Robert Schwertner e. U. ㅣRobby Schwertner 🦋 ㅣ Blockchain nonfluencer ㅣ Crypto blogger ㅣ #ReturnOnSociety ㅣ Beratung zu Forschungszulage 🇩🇪 und Forschungsprämie 🇦🇹
I dream of applications beyond Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. Blockchain use cases with added value to society, a #ReturnOnSociety
Blockchain use cases I am currently working on:
Security Token Offering for real estate, energy blockchain - proof of origin of green energy / PV panels, relief aid & blockchain, consultancy project on blockchain and Mobility As A Service (Maas), Age Verification Systems on Blockchain, Smart Cities related blockchain use cases, Islamic Banking & Blockchain (Malaysia).
► Questions? Ideas? Dreams? Visions?
mail to: robert(@)schwertner.com
South Korea´s largest telecom company KT Corporation announced today that it has been selected as an agent for the operation of Dongbaekjeon, a Busan-based local currency with annual issuance of €230 million (300 billion won).
KT and the Busan Metropolitan Government plan to officially launch the Dongbaekjeon, which is a blockchain-based card-type local currency issued to revitalize the Busan regional economy and ease the burden of small business management.
One can apply for and charge cards at Dongbaekjeon mobile applications, Hana Bank and Busan Bank , and they are available at all stores in Busan with credit card terminals and ATMs. For the moment the use is limited to department stores, large discount stores, corporate supermarkets and gambling shops.
Busan, South Korea’s second most-populous city after Seoul, is considering the launch of a local cryptocurrency, Korean tech news publication ETnews reports July 1, 2019.
Specifically, Busan intends to issue the cryptocurrency in the form of stablecoin, a cryptocurrency pegged 1:1 to the local currency. By issuing a local digital currency, Busan expects to revive the local economy, as well as to secure the leading position in blockchain
In April, South Korea’s Ministry of Small and Medium Businesses (SMEs) and Startups said that the government plans to provide “extensive support if Busan develops its own blockchain-based currency structure or token economy.”
Earlier in February 2019, Busan signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with blockchain company Hyundai Pay with the purpose of promoting blockchain industry through “contribution to the development of local ICT industry through mutual growth with related start-up businesses.”
Yoo Yong-gyu, KT’s business center director for blockchain, told news agency Decrypt:
With our know-how of operating a regional currency and blockchain security, KT will work towards establishing Dongbaek Currency and contributing to the growth of Busan’s economy.
Crowdlitoken is a Liechtenstein-based blockchain startup with its headquarters in the town of Triesen. Since 2018 this young real estate company allows investors to participate in a European core real estate portfolio. Investors can select their properties, determine their individual risk-return-profile and choose freely between cash flow realization and capital growth.
This represents an evolution in the world of financial products. New technologies are enabling us to launch a first-class product that not only offers new investment opportunities, but also remedies inefficiencies, cuts costs and safeguards transparency.
Crowdlitoken offers a digital representation of a subordinated bond, whereby both the bond and the underlying real estate is digitised via blockchain. The token – named the “CRT” – replicates the income streams and the value changes of the real estate properties. Holders of the tokens can select their properties to invest in and thereby tailor their portfolio. The ability to invest small amounts in selected European real estate, the easy tradeability on digital stock exchanges (in preparation) and the investment flexibility are key innovative features of this unique real estate investment product.
Blockchain legislation is very advanced and pursues an open approach to regulating the token economy, which is still in its infancy. In addition, Liechtenstein is member of the European Economic Area which facilitates and allows access to the EU market.
The tokenisation of the European real estate market: Crowdlitoken uses blockchain technology, digital processes and so-called tokenisation to invest in real estate. The advantage for investors is that the hurdle for an investor friendly lies as low as EUR 100 per investment, which is much lower than usual investment ticket sizes. The attractive real estate asset class remains interesting for qualified investors, but is now also being democratised for small and occasional investors and is therefore opening up to new target groups with smaller funds available.
In addition, the newly designed digital investment platform is quite flexible and surprises with some additional innovations. Investors do not necessarily have to invest in a whole basket of European properties, but can instead focus on one or more properties of their choice.
Crowdlitoken published a whitepaper where details on risks, token distribution and rights of token holders are described.
At the center is a regulated bond with Crowdlitoken:In mid-April 2019, the Liechtenstein Financial Market Authority (FMA) approved the prospectus for public distribution by Crowdlitoken. As part of the marketing authorisation for retail investors, the company launched the public sale of the security token in what is called STO (Security Token Offering).
First the STO, then the real estate portfolio The low hurdle for investments in selected European properties (from 100 Swiss francs or EUR equivalent), the tradeability and the flexibility of the digital bond are remarkable innovations of this real estate investment product and are likely to meet with interest.
