Steemit was my first step into cryptocurrency & since then, I’ve fallen victim to crypto-fever! The abundance of knowledge & information available to us here has inspired me to diversify & delve headfirst into ICOs, to which I must say I’ve been very fortunate with (past picks include XRL, MSP, & SALT to name a few) thanks to the feedback that other Steemians have provided to our priceless community.
As such, I’d like to give back by providing my own personal picks based on the research I’ve done thus far. I hope this post proves beneficial to those who come across it!
Disclaimer: I am not a financial advisor & therefore absolve myself of all responsibility (directly or indirectly) for any damage, loss caused, alleged to be caused by, or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article. As usual, DYOR.
5. Mercury Protocol
Similar to Steemit (yet late in the game compared to our beloved platform here) Mercury Protocol places heavy emphasis on user privacy & secure encryption procedures in order to protect data as much as possible.
A secure, private messaging app (such as Telegram) is nothing new, and neither is an incentive-based social media platform (such as Steemit). But combining the two effectively brings its users a truly unique product.
Mercury Protocol’s social media platform seeks to tokenize engagement & user activity (i.e., being rewarded for reading ___ number of posts per day) by rewarding them with Global Messaging Tokens (GMT). Unlike other social media platforms, they aim to prevent harassment and feeding you repetitive (oftentimes fake) information from reinforced communication, aka “social echo chambers.” The expected launch date for this platform is just around the corner: end of 2017.
Mercury Protocol already has a working product in place too! It’s a messaging service called Dust that, as of today, already has tens of thousands of daily active users who send an average of 200,000 messages per day. These numbers may seem merely like a drop in the bucket compared to other messaging apps, but it’s a working product nonetheless, unlike other ICOs that plan on breaking ground on development only after initial public funds have already been raised. Those who watch Shark Tank know that you not only need a quality product, but a product that offers massive scaling potential as well. Dust comfortably fits those requirements in the eyes of billionaire investor Mark Cuban, who’s known for his heavy critique & strict guidelines when investing. Cuban may not have the same technical expertise as Vitalik Buterin, and Cuban being an advisor isn’t the only selling point in my mind, but it is a pretty comfortable thought knowing you have a billionaire who doesn’t like to lose in your corner.
To recap: not only are we presented with 2 great synergetic products developed without raising public funds, but we’re also looking at a famous ambassador in Mark Cuban, who will provide enough hype value to the masses.
Since its inception, the cryptocurrency industry has seen over $88 million in stolen funds due to hacks & security breaches; the most notable of which was the DAO hack in June of 2016. Enter Quantstamp.
Quantstamp’s is an automated, decentralized service that performs security audit protocols in order to improve the security behind Ethereum-based smart contracts; thus protecting investor funds...YOUR funds!
Current centralized security audits involve high costs due to 1) high computational capacity required to perform them, and 2) very intelligent & very tech-savvy individuals required to execute these audits. Quantstamp’s decentralized nature decreases their vulnerability to insider attacks, rendering potential threats incapable of altering audit results. Additionally, automating these services makes them both cost-effective AND scalable, as it reduces the need for human audits (although Quantstamp is making the latter option available as well, but at a premium cost). This serves as a secondary function by eliminating the possibility of human errors from occurring.
Another aspect worth mentioning is that Quantstamp already has a working prototype. Historically, 90% of the most successful ICOs had a working prototype or product to present by the time their public token sale went live!
It’d be safe to say that in an ideal world, a blockchain company’s smart contract auditing & security testing would be performed BEFORE using their products/services to garner funding from the public. But unfortunately (more often than not), this isn’t the case. Doing so puts millions of people’s money at risk while at the same time carrying the potential to tarnish the public’s trust & credibility in blockchain as whole, which is already fighting an uphill battle to win over governments & businesses alike. Fortunately, Quanstamp may be our saving grace!
