E3T -The Engine Behind E3 Digital Economy Platform

Over the past few years, many ICO projects have cropped up and managed to raise billions of dollars. However, only a few projects have been successful and managed to gain mass adoption – Ethereum, EOS, Tron, and NEM, to name a few. Most projects remained at the POC stage and failed to deploy after raising funds. Worse still, many were scams where the tokens created were just empty digital currency with zero value, aka air coins. Besides that, many were ponzi or money games.

E3T is different. We have designed E3T to be an engine that will power the world’s largest Digital Economy Platform for entrepreneurs. We believe that E3T will help build a vibrant token economy for our closed-loop ecosystem. Although ours is a closed-loop system, we will have a sizable community that spans multiple countries. As all of them are entrepreneurs, they can create huge economic value that might constitute a portion of the national GDP of many countries. The introduction of E3T will accelerate the digital transformation of business processes such as financial services, HR management, product development, marketing, e-commerce, and more.

With respect to financial services, E3T can be used as an internal currency that drives all economic activities within the E3 Digital Economy Platform. These economic activities include E2E transactions, payment for training classes and workshops, payment in the E3 digital decentralized marketplace, payment for mentoring and incubation services, and more. In addition, E3T can also be used to conduct cross-border transactions among members from different countries. To ensure ease of payment, we are developing a mobile digital wallet that has multiple functions and a mobile POS that can allow merchants to accept payments in E3T and other cryptocurrencies.

Another area of finance that can utilize E3T is P2P lending. What blockchain can bring to the table for the peer-to-peer lending platform is building more trust and transparency into the system. Companies like SALT Lending, Lendoit, and Jibrel Network have already launched a peer-to-peer lending platform using blockchain and smart contracts. Similarly, the E3 tech team will develop a blockchain-powered P2P lending platform where entrepreneurs in E3hubs can have easy access to funding via debt financing. The P2P lending platform shall enable the creditors to lend E3T to the borrowers, and borrowers can use E3T to fund their projects, thus increasing the utilization of E3T.

Crowdfunding has become an extremely useful alternative to venture capital. However, traditional crowdfunding platforms charge a high fee for services provided. For example, Kickstarter charges a 5% fee on all funds raised, and their card processing partner also charges a 3% cut and tacks on an additional 20 cents per pledge. On the other hand, blockchain-powered crowdfunding platforms can leverage smart contracts to lower their own costs and pass those savings along to the recipients of crowdfunding by decreasing transactional fees. As the E3 vision is entrepreneurs empowering entrepreneurs, we will develop a blockchain-powered equity crowdfunding platform so that entrepreneurs in the E3 Digital Economy platform can raise funds from entrepreneurs at a lower cost than traditional ECF platforms. To encourage the utilization of E3T, entrepreneurs can invest using E3T and recipients of the funds can use E3T to kickstart their projects.

The good news is that Fundedbyme, a licensed equity crowdfunding and p2p lending company in Malaysia, has agreed to collaborate with E3 Digital Economy Platform to enable E3T to be accepted on their platform. By leveraging Fundedbyme’s expertise and experience, we will be able to build robust blockchain-powered P2P and ECF platforms to serve entrepreneurs in the E3 Digital Economy Platform. This synergy will greatly boost the value of E3T.

Human resource management has undergone tremendous changes in recent years, particularly with regards to the digitalization of human resources.  The emergence of blockchain technology could further transform the world of HR. We will design a payroll and HR services platform on top of our E3 Digital Economy Platform powered by E3T. It will be a global outsourcing platform that serves the freelancers and employers within the E3 community. On this payroll and HR services platform, employers can hire remote freelancers from other countries and use E3T to pay them.

The supply chain is a highly complex and broad ecosystem involving manufacturers, suppliers, sellers, and retailers. Current supply chains face many issues including difficulty in product tracking, theft, counterfeiting, data fraud, and more. Maintaining a level of consistency and error-proofing, to ensure that the right products get to the right location in time, is a huge challenge for any supplier.  On the other hand, blockchain-powered SCM can improve traceability and trackability that will greatly reduce the pain points of SCM. Therefore, we will develop a Supply Chain Management system based on blockchain technology specifically for the entrepreneurs in our closed-loop ecosystem. Channel members can be incentivized with E3T to host nodes on the supply chain networks and use E3T to pay for the transaction and transportation fees.

