Singapore. Blockchain-based data marketplace Open Data Exchange (ODX Pte. Ltd) gained traction on their mission to provide free internet to emerging markets when the company announced a commitment of more than US$60 million from its private token sale.
The private sale was backed by committed investors made up of big blockchain funds that include DNA Fund, BlockTower Capital and Pantera Capital. Famous individuals such as entrepreneur Brock Pierce, Akamai co-founder Randy Kaplan and Russian composer Alexander Shulgin were also involved in making this happen.
“Free and fair access to the web is a fundamental human right,” says DNA Fund co-founder Scott Walker. “The dynamic nature of emerging markets creates unique challenges that have never confronted the developed world but also opens up opportunities for innovation and growth. The ODX platform will leverage blockchain technology to enable the delivery of free mobile internet access to underserved populations.”
The move reveals that ODX is on its way to becoming the largest initial coin offering (ICO) in the region as it follows its plan to raise US$100 million through its ICO. Singapore-based TenX currently owns the record for the biggest ICO in the Southeast Asian region after raising US$80 million in a token sale back in June.
ODX is set to create a decentralized data marketplace to address the problems of internet access in emerging markets. According to ODX chairman and co-founder Nix Nolledo, countries such as Southeast Asia, South America and Africa have average users that pay for internet access for less than ten days a month. This is due to expensive mobile data charges, scarce public Wi-Fi access, and limited cable or DSL options.
“This is especially significant when you consider the fact that over 80% of the world’s Internet population live in emerging markets,” Nolledo says.
With the majority of the population residing in these fledgling markets, ODX has found a need to resolve this issue.
ODX Pte. Ltd. is a subsidiary of Xurpas, Inc., the largest consumer tech in the Philippines. The startup will rely on Xurpas’ extensive infrastructure to realize its goal of making internet access readily available in emerging markets around the world. The Open Data Exchange (ODX) will democratize internet access through the blockchain.
Publishers and ISPs meet in a global marketplace for data. Powered by blockchain, Publishers and ISPs can transact at scale through a network of trust. https://odx.network/
Taipei, Taiwan – April 2018 -- Artila Electronics, which specializes in the development and manufacture of Linux-ready Arm embedded industrial computers, launches the brand new FreeRTOS programmable device server, Aport-214PG. Merging the legacy RS-485 based devices into an industrial Ethernet network is a challenge task to all of the system integrators today due to the characteristic of slow response and various data format. To cope with the challenge of speed inconsistency, by skillful programming and design, the programmable device server plays an important role in the field data acquisition.
Artila’s Aport-214PG is powered by a 32-bit Atmel SAM4E16E 120MHz Arm Cortex-M4 processor which is equipped with 256KB SRAM, 3MB Flash and FreeRTOS real time operating system. This module features one 10/100 MHz Ethernet port, two RS-485, four isolated digital input channels, two relay output channels and micro SD socket.
This C programmable device is shipped with a FreeRTOS+lwIP board support package (BSP), device manager utility and example programs. Users can download the Toolchain, Atmel Studio from Atmel web site. Web configuration and I/O controls are available in the Aport-214PG application development kit. The device manager utility featuring device discovery, network configuration, user’s web page and firmware upload is also included, which makes programming easier
The role of programmable device server is to proactively polling the serial devices and then buffer the data for Ethernet based master’s inquiry or push the data to the server via MQTT. Doing this will tune up the overall system performance and ensure data reliability in the device networking applications.
Artila Electronics is an emerging force in the industrial computer field, dedicated to minimizing mass while maximizing utility. Unlike other industrial computer providers in the market who mainly use x86 plus Windows solutions, Artila focuses on ARM-core RISC CPUs with embedded Linux solutions, matched with Artila's 10 plus years of experience in RS-232 / 422 / 485 industrial communication and TCP/IP networking. Artila's product range consists of Intelligent IoT Gateway, IoT Device Platform, ARM / Linux box computers, ARM / Linux SOMs (system-on-modules), Programmable Automation Controller, and Serial-to-Ethernet embedded modules.
Sunny Wu | email@example.com | Artila Electronics Co., Ltd.
The meteoric rise of cryptocurrencies has taken the world by storm. Innovators, investors, users, and governments are scrambling to wrap their heads around cryptocurrencies and the blockchain technology that they rely upon. The emergence of a new market and business model has created great opportunities for participants, but it also carries significant risk.
Cryptocurrencies present an inherently unique challenge to governments because of their new technology, cross-jurisdictional nature, and frequent lack of transparency. Governments are struggling to develop new ways to regulate cryptocurrencies, adapt existing regulations, and identify fraudulent schemes. Cryptocurrencies and their regulations are evolving before our eyes, and this article will provide a brief background on cryptocurrencies and an overview of where cryptocurrency regulations currently stand.
What are cryptocurrencies?
Cryptocurrency is, by any other name, a currency—a medium of exchange used to purchase goods and services. Or, as some have suggested, cryptocurrency is a “peer-to-peer version of electronic cash.” However, this currency has two qualities that distinguish it from traditional bills and coins.
