Technology Expert Fills a Client Void – A Tokenlab Story

One of our esteemed community members and Expanse Army officer @AndrewKoski, started in technology at an early age and grew his expertise throughout middle and high school. Over time, he found he was able to monetize certain technology trends that were scalable / repeatable. Since then, he has focused on three distinct markets: cryptocurrency, rapid prototyping and project management.

By any measure, Andrew is an early adopter in regard to blockchain technology in general and cryptocurrency in particular. Back in 2011, a friend of his, Adam Fathelbab (owner of Southlake Computers), told him about his Bitcoin investment ($20 a coin). After doing his own research, he took on Litecoin, which was 50 cents at the time. It has truly been a roller coaster ride that continues for him today―even through the close of Mt. Gox and BTC-e. He continues his involvement in the blockchain community by managing projects, consulting with various businesses and participating in blockchain roundtables and discussions.

@AndrewKoski

Andrew has followed Expanse for a while and is optimistic about the impact Tokenlab will have for his clients’ businesses. The ease with which he can now mint tokens for their projects promises to shorten the path to achieving their business aspirations. Plus, once he introduces clients to the Admin Panel, they have the ability to manage and share their tokens independently and to take advantage of the utility token dApps accessible through the Module Marketplace.

“TokenLab is a great resource, especially since it makes writing tokens to the blockchain so easy,” said Andrew. “There is nothing else like it out there.”



Tokenlab

Tokenlab 2.0 is about to be handed off to beta-testers. This version brings many updates and new features, including:

  • Additional templates/protocols
  • New deployment methods
  • Ability to use a coupon code for payment
  • New token management tools through the Admin Panel

Beta-testing begins this weekend, with deployment of 2.0 happening in time for the next newsletter, 3/1.

UKYC

We could not be more proud of the progress made on the alpha version of Universal Know Your Customer (UKYC). Christopher Franko wrote the specifications, followed by wireframe design by Omar Alvarez and coding by @Bitjohn. It’s exciting to watch this BIG Idea come to life.

UKYC is trustless identity middleware. Customers can enter their identity information one time and receive verification badges that are transportable to other systems. This eliminates the hassle of inputting KYC information on multiple platforms and decreases identity fraud possibilities in that information is entered in only one place, with the information encrypted and verified by only one entity. Customers receive badges based on the verification results. Companies can then create gateways they can use to filter traffic based on badge identity criteria.

Exchange Listing Update

Expanse (EXP) and Tokenlab (LAB) are both now trading on Graviex Exchange, Graviex.net. At press time, Beaxy Exchange has communicated that Expanse will be announced as a round-three listing next week. EXP will be available for trading when the exchange first launches later this month.



The  Slips team spent the last week working on a project plan to outline what they want to do over the next two months. As mentioned in the last update, they managed to raise a seed round a few weeks ago (in addition to the pre-seed funding they received from Expanse through the EXP Grants program). So now with added funds, the team wants to create a plan for how they will spend the money. They intend to build the shop, add voice chat and some other cool features, but they are now looking on an April timeline, during which time they are also hoping to raise their Series A round of financing.

Kyle recently moved to San Francisco and has been speaking with investors and other potential stakeholders about Slips. Husain is currently sorting his arrangements for the move and will be joining Kyle next week. The reaction they have received so far has been amazing, and it seems that there’s a lot of appetite in Silicon Valley for a product like Slips.

The team has also finalized deals with a number of parties, e.g., the developers they were working with last year are on board again, (which was a big deal for continuity’s sake!), and they’ve also got some marketing lined up so people will start to use Slips in the next few weeks.

Slips also plans to introduce Tokenlab to the community they are working with to promote Slips, so this is definitely good news for LAB stakeholders. The team is busy with lots of behind-the-scenes work, which is extremely complicated (legal, shop compliance, etc.). This is primarily what is holding up the official release of Slips.

The Slips team has still not sorted all the bugs out, but it’s getting closer. They need more volunteers to do test sessions on Slips and report issues. The more times they can test Slips, the quicker they would be able to spot and fix problems, which is hampering their launch. They request interested individuals to help them in testing Slips. Please contact them on the Slips channel on Discord.

