Expanse Helping in South America

This week I (Omar) had the opportunity to travel to a re-located area of the armed conflict in Guatemala, my job was to be a translator for the US doctors who provide services in the community.

From the city, it was a 10-hour bus trip followed by crossing the lake to stay at the shore of Lake Izabal then be ready for a week of challenges.

Currently this region in the country is in a State of Siege which means that there are no guarantees for those who visit, there can be no groups of more than 5 people and there is a danger of being captured without excuse by the police.

Despite this, I decided to serve my community with the support of Expanse, approximately 550 people were served in 5 different villages.

Every day for five days we travel to remote communities and give medical assistance. Children and women are mainly cared for; husbands are working all day.

The team consisted of five translators, five doctors, an emergency doctor, and a pharmacy with medicines for preventive care. Dr. Alan Barber, the forerunner of this organization, took charge of visits to homes of people who could not come to us due to the state of their health.

We went through five different communities, sometimes by water, sometimes by pickup and sometimes by walking great distances. In numbers:

  • We were a team of 12 people, each donating their time, doctors who came from the United States, local interpreters (Kekchi – Spanish, Spanish – English) and others helping.
  • All travel and transportation expenses are paid by True North Missions.
  • I traveled 680 km by bus and walked a total of 44 km in a week. 
  • We attended to approximately 500 children and adults in 5 days, from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm.
  • The clinic and pharmacy were set up at the community school.
  • The main problems were skin (mange and fungus), dehydration, dental problems and parasites.
  • There are no dental or extremely serious services, so these patients are referred to the health center. They usually do not go.
  • Each person was given a dewormer, toothbrush and vitamins for 30 days to the children; besides the treatment of the problem they had.
  • This mission is carried out two or three times a year in the most remote communities. All others have access to the health center.

It was an amazing trip, healing the soul of a lot of people but mostly mine. Thanks Expanse for your support. 

Omar Alvarez
Creative Director

Expex Update

The EXPEX development team, led by Asim Ashfaq, has achieved a lot for the EXPEX project. The team has been heavily immersed in the process and is now moving deeper into development.

They already finished the Creation of the EXPEX Smart Contract which will be holding ERC-20 Token pairs, order book and allow for trade and all The UI updates on Luna Wallet as well as adding EXPEX exchange UI within Luna Wallet. 

Currently the team is working on making the EXPEX UI dynamic by adding some additional tweaks on the front end side of the code and setting up things for interaction with contract (Also considering setting up a local db for Luna wallet to store orders and transaction data). 

In the next few days they will be deploying the WEXP and EXPEX smart contract on expanse network for QA within this week.  Also in the following weeks the milestone is to achieve Phase 1 development features which include basic pair listing, order listings and trade.

A message from our founder

As you are all aware, we have been going through some changes as a team lately. One of the changes we have decided on was going to a monthly newsletter rather than a bi-weekly one. This allows us to focus more on development and less on scrambling to cram news in for the newsletter. This will lead to higher productivity as well as better newsletters overtime.

This is the first newsletter of the new series so I hope you guys enjoy. Aside from the newsletter changes we have also been restructuring our team internally. This has led to the implementation of new communication policies that will help us meet deadlines and communicate more openly. As you guys know we reduced the size of our team to cut cost but to take up part of the slack we invited some old time community members to join the conversation.

We are doing this with hopes to inspire more creativity and innovation from our team, and so far it appears to be working! We have some fresh ideas in the works that I’m sure y’all will really love. We look forward to this new direction that we are going in and can’t wait to share our progress as we grow together. 

But you have to remember, we can’t do it alone, and we need your help to grow. Stay vigilant, stay inspired, keep building the world you want to live in.

Christopher Franko

How is the Blockchain being used beyond Finance and Industry?

Jitendra Rathod, newsletter contributing editor, provides insights into how blockchain is being used for social good and making the world a better place. 

You’re going to start seeing open-source, self-executing contracts gradually improve over time. What the Internet did to publishing, blockchain will do to about 160 different industries. It’s crazy. 

-Patrick M. Byrne

Ever wondered why transacting with peers in other countries is a tiresome process of running to and from the bank with heap loads of paperwork? The culprit you are looking for is centralization, the bane of progress in the 21st century. Centralization causes business processes and organizational development to move at a sluggish pace because it has to go through tedious amounts of monitoring and censoring of information. 