First, cryptocurrency is a virtual currency that is created through cryptography (i.e. coding) and developed by mathematical formulas through a process called hashing. Second, unlike traditional bills and coins that are printed and minted by governments around the world, cryptocurrency is not tied to any one government, and thus is not secured by any government entity. The fact that cryptocurrencies are not secured by a government authority has led to concerns from critics that this is the second coming of Tulipmania, because we are ascribing value to an otherwise valueless item. However, the potential for cryptocurrencies as a medium of exchange remains enormous.
What is blockchain?
Blockchain is the technology at the heart of most cryptocurrencies, and explaining the technology in detail would require a blog post of its own. What is important to know is that blockchain is a record of peer-to-peer transactions categorized into blocks on a distributed ledger. Despite the obtuse terminology, blockchain functions similarly to a local bank authorizing and recording a transaction, but instead of only one party holding the entire ledger book, the transactions are recorded communally by member nodes, with each node being a computer in a peer-to-peer distributed network.
The blockchain can confirm a transaction within minutes, removing errors that exist when trying to reconcile and audit separate ledgers and transactions. Whenever a transaction takes place, the miners on the blockchain develop a new hash and digital signature to update the ledger and create a new “block.” This block, or recorded transaction, is time-stamped and encrypted and will remain on the blockchain for life.
Regulation in the US – Utility Tokens v. Investment Tokens
In the United States, there has been no federal regulation of cryptocurrencies. Instead, cryptocurrencies are often grouped into two non-binding categories: (1) investment tokens that fall under the purview of already existing U.S. securities laws like the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and (2) utility tokens, which remain largely unregulated (for now).
Whether the tokens being offered in connection with a particular cryptocurrency are security tokens is decided on a case-by-case basis that even experienced securities lawyers can disagree upon. Tokens are usually analyzed under the four-part Howey Test below to see if the token is in fact a security. Securities must meet the following criteria:
Each characteristic of the token is analyzed against this framework to see if the cryptocurrency is in reality functioning as a new-age security. If it is, then regulators treat it as such, and cryptocurrencies must then be registered and handled with all of the same disclosures and precautions as any other security sold in the United States or to U.S. investors.
Cryptocurrencies can also be categorized as non-security utility tokens. These tokens purport to offer intrinsic utility and value, and are typically instrumental in powering the blockchain technology. These tokens function more like commodities than securities, and while they may act like currency in a fully functional network, they also have other values.
However, having a utility token with a properly formed and functioning network does not preclude said token from being labeled a security by the SEC. In In the Matter of Munchee, Inc., a purported utility token with a non-functioning network was labeled a security by the SEC. While labeling a token without a functioning network as a security – as it has no present utility – is not unexpected, the SEC also concluded that: “even if [Munchee] tokens had a practical use at the time of the offering, it would not preclude the token from being a security.”
After analyzing the Munchee Tokens under the Howey test, the SEC concluded that they were investment contracts because purchasers of the tokens had an expectation of profits predominantly from the efforts of Munchee and its staff. The SEC further concluded that Munchee had primed such expectations through its marketing efforts.
While this new case does not eliminate the distinction between utility and security tokens, it does caution that, when deciding whether a given token is a security, the SEC will look beyond utility at the character of the instrument, and base their conclusion based on the terms of the offer, the plan of distribution, and the economic inducements held out by the token issuer.
So far only the state of New York has issued any kind of regulation specifically regarding cryptocurrencies: the BitLicense. The BitLicense is New York’s attempt to control cryptocurrencies within its borders by requiring cryptocurrency businesses to register and comply with several different disclosure and financial obligations. The regulation has been divisive, and many businesses have rallied against its high costs. While a few companies have applied for and received the license, most other companies have simply left the state or stopped offering services to its residents.
Regulation Abroad – The Ever-Shifting Jurisdictional Question
The United States is not the only country grappling with how best to regulate cryptocurrencies. Many cryptocurrency businesses face daunting questions regarding in which jurisdictions to form and to do business in. In the end, the question is quite difficult and fact-specific, requiring communication between legal counsel in different jurisdictions and taking into account nebulous and piecemeal country-by-country regulations. It is impossible to do a detailed analysis without knowing how a country’s existing securities laws, financial regulations, and banking regulations will operate (or will be adapted to operate) with cryptocurrencies. The fact that cryptocurrency-specific regulations are still developing does little to add clarity, and makes the analysis even more challenging. Yet a few global trends are noticeable:
Some notable countries, like China, and South Korea, have suspended cryptocurrencies. These countries have cited the risk of fraud and the lack of adequate oversight in suspending cryptocurrencies and their exchanges, forcing cryptocurrency companies and exchanges to relocate.
Other countries, like Japan and Australia, have adopted disclosure and regulatory measures, or have companies register with the applicable government authority. Several countries have also tried to implement disclosure or registration regulatory regimes when it comes to cryptocurrencies, but such regimes are cumbersome and expensive to fledging companies.