Crowdlitoken has brought experts in real estate and international finance on board to ensure that this does not remain a matter of interest but is followed by concrete actions and investments. Lawyer Hans Kuhn, former Head of Legal Affairs and Services at the Swiss National Bank (SNB) and current board member of Crowdlitoken, has ensured that the Security Token meets all regulatory and legal requirements.
The founders plan to generate 100 million Swiss francs with the STO. As soon as the sum of CHF 45 million has been reached, the development of the real estate portfolio is to start – initially in Switzerland and Germany, with other European countries to follow later.
Crowdlitoken joined The Security Token Alliance The Security Token Alliance, an alliance that brings together organisations advancing the security token industry, recently announced that CROWDLITOKEN is among the latest to partner with the Alliance. The Security Token Alliance is founded on the belief that the present and future of digitized securities will benefit from wide participation in projects and an ecosystem for stakeholder connections. The organisation was founded in May 2019 by Frederik Bussler who is also member of the European Commission’s AI Alliance.
New expert on board: On October 29th, 2019 it has been announced that Renato Fassbind will join as new members of the Board of Directors. Top expert Fassbind will also sit on the Board of Directors of its subsidiary Crowdlitoken AG. The former top executive of various major Swiss corporations, such as Credit Suisse and ABB, is impressed with the business model, strategy and technology of the fintech company based in Triesen, Liechtenstein.
What I like most at Crowdlitoken is the business model, the technological orientation and the unerringly consistent strategy. I also feel a strong belief in the product, which permeates from the Board of Directors through to the management and to the employees.”´
The advantage of blockchain A blockchain-based system brings along the advantage that one can invest in the bond in Swiss francs, euros or the crypto currency Ethereum (ETH). Similar to a real estate fund, annual management fees of 0.75 percent as well as a further three percent are charged for purchase or sale. In addition, there is a success fee in the positive case.
Since all data is checked and tracked using blockchain technology, transparency is significantly increased and there is no need to go through an intermediary, which further reduces any charges. Meanwhile, this puts a stop to potential fraud and manipulation.
However, to my opinion this does not mean that the bond is safe for investors. One shall always have in mind that it bears a double risk: On the one hand there is the usual investment risk of a real estate investment similar to a real estate funds or real estate shares. If there is a collapse in prices on the real estate market, which can never be completely ruled out, investors would have to reckon with investment losing significantly in value.
In addition, a risk is associated with the innovative financial instrument of a security token. It is not yet possible to assess whether the new financial vehicle of a security token will prove its worth because experience is simply lacking. In particular, it is not possible to estimate how the instrument would react in case of market distortions.
When it comes to security, one should be aware that although one invests in real estate, Crowdlitoken is registered in the land register for the properties. In the event of a crisis, you would have to assert possible claims against the company and would not be secured by land register law yourself.
Against this background, I would not invest money which you would need to save for buying a new home or financing your children’s education or even saving for retirement! I can generally only recommend investing in such a new instrument very cautiously and not take any unnecessary risks if possible.
If you are convinced of the bond, you could at best invest a small amount in it, but not the entire capital you have available because otherwise you would be running a cluster risk with imponderables, which I would definitely prevent. However, given the fact that some banks are thinking of charging for money being deposited, we need alternative investment options.
About CROWDLITOKEN AG CROWDLITOKEN AG is a Liechtenstein-based start-up that provides investors with access to European core real estate via blockchain technology. This is based on real estate-linked security tokens – termed “CRTs”, CRTs are fully compliant and combine the advantages of direct and indirect real estate investments.
Legal disclaimer: Paid content. The advice here given is not a financial advice even though my excitement might make it look like such. No one should make any investment decision without first consulting his or her own financial advisor and conducting his or her own research and due diligence.
Even though regulatory hardship and very hostile framework for blockchain ventures Korea has a thriving blockchain ecosystem. Industries involved in applying blockchain are FinTech, insurance, logistics, health, social media, and IP rights.
The messaging service Kakao – Korea´s WhatsApp – debuted a Blockchain platform called Klaytn, Line Corporation (Subsidiary of Naver) introduced its own cryptocurrency (Link Token), and Samsung revealed their cryptocurrency wallet for their Galaxy S10. Korean Blockchain startups are also continuing to drive Blockchain adoption in Korea. Below some of the most popular blockchain startups, it is by far not complete an reflects my very personal views:
1. ICON Foundation (ICONLOOP)
ICON is the largest and most popular blockchain network in Korea. It has a vision of building a digital nation known as the ICON Republic where disparate and heterogeneous communities with differing economic, social and governance ideals can interact seamlessly over the ICON network through the unique implementation of BTP (Blockchain Transfer Protocol). The protocol will enable blockchains within the ICON network to exchange value similar to that of a decentralized exchange. Service invocations are also possible, where the execution of a smart contract on another blockchain will share the same result. BTP further enables horizontal scaling similar to the side chain approach. Bridging communities allows for value and information to be shared seamlessly across the network, thus empowering the next evolution of the digital transformation.
