly trying to become a global digital asset manager.

Let’s check in with their first project back in 2013, Exante. The hedge fund has since opened up an exchange, and is allowing trading pairs for the likes of Litecoin, Ethereum, Ripple, and ZCash. They have been working with regulators since before the blockchain boom began, and the rules are very much influenced by the incumbents. A piece of equity in Exante would be something I would be very interested in buying.

February

The Parliamentary Secretary for the Digital Economy in Malta, Silvio Schembri, excitedly announced the inception of the Malta Digital Innovation Authority. The 3 bills proposed to parliament would be to 1) Establish the DIA, 2) Establish definitions of the different providers under DIA 3) Establish rules and regulations that the DIA would focus on in conjunction with the MFSA. If you read my article on Switzerland, this is very similar to the VQF. An SRO that really has the job of making sure that their economic partners are happy and getting the approvals they need quickly. When asked about the overlying goal of the legislation, Secretary Schembri explained:

“The document put forward for consultation is the base for the creation of a new economic sector that will be a great contribution to Malta’s economic growth. A new industry, potentially as large as the iGaming industry, and capable of creating thousands of new jobs, will compliment and reinforce other sectors and act as a catalyst for the creation or development of new economic sectors such as supply chain management and Fintech.”

For all countries involved in blockchain, it is truly a race to get sticky legislation passed. The more definitive a country can be with their regulation of primary offerings and definitions, the greater chance there will be that an entrepreneur would choose their country, pay their business taxes, and employ their people. This legislation did exactly that.

March

Japanese regulators reached a boiling point with cryptocurrency exchange Binance about not registering with their regulators, the FSA. That registration would cause regulatory scrutiny that would hinder the exchange from being able to offer non-identity verified trading accounts to a global marketplace.

The stakes are high – Binance became the largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume with almost no track record whatsoever. A website handling billions of dollars of daily transactions and holding encrypted currency for millions is a business that stakeholders do not want to alter. It’s popularity is dependent on ease of doing business, and that is the very thing that world powers are trying to limit.

This led Binance to announce that they were packing their bags, and heading for Malta. With some estimates saying they plan to hire 200 people on the island, this was welcomed news by the Prime Minister. Mr. Muscat even tweeted out his warm welcome to the company:

“Welcome to @binance. We aim to be the global trailblazers in the regulation of blockchain-based businesses and the jurisdiction of quality and choice for world class fintech companies -JM”

This is unprecedented by a country. Binance is a unique website that wants decentralization to take true form. They have resisted the changes that others have demanded, and remained an open marketplace for anyone on earth. Malta, a tiny EU country, welcomed them with open arms. This is truly an amazing feat for the country, as there is a very lucrative outcome for all involved if Malta can properly handle this relationship. The move has not yet taken place, but it is something I actively encourage all to monitor.

Conclusion

Malta is the best of all worlds. Thinking from an American perspective, 88% of the country speaks English. Their government most likely was not briefed on cryptocurrency in 2013, yet they were willing to give things a try, and then modify their process as time went on.

The results are blinding. Their first digital asset hedge fund has grown into a multi-million dollar exchange, ICOs are beginning to consult with Maltese lawyers, and the largest cryptocurrency exchange with goals of complete decentralization has been welcomed by the Prime Minister himself. If we take out the words blockchain and cryptocurrency, Malta has brought jobs, taxes, and infrastructural development to their tiny island. Time will tell that their early decisions will yield truly remarkable results, especially if Binance is allowed to grow autonomously.

So after my research, my hypothetical choices so far are Singapore, Switzerland, and Malta. Of the three, Malta is right in the middle. Legal/lawyer fees for an ICO offering I’ve estimated to be around $20,000, which is going to be cheaper than the other two countries. However, the true asset is their size. The MFSA can have face-to-face conversations with every single person who does business in the country, and the government is fully on board to test anything that may help them become wealthier.

