Why is the Traditional Financial System Afraid of Cryptocurrencies?

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.

Can Blockchain Remove the RoadBlock to a Better Democracy?

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

After the end of World War II up till the 1970s, experts and governments alike had immense faith in centralized systems of governance and economic management. This was mostly owing to the success of centralized governance in wading of the Great Depression following the guidelines of the economist John Maynard Keynes.

However, after the oil shock of the 1970s, all this changed and democratic decentralization was perceived to be the panacea which could solve most developmental, political and social problems. Moreover, this idea found its way into most of the literature produced by the developmental organizations and other international bodies including the United Nations.

Soon decentralization, both in terms of political and economic matters, was the bar by means of which the success of governments and societies was to be measured. As it turns out, this approach has proved increasingly efficient in upholding the principles of democracy and liberalism; especially the principles of participatory politics, and that of equity (i.e., equal opportunity) in the social sphere. However, in the economic domain, much equity has not been induced through democratic decentralization.

Blockchain and Decentralization

The blockchain technology inherently is based on the principles of decentralization. It is such a technology which when applied to the economic processes and public service delivery can usher perfect infallible equity which is lacking in the present models of decentralized democracies.

blockchain systems can help avoid centralization of data which has turned into present-day capital. By preventing this precisely, it ensures that no single authority is capable of controlling the flow of data or benefiting from it singly without sharing the gains from them. Moreover, such a decentralized aspect is ensured through smart contracts, making it fool-proof.

Smart Contracts

Smart contracts are digital contracts which are time stamped documents and are cryptographically created. These contracts cannot be tampered with manually once they are created and the terms of the contract are executed only when the predetermined criteria which were coded initially, are executed. Therefore, by using these contracts instead of traditional documents in diverse spheres of public service delivery, ranging from elections to economic opportunities like license distribution, registration of properties among others, these systems can be made more efficient.

Land records registration systems can be significantly benefited from the introduction of blockchains so that fraudulent claims can be avoided. Even various forms of corrupt practices related to the status of land holdings can be permanently recorded. Such methods will have a significant impact on the overall rule of law.

Other services like tender distribution can also be shifted to smart contracts, ensuring the right criteria are met before handing the tender to any particular applicant.

Cryptocurrencies

The financial system is particularly encumbered with monopolistic tendencies, which, in turn are detrimental to democracy as they lead to different kinds of cronyism. It not only undermines the free market, which is indispensable for the functioning of the democratic system, but also affects the decision making process in other spheres; especially the fiscal and monetary policy decisions, apart from environmental guidelines, etc.

Cryptocurrencies, because of their decentralized nature, can find their way through such fiscal traps. These digital currencies are beyond the reach of any particular financial heavyweights who can monopolize on them.

Most crypto tokens are accumulated in the hands of dedicated community members who have a significant stake in the working of their respective ecosystems. Such practices can enhance the functioning of the free market economy, creating equal economic opportunities for all deserving individuals, thus strengthening the basic democratic structure by making the whole system more inclusive. The crypto-based peer to peer microlending platforms are an example of this.

The decision-making processes will become more democratic within the firms and guilds (among others), and eventually, that will be reflected within society at large. Moreover, the society, by means of the technology, does not have to be restricted within the state boundaries.

Global Democracy and Blockchain

The technology can help expand democratic institutions beyond national borders making decentralization a global phenomenon, not only rendering national coercive power monopolies irrelevant but also the global governance bodies like the UN or the World Bank.

However, that does not necessarily have to mean anarchy. In a society where everybody gets their say, everybody would actually push for peace and stability rather than chaos, because that would be in their mutual interest. This would be a kind of absolute and perfect democracy, the type which our Founding Fathers had envisaged.

Expanse is a vision that is synchronous with the loftiest ideals of democracy that is true to its core beliefs and just not in name. Expanse is not just a blockchain to create life-altering dApps, but is an ecosystem that seeks to uphold the epitomes of everything that we, as humans, have achieved in these thousands of years.

At Expanse, we seek to create an ecosystem that does away with everything that is wrong with the world – our governance models and our resource distributions systems, especially. Through disruptive technological advances, we have envisioned a world that is free from virtual shackles that bind and limit us and to empower every human being to utilize his or her boundless potential to create a world that is worth living in.

Conclusion

With the blockchain technology, we can take all questions directly to the people and would be able to ensure that all the decisions are implemented according to the pre-set norms without any bias. Likewise, it can also work at the smallest units of governance. Therefore, a uniform standard would be maintained in terms of credibility and efficiency in the whole system of human governance. And what’s more, the credibility would be ensured from the bottom up. blockchain technology in itself is the true embodiment of democracy. Its unhindered use will bring about the true utilization of democratic principles that will create a more inclusive society.


EXPANSE NEWSLETTER Vol. 3, No. 18 – 10/01/2018

Welcome to the eighteenth edition of the Expanse Newsletter for 2018. This publication is a bi-monthly Newsletter issued on the 1st and 15th of each month to share happenings within our community. Here are a few highlights in this edition:  

  • Coming Back Soon: Streamcoins!
  • Behind the Tech — Christopher Franko
  • Bet with Expanse on CryptoSportsBet.World
  • Developer Update
  • Compelling Quotes

Coming Back Soon: Streamcoins!

As  some of you may know, Expanse launched a Streamcoins initiative some time ago that was extremely popular. Unfortunately, there was at least one bad actor who plotted to cheat the system and collected coins dishonestly. As a result, we had to stop the program.  

Now that the Know Your Customer (KYC) module of Tokenlab is complete, we can launch Streamcoins again. Participants will be forced to complete KYC before receiving their winnings, eliminating the possibility of fraud.