ICON implemented projects with the Seoul Metropolitan Government, National Election Commission, and Kyobo Life Insurance among others. ICONLOOP is the developer of Loopchain, a technology to connect different blockchains separately developed by individual companies. Their focus in 2019 will be on IRC16. The IRC16 is a newly added token standard based on ICON’s public blockchain network. In addition, they will focus on ICON’s Decentralized Exchange (DEX) for p2p exchange between ICX and IRC2.
Min Kim is Co-Founder, he has a background in FinTech and Deutsche Bank and many years of experience with blockchain projects. Josh Choi COO holds a degree of Korea´s renomated Yonsei University and gained experience at the UN International Telecommunication Union.
Korean Blockchain startup Terra aims to create a stablecoin that can be used on Terra’s Blockchain payment solution. Therefore their focus is to create the next generation modern financial system on the Blockchain. Their focus in 2019 will be to target e-Commerce platforms through the Terra Alliance which is a group of global e-Commerce partners (TMON, Woowa Brothers, Baedal Minjok, and etc) to help drive mass adoption and the use of Blockchain payment systems. In addition, they have already created their own Blockchain-based simple payment service called Terra Pay. The potential Terra could go beyond e-Commerce and into all types of financial products like loans and insurance.
Terra has been aggressive in their partnerships to bring in eCommerce companies to join their Terra Alliance ecosystem. Sinsang Market is a business to business fashion platform that will work with Terra to create a payment system that uses the Korean mobile payment service CHAI. Terra’s platform offers better order settlements, payments, and deliveries through CHAI.
Terra was able to close a $32 million funding round led by major cryptocurrency exchanges like OKEx, Huobi Capital, and Binance Labs
Xank is the only cryptocurrency that works like a stablecoin while having investment value. Xank offers a very unique Stable Pay feature which allows to spend, send, and hold the free-floating Xank cryptocurrency as a price stable currency. This payment currency has been founded by
Korean Blockchain startupMedibloc that uses Blockchain technology for the healthcare data system. It is very difficult for healthcare providers to get the complete data of a patient. Therefore this complete data is important for getting an accurate diagnosis for the most effective treatment. Furthermore, MediBloc provides a data integration system that gathers patients medical information through real-time updates. In addition, the patients are in control of their medical records. The records are kept confidential according to HIPPA regulations. Therefore, the patients are the ones who can grant access to their personal medical data.
MediBloc offers a secure and transparent data storage system. Therefore, all new entries come with a location and time stamp. The MediBloc system their own token called MEDX which will serve as the primary medium of exchange between all users on MediBloc. MediBloc has strategic partnerships with many institutions in both the healthcare and financial industries.
In 2018, MediBloc raised over $10 million through an ICO and will look to get institutional investments in 2019.
Co-Founder is LEE Eunsol who has a background as medical doctor.
Korean Blockchain startup Blocko that focuses on providing a Blockchain system for transaction validation, user authentication, wallet management, and micropayment solutions. Blocko has been working with Bank of Korea to help them use blockchain technology for their financial transactions among consumers.
Blocko builds and supports its hybrid Blockchain AERGO Enterprise which allows companies to build applications and services by sharing data on a trustless and serverless IT ecosystem. AERGO Enterprise offers a greater level of security, scalability, and performance. Blocko has built over 20-full scale Blockchain implementations on private and public Blockchain ledgers. For 2019 they will focus on implementing a Blockchain solution for land registry in South Korea.
Blocko was able to get $9 during the last round of funding in June of last year.
6. Haechi Labs – Henesis
Korean Blockchain startup Haechi Labs is an expert for smart contract audits. They have done audits for Ground X’s Klaytn and have worked with them on their launch of their mainnet. Their focus for 2019 will be on their Blockchain SaaS solution called Henesis. Henesis removes technological barriers for companies looking for Blockchain adoption. Therefore, the solution will reduce the time and cost involved with Blockchain development. In addition, companies will be able to easily collect, process and deliver their Blockchain data in real-time. Their solution has already been tested with Shinhan Bank. Their aim is to be an all-in-one platform for Blockchain integration.
7. Kodebox (CodeChain)
Korean Blockchain startup CodeChain is a Blockchain network with a built-in issuance and exchange protocols. Therefore, now digital assets issued on CodeChain can be programmed and customized so that it can comply with the regulations of a particular country. In addition, their mobile wallet offers a simple verification process, easy to use interface and fast/secure transactions.
Korean Blockchain startup Scanetchainrecently launched their new DApp Inxight, their new AR Blockchain platform. Inxight is an open-source platform which combines advertisements, search engines, and e-Commerce platforms. They use AR technology to identify products both online and offline by assigning a scannable market for each product or image. Furthermore, Inxight uses its SWC token for payments or discounts.