However, modern society is ever-changing and to keep pace business models are remodeled and new opportunities emerge within the digital reality. Breakthroughs are created each day and transport us nearer to a brand new era driven by a digital economy. The new-age solution to unnecessary delay and censorship of information is the blockchain, one among the foremost necessary breakthroughs over the past decade.

Invented by an ambiguous person/group of people in 2008 going by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto as a public ledger for the famous cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, the blockchain revolutionized the way we deal with information today. In the process, it has also transformed several industries by bringing in a wave of transparency and efficiency, thereby delineating the possibility of an accountable world that was fast slipping into the abyss of fraud, corruption and all kinds of malice. 

Blockchain is a transparent, open system for communication between two parties which also provides security as the distribution of blocks and chaining of data, thereby making it less vulnerable to hacking. Having numerous applications everywhere, it has altered the course of humanity for good bringing about socially relevant changes that target outdated systems to transform the lives of people today. Let us look at some of the use cases where blockchain has proved itself to be the new-age messiah.

1. The UNICEF Projects for Tech Smart Healthcare

The organization whose sole focus is child protection and improvement in the standard of living for children has been the quickest to welcome this fairly new technology. It has invested in six different organizations which primarily deal with the fair application of the technology to make medical facilities affordable and feasible.

StaTwig, an Indian organization, which is one of the startups that UNICEF has invested in, helps reduce and eliminate shortcomings in the supply chain for vaccines and food. Their efforts will help save more people at a time because of the transparency it will bring to the supply systems. The other 5 projects that UNICEF has invested in are Onesmart, W3 Engineers, Atix Labs, Utopixar, and Prescrypto.

2. The Brooklyn Microgrid: Saving the ‘Energy’ of the Environment

A small, industrial neighborhood in Brooklyn, Gowanus, is using blockchain to safeguard the environment and the neighborhood itself. 60 odd participants have installed solar panels to save and trade energy amongst themselves and the blockchain acts as a robust ledger and helps maintain a microgrid which is free from any interference.

3. An Agriculture Cooperative for ‘Natural’ Farm Produce

Featured in Forbes, the Grass Roots Farmers’ Cooperative serves as a prime example to make the lives of those who produce our food worth the effort. The GRFC has a mission – to soothe your body by providing it with natural farm yield. Be it dairy or poultry, it is their mission to raise the standards of the industry to an extent where competition doesn’t result in substandard food, poultry or dairy. On the contrary, they ensure that the produce maintains its optimum natural state. They also ensure that the farmer gets a fair price in exchange for the product and hence the circle completes.

4. Safeguarding Gender Equality

The 21st century has seen mass support for the rights of all humans with disregard to the gender role they assume. However, to this day, the gender roles which aren’t considered normal are subject to constant abuse, assault, and harassment. At Callisto, an American tech firm, people believe that debunking the evils that plague the minds of orthodox populations would help in achieving a wholesome community and would facilitate the growth of sentiments and the sense of respect towards everyone and everything. Callisto launched a blockchain-based reporting platform for universities, Callisto Campus, which would be time-stamped, detailed and transparent to help the people who are currently experiencing any such abuse to alert the concerned legal authorities.

5. Protecting Our Borders, the Blockchain Way

The blockchain has numerous applications virtually everywhere. One of them is, preserving our ancestral heritage, with the capabilities of the technology. Using this to its best capacity is Factom, the organization that received funding from the United States Department of Homeland Security to work towards applying blockchain to border patrol cameras. The organization is also active in collecting and archiving accurate historical data by encoding them into a blockchain which makes the storage of historical artifacts an easy job.

Parting Words

The use cases are proof enough of the potency of this burgeoning technology, and even though governments worldwide are finding it hard to accept it, examples like these speak volumes in favor of the tech. From combating harassment and facilitating sustainable development to guarding our borders from foreign attacks, is there any other technology powerful enough to do that than blockchain- the modern solution of modern problems? 

The blockchain-based initiatives taken are commendable in setting an example for the rest of the world and delineating a very simple fact- the power of the technology, whether evil or noble, depends on the hands that wield it.

Out-of-the-Box Blockchain Use Cases

Jitendra Rathod, newsletter contributing editor, provides insights into how blockchain technology is changing the world. 

The nineteenth-century saw the discovery of electricity and soon enough it was put to use in practically all fields of life: from light bulbs to electrocution. Who would have guessed the upcoming events a century ago? 