This might start sounding like the same old riddle, but Gladius too is trying to enter and satisfy demand for a rapidly growing market: preventing and limiting the damage of hacks and cyber attacks. In the last year alone, damages incurred as a result of cyber attacks reached nearly $150 billion...to say that there is a market for this product is a MASSIVE understatement!!!
I like to think of the Gladius project as an AIRBNB for bandwidth: if you’re a property owner who is not using his apartment for the time being, why not rent it out and make a quick buck? On the other hand, if you’re trying to find a hotel for your next getaway, then why not rent an AIRBNB instead where it’s cheaper, nicer, and better suited for your needs?!
Gladius is a project that really intrigues me, as it allows you to rent out your extra/unused bandwidth to the blockchain (essentially making your computer a mini-node within the system) that, in turn, allocates it to websites facing DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks. In return for your bandwidth, you’re rewarded GLA tokens, which can then be liquidated into fiat currency.
This concept is groundbreaking, not only as a DDoS protection service, but also a CDN (Content Delivery Network). Gladius’s basis on the blockchain makes it encryptable, allows for virtually limitless bandwidth allocation towards a specific site, and helps deliver content from your favorite websites at faster rates than before by being turning every computer (mini-node) into another data distribution center.
I’m really excited to see this project come into fruition as both an effective way of fighting cybercrime AND a means of putting idle resources to good use, all the while allowing others to create an alternate revenue stream for themselves!
I had my eye on Universa for the longest time, but got so deeply involved in other coins that I completely forgot about it up until recently. Upon first glance, they make seemingly profound claims like: 1) they’re able to process 22,000 operations/second, whereas ETH processes 150 operations/second & BTC does 3-6 operations/second, 2) their transaction costs are 10 times cheaper than Ethereum’s, which is already dirt cheap as is, and 3) their product offers the ability to build “smarter” smart contracts than what’s already on the market.
To give you a quick rundown, Alexander Borodich has a very impressive track record. Russia has only three prominent business angel networks: he founded one of them AND was named Russia’s business angel of the year. Along with being invited to speak at the country’s Eastern Economic Forum (EEF), I confirmed Borodich to be associated and directly involved with many different, successful ventures and businesses. I was also happy with the announcement that he’ll be speaking at the Blockchain World Conference this December in Bangkok (this is definitely not something to be overlooked considering the fact that NEO’s founder Da Hongfei will be speaking there too)!
Along with Borodich, adding to the ranks of Universa’s advisor team is programming genius John McAfee (founder of the McAfee antivirus software products), who recently tweeted his plans to launch his own McAfee Coin on the Universa blockchain.
The icing on the cake was when I came across this article about ApexFree Platform Services, which plans to invest $7 million into Universa. Overall, Universa seems to have a solid team led by a very capable CEO + a quality product that has John McAfee’s stamp of approval + a promising seven-figure investment. I feel very confident going big on this upcoming ICO, and I’m very surprised there hasn’t been much more hype around it a lot sooner!
BLOCKv is an innovating way for companies to raise brand awareness; think Pokemon + marketing. A lot of people waste A LOT of time playing meaningless games online with no returns (in the same way people outside of Steemit use social media with no returns). BLOCKv turns marketing into a game by offering business a means of engaging with potential customers by incentivizing them to “play this game” with their family, friends, coworkers, etc.
Here’s an example from this video:
A customer scans a billboard with their phone & receives an empty digital Coca-Cola bottle. They can slowly “fill up” their bottle by sharing it with their loved ones (via email, Twitter, messenging apps, etc.). After 10 shares, the bottles is completely filled & it can be redeemed for a free Coke! It can also be traded for another item of similar value (i.e., a Starbucks, a slice of pizza, heck you might even be able to trade it for a Pepsi!).
The team is also stacked with a long list of executives who are very experienced in the cryptocurrency/blockchain world. I don’t want to bore you by getting into details about their successful backgrounds & therefore use this opportunity to remind you to DYOR for more info!
Thanks everyone for taking the time to read this & I hope the information I've provided is of value to whoever comes across it! Happy Steeming to all :)