One of the most ambitious projects of E3hubs is to build a decentralized e-commerce marketplace where members can set up shops to buy and sell goods and services. All transactions can be paid with E3T using our desktop app or from our mobile wallet. This will greatly increase the value and utilization of E3T.

In a nutshell, E3T is designed to be the engine behind the world’s largest digital economy platform for entrepreneurs. It will be the main driver that will power all business activities in the E3 closed-loop digital ecosystem. In this way, E3T will attain mass adoption and could challenge the mainstream cryptocurrencies in the future.

References

E3 Blockchain E-Commerce Marketplace

With the upcoming launch of our long-awaited E3T token, we are in the process of developing various applications to ensure mass adoption of our tokens on our global digital economy platform. One of the most important applications we are developing is the blockchain-powered e-commerce marketplace.

Giant e-commerce platforms such as Alibaba, Amazonl, JD.com, and eBay have been ruling the e-commerce marketplace for the past decades and out-performed the brick and mortar businesses. All these platforms have one thing in common – they run on centralized platforms. There is one centralized system that matches buyers and sellers. However, these platforms have two key weaknesses, namely a lack of transparency and trust. It is difficult to identify who is the user as well as the associated transactions. This results in growing amounts of online marketplace fraud.

Comparatively, all the transactions on the blockchain marketplace are verifiable, traceable, and tamper-proof. Therefore, it can completely eliminate online frauds which are rampant on traditional e-commerce marketplaces. In fact, every transaction can be traced using a unique digital ID. This speeds up order fulfillment and provides better customer service. Any defective product can be recalled and replaced rapidly and automatically based on the smart contract.

Blockchain marketplace is also a better platform for complaint redressal as data are transparent and immutable. Feedback recorded on the blockchain from the community also provides more accurate information pertaining to products and services sold on the marketplace. This will greatly improve customer satisfaction.

In addition, payment is made easy and instantaneous as it is paid directly to the vendor or supplier without going through intermediaries, saving cost and time. Besides that, merchants will benefit a great deal by adopting the blockchain marketplace as it is easy for supply chain management, payment settlements, auditing, and more.

To enable our entrepreneurs to trade using E3T, we will develop the E3 Blockchain-powered marketplace where all entrepreneurs can set up online stores on the marketplace. We shall develop various applications like shopping carts, web, and mobile apps design, and crypto payment gateways to facilitate online transactions. In addition, we will also add online stores to our wallet for users to purchase goods and services from our merchants with E3T. On top of that, we will also implement O2O e-commerce where users make purchases on our blockchain-powered marketplace and settle payments offline upon delivery using our mobile POS terminal. 

References

Building Blockchain for Business

Blockchain is the underlying technology for Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies. However, cryptocurrency is far from the only application of blockchain for businesses. One of the most popular business applications of blockchain is fundraising, especially for startups. Apart from conventional ways of funding, blockchain enables alternative methods of fundraising such as ICO or STO.

In the past few years, many companies have raised an incredible amount of money via ICO. Some of the biggest and most successful ICO projects include NEO, Ethereum, Spectrecoin, and Lisk. More info about ICO can be found on the Investopedia website.

That said, I am not going to discuss ICO in this article. Instead, we shall explore blockchain applications in businesses. Though we can use blockchain for all kinds of business applications, whether or not blockchain is suitable for a particular business depends on the nature of the business, the business model, the requirements, and many other factors.

Before implementing blockchain, the C-level management team of a business organization should conduct a feasibility study to determine whether it is necessary and plausible to adopt blockchain technology. You should ask the following questions:

  • Can blockchain add value to the current business?
  • Can blockchain increase the organization’s competitiveness?
  • Do you need to deal with many trustless parties?
  • Do you need a decentralized and distributed database system?
  • Can blockchain improve workflow efficiency?
  • Can blockchain increase revenue and profit?
  • Do you have enough financial resources to implement blockchain?
  • Can blockchain technology integrate with existing systems?
  • Do you have enough talents to manage the blockchain system?

Once you’ve decided that implementing blockchain would benefit your company, you need to carry out the following steps:

  1. Identify a suitable use case.
  2. Assemble your team.
  3. Design the blockchain architecture.

Identify a suitable use case

To embark on a blockchain project, you need to identify the most suitable use case for your business. The best way is to examine use cases in an industry that is similar to your business. Generally, there are three areas in which blockchains can perform very well.