The decade before us saw the growth of blockchain: another technology carrying the potential to change the world. And as it is with all the great inventions, blockchain offers qualities that can be put to use in several ways.

We have so far witnessed blockchain supporting the future form of finance: cryptocurrencies, which is very impressive. However, there is always room for more: here are 10 unusual blockchain use cases which would prove the worth of our beloved technology ten times over. 

1. The Infallible Watchman

There was a time when people used to hide their gold coins for fear they would be stolen: very long ago. Today, the threat is not the loss of treasures, rather, something more dreadful: identity theft. 

 Identity theft can be defined as the ‘deliberate use of someone else’s identity, usually as a method to gain a financial advantage or obtain credit and other benefits in the other person’s name, and perhaps to the other person’s disadvantage or loss’. According to a report by the U.S. Department of Justice, in 2014, around 17.6 million identities were stolen in America: these are not the statistics which could be overlooked. 

 Coming to blockchain, we know that it is a decentralized technology and it is next to impossible to hack into it. Due to this property, blockchain can secure digital IDs and also eliminate the nuisance of multiple passwords and bulky paperwork. Thus, it plays the role of an infallible watchman, protecting all of one’s private data.

Watch for Expanse’s own answer to identity management on the blockchain in the form of our Universal Know Your Customer ULYC) application currently in development.

 2. Revolutionizing the Gaming Industry

Apart from casinos, which have already stepped into creating digital wallets and even currencies for their customers, blockchain can be used generally in the gaming industry. 

 Many games have emerged which have been created by using the blockchain technology to produce digital and analog gaming experiences. A few examples of such gaming include BitPainting, CryptoKitties, and Chimaera. 

 3. Tool for Humanitarian Efforts

Yes, blockchain can be used for humanitarian purposes as well. One of the best examples of this use case is the World Food Programme’s (WFP) Building Blocks. The project was established in the year 2016; its major aim being using decentralized digital ledger technology for making cash transfers.

By January 2018, the program assisted more than 100,000 Syrians who had taken refuge in Pakistan and Jordan. It further aims at providing assistance to all the 500,000 WFP-supported refugees living in Jordan. 

 4. Solar Power Pool

In a recent use case, Siemens has partnered with a startup by the name of LO3 Energy using an application called Brooklyn Microgrid. The collaboration’s service is aimed at enabling the citizens of Brooklyn who own solar panels to transfer energy to others who need it. The entire transaction completely lies in the hands of consumers and the people who own the solar panels. 

 5. Selling and Buying Cannabis

Cannabis is an intoxicant. However, its health benefits have been known to people for years. For this very reason, cannabis trade is gaining acceleration in many parts of the world. 

There are two main benefits that blockchain could bring to the cannabis trade: transparency and anonymity. In the United States, cannabis trade recorded $9 billion in sales in the year 2017 with an estimated growth of $21 billion by 2021. These are ridiculously huge amounts and a cashless solution like blockchain can provide security to the business owners. Transactions can be tracked with greater ease and more transparency and accountability: something which traditional banking does not offer. 

6. Healthcare

Blockchain has a promising use case to offer the healthcare sector as well. There are several examples to prove this right, the first being that of Gem, a startup working with the Centre for Disease Control to store the data of a disease outbreak on the blockchain which could lead to effective measures for relief and response. 

 More examples include MedRec and SimplyVital Health. The first is a project taken up by MIT which deals with blockchain electronic medical records. The second keeps an eye on the progress of a patient after he/she is discharged and also provides decentralized health records of patients.

 7. Elections

Elections in nations face many problems in the present times. The biggest of these problems is that of voter frauds and dead voting. Also, it is necessary for a voter to be present physically during voting. This could lead to a decrease in the overall voter turnout because in many cases the voters might not be able to make an appearance physically. 

 Online voting has been avoided until now owing to security reasons. Blockchain, with security next to impossible to break, provides just the right way. Since hacking it is not possible, the votes can be registered on the blockchain. Moreover, it would also eliminate the problem of voter fraud by providing transparent records of the voters, which again could not be tampered with. 

Expanse’s VoteLock is an example of assisting the democratic ideology. 

 8. Deeds and Title Records

Title records are mostly maintained as paperwork. There are two problems this creates: first of all, having such massive records on paper is quite cumbersome. Secondly, the records thus maintained are vulnerable to fraudulent activities and can be tampered with. 

 The blockchain technology, decentralized, transparent and 100% secure could provide a valuable aid to the process of notarization. 