Their “beta” version of their marker scanning reward system will be available in the next software update. Inxight aims to change the way people search for things. Scanetchain has been aggressive in entering into a number of strategic partnerships to grow the ecosystem and bring greater value to their users.
9. FANTOM Foundation
Korean Blockchain startup FANTOM Foundation is a non-profit organization that is building an infrastructure for decentralized global finance. They do not use Blockchain but rather an approach called a directed acyclic graph (DAG). They have a DAG-based distributed ledger technology (DLT) that incorporates new methods for scalability with a high-performance virtual machine for a more secure smart contract execution. The networks aim is to build an infrastructure to power smart cities, IOTs, and offer faster payment solutions. Furthermore, it could be a secure and efficient platform for public utilities, medical records, healthcare services, identity storage and more.
10. Cosmochain (FitsMe)
Korean Beauty blockchain startup Cosmochain is the creator of a Blockchain-based app service called FitsMe. FitsMe is a personalized beauty recommendation service that uses past purchase data and preference data to recommend the best cosmetic products. They already have attracted over 150,000 users from their beta service. Furthermore, they got $2.5 million in investments from a U.S. hedge fund. Samsung Electronics also selected Cosmochain as an initial DApp partner for its Galaxy S10 smartphone. In addition, the Galaxy Keystore, the cryptocurrency wallet for the Galaxy S10, supports CosmoCoin (COSM), the cryptocurrency used in FitsMe.
I also like Zikto (Insureum)
Korean Blockchain startup Zikto is the company behind the Insureum Protocol. The Insureum Protocol uses Blockchain technology to provide insurance companies with the data to create better policies. Zikto started out as a smart wearables company that did a great job of collecting data. In 2017 they partnered with KB Bank to launch “The Challenge” program that offered KB Kookmin cardholders rewards for their fitness data (walk count). The program ended in mid-2018 and was a huge success. Zikto looks to create a decentralized ecosystem that connects insurers, their policyholder, and third parties through the Insureum protocol.
A substantial number of backers of Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency project are said to be considering backing out due to growing pressure from regulators.
According to a report from the Financial Times, in particular three firms – which were not named – expressed concerns over being seen to be linked to the project after regulators and politicians around the world raised concerns over its potential threat to financial stability.
While Facebook’s Libra project was said to already have 28 founding partners when unveiled last month, that isn’t quite the case, according to Visa’s CEO and board chairman, Alfred F. Kelly, Jr. Therefore VISA is considered to be amongst the three who now seek withdrawal as an option. In a Q3 2019 earnings call, VISA CEO Kelly responded to a question on his firm’s involvement with the Libra project from Bryan C. Keane, an analyst at Deutsche Bank Securities.
Keane asked, “Just wanted to ask on Facebook’s Libra, there’s some confusion in the market on how to think about that. Is it a strategic partner for Visa or potential disruptive threat? Just curious your thoughts and level of expected Visa involvement in Facebook Libra.”
Playing down the firm’s involvement with Libra, Kelly responded that “it’s important to understand the facts.”. He continued:
Going forward, the decision to fully join Facebook’s cryptocurrency project would be decided by a “number of factors, including obviously the ability of the association to satisfy all the requisite regulatory requirements,”
As suggested, since its release of a Libra white paper in mid-June, Facebook has been defending itself from a storm of calls from regulators worldwide for more information on how the scheme would work, amid concerns over what affect it could have on financial stability and users’ privacy.
The EU was recently reported to have even moved to investigate the Libra Association over potential antitrust issues. Over in the U.S., lawmakers have called for Libra to be halted until regulatory issues have been addressed.
As a result, the firms are considering pulling out of the Libra project, the FT said.
Since its debut in mid-June, Libra is said to have been joined by 28 member firms who have paid up to $10 million to be part of the project. These include major firms such as Visa, Mastercard, Paypal and Uber. Visa’s CEO revealed last month that the firms had signed “nonbinding letter of intent to join Libra,” and were not yet fully committed to the enterprise.
“It’s going to be difficult for partners who want to be seen as in [regulatory] compliance” to be publicly supporting Libra, one of the companies told the FT. A Libra backer also said that Facebook should have addressed the regulatory issues before announcing the project to lessen the “pushback.”
The frustrations appear to be going both ways, with the sources saying that Facebook itself is unhappy that the Libra Association members aren’t voicing support for the project.
“Facebook is tired of being the only people putting their neck out,” said one of the members.
Facebook and the Libra Association would not comment when contacted by the FT.
Crypto enthusiasts Winklevoss brothers told CNN’s Poppy Harlow that they would close their eyes to their rivalry with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg for his cryptocurrency project Libra. Whether or not they reach a deal with the social media giant, the twins believe in Libra’s potential. They said that Facebook’s digital currency project was great for the market in a period when cryptos are everywhere. Cameron noted:
I think there is a day in the future where we can’t live without crypto, or imagine a world before crypto.