Chris and Asim are busy setting up the process flow, and Chris has challenged us to bring ideas for rich content we can add as it’s developed. Stay tuned for updates!


Behind the Tech with Christopher Franko

Hey guys! This time around we are featuring our CEO and the brains behind Expanse, Christopher Franko, in our Behind the Tech series.

Chris has an A.S. in Computer Science from Beaufort County Community College, Washington, NC. He went on to pursue a higher degree from East Carolina University, but dropped out midway to start his own company.

While in college, Chris was creating mobile apps, freelancing for various companies and writing automation software for affiliate marketing companies. He also used to record rap music under the name JEDISWIFT. Check out one of Chris’ creation here.

Chris is a true-blue millennial who was practically raised on a healthy dose of technology, especially the Internet. He grew up sort of enamored with technology. The family got their first computer when Chris was 10, and by 13 he was learning the Perl programming language. He always felt that technology, especially the Internet, was empowering.

As a millennial programmer, Internet money was a no brainer. One day when Chris was surfing through 4chan, an image-based bulletin board, he saw a thread about Bitcoin. His curiosity piqued, he researched it further, read the whitepaper and was simply blown away by the whole concept.

Talking about his experience starting Expanse, Chris says that at the time he was the lead developer for a cryptocurrency called Franko, and some of the ideas he was coming up with were just too cumbersome to create with the Bitcoin scripting language. He followed Ethereum pretty closely since its inception and felt like it was a better conduit for his ideas. However, he didn’t want to be tied directly to another platform. This led him to co-found Expanse along with James Clayton and Dan Conway.

Chris believes that it’s been an incredibly rewarding journey so far. Early on, the team saw a lot of success. “Now-a-days things are a little tougher, but not just for Expanse. The entire industry is fighting an uphill battle. I think one of the toughest things we have to accept is good things take time. This is especially hard in an unforgiving industry that wants everything now! An industry that only thinks something is good if it pumps the price and disregards all else.”

Christopher has come to realize that it is much better to focus on an exceptional user experience. “For much of Expanse’s life, we have been very good. But people lose interest in, and don’t talk about, something that is ‘very good.’ They want it to be exceptional, and that’s where we are focusing our attention now — on making exceptional software!”

The one thing that excites Chris about Expanse is its incredible community. “Nothing makes me happier than seeing our community grow.” The team has been working on a project called “We are Expanse!” a community outreach program focused on reaching people in their native languages. Our first instance of this is SomosExpanse, and work is on for a similar project for China.

Chris is also pretty excited by the software that we are working on. “We are focused on delivering liberating software products that can truly change the lives of people who use them.”

When asked about his biggest challenges he faces at Expanse, Chris is quick to point to time management. “We are a modestly sized development team competing with platforms with hundreds and sometimes even thousands of developers. So there are constantly new priorities that we have to face.”

He says that there are so many amazing ideas that keep popping on a daily basis and sometimes ranking them by urgency is a task in itself. But he says he is happy sorting ideas on priority and losing some than not having them at all.

Chris is  extremely confident about the future of Expanse. “Ten years from now, Expanse will be a household brand. Millions of people will be using Expanse products and sometimes it will be unbeknownst to them.” He is also profoundly positive about the future of crypto and blockchain. “I predict nation-state cryptocurrencies, and supply chain apps, and governance services — all on the blockchain.”

While being positive about the future, Chris says that the current times worry him a bit. He believes that what we are seeing in the crypto space is an upheaval of sorts. With the ever-changing crypto landscape powered by regulations, legal intricacies, government policies and public perception, he feels that the churning will finally uncover businesses that provide real value to solve global problems. “Times are tough now, but it will turn around,” says Chris, as he signs off.


Get 25% Bonus When You Bet with Expanse on CryptoSportsBet.World

Are you a sports fanatic looking to place a few bets on your favorite teams?  Look no further. CryptoSportsBet.World provides the ultimate Internet sports betting experience — and it accepts over 45 cryptocurrencies, including Expanse. And, players using EXP will receive a 25% deposit bonus, from now through October, 19 2018.

Sense the atmosphere, hear the roar of the crowd, feel the occasion – all from the comfort of your own home. CryptoSportsBet.World brings you the most competitive odds around, so not only will you be having a good time you also stand a great chance of winning some money in the process.

Here’s how the 25% bonus for using Expanse works:

  • All deposits are to be in EXP to receive bonus.
  • All deposits in EXP will receive a 25% deposit bonus,  which will be available untill the 19th of October, 2018.
  • Players create account and deposit funds (EXP). Once funds are received and confirmed, a voucher code will be generated and emailed to email account attached to users account within 24 hrs.
  • There will be a 100% play through on funds including bonus. i.e., if you deposit $20 worth of EXP you will receive a voucher code for $5. For you to withdraw funds from your account, it will require bets = or > than $25. So you will have to make bets up to that value and the event has to conclude. Then you will be able to withdraw your balance if you wish as long as it is over the minimum withdraw amount ($15) in the currency you desire that we accept.
  • The Play through will start from time of confirmation of original deposit.
    Play through is cumulative, i.e., this is for each deposit made. They are added together and you are able to receive another bonus for depositing more EXP.

Offering a unique collection of different sports, leagues and hyper competitive live betting, along with the best betting strategies anywhere, CryptoSportsBet.World is unbeatable.


