I'm helping to hold the first ICO pitch-off in New York at Knotel on April 23 at 7pm. I invite all ICO and crypto startups to apply here and I'll pick eight to pitch. We'll hold a panel on ICO launches as well with a few well-known folks in the space. BYOB and snacks, please, as this is an unfunded community event. This is being held in conjunction with TokenReporter and Strike.
Mon, Apr 23, 2018 at 7:00 PM
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A quick thought
Stanford, Georgetown, and Wharton are all now offering crypto classes. Duke has, too. UC Berkeley, Uni of Oxford, Harvard, as well. Of course, universities are a business, and to some extent, they have to provide what people are willing to pay for. If you were a blockchain or cryptocurrency skeptic, you might ask, “how can these respected institutions teach such a thing?” Well, here’s the syllabi from Wharton. Unsurprisingly, it uses some of the same questions we’ve asked here:
Problem your venture is solving
Solution you are building
Technology & Product
Business model (how do you plan on making money)
Role of regulation
Keep these things in mind as we talk about these new ventures. Is the business model defensible? Is the venture 10x better than what it replaces? Is the team behind it the right team?
Two token sales to watch 👁️
Cool Cousin, a company based in Tel-Aviv, is setting out to help you discover incredible places through local guides. They intend to offer travelers diverse and affordable premium services, while creating a new source of income for locals around the world. Basically, they’re setting out to replace TripAdvisor with something much, much better. They have an app on the App Store, and they’ve raised a 2M USD seed round back in July 2017. They CUZ coin sets up a way to pay and be paid for services within Cool Cousin. All users will get an allotment of CUZ to get started. Read the whitepaper for more information.
Tides is a company planning to put health insurance on a blockchain, and use smart contracts and pools to handle claims, rather than the traditional method as done in the US. Pools have different policies. You join the pool with the policy that best suits your needs. Vote to determine policy changes. Any premium surpluses are distributed among the pool. The space is certainly in need of disruption. Is it possible to pull off a 10x improvement in the face of 50 state regulators? I’m not positive, but I do know that people like attorneys, cable co. customer service reps, and their mobile phone carriers better than they like health insurance policies, and no one likes their cable co. customer service rep. The whitepaper will be available via Tides’ mailing list.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly 😊😠👹
😊GOOD: With March 28, Crypto-related activities are now legal in Belarus. Through the presidential decree “On the Development of the Digital Economy” the country aims to become a global IT hub and thus improve its image with western businessmen. Exchange services, initial coin offerings, mining operations, and smart contracts are now all legalized.
Additionally, the decree throws into the equation certain tax benefits and treats for crypto businesses, such as the mining tax exemption, or individuals’ crypto mining/trading income tax exemption. President Lukashenko intends to accelerate progress in Belarus and boost country’s IT sector.
With an aim to “send money directly to people living in extreme poverty,” GiveDirectly is a charity that gives grants to aid the impoverished. It’s backed by a number of tech giants such as Google, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, and Facebook co-founders Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes.
GiveDirectly introduced crypto-charity, allowing donations to be made to its own crypto wallet. On March 28, the site has released information that OmiseGo and Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin donated the equivalent of $1 million USD in OMG tokens directly to refugees in Uganda. Battling negative publicity, crypto-community is now helping the world’s poorest.
😠BAD: On April 5, a new class action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of investors in Nano. The lawsuit postulates that Nano’s core team “engaged in an unregistered offering and sale of securities that violated federal securities laws, including Sections 5, 12(a), and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933, and wrongly ushered investors to BitGrail,” from which around 17 mln Nano ($187 mln at the time) were stolen in mid-February 2018.
Since 2013, the cybercrime gang have attacked banks, e-payment systems and financial institutions with malware, known as Carbanak and Cobalt. The viruses allowed the gang to control computers remotely.
“This global operation is a significant success for international police cooperation against a top level cybercriminal organization,” comments Steven Wilson, Head of Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3). “The arrest of the key figure in this crime group illustrates that cybercriminals can no longer hide behind perceived international anonymity.”
National Futures Association (NFA) issued a notice to remind commodity pool operators (CPO) and commodity trading advisors (CTA) involved in crypto-transactions, and introducing brokers (IB) that deal in crypto to register that activity. This is to ensure that investors are protected and that members adhere to the relevant regulatory mandates.
Blockchain community united to fight back. In an answer to the crypto-related advertising ban introduced by Twitter, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, and Yandex, the cryptocurrency and blockchain associations in Russia, China, and South Korea known as Eurasian Association of Blockbearers are suing the sites, calling the imposed prohibition a “collusion.”
This week Swiss InnMind fintech company, the Armenian Blockchain Association, and the Kazakhstan Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Association joined the cause. The joint lawsuit is set to be filed in May 2018 in New York.
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