Data Authentication & Verification

This includes immutable storage, digital signatures, and encryption. Data in almost any format can be stored in the blockchain. Blockchains can create public-private key pairs and also be used for generating and verifying digital signatures. Therefore, it can be used for data authentication & verification.

One of the best usages is counterfeiting prevention. For example, Luxtag, a Malaysia-based blockchain company, has patented an anti-counterfeit technology. This technology enables businesses and their customers to protect the authenticity and ownership of their valuable assets by providing digitized certificates using blockchain technology. They have rolled out their first product, known as e-Scroll, for a consortium of Malaysian public universities to verify and validate certificates using a blockchain-powered web application.

Another area related to authentication and verification is data provenance. One of the most successful companies in this area is Everledger. This company has built the Diamond Time-Lapse Protocol, a traceability initiative built on a blockchain-based platform for the diamond and jewelry industry. The system is to ensure that there is transparency along the entire diamond’s lifetime journey, instilling consumer confidence and driving industry growth.

Another application is supply chain management. The most notable is the initiative by Walmart using blockchain technology to ensure food safety. Walmart has been working with IBM on a food safety blockchain solution requiring all suppliers of leafy green vegetables for Sam’s and Walmart to upload their data to the blockchain by September 2019. By placing a supply chain on the blockchain, it makes the process more traceable, transparent and fully digital.

Watch the following video about food safety:

Other business applications could be medical records management, insurance, KYC management for banks, and more.

Digital Asset Management

Any asset that can be digitized is considered a digital asset. Digital assets include ebooks, digital art, images, video, music, journals, newspapers, audio books, online training courses, recipes, and more. With the invention of blockchain technology, digital assets also include crypto assets. Crypto assets can be cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other altcoins, or the tokenized version of a real-world asset such as gold, silver, oil, land titles, property, paintings, etc.

Currently, most digital assets are traded over the Internet via the centralized e-commerce marketplace. However, digital assets can be traded more efficiently over the decentralized peer-to-peer blockchain platforms.

Some real world use cases for digital assets management in blockchain include:

  • AlphaPoint. Provides enterprise-grade software that enables institutions to convert assets to securities tokens and trade those assets on an exchange.
  • Polymath. Enables trillions of dollars of securities to migrate to the blockchain.
  • Harbor. Offers a digital securities platform for compliant fundraising, investor management, and liquidity.
  • Powerledger. Provides a platform for peer-to-peer energy trading.

Smart Contracts

A smart contract is a programmable contract that enables auto execution of a contract the moment it fulfills certain terms and conditions. It is akin to a vending machine – you get your product by inserting some coins or banknotes.

According to Investopedia, smart contracts are:

“self-executing contracts with the terms of the agreement between buyer and seller being directly written into lines of code. The code and the agreements contained therein exist across a distributed, decentralized blockchain network. Smart contracts permit trusted transactions and agreements to be carried out among disparate, anonymous parties without the need for a central authority, legal system, or external enforcement mechanism. They render transactions traceable, transparent, and irreversible.”

Almost any blockchain business application involves the use of a smart contract. A famous use case is Cryptokitties. A smart contract is executed when a user acquires a unique virtual kitty from the Cryptokitties collectible marketplace via a bidding process. The highest bidder gets to own the digital asset. Other dapp transactions also make use of smart contracts.

Blockchain-powered supply chain management makes use of smart contracts to handle transactions between manufacturer, suppliers, wholesalers, and retailers.

In the insurance industry, the client who wishes to buy insurance can provide personal information including sensitive data like medical records via a smart contract to the insurance company. In the health care industry, a patient can get faster and more accurate diagnoses and treatment via a smart contract that allows them to share medical records.

Assemble your Team

After conceptualizing a business use case that is suitable for your business, you need to assemble your team to kick-start the blockchain project. Getting the right people in your team is crucial to success. Your team should comprise people with business skills and also people with technical skills. People with business skills should be able to see the overall picture of your business model and know how to execute it. They must also have good interpersonal skills, strategic thinking, good networks, and financial knowledge. The people with business skills should be assigned the posts of CEO, CFO, marketing manager, business development manager, and so on.