 Ubiquity is an enterprise which aids title companies, notaries and resellers.

 9. Music

With the help of blockchain, music artists can remove middlemen and can directly sell their music to their fans. Both Bitcoin and Ethereum support micropayments which can lay the base for a novel artist and fan relationship. 

 Several platforms are already working to reap the benefits of blockchain technology in the world of music. Examples include the Ethereum-based platform Choon and UJO. 

 10. Marriage

The last use case mentioned here is the most surprising and the most interesting of all. 

To combat the social bias for same-sex marriages, Swedish company Björn Borg has created Marriage Unblocked, a platform where couples can propose and marry on the blockchain irrespective of their sexual orientation. The records are anonymous and if one wants, one can obtain a certificate for the marriage too! The first traditional marriage recorded on the blockchain took place in Orlando, Florida Sunday, August 5, 2014 during a Bitcoin conference at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. 

 Parting Thoughts

This list is non-exhaustive. However, the few use cases which have been mentioned here all point out to the potential of changing the world for the better, a feature the blockchain technology carries in itself.

BSports Update

In the last newsletter, we announced that  Expanse signed a partnership deal with Sports Agents 502, with the intent to migrate certain aspects of their business to the Expanse blockchain. Starting with Guatemala, then expanding to all of South America, the project is called BSports and will eventually be a global initiative.

In recent weeks, we have been working on the definition phase of  the project. We have defined three main stages. 

Stage 1 – Registration

The first stage involves the registration of players on the Expanse blockchain. Data structures will be created to register countries, federations, disciplines, players and events. This part uses a general form for an athlete profile, but then allows customization for each sports discipline.

It will also allow for the registration of historical competencies. The most important thing here is to ensure that these records are endorsed by the associated federations. The design must also allow for validation by other partners within the  same discipline, with the idea that they could evaluate other athletes or lend veracity to their participation and results. Unique, permanent and unalterable records must be established.

One of the most important decisions for the platform is that it is not a social network, but a record of actions and results in sport, We will leave the social part for large networks; however, we will maintain links so that users can follow and socially support each athlete.

We plan for the records to be public and accessible by anyone. This goal of transparency is because we are sure that there are great athletes who do not get recognition due to not having a direct means of communication. BSports can be the means for this — both safe and unique.

Create a Unified Athlete Code

Each player will have a unique number that identifies him, and this should be an easy code to understand at a glance. Here is the formula:

ISO country code + Federation or sport code + Unique Correlative

This is our first definition, but we must validate it with the federations. If we keep it as simple as possible, this gives the virtue that a person can have different athlete codes if they participate in more than one sport discipline.

One of the most impactful decisions is to establish whether a single token is created per athlete or per sport.  If per athlete, this token would serve to support the athlete directly. By utilizing EXPEX, trading and exchanging tokens would be easily manageable, and could even serve to activate the sports economy. The proposal could also be to create a unique token for the platform.

Going forward, our plan is to have meetings with Luis Arboleda, project founder,  the first week of September to plan the steps to follow, validate the model and choose the first three federations willing to work with us.

For the next newsletter, we will have a lot of good news to tell you.

It is time to make decisions regarding the project and lay the foundations for these types of projects that will change the world of sports in South America.

How the Beauty Industry is Making the World Beautiful with Blockchain

Jitendra Rathod, newsletter contributing editor, provides insights into how blockchain technology is transforming the beauty industry. 

“Makeup is not a mask that covers up your beauty; it’s a weapon that helps you express who you are from the inside.”
Michelle Phan

From the dawn of time, vanity and its never-ending need have gone hand in hand. From the age of Cleopatra to the Victorian era, beauty secrets have a way of passing down from one generation to the next. Fast forward a few decades, this sprawling industry is now valued at over $532 billion.

The last 10 years witnessed an exponential spurt in the beauty domain. YouTube, with its ever-expanding user-base, has aided tremendously in this rapid spurt. The year 2018 recorded about 169 billion views on beauty related content. “Beauty Gurus” have now become self-made millionaires, thanks to wide consumerism.

Needless to say, modern advancements in technology have dominated and engineered various sectors of our society with the beauty industry proving to be its new playground. 

Innovation and Retail

The beauty scene today has changed dramatically. With the advent of technology, mankind has brought the art of vanity literally to your fingertips. From customized skincare to personalized beauty solutions from the experts, everything is within your reach.

