Who’s afraid of blockchain?
At no other time has blockchain so permeated social consciousness. There is a high awareness of it in both the social media and networks where it naturally thrives but so is it now covered by the so-called mainstream or traditional media. It has loomed large in discussions about the new disruptive innovations.
But in the mainstream, discussions have been largely limited to blockchain disrupting money and the banking system. Not surprising because its most celebrated incarnation – Bitcoin – has enjoyed a wildly positive run in terms of its recognition and acceptance as a cryptocurrency. This, in spite, or because of the cryptocurrency’s value reaching, daring acrophobic levels. Bitcoin peaked at USD20,000 to 1 Bitcoin at the close of 2017, spiraling and settling at some USD$6,700 as of press time.
Similarly, so many of the discussions revolve only around the millions of dollars that public token sales raise for startups and the opportunities for handsome profits for investors later down the line. Such is the fascination for this new form of fundraising.
Except that the discussions take away sadly from some very noble goals of blockchain innovators and the nascent ecosystem that may, sooner than we think, become the norm for transactions.
And so here are some picks for three Asia-based ventures who have taken the route of ICO or a public token sale and the impact they hope to make on humankind with the promise of blockchain innovations.
1. “If you have a very strong belief that the system is not right, the best person to fix it is you.” — Electrify.Asia
In Singapore, a company called Electrify.Asia is giving customers access to more providers, big firms as well as independent power producers, via a single platform where they can find and compare different deals.
Instant contracts are then written on the blockchain saving around 30 percent in transaction costs. It has resulted in combined savings of US$1.1 Million for the early adopters, some 500 businesses who have already switched over to Electrify’s blockchain-based platform designed to cut bills.
The Uber or Airbnb of Energy, Electrify is available only to business customers at present but expects to be rolling out to residential consumers as the liberalization of Singapore’s retail energy market kicks in. From hence, the Singapore-based company plans to bring Electrify to Japan and Australia where there are power-generating households that can selling excess power to other homes via Electrify’s platform.
Investors plunked in US$30Million in an ICO last March for Electrify to push forward with the ideal of pooling different options for energy sources (including renewable) and suppliers, letting people choose according to both prices and preference, a more rational, highly efficient and decentralised distribution, especially important with growing populations and steep demands for energy.
2. Like water for cryptocurrency — Pundi X
The company has created the Pundi X POS, a blockchain-based, point-of-sale device that can sell or accept payment in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and NPXS through either fiat money, a mobile wallet, or a Pundi X Pass card.
It has begun rolling out the POS devices, aiming to create the widest store network in Southeast Asia where people can transact in cryptocurrency, potentially helping bring all these digital currencies into wide usage and circulation.
Pundi X raised $35 million in a public token sale earlier this year, in a huge sign that investors and the market are backing Pundi X’s efforts to energise the entire ecosystem.
The whole industry will then benefit on seeing the potential of blockchain-based products not just for niche segments, but for mainstream consumers in Southeast Asia.
Pundi X POS’s launched last July in Hongkong coinciding with promotions at Asia’s largest tech conference RISE. From hence, PundiX POS began shipping its devices to the global retail market, including retail partners in Singapore, Switzerland and Korea.
The company is targeting a rollout of more than 100,000 of its unique blockchain-based POS devices to the global retail. Some 5,000 pre-ordered devices of Pundi X technology are being shipped to the international market and another more than 20,000 have been ordered for deployment to the global retail sector.
And then in what would be a “a major moment for mass adoption” according to CEO and co-founder, Zac Cheah, Pundi X is bringing blockchain-based payments via XPASS for use on payment terminals at the world’s largest independent music festival, Ultra Taiwan 2018, September 8 and 9.
“Any doubts (about real-world use cases for blockchain) can be laid to rest when 30,000 party goers against the hectic backdrop of this year’s Ultra Taiwan festival pay for drinks, food and merchandise using Pundi X technology,” adds Cheah.
3. “To bring blockchain technology and its benefits to the masses in a fun and meaningful way.” — Gifto
In late 2017, leading global social mobile entertainment group AIG (or Asia Innovations Group) claimed that its GIFTO token public offering which closed within one minute of opening was the fastest token sale ever in Asia. It hit the same sweet spot of $30 Million.
GIFTO stands for Gifting Protocol, a universal protocol based on the Ethereum blockchain.
Tian envisions GIFTO to be an enabler for online content creators to monetize their content efficiently.
The Gifto platform is envisioned to disrupt the traditional ways in which online content creators monetize their work, such as through advertising or sponsorship revenue.
For example some 90% of broadcasters who currently see low monetary returns from these traditional methods will now have a new revenue stream, with their fans directly contributing to them.
Andy Tian, co-founder and CEO of AIG, was quoted as saying:
“We are excited by the overwhelming demand of our tokens. As Asia’s leading mobile entertainment company, we are committed to bringing the best products to our users and this token sale is just the first step to bring blockchain technology and its benefits to the masses in a fun and meaningful way.”
This token sale has in fact positioned GIFTO as the blockchain application with the most users from outside the crypto industry. AIG said the token offering marked a high-revenue Asian company’s entry into the cryptocurrency space and that it is the first significant step in bringing blockchain technology to the mass market.
GIFTO becomes a self-governing and self-sustaining system for virtual gifts to be created, curated, bought, sent and exchanged across any global content platform such as YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. Each of the tokens from the sale in fact could be used to buy these virtual gifts, which any content creator can then customize and transact.
Next time we read about those magnificent blockchain innovators in their ICO or public token sales, do give a second look at how they’re truly changing the world we live in, uplifting living standards, and as no accident, pioneering new innovations and even industries.
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