The process to license and launch an ICO out of Malta would be months shorter than it would be if you were trying to launch out of a larger, more bureaucratic country. In a coin-eat-coin world, cost and speed is everything. After you’ve paid bottom dollar to launch, you are right across the street from the largest exchange in the world. I couldn’t possibly think of a bigger asset than that.

This is not a recommendation to buy or sell cryptocurrency. We have seen some of the worst volatility in recent weeks, and trading into this type of market is a gigantic risk. I would encourage all to take a step back, and watch prices. I have never felt better about my investments simply because I watch the Top 25 market cap coins diligently, and wait. I wish you the best of luck- @raijincrypto

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Sources

http://www.justiceservices.gov.mt/DownloadDocument.aspx?app=lom&itemid=8840

https://www.financemalta.org/publications/articles-interviews/articles-and-interviews-detail/malta-digital-innovation-authority-unveiled-2018/

https://www.financemalta.org/sections/banking/regulation-legislation/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jonmatonis/2013/03/08/first-bitcoin-hedge-fund-launches-from-malta/#40f57bce3e1e

https://www.mfsa.com.mt/pages/readfile.aspx?f=/files/…/2017/20171130…pdf

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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Decentralization

Cache Me If You Can: Crypto Trading, Decentralized

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Spot exchanges, over-the-counter/OTC trading desks, and futures contracts would likely rank amongst the most popular methods for trading cryptocurrencies between two or more parties.

Despite their popularity though, most of these trading venues utilise centralised infrastructure in at least one area of their operations.

When combined with the endemic security threats which crypto trading services regularly face: centralized fundamental functions are a considerable threat to users who value the privacy of their transactions.

“A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System”

Cryptocurrency is still a burgeoning industry, with the number of ICOs and market investment having increased by several multiples even just over the past eight months when compared to the whole of 2017.

Despite this: concerning conventions have already established themselves that challenge the original vision prescribed by Satoshi Nakamoto for Bitcoin.

The enigmatic Satoshi Nakamoto became a legend upon publication of his seminal cryptocurrency white-paper entitled ‘Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System’ (and if you haven’t read it, you really should!).

Since then, the document has served as an conceptual blueprint which has been referenced by a great number of subsequent altcoins: evident by the widespread implementation of Bitcoin’s core mechanics. An example of this is has come to be known as cryptocurrency mining, or the ‘Proof of Work’ consensus algorithm.

P2P vs  P2intermediary2P?

Peer-to-peer (P2P) denotes transactions that are made between two parties without the need for an intermediary to facilitate or authorise the trade.

Mike Orcutt, associate editor at the MIT Technology Review wrote in April 2018 that:

“The whole point of using a blockchain is to let people—in particular, people who don’t trust one another—share valuable data in a secure, tamperproof way…

“One supposed security guarantee of a blockchain system is ‘decentralization.’ If copies of the blockchain are kept on a large and widely distributed network of nodes, there’s no one weak point to attack, and it’s hard for anyone to build up enough computing power to subvert the network”

Whilst this is true for many blockchains and their associated blocks for decentralized cryptocurrencies: most middle-man’ who process trades and transaction utilise a centralised system known as an ‘order book’ upon which future transaction and trade values are calculated.

In June 2009, mere months after Nakamoto’s Bitcoin paper was released to the world, a cross-departmental team from Stanford University published a related and highly recommended investigation into the contemporary status of the order-book.

The authors state that:

“most markets are order-driven, where any market participant is free to provide liquidity by submitting a buy or sell order. Submitted orders are amalgamated by price to create a limit order book. The[re is a] rule driven execution of orders in these limit order books and [also] extensive data that is available for order driven markets.”

With  a centralised order-boook; all the data pertaining to transactions: such as receiver and sender addresses, value of tokens, and dates could be all-but-publicly accessible in the case of a hack or successful unwanted intrusion.

Peer-to-Peer Trading: What Can Be Done?

One solution which we have seen numerous examples of are organisations which claim to be ‘decentralized exchanges’.

On the 9th of August 2018, for example, well-known yet controversial ex-China based cryptocurrency exchange Binance launched a pre-alpha build of their highly anticipated decentralized exchange which they call ‘DEX’.