The entire Expanse community has been asking about when Slips will be released. The team knows the excitement that is surrounding their progress and launch, but they have had a slow start to the year. Trying to raise funding was a complicated process and they also had to factor in big moves (new state for Kyle, new continent for Husain), which slowed them down further. But, the team is finally building up momentum, and lots of interesting things will start to fall into place.

We need to appreciate that while many people in blockchain fall into the anarchist camp, unfortunately, a gambling-related platform like Slips cannot be non-compliant to existing regulations. And getting all the legal and regulatory boxes ticked is lot of work, that is both time- and resource-intensive.

One major issue the team is concerned about is the fact that although the Slips user experience is quite nice, it also means they might be seen as a money transmitter since they directly handle user funds by having access to the private keys. So they will need to do a lot of re-working their existing code for the sake of appeasing the country where most of their userbase will reside. If you are interested, this document is fascinating reading about Virtual Currencies and Online Gambling in the US:

https://cloudfront.escholarship.org/dist/prd/content/qt4m93289m/qt4m93289m.pdf

So on the whole, the team is doing a lot of uninteresting work at the backstage to lay the foundations for a successful fund-raise and release in the next few months. Stay tuned, and thanks for the support.



“Let’s Give Tools to Families of the Deaf”

We are very excited to tell you that Gameboard.Tech in Guatemala continues to grow its network of alliances. We have a new partner, a young and dynamic company led by two young enthusiasts who want to change the world and achieve a more inclusive society. Charlie Galdamez and Diego Carranza have founded KitSord, an application that teaches sign language to people who live with and/or interact with at least one person with a hearing disability. With its accessible and easily understandable content, it helps those who live or interact with the hearing impaired to meet their communication needs.

Driven by our company mission to contribute to society and to improve the situation of the country, we made a commitment to help with the app. And because we love to play, we managed to integrate a Gameboard solution.

Working together for several weeks, we developed a game design document, which analyzes the application and its players, the type of players, and what motivates them.

We analyzed the strengths of the app and created game dynamics around them. These dynamics became the moves or plays of the game. We then assigned points and created levels. This way the player goes through a process in which he progresses and receives prizes. In this case, prizes are points or keys that can be exchanged throughout the course of or at the end of the game. This motivates players to keep  participating.

All of these game dynamics, and the analysis carried out, helped apply the different motivators to the app. The goal is for users to return and new players to come to use it. We want to inspire loyalty, while supporting the non-listening community throughout Latin America by teaching more people to communicate by sign language.

We are convinced that by working and promoting our values of ethical, fair  and transparent conduct in business, we will achieve a better and more inclusive world.



@Dinc334, a long-time community-member and Expanse Army Officer, has published a Medium blog about Expanse. It is a tutorial that outlines how to run an Expanse node on AWS. If you haven’t already read it, you can find it here:

https://medium.com/@dinc334/how-to-run-an-expanse-node-on-aws-4dee829fd4b



Here’s another thought-provoking blog submitted by Jitendra Rathod, newsletter contributing editor.

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” Mahatma Gandhi said these famous words to describe how his unique strategy of non-violence that fired a nationalist movement, was perceived by the oppressive British Rule in India. He, however, had ultimate faith in his vision that eventually became instrumental in freeing India from the clutches of the British Raj that ruled over the Indian subcontinent for close to two centuries.

Are cryptocurrencies the present day David?

Time and again, these very words have been instrumental in defining a newcomer underdog that marches forward to challenge the monopolistic institutions, whether in culture, society or even in global economy. Today, the world is poised as it watches another such David take on the mighty Goliath. After centuries of financial hegemony, banks seem to have found their match in cryptocurrencies.

It was the very audacity with which banks, colluding with governments, behaved with peoples’ money, that fuelled the innovation we know today as Bitcoin. It was invented as a novel electronic peer-to-peer system of payment that would require no intermediaries, would be immutable, required no trust and had a decentralized, unregulated currency at its heart. Today, while the world is going gaga over the limitless opportunities and capabilities of cryptocurrencies, banks are losing sleep over the dwindling prospects of their own future.

Banks have played their part in demeriting crypto

While the world was coming to terms with the concept of cryptocurrencies, the banks were busy ignoring it, thinking that it was just a passing fad. However, when the price of Bitcoin started rising since the beginning of 2017 and exploded at the end of that year, banks and other financial institutions laughed cynically. It was a bubble waiting to burst, they said.