People with good IT skill in general and blockchain in particular are equally important. The CTO must have many years of experience in the IT and software industry and have a good grasp of blockchain. He or she must be assisted by a technical lead who has good practical experience in setting up the blockchain platform, know how to program the smart contract, sound knowledge of programming languages including Solidity, JavaScript, Goland, C++, Java, Python, and so on.

In addition, if you plan to raise funds via ICO, you need to employ a compliance officer, preferably a lawyer who understands the guidelines provided by the security commission and the central bank.

Designing the Blockchain Architecture

You need to decide whether to build the blockchain network from scratch, or use a third party blockchain solution like Azure blockchain, Oracle, or AWS blockchain. The former is time-consuming, whereas the latter could be up in as little as 30 minutes.

Each of the the aforementioned enterprise blockchains offer their own functionalities and features as well as cost advantages. Both AWS and Azure offers solutions for Ethereum, Hyperledger Fabric, Corda, and Quorum, while Oracle only caters for Hyperledger Fabric. We can compare their features in the following table:

Courtesy of 101 Blockchains


The cost of setting up Azure Blockchain Workbench is roughly $400-$500 depending on your region and usage. The main costs are three VMs and one app service. Two VMs are for the default blockchain network, and one VM is for the microservices on Workbench. For AWS Blockchain pricing, refer to: https://aws.amazon.com/managed-blockchain/pricing/

References

Storing Data on Blockchain

Though we are experiencing crypto winter at the moment, with major coins devalued more than 80% in 2018, the underlying blockchain technology is still exciting. The blockchain provides a democratized trust, distributed and validation protocol that has already disrupted banking and financial services and is on the verge of overhauling other industries like healthcare, supply chain, HR and more.

Despite the hype and its promising future, blockchain still has its shortcomings, the issue of data storage is one of them. The transactions based on the POW consensus for bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies are extremely slow and therefore not suitable for storage of large data. For example, the deployment of dApp Cryptokitties nearly crippled the Ethereum network

The main problem of storing data on a blockchain is the limitation of the amount of data we can store because of its protocol and the high transaction costs. As a matter of fact, a block in blockchain can store data from a few kilobytes to maybe a few megabytes. For example, the block size of the Bitcoin is only 1Mb. The block size limitation has a serious impact on the scalability of most cryptocurrencies and the bitcoin community is debating whether to increase the block size.

Another issue is the high cost of the transactions. Why is storing data on the blockchain so expensive? It is because the data has to be stored by every full node on the blockchain network. When storing data on the blockchain, we do pay the base price for the transaction itself plus an amount per byte we want to store. If smart contracts are involved, we also pay for the execution time of the smart contract. This is why even storing kilobytes of data on the blockchain can cost you a fortune.

Therefore, it is not viable to store large data files like images and videos on the blockchain. Is there a possible solution to solve the storage issue? Yes, there are quite a few solutions but the most promising one is IPFS.

What is IPFS?

IPFS or Interplanetary File System is an innovative open-source project created by the developers at Protocol Labs. It is a peer-to-peer filesharing system that aims to change the way information is distributed across a wide area network. IPFS has innovated some communication protocols and distributed systems and combine them to produce a unique file-sharing system.

The current HTTP client-server protocol is location-based addressing which faces some serious drawbacks. First of all, location-based addressing consumes a huge amount of bandwidth, and thus costs us a lot of money and time. On top of that, HTTP downloads a file from a single server at a time, which can be slow if the file is big. In addition, it faces single-point of failure. If the webserver is down or being hacked, you will encounter 404 Not Found error. Besides that, it also allows for powerful entities like the governments to block access to certain locations.

On the other hand, IPFS is a content-based addressing system. It is a decentralized way of storing files, similar to BitTorrent. In the IPFS network, every node stores a collection of hashed files. The user can refer to the files by their hashes. The process of storing a file on IPFS is by uploading the file to IPFS, store the file in the working directory, generate a hash for the file and his file will be available on the IPFS network. A user who wants to retrieve any of those files simply needs to call the hash of the file he or she wants. IPFS then search all the nodes in the network and deliver the file to the user when it is found.

IPFS will overcome the aforementioned HTTP weaknesses. As files are stored on the decentralized IPFS network, if a node is down, the files are still available on other nodes, therefore there is no single point of failure. Data transfer will be cheaper and faster as you can get the files from the nearest node. On top of that, it is almost impossible for the powerful entities to block access to the files as the network is decentralized.