Developer Update

Asim and his team provided the following update:

  • Gander – focus on performance and tweaking the code for maximum efficiency.
  • Luna – New version to be released next week.
  • Streamcoins – Developing new program and processes.
  • Tokenlab – Finalizing KYC module to be used in Streamcoins. Tokenlab sign-up, log-in, dashboard, create token, and manage token functionality to be posted for beta testing by October 15.

Compelling Quotes  

On VoteLock

“Votelock is a killer app waiting to be unleashed. Getting this mainstream would be a huge accomplishment. With the uncertainty and fraudulent activities that went on with the last election, this could be the cure. Getting the Borderless identity Dapp to work in sync with Votelock  is key. The need for a secure voting system is of the utmost importance right now and states especially are looking for a new uniform way of making voting as streamlined and accurate as possible. I’d be interested in seeing how personal identity information on the block chain would be verifiable without being visible to the public.”

Ethereum  Vs. Expanse

“What about Ethereum and Expanse? The code is the same. You’re going to program the same way, but with Expanse you’ll have a cheaper, faster network and no possibility of high traffic clogging the entire network. Using the most widely-used network doesn’t have benefits other than being easy to code and the market, because in terms of the tech, it’s worst if it’s not scaled enough. it’s not like … ‘i’m going to sell my product on Ebay because it has more traffic and more people will see it’.  You won’t get more visibility for using ethereum.”


Join our Discord

Expanse Discord is live and kicking! Discord is a great communication platform, better than Slack. Join our growing community on Discord and you can also speak directly with the Expanse team or others in the Expanse community. Sign up for Discord today!. Thank you.

https://Discord.me/expanse


The Expanse Ambassador Program is designed to provide support and guidance for those of you who would like to help us spread the word about Expanse by hosting local meet-ups—wherever you are in the world.

Getting involved is easy. Simply download and complete the Ambassador Program application at this link: https://expanse.tech/join-the-ambassador-program/

The Expanse team are available to answer your questions and will also assist you by:

  • Providing Expanse-branded apparel for the meet-up host (the ambassador).
  • Guiding you through the process of selecting a location.
  • Supplying Expanse giveaways for drawings or contests.
  • Assisting with presentation materials.
  • Providing a small allowance for food and libations for your meet-up guests.

Expanse is thrilled to have you in the Expanse Army. Be sure to join Discord if you are not already part of it at this link: https://Discord.me/expanse – and grateful to all who would like to join the Ambassador Program!

EXPANSE NEWSLETTER Vo. 3, No.8 – 5/1/2018

Welcome to the eighth edition of the Expanse Newsletter for 2018. This publication is a bi-monthly Newsletter issued on the 1st and 15th of each month to share happenings within our community. Here are a few highlights in this edition:

  • Expanse.Tech™ Exhibits at Collision Conference in New Orleans
  • The BiteBTC Exchange Lists LAB and Expanse. (There is more to this story.)
  • CryptoBridge Issues New Roadmap with LAB and Expanse Listings Set for July
  • CryptoDonate Set to Add Expanse
  • See the Expanse Roadmap At-A-Glance
  • Last But Far from Least: Introducing the New Tokenlab™ RoadMap.

Expanse Designated Featured Start-up; Merits Booth in Alpha Exhibits

For the second year, Expanse has been designated an Alpha Start-up. This distinction merits a branded booth where conference attendees can meet Expanse team members to discuss partnerships, ambassador programs, Expanse employment openings, and more. Hosted this year by Omar Alvarez, Chief Creative Officer, and Marcia Lewis, Chief Administrative Officer. Also in attendance from Expanse are Frank Lopez, MIchael Simpson and Carlos Zavala. Stop by to say hello at Booth 308, on Wednesday, May 2.

Omar Alvarez arrives in New Orleans from Guatemala ready to focus on everything Expanse  https://collisionconf.com

 


BiteBTC Exchange Lists Tokenlab (LAB) and Expanse (EXP)

Singapore-based BiteBTC officially communicated to the Expanse management team that LAB and EXP are listed on their cryptocurrency trading platform. Sure enough, they do now appear on the Exchange. Here’s the catch: due to Singapore law, a strict KYC process must first clear users to enable trading and deposit of funds.


CryptoBridge Issues New Roadmap with LAB and Expanse Listings Set for July

Popular decentralized Exchange, CryptoBridge, notified the Expanse team in January that they are planning to list EXP and LAB. In their new roadmap, they project that they will be ready to add ERC-20 token support for Ethereum clones (specifically naming EXP) in July. Let the countdown begin!

Excerpt of CryptoBridge New Roadmap


CryptoDonate Set to Accept Expanse

For those of you participating in the Twitch streaming experience now in place in the Expanse Discord channel (discord.me/expanse), get ready for an even more robust streaming experience. Soon we will have the ability to add even more virtual currencies to your stream and receive alerts when you receive tips from the community. Stay tuned for more information to follow, as we add more features to increase the benefits of your interaction with the Expanse community. .

 


Introducing the New Tokenlab™ Roadmap

There’s an oft-used saying:”Don’t rush things.  Anything worth having is worth waiting for”. This is the approach we have taken with re-engineering the Tokenlab Roadmap. We are extremely excited to present the plan, enhancements, and amazing new features.

“The Tokenlab design philosophies, we’ve made sure to focus on are self-service and modularity,” said Christopher Franko, Expanse Founder. “We’ve constructed a plan to ensure that anyone who wants to do a crowdsale can pick and choose the modules they need for their specific project.”

Our clients can take the modules they need and run them stand-alone or in combinations, launching them on the Expanse blockchain. It’s all about ICOs made easy.