CNN Interview August 18, 2019
The potential collaboration between Gemini co-founders and Mark Zuckerberg might materialize despite their old legal fight over the origins of the social media behemoth and who should be called Facebook creators.
It should come as no surprise that Zuckerberg actually consulted the brothers when developing Libra.
Back in 2011, when the dispute began, CNN sarcastically predicted that the only thing that could stop “Winklevoss twins’ legal crusade against Facebook” was the end of the universe that is estimated to come in several billion years from now. In the end, Libra might become more powerful than the anticipated heat death. This is true at least in the context of Zuckerberg-Winklevoss brothers rivalry.
Besides, the twins took solace in their role in the rapidly growing crypto industry after creating Gemini.
Facebook was a dispute, but it didn’t really define who we were as people. Gemini’s much more of a representation of who we are, what we stand for, what we’re interested in.
Gemini might join Libra Association
The twins, once labeled Bitcoin billionaires, have been in talks with the social media giant about joining the Libra Association. The latter is a decentralized entity that should comprise 100 members by 2020. Facebook has already unveiled 28 founding members, including Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, and Coinbase.
Tyler and Cameron said they want to learn more about Libra before making the final decision. Besides becoming part of the association, Gemini might also list Libra when or if it gets launched. Indeed, there is a minor possibility that Libra might never launch because of the regulatory pressure.
However, the Winklevoss brothers are confident in Libra’s future. Moreover, Cameron expects that each of the FAANG giants, including Amazon, Apple, Google, and Netflix, will get into crypto at some point.
Still, it is very surprising that the Winklevosses, one of the most serious enemies of Marc Zuckerberg now show interest in his most important project!
Ethereum is emerging from a little child to the teenager phase. This blockchain of Vitalik Buterin has hosted thousands of decentralised applications. More than 180.000 tokens have been created, most of them for testing purposes but still 2000 of them still actively traded and found on coinmarketcap.com
The next stage of this blockchain is called SERENITY or Ethereum 2.0. It is the long awaited Proof-of-Stake version, together with some huge upgrades on the scalability side. When you have a more thorough look into Serenity (or Ethereum 2.0!), the first impression is the abundance of completely new terms. What is a crosslink? Is a slot a block? No, it isn’t. Is an “attestor“ the same thing as a “validator“?
Below you finde the most used terms in Vitalik´s new ETH sandbox two point zerooo. This list is focuses on the most prominent details you might have questions about.
one chain to rule them all proof-of-stake chain includes beacon blocks the consensus layer for everything manages validators applies rewards and penalties serves as an anchor point for the shards through cross-links
1024 of them semi independent chains include shard blocks periodically the state of the shard blocks is recorded on the beacon chain through crosslinks once a block on the beacon chain is finalised, the shard blocks referenced in the included crosslinks are considered finalised each shard has a committee of validators attesting blocks
a summary of the shard’s state only reference of the shards in the beacon chain
Slot period of time in which a block proposer propose a block for attestation slots might be empty slots are filled with attested blocks
a number of slots (currently 64) after which validators are reshuffled in committees
users that have deposited 32eth in the validator deposit contract and run a validator node they can be inactive (don’t run as an actual validator yet), active (validating), pending (opted into becoming a validator but stuck in the entry queue) and exiting (no longer want to validate and stuck in the exit queue)
random validators chosen by the beacon chain to propose blocks for validation/attestation there will be one block proposer per slot for the beacon chain and one proposer per slot for each of the shards
votes in regards to the validity of a shard block or beacon
random groups of validators chosen by the beacon chain to attest the validity of blocks (beacon & shard) target of minimum 128 validators per committee
base currency of the beacon chain will be obtained initially from rewards and by locking ETH1 in the validator deposit contract
Validator Deposit Contract
smart contract on the POW chain (in our case, the Ethereum Mainnet) once ETH1 funds are locked in this smart contract, and event log is emitted that should be read by the beacon chain and the same amount of ETH2 should be allocated to the account, now considered a validator this mechanism might change in the future until phase 2 ends the transfer of ETH1 to ETH2 is a one way street, can’t get ETH1 back, but there is an escape hatch to sell your stake
Ethereum 2.0 phases
Phase 0 — The beacon chain
managing validators and stakes organizing and electing committees and proposers applying consensus rules rewarding and penalizing/slashing
Phase 1 — Shards
constructing the shard chains and blocks anchoring (cross-linking) shard blocks to beacon chain
Phase 2 — Execution Environments
based virtual machines for execution.
one per shard. ability to make transactions
ability to run and interact with smart contracts
Authoritative info is hard to come by on this subject so many thanks to Ben Edgington for setting me straight on some of the things above. Would also like to thank Danny Ryan and Everett Muzzy for additional corrections.
In the USA, for example, the parliamentary committee for financial services has called on Facebook to temporarily stop Libra; more than 30 US lobby associations had previously formulated a similar demand. In other countries such as France, Germany, Russia and Singapore, Libra has so far also met with little approval.