Conversely, Binance has been subject to more than their fair share of negative press and public feedback as of late and earning trust for their future projects will be no easy feat. They have to contend with hackers, pundits, and a 5.9/10 ranking on Trustpilot.

Another notable release comes from blockchain development platform Stratis, a competitor to Ethereum’s ‘platform for platforms’ and ranked in 50th place on CoinMarketCap as of writing.

The ‘Breeze Wallet with Breeze Privacy Protocol’ launched on the 1st August 2018, and it is a means of facilitating pure peer-to-peer, user-to-user, fully decentralized transactions. As a result, Breeze hopes to introduce centralized intermediaries to the realm of obsolescence, by way of a token-tumbling protocol called ‘TumbleBit’.

If you know of any more projects which have been making recent progress – please let us know in the comments section!

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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Op-Ed

Disrupting the Cloud: ANKR Network

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Since the creation of bitcoin and the introduction of the “Proof of Work” (POW) algorithm, many have been concerned about the vast use of computing power and energy and their negative side effects. Currently, cloud computing is projected to be a trillion dollar market, yet it is monopolized by some of the largest tech conglomerates in the world. Only giants in the likes of Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud can afford the high human capital cost and upfront server costs to run a successful cloud operation that spans the globe. However, the aforementioned companies tend to charge the customer with a higher margin of cost.

New developments in blockchain technology aim to resolve these issues by improving the efficiency and effectiveness of cloud computing. Being an innovative solution to this computing and consumer problem, Ankr Network brings the benefits of decentralization to cloud computing and balances value between buyers and sellers via crypto economics, Oracle service and distributed computing.

Ankr Network

Ankr Network is an innovative platform, which aims to create a resource-efficient blockchain architecture for a distributed cloud computing system and an easy-to-use infrastructure for the building of business applications. Ankr is the first cloud computing solution to leverage both blockchain and trusted hardware of Intel SGXs. The SGX hardware will allow developers of applications to protect data from unauthorized access and modification and preserve the confidentiality and integrity of information.

Technical solutions include:

  • Consensus Algorithm Proof of Useful Work (PoUW)
  • Platform for distributed cloud computing (DCC)
  • Oracle integrated service
  • Structural support for sidechains

The consensus looks like this:

Anrk upgrades mining with its consensus “Proof of Useful Work” (PoUW), which provides a sustainable block structure. Specifically, PoUW directs power and computing capacity which was used on hashes in POW algorithms such as bitcoin for processing tasks provided by businesses and consumers on the blockchain. Therefore, one can say Ankr upgrades mining to a higher level, allowing equipment holders to receive a financial incentive for block creation and real-world tasks processing.

To explain this better, consider the following: the golden standard algorithm is one where the nodes on the blockchain require:

1) That tasks performed to solve problems is actually quantifiable work;

2) That the processing of these tasks provides some form of value to any party on the network

The Ankr Network appears capable of achieving this gold standard. Alternatively, existing POW in networks such as bitcoin and Ethereum only achieve the first point – nodes use computing power and energy to prove that work was done (but such amount of work is wasted without any utility).

Ankr solves this key technical limitation in bitcoin and Ethereum by including a second point in its consensus algorithm, thus making all the work done by nodes directed on the processing of tasks that could bring added value utility to the network participants.

Ethereum processes all smart contracts on one chain in a serial sequence, which bottlenecks throughput and dramatically reduces the usability, especially when there are large contracts with complicated data on the chain. Plasma is a protocol to solve the scalability issue by building a tree structure of blockchains, where various application chains (Child or Plasma Chains) are connected to a single root chain (Main Chain). Plasma chains can allow applications to handle their specific smart contracts transactions on side chains, thus balancing potential overload of the network.

The efficiency of the main chain can be significantly improved by offloading a number of transactions from the main chain to Plasma chains, especially if proper incentives are given to Plasma operators. Currently, Oracle solutions exist separately from the blockchain framework and are limited in compatibility. Ankr proposes a user-friendly universal AP (application programming interface) I for each child chain to connect to off-chain entities. Existing business can build decentralized autonomous applications on the child chain with powerful computing power and native data feed service provided by the main chain.