Our lead architect, Asim Ashfaq, has built a phenomenal team of developers, project managers, and designers who are 100 percent focused on Tokenlab. Watch for a complete profile of Asim and his team in the May 15 Newsletter. Also, we are planning several live-stream sessions focused on answering your questions and garnering input as we go down this exciting new path together.


Introducing the Expanse Roadmap

Expanse is the glue that holds us all together. Christopher Franko had the vision to share this philosophy, “If you can dream it, Expanse can help you do it.”

 


EXPANSE DISCORD

We recently launched Expanse Discord, Discord is a communication system much like Slack, but Discord has much better security and is safer for users. So due to greater security, we have switched from Slack to Discord for the community. To speak directly with the Expanse team or others in the Expanse community, we suggest signing up for Discord. Thank you.

https://Discord.me/expanse


GET INVOLVED BY BECOMING AN EXPANSE AMBASSADOR

The Expanse Ambassador Program is designed to provide support and guidance for those of you who would like to help us spread the word about Expanse by hosting local meet-ups—wherever you are in the world.

Getting involved is easy. Simply download and complete the Ambassador Program application at this link: https://expanse.tech/join-the-ambassador-program/ Then email it to Scott Williams, [email protected]

Scott and his team are available to answer your questions and will also assist you by:

  • Providing Expanse-branded apparel for the meet-up host (the ambassador).
  • Guiding you through the process of selecting a location.
  • Supplying Expanse giveaways for drawings or contests.
  • Assisting with presentation materials.
  • Providing a small allowance for food and libations for your meet-up guests.

Expanse is thrilled to have you in the Expanse Army.  Be sure to join Discord if you are not already part of it at this link:  https://Discord.me/expanse  – and grateful to all who would like to join the Ambassador Program!


RECENT ARTICLES AND VIDEOS ABOUT EXPANSE

 

How we can create a frictionless society with the help of blockchain technology

 

Blockchain, in simple terms, is a peer-to-peer digital ledger of records, which is distributed and accessible to all nodes that are part of the ecosystem. The nodes may be in any part of the world, and the data shared on the ledger can range from contracts to payments to votes to accounts to transfer of ownership. Sharing and storing of data is completely secure and private. Since the data runs and gets recorded on multiple devices simultaneously, there is no chance of tampering, making the system transparent and immutable at the same time.

As more and more aspects of our lives have been taken over by the internet, like shopping, banking, travel bookings and plethora of other services, there is need for more secure platforms since there is a lot of information exchange happening online, and the internet has failed its users several times (data leaks, hacked and modified data, etc.). Blockchain technology, with its smart codes and contracts, is the perfect keeper of that information. The exchange of data is automated and hack-proof. What you put up on Blockchain cannot be changed by anyone, and again, you cannot put up just anything on the Blockchain since a transaction has to fulfill certain parameters and be verified before it gets a place on the Blockchain.

What makes Blockchain so efficient that it can help create a frictionless society?

For one, it offers absolute data security, complete ownership of the data and enormous savings in cost and time in conducting financial transactions along with complete transparency for all parties involved. There is no chance of fraud, no doubt about authenticity and no need of intermediaries, and the cost thereof.  Smart contracts on Blockchain are based on algorithms that run without human intervention, and are also error-free.

It is simple, without the need of elaborate documents like conventional institutions doing the same job, and thus, within everyone’s reach. With decentralization of data, there is no chance of bias or loss/theft/manipulation of data. This gives participants complete control of data/assets and makes the ecosystem trustworthy or more precisely, “trustless”.

Governments all over the world are entrusted with protecting their people, executing measures and plans to boost prosperity of their people and to provide a variety of services (legal and financial, for example) to their people. As the world moves ahead, business is happening between not just regions in a country but between countries too, and every country having a different set of rules and laws of doing business, more often than not, acts as a hindrance to global development.

Blockchain can help in conducting seamless transactions between individuals and businesses belonging to different countries, making the society practically frictionless.

Another divide that can be addressed with the help of Blockchain is that between rapidly developing urban centers and underserved rural regions. Rural populations have little or no access to legal or financial services and as a result, are left to struggle for survival with meager means. Blockchain can help in better distribution of resources and can help the government take proactive measures to provide and deploy resources where they are needed the most.

Emergency services like disaster management can become more efficient with the help of Blockchain technology. While bureaucracy has its constraints when it comes to aiding those who have been hit by natural disasters, Blockchain can help overcome those constraints and gather help from all quarters with efficient monitoring of aid. Also, when people donate for those in need, they can be assured that their donations would reach the right people instead of landing up in the pockets of corrupt officials.

Cryptocurrencies can be the solution to all problems that are associated with standard fiat currency, and its now well-known salient features are making them more acceptable among people, without any interference from any government. Crypto transactions can happen based on smart contracts without any additional legal regulation. Corporates can also pay their employees, suppliers or shareholders in any part of the world without any hassle. The bank, as the trusted but not a very helpful third party, will soon become redundant and cryptocurrencies will replace more than 25% of world currencies.

Managing and storing identity records will become simpler and safer on Blockchain. Once on the Blockchain, they cannot be modified or stolen, and a single digital identity could be your global passport to access any service you need. Cyber security will become a reality, with authentic cyber identities.

Just as the internet brought information to our fingertips with platforms for sharing music, news, photos etc., Blockchain will bring clarity and authenticity to all the information, be it about people, about money or about governments. People of the world, divided by political borders, can come together and progress together as a unified force with the help of Blockchain technology, since it comprises of a global currency and honest dealings between autonomous networks of individuals.