The presentation of the whitepaper of Facebook’s crypto project Libra for a global digital crypto currency has caused a lot of unrest not only in the crypto scene. While the Binance crypto exchange, for example, has a positive attitude towards the planned crypto currency and is even planning to become a node for participation, criticism and warnings are hailing towards Facebook, especially from politicians and supervisory authorities.
To shed some light on the situation, Cointelegraph asked eight renowned crypto experts from German-speaking countries about their views on Facebook Libra. Robert Schwertner (CryptoRobby) explains why Facebook is looking for a “new story” with the Libra project and why the planned Stablecoin is a step backwards compared to Bitcoin and Co.
Libra is not innovative at all
One thing is for sure: Libra is not an ingenious invention of Mark Zuckerberg and his Facebook group, but a logical development of blockchain technology and also of crypto currencies like Bitcoin.
In principle, every crypto money is a specialized e-mail or messenger service. Whether you send information as text or as a money message makes hardly any difference. As the world’s largest messenger service group, it is therefore obvious for Facebook to offer a crypto currency and thus support its core business as a social media platform, advertising group and news agency. In general, Facebook seems to have reached its zenith, the younger generation hardly uses Facebook, and user numbers are declining. Facebook urgently needed a new “story”.
However, Libra is not innovative at all. On the contrary, if you read through the technical descriptions, it quickly becomes clear: the centrally controlled Libra Coin is a step backwards compared to Bitcoin, Ethereum and other truly decentralised crypto currencies.
Libra has many enemies
And even before Libra is even in circulation, it is already making many enemies. As a so-called stable coin, Libra is tied to a basket of currencies. Thus price increases and price rises are excluded from the outset. Sounds good, but in practice it can mean that some currencies, especially in emerging and developing countries, can come under pressure because an alternative currency is available that reacts less flexibly.
In Europe, we have learned that the euro can have a negative impact on weaker economies because a state can no longer control its monetary policy, which has led to social unrest like in Greece, for example.
It must therefore be said that the match is not between Libra and Bitcoin, but between central banks, financial supervisors and other financial institutions in the world and the new Libra coin.
Libra has many enemies: central banks feel uncomfortable because a corporation suddenly prints its own money, which means crossing borders radically and losing power and control. This could deprive the state of its monopoly on money printing and monetary policy. Banks are also very critical of Libra because suddenly remittances are made past them.
The fact that Facebook continues to collect enormous amounts of data with Libra alarming. Providing Facebook with our financial date makes us even more transparent. Surveillance Capitalism is being taken to extremes here. Although the Group asserts that the transaction data will not be combined with other social media data, Mark Zuckerberg is under heavy fire in the USA and Europe for the misuse of data.
Currently the heated discussions about Libra are helping the other crypto currencies. In the short term, Bitcoin’s share price has risen sharply, and the lagging Altcoins may also correct upwards in the near future.
Another exciting question is: If a private company can suddenly print money, what happens if the company goes bankrupt? To what extent is the currency secured? Since the financial crisis of 2008, we have known that there is a “too big to fail”. Libra’s concept, however, envisages its use by the broad masses, which inevitably makes the crypto currency systemically relevant. But if the service is suddenly discontinued due to the bankruptcy of the companies involved, many people can lose everything they own.
So you have to put Libra in a strong position and that is only possible if regulators find clear rules for the new crypto money.
It is pleasing that crypto currencies are moved by the discussion around Libra again more into the limelight and humans argue with it increased.
One thing is also clear: there will be digital currencies in the future. It remains to be seen whether they will be put into circulation by states or by private corporations or – as in the case of Bitcoin – by a computer program that cannot be controlled centrally.
After months and months of speculation, Facebook has finally revealed the details of its would-be cryptocurrency challenger. However, what looks very revolutionary, is rather to be seen critical !
LibraMyth No 1: A blockchain allows Libra to function
Libra is enabled by what is called in Zuckerberg´s White paper as the “Libra Blockchain” which is described as a “Decentralised Programmable Database”. However, Libra blockchain is a lot but NOT a blockchain. Some of the very important characteristics are missing. Normal blockchains add blocks to the chain. Libra neither uses blocks nor uses a chain! According to their technical paper it will be a “single data structure that records the history of transactions and states over time”.
Facebook wants to define the expression blockchain, because they use technologies associated with blockchains such as Merkle Trees, hashes, and a consensus mechanisms and therefore it should be called blockchain. However, I am very against the fact that Facebook should get to decide what a blockchain is and what not. And furthermore: What Facebook tries to achieve definitely does not need a blockchain at all.