The following figure shows the difference between the centralized client-server protocol(HTTP) and the peer-to-peer IPFS protocol.


 [Source: https://www.maxcdn.com/one/visual-glossary/interplanetary-file-system/]

Blockchain and IPFS

IPFS is the perfect match for the blockchain. As I have mentioned, the blockchain is inefficient in storing large amounts of data in a block because all the hashes need to be calculated and verified to preserve the integrity of the blockchain. Therefore, instead of storing data on the blockchain, we simply store the hash of the IPFS file. In this way, we only need to store a small amount of data that is required on the blockchain but get to enjoy the file storage and decentralized peer-to-peer properties of IPFS.

One of the real-world use cases of blockchain and IPFS is Nebulis. It is a new project exploring the concept of a distributed DNS that supposedly never fails under an overwhelming access request. Nebulis uses the Ethereum blockchain and the Interplanetary Filesystem (IPFS), a distributed alternative to HTTP, to register and resolve domain names. We shall see more integration of Blockchain and IPFS in the future.

References

Building the blockchain using JavaScript

The blockchain is a data structure that comprises blocks of data that are chained together using a cryptographic hash. In this article, we shall attempt to build a blockchain prototype using JavaScript. This is a bit technical for non-technical people but should be a piece of cake for computer nerds.

First of all, let’s examine the content of a block. A block consists mainly of the block header containing metadata and a list of transactions appended to the block header. The metadata includes the hash of the previous block, the hash of the block, timestamp, nonce, difficulty and block height. For more information, please refer to my earlier article Blockchain in a Nutshell.

Prior to writing the code, you need to install the following software:

  • Chocolatey
  • Visual Studio Code
  • node.js

The installations are based on Windows 10, but you can do the the same thing easily in Ubuntu. Chocolatey is a software management solution for Windows, Visual Studio Code is a streamlined code editor with support for development operations like debugging, task running and version control and Node.js is an open source server environment.

Let’s start writing the code using Visual Studio Code. The first line is

const SHA256 = require("crypto-js/sha256");

This code meas we are using the JavaScript library of crypto standards. We require the crypto-js library because the sha256 hash function is not available in JavaScript.The crypto module provides cryptographic functionality.

SHA-256 is a cryptographic hash algorithm. A cryptographic hash is a kind of ‘signature’ for a text or a data file. SHA-256 generates an unique 256-bit signature for a text.  SHA256 is always 256 bits long, equivalent to 32 bytes, or 64 bytes in an hexadecimal string format. In blockchain hash, we use hexadecimal string format, so it is 64 characters in length.

Next, we create the block using the following scripts:

class Block {
   constructor(index, timestamp, data, previousHash = '') {
       this.index = index;
       this.previousHash = previousHash;
       this.timestamp = timestamp;
       this.data = data;
       this.hash = this.calculateHash();
   }

The class Block comprises a constructor that initializes the properties of the block. Each block is given an index that tells us at what position the block sits on the chain. We also include a timestamp, some data to store in the block, the hash of the block and the hash of the previous block.

We also need to write a function calculateHash() that creates the hash, as follows:

 calculateHash() {
       return SHA256(this.index + this.previousHash + this.timestamp + JSON.stringify(this.data)).toString();
   }
}

Finally, we write the script that creates the blockchain, as follows:

class Blockchain{
   constructor() {
       this.chain = [this.createGenesisBlock()];
   }

   createGenesisBlock() {
       return new Block(0, "01/01/2017", "Genesis block", "0");
   }

   getLatestBlock() {
       return this.chain[this.chain.length - 1];
   }

   addBlock(newBlock) {
       newBlock.previousHash = this.getLatestBlock().hash;
       newBlock.hash = newBlock.calculateHash();
       this.chain.push(newBlock);
   }
   

Notice that the class blockchain comprises a constructor that consists of a few functions, createGenesisBlock(),  getLatestBlock() and  addBlock(newBlock).

Save the file as myblkchain.js or any name you like.

Now, execute the file in the VS terminal using the following command

node myblkchain.js

The output is as follows:

Let’ examine the output. Notice that each block comprises the properties index, previous hash, data and hash.

The index for the Genesis is always 0 . Notice that the hash of the genesis block and the previous hash of the second block are the same. It is the same for other blocks.

References