 

The Native Oracle (NOS) service provides an authenticated data feed by using both cryptographic primitives and a trusted execution environment (TEE). Thanks to a standardized API for transferring data from existing data sources like websites, NOS allows customers to simplify business in the real world. Basically, this means that blockchain can allow integrating smart contract execution with data sources through a protected gateway.

Intel SGX

Intel SGX (Software Guard Extensions) is a new set of instructions that permits execution of an application inside a hardware enclave, which protects the application’s integrity and confidentiality against certain forms of hardware and software attacks, including hostile operating systems. This lowers entry barriers for miners and provides security and privacy.

Distributed Cloud Computing (DCC) Platform

As internet technology advances, massive amounts of data including text, audio, video, etc. have been created. However, most of this data is neither organized nor relevant to each other. Processing the data in a serial sequence (traditional blockchain) becomes less and less resource efficient and can’t be tolerated by the rapid velocity of business development.

Ankr overcomes these shortcomings through its DDC platform, which enables P2P transactions. Miners will provide their computing power to support the blockchain, as well as sending surplus power for cloud computing calculations.

A P2P network allows application owners and individual users (i.e., requesters) to rent computing power from other users (suppliers). Currently, the cloud computing resources in popular blockchain networks such as bitcoin or Ethereum are exclusively controlled by the centralized cloud service providers and are subject to rigid operation models. A decentralized cloud computing platform can incorporate a blockchain-based payment system, which can allow for direct payment among operators (requesters), sellers (suppliers) and software developers.

Now, we will cover what other projects in this field are doing in comparison to Ankr as a reference project.

Golem

Users of Golem are only incentivized for cloud computing and Golem is using third party computing containers like Docker.

SONM

This project is very similar to Golem, but with a different application field. Golem is focused on rendering, but SONM is focused on the adoption of existing architectures (currently server hosting).

IExec

This project is also similar to Golem and SONM, but its application focus is decentralized cloud computing in specific research applications.

In comparison with the projects above, users of Ankr have different incentives that come from mining, transaction (or smart contract) and cloud computing. Also, Ankr does not use third party platforms for computational power; instead, it uses the computing power of miners.

In my opinion, an additional limitation of Golem, SONM, and IExec is that they have based their development on traditional computing architectures, which are used in data centers, thus limiting their potential computing power and scope of tasks. The reason lies in the fact that data center architecture is working on one technical parameter, which is not optimal for distributed computing where the topology of each device changes frequently and will result in a costly overhead in data transfer and decrease the stability of the network. Ankr technology allows bypassing such limitations, which results in a wider applicability and scope of their network.

Overall, if the Ankr network team can create a network that uses PoUW to reach consensus by applying all the computational energy to useful use and not wasting it, then cloud computing services as Amazon Web, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure are likely to face serious competition soon.

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 9 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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Op-Ed

Our Review of the MJAC CryptoCompare Summit in London, UK (13 June 2018)

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Disclaimer: This was my first attendance at such an event since beginning my career as a professional and independent cryptocurrency and /or blockchain journalist.

 I am not affiliated with the event organisers nor do I know them personally, and the same goes for all organisations in attendance as of the time of writing.

[official photographs here]

Earlier this month, I attended the ‘MJAC CryptoCompare Blockchain Summit’ and concluded that the best approach would be to cover the event in a candid matter.

There weren’t any scandals or controversies to speak of. What we mean by this is that this piece intends to cover the greatest pros and cons of the event, in hindsight (which was organised and executed by CryptoCompare in collaboration with MJAC).

First off, MJAC (AKA InvestorsHub) is an organisation that you aren’t likely to have heard of. They are the events and conferences arm of ADVFN, a prominent financial services organisation. Many of the same people responsible for the successful ‘Marijuana Annual Conference’ were also behind the conference in question, hence the acronym ‘MJAC’.