LibraMyth No 2: Libra is decentralised
In the Libra Whitepaper provided, it is stated that Libra is a decentralised system. However, unlike Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Libra won´t use the Proof of Work consensus mechanism that incentivises miners to keep the network going. Instead Facebook and the other 27 founding partners of the Libra association will run their own nodes that validate Libra transactions. The partners include Uber, PayPal and MasterCard. Each one has paid $10 million for the privilege. Facebook says that Libra will move to a more permissonless system in the future. But we don´ t provide any details on how and when that will happen.
LibraMyth No 3: Libra can reduce payment fees
Fees for transferring moneyare high due to several reasons like political ones or technical which are associated with the complicated process of moving money from one jurisdiction to another. Although it is true that fees for cross-border payments are way toohigh, we already have many companies which try to work on that issue like TransferWise or Revolut. However, as long as the majority of people use US-Dollar or Euro or other FIAT currencies they will have to exchange their money into Libra which will come at a cost, which means: There are transactions costs twice: in and out of Libra.
LibraMyth No 4: Libra protects users from data-based conflicts of interest
LibraMyth No 5: Facebook wants to help the Unbanked people
Seriously??? Facebook wants you to think that Libra is about helping the unbanked and the reason for introducing the Libra cryptocurrency introduction shall increase financial inclusion and to bring in the in the 1.7 billion adults around the world who remain outside the banking system. But it´s not clear how the unbanked will be able to buy Libra when these people have no bank account particularly if Libra wants to keep regulators happy by doing proper checks on its users to avoid money laundering. Libra is also unlikely to help people in countries with rapidly depreciating currencies as those countries tend to put in capital controls to prevent a run on their banks. Facebook has never shown interest in the unbanked before, and I am not sure why it´s suddenly so interested.
LibraMyth: No 6 Libra legitimises Bitcoin
Libra calls itself a “low volatility cryptocurrency”, but just as the Libra blockchain isn´t a real blockchain, Libra isn´t a real cryptocurrency either! That´s because it´s issued by a centralised entity, doesn´t run on a real blockchain and rather than being subject to the whims of the cryptomarkets it is pegged to a basked of fiat currencies. So it´s much more akin to something like the Gemini dollar, a stable coin issued by the Winklevoss twins exchange. And it is probably not a coincidence that the twins´ longtime rival Mark Zuckerberg chose another star sign for the name of the coin.
LibraMyth No 7: Libra will comply with all regulations
Libra says its Founding Members are “committed to working with authorities to shape a regulatory environment that encourages technological innovation while maintaining the highest standards of consumer protection”.
Libra says its Founding Members are committed to working with authorities to shape a regulatory environment
Really? Openly stating the intent “to shape a regulatory environment” rather than comply with the existing regulatory environment is a veiled assertion that Facebook is more powerful than the state, and that regulators should have to buckle to its will. While Facebook probably does have some sway over national bodies, to assume it can also sway international regulatory bodies like the BIS — which happen to have a bee in their bonnet about the use and abuse of customer floats by non-banks — is truly ambitious.
Overall the use of words blockchain and cryptocurrency is more about PR value than substance!
And ever thought about the fact that if we have a currency issued by companies: What if these companies are going bankrupt? Are they already TOO BIG TO FAIL? Another interesting aspect is who is NOT part of the consortium: Amazon, Google, Apple. And there is not a single bank! Will talk about that soon!
The blockchain landscape includes startups, accelerators and universities – as well as a large number of public institutions, initiatives, events and communities. We take this strong backing as a promising sign that the Austrian Blockchain landscape goes well beyond adopting new technology, but is also discussed in a wider societal context.
This updated version v2.1 of July 2019 includes 31 new organisations and projects with a total of 142. New companies & institutions are marked with “v2.1”
DiePresse Newspaper has been added to the blockchain as they provide regular detailed content on blockchain and cryptocurrency topics.
Some organisations and startups halted their activities and we removed them from the Blockchain Landscape. The really promising car sharing startup DriveDeal.io halted it´s activity. However, their whitepaper is still one of the best on token economics. Minebox has been sold to a New Zealand company. CBDoken.com has been removed as they halted their activities.
Key Findings of 2019, Outlook on 2020
We see several Security Token offerings being prepared behind the scenes which will be launched later in 2019 and 2020.
With Facebook introducing the Libra cryptocurrency we expect that blockchain technology will receive more attention by large companies especially from banking, insurance and related financial services industry
You’re welcome to reuse the infographic below as long as the content remains unmodified, in full and proper reference to the source is mentioned.
Would you like your company or institution to be included in future updates? Mail to robert(@)schwertner.com
Blockchain Companies & Startups
This section contains applications in the energy sector and companies developing closed blockchain systems with for a specific application like ticketing, security, e-commerce, taxation or invoicing.
This section contains applications startups which offer coins, and companies developing closed blockchain systems with for a specific application like ticketing, security, e-commerce, taxation or invoicing.
Austrian universities conduct blockchain both economical and technical research. At the end of 2017 Vienna’s University of Economics and Business launched the Institute of Cryptoeconomics, which will focus on new business models. In addition a number of private institutions offers education and trainings, covering blockchain basics up to investments, development and business case modelling.