The growth of direct-to-consumer beauty brands that manufacture and send their products directly to buyers and consumers without the hassle of middlemen has revolutionized the market. Direct-to-consumer companies sell their products at relatively lower prices than your traditional brands allowing for greater transparency in marketing, management, and distribution of the products. These brands cater specifically to the needs and want of the customer.

Consumers today don’t have the patience for traditionalistic “one size fits all” requiem. The reality is different now. What works for one will not work for the other. New age beauty brands like Glossier, Milk Makeup, The Ordinary, and Mario Badescu have hit the spot/ nail with their modern marketing approach. For instance, Mario Badescu, in just 6 months, outranked age-old brands like Clean and Clear and Clinique to grab the number 2 spot for teen girls’ favorite skincare brand as reported in Piper Jaffrey’s semiannual “Taking Stock With Teens” survey. 

Glossier, launched by Emily Weiss, has taken a more personalized stance in the market. The brand, through its campaigns, has specifically focused on the au naturel stance, celebrating the customer’s natural beauty. It is all about bringing the best in you forward. Glossier lets your beauty do the talking as it should be. 

How Blockchain is Helping Transform the Beauty Industry 

Blockchain technology has cemented itself in every sector of our growing society. From healthcare, education, finance to even governance, the rise of blockchain doesn’t seem to stop. In the beauty sector, blockchain technology has been incorporated by various beauty brands. Let’s see a couple of industry examples.

Jolyy: Online booking beauty platform, Jolyy came into the market in 2016 with its efficient booking strategies for websites across Europe. The first version of the booking platform was well received by consumers leading the company to now focus on upgrading the platform using blockchain technology.

With the aid of blockchain, Jolyy plans on increasing user efficiency to initiate faster payments and cutting down on commission costs. The upgraded platform would be based on the Origin Protocol, using the Ethereum blockchain network. The decentralized platform would enable users to book various beauty appointments at the click of a button, and finding the lowest prices for beauty treatments, opening days and hours.

Consumers and clients would now be able to interact directly with enterprises and businesses without the inconvenience of a middleman. Jolyy has also come up with the company’s native token, JOY, for its users to process cashless payments and to check-in rewards. 

COSMEE: Cosmee, a blockchain-based beauty platform launched by Cosmochain, provides the perfect amalgamation of modern technology and age-old tried and tested methods. Cosmee believes in rewarding both the user and the companies on its platform.

Members of Cosmee would typically be rewarded for creating beauty content using products of the companies mentioned. Users are rewarded in Cosmo Coin (COSM), the site’s native token, according to the level of their interaction within the community. Users can pitch in their ideas, write blogs, create videos or just “like” and “comment” on various posts.

Cosmee is currently the first company to incorporate a “token reward” system for users and enterprises alike. The more active one is in the Cosmee world, the more reward one gets. The company with this initiative plans to get rid of the “influencer only” ideology adopted by social media platforms like YouTube and Instagram.

The Cosmee team is currently in its initial stages of platform development and is solely focused on preparing a solid user base and maximizing customer satisfaction by providing for transparency between the consumer and the buyer.

Blockchain Proving to be a Hand of Gold for the Beauty Sector?

Digitization has truly transformed the game for enterprises, both large and small. Companies are constantly on the lookout for more efficient techniques to expand their resources and provide the best online user experience. Brands not only make use of websites but have also incorporated various innovatory methods like chatbots and virtual reality sections where the users can get a free trial run while sitting in the comfort of their homes.

The adoption of blockchain technology would enable companies in the future to entertain consumers’ honest reviews regarding various products. Making use of this data, companies would be able to hone their marketing and digitization strategies in a coherent and well-structured way. The focus could then be driven to increase profit and revenue while subsequently decreasing marketing and product development costs. Blockchain technology isn’t limited only to its marketing tactics, the technology provides for increased digital connectivity between users and medical professionals alike.

The beauty industry is estimated to grow up to $750 billion by the year 2024. According to EDITED’s retail data platform, UK’s H&M increased their beauty section by 94.8%. Beauty newsletters and mentions in emails also saw a dramatic rise by about 58% in the US from 2017-18 and up to 24% in the UK. From advancements in skincare to technological influences, blockchain is proving itself to be the gateway of the future.

Developer Update

Our development team, managed by Asim, has been off this past week celebrating Eid al Adha. This is a Muslim holiday celebrated around the world that lasts for several days.  Asim and team will be back hard at work on Monday. Asim purchased this bull for the celebration.