Spokespersons of reputed financial institutions around the world stuck their necks out to speak ill about cryptocurrencies, its various features and even the underlying technology. Yves Mersch, member of the European Central Bank’s executive board talked about the fact that bitcoin transactions took several hours to complete. “At these speeds, if you bought a bunch of tulips with bitcoin, they may well have wilted by the time the transaction was confirmed,” he said at an event in London. Mr. Mersch, however, conveniently forgot to mention how the current cross border transactions took 3-5 days to complete.

Augustin Carstens, head of the Bank for International Settlements described bitcoin as “a bubble, a Ponzi scheme and an environmental disaster.” Mr. Carstens probably forgot to mention that the traditional banking system was the biggest Ponzi scheme in human history.

Nouriel Roubini, American economist, has become notorious for being the biggest critic of the crypto phenomenon. He has called cryptocurrencies “the mother of all bubbles” favoured by “charlatans and swindlers.” He has said that the fundamental value of bitcoin is zero. Mr. Roubini seems to have forgotten that same is the case with the United States Dollar.

JP Morgan boss Jamie Dimon has called bitcoin a fraud “that would ultimately blow up.” A few months later, news surfaced that JP Morgan was considering a bitcoin futures product. Now this is hypocrisy of the worst kind.

In a news that came as a slap on the face of traditional financial institutions, the Polish central bank was found secretly funding anti-cryptocurrency campaigns on social media. It had paid famous polish Youtuber Marcin Dubiel more than $27,000 to create fake videos to discredit cryptocurrencies.

The Bank of Russia has called cryptocurrency a pyramid scheme. China has brought a blanket ban on cryptocurrencies. The Reserve Bank of India has asked all of the Indian banks to stop providing services to people who deal in cryptocurrencies, effectively sabotaging the people’s collective attempt to trade in a novel asset type.

But cryptocurrencies are ready for a long, drawn-out battle

We have seen the financial institutions’ attempts to laugh it out and now they trying to fight it out by choking off what is slowly becoming a mass movement. However, what banks do not realize is that the more they try to discourage people, the more people will see for what they truly are. The bank’s cynicism of cryptocurrencies is, ironically, adding fuel to the fire.

There is good reason for financial institutions to fear cryptocurrencies and some banks have been candid enough to admit it. the Bank of America recently said that cryptocurrencies posed a competitive threat to their business.

Why are banks afraid of crypto?

While banks have been harping about the risks of cryptocurrency being used for money laundering and other criminal activities, this submission is completely unfounded. Each transaction is immutably recorded on the blockchain that is accessible by public. Every account has been verified on a cryptocurrency exchange and if the law requires, the exchange can share all of the account details with the authorities. So where is the question of laundering money through cryptocurrencies?

Cryptocurrencies cut down the role of intermediaries and that’s where banks feel threatened. If people start saving in crypto, banks won’t have money to play around with. If people start buying things with crypto, banks won’t make money on debit and credit card fees.

Most importantly, cryptocurrencies are immune to the kind of manipulation you see with fiat currency. Look at the market crash of 2008 and you’ll realize what we’re talking about. It was a classic case of banks manipulating a system that was never transparent in the first place. Also, banks lend more than they have through a neat system called “fractional reserves.” But with crypto, there is no leveraging. Either you have it in your wallet, or you don’t.

Fiat money is prone to inflation. The banks and the government can print as much money as they wish thereby decreasing the value of existing circulating money. Bitcoin, on the other hand is capped at 21 million, so there is no risk of devaluation.

Finally, the state cannot steal your crypto assets. So, isn’t your fiat money safe in banks? Well, if that is what you believe, look at what Cyprus did during its 2013 financial crisis. All account holders who had 100,000 or more euros in their accounts had to lose a sizeable amount of their savings to save the Cypriot economy. You, however, don’t hold crypto in a bank. You hold it in your personal wallet and have access to them every moment of the day.

Parting thoughts

This is a battle that may well determine the future of money itself. For centuries we have been forced to use a medium for payment that has lost much of its backing and isn’t even worth the paper on which it is printed. It’s value is further undermined by the banks who hold them and the governments who print them. We, the people, are held at the mercy of traditional finance to revere a currency that has lost much of its value and charm.

The time is ripe for a revolution and cryptocurrencies are leading the charge. Financial institutions are fighting to survive and it looks like they are losing this all-important battle.