Some broad applications of Blockchain

Blockchain is so versatile and adaptive, almost anything that can be expressed in code can be recorded on Blockchain, and some examples are,

  • Birth and death records
  • Digital assets
  • Contracts
  • Educational records
  • Medical records
  • Insurance claims
  • Financial transactions

 

The bottomline

If there ever was a time for the common masses all over the world to be a part of something truly unifying and empowering, it is now. Blockchain, with its numerous benefits, is capable of paving the way for a decentralized governance system that is uniform and fair for everyone, where there is no need to pay exorbitant fees for simple services, and where getting connected to the right people for your business is not a distant dream, where voting will be simple, private yet transparent, and can be verified accurately and swiftly.

The best part of it all is that you need not be a Blockchain expert or a technology geek to be a part of the Blockchain ecosystem. Expanse.tech has a platform ready for you for sharing and storage of data or conducting financial transactions. It is the world’s first stable fork of Ethereum and can be used to create any kind of project. If you have a vision, just hop onto Expanse and explore the endless possibilities of this revolutionary new technology.

Elections on a Blockchain?

Casting of votes is an important aspect of democracy. The whole idea of democracy is based on every person getting a say in the decision making process or of electing their representatives to collectively govern them all. Voting means giving your approval to a person, decision or opinion of your choice. It may be in the form of oral voting, paper voting, electronic voting, or a combination of any of these.

Voting is integral to ensuring that anyone and everyone can exercise their right to choose what they think is best for themselves. Almost all the governments in the world have been elected by the casting of votes by the citizens of the respective country.

We all have, at some point of time in our lives, cast votes. Be it for the selection of a group leader to electing our presidents and ruling parties. Traditionally, votes have been cast using paper ballots wherein people have been given sheets of paper to write down, or stamp on, the name of the person they wish to elect. These sheets are then put into ballot boxes and on the completion of the voting process, these boxes are emptied and the votes are counted. Another way of casting votes is through an Electronic Voting Machine or EVM. The names of the people who are contesting in the election are listed on the EVM. Against their names are buttons which, when pressed, is registered as a vote for them. Each vote is stored in the machine itself and once the voting process is done, all the EVMs are collected and the votes are tallied by uploading the data on a computer. Nowadays, companies and other institutions are also using the internet to conduct elections and accept votes. A registered voter can log in and select the option that they want and submit their vote.

Unfortunately, even though the motive behind voting is to be democratic, fair, and transparent, it is marred by the unethical and illegal practices that have plagued the system of voting for ages now. People in power have always tried to influence the results of voting. They use their influence to employ certain people involved in the election process to cast fake votes or threaten the voters to vote for them. There were a lot of videos circulating around the internet which showed clips of polling booths in Russia supposedly during its recent Presidential elections. These clips showed the officials in the booths putting in extra ballots into the box. These videos cannot be verified. However, the point being that it is easy to manipulate the results when votes are cast through paper ballots.

EVMs themselves are not free from being tamper proof. Some countries such as Germany, England, France and the Netherlands have banned the use of EVMs because they lack transparency and the legitimacy of the votes cannot be established. Also, there have been cases of EVMs being hacked and the votes being directed to the desired candidate. And as far as the internet goes, it is safe to say that nothing is impervious to being hacked on the internet. The major underlying concern is that there is no way to know the tally of votes until the results are out. And the declared result too is subject to being influenced, because there is no way to verify the actual count.

Under such circumstances, it becomes difficult to trust any mechanism which will ensure complete fairness and transparency of votes and elections. But technology has always enabled us to find solutions and better way of doing things. And coincidentally, technology has the answer for this problem as well.

The blockchain technology is revolutionary. It has ushered in an entirely new way of data recording and management. The technology is, at its core, democratic in nature. This means that the blockchain is beyond the control of any single person or entity. It achieves this by decentralizing the storage of data and information on a number of computers on a network. The data once recorded on a blockchain becomes permanent and it is almost impossible to hack in and mess with the data.

The blockchain technology is the reason behind the immense success of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Payments made through cryptocurrencies are extremely safe and there is no way that the transaction can be misappropriated or the currency stolen from the holder’s account. This technology can be very effectively used for casting and recording of votes without the typical concerns of traditional voting methods hindering the voting process ever again.

Votelock

Votelock has therefore been created to harness the benefits of the blockchain technology for making the voting system secure and provide transparent tools for anyone to audit the results. Votelock enables anyone to cast their votes from anywhere, with complete secrecy and security. The convenience of voting from anywhere in the world as long as you are a registered voter is unmatched and desirable in today’s scenario. Imagine the time and costs that can be saved by avoiding the use of polling booths and the manpower required in managing them. The voters need not take time out of their lives and go to a specific place to cast their votes. Votelock also enables the creation of customized ballots rapidly which will ensure control and secrecy. The control refers to the control over who will be given the permission to vote and not on the result.

Votelock will also promote utmost transparency by publishing each vote anonymously. This will ensure protection of the privacy of the voter and allow anyone to validate the elections.Votelock will also facilitate quick and verifiable results. These results will be accurate as well as confidence inspiring.Votelock therefore promises a better future for the voting system. All the persistent problems with the existing methods of voting will be eliminated by the application of the blockchain technology throughVotelock.

Elections may soon see an increased and enthusiastic participation from the voters owing to the convenience and transparency of Votelock and the confidence inspired by the blockchain technology.