Cryptocurrencies as Commodities
On the other hand, Switzerland and Singapore, two of the countries at the forefront of the cryptocurrency market, have simply stated that cryptocurrencies are assets not currency, and that they will treat them as such under existing regulations.
Ultimately, cryptocurrency regulation remains in its infancy. Piecemeal regulation has already begun around the world as governments enact new regulations to control and legitimize cryptocurrencies, fold cryptocurrencies into existing regulations, or ban them outright. These splintered attempts at controlling a global phenomenon will keep the cryptocurrency market volatile, and pose a challenge to innovators, investors, and users. They will continue to work in the cryptocurrency space while pushing for legislation and regulation that will remove ambiguity and legitimize cryptocurrencies. At the same time, they must grapple with the possibility that new regulations may be confusing, detrimental, or have negative inadvertent effects.
The CafeCoin Foundation not only aims to have their utility token “CafeCoin” become a vehicle for payment in the coffee retail sector. The Foundation wishes to have CafeCoin become a true utility payment token that can be used as a mode of payment for services and goods in different sectors all over the world. There have been other ICOs that aimed for the same lofty goals, but they did not properly recognize the problems they would face, and therefor were left unable to properly plan on how to overcome the obstacles that popped up.
The Foundation has identified several problems in the current market scenario which contribute to reason why cryptocurrency hasn’t been adopted by the general public. They have expended a large amount of time and resources in order to ensure this project would pull through, and CafeCoin will become a true utility token that is utilized by people everywhere. They have already put plans in place in order to overcome the factors that block them from the goal. The foundation leverages a mixture of technology and strategy in order to meet their goals, and the first thing they made sure to do was to identify the typical obstacles in their industry.
Current Market Scenario
Before tackling CafeCoin’s findings and strategy, let’s take a look at what the current cryptocurrency scene looks like. Ever since the boom of Bitcoin, thousands upon thousands of altcoin projects have popped up. They had a vision where the token they would produce would be the one to replace traditional fiat money as the go-to mode of payment. And yet as of this writing, there hasn’t been a single utility token that has been widely accepted by brick-and-mortar stores, online merchants, and the average consumer.
In some countries there are offline stores that accept cryptocurrency as a mode of payment, but they mostly only accept the more popular cryptocoins, and these aren’t widely accepted enough to be significant. There is no shortage of media buzz and news about cryptocurrency, and yet a vast majority of the public still have little to no understanding of what it can do, and what it really is. The popular opinion is that cryptocurrency is something you invest or trade in, and that valuations are more often than not unstable. A lot of people only ever heard of cryptocurrency through stories of people who became rich overnight by “doing crypto.”
When it comes to the finer details of cryptocurrency, very few people are actually knowledgeable. Which is actually one of the reasons why it hasn’t been widely accepted yet, but we’ll get to that later. Because of the public’s perception of cryptocurrency, Bitcoin and other altcoins behave more like gold or other collectable items, rather than units of value that are used as standard modes of payment. Although there are certain coins out there that have tried to address the stability of cryptocurrency’s valuation, they failed to address the other factors that held cryptocurrency back as well.
The Reasons Why Crypto Has Yet to Achieve Wide-Scale Adoption
Cryptocurrency as of today is limited in its utility when it comes to paying for goods and services. Their commercial value has been so far limited to niche use cases, and certain retailers that have accepted cryptocurrency as a mode of payment. On the other hand, the mobile payment sector has achieved an unprecedented amount of growth and adoption recently. When it comes to the younger customers, they would rather use platforms like PayPal, Alipay, WeChat Pay, and others to pay for products. All of these still rely on a third-party centralized authority to overlook and validate the transactions though, which is one of the things that cryptocurrency aims to eliminate. But so far, these factors are blocking the way for cryptocurrency:
1. Getting cryptocurrency requires technical knowledge
In the current crypto scene, one of the biggest detractors for people in adopting cryptocurrency is the fact that it seems so complicated. Despite the many instructional content on the internet that explains cryptocurrency in simple ways, for the average person, it just seems to be too much. They can already use traditional fiat money easily, and digital payment can be used for online purchases. They don’t really think the time that needs to be invested in order to properly make use of crypto is worth it.
2. Substantial exchange and transaction fees
For those who already do make use of cryptocurrency, they know that transaction fees are sometimes ridiculously high. The standard for these fees are outside of their control, and for some they just swallow it since there doesn’t seem to be anything they can do.
3. Long transaction times
If crypto users were to insist on a low transaction fee, they would have to endure an extremely long wait before the transaction is validated. Especially for those cryptocurrencies that have a lot of people in the network, creating a block in the blockchain gets more and more difficult, and therefore will take a longer time to create.
4. Volatile valuation
Because of the nature of today’s cryptocurrency, the valuation for coins go up and down at the drop of a hat. There is very little people can do for now, and investing in today’s cryptocoin can be high-risk, high-gain.
5. Limited adoption by the general public
Very few merchants and consumers actually make use of cryptocurrency in their transactions. As mentioned before, although there are places you can use your cryptocurrencies to pay for goods and services, the stores are few and far between, and they usually only accept the most popular ones.