Many of you should be fully aware of CryptoCompare. They are arguably one of the most utilised data resources for up-to-date and historical data on market trends, respective per-coin values, and overall trade volume.

Location and Venue

The days proceedings took place at a venue called ‘Old Billingsgate’.

It’s a listed building which features a combination of historical architecture with modern internal fittings and is located close to Monument tube station. Its name derives from the nearby historic Old Billingsgate Market area.

The choice of venue couldn’t have been much better thanks in part to the location’s iconic and unobstructed view across the Thames River: including the Tower of London in clear sight, plus The Shard being mostly-visible nearby.

Old Billingsgate benefits from being highly accessible to attendees and participants due to its central location, however this is where the positive words I have for the venue start to run dry.

The aesthetic was great, and photographs show a busy yet not overpopulated show floor. The show started with a similar number as represented for most of the day, but later in the day the floor became packed and somewhat claustrophobic.

This atmosphere wasn’t helped by the fact that the space here felt both condensed and underutilised at the same time, with all the stalls leaving small hallways to brush past other visitors.

Conversely, over half of the two stories of open areas in the venue were dedicated to two theatre spaces, one large and one small. These rooms were well arranged and hosted all the one-day summit’s speakers and panelists.

Speeches and Panels

Speakers and individual panel attendees of course were responsible for many of the day’s highlights, as well as the presence of a combination of established and up-and-coming companies/ICOs.

Vitaly Kedyk (Executive Director of CEX.IO) and Claire Wells (Director of Legal & Business Affairs for EMEA at Circle) were two of the events strongest performers, whilst other notable speakers & panellists included representatives from CoinFloor, Ripple, BlockEx, and Coinbase – to name a few.

Unfortunately, not all panellists seemed to be ideal matches for such discussions. A couple that I attended, for example, featured a combination of experts whose interactions were often close to non-existent with each other. What’s more, top participants were easily distinguished by their contribution of valuable insights and answers than their peers in some circumstances.

Organisation and execution of the event overall is something to be lauded. Every speech and panel I saw started and finished with perfect timing, suggesting a great approach to planning. There was also a great atmosphere amongst participants and all I spoke to.

Success or Failure?

The qualification and quantification of any event’s success or failure should arguably be defined in several ways. Cryptocurrency is still growing as an industry (despite what the market tracking values may indicate), which gives us less of a general standard against which to measure them.

One way we can still utilise though, is to measure its performance in hindsight and considering the organisers’ own stated ambitions / agenda.

“The pace of development in the crypto space has rapidly picked up in the past year and it Is now more important than ever to gather the top thought leaders to showcase progress and discuss challenges. MJAC will give customers, investors, and regulators a chance to glimpse into the future direction of this exciting new industry.”Charles Hayter, CryptoCompare.

This quote was taken from the first page of a complimentary guide that was available to all attendees.

It came along with a free book (‘CryptoAssets’ by Chris Burniske and Jack Tatar), which is honestly not bad as a beginners and intermediate level guide aimed primarily at non-technical crypto enthusiasts.

For all intents and purposes, the organisation achieved their stated goal to a degree, however the sequel had better be much more impressive to excuse the lack of experience on British soil (one of the largest crypto economies in Europe, and arguably one of if not the financial capital).

A Relative Conclusion

The second and final way (that we will discuss here) you can measure such an event is through comparison to other events, which are popping up around the world as well as within London alone despite market indicators.

One of these is the similarly titled ‘Blockchain Summit London 2018’. It is set to be a much larger event: boasting approximately 2,500 attendees and over 150 speakers.

It also costs approximately £400 for the two-day event and is set in the well-known Olympia venue in Kensington, West London. Taking place just a couple of weeks after the MJAC CryptoCompare conference.

MJAC CryptoCompare Blockchain Summit was the first event held by these event organisers about cryptocurrency in London. On that end: it is not entirely fair to consider it an equal comparison with this rival, especially when tickets were the relatively low price of £100.

Despite this I can’t help but admit that I was perhaps expecting more from this ‘summit’, if not a little too much.

7/10

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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