The 6D Approach to Gamification

Gamification has been gaining steady ground in the businesses of today. What businesses are looking to do is to gamify the work processes performed by the employees so as to make their work more fulfilling and satisfying. The employees should feel a sense of achievement every time they finish their job and in the process, improve the productivity of the organization. Gamifying the business activities requires the following aspects of a process to enable gamification of the job or any work related activity. One such process is known as the 6D approach to gamification. Here are the six D’s that comprise the gamification process:

  1. Define business objective

This is a very important step in the process of gamification. Unless the business objective is defined, the business cannot survive for a long time. Any business must be absolutely clear about the goals and objectives that it wants to achieve through the gamification process. Some businesses aim for revenue maximization and profitability, some businesses want better exposure and increased social media visibility. By defining the objectives, it becomes easier to map the next stages of the process.

2. Delineate target behaviors

The next step involves precisely describing the type of behavior that is expected of the players. There are certain characteristic behaviors that would be the most beneficial for the business and the objective that is supposed to be attained. These behaviors may include updating your profile, sharing on social media, posting comments, inviting other people to join, and so on. Once these behaviors have been identified, the most important ones should be given more weightage and their completion should be marked by levelling up in the game or the activity.

3. Describe your players

It is also necessary to have in mind the type of players that are going to play the game. Is the activity for the younger or the middle-aged people? What motivates the people who will play the game? What drives these people? Are they going to be able to perform according to the expectations of the game? Are they used to the competitiveness or do they care about exploring and socializing? Various such questions pertaining to the players need to be answered and a general player profile needs to be developed.

4. Devise activity loops

The players of the game should be given motivation to continue playing. For this reason, activity loops should be devised so that the players can progress through the game as they perform activities of different kinds. The loops ensure that the players are engaged in playing the game and are also progressing in the game as they play longer. The sense of accomplishment that is brought along with a progression loop can act as a motivation for playing the game.

5. Don’t forget the fun

During the implementation of the process, it is quite possible that all the elements that make games fun might get pushed behind. It is imperative that the element of fun does not get lost or diluted. Finally, the core element of playing any game is for fun. The most important question that can be asked here is whether the players will voluntarily play the game. If the answer is not positive, then the entire process becomes futile. The players should have fun in performing the activities of the game rather than seeing it as an additional burden on themselves. The more fun that the players have, the better success the game is bound to enjoy.

6. Deploy the appropriate tools

What will your gamification system look like? How will the ability of the players be measured? What sort of a point system will be deployed? All such questions concerning the look and the elements of the game need to be answered. The experience that the players shall have in the playing of the game should also be considered. Tools like the PBL systems, achievements, avatars, etc., can be deployed which should be in tandem with the steps previously discussed.

This is not the only approach for a gamification process but it is surely one of the popular ones. Companies are using the 6D approach for improving employee efficiency and achieving business objectives.

This approach is also being used by Exp.life in an effort to gamify our lives. Exp.life aims to change the way we live our lives and share our experiences. Exp.life has made use of the 6D gamification approach to make it possible. A detailed overview of how it has been done can be found in the whitepaper. The gamification approach can be very well applied to our lives and that is exactly what Exp.life wants to do.

The Philosophy Behind Great Games — The Octalysis Framework

Very few gamers ever consider the blood and sweat that goes behind making a great game. There are tens of people who are employed for the development and coding of a game to ensure that the players get the best experience and, of course, their money’s worth. Millions of dollars are spent on the research and development of any game. These dollars are spent to make sure that the players love the characters, enjoy the story, are motivated to complete the game and earn rewards and achievements in the process, and be simply amazed at the quality of production and creativity of the developers.

Good games have certain basic characteristics which attract the majority of the gamers to play them. Certain gamers want a great story. The intrigue or the depth of the story keeps them riveted to the game. Certain gamers want more control of their characters or the storyline. Certain gamers want amazing graphics and better body dynamics. The preferences are most certainly subjective. But it is important for the developers to consider what the gamers would like the most considering the type of game they are developing and the market that they are targeting. It would be a waste to create deep storylines for simple puzzle games meant for kids.

It is necessary, therefore, to understand what drives gamers to play games. These various drives have been classified by someone, and this classification has allowed for the designing of a gamification process. It is called the Octalysis Framework and was created by Yu-Kai Chow.

The Octalysis Framework is based on human behavior and it is a set of eight ‘cores’ helpful for designing a gamification process. Let’s take a quick look at these cores and see how they are useful when designing a gamification process.

  1. Epic meaning and calling

This is an important core. A player believes that there is a greater meaning to what he is doing or that he has been chosen for doing something important. A player is motivated by this core to dedicate himself to creating a better community or maintaining forums by contributing their insights and suggestions for the fellow players. A player may also feel the calling when they encounter beginner’s luck, which makes them think that they have better skills than other players and that what they are doing has a greater meaning attached to it.

2. Development and accomplishment

This drive is internal. A player plays the game in the hopes of developing better skills for the game so that he can progress better and overcome the challenges presented by the game with relative ease. The feeling of accomplishment is what compels the players to keep developing their skills. Also, the accomplishment is complementary to the challenges because without challenges, the desired feeling of achievement cannot be evoked. It is also pretty easy to design and where the stats of the players are most focused on.

3. Empowerment of creativity and feedback

A lot of players are creative in their way of solving the puzzles posed by the games. They also respond well to the feedback provided to them when they are unable to move ahead in the game. And in applying their creativity, the players also wish to see the results of the same. This is where the empowerment of creativity and feedback core comes in. The better the result of more creative problem solving, the better is the player engagement to the game. A game should ensure that the players are empowered for being creative and provide the right type of feedback to enable them to progress in the game.

4. Ownership and possession

Everyone likes to own certain things, be it in the real world or in games. The feeling of possessing something which is either rare or expensive makes for a great motivator. Players are always looking for more things to own or collect, be it points, or items, or in-game currency. Players also feel possessive when they spend a lot of time in customizing, be it their characters or their items. No player is content with what they have when they can have more of it.