A healthy blockchain eco-system not only requires developers, finance experts and researchers, but also mentoring and finance from seasoned entrepreneurs. Fortunately, there are accelerators and incubators across the country, often linked with co-working spaces and local organisations.
The Austrian Post has presented the world’s first blockchain stamp. With this release Austria´s largest mail delivery service links the analog and the digital era.
On June 11, 2019 the blockchain-based stamp has officially been presented to prominent guests in Vienna by the Head of Product Management at Austrian Post AG branches Stefan Nemeth.
It can as well be fully used for the carriage of a postal item, and also as a virtual collector’s item. The digital complement is securely stored on the Ethereum blockchain, which is an extraordinary type of decentralised and distributed data storage, and it falls in what is called digital purse known as a Wallet that is absolutely preserved by the real owner.
Brand Block Resembles a Bank Card
When you look at this brand block, it is in the form of a bank card. On the right side of the block, there is all crucial identifications concealed under scratch layers (scratched off in the pic already it shows a sample key). The Wallet holder has full access to the code and all other attached codes including the “Secret Word List,” thus possesses the digital stamp. When the crypto stamp is transferred from one particular wallet to another, then the transaction is effectively documented and accepted in the blockchain.
And the left-hand side is the real postage stamp which can be sent often by flouting the block apart at the encoded breaking point. Unicorn, a beast with one long horn protruding from its forehead, is pictured on the crypto stamp and is the heraldic ceremonial animal of the entire Ethereum community.
It is absolutely crazy and awesome at the same time. The Austrian Post Office released a crypto stamp 6 days ago and complete sets already sold for 999 USD each on ebay. In Austria there even were sales for over 1000 Euros just for the red stamp alone. The yellow and blue stamps also reached high prices. So what is this all about? Why is this physical collectible so highly sought after and what actually is a crypto stamp???
1. THE CRYPTO STAMP IN GENERAL
Well it is quite simple: the Austrian Post Office decided to give Cryptos some Kudos and brought the world a real-world-use-case. They simple created the VERY FIRST CRYPTO STAMP worldwide. The stamp is limited and just 150K are made. But there is more! The stamp exists in a physical-analog form AND in a digital form. In its physical form the stamps look all the same, but if we scan the QR code, we can see the actual color of the stamp. There are FIVE DIFFERENT COLORS and every color has a different limitation. Austrian Post has developed an affinity for cryptocurrencies and blockchain in recent years. After cooperation with cryptocurrency exchante Bitpanda (sale of cryptocurrencies in branches) and Coinfinity (Bitcoin machines), the post has now entered a third cooperation with a crypto firm. The world’s first cryptocurrency and blockchain postage stamp, developed together with blockchain experts of Capacity has just been introduced to the market.
The five different colours:
RED VERSION: limited to 1,500 pieces
YELLOW VERSION: limited to 10,000 pieces
BLUE VERSION: limited to 20,000 pieces
GREEN VERSION: limited to 40,000 pieces
BLACK VERSION: limited to 78,500 pieces
When purchased, the stamp set comes in two parts. As pictured in the first image, the left part, which shows a #unicorn associated with , functions as a standard stamp that can be used to send mail. The QR code shows the digital color and the limitation. The right section, on the other hand, contains a unique identifier and is concealed under scratch layers. The code is used to save the stamp on the Ethereum Blockchain, the digitised and unique stamp is then available in an Ether-Wallet and can be transferred to another one. The amount of ETH per stamp is around 0.001666666 ETH!
Almost sold out in 14 days!
When I checked the online shop, the stamps were almost SOLD OUT – and this after 14 days. What does this show us? CRYPTO has arrived in the heads of the people and a lot of collectors and crypto lovers want to have a PIECE OF CRYPTO HISTORY in their hands.
It is incredible! The crypto community and other stamp collectors really want a piece of this first limited stamp and it seems this is because of the fact that it is ONE OF A KIND. Never before an analog AND digital stamp was produced. On Ebay complete sets sold for 999 USD each. So far I could spot around 3-4 sales.
Crazy prices on ebay:
On ebay the new crypto stamp went viral. Several offers for a red stamp are above 1000,- EUR. There is even one for 9,989 EUR:
Also yellow and blue stamps have high prices and I thought, I have to dig deeper. At ebay Germany and Austria a lot of offers can be found.
It´s quite interesting how two world´s are combined with the crypto stamp. The classic conservative philately world of old fashioned stamp collectors with the new world of crypto enthusiasts and blockchain geeks. At least it is for sure, that this stamp is just amazing and I really like the idea. The fact, that a part of the stamps will be used is also cool, because many people will throw them away because they have no clue what it is. So the stamps will be even more limited and the best is: the cryptos on it are LOST, if nobody uses the keys.