Weekly Roundup: ICOs Go Wild, Break Barriers Between Blockchains
If you were to pull up Wikipedia’s list of highest-funded crowdfunding projects, you would notice that 8 out of the 18 to raise more than $10 million are related to blockchain technology. Initial Coin Offerings – or ICOs – are public, crowd-sourced funding ventures for startup groups that hope to employ blockchain technology in a new way. Although the idea of crowd-sourced coin launches is nothing new, it certainly is picking up steam in terms of attracting investor money. Ethereum blew everybody’s minds by raising $18 million in 42 days, but that was over two years ago. Nowadays that kind of money is being raised in literally minutes.
New Coins Smash Old Records
Frequently unregulated and off the radar of most investors, ICOs give the “little guy” a chance to invest in “the next bitcoin,” of which there have been hundreds, if not thousands, of attempts since bitcoin’s conception in 2009. Picking a winner was never easy, but digital currency investors seem more confident than ever in the recent run of cryptocurrency. Here is a rundown of some major ICO projects making the news these days and what you should know about them:
11/16: Golem – raised $8.6 million in 29 minutes. One of the first tokens to be released on Ethereum, Golem is referred to as the “Airbnb of computing” because it allows users to rent out or lease computing power to other users. The second blockchain platform – in a string of several – to be released on Ethereum, while beating Ethereum’s own crowdfunding speed record (the first being The DAO.)
3/17: Qtum – raised $15.6 million in 117 hours, $10 million of which was in the first 90 minutes. Hopes to create a blockchain platform specifically for the automation of business functions while also remaining compatible with existing blockchain systems. Has the backing of some major names in cryptocurrency.
4/17: Gnosis – raised $12.5 million in ten minutes. Decentralized platform that runs on top of the Ethereum network, allows users to create “prediction markets” for any event, where participants are rewarded financially for participation. Specifically, participants are rewarded if their guess of the outcome of an event is the right one, in a data collection process being called “crowdsourced wisdom.”
5/17: Aragon – raised $25 million in ten minutes. A digitally autonomous organization (DAO) that offers a more efficient way for businesses to carry out transactions on the Ethereum network by providing “digital jurisdiction” for companies, organizations and investors that is easy to operate. Operates under the stated principle that “some of the world’s worst problems” can be solved by decentralized organizations.
Companies That Create Companies
The idea of a company that runs itself used to sound impossible at first, and terrifying, second. Visions like SkyNet from the Terminator series or renegade nanobots that reproduce themselves by devouring the earth in an ever-growing swarm may come to mind. What happened instead over the last decade is humankind slowly automated the function of manual work processes through improved computing and network technology. Acting as a currency is only one of the many tasks to which blockchain technology can be applied. Decentralization, or the sharing of power among the crowd, is made possible in new ways through this expanding digital technology, and this is causing a storm of investor activity in 2017. Here are a few more up-and-coming blockchain-based projects to keep your eye on as we approach the middle of the year:
OpenLedger: A decentralized currency exchange (DEX) built using the Bitshares blockchain protocol that allows for the conversion of any coin or asset into any other coin or asset. In one of the more meta moments of cryptocurrency, OpenLedger announced an ICO for themselves last year, calling the project Initial Coin Offering OpenLedger, or ICOO. What ICOO hopes to accomplish is to organize and unify all future ICOs in a manner which makes it easy for investors around the globe to access. The idea is that instead of having to scour the internet for new coin investments and offerings, investors will have information presented to them in a timely manner so they can line up their investments before the launches happen. In this way, OpenLedger aims to take ICOs to the mainstream, making these types of investments available to those who previously may not have had access to them. ICOO has been selling tokens to fundraise their project through OpenLedger, in a move not entirely surprising.
eDev.one: Also using OpenLedger as a launch platform is eDev.one. Although they do not have a formal website yet, the project hopes to automate and streamline online payment processes, primarily targeting America’s growing freelance worker base. Described as a “decentralized worker payment job platform,” eDev.one will attempt to automate worker payments through a series of smart contracts designed to enforce previously agreed-upon terms, providing strong protection to both employer and employee.
Internet of Coins: In perhaps the most ambitious DAO project to date, the Internet of Coins (IOC) launched its crowdsale in March of this year. Partnering with OpenLedger as well, IOC describes itself as a “hybrid asset,” acting as an inter-systemic, cross-blockchain token that allows for the rapid conversion of value from one digital form to another. IOC will be open-sourced and not-for-profit, enabling blockchains from different coins with the capacity to “talk to each other,” or be exchanged back and forth without the need for a middleman. In this new era of trustless, peer-to-peer software communication, it only makes sense that the act of coin exchanging should be made decentralized as well.
A lot of these platform-atop-platform organizations seeking to enhance the power of the individual will have a chance to demonstrate their ideas to an audience next week when a conference focusing on the power of ICOs is set to take place in Seoul, South Korea. Among the experts invited to speak is Ronny Boesing, CEO of OpenLedger.