5. Social influence and relatedness

This drive arises from the fact that humans are social animals. We live in a complex society and have various social interactions with multiple people. These people have an influence on us and we relate to other people based on shared experiences, likes and dislikes, etc. We have friends with whom we relate to and who are in our social circles. This drive motivates people to be like the other people that they interact with. If someone is highly influential, they can motivate others to buy the same things as them.

6. Scarcity and impatience

This drive motivates people to have something that they do not have. And because they do not have it, the desire for it becomes more intense. Also, when one knows that they can’t have something right now, it makes them impatient and keeps them occupied and thinking about the same thing all day long. And as soon as it becomes available, people lap it up more willingly than ever. Apple sees hundreds of customers line up outside their stores on the day of launch of their phones because they are impatient and want the phones as soon as possible.

7. Unpredictability and curiosity

Humans possess an inherent curiosity about things and our inquisitiveness has led to amazing breakthroughs. This drive is harmless, for the most part. Players are curious about what will happen next in the game and the unpredictability of the outcomes makes them interested and hooked to the game. This drive makes players think about the game more often. This drive also compels people to read books or watch movies.

8. Loss and avoidance

No one likes to incur losses, be it financial or any other sort. And the avoidance of any sort of losses takes priority. Players hate to lose any progress that they have made in the game and in a bid to avoid the same, they might continue to play the game.

This is how a gamification process can be designed, applying the Octalysis framework to understand what will drive players to play the game. And by using these aforementioned drives, Exp.life aims to gamify the way we live our lives and make sharing of experiences a much more satisfying and rewarding activity.

This is how a gamification process can be designed, applying the Octalysis framework to understand what will drive players to play the game. And by using these aforementioned drives, Exp.life aims to gamify the way we live our lives and make sharing of experiences a much more satisfying and rewarding activity.

The Importance and Psychology of Reputation In Human Lives

Reputation is the sum of all our actions that is reflected by the people around us in the way they treat us or interact with us. It is an indirect result of anything and everything that we do. Successful people have always stressed on the building and maintaining of reputation as a fundamental ingredient to success. It is common knowledge that reputation, like all good things, takes a long time to build and almost no time to lose. Warren Buffet has succinctly summed it up; “It takes twenty years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you will do things differently.”

The basic idea behind reputation is somewhat similar to the idea of reward and punishment. If you do good things, if you keep your word and if you are a man of good character, will, and conscience, you will have a good reputation and vice versa. Good reputation is an obvious and quick way to know what kind of a person you are dealing with. Not only humans, but business organizations, social groups, governments and countries themselves have reputations. The essence of reputation is in the fact that it has such a vast scope and universal applicability.

Almost any social or business interaction is established on the basis of the perceived reputation of both the involved parties. Any business corporation would avoid dealing with another corporation which has a tarnished reputation in the market. A person would avoid going out with another person who is known to have a bad reputation in the social spheres. Reputation thus acts as a great way to screen people and organizations.

Importance of reputation

It is very clear that reputation is extremely important and people who disregard it are doing so at their own peril. A lot of people are of the opinion that a person should be concerned with what they think of themselves and not about what other people think of them. It might be true only to some extent. However, keeping in mind the existing social scenario and how connected and visible our lives are, dismissing reputation is foolish.

Reputation determines the social standing of a person in the society. It is a measure of his or her influence. A person enjoying good reputation is definitely preferred for better jobs and for taking up leadership roles. And good reputation has never hurt anyone. It however requires consistency of efforts and actions with character and grace. Reputation shouldn’t be correlated with popularity. A person can be extremely popular, but it might be for all the wrong reasons. In this way, the reputation of a person separates them and makes them special.

Reputation is also important for business organizations. A well reputed company definitely enjoys a competitive advantage over other companies. It ensures that the customers and clients stay loyal to the company. It also attracts new customers who judge a company based on its standing in the industry. A good reputation facilitates easy and quick funding and better sales figures. It also facilitates better relations with all the stakeholders of the company. A company can use their reputation to their advantage by converting it into a premium which they can add to the price of their product and which the customers will be willing to pay. Apple is one of the examples of a company which enjoys great reputation in the mobile industry and, to that extent, sells overpriced mobile phones which customers all around the world willingly purchase.

Measuring reputation

All the talk about good and bad reputation brings along with it one problem, which has been persistently present when dealing with intangible aspects or things. And that problem is their quantitaive measurement. Reputation, trust, respect and such things are definitely not quantifiable. There are no standards for measuring reputation. There is no way to represent the reputation as a number or a value in relation to something else. By devising a way in which, through the use of technlogy and the people involved, we could measure and represent reputation using numbers. And once reputation becomes measureable, people will be able to see and actually assess the person based on his reputation ‘points’. It will become easy to determine the type of person or organization one wishes to engage with. It will enable verification of the claims by the person and the organization, and therefore lead to better relations and networking and opportunities for mutual growth.

However, there are several bottlenecks in actually converting this intangible quality into ‘reputation points’ or a score because there are a number of issues involved when one thinks about it. Issues like — Who will give the points? How much will one point be worth? How are we to ensure that the points given to a person are true and accurate? Who will keep a track of people’s reputation? Will it be safe from tampering? How will we ever verify the rationality behind the allotment of the points? The questions could go on.

Enter Exp.Life

Exp.life has envisioned a new way of making life interesting. It wants people to document their lives. It wants people to become adventurous; to live their lives better and have a better way to verify the experiences that they have, apart from social media, which isn’t that great a way to verify the experiences, seeing how advanced photo and video editing softwares have become. And in the process of doing these activities, they are incentivized by the means of granting of points, making things more interesting.

Basically, gamifying real life scenarios and experiences, so that the players have a sense of accomplishment apart from the learning curve involved in the experiences, is what Exp.life aims to do. The players will be able to earn reputation in this way. For undertaking of activities which have been listed by the other players in the game, the players will receive points on the successful completion of the said activity. These points will be verified by the task giver and the experts, if any, of the particular field and by other players involved in the activity on the uploading of various proofs such as photographs and documents. And the entire system will be based on the blockchain technology, thus ensuring incorruptible and permanent records as well as keeping the system democratic and decentralized and away from the control of any one person or an organization.

We can therefore effectively use technology to quantify things which we have always perceived to be extremely difficult to quantify. It is clear that representing reputation through numbers will impart immense clarity, simplicity, and overall transparency to how we look at reputation as an asset.

The Importance of Questing in Creating Motivation

The word “quest” itself has magical connotations. It holds in its bosom the promise of an adventure, the mystery of the unknown and is pregnant with all kinds of possibilities. Adventure stories are replete with the hero going on a quest to dispel dark forces, to win a fair maiden’s hand or to vanquish a terrible monster. The hero’s quest is filled with the fear of the unknown and the excitement of potential fulfillment. Quests are intricate to the fabric of human life as they create a sense of worth and the satisfaction of accomplishment.

When it comes to role playing games, a ‘quest’ is a task that the character or a group of characters (controlled by the player/players) are required to complete and gain rewards in return. The rewards may range from addition of new skills and abilities or treasure or game currency or access to new locations. Completion of quests does not mean winning the game, and one quest may last from a few minutes to a few weeks, with proportionate rewards for the same.

The game may consist of gather quests, delivery quests or escort quests or any combinations of these. These quests are integral to the progress of the story in the game. There are also ‘side quests’, not part of the main plot, and not entirely necessary also, but help players level up.

Gamification consists of the use of mechanics, elements and techniques of game design in context that are actually not games to engage users and solve problems (Zichermann & Cunningham, 2011; Werbach & Hunter, 2012). However, it is not the same as regular games which achieve the same goals, though are designed solely as games. Application of game rules and ethos to a ‘non-game’ scenario leads to positive reinforcement by incentivizing people to do some things, while having fun and gaining valuable experience too. Gamification does not bind anyone like the structured games, and everyone is free to act the way they deem right, within the conditions of the game, and reap its benefits too.

Questing is an important tool that is incorporated in role-playing games to keep players from getting into repetitive actions like killing, and also to keep players motivated by gaining new skills or in-game money to buy new equipment or by unlocking access to new places. Repetitive killing or hitting, also called ‘grinding’ in gaming language, can become monotonous and also ruin the player’s enjoyment. Quests hold the players’ attention as they find a story developing with every move they make and challenges they overcome as they get near to their goal.

In a role playing environment, how the quests are designed can have a significant impact on the players’ motivation. More interactive the gaming ecosystem, more motivating it is for the players. If it helps solve problems, apply tactics, and gain knowledge and skill, questing becomes more interesting and motivating for the players.

Modern computer games are not the old school tic-tac-toe games. They come loaded with adventure, with an interesting storyline, and let players play the character. As players complete quests, their problem solving skills improve, their decision making becomes stronger and perceptive abilities get a boost.

Leveraging the satisfaction one gets from finishing a quest, technology can help motivate people to complete even their boring everyday tasks by turning those tasks into adventures to be accomplished. Gamification of chores like doing the laundry or getting the groceries can be a fun way to motivate people to give their time to these chores which are seemingly boring but important for day to day life. With their avatars leveling up, earning points and rewards, people will no longer resent their regular chores, but maybe even look forward to completing them as soon as they are reminded about the same by their game or app.

The gaming experience has to be motivating for the players to feel like coming back to the platform again. Motivation can be related to their emotions, as the players gain recognition and build a reputation. It could also come from validation by important peers. Motivation is also the result of unique skills and abilities that players pick up from the game. Any value addition like enhanced analytical thinking or a boost to creativity can also be a source of motivation.

Quests have has to be designed and laid out in such a manner that questing makes people feel accomplished, not just in their virtual avatars, but also enriched in their real lives. More fun activities, more tasks that require analytical skills, more meaningful rewards — all of these add a new dimension to a person’s identity, giving them a sense of achievement, and they feel motivated to carry out their tasks, not perceiving them as ‘tasks’, but as the means to achieve rewards.

Blockchain has pervaded all spheres of our lives, and gaming is no exception. Borderless Tech’s EXP.LIFE is one such extravaganza that allows one to live and experience life in the digital sphere. The platform uses a smart gamification protocol to engage users (players) to digitize their life experiences to create an immutable and honest profile of one’s true self.

EXP.LIFE allows users to not just complete real life quests, but also create quests for other users to compete, and even their game assets are globally accepted tradable assets, and can be taken to the real world, not restricted to just the game.

With EXP.LIFE, there are exploration quests, where traveling and exploring new places fetches rewards, there are group quests, where completing objectives as a group or team earns rewards for players, and there are accomplishment quests, where some sort of objective needs to be accomplished in order to earn rewards. There is also a default starter quest, to help players understand how to use the platform. There will be some exploration quests, some group quests as well as some accomplishment quests to get the players started and motivate them to explore further.

Quests define our true character. How well we go about them and complete those mirrors a real picture of what we are made of. The anticipation of reward and the exhilaration of the adventurous journey of a quest attract the basest part of the human self. Quests are undeniably the greatest source of motivation for the human mind.